This morning, as I do every morning, I turned on m computer and the TV. The TV flashed a warning that there was no signal—so I turned off the computer. Go figure. It was not an auspicious start to the day.
Lewis Bundock, who keeps my house and property in running order, came by to put a support in the middle of a newly installed long gutter. As we talked, I mentioned that I’d just had fried mush for breakfast—the plate of syrup on my desk was testimony. “Mush?” he asked. “What’s that?” When I said fancy people today call it polenta, he said he knew that, and he’d call what I just ate “johnny cakes.” Goes to show what I miss as a northerner even though I’ve lived here over fifty years. As a student of western history, I thought I was well-schooled in regional foods, and Lord knows I’ve heard of johnny cakes—also called hoe cakes—but I guess I never made the connection. I thought they were a pancake of some kind. But now I know. I’m going to practice telling people I had johnny cakes for breakfast. Whatever they’re called, they sure are good, but you sure feel like everything is sticky after you eat them.
And that’s kind of how the day went. I did some serious and good work on the book proposal I’m struggling with, and I did some reading—finished a novella. I’ve done more reading lately and recently finished a book called Bayou City Burning. Cast as a P.I. detective novel featuring a young girl (another go figure), it’s the little known story about the machinations behind LBJ’s 1961 efforts to secure the NASA manned space center for the Houston area and the mob efforts to prevent that. A good fast read if you’re a fan of P.I. novels or a history buff interested in twentieth century urban history. You’ll be charmed by Dizzy Lark, the twelve-year-old, and her efforts to prove that a man didn’t really die in a train wreck in Cleburne, Texas. It’s sort of a retro read but well researched and absorbing. Watch for it to be available on various platforms June 1.
Jordan cooked dinner tonight—well, she put the finishing touches on something I started. I found. a recipe for lettuce wraps using ground chicken, but it called for a lot of things I didn’t have like mint and cilantro—the latter would have been really good. So I cooked the chicken the other night and added chopped red onion and scallions, along with a healthy dose of soy. I sort of decided we could use the chicken as a base. Jordan reheated it in wine, added part of a can of green chilis, salt and pepper, diced tomatoes, chunks of avocado, and lots of feta. Trouble was I was reluctant to buy head lettuce, so I thought we could use the leaf lettuce I like so much better. Leaf lettuce doesn’t wrap, so we had sot of a salad with a ground chicken base—pretty and delicious, but not what the New York Times cooking column suggested. Still, I’ll do it again and may experiment with the sesonings.Cumin, anyone? I told Jordan the end result was sort of Mexican/Oriental/Greek.
A good day I’m off to read another novella. Happy times, y’all.