Saturday, October 15, 2005


Don (and Paula Anne Windsor) Thompson

You said in last journal: When we hold our 50th sometime next June or so, I will have concocted/edited between 250 and 300 distinct columns for this blog, not to mention my personal site. I think that, sometime shortly after that reunion, and I get things from it posted, it should be time to move out into the sixties, and find a new editor for this site. Those interested please inquire within (Billy Fuller, where are you?).

Tom, you have done a very good job with the journal. I'm sure many readers feel the same but have paralysis of the writing hand. The current format is very pleasant to read compared to the increasing number of blogs out there in Internet land.

I'm glad the chitlins' and cracklins' have stirred up some interest. My plan worked! We saw packages of both chitlins and cracklins in Krogers yesterday. I think it's funny that some said they would never eat chitterlings. In the good ole days, there's a good chance that sausages were encased in hog's intestines and when the whole mess was fried up, it was delicious! The best known cracklins are surely the by-product of rendering chunks of pork with skin (with hair singed off) for lard.

Here are some culinary dictionary definitions:

cracklin, cracklings
Also called gratons or grattons by the Cajuns. Cracklings are bits of roasted or deep-fried pork skins. You can make your own, or you may be able to find them at groceries. History: During slavery, after the slave-owner had rendered his pork fat, the skin was given to the servants. They would then deep-fry this skin and eat them plain or stirred into cornbread batter, which baked delicious cracklin' bread.

Delicious, crunchy pieces of either pork or poultry fat after it has been rendered, or the crisp, brown skin of fried or roasted pork. Cracklings are sold packaged in some supermarkets and specialty markets. "Cracklin' bread" is cornbread with bits of cracklings scattered throughout.

I'm obviously on a writing kick in the early morning hours.

Last night, Paula and I attended the 9th UAMS retirement dinner that was held in the Clinton Library. We were wined and dined by Cafe 42, the caterer for the library. The 42 honors Clinton as the 42nd president AND the 42nd governor of Arkansas. We had not visited the library before and the evening was very memorable.

The area where the meal was served is probably a multipurpose room, with a ceiling that is at least 3 stories high. Lots of glass, so the river and downtown could be seen as a panorama. and the sunset made the scene very dramatic. There was an hour to tour the library before dinner. We didn't do it because we're waiting to spend more time at it. We just sipped wine and talked with folks.

Paula worked at UAMS for 41 years and she retired in 1998.

Keep up the good work!

Tom Pry

Thank you so much for the kind words.

I, too, remember the link sausages in the “natural” casings. And, too, there were hot dogs, knackwurst, etc., in “natural” casings. Just exactly what do people think those casings were? And I, for one, think the natural casings tasted better than whatever replaced them. “Skinless” is a slight improvement, but not much.

The problem with chitlins is that they look kind of “dead” after they’ve been rendered, boiled, and whatever else people do to them. “Soul food” (concocted out of necessity, folks, not choice) is an acquired taste and is in no way visually appealing.

As for UAMS … Paula, you shouldn’t have left. Our experience with that joint a couple of years ago left Karen and I pegging it one step above a pest house of the Victorian age.

One couple’s opinion. See, it just went to hell when you left.


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