My Chili Recipe

steve-tsang-MP_A0OK_O60-unsplash“Uh, oh!”

“What’s wrong?”

“I was supposed to make chili this weekend to take to the office today. What can I do? It’s time to go to work — too late to cook now. They are counting on me, and there may not be enough chili without mine!”

Let me explain, the employees where I work had decided to have a “chili cook-off” at the office. Each unit would have one person cook a pot of chili and bring it
to the office for a chili potluck. Only because no one else from my section volunteered, I said I would do it.

I went home Friday and promptly forgot all about it until about 15 minutes before time to leave for work on Monday morning.

“Think I could call in sick? I can’t go empty handed. I don’t know what to do!”

“Could you buy some chili?”

“Where? There are no restaurants open at this hour of the morning. But… maybe I could go to the grocery store and buy a couple of cans of prepared chili. It will not be homemade, but I can put it in a dish and pretend that I made it.”

So, I did the only thing I could do. I headed for Wal-Mart; open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Not much business at 6:00 in the morning. Piles of boxes rolled down the aisles on carts. Stock boys crawled around on the floor around trying to restock the shelves. I rushed to where I thought the chili would be, daring anyone to get in my way, impatiently looking for what I needed.

I thought I knew exactly where it was, but it was not with the canned beans, not with soup, not with the ethnic foods. I was nearly frantic! I finally found it hiding out on the aisle with prepared foods. I grabbed several of the largest cans I could find and ran to the front of the store.

“I can take you here,” said a checker. Then I realized, no need to use the self-checkout lane. The regular checkout lanes were wide open. No waiting lines at this hour of the morning.

Finally, arriving at the office, I realized I hadn’t thought about how heavy this stuff would be. I had my crock-pot and electric can opener in one hand, and the
mammoth cans of chili in the other, not to mention my purse, which kept sliding off my shoulder. It’s only a block from the parking garage, but it seemed as though I trudged miles. My arms were dragging the ground by the time I got to the office.

I snuck into a vacant cubical, opened the cans of chili and put them in the pot. I wrapped up the empty cans in the plastic grocery bag and hid the evidence in the bottom of a trashcan.

“Well, that takes care of that! I only hope it doesn’t taste so bad that no one will eat it.”

Instead of voting, they decided that the boss would judge of the “cook-off”, eating a bit of each kind and deciding which was best.

So, the judge tried each pot. I waited for impended doom, praying she wouldn’t mention that one pot of chili tasted like a tin can. But she pointed to my pot and said, “That chili is the best.”

“I WON!”

Wait! Oh, no! I decided I’d better just keep my mouth shut at this point and be a gracious winner. Fortunately, there was no prize so I didn’t have to feel too guilty about using canned chili instead of making my own.

Everyone had to try my chili to see how good it was. When they asked for the recipe, I just shrugged and said that it was nothing special, looking secretive. So far no one has persisted.

Little do they know, my prizewinning chili has only two ingredients: a can of chili and a can opener.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Superbowl Silly

stadiumWell, it’s that time again. Nerds beware! It’s the macho celebration of the year – SuperBowl weekend. Every year they do it — go nuts over football! The only good thing about it is that that it signals the end of another season. Soon we will have our absentee husbands and boyfriends back. We only hope that we will be able to pry that remote control out of their hand and that they have not gone into rigor mortis.

The media is hyping it up as usual. Every year they try to make a bigger deal over it than the year before. Of course, I don’t really care myself since the Titans are out of it. The way things are supposed to work, they tell me, is that you are supposed to root for the division that your favorite team is in even if your favorite team is not playing. That means I’m supposed to root for Kansas City, which is the team that beat the Titans to knock them out of contention. What? No sore losers allowed?

This year it is called SuperBowl LIV. Why do they use Roman numerals? Are regular numbers not good enough for the SuperBowl? I have to stop and figure it out every time. What does L mean and is IV four or six? Roman numerals. Guess it has something to do with gladiators, stadiums, or something of that sort. Anyhow, I wish they could just use regular numbers and name it for the calendar year instead of the number of times the SuperBowl has been played.

Both teams have gathered in Miami for a media week. The game gets a day, but the media get a week? Does that tell you something? Which reminds me, have you heard about the drones? The FAA has banned drones at the Superbowl and within 34 miles, which some people think is overkill since the dome has a top on it. They have cameras all around the top of the stadium to take pictures of the game from every possible angle. The fine is $30,000 for violation of the “no drone zone.” Wow, wonder what that would be in Roman Numerals?

A lot of people still think college football is more exciting, but others argue that nothing can beat the excitement of pro ball and especially the SuperBowl which is the biggest of the pro games. The SuperBowl even has it’s own website. On it you can buy a baseball cap with your favorite team logo for $32.99. Why a baseball cap? Well, they don’t call it that, they call it a locker room hat, but it looks like a baseball cap to me. I can’t remember the last time I was in a locker room, so I don’t need one.

They say the teams are so evenly matched that it is almost impossible to predict a winner. That, of course, is right before they predict a winner. Bet that anyone in San Francisco or Kansas City could predict a winner. Why don’t they just ask them?

Now they are even trying to convince us that women actually like football. Yeah, right! They have Women’s Clinics to “educate” women on football – presumably men need no education. They say that millions of women will watch the SuperBowl and that 40% of football fans are women. They don’t mention that men sit on the remote control and threaten violence so that women have no choice.  Sure, women may SAY they like football, but they probably say they like Gatorade too.

I never watch the game myself, just the commercials and the last 5 or 10 minutes. That’s all anyone ever talks about anyhow. Y’all have fun! Hope your favorite team wins. I’ll just wear my Titan’s sweatshirt and be a sore loser.

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss
Updated 2020
Posted in Humor, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pass the Biscuits

biscuits

Photo by Jodie Morgan on Unsplash

Now I was only knee-high to a grasshopper when mama took pity on me and allowed me to get into the dough she was kneading. Being a curious child, I hung around under mama’s feet while she was trying to cook, watching her make the bread.

Biscuits are a big part of southern culture and something every southern woman knew how to make. Biscuits were served with every meal. Bread was a staple that filled empty tummies if there was not quite enough of everything else.

Biscuits are made with baking powder for leavening. We didn’t know what yeast was. Mama called bread from the store “light bread,” and it was used for sandwiches. But nobody in their right mind would serve light bread with a meal. It would be bad manners. Besides, a woman’s ability to cook was often measured by her ability to turn out a pan of good biscuits.

Mama decided that I might as well be useful since I was hanging around anyhow. I was so young that I had to have a step stool to stand on so I could reach the counter of the cupboard where the biscuit making was done.

Flour was stored in a bin with a sifter on the bottom that was inside the cupboard. The brown crockery bread bowl was also kept there, along with the biscuit cloth, rolling pen, and biscuit cutter. I can’t remember us ever having a real biscuit cutter. Mama used a drinking glass.

At biscuit making time, flour was sifted into the bowl and then hollowed out in the middle with the back of your hand. Lard was scooped up with your hand. Nobody measured. You just knew how much was about the right amount. The shortening was cut into the flour by squishing it between fingers, no pastry cutter in mama’s kitchen.

The amount of baking power remains forever a mystery as it was already in the self-rising flour. However, a small amount of baking soda was usually added, just enough to fill the crook of your little finger. Then buttermilk was added, enough to fill the well in the flour. It was mixed until dough was formed. Any flour that remained in the bowl was saved until next time.

The flour-saturated cloth was unfolded, and the dough removed to the cloth. The dough was kneaded enough to be sure ingredients were mixed well. It was then patted flat and rolled with the big flour covered rolling pen until it was the right thickness for biscuits.

Some folks just pinched off enough dough for a biscuit and placed in on the greased baking sheet for “cat-head” biscuits. Mama was fancy, so she used a water glass to cut out biscuits. The left-over dough could be reworked to cut a second batch, but you had to be careful about handling it or the biscuits would be tough.

Before long I knew the entire process, from sifting the flour to folding up the cloth when I was done. I even knew how to rub my hands together with flour to remove the sticky dough in tiny crumbly rolls.

There was nothing as comforting as the smell of homemade biscuits baking in the oven, or as pleasing to the cook as hearing daddy say, “Pass the biscuits.”

I don’t make biscuits anymore. The cupboard with the sifter has been gone forever and only remains somewhere in the memories in the back of my mind. I don’t keep a bowl of flour in the kitchen for biscuits. Bread comes from the store. But I still know just how much lard to add, just how much baking power to use, and how much milk to add to make the dough come out right.

I’m a southern woman. I learned to make homemade biscuits without a recipe when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss

 

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No, No, Not Snow!

snow

Snow! Snow! It’s going to snow! Every year, it’s the same old snow panic. After a while, it gets tiresome.

Oh, the weather people are so happy! They are beating the weather drums and doing the weather dance, trying their level best to work everyone up into a snow
panic.

It doesn’t take much. People in the South are just about as afraid of snow as they are of a nuclear disaster.

I guess it’s the weather person’s duty to warn the public — not that it does any good. People have no sense. They don’t know how to drive in the snow, but won’t stay out of the way of those that do.

I write one of these silly weather stories every year. It never fails that the S-word causes a major commotion at least once or twice a winter. Lord, what would Southerners do if they had snow all the time?

Get used to it?

Ain’t gonna happen, so no use speculating on it.

Bread, milk, and toilet paper – these are the essentials for snow. I imagine these items are jumping off shelves into grocery baskets all over town right now. Shelves will be picked clean.

Why? It isn’t as if this is Alaska and we won’t be able to get out for the rest of the winter. Geez, we don’t even shovel the driveway when it snows. Why bother? It will all melt tomorrow or the next day anyhow.

Snow in the South is a rarity, but it does happen. It was snowing in Atlanta earlier one year when we were traveling though. I met one woman who had driven all
the way from Orlando to see snow. Now, why in the world would someone drive hundreds of miles in bad weather to see snow? It was melting as fast as it fell.

I have to admit that there is a beauty to it all when everything is covered with a white blanket and none of the gray drab of winter can be seen. But snow in the
country, and even the suburbs, is a different issue from snow in the city. No one wants to become a part of the circus on the highway called “learning to drive
in the snow.”

So far, so good, the day is over and no snow yet, in spite of the weather witches chant. I guess their job gets boring. Sunny today, rain tomorrow. Rain today,
sunny tomorrow. Like a foxtrot. At least snow is a different tune to dance to.

Ears perk up when people hear the S-word. They are itching for a good reason to lay off work anyhow. And, when it snows in Texas, they close the schools in Tennessee in anticipation, another good reason to stay home when the kids are out.

Will it? Won’t it? Let me check the forecast again. First they said snow flurries, then
a few inches. Now they have put it off until tonight. If it’s yet another false alarm, people are going to be very disappointed.

Weather folks don’t make the weather, they will say, they just try to predict it.

So, if it finally snows overnight, there may be a bluish inch of the stuff. Hopefully it will be a weekend and people can stay at home with their bread, milk, and toilet paper.

But they won’t. Now they will have to think of another excuse to get out in it. They were promised a disaster, and, by golly, they want to be sure they get one!

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss

 

Posted in Humor, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Computer System

computer

Our office is getting a new computer system. Those responsible, called “The Team,” are so proud of it you’d think they created a new solar system — in six days instead of seven. There hasn’t been so much hoop-la about anything since the local football team was in the SuperBowl.

Now, this new computer system can do everything except give birth, and it might be able to do that if someone programmed in the birds and the bees. It has so many bells and whistles that it rivals Google. The Team is practically popping buttons they are so excited.

Of course, the average user is less thrilled. It is one more new thing to learn, one more thing to do on an already over-crowded schedule, one more thing to screw up in a life already screwed up by super technology that is smarter than we are.

The innovators are certain that the new system is bigger and better than anything we’ve ever seen, so certain that they have determined that everyone not only going to learn it, but like it whether they want it or not.

They have untaken a massive communication campaign to assure that we average users are prepared when the new system comes online. Their emails are lengthy, technical, and numerous.

Did I say numerous? They fill up my inbox faster than SPAM on a weekend holiday buzz. After a while, there is nothing left to say, so they just say the same thing over and over.  So far, I’ve received 108 emails singing the praises of the new computer system louder than a rock concert.

And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on.

We’ve been trained, educated, and saturated with FAQ’s up to our eyeballs. We have been introduced to online training, training manuals, classroom training, and training on how to understand the training. I am more computer literate than a teenage hacker.

The first day we could log on the new system, The Team practically wet its pants. So did the server, which came close to crashing as everyone obediently signed in at the same time, creating a log-on traffic jam bigger than an audition for American Idol.

We are still getting emails and reminders that the Really Big Day is just around the corner. The Really Big Day is the day the new system goes live, not just for practice but for actually doing real live stuff. The Team will be foaming at the mouth.

The help desk will go ballistic with calls from people who don’t have a clue about what the heck is going on. The Team seems not to be aware of the phenomena called “information overload.” They sent so much information that people tuned them out.

People don’t like to change. Regardless of how good the new computer system is, they already understand the old one and don’t have to figure anything out to use it. It’s comfortable like a pair of old slippers, and it doesn’t make mental blisters.

Sociologists divide people into groups with regard to change: the innovators, the adapters, the resistors. I guess I’m an adapter. If it’s inevitable, you might as well go ahead and learn it. Please don’t tell The Team, but I’m about as excited over this as I would be over a root canal at the dentist’s office.

They are having a meeting right now planning more ways to make life miserable for us end users. I can hear the sounds of a war dance floating up the stairs. At this point I’m not sure what is worse, the computer system or know-it-all innovators who force feed information because they know what’s best for us.

When The Big Day finally came, guess what didn’t work? Yep, it flubbed. Funny thing, we didn’t receive a single email about the problem until after about a zillion calls to support wondering what was wrong.  Guess they were all busy cleaning the egg off their faces.

Are we peons laughing up our sleeve? Well, maybe just a wee bit. Of course, it can’t possibly be The Team’s fault. After all, they did everything they could, and more. They are in an emergency meeting now, trying to figure out what the end users did wrong that caused this to happen. I’m sure they will come up with something.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Technology, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bad Hair Day

hair

My daughter’s hair was propelled into a state of shock and awe. She decided to to dye it. Don’t all women color their hair, these days? So, if she wants to join the traipse into high fashion, why not?

We went to Walmart, a fabulous local boutique for stylish makeovers. Since I had groceries to buy, my grandson helped her pick the color, a dubious decision. She later told me they picked a color by holding the boxes up to her face and choosing the picture that most looked like her.

As any real expert can tell you, hair color is tricky. It has a way of not coming out as the crown of glory you had intended, especially when you do it yourself. It’s nature’s revenge on the hair industry, I suppose.

When it was time for the deed to be done, she was nervous. “I’ve never put permanent color on my hair before. I always use the temporary kind.”

I offered to assist with the dastardly deed. We took a chair into the bathroom and played Barbie’s beauty shop for half an hour. We then wrapped it in an old
towel, and thirty minutes later she shampooed.

I heard a scream from the bathroom.

“My hair is BLACK!”

Good grief, how can brunette be black? She is probably over reacting. Surely it would be a lighter color when dry, I thought.

It wasn’t.

We are talking black here, as black as the mulch at the garden center, as black as the soot in your chimney. Think Morticia Addams, Cher, or Elvira. When you looked at her, all you could see was black hair, like a negative image on film.

“What can I do?” She cried. “I can’t go around looking like this.”

“Maybe we can get light brown dye and try again?” I responded with the hopeless situation of my vampire daughter beginning to sink in. We tried it, but it didn’t work. I found out later that you can’t take out color with more color. You can go darker, but not lighter. In other words, she was out of luck.

“Maybe you will get used to it?” I suggested.

We went back to Walmart for an expert consultation with the resident gum-chewing beautician whose bleached blond hair failed to inspire much confidence. The beautician shook her head. “What did you do to it?  We can strip out all the color and then recolor it. You might want to enhance it too.” I could see the digital dollar signs flashing in her eyes.

It seems there is not a lot you can do as a home remedy when things go this far astray. If you try to strip it with peroxide, it turns flaming orange. If you try to cover the orange with brown, it turns putrid purple.

Black is bad enough.

Other people offered horror stories of their own instead of any actual solution. It seems the best advice when you can’t afford professional treatment is to learn to love your hair the way nature intended it.

But it was a little late for that with midnight madness pulling out her roots.

We turned to Google for advice and found that a clarifying shampoo will make a dark color fade faster. We bought a bottle. It closely resembles Drano and will unclog the drains as a side benefit.

She is washing it daily now and conditioning it. Maybe it has faded a little bit. Maybe. Or maybe we are just getting used to it.

All I can say is to try a lighter shade first if you want to color your hair at home — unless, of course, you’ve always dreamed of looking like Morticia Adams.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Posted in Fashion, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How to Eat Healthy

burger

While I hadn’t really noticed this before, I have lately begun to suspect that there is a vast conspiracy out there to make people fat. It seems I have been so busy watching the diet industry that I paid little attention to the shenanigans of the rest of society, and they have had unrestrained freedom in conspiring to seduce us into their trap.

Take, for instance, the commercials we watch on the television set, unless we have the good sense to avoid such digital diversion, which most of us don’t. In the middle of a CSI autopsy, a commercial breaks in at a most unexpected moment. The screen flashes a succulent dinner that titillates our taste buds in spite of the inappropriateness of the interruption.

And should we be seduced into going inside a restaurant, we are certain to be victims of foul play. As soon as we are seated, we find a bucket of roasted peanuts in front of us and are offered liquid refreshments, nearly all of which are high-calorie and nourishment-empty. If we manage to resist these delights, a basket of yeasty-smelling bread is placed in front of us, butter on the side. Then we are asked about ordering an appetizer, as if the other condiments are not there.

Scanning the menu, we find not one single meal that does not appear to be high enough in calories to give us air sickness. After ordering, we receive salad to go with the buns. By the time the actual meal arrives, we are not even hungry. As soon as our forks have touched the food, we are invited to order dessert.

So, we try to stay away from these businesses that, after all, are doing what they do best, feeding people what they perceive that people want, high-calorie, fat-laden, and belly-fattening food. People who try to avoid the eating-out syndrome do not fare much better. Unlike other addictions, eating cannot be stopped entirely if we value our life, and if we judge by the amount of fat consumed these days, we value it highly.

Certainly it is possible to find low-calorie, fat-free food if you look hard enough, but while looking, you must crawl over piles of cake and donuts, pass by cases of ice cream, look past frozen pizza, run around fried chicken, and go through aisles lined with potato chips, snacks, and every type of candy invented by man’s ingenuity. Suddenly, our bag of lettuce and frozen diet dinners seems as worthless as confetti after the party is over.

And we haven’t yet considered the deceptive labeling. Candy is fat-free. (What about calorie-free?) Ice cream is low-fat (but not no-fat), pork has no carbs (but plenty of cholesterol), and potato chips are baked (but still starchy). Could anyone really expect us to think this stuff is good for us? Or do they just wish to make the choices so difficult and confusing that we don’t know what to buy?

Generally, while the mind is confused, the stomach takes control and somehow fills the grocery cart with all-beef wieners, (all beef fat, that is) breakfast cereal (50% sugar), low-fat cheesecake (Don’t even ask.), salt-free popcorn (Butter flavor is optional), and caffeine- laden energy drinks. We are somehow brainwashed into believing we are eating well, and swearing that we will never give unhealthy foods a ride in our shopping cart.

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

We are controlled by outside marketing forces determined to fatten us up whether we need it or not. It is futile to resist. We might as well let bon-bons be bons-bons, so to speak. And since we are already overweight and outwitted, we might as well have one of those artificial chocolate, meal-to-go candy bars before passing out from hunger.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

To Do or Not To Do

to doIn my purse is a piece of paper and on it are eight things to do. Why do people make “to do” lists anyhow? Does it somehow make me feel more important to have a list of things to do? Or is it just that my memory is so bad that I will not be able to remember what to do without a “to do” list?

Every time I’ve ever been to a time management class, they have always said to keep a “to do” list so you will be sure to accomplish everything that you need to do. Not only that, but you are supposed to prioritize it with the most important items to do at the top of the “to do” list so you do them first.

Maybe “to do” lists are helpful, but they are also a pain. Once something is on my “to do” list, I have to do it whether I want to do it or not. It becomes a nagging aggravation. There is something about having things written down that makes them more compelling. It is hard to rationalize something away when it is on a list of things to do.

A while back I had a “to do” list with about twenty items on it. I could never seem to get them all done. I hated that “to do” list. It became an obsession. Somehow once it was written on my “to do” list, I had to do it, but I couldn’t do anything unless it was on the “to do” list although I had too many other things to do.

Not only could I not get everything done, the “to do” list continued to get longer and longer. Doing one thing reminded me of two other things that I needed to do. I hated getting up in the morning as I had too many things to do. The “to do” list took over my life. I was a slave to a piece of paper. This didn’t seem like the way things should work. A “to do” list was suppose to help me manage my time, not use it all up.

Finally, I came up with a brilliant idea. I would put “finish the ‘to do’ list” on my “to do” list. As silly as it seems, it worked. I wanted to mark off that item more than any of the others, so I worked feverishly for several weekends to finish the “to do” list. Finally, I came to the end. Free at last! No more “to do” list.

I’ve avoid making a “to do” list ever since. If I forget to do something that I need to do, it will just have to wait until I remember to do it. Of course, there are a lot of things that never get done that way. It is conveniently easy to forget what you really don’t want to do, like clean dresser drawers or file away old bills. After a while, these kinds of tasks start to pile up. You know you have to do them eventually, but you always seem to have better things to do.

It finally came to the point again that I had to do it — make another “to do” list. I have promised myself that I will keep it at a manageable length this time and try not to start thinking of other things to do that I can put on it. Somehow, it actually is easier not to do things when they are on the “to do” list. I can always say that it is on my “to do” list, and I will do it later.

But, wait! I’ve just thought of something else that I forgot to put on my “to do” list for tomorrow. It’s something I really have to do. I will put it on the “to do” list. What else can I do? It is more important than any of the other things I have to do.

I have places to go and things to do. But there is one thing I can mark off my “to do” list now. I have just written a blog and it is no longer something that I need to do.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Does Santa Bring Dog Gifts?

dixie christmas
Dear Santa,

I know you are in business to deliver toys to kids, not dogs. However, maybe you do not deliver to dogs because they do not write and ask. I am sure with all the reindeer that you have, you must be an animal lover. So I thought I would let you know that I am here.

I am writing you to let you know that I have been a very good dog this year. I have not done much in the way of getting things done, but I am not a work dog. I am a pet. I take my job very seriously, and I do the best job possible of taking care of my humans need for unconditional love and affection.

I suppose you may be wondering why I was barking out the window the other day and woke my human mommy up. I saw the garbage truck outside. It was my duty to protect our turf from the garbage truck. Just because human mommy was grouchy about me waking her up early is not my fault. I’m sure you understand.

It’s true spend a lot of time sleeping in case you don’t know already, but I have to rest up so I will be ready when it is time for my daily walks. I always take my human daddy for a walk when he gets home from work. He has been cooped up in an office all day and it is the least I can do regardless of whether it is cold, hot, or raining. If it wasn’t for me hopping up and down, he would probably never get any exercise.

I am such a good dog that sometimes he lets me walk without my leash on. I always walk along right beside him, at least most of the time. I ran across the street once or twice when I saw my dog friend across the street. But the car stopped in plenty of time, so what’s the big deal? Besides, a dog has to have a social life.

Now, I am going to get down to the real purpose of my letter. You know why everyone writes to you, of course, to tell you what they want for Christmas. In a word: TREATS. I really like those rawhide-free chewing bones. Peanut butter is my favorite, but if you run out, I will take chicken.

My humans give me a treat once in a while, but I would like to have a stash of my own. I am not asking for anything else at all: no silly dog sweaters, no new collar, no leash (please, no leash) and no gift cards for vet visits. My needs are very simple — treats.

When you visit on Christmas, I promise not to bark at you or eat your cookies, not even the peanut butter ones. I will just give you some warm doggy kisses and sniff your bag for treats. Remember, peanut butter, available at pet stores everywhere.

Thanks for letting me make a picture with you the other day. I didn’t have a chance to tell you what I wanted for Christmas, so I had to be sure you know. The picture was my gift to my humans. Got to keep them happy, you know. That’s my job.

You should probably get a dog of your own to help you with deliveries. Sorry, I’m already taken, but there are many dogs at the local shelters looking for homes. Maybe you could drop by and give them a few treats also.

I will look forward to seeing you at Christmas. I don’t bite, so don’t worry about that. You can scratch me behind my ears if you want, or give me a belly rub. I will be sleeping under the Christmas tree dreaming about peanut butter bones. See you on Christmas Eve.

Love,
Dixie Dog

Posted in Creatures, Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Green Stuff

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Holidays are a time steeped in tradition and a time when families gather together and enjoy favorite foods. For some families the traditional food may be turkey with special stuffing, ham with a secret glaze, or pumpkin pie. Our family too has a special food that we enjoy only at holidays. It’s called “green stuff.”

Yes, you heard me right. I said “green stuff.” It surely must have had a finer name at some point in time, but it has been so long ago that the name has been lost to posterity and only the ingredients remain. Even the recipe has grown a bit vague, at least as far as exact amounts.

I can tell you what green stuff is made from, but only a taste can really do it justice. Mix a bag of melted marshmallows, two packages of cream cheese, two packages of dry green jello, a can of crushed pineapple, and a pint of whipped cream. Presuming you didn’t blow up the microwave melting the marshmallows, you have made green stuff!

Even though the name faded into oblivion, the green stuff continues to be served at Thanksgiving and Christmas year after year. There are other similar recipes, but this one is especially rich and sweet. Our family cannot be fooled by imitations. We eat a small amount of it along with the meal, just like cranberry sauce.

The tradition started with my mother-in-law who always used to make the dish on holidays. Of course, my husband wanted “green stuff” when we began to prepare our own holiday meals. And so the recipe was passed along with verbal instructions on how to prepare it so that it comes out light and fluffy — not that anyone could make it like she did.

At one time we made both “green stuff” and “pink stuff.” The pink stuff was exactly like green stuff except it was made with strawberry jello and nuts were added. Eventually, though, the green became such a favorite and the pink was so neglected that we dropped it completely so we didn’t have to feel guilty for not eating it.

We have begun to think that perhaps “green stuff ” is actually the correct name. People seem to instinctively call it that. Whenever I prepare the dish for guests or for a potluck dinner, someone will invariable ask, “What’s the green stuff?” Imagine their surprise when I reply, “That’s it. It’s called ‘green stuff’.”

For our family a holiday isn’t a holiday without it. Whenever my son calls to wrangle a dinner invitation for the holidays, he always asks, “Are you making the green stuff?” Naturally, I am. We can change almost any other part of the meal, but we have to have the green stuff.

The tradition has passed on to the next generation. My daughters always say no one can make it as good as I can. Of course, that is just a ploy because it is a pain to make. It seems impossible to prepare without making a sticky mess and dirtying up half the bowls in the kitchen.

This year when we planned the holiday menu, green stuff was not mentioned. I
thought maybe everyone was tired of it and we would just skip it this year. Then I received a panic call work from my daughter. “We forgot about the green stuff! What do I need to buy to make it?” And so it continues.

While I was up to my elbows wrestling melted marshmallow and whipping cream
in my kitchen the other day, my grandson walked into the kitchen. He looked at what I was doing and asked, “Hey, grandma, what’s the green stuff?”

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
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