Christmas Cookies of Yesteryear – 1959 (Coconut Date Balls)

December 4, 2020 Leave a comment

The cookies from this series are attributed to the date the cookie was published in a cookbook, but have been made much earlier. Take for example the Danish Sugar Cookies I posted. The date listed for this is 1969 but I found the same recipe in a 1959 cookbook. It doesn’t mean that cookie was ever popular or popular for that length of time, though it is for certain regions of the country. The cookie I am writing about today is one that screams of the 60s and 70s to me. Having dates and pecans in cookies appear to have been more prevalent back then, but without a proper analysis I can only guess from memory and my memory really doesn’t go back to the 60s.

As a child, visiting relative and being at holiday parties you would see similar cookies to this. They generally had dates or another similar fruit. As I got older, these style of cookies faded away as cookies like peanut butter blossoms took over. If you visit a wedding cookie table or some Christmas carry-in you will not find the coconut date ball but you see plenty of chocolate chips cookies. Our tastes have changed over the years as we move to sweeter cookies.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 lb pitted dates cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 3 C crisp rice cereal
  • 3 C flaked coconut


  1. Beat the eggs well. Add the sugar and dates to the eggs.
  2. Pour this mixture into a sauce pan.
  3. Heat thoroughly at a medium heat. Turn to a low heat and cook 10 minutes; stirring constantly
  4. Cool slightly. Add pecans and rice cereal.
  5. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in coconut.
  6. Refrigerate. Makes about 8 dozen

NOTES: The one key thing to do with this is stir unless you want scrambled eggs, an obvious thing to do. I’ll be honest, I won’t be making this even though I have developed a taste for dates in recent years. If you enjoy dates and pecans give it a whirl. This is a very easy cookie to make. I guess you can substitute the sugar with coconut sugar or monk sugar and the dates are said to have a low glycemic index.

There Are Four Groups Of People

In my years of observing people, I have been able to break down people into four groups. Now these four groups are related to a topic and then you have your general group where the person tends to be one of the four. These four groups are the Ideologue, Opportunist, Idealist, and Realist.

Ideologues are people who believe in an ideology of some type. This type of individual is sold on their chosen ideology whether or not it works. In fact, they will ignore the fact it is a failure such as this example taken from a Twitter post, “Think of socialism like a fancy baked good. Just because many have made a mess of their kitchen attempting it, doesn’t mean you go around declaring you’ll never eat soufflé again! It just means you try harder.” This logic is the type where the person keeps banging their head against the wall. In general, ideologues are not the doers of the ideology. They are the voice or schemer at best. For an ideologue, it is always about the ideology and nothing else. If you’re an idealist know that you do not matter as the ideology is the most important thing. Now there are variations that I’ll talk about.

The two subsets of ideologues are the passive and the active. Passive are the types that have the idea and push it but never do any leg work for it. They rely on the idealist group. The active type are those who will engage in aggressive actions that is rather violent. You especially see this when the ideology has been emplaced. Now the ideologue has to remove all threats and that is other ideologues or perceived threats to the ideology. Stalin is a prime example. He wasn’t some psycho or sociopath that enjoyed murdering. He was a true believer in the ideology and sought to protect the ideology from threats he saw. When the ideologue is on top they now only see their vision as the only correct way and they must remain in power in order for it to work as others will do it wrong or implement their own flawed version. They happily will kill off the passive ideologues as well as their fellow active ideologues when the need to.

The opportunist is the person that seeks to profit whether it is power, wealth, or some material good. They are like parasites to an ideology as the will happily adopt the ideology in order to gain what they seek. The ideology has no meaning or value to them other than to secure what they want. The mimic ideologues but are far from it. That politician you voted for is the opportunist and that is why your country sucks in terms of leadership. Biden supporter? You voted for an opportunist. Trump supporter? Opportunist. Opportunists are not necessarily politicians but is anyone seeking an advantage of some type that helps them. An opportunist can be anti-gun, pro-gun, pro-abortion, or even pro-HOA (homeowners association).

The subsets of the opportunist are the go-getters and the self-seekers for a lack of better defined terms. The first group are your politicians, CEOs, members of your HOA, or that local pain in the rear neighbor that sticks their nose in your business. Now the HOA person can also be a self-seeker where they feel the need for control over someone. The second group are those who are just looking the wealth or material good and not noteriety that you see with politicians. They will use people for their advantage, and they tend to think they can be big players in the world but oftentimes lack the ruthlessness needed to be the go-getter.

With the opportunist, they love ideologies as that is a pathway to their desires. You will see them attach to an ideology, again see your politician, in order to gain what they want. Once they have what they want the ideology is dropped unless they make the mistake of tying themselves to the ideology where they can’t break away as they lose what they gained.

Now we have the idealist. These are the gullible ones, they pawns of ideologues and at times the opportunist. The idealist will buy into the ideologues ideology and provide the power to the ideologue’s idea, and this is why opportunists love them. They, too, use the idealist for their purpose. Look at the real world right now with the abortion issue, the Covid-19 vaccine issue, or just about any issue you can think of. The happily suck in the propaganda and only seek that which confirms their idealistic views. See the woke community for a perfect example where they cancel out any other thought, idea, or dialogue. You are not allowed to think independently. Idealists represent the majority of the four groups and are the most naive. Reality, truth, and facts are obscurred by their ideological fervor.

There are two subsets of this group. You have the passive and the aggressive. The passive are never violent and happily recite the mantra of the ideology without ever thinking. The worst they do is shun you or mock you. This group would turn you into the government in a heartbeat thinking they were doing mankind a service and you a service. The next is the aggressive group that use violence to push the ideology. Again, look at the abortion issue today or even gay marriage or Black Lives Matter or yes, even the January 6 movement. These are the worst and the first to be eliminated by the active ideologues and opportunists when they are no longer needed. Examples of this are found in Soviet Russia and even Nazi Germany when Hitler eliminated the Brown Shirts. If you’re an idealist know that your time is limited.

The final group are the realists and the fewest. They see things for what they are. They are also the most hated as they threaten the success of an ideolgoues ideology. By seeing what is real and correct they are tageted by the idealists in order to silence them. You often see the veiled orders by people such, again your politicians, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex, Trump, Maxine Waters, and so on. Read between the lines and you see the marching orders to attack realists. Realists are seeing the world as it is and say so. This doesn’t mean realists are always correct, but they are weighing everything and actually thinking independently. Some realists are the banned scientist and doctors that disagree with Covid-19 and the vaccine or scientists shoved aside in physics over string theory and the traditional views of physics and even climate change. They don’t accept things at face value. They question everything as we all should. Again, sometimes they are wrong.

Here is where the complicated element of this comes into play. You can be an idealist with politics but a realist with best practices of gardening or you can be an ideologue on the type of government you want and an opportunist with your work. As I stated at the beginning, this depends on the topic. I know people who are realistic in one area, idealist in another, an opportunist in yet another area while be an ideologue for political reasons. People tend to be more of one than the others. Though you exhibit all four, it could be that you are mostly an idealist with all of the topics. My neighbor is one example. He’s an idealist through and through. The poor guy believes anything and everything that enhances his idealism. He’s a good person but wants to believe in his view of life. His wife is a strong opportunist with a hint of ideologue and actually controls his thinking.

Can you be multiple groups on the same topic? In general I say no, but opportunists can begin to change, I believe. If an opportunist adopts an ideology for gain they could come to accept the ideology over time and become an ideologue. This leads me to wonder if they are an opportunist anymore. Are feminists truly ideologues or are they opportunists who use the ideology of feminism and then transform to an ideologue? What about the woke crowd? Part of me says the opportunist remains an opportunist or they transform to a new group and drop the old. It could be what I see as a possible multiple groups on the same ideology is just a person who is using the ideology differently or broken it into separate pieces that are actually unrelated to each other and the original ideology. What about realists? Can they become idealists and realists? It is possible but at that point the realist in them stops critically thinking and changes. When you begin to exhibit a new group on a specified ideology it may simply be that you have morphed into the new group or you have broken down the ideology into separate sections unrelated to the original ideology and to the outsider they can’t see this.

Renouncing Citizenship

I see that Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong is renouncing his American citizenship over the Supreme Court ruling concerning Roe v. Wade. This childish antic gave me a chuckle. How can you take this seriously. “I don’t get my way, so I’m taking my ball and going home!” These are the childish actions we all have done as children and not adults.

If there is one thing I am certain is that Billie doesn’t have the foggiest about abortion other than the selfish act of removing an “inconvenience”. In my years of observing discussion about pro-choice versus pro-life, I have yet to see a valid pro-choice reason without it being crushed by a pro-life reason. What I don’t see are the people admitting they are for abortion in order to remove a “mistake” and “something” that will inconvenience their future. No, just murder the unborn child for my selfish reasons. Instead, they throw out the obscene excuses and blame Catholics. In fact, you find many people calling an unborn human a parasite. Why? To dehumanize it that is why. No different than during times of war nations will dehumanize their opponent or in terms of slavery you dehumanize the slave. Good way to justify your actions, I guess.

For Catholics, you can’t be anything but pro-life. In fact, if your Christian you really can’t be pro-life. No need to discuss the theology of this as many people want their cake and be able to eat it, too. And I should include most commenters have no clue the theological background to it. Then there are those who look at the fetus and see human life. If you ever attended one of the Bodies exhibit tours then you will understand what these people believe. If you think the question is about when life begins then you’re wrong. This is just another gotcha.

Now the arguments I have seen by pro-choice people have been countered every time and yet, the pro-choicer never comprehends what is being stated whereas many if not most pro-lifers do discuss the pro-choice reasons. Pro-choicers are typically beyond understanding the other side, the pro-choice people. This action is not uncommon in all areas of what could be debated in society, so this is normal. Instead, you get hateful rhetoric and childish antics with a lot of curse words from the pro-choicers. When a pro-choicer realizes they can’t win they quit the argument. They are taking their ball and going home.

I have my views on abortion and feel very strongly about them. My views have evolved over time as I became more educated and thoughtful on the subject. In college, we debated this subject and quite often the pro-abortion people supported it for selfish reasons and justified it women’s right and health and all kinds of excuses but it boiled down to I don’t want the responsibility of a child when I am just having sex for fun. The essence of the pro-choice discussion was for selfish reasons. Now, the pro-life reasons was mostly religious which was easily countered by the pro-choice group. I was normally the cantakerous one and would ask about human rights for all and if we can abort the unborn then I support post-birth abortion of anyone I choose. So my views were really never put out there, but none of us back then threw a tantrum.

I guess if you’re upset with the Supreme Court’s decision you just want to take your ball and go home. That is what Billie Joe says he’s going to do.

Homeschooling and Strong Children

I may have touched upon this topic in my past writings about homeschooling, but this thought was on my mind and why not put it to words. My wife and I come from different yet similar backgrounds. Our fathers worked for the state, though different states and back then you did not profit much as an employee. In other words, you were poor in relative terms. We each had a strong religious background and siblings with family in nearby towns. This meant aunts, uncles, and grandparents played a part in your growing up. Also, not being able to get anything you want you learned to be happy with what you had. In fact, my wife and I agree we never thought ourselves as poor. You did without as your friends were able to have the latest fashion or gadget. Soda, fast food, and expensive food like lobster or crab was practically non-existent for me. I was okay with it. As for outdoor play, we had our limits but were free to explore. Now I would spend an entire day in the woods if I wasn’t playing sports with my friends. I knew my time to come home even without a watch or mobile phone.

Now that you have a rough idea of our background, this should help you understand how we raised our sons. When my wife issued the decree we were taking my oldest out of private school and homeschooling all I said was okay. My only knowledge of homeschooling was watching 60 Minutes which was a negative portrayal of homeschooling or at least that is what I got out of it. We jumped in without any research and discovered a wonderful world. Think of it as jumping in the ocean and seeing the beautifual reefs with its colors and diverse animal life so bright and amazing.

Homeschooling afforded us several bonuses. We could raise our children without the public school indoctrination that we see today. I’m thinking of you CRT and I should write about the problems with you as well as the biased history and science found in public school. That hasn’t changed. I was able to focus on true history as I studied history as well as science as I am a mathematician even though my wife was the primary educator. My job was to go to the homeschool fairs like the one in Harrisburg, PA where we planned the trip to visit the place. I would go through the curriculum and give my opinion. My wife would then weigh my views and consider what each child needed. Most of the time we were in agreement and I trusted what my wife would select. Again, math, science, and history is where I focused the most while my wife focused on the english element and biology. She’s better than me at biology as her field is in that area.

My wife developed a regimented style of educating which is unlike most homeschoolers. Being a very organized person, she had everything planned out, though my sons didn’t. One was eager to jump ahead and get it done while they other was like pushing rope. Seldom was he finished by 9P. My children knew the reason for this regimented schedule. Get it done now and they had the spring through summer free.

Now, my sons are different in many ways. One is as clumsy as you can be. Even to this day he will spill a drink on the table. He fell down our stairs on a routine basis. He was the better athlete than his brother as he worked on his skills but was just clumsy. My other son had the balance. He learned to skate and ski faster than his brother. One was follow the rules and git’er done while the other was leaping outside the box to explore some new realm. We saw his actions with science and today he is finishing his PhD in the science field while my other son is a dual major graduate working on his MBA. My sons were different and required different attention by my wife and me. We catered to their individual needs. One needed more attaboys while the other needed something else.

When it came to outside activities we call play the world was their oyster. I can’t tell you of how many pits were dug on my property, but I’ve been finding remnants of them with one being over six foot deep. When it came to the bumps and bruises my wife never once ran to them or made a big deal. She was more of the rub some dirt in it, figuratively speaking. They learned that not all injuries are serious and should not keep you in a safe space. The outside world without helicoptering parents is where a child learns to cope with life and stress. When you allow your child freedom to explore and do some dumb things they learn, grow, and develop what I believe is mental stability.

They were encouraged, no, they were forced to play sports for social interaction reasons as well as joined the Boy Scouts for more interaction. These activities showed me much about the educational differences between public, private, and homeschooled children and how each group was raised. Now it is a generalization to say that public school children were worse in terms of being raised but there was a trend with them. You had the helicoptering parents that controlled everything and the non-existent parenting both of which displayed problems with their children. This isn’t to say public school children were going to fail at life, but they were more influenced by society especially when it was a self-centering influence. Educationally, homeschooled children were far superior than public schooled. They knew more and actually did more critical thinking and were far less likely to follow a trend whether it was good or bad.

If I compare my sons to their public school friends then I would say one overwhelming attribute besides knowledge was an understanding of consequences to events. I found and still find public school individuals unable to see an event and predict the consequences when they’re obvious. This is why I see them struggle with adjusting to adversity and may partly be the reason why you see issues with the Covid-19 scare. We understand that most humans need face to face human interaction without screens or masks separating them. We haven’t had that and our youth are suffering, and now you add the pre-existing conditions society placed on people such as victimhood and scaremongering then you have a ticking timebomb that may now be erupting with people.

From my perspective, I find homeschooling, if done properly, reinforces the mental stability of our youth and provides a solid foundation for their growth. Our way of raising our children is likely not the only solution as there are plenty of well adjusted people out there. In fact, a strong family with moral beliefs and yet, even strong but not overbearing religios beliefs provide a solid foundation. For us, it really boils down to us being a family whose closeness can be attributed to homeschooling as well as my wife’s and my foundational upbringing. We have not relied upon society for the instruction of our sons. We molded our sons into who they are today and they have decorated themselves. We are very proud of our sons.

First Amendment Reversal

I was never taught the Constitution or Bill of Rights in school or just any of my years of education. The best education I had actually came from Hollywood. Sad, right? Now I knew what the First Amendment was and never thought about it until high school and college.

Beginning in high school, my views on the First Amendment were taking form thanks to teachers and would be reinforced in college. I held the belief that some people and groups should indeed have their freedom of speech restricted for what they say. To me, it was cut and dry. My teachers and professors had done their work well and indoctrinated me.

I was totally against the KKK and their rhetoric and believed their freedom of speech should be not just censored but removed. Anything “negative” coming from their mouths should be illegal. The same applied to the neo-Nazis of the time. My righteousness was for the good of all. The people around me held the same views. Being honest here, my views on the Second Amendment were coming close to banning guns from select groups.

After graduating and entering the real world, I had time to actually use my brain and think. Yes, all I did was apply a little used concept of thinking for oneself. You won’t find this in society today. It is group ideological thinking that rules.

My first thought was about my own free speech. Who is to say that what I think and state should be restricted and even deemed illegal? There were views I held that people disagreed with. Some were borderline violent with some of my views. As I pondered the First Amendment, I recognized that if my right to exercise “freedom of speech” was threatened then so was my religious belief as well as that for the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and of course “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” I put a lot of thought into this Amendment and whether or not we should be able to restrict speech we may find offensive or hurtful. I wanted to make sure of my belief on this subject.

My conclusion was simple. I do not believe in any restriction or censoring of anyone’s speech no matter how distasteful, hateful, offensive, or hurtful it is. If you want to call someone a derogatory name then it is your right to do so even if I and everyone else disapprove. Calling people names is not threatening. I’ve been called names based on my ethnicity, religion, color of my skin (yes, that is true), and other beliefs I hold. I didn’t like most of them and some I didn’t care about. They were not threatening unlike the person stating they were going to do violence to me.

As I have grown older, I appreciate the Bill of Rights and understand them better. Gaining wisdom through living life and not relying on others to tell me what to think has given me this appreciation. From time to time, I do read them and even look at the Yale Law School online. I only wish our own government would read the Constitution and follow it.

Red Flag Laws Are Bad For All Americans

June 24, 2022 3 comments

To say I am pro-Second Amendment is no different than my saying I’m pro-First Amendment in terms of my believing the importance of the amendment and the meaning. We could debate on exactly what it means, but the implied meaning was evident from the beginning even before the Constitution. This is where I am coming from. My views on red flag laws are naturally against it based not just on my views on gun ownership but other reasons.

The first reason why I find this law to be wrong and very dangerous is that your rights can be violated without due process. If you think I am being dramatic or silly then think about asset forfeiture. How would you like to be traveling on vacation with several thousand dollars in cash on you and be pulled over for a traffic violation followed by the seizing of your cash all because the officer says he believes it is drug related money? Or if you are paying $10,000 in cash for restaurant equipment or a vehicle or some other item only to have the police seize based on some pretense of illegal activity you never engaged in. Still find this unbelieveable? What this Youtube video. This is about armored vehicles having their money seized by the police and read this article.

Sure you can get your money back if you’re willing to spend the money. Most people can’t afford to take it to court as the cost of going to court exceeds the amount of money taken. Your own government allows the theft of you for your protection. It is difficult to overturn these laws that allow the abuse and theft of you. Don’t blame the police. The politicians you voted in, Democrat or Republican, did this to you and they don’t see a reason to stop. Free money.

If you don’t own a gun you probably think it is still a good idea until you realize the law isn’t written perfectly and can apply to you in different ways we have yet to discover. Laws like this can also be expanded to other areas of human conflict civil or criminal.

The second reason why I find this law to be wrong and dangerous is the fact it does not address the real issue. If you think murders will stop then you’re either stupid or lying to yourself. Maybe even both. Stop and think or look at murder statistics which can include suicide. In my area alone, there have been more murders with knives and bludgeoning than the use of guns where guns outnumber the people. In fact, the last murder by a gun was done by a person who was on parole and could not legally possess a gun. He was in a situation where he was going to jail, so his best option, in his small mind, was to kill. Gun or no gun he was going to kill in order to escape.

Americans have a penchant for putting bandaids on gaping wounds and turning their head wil a satisfactory grin. They did their part. Instead of banning guns or creating very problematic red flag laws, we should be going to the root cause. Mental health is one issue and this doesn’t mean crazy people are committing these murders. These are seriously stressed people where I societal beliefs have placed them in a situation where they can’t cope. We need to rethink our responsibility for our actions instead of placing blame elsewhere. Not everything that makes us feel good is a good thing. Nor is stripping away our responsibility in life good, ever. We need hardship along with success and ease. This is a far deeper issue and one where I believe sociologists and psychologists have fulfilled the prophecy they have created.

Do you want some evidence I am talking about? Watch this video. Gun or not gun this type of person has killing on their mind. You may not ideologically agree with this video, but it is the truth. Once we strip away our political and social ideologies and look at the problem with open eyes we can see the source of our issues. Correcting these issues is the proper step and not banning guns. In a nearby high school a few years back, a young male was being bullied. The teachers and school administration did nothing about it other than warnings and what not. He was forced to act in self-defense and used a knife to threaten. He was punished and not the bullies. How many times do you have to see a person bullied before the finally lash out either by killing people or themselves? Eliminating guns will not stop this. There are too many ways to kill people – a young lady decides to commit suicide by driving her car into a minivan containing a family. Where is the gun? Lives were lost and altered forever.

We need to stop the gun fearmongering and address the issues. Our mental health experts need to stop creating the self-fulfilling prophecies. We need to be parents again and take responsibility as a parent and hold our children responsible for their actions, too. Their brains are developing. As for adults that are a threat, we need to address this with force along with compassion. We can’t throw our hands up and say there’s nothing we can do. We all know the end result but we don’t want to offend or violate their rights. Until America takes responsibility, you’re not going to solve problems of murder let alone any crime. This isn’t about being poor, middle class, or wealthy. It is about addressing our narcissistic lifestyle and the human mental health.

A Brisket Review

I learned a few things when I made my brisket. The first is I do not like the many BBQ briskets I have tried. The second is I now understand why I would slather the briskets I got with BBQ sauce. Finally, my brisket was much better than most.

I have had brisket from all types of barbecue places from chains to some guy who did competition and set up his own business to a few other places that I don’t know their origination. I can say the chain operations rely on sauce and are usually drier than I like. There was one place that strongly smoked their meat and for once the smokiness was too much for me.

When it comes to what I don’t like about brisket from most of these places is the brisket is dry and the flavor isn’t very good. When I look back on these places I find my brisket juicier and my flavor to be slightly better. I need to improve on my ingredients. The fact I threw together my spices and can beat out most of the places says something. I am left to wonder if some of these barbecue joints are not providing fresh brisket. One big turn off for me is that I always tend to get more fat than meat when I order brisket. I am not talking that sliver of fat you find but 40% or more fat than meat. Most of these place have lost my interest.

Now there are several places that I know their brisket is far better than mine. One is no longer in business as was based in South Carolina. The second is relatively local to me but is never open when I drive buy. Their flavor is perfect and very juicy. Sadly, the place in South Carolina left me without a good brisket to eat as I no longer had a BBQ joint to visit.

There is one place that I am up in the air with. I do not visit it often unless I happen to be passing through the area. I call ahead and make the order. Lost Mountain BBQ, the Cumberland location, is one that I have determined has an average brisket. Sometimes it is decent and other times drier than I want and fattier that I should be receiving. I often feel they are on the cusp of goodness but can’t quite get there. My own brisket is slightly better, though I give them the edge on flavor but not by much. With mine, I can guarantee I won’t get bulk fat and mine is juicier. I have enjoyed their pork.

Why do I keep asking for brisket? I prefer beef to pork. My first encounters with brisket were very good and I am searching for that flavor but have only really found two locations. The fact I do not find briskets appealing from the barbecue places really isn’t strange and nor is the fact I can make mine better than most. Most restaurants I have visited do not make great food especially chain places. Others make food I cannot make or do not want to make. And there are some have great food that I can never come close to duplicating. My guess is when you have a great recipe and go into the business of serving people shortcuts must take place and that reduces the quality of your food.

As I work on my brisket process, I expect my brisket to be superior to many but will never reach the level of the few places I visited or those who have a smoker and do barbecuing more frequently than me. I will be satisfied knowing that I can make a brisket that is better than average.

Categories: Food/Drink Tags: ,

Smoking a Brisket

June 19, 2022 1 comment

Last week I finally was able to do something I had been planning for a few years and that is smoking a brisket on my Weber grill. I can’t say it was an entire success nor a failure. In fact, it became a success based on the circumstances. It was a long and tiring event that I would do again and using the same method I was forced to do.

Smoking pork and ribs on the Weber are quite easy for me but tiring. I have to get up quite early to begin the process and I have yet to pin down the time we eat. My process is simple. I prep the food the night before and prepare my Weber. Upon getting up early, I start the grill and do any last minute prep work for my food. Then I place it on the grill and insert the probes and sit back. Now, it usually takes me a while to dial in my settings but once I get it right I sit back and rest except I can’t rest. I am busy monitoring the probes. By noon, I am sitting in a chair, chilling, and maybe drinking a beverage to enjoy the sunny day. This grilling gets me out of work as I have to monitor everything, so I say.

The grill set up is simple. My coals are on one side and the meat is on the other side, so I have indirect heat. I can easily add additional fuel if needed. I have yet to burn anything with this process and should not be burning anything. The process for the brisket was the same except I was up at midnight to start the process.

Just like the other meats I’ve grilled I had to dial in my settings. Once I had it going the way I wanted, I could go inside and basically nap for a bit with the probe settings ready to warn me of issues and my alarm to wake me every so often. I was enjoying my third or so nap when the I was interrupted with the probe low temperature warning going off. The temperature had drastically dropped and I figured I needed to add for fuel, though I didn’t think I would need it. Going outside I encountered unexpected rain. It had cooled the grill and no matter how much I dried to increase the temperature it was going to reach the range I needed. I was fortunate that I was hours into the process but I needed a solution. Moving the grill was out of the question and there was no way to shelter it from the rain. I either allow the brisket to “cook” at a temperature under 200° or just give up. My solution was simple.

In the house, I got the oven going at 250° and prepped a pan with a rack for the brisket. Placing the brisket on this I inserted it in the oven and gave up on the grill. A first for me. At least I could sleep as the temperature was going to remain relatively constant in the oven. Since I spent so much time trying to make the grill work, this brisket was going to take much longer than I anticipated but wait it out I did even when the internal temperature dropped before raising again to the internal temperature destination.

What I got was a good brisket and a bonus. It was “juicy” and there was some smokiness but more importantly, my wife liked it as it was not too smoky for her. Smoking on my Weber is an issue between us as I enjoy the flavor but my wife is not a fan of the smokiness the wood gives. For eeryone who sampled the brisket, a total six people, everyone said it was good. For me, I was disappointed that I couldn’t finish the brisket with the Weber. Now I am afraid I will be asked to do the same with the pork butt or even the ribs.

Going forward, I may use the grill to oven method if my attention is needed on other tasks such as preparing side dishes or something else. My experience with grilling or smoking large meats has been growing since I picked it back up in 2019. I have found butcher’s paper to be very nice to have as well as temperature probes which is the most important item to have. Gone are the days of overcooked food because I am guessing most of the time.

My next brisket post will a comparison of mine to other BBQ joints.

Categories: Food/Drink Tags: ,

Saying Good-bye to AAA

My wife purchased AAA years ago for us for the fact we travel a lot, and will need some type of assistance just like anyone else when you’re hours or even days away from home. It is not uncommon for us to be several states away from South Carolina to Montana to Maine or even Florida. Having car trouble is a real threat and with young children you need immediate assistance or when you’re older you may need asssitance.

For all of the years we have been a “member”, I have had AAA help me twice that I can recall. The first is when our car’s fan did not stop running and we never noticed it. The battery was killed and being in the hot, humid weather of South Carolina AAA came in handy. New battery and we were on our way. The second time was when the transmission exploded on one of my cars. AAA was of assitance as we were able to be towed to a dealership for warranty repair. Yes, faulty transmission which is worthy of a separate post. The dealership knew and we knew the issue was the transmission but without a “code” error the auto manufacturer would not fix their known issue which was noted on a letter we received in the mail and the dealership bulletin.

Now this is two incidents in 20 years. This is rather good due to the fact we drive our vehicles into the ground. The last new vehicle we purchased was around 2012. My task is to maintain the vehicle and they have done great, so far. Having AAA provides us with a layer of assistance should a vehicle suffer a failure of some type and this happened the other day.

Travelling on a back road in the middle of nowhere our vehicle quit. No power and finally no engine running. We safely got it pulled over in front of a property and off the road. We accepted that our trip, at least for this day, was done. Cancelled our hotel for the night and called AAA. The goal was to have the vehicle transported to our dealership which was nearly 100 miles away. It was agreed that one of us would ride with the tow truck while the remaining family members would called family to pick them up as there was no option. Dropping anyone off in the local town meant you stood outside as there was no place open after 10P. We could accept that hardship. Call family and wait. That never happened.

AAA told us it was going to be about a maximum of a five hour wait. Not happy but we could deal with it. Towing company called and confirmed that it would be five hours. They said they couldn’t take the vehicle the full 100 miles but could drop it at their place for the night. I was okay with that. Family could pick me up there. After three hours of waiting, we called for an update. The towing company said they weren’t coming as they had an “emergency” to deal with. I called AAA and they had no idea of what was going on. They suggested we call the police and this AAA person was quite rude with me. My ticket was cancelled and I had to be stuffed in a car with the rest of the family as were driven home. Annoyed and unhappy with the results we now knew the vacation was shot as the wife and I drove back to our stranded vehicle on day two. AAA, once more, said the same towing company would get our car. Now, we changed the destination to a much closer location in the hopes we could get service. After a few hours, we called the towing company and got the unexpected surprise. They were not going to come get us and they told AAA they were not coming! We had planned for this and notified another towing service in case AAA failed us. Another call to AAA was worthless. The poor person on the other line could not help but struggled to act like she did. We all knew no one was coming to get us, but AAA kept up the game of pretending they were helping. They were informed we were calling someone to get us and they will have to reimburse our expenses.

My wife and I pieced a part of the puzzle as to why no one was coming to get us. The towtruck driver who picked us up gave us more information. No one is happy with AAA. He relayed a story that a woman couldn’t get AAA to tow her car, so she called this company, like we did, to get her car. The problem is that AAA is not cost-effective for towing companies because of the increase in fuel prices that started in the summer 2021 due to the administration’s purposeful intent to push Americans towards “greener” energy and not the war in the Ukraine. The war only exacerbated the issue something of which no one predicted last late spring and summer. Towing companies are losing money through AAA and if associated with AAA they put AAA members on the bottom of the list, so you wait and if lucky get someone to pick you up. AAA is not being honest with their members. Had they been honest upfront, we could have had the car towed the day it broke down and possibly resumed a portion of our vacation with a backup car.

I have an expectation with AAA and that is to tow my vehicle if needed. I spent two days trying to get my vehicle towed which was stuck in neutral and had the key stuck in the ignition. I do not need their rental or hotel or other discounts. I can get that through other services I belong to. They savings are the same. If I look at what I spent for AAA membership for the last 20 years or I see that I would be ahead if I never was a member of AAA. If I add up all the cost for when I used AAA, I would be ahead if I were never a member. Why be a member if I do not benefit? I do not have AAA as a peace of mind but as a tool for situations where I need assistance with my vehicles. Now AAA and I will have a meeting about my latest towing reimbursement and the fact they were quite misleading on the phone.

Categories: Random Life Tags: ,

Gin and Tonic

The first time I have sampled a gin and tonic was at a wedding. To be honest, I am not sure what age I was but definitely younger than 18, so I would say 14 to 17. I had discovered the alcoholic drink loophole which may not work today. Back then, you acted like you were ordering for a parent. I’d ask for a Coke and then some mixed drink. The bartenders were busy and were trusting as many adults would love someone getting them their booze. I learned about whisky sour as well as a few others. Beer was the one item I was smart enough to not order. The key was to order a non-alcoholic drink and not order too soon after the first.

The gin and tonic was meh to my young tastebuds. It never really appealed to me like others I saw. Was it the cheap gin, improperly made drink, or my youth that kept me from favoring them I know not. The gin and tonic was also a scare to me in terms of hangovers. My sister’s friend who was roomed with me at our house loved to drink them and had a massive hangover after a friends wedding of theirs. It was an amusing morning for me and not so for him. What better way for a devlish teenager to find amusement with a hungover individual. There was a change for me.

Leave it to my neighbor to re-introduce the drink to me. He was drinking one when I visited and offered me up a gin and tonic. Naturally, I obliged. It was refreshing. A very simple drink and his ingredients were the lime, tonic water, and a cheaper gin. Gilbey’s was his preference and I “grew up” with Gilbey’s. Now, I enjoy Beefeater, Tanqueray, and a few other gins, but Gibley’s has a special place for me. When I make a gin and tonic with Gilbey’s I noticed the fruity flavor and not just the lime. I don’t taste the heat as some do and their is no spice. What I do get is the juniper and citrus. It is a nice simple gin that goes well with the tonic water.

So, I’ll be drinking my Gilbey’s gin and tonics until I pick up another gin and give it a go.

Brining Chicken

It has been a while since I last posted. With all that has happened, I have a little time to dabble in posting. So why not introduce a chicken process that I did on a Friday night and found it good.

Brining chicken is not a new idea. For me, I’ve done wet and dry brines at different times. As I sat sipping on my gin and tonic, I came up with an idea that is new for me. Why not try both? Here is my cookery experiment.

Having some chicken quarters, I placed them in a salt brine and allowed them to set in the refrigerator for longer than planned. By most people, I allowed my chicken to brine far longer than recommended. I have read 30 minutes to an hour and never overnight, though I see a few saying you can brine your chicken for 12 hours or even two days. I didn’t go two days.

After the brining, I removed the chicken from the brine and patted them dry. Now I did a dry rub. Having leftover rub from a chicken I dry rubbed, I did a goo rub on the chicken and back in the fridge. Now what was the purpose of this dry rub? The goal was the seasoning that I had and less about salt.

Once my grill was ready I placed the chicken on, skin side up. I cooked that for a while before flipping it onto the skin side. This was to prevent early flames from the skin. It seems to have worked. Once the chicken hit 165°F(74°C) the chicken was done.

It was a very juicy chicken with nice flavor. Yes, I actually at some crispy skin this time. If you’re gonna die at some point then enjoy it while you can. I’m tired of the lowfat garbage.

Categories: Food/Drink Tags: ,