The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 26, 2013

Cheryle Finley: Food laws so wild, they should be outlawed

By Cheryle Finley
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — Are you planning to travel the country this summer? If you are, here are some food laws that you might want to be aware of, courtesy of kitchendaily.com.

Gainesville, Ga., has a law making it illegal to eat chicken with a fork. Chicken is definitely a finger food in those parts. A fork can also be a culprit in Rosemead, Calif. -- get caught eating ice cream with a fork and you will pay the piper.

If you're in California, don't even think about eating an orange in the bathtub, though I'm not sure how that law is policed and enforced. I don't see too many people making a citizen's arrest when their loved one breaks this law.

Beech Grove, Ind., designates eating watermelon in parks as illegal. The rinds were puncturing garbage bags and causing a mess, so they put a stop to the tradition. In Wisconsin, don't try to feed margarine to inmates, patients or students. It must be butter producers' favorite state. Browder County, Fla., bans inappropriate attire for street hot-dog vendors. Nothing too low cut and nothing too short. I wonder if they have specific measuring tools for that. In Tennessee, there used to be a law that made it illegal to catch a fish with a lasso. I say if you can pull off catching a fish with a rope, go for it.

In Louisiana, don't get any ideas about pranking your friend with a delivery pizza order. It's illegal to order food to be delivered to someone without their knowledge. That must have happened numerous times if a law was required to stop it. Greene, N.Y., doesn't want you to eat peanuts and walk backward down the street while a concert is playing. But it's acceptable any other time? You'd better eat something before going to a Massachusetts wake because you are forbidden to eat more than three sandwiches while there. Make sure you have your lunch plans in place

before 11 a.m. in Riverside, Calif., because you can't carry lunch down the street between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In Marion, Ohio, don't try eating a donut while walking backward or you may end up in the pokey. Again with the walking backwards. And, finally, in Boston, apparently all denominations agree that peanuts should not be eaten in church because there's a law against it. Ignorance of the law is no defense, so you have been warned.

Needing a Fred and Red's spaghetti red fix? Get over to Hot Rodz at Seventh Street and Duquesne Road. It used to be easy for me to order lunch there because my sandwich of choice was always the pork tenderloin. But once I saw someone eating the spaghetti red, I couldn't get it out of my mind until I ordered it. Now I'm torn between the two choices every time I visit. Not that I couldn't eat both for lunch, it's just that I shouldn't. I'm always happy with whichever I choose.

Happy birthday Friday to my daughter, Sarah. I couldn't be more proud of you, and I'm so thankful to have you in my life.

The extent of my Swiss steak-making skills is taking a steak, browning it, smothering it in stewed tomatoes, covering it and simmering it until it's done. Or sometimes I just put the steak and tomatoes in the slow cooker and call it dinner. The one skillet Swiss steak recipe from "Lawry's Weekday Gourmet Meals in Minutes" goes a little further but is still super easy. And it has corn in it, which makes it even better. My preference is white corn, which I suppose could be added to my version, too. Don't have seasoned salt? Follow the recipe by combining 1 cup salt, 2 1/4 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Store it for up to six months in an airtight container.

When I ordered the enchilada lunch special at Sandstone Gardens, it came with a delicious piece of cornbread. Though I can't say this fiesta cornbread recipe from Lawry's is as good as Sandstone's, it is good enough that I could make a meal of it. Served warm with butter, it's the perfect accompaniment for just about any meal.

Today is National Chocolate Pudding Day. Celebrate with individual servings, make a batch of instant or fix the chocolate blackout pudding from scratch. This decadent dessert takes a little longer but is worth the time, effort and ingredients. The Dutch processed cocoa has been treated to modify its color. It gives the pudding a milder taste, so it really is the preference here. It can't be substituted in recipes calling for baking soda as leavening because it lacks the acidity needed to activate the baking soda. Don't like to eat chocolate pudding? It's been suggested as a great finger-paint for kids. They can lick their hands clean. Keep cool and happy eating!

 

One-skillet Swiss steak

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 boneless round steak (about 11/2 pounds)

1 (14 1/2 ounces) can whole tomatoes, cut up

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (8 3/4 ounces) can whole-kernel corn

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

Combine flour, seasoned salt and pepper; coat steak in mixture. In large skillet, heat oil and brown steak on both sides. Add tomatoes, onion and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 25 minutes. Add corn and green pepper; cover and simmer 15 minutes longer. Makes 4 servings.

 

Fiesta cornbread

1 (15-ounce) box cornbread mix

1 can whole-kernel corn, drained

1 cup milk

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles

1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; blend well. Pour into greased 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Chocolate blackout pudding

3 cups low-fat milk, divided

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg yolk

1 egg

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons good quality cocoa, preferably Dutch processed

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whipped cream, optional

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk with cornstarch; whisk well. Add yolk, egg, sugar and cocoa and whisk well. In heavy saucepan, heat remaining 2 1/2 cups milk over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Pour half the milk into cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan with remaining milk. Over low heat, whisk constantly for 5 minutes until pudding thickens to yogurt consistency. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate pieces and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is melted. Ladle into mugs or ramekins and chill at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream, if desired. Yields 8 servings.



Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.