Josh Bell Loves Pete’s Pride Pink Ribbon Pork Fritters

Okay, not really.  I mean, Josh would probably like them, but there is no such thing.  Dang it.  Pete’s Pride is totally missing out on some mad marketing AND alliteration opportunities.

As you guys surely know by now, I’m a big nerd who gets a whole lot of amusement out of perusing the search engine terms people have used to find this blog.  Some things are to be expected, especially since we’re nearing October, like the current top three for the past 30 days: “pink ribbon cake pan”, “pink ribbon cake”, and “pink ribbon”.  But the 4th item on the list is a little puzzling to me—Richard Simmons.  Really?  Is October Richard Simmons Awareness Month, too?  Wonder what color the ribbon is for that one.  Is sequined a color?  Richard Simmons beat out the perpetual favorite “bald girlfriend” (I’m pretty sure that I really, really don’t want to know the motivation behind that one) and the believe it or not “pork fritter” is way down the list at number 8.  Pork fritter fans need not worry, however, because in the all time search engine term standings, the humble pork fritter holds 3 of the top 5 slots.

And speaking of pork fritter fans…if you’ve been keeping up on the comments, you know that our friend Nanine is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Texas, who has been searching for Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters to no avail.  Of course, since we ARE pretty high on the google results, she ended up here, and asked if I knew who makes Pete’s Pride.  I didn’t, but I do now.  I don’t know why I was even at all surprised to learn that Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters are manufactured by Al Pete Meats (recently acquired by Monogram Foods) in none other than Muncie, Indiana.   Why of course they are!  Where else?  So, Nanine, I hope this helps you in your quest.  Keep us posted—we love having an excuse to write about pork fritters. (We also love referring to ourselves in the first person plural.)

Now back to those searches.  It gives me a chuckle every time someone gets here from googling “Josh Bell poet” or some other variation.  If you recall, my old friend Josh has the distinct misfortune of sharing his name with another extremely famous Josh from Indiana.  Hence, folks looking for my friend must include poetry/poem/poet in their search.  However, like other violin-toting super villains, the fantastically famous Joshua Bell will stop at nothing in his quest to squash my dear Josh like a bug—going so far as to title one of his albums “Poeme”.  Really, can there be any other explanation for this?  So, it was especially amusing to me when some obviously determined fan of my Josh recently got here by searching “josh bell poetry or poem or poet not violinist”.   Take that, you fancy fiddler.

This weekend is the local Race for the Cure.  Yes, I’m going.  No, I’m probably not doing the survivor parade.  Wearing the pink shirt is about as much as you can expect from me.  And Thursday is the first day of October, so get those Pink Ribbon Overload pictures to me.  I’ll be starting off the month with one of my own finds and the story of how it came into my possession.  That’s right, I actually own this one, but even that’s not the whole story, so check back with me on Thursday afternoon to get the scoop.

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Tasty Thursday: You Don’t Know Fat

It’s always amusing to me when the government decides to tell us something about ourselves that we already know.  This condescension usually follows some expensive study or precedes some expensive program, paid for by our tax dollars.  So, today I saw the following headline, and I couldn’t help but share it with you: Massachusetts Proposes Weighing, Measuring Students.  It seems the state government there is concerned about rising obesity, and part of their plan to combat this includes height and weight measurements for all public school first-, fourth-, seventh-, and 10th-graders, to determine whether they are overweight. Results would be sent home to parents along with diet and exercise recommendations.”

 Oh. Heck. No.  Couple of thoughts here.

 Okay, first of all, in this strained economy, can I get a show of hands from those who think that this is something we need to be spending money on?  I mean, come on, who doesn’t know if their kid is fat?  Myrtle doesn’t need the school weighing and measuring her little Bubba Jack—she’s the one who has to keep his portly behind suited up in husky sizes.  Second of all, while this might be welcomed with open arms in Massachusetts, I guarantee you it would never fly in Terre Haute, Indiana, where the motto is “If you want my breaded tenderloin, you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.”   In The Haute, parents would be like, “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to feed MY kid!  Why, if Pete’s Pride pork fritters and RC Cola were good enough for me, then doggone it, they’re good enough forhey, you gonna eat that?” Thirdly, this type of thing would only serve as something for kids to rebel against.  And can you imagine the peer pressure? “Come on, Harvey, all the cool kids are eating cheese fries.”  Poor healthy Harvey’d be gettin’ his butt kicked on the playground for packin’ rice cakes in his lunch.  How sad is that?

 Besides, I have a hard time believing that those east coast kids are really all that chunky anyway.  At least compared to the kids here in the Midwest.  While New England kids are growing up on seafood, and, well, whatever else it is they eat over there, young Hoosiers are busy giving the Chinese buffet a run for its money.  In fact, I bet if Massachusetts compared their fat kids to our fat kids, they’d find that they are sorely lacking in the cellulite department. 

 Amateurs.  Crying wolf over there with your “fat” kids.  We’ll show you some fat kids—just as soon as we get done eatin’.

Cultural Mecca

I live out in the sticks, but my mailing address is attached to a little town a couple of miles away.  This past weekend was the annual Apple Festival, an event which boasts that it’s been going strong since 1970.  Of course, the apple orchards had been bulldozed to make way for bean fields prior to that, but we don’t pay any attention to such trivial matters.  Besides, who’s going to come to a soybean festival? (Other than, maybe, the same folks who would patronize an exhibit all about corn.)  I’m sure that over the years there have been many folks who’ve arrived here expecting some quaint little town, just brimming with orchards, and cider, and apples, only to be met with flea markets and one measly apple selling booth. 

 

 

 But, this year, the town has almost made up for the lack of apples with its latest cultural addition to the festival.  Yes, indeed, an event so classy and artsy that a new attendance record was set on Saturday.  I’m referring to that that modern Roman circus known as lawn mower demolition derby.  Such an impressive event, that I heard it drew a film crew from CMT—Country Music Television. 

 

 Why, God?  Why? 

 

 Why does it have to be my town?  You know, this is already the place with the apple-less apple festival—like that’s not embarrassing enough.  Now, it’s drawing record attendance for lawn mower demo derby, a “sport” which seems to me to be just one big set-up for an episode of Rescue 911.  And as if it’s not bad enough for this to be local knowledge, now it’s going to be featured on CMT.  From now on, when I tell people where we live, they’ll no longer say “Oh, the home of the apple festival.”  Instead they’ll say, “Isn’t that where they have that hilljack lawn mower demolition derby?”

 

 But, hey, I guess it could be worse.  It could be the lawn mower-less lawn mower demolition derby.  Who am I kidding?  It’s probably just a matter of time.

Corncorncorncorn Part 2

You know, perhaps I was wrong about corn being boring, after all.  The Corncorncorn post has generated an amazing amount of traffic.  Apparently corn is more interesting than I first thought.  Or perhaps it’s just irresistible to all those folks who googled “Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters” which, much to my amusement, is the most common search engine term that brings folks here. 

Okay, so about cornin’.  As I’m sure is common throughout the country, in Indiana late October is the time of year when younger kids go trick-or-treating, and older kids run amok and pull pranks on the neighbors.  You’ve got your universal pranks, like soaping windows and toilet papering trees, or even the sinister egging.  But here in corn country, you have something else:  Cornin’. 

Now the uninitiated may think of sweet corn, or maybe even hominy when they hear of cornin’.  But we’re not talking about those things.  We’re talking about field corn.  The type that’s left on the stalk until fully mature and dry, and then used as feed for livestock.  The kernels are big and hard—Like candy corn’s roughneck cousin who just got out on parole.  Removing this stuff from the cob after having stolen it from the neighbor’s field involves thumbs and blisters.  Piled in ice cream buckets, it’s agricultural ammo for the night’s events.

First you need to choose a target.  If you choose a house, there needs to be someone home. Unoccupied houses are not acceptable because the possibility of getting in trouble is what makes cornin’ fun.   It’s best if you can find a house with a big picture window, and a curmudgeon with no sense of humor sitting right on the other side of the glass watching Jeopardy.  Sneaking in close not only makes for better contact, but also enhances the adrenaline rush.  Then on the count of three you and your friends—because NOBODY corns alone—jump up and throw the biggest handful of corn you can manage as hard as you can at that picture window.  Let me tell ya, that stuff is LOUD.  At this point you have two options, although you should have decided before you threw the corn, either to run or try to hide.  Either way, your curmudgeon will likely come out and yell threats and obscenities at you.  Mission accomplished.

Or, you can choose to corn cars.  This works best in dark areas where you have a ditch or a hill to corn from.   The victim will likely stop and once again you’ll need to choose whether to run or hide.  However, if you choose to run, it’s not a good idea to run down the road, especially if you’ve just corned Hubster who WILL chase you down the road with the car.  Also, it can be advantageous to corn in areas with lots of trees, which will decrease the likelihood that you’ll be chased cross country by that 4 wheel drive pickup with the redneck sticker and the rebel flag.

Of course, creative corners will also come up with variations on the theme.  One year someone threw corn in the open window of my dad’s Plymouth Duster.  We cleaned it out, but later when the car got rained in—apparently Dad left the window open on a regular basis—a few kernels which had remained hidden in the groovy shag carpet sprouted and we had little corn stalks in the back seat.  Or there was the time when someone dumped buckets or corn on our front porch.  So much that we had to shovel it out.  No one ever fessed up to it, but they should have because it was mighty impressive. 

I haven’t actually been corned in a really long time.  Maybe kids aren’t doing it anymore, or maybe they’re home cornin’ on the Wii instead.

Corncorncorncorncorn

When I was a kid, I’d often go to spend time with my grandma and grandpa, who lived about 25 miles away.  Their house was out in the middle of nowhere, so getting there was one long stretch of watching the passing scenery from the back seat of their Chrysler Cordoba.  Of course, this is Indiana, so for much of the year, the scenery consisted primarily of corn fields.  I remember watching the corn go by and saying “Corncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorn” all the while, pausing only for the occasional house or woods or bean field.  The fact that my grandparents didn’t beat the tar out of me after the first half mile’s worth of corncorncorn is a testament to their saintly character.  God knows I’d have lost it after the first 15 seconds and been like, “If I hear corncorncorn come out of your mouth one more time, we’re going to stop this car and cut a corn switch for your behind!”

But, of course, my grandparents were better people than I am—most everybody is, really—and so they never said a word, and I didn’t realize how truly annoying that would be until I became a parent.  What I did discover, however, is that if you say a word enough times in a row like that, it loses its meaning. Try it next time you’re driving past some corn.  Pretty soon, it’s like your brain just gives up—which, come to think of it, may have been what was really going on with my grandparents.

I thought about corncorncorn, because Garlic Sis works for the Indiana State Museum, and yesterday she was telling me that they’re planning a future exhibit all about corn.  I started laughing.  “Are you serious?  Really, that sounds like the most boring thing ever.  I mean, this is Indiana.  I feel saturated with corn knowledge just from living here.”  Garlic Sis, who is the voice of authentic Hoosier culture at the ISM, agreed, and said she’d tried to explain this to the hoity museum types, but that they just didn’t get it.  I said, “Let me guess…they’ll include things like ethanol production and corn being used to make biodegradable packaging.”  “Yeah, they were talking about those things,” Garlic Sis replied with a chuckle.  “That’s what I figured, ” says I, “we already know about that stuff.” 

But that was no great shock.  Hoity museum types are nothing if not predictably condescending.  However, what did come as a shock, was their complete lack of knowledge about a traditional Hoosier cultural event called cornin’.  She suggested to one person at the ISM that they include cornin’ in the exhibit.  “What?  I don’t know what that is.”  Garlic Sis was like, “What do you mean you don’t know what it is?!”  She tried a couple of other folks, even adding the proper G sound onto the end of the word—cornING—Garlic Sis is fluent in both Hoosier and Hoity Museum Speak, you know—and only found one who knew what she was talking about. 

Garlic Sis began to wonder if it was strictly a west-central Indiana phenomenon.  She called and related the story to me.  After I finished ridiculing her for saying cornING, I said, “It’s those city folk you work with.  Of course they don’t know what cornin’ is.”  We decided that I should ask all you guys to put your 2 cents in.  Do you know what cornin’ is?