Isn’t it amazing, we haven’t even had time to blink and this year is over half finished? Yes, I know, it isn’t really amazing, time has a habit of flying by sometimes, and other times it moves with the speed of a snail. The month of July is just the same as it always is, hot, dry in places, wet in others and mostly just plain miserable for all of us.
After my article on the “Donut Peach” last week, I tried to find information on another fruit that looks very similar and is called “Saucer Nectarine”. Most of what I was able to find was how to order plants and grow them yourself. It seems that this variety of nectarine is extremely, sweet, truly delicious and totally good for you! No recipes of course, and no information from my favorite site; “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”, so you’re just going to have to go to the store and see them for yourselves. I’ve found them at HEB in a couple of places, but haven’t tried them. The main reason they caught my attention was because, like the ‘donut peach’ they are shaped much the same way and look very similar.
This information is truly “Did you know” trivia! It came to me several years ago in emails, and since I received it two or three times in a row, decided to use it. I found it very interesting and decided to use it as part of my column this week, even though some of the things may no longer hold true.
In reading it, I found something that I hadn’t thought of before (yeah, I’m slow on the uptake), but maybe, accidentally, some of you haven’t thought of it either. There are seven letters of the alphabet that are not represented in our fifty states! There isn’t a state that starts with B, E, J, Q nor X, Y, Z. The letter “M” is most popular, with eight states starting with that letter, and there are eight letters that have only one state beginning with that letter. As you read it, you will find out where a couple of our favorite sodas were invented, who invented the Frisbee, why the Ice Cream Sundae was invented, where our most common and prolific brand of re-useable plastic ware was invented (not the thin stuff, we use and toss), and several more interesting facts.
A Fun Fact for Each State
ALABAMA: Was the first place to have 9-1-1, started in 1968.
ALASKA: One out of every 64 people has a pilot’s license.
ARIZONA: Is the only state in the continental U.S. that doesn’t follow Daylight Savings Time. (I pretty much wish Texas didn’t).
ARKANSAS: Has the only active diamond mine in the U.S.
CALIFORNIA: Its economy is so large that if it were a country, it would rank higher than seventh in the entire world.
COLORADO: In 1976 it became the only state to turn down the Winter Olympics.
CONNECTICUT: The Frisbee was invented here at Yale University.
DELAWARE: Has more scientists and engineers than any other state.
FLORIDA: At 874.3 square miles, Jacksonville is the U.S.’s largest city.
GEORGIA: It was here, in 1886, that pharmacist John Pemberton made the first vat of Coca-Cola.
HAWAII: Hawaiians live, on average, five years longer than residents in any other state.
IDAHO: TV was invented in Rigby, Idaho, in 1922.
ILLINOIS: Has a Governor in jail. One pending jail time & is the most corrupt state in the union!
INDIANA: Home to Santa Claus, Indiana, which gets a half million letters to Santa every year.
IOWA: Winnebago’s get their name from Winnebago County. Also, it is the only state that begins with two vowels.
KANSAS: Liberal, Kansas, has an exact replica of the house in The Wizard of Oz.
KENTUCKY: Has more than $6 billion in gold underneath Fort Knox.
LOUISIANA: Has parishes instead of counties because they were originally Spanish church units.
MAINE: It’s so big; it covers as many square miles as the other five New England states combined.
MARYLAND: The Ouija board was created in Baltimore in 1892.
MASSACHUSETTS: The Fig Newton is named after Newton, Massachusetts.
MICHIGAN: Fremont, home to Gerber, is the baby food capital of the world.
MINNESOTA: Bloomington’s Mall of America is so big, if you spent 10 minutes in each store, you’d be there nearly four days.
MISSISSIPPI: President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear here… that’s how the teddy bear got its name.
MISSOURI: Is the birthplace of the ice cream cone.
MONTANA: A sapphire from Montana is in the Crown Jewels of
NEBRASKA: More triplets are born here than in any other state.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Birthplace of Tupperware, invented in 1938 by Earl Tupper.
NEW JERSEY: Has the most shopping malls in one area in the world.
NEW MEXICO: Smokey the Bear was rescued from a 1950 forest fire here.
NEW YORK: Is home to the nation’s oldest cattle ranch, started in 1747 in Montauk.
NORTH CAROLINA: Home of the first Krispy Kreme doughnut.
NORTH DAKOTA: Rigby, North Dakota, is the exact geographic center of North America.
OHIO: The hot dog was invented here in 1900.
OKLAHOMA: The grounds of the state capital are covered by operating oil wells.
OREGON: Has the most ghost towns in the country.
PENNSYLVANIA: The smiley, : ) was first used in 1980 by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.
RHODE ISLAND: The nation’s oldest bar, the White Horse Tavern, opened here in 1673.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Sumter County is home to the world’s largest gingko farm.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Is the only state that’s never had an earthquake.
TENNESSEE: Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is the longest running live radio show in the world.
TEXAS: Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco back in 1885. The Hamburger was invented in Arlington, Texas in 1906.
UTAH: The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant opened here in 1952.
VERMONT: Montpelier is the only state capital without a McDonald’s.
VIRGINIA: Home of the world’s largest office building… The Pentagon.
WASHINGTON: Seattle has twice as many college graduates as any other state.
WASHINGTON D.C.: Was the first planned capital in the world.
WEST VIRGINIA: Had the world’s first brick paved street, Summers Street, laid in Charleston in 1870.
WISCONSIN: The ice cream sundae was invented here in 1881 to get around Blue Laws prohibiting ice cream from being sold on Sundays.
WYOMING : Was the first state to allow women to vote.
Since okra seems to be growing pretty prolifically, maybe you’d like to try making a big pot of gumbo. Now, in reality, the word “gumbo” actually means okra! There are probably as many recipes for gumbo using okra as there are cooks out there making it. Last week, when I made some for a couple of guests, I cooked it in the slow cooker on “low” for about 6 hours. However, last Saturday evening, I watched my sister, sauté her onions, tomatoes and bell pepper together, and using frozen okra, stick it in the microwave until the okra was done. It tasted great. When I made it, I used crushed tomatoes and added about a cup of tomato juice that I had in the freezer, however, using whole canned tomatoes works well also as that is what is generally used. Also, when tomatoes were in season and people had given me some, I peeled them and used fresh tomatoes.
1 to 1½ pounds fresh okra
5 thin slices bacon, (2 or 3 if you use thick sliced)
½ to 1 cup chopped onion
½ to 1 cup chopped bell pepper (color doesn’t matter here, I had only red ones on hand the other day and used that, at 5 miles from the grocery store, you’re not particular)
1 can (16-oz) tomatoes or 1 pint home canned tomatoes, or 2 cups peeled diced fresh tomatoes
1 to 2 ears fresh corn
1 tablespoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and cut okra into ½-inch slices and set aside, cut the bacon crosswise into pieces and fry until crisp, remove from pan and set aside to drain; shuck the corn, removing as much silk as you can, cut from the cob and set aside.
Drain all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan and sauté the onions and peppers until the onions are translucent. Add the okra and sauté until heated through. Add the tomatoes, vinegar corn, bacon and seasonings and pour this mixture into a crock pot. Set it on low and allow to cook for 4 to 6 hours. If you want sausage or ham added, add it at this time. If you plan to use shrimp, add them about 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve the dish. If you prefer to cook on top of the stove, turn the heat to low and simmer until some of the liquid is cooked down and the corn and okra are done.