Category Archives: Food

Bryan Caskey’s shotgun tie

Caskey tie

I had lunch today with Bryan Caskey at his club.

We’d had drinks at my club recently, so it was his turn.tie closeup

We talked about the kinds of things gentlemen talk about at real gentlemen’s clubs (as opposed to the trashy kind) — politics, whether one can actually travel ’round the world in 80 days, shooting for sport, etc. Then in the middle of the shooting part, I noticed his shotgun-shell tie.

So I thought it only right to share it here.

Then we went back to harrumphing about those political chaps, most of them vile Whigs and Jacobins, don’t you know…

A full day of wonderful meals in Thailand

My daughter — the one in Thailand, in the Peace Corps — posted today on her blog to let us know how well-fed she is, in keeping with the military junta’s happiness campaign.

She posted quite a cornucopia of enticing dishes. But they also came across, to this benighted Westerner’s eyes, as evidence of just how exotic her surroundings are. That plate of mangosteen and rambutan look like Star Trek props.

I hereby copy and paste her entire post. Shop Tart, eat your heart out:

In accordance with my host country’s happiness campaign (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/04/thailand-to-bring-happiness-to-the-people), I would like to share something that makes me SO happy every day in this country: FOOD.  I took pictures of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner the other day with the intention of making everyone back home super jealous of me.  
                                                                          Breakfast

Mangosteen and Rambutan.  I’m not a huge rice for breakfast person, which is fine because wherever I go in the morning I will inevitably be presented with a large plate of fruit.  On this day, I was accompanying the health clinic to the schools to teach about oral hygiene, when I was  presented with two of my favorite fruits.  Mangosteen, the purple one, is the Queen of Fruits and Thai people say that it makes you cool when you eat it (temperature wise- I don’t want to get all you nerds’ hopes up).  Rambutan is also quite delicious and juicy once you peel those crazy green spikes off. Thai people have really got this whole hospitality thing down.
Lunch

 

Pad Gapow- A spicy, garlicy, deliciousy chicken situation

 

Dtom Yom Gung- A classic, sour shrimp stew made with chili peppers, lemongrass, cilantro, limes mushrooms, etc. Idk I learned to make this the other day but I didn’t take notes. Whoops.

 

Gang Jut- Pork stuffed inside of large celery-like chutes, boiled with cabbage.

 

Pad Pak- Fried vegetables.

 

Dinner

 

Rice
Rooa- Bamboo, coconut Milk, and mint

 

Nam Prik Ga Peet with Vegetables- Basically homemade chili sauce
Gang Malagow- A papaya stew with pork

 

Dtom Gai Baan- Boiled chicken, vegetables, and spices.

 

Gapow Moo- Spicy Pork

 

Khay Giaw Pak Da Om- Omelette made with a stringy green

 

As you can see, I eat pretty well.  I apologize for not cooking, therefore having no idea of the actual ingredients, but you get the “picture”.  Maybe in the future I will try harder.  I did not even include the many snacks I ate that day, including, but not limited to- grilled chicken skewers drenched in a creamy peanut paste, some kind of hot peanut drink, thai doughnuts that we dipped in a condensed milk and some sort of green fluffy stuff, boiled lotus seeds, and a sweetened coconut milk desert with tapioca balls and gelatin noodles.  We joke that I will return to America fat.  That’s fine.  Anyway, hope you enjoyed the pictures, and now you have evidence that I am not starving.  I will post a coup update soon!

I think my favorite would be the Dtom Yom Gung. Being a Southern boy, I’d eat it over rice, like gumbo….

We lose Maurice Bessinger and Harold Ramis on the same day

bill_murray-stripes1981-1040

Which means nothing, of course — I mean, the fact that they died on the same day means nothing; obviously their respective deaths mean a great deal to their families — but it struck me as an odd juxtaposition.

Maurice Bessinger, purveyor of yellow barbecue and “South Will Rise Again” tracts was 83. The man who gave us Egon “Print is Dead” Spengler and Army recruit Russell Ziskey (and as a writer and director, such gems as “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This”) was only 69. And yes, my very first thought on the latter’s passing was that maybe collecting spores, molds and fungus was not the healthiest hobby. I mean that fondly, and intend no disrespect.

In Maurice’s behalf, I’ll note that his barbecue was my youngest daughter’s favorite. As the baby of the family, she had trouble understanding why the rest of us preferred not to give him our custom while that flag was flying at his restaurants. But now my daughter is off in Thailand with the Peace Corps, so I don’t think her BBQ preference limited her horizons or worldview any.

As for why the juxtaposition is notable, well… Maurice was a man who went out of his way to stand up for outmoded ideas, a man who insisted on pushing a discredited worldview even when it drove customers away. Ramis, on the other hand, was a harbinger of a new ironic meme in our popular culture, the smirking wise guy who poked gentle, mocking fun at our social foibles. One insisted on respect for ideas that had never deserved it; the other urged us not to take ourselves so seriously.

For what that’s worth…

An appeal from Harvest Hope Food Bank

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Denise Holland over at Harvest Hope sent this out, and I pass it on:

There are hungry families in your neighborhood, around the corner

From you or on the very street where you live.

 

With Your Help We Can Lift Them Out of Hunger

 

Thousands of hungry people live right here among us. You pass by them every day. They are grandmothers and grandfathers, children and families. They are hardworking men and women.

 

Harvest Hope Food Bank has a 33 year history of lifting struggling families and individuals out of their hunger and helping restore balance to their lives. When they face their empty tables and ask us for help, we make sure to give them 90 to 100 pounds of food. We have found that with that help they only come to us three times, and then they are lifted out of hunger and they do not need to come for help again.

 

We strive to provide hunger relief across 20 counties through our own Emergency Food Pantries and through partnerships with more than 400 agencies. They carry our mission from our own neighborhoods to the remotest corners of South Carolina where hunger and poverty exist for thousands. Our efforts bring hunger relief to more than 42,000 people every week.

 

Our food is often enough to take their worries away, to give them enough resources to overcome their circumstances.

 

To reach them all we have to have resources to send our trucks to get food from community partners, and then take and give food to the areas where food is needed the most.

 

To many the holidays seem two months away but for Harvest Hope holiday need preparation is right now.  Please help us prepare with a gift today.  Your gift will help us gather loads of food from across the country. That food is often donated and FREE, but the transportation is not.

 

In addition, we need sponsors of backpacks for children.  A $30 gift will provide 29 meals on the weekends.  We have children waiting and wanting – can you help?

 

Another great gift is your gift of time.  Volunteers are needed both for groups and for counselors in our own Emergency Food Pantries.  We have many ways to be involved and we need YOU – the gifts you bring, the love you share, the smiles you give.   Click HERE to learn more about volunteering.

 

Your gifts – right now – give us the resources to keep us going to help lift others out of their time of crisis and hunger. Harvest Hope dedicates 98¢ out of every dollar donated to our mission of feeding struggling families, children, seniors and our very neighbors.  Giving is easy. Visit us at www.harvesthope.org to help us help our neighbors.

 

Our blessings and deepest thanks for your generosity and kindness,

 

Denise Holland

More poor SC kids than ever are obese

Remember that good-news story that I included in a recent Virtual Front Page, about how fewer poor kids are obese than previously?

Well, that doesn’t apply to SC, as you probably saw already:

The CDC study released in early August drew a lot of attention because it found childhood obesity rates were decreasing in 19 states and rising in only three. The study didn’t include data from 10 states.

South Carolina was omitted because a CDC request for data in 2011 went to an inactive email account at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to agency spokesman Mark Plowden. Because South Carolina didn’t send in timely data that year, it wasn’t included in the study of four-year trends.

The percent of obese children ages 2-4 years in the WIC in South Carolina has grown from 13.3 percent in fiscal year 2009 to 14.1 percent in 2010, 14.7 in 2011 and 15.6 in 2012, Plowden said…

This, to me, is another argument for restricting the kinds of foods that can be obtained with “food stamps” — with caveats for availability, considering “food deserts,” etc. I see the problems with such a move. But I also think we should work to overcome the problems, because kids are killing themselves with food that we’re buying for them.

Whatever we’re doing now to ensure proper nutrition for the poor obviously isn’t accomplishing everything that it should..

I still think food stamps shouldn’t pay for junk food

So I’m glad to see SC moving forward with this initiative, or at least taking a half-step in that direction:

After hearing all the pros and cons during several months of public input, the state health department has recommended that South Carolina apply for a waiver to ban the use of food stamps for sugary drinks, candy, cookies and cakes.

The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control stated its position in a letter sent Monday from director Catherine Templeton to Lillian Koller, director of the state Department of Social Services. Koller’s department administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, and will determine the content of a waiver request…

I have great respect for Sue Berkowitz and other advocates for the poor who have concerns about this. And the “food deserts” concern is a real problem.

But I just can’t see the taxpayers subsidizing purchases that are killing people instead of nourishing them. As Ms. Templeton says, we’re able to make WIC work with restrictions; why not this?

3D food printer, circa 1956

On my previous post about space travel and 3D printers, mention was made of the Star Trek “food replicator.”

But I seemed to recall that sci-fi had imagined this device much earlier than that.

Indeed, in the 1956 classic “Forbidden Planet,” starring Walter PidgeonAnne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen, there is a robot that has a sort of miniature 3D food printer built into its torso.

I couldn’t find a clip showing that from the actual film, but I did find this promotional short in which the robot explains how it is able to replicate food of any kind, in any amount. All that is needed is a small sample of the food — which I suppose makes it more of a 3D food copier than printer.

But whatever. I thought I’d share it. Also, I refer you to a story Burl brought to our attention, about how a 3D printer saved a baby’s life.

This is just astounding technology…

Robbie the Robot, a pre-comedy Leslie Nielsen, and pre-Honey West Anne Francis (who showed her gams a LOT in this one).

Robbie the Robot, a pre-comedy Leslie Nielsen, and pre-”Honey West” Anne Francis (who showed her gams a LOT in this one).

I heartily disagree with Mia on food stamps and junk food

Here’s the latest from Mia McLeod:

 Dear Governor,


Seriously? Can you just “SNAP” and in an instant, delete certain foods from some South Carolinians’ grocery lists?

Sure, obesity is a genuine, significant health concern for too many people in this state. But that’s not why you’ve made a recent “SNAP” decision. You know it. We know it. And soon, citizens across this state will know it too.
Contrary to South Carolina’s definition, “SNAP” doesn’t mean “Simply Nonchalant About the Poor.” It’s actually a federal program, fully funded by the USDA. Now, isn’t it ironic that our state’s most notorious critics of “BIG” government, are arrogantly hypocritical enough to assume the despicable role of “BIG Brother” when it’s politically expedient?Mia leopard jacket

As asinine as this latest stunt is, it’s even more offensive. Targeting a segment of the population in furtherance of your own political agenda is one thing. Refusing to allow federally-funded healthcare for hard-working South Carolinians while in the same breath, expressing concern about obesity and its impact on their health and well-being, is another.

You don’t want the federal government telling us whether to accept or how to spend our federal tax dollars when a state match or financial investment is required. But yet, you wanna dictate which foods we can buy with SNAP, a fully-funded federal program that doesn’t even require state funds?

The list of qualifying items that can be purchased with SNAP is very straight-forward. As with any program, there’s always room for improvement. But last time we checked, you were able to make nutritional decisions for your family without our intrusion or input. We’re just wondering why you think we need yours.

And since your cronies are traveling the state at our expense, trying to convince us that this is about obesity prevention, perhaps we’ll remember your “heartfelt” concern on our next nonemergency trip to the ER…if we can even find and get to a hospital that’s still open and accessible.

With all due respect, Governor, when it comes to obesity, it’s not the foods that we’re able to buy on SNAP that are making us fat. Perhaps it’s your empty rhetoric that’s making us sick.

If you really cared about this state’s obesity rates or us, you’d do what is well within your purview and power to ensure that we have access to quality, affordable health care, just like you do.

You’d realize that some of us would love to eat the same fresh and organic foods that your family enjoys, but because of “food deserts” across this state, many of us are without the means or access. If you’re genuinely concerned about addressing obesity, you could start by addressing that.

If only we could “SNAP” back from the regressive, debilitating tactics of centuries past, we’d all feel much better. So while South Carolina continues to reek of ignorance, intolerance and insanity, many of our best and brightest continue to leave this state in search of parity, inclusion and meaningful opportunities.

But unlike obesity and other chronic conditions, many never return. Neighboring states too often become the benefactors of our most creative minds and talented contributors. And we’re left with a weaker South Carolina.

So as you continue to cater to your political base by serving folks like us up on a party platter, the only thing that seems to be getting fatter is your reelection campaign account.

At some point, obesity may no longer be an issue for South Carolina. Under your “leadership,” our state is gradually becoming so malnourished on so many levels, it may not be strong enough to “SNAP” out of it.

But you still can, Governor, before it’s too late.

p.s. – South Carolina’s forgotten citizens (a.k.a. – your “other” constituents) may not be members of the Tea Party. But in number, we’re “the real majority.”

She really doesn’t like the idea, does she?

Well, I do. Still. So I guess I’m playing the “despicable role of Big Brother.”

Yes, there are reasons to be concerned about people who live in “food deserts.” I don’t dismiss that, and I can’t say for certain that the stores that now sell junk food in those communities would shift and sell healthier stuff if that’s all their poor patrons could buy. I think that might happen, but I don’t have the full faith in markets that some do.

So that should be thoroughly studied and taken into account before a final decision is made. But I most certainly do not agree with those who have a philosophical, rather than practical, objection to insisting that tax money not be used to buy foods that ruin the health of the poor.

The populists will call this patriarchal, but we are indeed in a position for taking responsibility for people when we undertake to feed them. We are culpable for providing people with the means of poisoning themselves when we could adopt a policy that prevents it.

When we discussed this previously, my old friend and respected colleague Burl Burlingame noted, “when the government wants to experiment, they do so first on the poor.” That may seem a particularly devastating argument against this change. But I submit that we have been running the experiment for half a century now, and the results are in: Paying for junk food kills poor people. It’s time we stop it, and do what we practically can to have a positive, rather than an actively negative, effect on people’s health.

Now, spokesman says Sanford DIDN’T eat those piglets

OK, so now, supposedly, what Sanford said on TV this morning was a joke:

CHARLESTON, SC — Remember those pigs former Gov. Mark Sanford brought into the State House nine years ago to protest “pork barrel spending” in the state budget?

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning, fresh off of his victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary in the 1st congressional district, Sanford said the pigs were “barbecued.”

“Unfortunately, they were barbecued,” Sanford said. “They were great little guys.”

A Sanford spokesman later clarified that Sanford was joking, adding that Sanford did not eat the pigs. (An earlier version of this story said that Sanford did eat them.)

And an earlier version of this blog post said the same, because, well, silly me, I figured the ex-governor was telling the truth to the world. This belief prompted me to say the following:

So… The piglets were supposed to symbolize government waste. Do they no longer qualify as “waste” if you make a meal out of them?

Presumably, he changed clothes — since the pigs had daubed him with literal waste — before firing up the grill.

Twice now, Mark Sanford has huffed and puffed and blown the house down, eating the thoughtless little pigs within.

It remains to be seen whether Elizabeth Colbert Busch can build a house out of bricks before he does it a third time.

I was on a roll there for a minute. But now… well, never mind. I especially like Joel’s attempt to be all self-righteous over this:

“The governor made a joke that apparently was lost on members of the media, who seem unable or unwilling to write about issues that voters actually care about,” Joel Sawyer said.

Yeah, right, Joel. It’s the media who have a penchant for silly, distracting stunts. He says this on behalf of a man who, in the name of fiscal responsibility, hauled two squealing, defecating piglets into the lobby to ruin a new carpet (OK, sort of new — see below) that was part of a multi-million-dollar restoration of the State House.

Of COURSE food stamps shouldn’t pay for junk food

I actually meant to address this subject a couple of months ago, when I read this op-ed by Louis Yuhasz, the founder of an anti-obesity nonprofit in Charleston:

Our foundation works with a 17-year-old girl who weighs 495 pounds. At home she’s fed a diet of convenience store food, bought at convenience store prices, largely at taxpayer expense. Rare is a salad or lean meat. Processed, packaged food is all she knows. And it’s slowly killing her.

But she won’t leave this earth without costing us all a small fortune. She’ll need knee replacement surgery before she leaves her 20s, and in her 30s her hips will fail her too. Taxpayers can probably expect to pay for a long stay in a nursing home for her, because of the toll diabetes will take on her vision and limbs.

If ever there was an example of solving one problem while creating another, it’s the food stamp program in America. Through it, as one critic recently suggested, our government is “subsidizing the obesity epidemic.”…

Don’t get him wrong, he explained. The food stamp program has done a lot of good, and saved lives. But it needs to be changed:

So here’s something Washington should think very seriously about: strictly limiting what foods can be purchased with the money we provide SNAP recipients. We already impose limitations: Beneficiaries can’t use their payments to buy alcohol or cigarettes. Why not take it one step further and bar the purchase of foods that are making us fat and sick, at least with the money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets?

Where would we draw the line? If it comes from the meat, seafood, produce or dairy sections, it’s probably good to go. Or maybe we could use an even more general standard: If my 100-year-old grandmother would recognize it as food, it is.

On the other hand, if the ingredient list includes added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic trans-fats, industrial seed oils, any ingredient name longer than four syllables, or if it would survive a nuclear holocaust, then put it back on the shelf, or at least buy it with your own money…

I’ve never gone along with the people who want to ban junk food, the way they’ve done with limiting soda intake in New York. But I have no problem at all with limiting what our tax dollars pay for. Besides, obesity costs us too much. We’re paying for it on the front end and the back end, as Yuhasz noted:

SNAP is expensive at $65 billon, but get a load of what obesity costs us in direct medical costs: $190 billion per year. Almost three quarters of Americans are either overweight or obese. Almost one in five children are clinically obese, and what used to be called adult-onset diabetes is one of the biggest health problems among kids…

So now I see in the paper today:

COLUMBIA, SC — Seeking to slow the childhood obesity epidemic, South Carolina health leaders would like to limit the purchase of sugar-filled drinks with food stamps.

Catherine Templeton, director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Lillian Koller, director of the Department of Social Services, have exchanged thoughts on the subject. They agree that cutting the intake of sugary drinks could improve the health of the state’s children, but they are struggling with how to use the food stamp program as a tool in that effort, and especially with whether the federal government will allow it.

Several similar efforts, most notably by New York City, have failed to gain approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps. The feds told New York in 2011 that they agree with the goal of limiting intake of sugary drinks, but the city’s proposal had operational challenges and impacted too many people. They suggested a test program on a smaller scale…

I’d like to see SC be used as that test case, as Joey Holleman’s story goes on to suggest. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our state to be in the vanguard of improving health for once?

This seems to me like something that left and right ought to be able to get behind. I can imagine arguments against it, but I can’t imagine any good ones.

An appeal from Harvest Hope

If you’re looking for a place for end-of-the-year charitable contributions, here’s a good place to consider:

Dear Brad Warthen,

Harvest Hope wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving at this time when we acknowledge all our blessings, and our most generous of thanks for all your support in our mission to provide for hungry families across 20 SC counties.
Families and friends gather at this time to celebrate and offer thanks for all the blessings the year has provided. Yet, 1 in 6 families in SC does not know where their next meal will come from. Thanksgiving only serves as a painful reminder of their struggles to put food on their tables.

Over the last four years Harvest Hope has seen a steady decline in not only the number of donors who are the cornerstone of our mission, but the monetary level of their donations as well. Our donations for 2012 to date are down more than 21% over the same period of time in 2010.

Yet in the face of decreasing donations we struggle to make sure no one is turned away hungry. Your generosity helps Harvest Hope make sure families in our community do not have to experience the pain of hunger while so many others celebrate the simplest of joys. Your kindness is how we continue our mission of HOPE. Giving to Harvest Hope is easy at click here.
The lines were long yesterday at our own Emergency Food Pantries on Shop Road and in Cayce, and they even longer this morning. Many requests are coming into our Florence and Greenville Branches for help with families in those communities struggling to put the most basic of food items on their tables.  Help is needed and your support can provide great nourishment and great Thanksgiving by going online today or dropping off nonperishable food at any of our four locations.

Midlands

2220 Shop Road, Columbia – 29201

1175 12th Street Ext, Cayce – 29202

Pee Dee

2513 West Lucas Street, Florence – 29501

Upstate

28218 White Horse Road, Greenville – 29611

During this season of thanks ~ thank YOU for sharing your

kindness with your neighbors struggling with hunger.

Shawarma: The lunch of superheroes

The above sign, spotted today at Al Amir on Main St., got me to thinking of “The Avengers.”

Tony Stark: You ever try shawarma?

SPOILER ALERT! OK, not really, because it reveals nothing about the plot, although it will ruin a tiny little fun surprise. It’s just one of those little lagniappe things at the end of the credits. Although, come to think of it, this does tell you that all the heroes survive the movie, so SPOILER ALERT!

At the end of the climactic battle, as he’s lying dazed among the rubble, Robert Downey Jr., who as Iron Man has 90 percent of the movie’s good lines, reassures his comrades that he is alive by saying offhandedly, “You ever try shawarma? There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I wanna try it.”

Then, the fun part: After all the credits — apparently, Joss Whedon needed the help of about 3.7 million people to make this flick — you see the exhausted heroes lounging, disheveled, around a table in the shawarma joint, slowly munching away in complete silence. This continues for more than 30 seconds, as a restaurant employee sweeps up in the background.

This sort of backhanded, non-branded little product placement has apparently launched a bit of a shawarma craze:

Those of you still reading will likely recall Tony Stark’s fascination with shawarma toward the end of the film. During the climactic battle, Stark suggests the team adjourn to a nearby restaurant to try the dish, which Wikipedia describes as “a pita bread sandwich or wrap” filled with spit-roasted meat (commonly lamb, goat, chicken or a mixture of various meats). At the very, very end of the film, after the credits have rolled, we witness the superhero team sitting at a table, silently eating their shawarma for a surprisingly long amount of time.

Now, based on that short in-joke, TMZ claims that the Los Angeles shawarma industry has seen a massive spike in popularity since the release of the film. “At Ro Ro’s Chicken — a famed Lebanese joint in Hollywood — the manager says shawarma sales jumped 80% in the days after the movie opened,” the gossip site claims, while saying that a number of other Lebanese restaurants offered similar results…

That’s fine. Just as long as they don’t start rebranding it the Super-Gyro…

A tick whose bite can make you allergic to meat? That’s it! I may never venture outdoors again…

I already had plenty of reasons to avoid going outdoors, including:

  1. The heat, exacerbated by the humidity.
  2. Sunburn.
  3. Mosquitoes.
  4. The fact that statistics show that more than 99 percent of yard work occurs there.

Now there’s this:

Meat lovers, beware. One bite from the tiny lone star tick may be enough to cause meat allergies and turn you into a vegetarian. Dr. Scott Commins of the University of Virginia has been seeing meat allergies popping up along the East Coast and thinks the tiny tick may be to blame. Of the nearly 400 cases he’s seen, nearly 90 percent report a history of tick bites. Commins says saliva from the tick that makes its way into the wound can cause some people to break out into hives or even anaphylactic shock three to six hours after chowing down on some animal carcass. So make sure either your sleeves are rolled up or you’re adequately covered in bug repellent before hitting that summer barbecue.

The lone star tick.

My diet is already limited enough with the allergies I have. An allergy to meat would be catastrophic, if you’ll excuse the understatement. As the colleague who brought this to my attention wrote, “Good grief!  You need to avoid this fella at all costs or you’ll be down to nothing but rice!”

Add to that the fact that I’m one of these people who thinks that the only real food is meat; other foods are meant to complement meat. I heard an overweight standup comic say it well a number of years ago. It went something like: Salad isn’t food. Salad is something you eat with food.

So it’s settled. From now on, I just need to figure a way to protect myself between the house and the car …

Help Harvest Hope feed those who need help

And if you can’t give blood, maybe you can give to help the needy be fed.

Right after posting the thing about the need for blood, I read this appeal from Denise Holland at Harvest Hope Food Bank:

Two weeks ago, one night about 9:30 pm, returning from Walmart, I walked back into my house sobbing because my heart was completely filled with many emotions.  My husband looked at me confused, asking what is wrong as a trip to Walmart normally does not do this.

I sat down and told him the following very true, very moving story…I hope you will feel moved and called to action.

Upon finishing my shopping,  I got in a long checkout line in the non-food section.  I was there after 9pm to pick up a few last minute items for a children’s activity at church.  I was behind a young couple, with a small baby sitting in the infant portion of the buggy.  They caught my attention. I was struck at how much the young man with his wife reminded me of my own grown children.  A nice appearance, the young man had on athletic type shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops, the young lady had on jeans and a hoodie, the baby was clean and dressed in a little onesie.  As I stood there, I noticed a little more.  They were wearing very simple wedding bands, and the dad kept putting his hand on the back of his wife and child’s mother, saying “are you feeling ok?”  “Do you want to go sit in the car?” She did look in my opinion pale like she did not feel really great.  I heard her reply very nicely to him, “no I am fine” and smiled back at her husband.

Well naturally I started playing with the baby, making silly old lady sounds and faces to get the baby to smile and laugh.  The baby’s dad (obviously a little girl by the pink onesie) occasionally touched the little baby and bent down to kiss her neck of which she just giggled and smiled.  At one point he looked back at me and I said to him, “that little girl certainly loves her daddy’s kisses”. He smiled and said yes.  The couple then gave their attention to counting the items in their buggy and began a sorting process counting out 10 jars of baby food, separating them in rows in the buggy.  Then it struck me that all they had in their buggy was jars of baby food and several canisters of baby formula.  The mom and dad appeared to be in low conversation like they were worried and checking twice everything they had.  I continued to play (at a respectful distance) with the baby.

While I stood there, I prayed “Lord this could be my children” and I felt in my heart that they were concerned about the amount in their buggy…

To read the rest of Denise’s story, click here.

It’s a bit long, but here’s the upshot of it: The young husband is about to go away to serve in the military, and he and his wife were trying to stockpile plenty of food for the baby, as the Mom’s transportation options are limited. When they got to the register, they couldn’t afford what they had selected (nothing but baby food), so Denise paid for them.

But there are many stories like this in our community, and while she’s got a really big heart, Denise can’t help them all out of her own pocket. So help out Harvest Hope.

Check out that rack! (It’s a guy thing)

No, this isn’t a follow-up on this previous post.

This is completely different from that Mom issue. This is a glimpse of what the world would look like if it really were run by men.

This is from a release by Phil Yanov from the Greenville Spartanburg Anderson Technology Council:

We need to talk about a cow
One of the cool things about my job is that I get to hang around people who follow their passions. Even if that passion is the absolutely crazy idea that ordinary men should be able to barbecue an entire cow on a seriously reinforced metal rack.  I know that this sounds like something that can’t be done, but it can and has been done right here in Greenville.  My friends are going to do this again. You are invited.  It’s called Bovinova 2.0 and while seeing may be believing, smelling, tasting, and experiencing it is even better. Check out the websiteBuy a ticket. Plan to join us this weekend for a visually stunning event.

(Yes, this was the same event that was featured in the Wall Street Journal.  This year, a cable cooking channel will be filming a show there. You can be a part of the fun. Get your ticket.)

I see something like this, and it reminds me of the sort of thing that comes up on TV or something and makes my wife say, “Only a guy would think of something like that.”

Stuff like… dropping major produce (watermelons, pumpkins) off a tall building to see them go splat. Or placing explosives in them where they stand and blowing them up. That sort of thing. Or almost any sort of weaponry.

The sort of thing that makes you think Tim the Toolman is nearby, grunting, and somehow responsible for the idea.

Something like… the headline on this post, which I stole from the release itself.

Men can always be more obtuse than women can be clever, so don’t mess with us

One of my Facebook friends of the female persuasion posted the above notice today.

Ha-ha.

I responded:

OK. What’s a recipe book? And where do we keep it? Since my dinner’s in it, will I be able to find it by smell?

Ladies, never, ever think that you can manipulate us by being clever. Our sheer, unforced obtuseness, combined with the fact that evolution has developed helplessness in us to a stage you can’t even begin to fathom, will always defeat you.

What if Malthus was actually right for once?

Not that I think for a moment he will be — no one in the history of ideas was ever more spectacularly wrong (the poor fellow argued that resources would never be able to keep up with population growth even as an agricultural revolution led to much faster growth in food supplies than in population).

But some still predict that he will be. Andrew Sullivan drew my attention to this:

Grain yields are beginning to hit a “glass ceiling” in many countries, Brown said, where farmers have already taken advantage of what science has to offer for improving yield. As more and more countries hit an upper limit on productivity, the world grain harvest will begin to plateau, even as demand for food continues to rise, causing a rise in prices. More worrisome, the global food market is vulnerableto external shocks such as prolonged drought. “We don’t have idle land, we’re flat out,” says Brown. “We don’t have [food] stocks. We’re living harvest to harvest. The question becomes, what if we have a major shortfall in the world?”

Of course, if Malthus were ever proven right, that would be an extraordinarily bad thing. So I continue to root against him, even as I occasionally worry: Have you bought a bad of “topsoil” lately? It’s like all chunks of bark and stuff…

Key to awesome BBQ: You start with the wood

CUT/CHOP/COOK from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

One of the highlights of the weekend in Hilton Head was when we got to taste the wares of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, served by Rodney Scott himself.

But the event’s organizers did a cruel thing to us: They showed us the above film in the morning, and we didn’t get to eat the barbecue until that night. But when the time came, we made up for the wait.

I was deeply impressed by the craftsmanship, passed from father to son, that goes into this awesome pork. Starting with cutting the wood. I was surprised (perhaps because I’ve been influenced by Memphis style) that the wood wasn’t hickory. But it’s selected and hand-cut by the pitmaster.

And you can taste it.

All work and no play make Brad a dull boy. Which he is not, as amply demonstrated by Exhibit B

Here I am with the birthday girls in Hilton Head. Or is it “on” Hilton Head, or “at”? I don’t know. First time I’ve ever been here.

In any case, this is by way of full disclosure. It was not all work at the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Inititiative graduate weekend in that locale.

Here I am with Clare Folio Morris of the Clare Morris Agency and Susan DeVenny of First Steps. You see another picture of us on the previous post, with Clare and Susan looking deadly serious and me seeming to Tweet every word they’re saying. Well. Choosing photos for publication is an art, you know. You can show what you want.

Alert photographer Jim Hammond captured both moods well.

Here, I’m joining the ladies in celebrating their birthday this weekend. They’re both 30 or something.

This was at an awesome barbecue on Saturday night, with pulled pork from Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway and from Henry’s Smokehouse in Greenville as well, and lowcountry boil from Conroy’s, and oysters, and other good stuff. I think that’s a Palmetto Charleston Lager in my right hand.

The blog will now return to being serious…