reflecting on 2011 through time sheets, early spring menu, & college towns

Today’s been a bit of a drag. We are in recess, so it’s important to find ways to keep busy or you’ll go into a coma. Due to Eric’s medical melodrama, I had some timesheet issues dating back from a month ago when my old leave turned into a pumpkin and my new leave began. The turnover occurred the day of Eric’s treatment, and I took a half day off the next day, so the prospect of documenting it correctly sort of blew my mind, especially since I mess these up even when they’re easy. Luckily HR helped me untangle it and so I spent the morning bringing the rest up to date. So far in 2011 I’ve taken off two hours to get my hair frosted, two hours to have happy hour with my brother-in-law, and two hours to have cramps/cry. The good times (66.7%) are outnumbering the bad times (33.3%) so we’re going to have to call that a win. Now I have a few minutes till quitting time, and it makes sense to talk about food.

Friday felt like early summer so we tipped a few glasses with our neighbors on a variety of front porches, but Sunday was back to March as usual. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to eat based on the weather alone (sunny with a chill) and for some reason I knew the answer was going to involve a lot of mustard, which I’d just had the night before at some friends’ house with sausage, corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. I don’t know what it is about mustard, but it just wakes food up. I also started getting a little homesick for that staple of New Southern cuisine, the ubiquitous black-eyed pea cake. Sure I had enough of them at Mr. Friendlys etc in the 90s that you’d think I’d never want one again. NOT TRUE. I’m pretty sure I haven’t eaten one in ten years and though they are not the most exciting thing in the world, it seemed like the right way to go.

Here’s what we ended up with:

fried catfish filets marinated in mustard and thyme (funny, they have a chicken breast done that way on the current Mr. Friendly’s menu)

black-eyed pea cakes (I combined 1 package thawed frozen peas with the following in a food processor: 1 clove garlic, about 3/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 cup grated carrot, 1 bell pepper minced, 1/4 c cream, salt and pepper to taste, a few squirts of chili sauce. Then stirred in a beaten egg, and then a few TBS of flour till it held together, and then fried in bacon grease)

coleslaw (dressing = 3/4 c apple cider vinegar + sugar, dry mustard, celery seed, and salt and pepper to taste. I poured that over the veggies and stirred in a little salad oil and buttermilk whisked together)

Comeback Sauce. I had not heard of this but apparently it’s hot in Mississippi, and reminded a little bit of another Columbia institution the Formula 45 sauce at Groucho’s, minus the dill. I’m using the leftovers as a sandwich dip sometime soon.

With all this talk of Columbia, I’m actually homesick for the first time in 10 years. Currently trying to convince Eric that the drunkeness/fried mushrooms are worth the trip…

Other things I miss:
Blue Cactus
Guided By Voices at the Elbow Room
Trustus Theater
Hunter Gatherer ESB
Adrianas (though I heard somewhere this was closed! Along with Happy Bookseller and some other late greats. Oh well)
Papa Jazz
The Broad, the Saluda, and the Congaree

my little brother and I swam through these murky waters, don’t ask why

Motor Supply Company and other pretentious Vista delights
Karaoke where people aren’t trying to get a record contract
Adluh Flour

The State Fair, and all the glorious carnage it wreaks: 

as good a place to get stabbed as any

Basil Pot (just kidding! I worked there for 24 hours. HATE)
Richland County Public Library
Cromers Boiled Peanuts (“guaranteed worst in town”)

Botanical Garden
Maurice’s Racist Barbeque
And sure, Yesterdays
Last but not least Leeza Gibbons!

All right, enough nostalgia for today. I have mental preparations to make. Tonight I signed up for an hour long spin class and will probably barf before it’s all said and done. What was I thinking? Despite the way thinking about all these places makes me feel, I AM NOT 25 years old. It would be fun to go to Cola and pretend for a while though.

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