Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Annual Food Show

I have spent almost thirty years behind the mic doing community radio. In most community stations you are picked to do your shows by your knowledge of music and thus are never told what to play on your show. My approach to this kind of freedom was to challenge myself to come up with different ways to explore and present the music on my shows. Theme shows have been one way of achieving this end. They can be very challenging depending on your theme. It could be a show of songs with nonsense titles, like "Papa Oom Mow Mow" or a tribute to Labor Day with songs that are about jobs such as "Working in a Coal Mine." Over the last ten years doing radio for WWOZ, every show was a theme show on my New Orleans Music Show as the show was dedicated to artists who live or had lived and recorded in New Orleans or Louisiana.

Since I am no longer doing radio locally in New Orleans, I missed doing my most popular theme show of the year, my annual food show. I came up with the idea years ago as a way to ring in the holiday season without resorting to "holiday" songs (another theme show left until the days before Christmas). People have always called and emailed to know exactly when my food show was going to be on so they could tape it and enjoy it again later. Over the years my collection of these songs has grown but it was always limited on my New Orleans Music Show since I could not include so many of the fantastic food songs that were done by artists not from New Orleans.

I have been transferring some of my old radio shows from over 30 years ago from tape to a more modern medium and have decided to give you a taste of one of my old food shows that includes a mix of RnB, blues and vocal groups doing songs dedicated to food. I can't think of a better way to celebrate a holiday season where we all enjoy cooking and eating with family and friends. So Happy Holidays, I hope I am back on the air soon and that you will enjoy my collection of food songs from way back when.


Everybody Eats When They Come To My House - Cab Calloway
Frim Fram Sauce - Ella Fitzgerald
Potato Chips - Slim Gaillard
Alligator Meat - Johnny Otis
Dig This Menu Please - Red Rodney
One Potato - Three Peppers
Pickin A Rib - Jones Boy Swing Band
Alabama BBQ - Ink Spots
Saturday Night Fish Fry - Louis Jordan
Steak and Potatoes - Willie Bryant
Chicken Ain't Nothin But a Bird- Cab Calloway
Beans and Cornbread - Louis Jordan
I Like Bananas - Willie Bryant
Gimme A Pound of Ground Round - Ivory Joe Hunter
Hog Maw and Cabbage Slaw - Todd Rhodes
Hungry Man - Louis Jordan
Shake Shake - Amos Milburn
Dumplin Dumplin - Margie Day
Hold Tight - Fats Waller
Hot Dog - Chris Powell

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Almost Winter Garden

Down here in SE Louisiana we have an extra season that many parts of the country don't get. It's closer to a second summer than anything else as the day temps can sometimes make it into the low eighties and the nighttime temperatures hit the high forties. It kind of reminds me of summers in NE Pennsylvania where, in August, you pulled out the long sleeve shirts and put a blanket back on the bed. Our pseudo summer here in New Orleans is perfect for gardening.

As I live in an old urban area with limited space, I do all of my vegetable gardening in trays or planters due to the high levels of lead in the soil. It has recently been shown that in areas with high lead levels, even if you build raised beds with all new soil, the lead will migrate up into those beds over time so containers seem the safe way to go.

I'm interested in a simple garden, one that will give me a variety of lettuces and fresh herbs. You can certainly do more given more space and better sun than I have in the middle of the city. My garden this year consists of at least four kinds of lettuce, nasturtiums (for flowers, seeds and leaves),  broccoli rabe and bak choi. For green herbs, I have chervil, chives, flat leafed or Italian parsley, dill, basil and cilantro. I also have tarragon, oregano, sage, rosemary and lemon thyme to add to my flavor palate.

Many of the local nurseries and Farmer's markets have plants ready to put in the ground. I often find these to be four or five plants in a single small pot and I carefully pull them apart and end up with five separate plants rather than one  struggling one. In container gardens you can plant pretty close together which maximizes the container or tray area. I always buy a packet of mixed lettuce or mesclun. As I thin it out, I replant the seedlings into other trays and always have more than I need.

That's about all there is to it other than keeping an eye on watering the seedlings and keeping the cats away from the nice fresh beds you are making. I tend to cover the fresh trays with landscape fabric to keep them wet and the cats away. Be sure and reseed before you diminish the plants and you can keep a garden going until March without any heavy frost. Believe me there is nothing like heading out to the courtyard to pick the fresh greens for that night's meal.

You can plant seedings or seed but the thing to do is get your "winter" garden going now. Within a short period of time you will be eating fresh greens from your garden, saving you money and giving you the satisfaction of growing it yourself. Now get planting.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Halloween Gift

For almost twenty years I did a radio show for WTJU in Charlottesville, Virginia, called the Bartender's Bop. When I started doing radio for WTJU in 1981, I was employed as a bartender, thus the name of the show. The show covered the roots of rock and roll, early gospel, RnB, blues and soul music. For the past week or so I have begun transferring cassettes of old shows onto my computer as mp3s and it has given me a chance

to hear some of my old shows for the first time in a long time. One of the things I loved to do was theme shows, so if the date of my show fell near any holiday or event, I would always work hard to put together some kind of tribute. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be nice to give you a small taste of one of my shows that was dedicated to spooky songs. Here it is for you to listen to. Don't expect to hear my voice from 25 years ago as I normally taped the music and not my commentary but you will get a feeling for my show. Enjoy the show and the pictures of some special folks from way back when, as they got ready to celebrate Halloween.