Friday’s Weekend Column
Fried Chitterlings and Hog Maws

by James Glaser
August 26, 2006

Chitterlings (chitlins) are pig intestines, and hog maws are a pig stomach. People in the South eat these after they have been cooked with a little salt, red pepper flakes, and some onion. No, I don't know why they eat these, but then I never knew why when I was young we had Haggis, which is made with a sheep stomach, the liver, heart, and lights (lungs) of the sheep.

I ate at a church run restaurant for lunch today. I passed on the chitlins after they told me what they were made of. I had the baked chicken over rice, with gravy, sweet potatoes, potato salad, corn bread, banana pudding, and sweet tea. That would be just a light lunch down here. I passed on the ox tails, black eyed peas, collard greens, and mashed potatoes. There were a lot of construction workers eating there, and I don't know how those guys go back to work and produce. I left thinking that it was nap time for sure.

Out of guilt for eating so much, I did go back and worked until my belt stopped feeling like a tourniquet. If I ate like that every day I would be putting on the pounds. There are lots of buffets down here, and they are always hard on me. To be honest, I abuse them. I want to try everything I never tasted before, along with everything I have tasted before. So, buffets have been taken off my menu.

Tomorrow I am heading down to the Gulf of Mexico to look for pirate gold on the beach. I have never found any, nor have I met anyone who has. I do know a man whose wife found three bales of marijuana, but that was years ago. Beaches are fun to walk on, and really who knows, you might find something washed up that is real nice. There might be a shell, or even a pirate sword. I would have to guess most of them have been found already. I was at a person's home who had a cast iron cannon that washed up on the beach back in the 60s.

This week has been hot, very hot and very humid. About every afternoon there is a short heavy rain storm. The sun then comes back out and in twenty minutes everything is dry again. After that rain you can perspire standing in front of a fan. The air even feels thick.

The last couple of days I have been cutting on the band saw. I have these magnifying lenses that help me make real intricate cuts. The better the cut, the less work there is fitting pieces together. Well in this heat the sweat runs down my head and drops on the lens of these glasses. Also I wear a cloth mask so I don't have to breathe the saw dust. In this heat and humidity it doesn't take long before I have to change masks as the dust that covers the outside gets wet and I can't breathe all that well. I hang the mask up and the next day I can tap it, all the dried dust falls off, and it is useable again.

Another problem is that when you perspire a lot near a saw, the cast iron saw table can get rusty. I had to scrub mine off with steel wool. I found that if I coated the table with Johnson's paste wax, the problem was cured. Plus the wood slides around the table better.

I have been cutting Paduk (vermilion), walnut, oak, cherry, and birch. Oak tends to stink when you are cutting it. Walnut and cherry smell good, but the walnut dust gives you a bitter taste in your mouth. The vermilion stains your hands and cloths. The birch cuts nicely. There is no bad odor, but is hard to finish.

I have to admit I am thrilled to be working again on something other than the shop. The shop isn't done yet, and I am still waiting for the electrician, but I hooked up the AC with an extension cord, so part of the shop is cool. The cool part is not where I am cutting, but having a cool room to do the real detail work in sure makes it nice.

Hard to believe, but this next week is 1st Friday again. I would like to have the wall piece I am working on down, but I doubt if it will be. People can see the process though, and that might be nice. I sure hope the electrician is here by then.

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