Johnsie Vaught’s Brunswick Stew

When you’re the wife of a football coach, you often have to feed a crowd that includes a lot of big guys, and if you’re the wife of Johnny Vaught, you want a Southern recipe that everybody loves. Such is the case with Brunswick stew, a favorite dish for gatherings in the South since Daniel Boone barged through the Cumberland Gap. Johnsie’s recipe lacks the game meats many consider requisite for a Brunswick, and the inclusion of pasta and rice would likely by that same crowd constitute nothing short of heresy. But her nine yards stew is typical of those often sold for a dollar a bowl for fund-raising at small-town events—such as football games—in the rural South of her day to provide new uniforms or equipment either for the school’s sports teams or marching band. By my reckoning, this hefty, carb-heavy recipe could easily feed either 25 people or the Rebel offensive line at one sitting.

1 large hen
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground pork
½ lb. butter
1 large bottle catsup
2 cans tomatoes
2 cans peas (green)
2 cans corn (cream style)
1 package spaghetti
1 cup rice
½ bottle tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook hen until tender, remove from broth, skin and bone, chop the meat. Return chicken to broth, add beef and pork. Cook for about 30 mins. Add butter, catsup, tomatoes, and simmer 1 hr. Then add spaghetti and rice. Cook 1 hr. Add peas and corn, being careful it doesn’t stick. (Note: cans are 15 oz., 16 oz. pkg. spaghetti)

Curried Hummus with Feta and Spinach

Mix a garlic-y hummus with chopped spinach, feta, and red curry paste. Spread in a well-oiled oven-proof dish, top with more feta and bake in a moderate oven until lightly crusted. Serve with flat bread and a cucumber vinaigrette.

 

Inauguration Cake

In just a few short weeks, the Great State of Mississippi will inaugurate its 65th chief executive, Governor-elect Tate Reeves. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I’ve created a cake especially with a mind to Mr. Reeves and all the qualities he will bring to the office to commemorate the event.

Take a pound of frozen tater tots (the brand doesn’t matter; a frozen grated potato is a frozen grated potato) and cook according to package directions. It’s best to use the “fry” option, since the more grease the better. Fry a half-pound of bacon or cube a half-pound of ham, or do both. This recipe should include LOTS and LOTS of pork. Stir the tater tots and pork together with a half cup mayonnaise and two cups grated American cheese or Velveeta. Spray a Bundt pan with the nonstick cooking spray or grease with lard. Pack the tots, pork and cheese into the pan and bake for about forty-five minutes. Invert cake onto foil-covered surface and serve.

There you have it: greasy, ugly and no damn good for you at all. Not one bit. It’s even shaped like a big asshole.

Noon in Oxford

When the courthouse clock struck the first toll of the noon hour, the complexion of the village changed. Shopkeepers and clerks hurried their over-the-counter trade so as not to be late for mealtime; little old ladies in their shawls and bonnets scurried home along side streets to their salads and tea-cakes; doctors and lawyers put aside the healing of the sick and matters at the bar to congregate in the public inn for a plate of the noon-day fare; farmers found a shadier side of the square and rested under tall oak trees while they took their dinner of canned meat and yellow wedges of cheese. It was a time for idle chit-chat, political forum, witty repartee, and peaceful rumination with a temperance and protocol like no other time of day.    –L.W. Thomas
Written for the menu of The Warehouse Restaurant, 1984