Cooking Term: Chicken-Fried

Have you ever wondered what it means, exactly, to have something “chicken-fried”? I always had a feeling it was like this, but wasn’t quite sure.

Click the image to go to Ree Drummond’s Chicken-Fried Steak recipe. (image from foodnetwork.com)

Dictionary.com states it concisely:

Chicken-Fry

to dip (meat, vegetables, etc.) in batter and fry, usually in deep fat.

Concealed Carry Wardrobe

As many of you know, I purchased a holster a while back (click HERE to read my review post), and have loved it. I can now conceal carry my M&P Shield almost all the time – the only exception really being when I’m wearing a dress or jumper.

This has somewhat effected the way I dress, and how I shop for clothing. Thankfully not much! But, there are a few things that I choose for, or add to, my outfits to help conceal better.

Created on Polyvore…

One thing to keep in mind: It is best to be wearing your gun while you’re shopping for clothes. That way, you’ll know how the clothes conceal/fit with it.

Vests

I have a knit, drape-front vest that I wear over t-shirts for added concealment. I also wear denim shirts (or other button-downs) open, over tank tops. Tank tops and t-shirts are usually more fitted, and tend to show the holster contents a little more. 😉

Knots

I have often tied the fronts of my blouses (usually over a tank), to help them look like they fit better. I just do it a little looser now, and it does wonders for concealment. The gathers and interest around the hemline help to cover up and distract from any printing the gun might be doing.

Peasant Style

And, by “peasant style”, I simply mean fuller tops, often gathered at the neckline, or onto a yoke. This keeps the top loose, and hides the gun really well.

If you’ll notice, all of these options allow me to keep my tops untucked. This way, the gun is much more easily accessible, and stays well hidden.

Cooking Term: Castor Sugar

Have you ever wondered what that British cookbook meant by “castor (or caster) sugar”? I certainly have!

So, I looked it up on Merriam-Webster.com and found:

Chiefly British

: finely granulated white sugar

But, my question was how that compares to powdered/confectioners’ sugar. So, I kept searching and found this helpful picture and tutorial on instructables.com:

Click on the image to read the tutorial.

So, there you go! It’s about the texture of fine sand – so right in between granulated and powdered sugar.

Emily Post on Response Cards

While helping a friend plan an event, I ran across this passage in the book, Emily Post’s Etiquette.

And before you go categorizing this as old-fashioned or outdated information, you should know that this is a modern-day edition, edited for today’s society.

Besides, putting other people before yourself is never an outdated principle!

In this passage, the author specifically addresses the subject of response cards in wedding invitations. It is safe to assume that this is applicable to any event – not just weddings.

Response Cards (from Emily Post’s Etiquette)

It is regrettable that it is necessary to write these paragraphs, but the custom of enclosing response cards with wedding invitations is so widespread that it must be discussed.

The custom has arisen, I am afraid, out of sheer necessity. Too many people are lazy, thoughtless, or ignorant of good behavior and simply will not take the time or make the effort to answer invitations. When a caterer is hired, or the reception is held at a club or hotel, those in charge want to know the exact number of guests as soon as possible. While a rough estimate may be made from the quantity of invitations mailed, the more precise estimate must await the replies. Therefore, in an effort to get this information to the cater in plenty of time, brides and their mothers often feel that the responses will arrive more quickly and surely if cards are enclosed.

She goest on to state that she “… thoroughly deplore[s] the lack of appreciation shown by guests who would not otherwise bother to answer promptly…”.

Let’s step it up, folks! Responding in a timely manner is not complicated or difficult. If you can’t get a definite response together in time, respond that you will not be attending.

As always, put others before yourself. Think of the host or hostess – not just your own schedule or desires.

Cooking Term: Al Dente

This week’s cooking term is one that we use frequently in our household. When you cook your pasta to the point at which it is done, but still firm (not soft, mushy noodles…), it is al dente.

found on Pinterest

According to Merriam-Webster.com:

Al Dente

adjective   |   al den·te   |   \äl-ˈden-(ˌ)tā, al-\

(Italian; literally, to the tooth) 

: cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture

First known use: 1920

Basic Courtesy

You may still be wondering what exactly to do about that RSVP, and might be completely lost when it comes to which fork to use first… But, you don’t have to be a pro at all-things-protocol to practice basic courtesy.

from weheartit.com

What I’m referring to as Basic Courtesy is the “common sense” of social interaction. Here are a few points, off the top of my head, that would fall into this category.

And, though these may seem pretty easy for us adults, we should remember that even small children are capable of these things!

  • Be pleasant, and make eye contact.
  • Thank more than once.
  • Stay positive. (No whining!)
  • Don’t be nosey.
  • RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPERTY/SPACE/HOUSE RULES
  • Take responsibility for your mess, your children (and their messes), your belongings, etc.

The underlying truth in all of this courtesy/etiquette stuff is: love. Show this love by putting others before yourself. When you’re not sure how to handle a situation, think about how you will affect those around you. Just do your best to make that affect positive!

Modern-Day Challenge

As I’ve continued to look at etiquette through the years, I’ve stumbled upon some points that, for many of us, would be quite a challenge.

On EmilyPost.com, I found a page entitled “Party Manners 101”. This is a GREAT list of the basics, and perfect for a quick reference.

There are 13 points, ranging from “Arrive on Time” to “The Thoughtful Afterthought” (regarding thank you notes). What immediately struck me, however, was the second point:

Turn off your cell phone.
While you’re at a party, consider yourself unavailable. If you’re expecting a call or must be reachable, put your phone on vibrate and excuse yourself to another room to take the call. Never use or answer a host’s phone without permission. If you are asked to answer the phone, say, “Scherr residence.”

This point goes for more than just “parties”, but it sounds so extreme, doesn’t it? How can a whole group of people come together, and unplug from ALL the other groups that they are always available to? Email, Facebook, Pinterest, iMessage, Instagram, Twitter, etc., etc., etc… all turned OFF for a whole event. Really?

Norman Rockwell perfectly portrays the scenario, with a newspaper in place of a modern-day device. (found on Pinterest)

Yes, really.

So, I am challenging us to focus more of our attentions on the folks around us – in person – by setting aside our devices while we’re with them. Can we do it? I believe so. 🙂