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Southern Fried

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Could’ve been because I’m a professional worrier. Not satisfied worrying about things that could happen tomorrow, now I’m starting to worry about things that may not happen for two years.
Could’ve been because I was overly tired from playing with Little One all day long. How she can still have so much energy when I need a nap I guess I’ll never understand.
Then again, it could’ve been an overabundance of fried food consumed too late that kept me up staring at the clock till well past midnight.

The Wife thinks it was all three.
Growing up in the Deep South (for us, that was the land south of I-20), I can remember Mom frying something most every meal. For all you folks out there that don’t eat fried foods, I have but one word for you – why? And for the folks that never ate their vegetables when they were kids, I have two words for you – why not?

Down here in Georgia if you don’t like what you’re eating, there’s an easy and tasty fix. Just soak it in butter, batter it, and then fry it. Trust me, you’re gonna love it.
That’s how Mom got us to eat Brussels sprouts. Yep, kid you not. She soaked, battered, and then fried those miniature cabbages. Many table wars were fought over who of us would get to eat the last one.
Don’t believe me? Well, try this. One night this week, cook your kids a nice big plate of steamed Brussels sprouts or broccoli. The very next night, fry that green stuff up. See which night the plates are cleaned and which night’s plates are held under the table for dogs to eat.

Mom fried most anything. For breakfast it was, of course, all the traditional stuff like bacon, sausage, or eggs. She also fried French toast, pork chops or chicken.
We lived in the South so it was a law that fried chicken could and should be eaten at any meal. At least, I think it was. For lunch she’d fry baloney without making a slice in them. That way they’d puffed up like little hats when they were done. But it was dinner when Mom snuck in most of our vegetables.

Got kids that don’t eat green stuff? Well here’s your greasy answer – just fry up the squash, that eggplant, or those green tomatoes. Yes, you can fry and eat green tomatoes. You can even make a movie about it. Trust me, it’s good — fried green tomatoes, that is. I still haven’t seen the movie yet.

Yep, I know. Eating fried foods ain’t good for your health. Then again not eating one’s vegetables ain’t good for you neither.
My childhood doctor told me not to eat so much fried stuff. He said all that grease was gonna clog my arteries and kill me one day. He died a couple of years ago.

When I heard the news, I went straight out and ordered two glasses of milk at a local restaurant – doctor’s orders. He always told me consuming milk makes bones stronger. Mine’s just in the form of fried ice cream.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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