Just Another Sunday Afternoon: Letter One

I read a beautiful blog the other day about this couple who writes love letters. I know it is bad practice, but I will post a link later. If you would like to find it now go to my Pinterest board called “My Forever After”. Below is my first of many to J.

The moment I realized the next time I will see you it will be in October and we will be able to: go for a walk in the crisp morning air; drink hot tea with honey and vanilla lattes (or black coffee with a chocolate chip cookie) till our hearts are content; go for a drive up the mountain with the windows down and the heat on our feet; be able to stay up all hours of the morning watching terrible television you like on Netflix; go for a run together to prepare for the Turkey Trot; and maybe even drink a hoppy, malted adult beverage while listening to some local music in a dim lit bar while we hold hands underneath the table. Waiting for the day airports, layovers, and flying are not required to see you. All my love- K

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The Southern “Foodie”

I found myself pondering blogging topics, like I do every week, and coming up unsuccessful. I came across a video from a fellow PR in AG classmate (via Google+ of course) and I started watching it. After getting sucked in by yet another video I realized I was going on yet another rant. I have been doing this lately and I decided to blog about it and see what others had to say.

This video is just over 18 minutes long. With all of these youtube videos I have been watching lately they seem to be all about food. Most of them are: agriculture needs to change, You’re killing our kids, I hate the USDA and so on and so forth. This speaker said she saw the business aspect of agriculture and the technological changes that have been going on the last decade. This caught my eye right off. Though she does not have an agriuclutre background and her general message is still the same I still have these burning questions.

Has the increase in processed foods caused an increase in health problems? What do people in the agriculture industry have to say when speakers like this insinuate that processed products and new seeds and genetics cause health related issues?  When I talk to my peers in the industry or in school with me we tend to blame the health issues on over eating, eating the wrong portion sizes and lack of education. Our society needs to be more active and eat better. This will change our problems. Back in the day food was not as easy to come by and we start to blame McDonalds and other large food chains.

I do not personally think it is agriculture’s fault. Everything from subsidies, technology on the farm and the numerous bi- products that food can be made into or have uses for all make our food cheap. Does that mean it is okay? Is it the cause for health issues? And even if we watch our portions and use moderation it seems as if all of our food that we eat from corn syrup to soy meat filler is processed. I could spend hours just in the damn bread isle looking at the ingredients list. If people blame ag do we just tell them you have to know what your eating, where it comes from and what it contains?

I feel like I know what is bad and good when it comes to food knowledge, but all these “foodies” blame agriculture, the food industry or the government. Don’t you and shouldn’t have to be proactive and know what your putting in your mouth? How is it agriculture’s job to teach you how to shop!? Because other industries do not have this problem. For example, if I go to a store and buy a dress, wear it to school then get made fun of because it is ugly, doesn’t fit right, is not in style and makes me look fat this could cause years of therapy and depression. Do I blame the designer, the store or the fashion industry for not knowing how to dress my body?  NO!  So is it agriculture’s responsibility to grow, produce and make everyone nutritionally aware? Was it not your own mothers job to teach you chocolate milk does not come from a chocolate cow and if you drink only chocolate milk 3 times a day you will probably start to gain weight?

I would love to know others thoughts on this. I love to hear all sides of each story. But I am at a loss as to why farmers are to blame for trying to feed our hungry ass?


My Kind of Southern Pizza

Biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried chicken and let’s not forget that irresistible buttery and flaky crust that is paired with sweetly seasoned fruits that is baked to bubbling perfection in an oven. These along with many others were staples in my non southern yet southern upbringing. Growing up with a southern feast at my fingertips also meant knowing the etiquette of a southern belle. We set the table before every meal, thank the good Lord for the meal and for our family and then finally we pass our food to the left. This is still our ritual today for family meals.

Now that you know I am “corn fed” and (mostly) proper at the dinner table I will get to the meat and potatoes of this post. My grandma does not measure anything, even if she is baking and somehow her loafs of bread and biscuits rise beautifully; my mother can throw everything but the kitchen sink into a pan and make Emeril Lagasse blush; my sister has been making homemade breakfast since before I was in kindergarten and she went to culinary school, no further explanation needed, and finally my aunt (my mom’s sister) is the more modern organic and natural cook who puts just the right amount of butter on toast and has just the right spin on everything she does to please her husband and her three year old. Not to mention that my grandparents and aunt and uncle always have summer gardens and incorporate fresh produce into every meal possible. Then there is me. I throw things in a pot, follow a recipe or pour milk on my cereal and each time I am praying I do not burn down the house in the process.

I love to cook, even if it is just attempts at five star qualities. The other night one of my roommates and I thought we had an authentic Italian gene and started in on a homemade pizza. No, it is not fried chicken and mashed potatoes but that is why I am the non-southern southern belle.

Here is how it went down.

Crust:

1 Great Value pizza crust (50 cents)

Water- amount called for in the directions

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Toppings:

½ pound venison browned w/ garlic and onions

1 pk peperoni

1 pk of shredded cheese of your choice

½ Chopped Yellow onions

1 can mushrooms

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Sauce:

1 can tomato sauce

1 can of tomato paste

Warm/ hot water as needed for thinner consistency

Garlic

Italian Seasoning

Oregano

Parsley

Red Pepper flakes

Garlic Salt

Sugar

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Pizza Construction:

Mix the sauce together by taste preferences. I looked at about 3 to 5 different “easy” sauce recipes and “winged it.” Cook crust by directions on package. Layer sauce to your desired amount and liking, cover the bottom with pepperonis, and cover with browned venison, sprinkle onions and mushrooms as desired and top with cheese

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If I was a real southern belle here are the changes I would make. Homemade crust all the way, with real butter or shortening. I would use fresh tomatoes from your garden or a farmers market for the sauce. They always taste better that way. Do the same with the herbs, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Fresh is always best. With the amount of toppings we put on we wanted more sauce! This pizza was very hardy and I was done after 2 pieces. My favorite part is the venison because of the great flavors you get when you brown it with garlic and onions!

Despite the way I make it all sound, to this point my cooking experiences are mostly positive. I just do not feel like my skills have reached Bobby Flay’s expectations for grilling or Giada DeLaurentiis’ Italian flare. I just want to know how to make flaky crust like my moms, biscuits and gravy like grandma, the skill and knowledge of my sister and my aunt’s confidence to try new things in the kitchen.  Maybe next time we will make the noted changes. Let me know what you think and the topping you think should be on a southern pizza!

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A little about me…

My name is Kelsie Young. I am a senior, Agricultural Communications major, Missouri State University. I found a love for the outdoors and the country lifestyle at an early age. Spending more than my fair share of summer days and nights on Table Rock Lake in Shell Knob, Missouri meant living with ear infections, sunburnt noses and never ending happiness. We did everything from: cookouts, fireworks, smores, nature walks, boat rides, swiming and playing till our hearts were content. Our family: my dad, Jim, my mom, Lori, and my sister, Callie (now Zirkle) always seemed to stay close to home for our family vacations. If we were not at the lake we were in Buffalo, Missouri at my mom’s parents house. Here we found ourselves ingulfed in never ending southern cooking, sweet treats and unlimited running room. Whether we were swimming in the pool, canoeing in the Niangua river, taking walks or playing games in the field behind their house or learning to ride horses in the corral behind the barn it was my own southern belle fantasy.

If you know anything about agricultural women, grew up around them or if you are one; Wrangler jeans, Ariat and Justin boots and big jewlery are probably a guilty pleasure of yours and something that you are accustom too. On the working side of the farm you will also have your shit kickers, coveralls and dirty ball caps you wear when you go to work livestock or while working in the field during harvest. These are things I did not grow up with. My childhood dream of living on a farm, riding horses, showing cattle and being a “farmer’s daughter” did not happen until I was a freshmen in high school.

About the time I was joining my high school FFA chapter and taking my first agriculture education class, Dad was buying his first load of bred heifers. We were putting the finishing touches on our house and it was time to become a farming family. My dreams were coming true and my sisters were being crushed. Callie was not a fan of the extra drive time the country life was causing and I was in love with the 82ish acres I had to play and day dream on.

Throughout the years my passion and love for agriculture has not only shaped my future but also molded me into the farmer’s daughter I have always wanted to be. I am going to take you on a journey, a journey of my life as a non southern southern belle.