Thursday, December 8, 2022

Brandi Chambless – THE SIMPLE LIFE

In December 2003, FOX Television Entertainment Group had the clever idea of documenting Kathy Hilton’s reality TV series “I Want To Be a Hilton” in reverse when they created “The Simple Life,” a comedic feast featuring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, two wealthy young socialites as they struggled to do manual, low-paying jobs such as cleaning rooms, doing farm work, serving meals in fast-food restaurants and working as camp counselors.  Since the inception of the show, the term The Simple Life has never been the same.

Here in the DFW Metroplex, consumers work hard to consume less while being tempted by the convenience and comfort of overpriced cups of coffee, $50 car washes, and budget-breaking haircuts.  The lure of the city can challenge our budgets’ last indulgences as we cast down every idol and find ourselves in a toss up of saying goodbye to either our fancy fake fingernails or the housekeeper.  Living the simple life can be a luxury in and of itself that is hard to achieve.  With the return of fall and football season, I know that my simple life is just around the corner, as I get set to nest at home and reacquaint myself with an old friend: my stove.

No dish says “home” to me like red beans and rice, coupled with ESPN’s College Gameday and a big hunk of cornbread.  Call me country.  Seriously, there are some widely known Proverbs of Southern Women that remind me just how deeply my agricultural upbringing cultivated this heart with the desire for simplicity and good cookin’!  For instance, one Proverb reminds me that fixin’ can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.  We’ve been reminded frequently that gimme some sugar has nothing to do with white granules, and finally, we know our religions…Baptist, Methodist, and football!

So I decided that sharing my world famous football-friendly recipe for red beans and rice would be the only proper thing to do as we kick-off another awesome season!  I took a few shortcuts here and added some enhancements there, but don’t tell Mama.  Lord knows that my Papi would be turning over in his Catholic grave (God rest his soul) if he knew that I added cilantro as a garnish to this Creole dish.  If he had ever stumbled upon cilantro growing in his field, there is no doubt he would have summoned my Uncle Jack to get the Round Up and kill this vile weed, for it is an herb that never graced my table until living in the cilantro Holy Land of DFW.

The small red bean made it’s way to the United States from the Caribbean via New Orleans during the slave rebellion of Saint Domingue (modern day Haiti) when sugar cane farmers sought the nearest French settlement.  Red beans and rice have traditionally been served on Mondays, a convenient dish for women who scrubbed last week’s laundry while the dry beans soaked and simmered.  Today, red beans remain as a Monday lunch special in many New Orleans restaurants, although the Monday laundry day is a thing of the past and we working Moms have morphed Saturdays into the nouveau laundry day of the 21st century.

And remember, Southerners can’t stand to eat alone.  If you’re going to cook a mess of beans, eat them with a mess of people while cheering on your favorite team!

Brandi Chambless
Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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