Friday, July 03, 2009
Happy Fourth of July
It is the weekend of the Fourth of July. It is a time for good friends, good times, some baseball, some auto racing, and of course, good hash and barbecue.
Hash can be a confusing food to those who did not grow up in the rural South. Yesterday evening, as I was preparing a quart of hash I had bought in Ware Shoals, SC, I was talking to a friend on the mobile phone. When I told him I was dealing with a quart of hash, my friend asked if I would really smoke that much, and remarked that if I did I would be crazier than Mark Sanford at a singles bar on Latina night. I quickly corrected him on the nature of the hash.
Of course even the hash made for eating can get a bad reputation from the very Southerners who enjoy it. Hash has been the source of good ole Southern gossip for years. Hash is made of shredded meat, seasonings, and some folks add potatoes. Most folks make hash with beef or pork or a combination thereof. I have heard of chicken and turkey hash, but I have never eaten such, out of fear that the late Lewis Grizzard somehow would curse my Gamecocks even more if I dared to consume “fake” hash. The Gamecocks lose enough to those people from Georgia, so, I am not about to take any chances.
However it is the very contents of the hash made this time of year in a small town that can start all sorts of rumors. When I was child in a rural Southern town, if a couple of dogs got missing in late June, the little old church ladies would start about how they were not about to eat any hash during the Week of the Fourth. Thus, great rumors started, and the poor ole boy making hash would have all but show his grocery receipts for beef and pork before people ate his hash. Of course, oh Joe Dale would be an exception, he would stand there, with his shirt unbuttoned, and exclaim, “I don’t care if its dog or cat, this stuff is pretty good, I will have some more and another Natural Light, please.”
Of course, Joe Dell’s Fourth of July was ruined one year when he hollered out “hey ya’ll, watch this firework,” and dropped a match into a mason jar filled with leftover Roman candle powder. I suppose someone forgot to tell the ole boy the value of a fuse, or that glass fragments are tough to dig out.
But what would the Fourth of July be in the South without good ole hash, barbecue and some drunken guy darn near blowing himself up? You will see them out on Saturday. After two plates of hash and a twelve pack of beer they will stand there holding bottle rockets and roman candles in their hands and at least a few of them will end up in an emergency room somewhere. It would not be a summer holiday without such.