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Jack Daniels


Bubba’s Cake Baking for the Holidays

After the age of 50 some of us begin to assume different character traits.  Some of these traits may be due to a smaller dose of testosterone flowing through our bodies or it may be we have just mellowed over the years.  The kids are grown, weddings are done, and retirement is just around the corner.  Now is the time for those hobbies and pastimes we never took time for as younger individuals.  Some of us have even taken to reading Southern Living Magazine.  (There are some good looking young women in this magazine, and they cover SEC football during the fall of the year.) Southern Living also has features on golf courses and they always have several articles on one of our favorite pastimes…………FOOD.

Now the good news about cooking when you reach the double nickel (age 55) would be that your wife no longer tries to tell you how to cook or what you are doing wrong.  She does not generally care if you cook a whole pound of bacon or use a pound of butter on one dish.  My spouse is so happy she does not have to make another decision about food or a meal she says absolutely nothing about any of my cooking.  Let me tell you guys who think you have to be a girly-man to cook.  Get a grip.  This is the ideal time to partake of your favorite adult beverage.  The female of the species does not think it is inappropriate for men to drink while slaving over a hot grill or gas range.

Another benefit to cooking is the trip to the local grocery.  I have become fast friends with the wine section in my Kroger and women of all ages believe if you are a man and shopping for food that you will have the answers to all their cooking questions.  Go figure!  I do not cheat on my wife but it is always entertaining to offer sage advice to women and the occasional man regarding the proper preparation and cooking time for various dishes.  I try to stick to the basics such as pork tenderloin, chicken, steak and specialty burgers but every now and then I will offer advice on complicated dishes of which I know absolutely nothing. 

This past Thanksgiving I determined that I would make a special chocolate cake for friends and family.  The ingredients alone cost me $45.  Did I mention the recipe called for Bourbon and I figured what the hell, I may as well buy a half gallon since I was already at the store.  One can never tell when a friend or two might drop by while you are cooking and it would be downright inhospitable not to offer a libation or two.  Most of my friends like sour mash bourbon anyway and if they find out I am cooking they will make a special trip to: number one, watch me make a mess, and number two, to have a couple of drinks and solve the worlds mysteries.

The aforementioned cake includes 1/3 cup of bourbon (or was it 1 cup, I do not remember) but it was a great cake and eaten by all my friends and family.  I do remember the cake, frosting and glaze took a total of 1 pound of butter and 1 pound of sugar and ½ pound of brown sugar.  In addition there was buttermilk and powdered sugar included.  Needless to say the thing melted in your mouth and was totally consumed. 

The only bad news to the whole story is the necessity of clean up once you are finished.  When grilling the clean up is simple, burn the grease off of the grill, throw away the tin foil and disposable plates and clean up the beer cans.  Cooking inside is a totally different animal.  Your wife or significant other expects you to wash all the pans and utensils used during the cooking and to wipe off the stove and counter.  Why is that? You would think they would be so happy we cooked a meal or dessert that they would at least volunteer to clean up – I mean really – cleaning up ain’t brain surgery.  Not gonna happen.  Just go ahead and do it.

Bubba Terry

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One of the rights of passage for a lot of young males and some females is the annual preparation and participation in opening day of deer season.  For some fortunate individuals this event can actually happen twice per year, once for bow season and once for gun season.  If one is really lucky and lives in a state that separates black powder hunting from bow and gun seasons, they get to participate three times.

 

I am not one of those people against deer hunting!  I have fond memories of participating in opening day and the entire season and I actually miss some of the camaraderie enjoyed with my family and friends.  Some of my best non-hunting friends never understood why anyone would want to shoot bambi or his mother and father but they never experienced the thrill of opening day.

 

In my part of the country deer season runs for a month or more and allows one to properly prepare their deer camp or leased hunting area in advance.  The preparation process begins in late August and early September when several trips to the woods are required to build tree stands.  My father-in-law was such a perfectionist. We had to build tree houses that included sides for our deer stands.  These structures were usually 4 X 6 feet and included chairs, an alcohol heater, and an empty can in the event mother nature beckoned.

 

Opening day morning began with breakfast at my father-in-law’s house and included myself and two brothers-in-law eating a massive breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and grits at 2:30 in the morning.  Some years we actually got some sleep.  The breakfast was completed when my father-in-law would reach for a half-gallon of Jack Daniels and announce to all of us that it was now time to quote “be somebody” and we would all partake of a least one shot of sour mash bourbon.  Well hell, when I was younger, drinking at 3 A.M. was accepted and besides we never loaded our high powered weapons until we arrived in the woods.

 

After a shot or two we would load up the vehicles with all manner of firearms, ammunition, food, liquor, beer, jackets, radios, chairs, toilet tissue, sleeping bags and anything else we would need for our day in the woods.  All of this paraphernalia was loaded into the back of an aging Ford Falcon and then four or five of us would pile in the vehicle for the 45 minute ride to the woods.  Upon arrival we would greet the hardy souls who had spent the night and then pour another shot or two just to be socialable.  The obligatory lies would be told and around 5 A.M. the caravan would drive the final 15 minutes to the hunting area. 

 

Prior to actually walking to the deer stands we had to apply doe urine to our shoes to cover our scents.  Then, under the cover of darkness we would stealthily find our way to the aforementioned deer stands (tree houses) by shining our flashlights on the path and looking for red or green plastic tape we had tied on branches.  I always had visions of Elmer Fudd walking to a deer stand on his tiptoes.  (If you do not know Elmer Fudd look it up on Google.)

 

Were the truth told just about everyone went to sleep as soon as they climbed into the stand.  There is always one exception and he or she usually got the first deer.  Naturally the truth has never been told in a deer camp so there were many stories of massive 10-point bucks walking just behind some brush so that no one could get off a good shot.  Whoever fired the first shot would wake up the rest of the fearless hunters and everyone would come down from their stands agreeing that all of the deer in the county were now long gone after the first shot was fired.  This normally happens around 9:30 in the morning.  Everyone would walk to the rally point and wait to see who had fired the shot.  If the person who fired the shot had no carcass to display as a result of his shooting then the razzing and kidding would continue for the remainder of the season.

 

By 10:30 almost everyone was back at the camp telling lies, smoking cigars and drinking their beverage of choice.  Two or three members of the hunting party would be cooking enough lunch to feed a third world country and someone would always have a portable TV with enough tin foil wrapped around the antenna to bring in some kind of signal.  The ball game would be on and drinking, smoking and eating dominated the remainder of the day.  Oh yeah, there were always one or two smart asses who wanted to hunt in the afternoon but we did not bother them if they did not bother us.

 

Deer hunting after all, ain’t brain surgery.

 

Bubba Terry