Pour Me Some Wine

Photo by Piotr Makowski on Unsplash

Pour me some wine, but leave the bottle close by; I’ll need a refill shortly. Do y’all feel as tired as I do? I’m exhausted from trying to keep my family safe and healthy. I’m worn out fighting for masks in my son’s school in front of a school board that is determined to do nothing. I’m weakened by the thought of exposing my mother, who is hitting a milestone birthday this year, to COVID-19. I’m bone-weary of hearing the anti-vax and anti-mask crowd spew their misinformation and conspiracy theories. I’m wasted, thoroughly wasted, over a virus that has managed to do what racism, classism, ageism, colonialism, sexual prejudice, and homophobia have strived for over and over but never achieved, aside from the Civil War (and the nationalists who will swear it wasn’t about slavery at all, but states’ rights): fractured our nation.

Gently pick up that bottle and slowly pour a bit more cool, crisp vino for me. I am worn out. I don’t understand a nation that will put a seatbelt on or step outside a restaurant to smoke, but who not only adamantly refuses to put a protective barrier between their germs and the general public, but feels as if doing so is a violation of their God-given right. (And that they think you should only believe in their version of God, too).

Maybe just one more glass and I can relax enough to drift in a soft cloud of escape from a reality where we’re living the worst and most fatal massacre of Americans in history save the Civil War (750K) and the thirty year span of the AIDS epidemic (700K) while rapidly approaching the total deaths of the 1918 “Spanish” Flu (675K), oh yes, only 25K more to catch up to that number. With these aggressive variants we’ll surpass that last pandemic in no time.

What the hell, just fill my glass again. I need liquid courage to look at the number of new, active coronavirus cases in my son’s school. Some pot-valor to face the facts, and chase off the melancholia of knowing my mother will need to continue isolating in her home outside of a small town, secluded yet safe. It’s draining to her mental wellbeing, but a living and depressed parent is better than a dead one, can I get an amen?

There’s no returning to “normal,” at this point. We’ll have to build on what we’ve learned, and what some ignore. The days of joyfully dancing amid a close group at a club, sweaty bodies leaning on one another, hands snaking around waists, feeling the bass and drums like a primal heartbeat while we throw back our heads and laugh through the exhilarating thrum of it all, or standing preternaturally still, enraptured by a captivating voice raised in song in a crowded concert hall, with nary a thought of contagion are long gone. That ship has sailed, along with my last drops of wine. The world’s gone fuzzy, and my physical self has softened, but alas, my mind is clear and the point is driven home: decampment does not come with decanting. However reluctantly, we will all end up facing this issue in time, and eventually will craft our new normal. We will plow ahead, and hope that medicine outpaces the unwillingness to aid others, that treatment will improve, and perhaps a cure may be discovered, and we can move past the selfishness that leads some to decry any sort of safeguards as an infringement of their freedom. I need more wine.

Categories: COVID-19, Uncategorized, Wine | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hot Weather Cooking

After the horrendous winter storm this year, you’d think Central Texas would be happy about warm weather. Don’t get me wrong, when it was below freezing in my living room because the criminally inefficient* ERCOT was unable to sustain power in the state, I was longing for hot weather, too. Now the highs are hovering close to triple digits and everyone is melting, but guess what? We are okay. We will complain, because it is rough, people, rough. I touched the metal at the top of my driver’s side window inside my car yesterday and almost burned my finger (with my a/c on, of course). I have an outdoor thermometer on my partly shaded back porch and it’s been tracking triple digit heat off my concrete this week.

Extreme heat is what Texans are built for, otherwise how would we have the stamina to stand watch over a pit, slowly turning a tough cut of beef into a meal that leaves you dreaming of your next bite of brisket? Texas BBQ is legendary, just like our weather. Festival season is the nicest, with brilliantly blue skies, white puffy clouds and temps that stay in the 80’s at the highest. That’s when all the visitors fall in love with our city and decide to make the move here permanently. But this time of year and the next few months are why I’ve purchased a misting system for my back porch. I like to sit out there in the early morning and late evening, when it’s warm but not sweltering. Misters make it so much more comfortable.

This is the time of year that I cook in ways that won’t heat up my house. I plan my favorite Instant Pot meals such as chili chicken verde and roast beef with veggies. I also plan for outdoor cooking on my Orion Cooker or our BBQ grill. I absolutely love to use the Orion for ribs and chicken or turkey as the combination of steam/smoke/convection makes for a quick cook. Up to three racks of ribs take an hour and fifteen minutes, while chicken cooks at 7 minutes per pound. Y’all know I throw steaks, burgers, hot dogs, stuffed jalapenos, fish, shrimp, portobellos and pretty much anything that can’t crawl away from me on the BBQ grill. So easy, so delicious. What are your favorite cooking methods that don’t raise the heat in your kitchen?

*At least 151 people died as a result of the winter storm, says Texas Health & Human Services Commission, Division of State Health Services.

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Hot ‘Cue, Hot Rods, Haute Whiskey

Photo credit: Treaty Oak Distilling

Memorial Day weekend is almost here, and for all you folks out there jonesing to get out and do something, have I got news for you! Treaty Oak Distilling and Smoke + Mash are throwing a shindig that combines three of my very favorite things: smoked meats, delicious libations, and hot rods.

On May 29th Treaty Oak Distilling Ranch is hosting an all-day BBQ expo featuring delicious offerings from ranch resident Alice’s Restaurant, six-time World Barbecue Champion pitmaster Tuffy “The Professor” Stone, third-generation North Carolina pitmaster Sam Jones , and award winning pitmaster Moe Cason. Each vendor is offering a tasting plate of excellent ‘cue that showcases their particular style and flavor profile.

Guests may purchase $5 tickets (one ticket per tasting plate of barbecue), and enjoy drinks from the bar in Alice’s Restaurant while listening to live music by the Hot Texas Swing Band, Night Cap, and Deezie Brown. The event benefits Southern Smoke, a nonprofit that provides emergency relief for people in the food and beverage community, and Tate Farms in Rockwall, Texas. Southern Smoke distributed more than $6 million dollars to 2,744 service industry people during the March 2020 – March 2021 portion of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the nonprofit has supported people and industry organizations with upwards of $8 million in donations. Tate Farms is a fourth-generation ranch whose event barn was destroyed in an April fire. Tate Farms has been raising Hereford cattle for over 50 years, selling their grass-fed and finished beef to the public.

During this event, Treaty Oak Distilling launches their new, limited-edition Red, White & Blue Single Barrel Whiskey. Whiskey connoisseurs, the Red, White & Blue will be available all day for purchase, and through July 4th or until all 210 bottles have sold. Don’t sleep on this one, or you’ll miss out. The whiskey is a three-year old Texas bourbon that was barrelled in March 2018. Bottled at 123.5 proof, Red, White & Blue Single Barrel is made with heirloom Bloody Butcher corn, white corn and Hopi blue corn, delighting the palate with roasted caramel, cinnamon and raisin flavor on the nose, smoothing out to a spicy earthiness. For each bottle sold, Treaty Oak will donate $5 to USA Cares, a national non-profit providing post-9/11 veterans and their families with emergency financial assistance.

Photo credit: Treaty Oak Distilling

Austin Speed Shop’s hot rod car show starts at 2pm. Anyone familiar with Austin Speed Shop knows they produce the most stylish customized cars around. This show will have a mix of cars, both completely customized, as well as ones preserved true to their time period. Expect plenty of circling around a car to take in every meticulous detail, and selfie opps, of course.

Photo credit: Treaty Oak Distilling

The weather should be beautiful, after our mid-month rains, and this is the perfect occasion to enjoy stellar smoked meats and liquor crafted from heirloom grains. Come eat, sip, enjoy, relax and appreciate, knowing that your good time will positively affect change in the lives of others.

  • Location: Treaty Oak Distilling Ranch, 16604 Fitzhugh Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620.
  • Time: Treaty Oak Smoke + Mash runs noon – close, with the car show beginning at 2pm.
  • Tickets: Free entry to Treaty Oak Ranch, $5 per BBQ sample plate, tickets available for purchase onsite. Cash bar for drinks.
Categories: Barbecue, Benefit, Food Event, Liquor, Meat, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hot ‘Cue, Hot Rods, Haute Whiskey