Y'all know Mama by now. She's independent. Strong-willed. A do-er. She works her garden (those were last year's tomatoes she grew), tends a hot house full of container plants, shoots hateful armadillos and opossums, loves to fish as long as it's not in a boat, cooks for her family, loves her family, and is faithful to an Almighty that loves the both of us, despite ourselves. She's not my best friend but is this daughter's best sounding-board, never failing to call a bad idea out or applying a generous slathering of encouragement when needed. She's a champion of children's education and continues to be an example for education, reading constantly to enlarge the database that occupies the space of her mind.
She was diagnosed last month with colon cancer. It's kind of a long story (which I'm good at but not here). To make it short, her rheumatologist didn't like something in her bloodwork; pernicious anemia was found: local gp sent her to gastroenterologist; a half-dozen tests were done including biopsy of ulcer in the cecum which revealed a spot of cancer, larger than a nickel but smaller than a quarter. Eighteen inches of colon was removed in a laparascopic colon resection BUT her heart rate began going up afterwards. The doctors are going to argue with me (and have) but the more Mama hit the morphine button the more her heart rate went up. That's alright though. Mama's day nurse called in a staff internist who called in a cardiologist. Mama's great grandson, John Thomas, sent along Luigi to keep her company in the hospital while the doctors were conferring and continuing more tests.
The tests showed that Mama has aortic valve stenosis. Or aortic stenosis, depending upon which web site you visit. It can be corrected with surgery BUT since Mama has brittle bones (she had negative bone porosity for years and barely registers positive on the bone density scale) she'll have to have a less invasive surgery. The whole family, plus cardiologist, is looking for a surgeon in the very local Deep South that can perform it. I've been on the road a good bit. And in and out of her house even more. A brother and then a cousin came to stay with her but she's ready to stay by herself. The heart condition is not imminently fatal. She lives her faith; it doesn't matter what the heart condition is she doesn't want anybody staying with her, messing up her routine. She doesn't function at 100 % Perlena when her routine is messed up.
I understand completely. I'm all out of sorts when my routine is botched too. So.
I don't have to go tend the chickens for her or cut them greenery because every one is gone from Mama's house but her and she's more than capable of feeding her hennies, gathering eggs, and shutting the hen house door herself.
Which has left me to do my own thang today for the first time in weeks and weeks: laundry, cleaning house, making cakes, and catching up on foodie friends' posts! I don't know about y'all, but I tend to see what's happening in the South first and then branch out east and west and north. This afternoon I only got as far as Florida and my friend, Jackie. The link from her Facebook blog fan page to the Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch (http://bloomingdale.patch.com/articles/fixin-to-fix-the-fixins) had me smiling from the beginning. And then I saw something I didn't recognize: a number that I knew couldn't be telephone information in a food post: 4 - 1 - 1. It was highlighted. A link: http://syrupandbiscuits.com/4-1-1-seasoning/ !!!
Ohhhh deliciousness! It's all of my favorites in just the right proportions. I don't know why I didn't think of it but there it was, everything necessary for a quick shake of flavoring: kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. The ratio of salt to the 'nother ingredients is 4 to 1. That's four parts salt to one part pepper and one part garlic powder.
I knew I had to make it. Immediately. While still putting cakes together.
I had almost all of the measuring cups out so it was no problem to pull out three more:
I dumped the cup of salt and the quarter cups of black pepper and garlic powder in the mason jar.
And shook it all up! Tadadaaaaaa!!!! It was just that easy.
I thought I had a bag of okra in the bottom of the refrigerator but it was bell peppers from the same cousin that sent along the pears a couple of weeks ago. I had wanted to make Jackie's roasted okra. Not happening tonight. The peppers were diced coarsely, along with a bit of sweet onion, drizzled with olive oil and given a good sprinkling of freshly made 4-1-1 seasoning. I baked them along with the last cake (a VERY interesting combination of smells: chocolate and bell pepper) and Beaudeux and I had them with left over chicken from the Pig.
OOOoooooo... and you know what else? That's Jackie's Sweet Tea Sangria, too!
The ingredients to 4 - 1 - 1 seasoning are:
I used one cup and one-fourth cup increments but make as much or as little as you'd like.
And because I really am warped that way, here's a fun little pic entitled "Luigi's revenge."