Open Thread

This Open Thread Is Bringing You Some White Trash Cooking

Kittens – it’s Tuesday night, and methinks I should introduce you to one of my favorite recipes. 

Everyone has the something-special type of recipe, the one that brings back a heavy wave of nostalgia and a little bit of that yearning for home.

White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler
Ernest Matthew Mickler’s “White Trash Cooking”, my go-to Sunday recipe book.

Of course, those recipes are different for each one of us, but nevertheless, live on in our hearts as points of pride, points of sincerity, and above all, points of deliciousness.  Which brings me to the introduction of one of my favorite cookbooks from when I was a wee tot: White Trash Cooking. One of my most favorite cookbooks in the world, it covers everything from kitchen sink tomato sammiches (yes, sammiches) to proper food for foot washings, baptisms, and funerals, to one of the recipes that lights up my life – Aunt Donna’s Roast Possum. Now before you say anything, I suggest you try the possum before you get all judgy up on a perfectly delightful recipe. I have even so politely included the recipe for you below.


Aunt Donna’s Roast Possum

For this recipe, you need one onion, one tablespoon of fat, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs… and don’t forget the possum! Mickler writes: “There’s only one thing to serve possum with – sweet potatoes. You only eat possum in the winter.” Of course.

“There’s white trash then there’s White Trash. Common white trash has very little in the way of pride… Where I come from in North Florida you never failed to say ‘yes ma’m’ or ‘no sir.'” (“White Trash Cooking”)

We all seem to have that one recipe that makes people jump, hoot, and holler, one that while it exists in a perfect divine place in our heads, may cause others to well… side-eye. So my little possum pockets: what are some of your favorite recipes that you are so happy to share with us on this Tuesday night? Tell us all your cooking secrets of recipes that go beyond the pale.

44 replies on “This Open Thread Is Bringing You Some White Trash Cooking”

I encountered someone today (yay facebook!) who doubted that sexism and racism exist in the workplace and another person who said that equality in the workplace would be great but the reality is that not everyone works equally. To which I think I nearly had an aneurysm. I tried pointing out that sexism and racism are both in the workplace and neither would listen to me and one of them was downright rude and condescending, and I finally just stepped back and walked away.

I don’t even understand these kinds of people.

Oh man, about the phrase “white trash” … I remember when I was reading Huckleberry Finn in high school, my teacher (who was Irish-American and Boston-born-and-bred, btw) used to refer to Huck as white trash All. The. Time. It wasn’t until I told my dad about this (who is part-Irish too, but from more rural New England stock) and he reacted almost if I had said the n-word, that I started to wonder about my teacher’s choice of words — and if the phrase was really as innocuous as it seemed. It was also a good lesson in how words really can mean different things to different people.

*Full disclosure: I’m actually biracial, which might color (no pun intended) my perception of things a little.

I am a firm believer that a good percentage of the folks who get upset at white trash, view it as the “white version” of the n-word (spoiler alert-no) or at least something very similar.Where I’m from in the south, it was something that was lobbed at me and my family, always negatively (and always by other white people) but its also something I’ve taken pride in, because its funny. Its funny that it was used as a “separation” between good, proper whites (whatever the fuck that is) and the “other” whites, aka, poor white folks, white women, or “ethnic” whites ( disclosure, i hate that term, but basically anyone who immigrated to the south from poland, greece, anyone white passing etc.) I brought it up the other day to a few of the editors and it was brought to my attention that one reason why folks dont like it is because it implies that everyone else is trash, and that white trash is specialized, which i had never heard before – It had always been presented to me as something whites did to further separate themselves.

At the end of the day, I have a hard time feeling slighted by it because i have white privilege. I think everyone may have a different experience with it, but personally, im kind of tickled by it and take a bit of pride in it (not in the white part) but more by the idea that it represents a hard scrabble, specific southern experience to me, which is all about hustling to a certain extent. plus hard drinking. and possum eating. both of which i may be familiar with.

My Yankee husband revolts if I I so much as joke about making any of the really cheap-ass recipes my mom used to make. It sucks, because they’re tasty! Spaghetti casserole with Campbell’s tomato soup, ground beef, and Velveeta. Weenies and seashells, which is shell pasta, more tomato soup, and hot dogs. If I could get Wolf brand chili up here I’d make the shit out of some Frito chili pie. And Jimmy Dean sausage crumbled up with white rice is fucking awesome.

I don’t have a bizarre recipe, but I do have a dilemma….kind of. Maybe it’s just me over reacting. Which is why I’m reaching out to (hopefully) more rational minds than mine :)

It seems I have tachycardia. I didn’t even know that was a thing outside of some sort of cardiac distress. I always thought a resting heart rate in the high 90’s/100 was my normal, kind of like some people have higher or lower normal body temps. Here’s the story in brief: 2 weeks ago I was at an allergist appt. when the nurse noted my pulse was 110. She asked me if I felt ok. I told her that’s the way it always is (I’m an essential hypertensive and my bp cuff also measures my pulse, so I have inadvertently been checking my pulse for years). She asked me if I was having chest pains, was nervous, or if I felt “weird”. I said “Nope, this is me chill. My pulse always feels like this”. She said “That’s not right”. My mother was a nurse for over 40 years and working on her Phd in nursing when she retired, and she would whoop my ass but good if I disregarded a nurses hunch. So I made an appointment to see my regular doctor and in the meantime start logging my resting heart rate.

My resting heart rate ranged from 97 to 142 over the week before I saw my doc. Now, I have to say I LOVE my Dr. and absolutely trust her. She was very concerned about my heart rate and wanted me to see a Cardiologist ASAP. She said she would even call in a few favors to get me into an awesome Cardiologist as soon as possible and she wanted and echo and an event monitor.

The next week I went into see the Cardiologist. The nurse did an ECG that showed my pulse as 127. The Cardiologist came in and said “You do seem to be tachycardic, but we’ll have to see”. I asked him what he meant. He said my heart rate was up because I was nervous. I told him I had been sitting for over an hour playing solitaire on my phone and was pretty relaxed, and he “hmmm”ed me. The he told me I needed more regular exercise because regular aerobics bring down your heart rate. Now, I am carrying a bit more weight than I have in the past, and I don’t pound the pavement like I used to, but I am very active. Also, I *used* to be a gym rat – 2 hours, 5 days a week (the Y by me offers free child watch for 2 hours…can’t beat it) plus kickboxing in the evenings. I was never “skinny” but I was in great condition. And, during that time my resting heart rate was NEVER below the high 90’s. I explained all that to him and told him that, while I agreed I needed more regimented exercise and would get right on it, I did not believe that it would significantly reduce my resting heart rate.

He was very polite about it – but… he FLAT REFUSED to believe me, or even acknowledge what I was saying might *have been* true. He went so far as to tell me I should be terrified of developing diabetes. ( I’m 5’6″ and weigh 190, I wear size 16 jeans). He then told me that it was important to stay hydrated and I told him that is NOT a problem. I have a 32 oz. mug that I refill with water at least 2-3 times and day and a 32 oz. water bottle I carry with me always, everywhere. He said “Yeah, a lot of people *think* they are drinking more water than they actually are, but aren’t really getting enough, so I want you to track that along with your BP and pulse”. I asked about the testing my regular doc asked for and he said he’d see me back in 4-5 weeks for some tests but if we had to push it back to 6 that wouldn’t be a problem. I asked him what we were doing in the mean time he said “We might have to put you on medication eventually, you seem tachycardic, but you exercise and drink your water and we’ll see how your doing in a month or so…” and walked out of the room. I left feeling like “That’s it?!?!?”

I’ve gotten the “hysterical woman” and the “neurotic mother” treatment so I know how to handle to those, but did I just get the “fat person lying” treatment? Or, is this a normal conservative route for a cardiologist to take? It just really pisses me off that he didn’t believe me when I said regular exercise did nothing to lower my hear rate. Am I over reacting?

I would suggest getting a second opinion. On one hand, you said he’s an awesome cardiologist so he probably knows what he’s doing and didn’t see an immediate need for extensive testing. On the other hand, he comes off as a giant douche. Getting a second opinion couldn’t hurt. My doctor tends to go the other way with testing–she always orders a shit load of them, to the point where I don’t even go to most of them (mainly due to work/money constraints but also, jeez calm down with the referrals, lady).

In any case, I hope everything checks out ok!

Doesn’t matter if he’s the best damn cardiologist in the world, it is entirely possible he looked at you, saw “fat,” and decided to shove you in the box of things that fat people obviously do.

I think you should definitely see someone else about it, who doesn’t try to implicitly fat-shame you (OMG DIABETES SCAAAARE).

I’m throwing in with the 2nd opinion suggestion, too. I have found a number of doctors will pay attention to a few symptoms, put you in a diagnosis “box”, if you will, and ignore anything that doesn’t fit that diagnosis. He may well be an awesome cardiologist, but if he is also a dick that doesn’t fucking listen to you, he’s not going to do you any good.

I know it sounds silly, but trying doing a Yelp search of cardiologists in your area. A large number of people post pretty helpful reviews. Your doctor might esteem him because of his work, but regular people will give you the actually dirt on them. I have found them to be useful.

Best of luck to you!

OMG THE DIABEEETUS. Yes, diabetes can be serious, but he’s a cardiologist, not an endocrinologist, and was he basing that assertion on any bloodwork? I’m guessing not.

Yes, some doctors are conservative with treatment and medication (and rightly so); some doctors like to ‘wait and see’ or repeat testing (like blood pressure) that can vary a lot from day to day. But given that your primary care doc took you seriously and this guy didn’t, I would try to get a second opinion if you can.

I get weird side-eyes from my UK friends when I mention my favorite winter comfort food meal is tomato bisque soup and grilled cheese. For some reason they find it a strange combo.

My retort is always that they eat baked beans for breakfast and that’s just weird to me.

Sometimes I think I might have known you earlier in my life… I also love the phrase “possum pockets”- because they’re marsupials! It could be like a possum HotPocket, or an actual possum pocket! *stolen*

My go-to what-the-hell recipe for Sunday mornings is a bagel and veggie cream cheese smothered in barbecue sauce. It is one of my favorite things and it used to actually make my college roommate sick on occasion (although it might have also been caused by happenings from the night before).

My everytime favorite comfort food is just plain hamburger rice. Take any kind of ground meat, brown it in a deep frypan, throw in suitable amounts of uncooked rice and water in the same pan so it soaks up all the fat from the meat, and in the last 10 minutes put in half a bag of frozen peas. My mom would always make it when my dad wasn’t home, and I still make it today when I want a mental mom-hug. There are few things more perfect to me.

I tend to get a side eye when I mention a baked bean and hamburger combo I usually just call burger beans. You fry up the burger, mix it with baked beans, and add ketchup, mustard and brown sugar to taste. It’s fucking divine, and once people get past snobby snubbing and try it, they love it.

A common dinner in my part of New England is baked beans, cut up hot dogs, applesauce, and cheddar cheese all the same bowl, served with a side of good brown bread from the can. Yes- bread from a can. It is amazing. I will never side-eye your burger beans.

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