Sunday, February 08, 2009

Of Ham Hocks and Facebooks

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," finding the funny stuff even when the going's rough. Jobless, hopeless, sad or tense? Call bored gods to get them hence!

This is the time of year when the thoughts stray to a warm, nourishing bowl of bean soup. Forget the unfortunate production of unwanted methane brought on by consuming this commodity. It's still a healthy food.

Yesterday Mr. Johnson expressed an interest in bean soup. So I toddled off to the Snobville grocery store in search of a bag of mixed beans and a couple of ham hocks.

I can't imagine that any of my ten readers wouldn't know what a ham hock is, but to refresh your memory: It's some part of a pig that comes in roundish shapes and is composed of bones, gristle, and fat. Having very little (if any) meat on them, ham hocks are used to flavor other foods, i.e., beans.

Traditionally, ham hocks are the cheapest meat in a grocery store, with the possible exception of that potted stuff and plain old soup bones. Imagine my surprise when the Snobville grocery wanted five dollars for three ham hocks!

I stood in the meat aisle and had a conversation with the air that went something like this: "Can I believe my eyes? Five bucks for a trio of ham hocks? What is this, a ploy to make rich yuppies feel like they're buying something of worth? Next thing you know, this store will be offering Spam at the no-nonsense price of ten dollars a tin! Wait. What do I hear? Oh, by all the bored gods, it's my dear old granny, turning in her grave!"

It's a curious thing I've noticed, that when I get to talking to the air that way, people tend to avoid me. At home in Appalachia, at least three other folks would have joined in solidarity, proclaiming that price for ham hocks to be delusional.

But laugh no longer, Granny. For the same price, five bucks, I got a whole pork shoulder -- much more meat, same smoked flavor, less fat and gristle, twice the weight! As I told Mr. Johnson when I got home, I won't buy five dollar ham hocks until ground beef costs thirty bucks a pound.

Other news of note: Something odd has happened to my Facebook. It's like that site and that site alone has a weird virus. I can't get on it, and if I do, it knocks me off ... and the whole way off the Internet to boot. So if you make a friend request and I don't get back to you, that's why. I guess daughter The Spare or I might have downloaded some junk to my hard drive that's just whacking away at Facebook and (so far so good) nothing else.

If you have a basic comprehension of computers, and you can help me fix this problem, my email is in my profile page. I've tried scrubbing, soaking ... oh wait. That was the upholstery. I've tried running the antivirus scan, cleaning out the cookies, temps, and adware, and re-booting. No luck.

Anyway, I'm glad it's Facebook and not Blogger that's got the stubborn won't-run-blues. But I think the loss of the social site is hitting poor Spare pretty hard.

Enjoy your day!


Lavanah said...

I've had the same problem with chicken soup fixings. $1 to $1.50 a pound for chicken feet or stripped backs, but 49 cents a pound for chicken quarters, including drumstick, thigh and back? Good thing I'm handy with the big knives...Food prices are making no sense at all these days.

tshsmom said...

The same is true with stew meat. Stew meat is $4/lb and I can buy a lovely beef roast for $2.69/lb. I usually roast the beef for one meal and chop and freeze the leftover beef for stew.

Your Facebook problem may be caused by one of the applications you joined on Facebook. I've known several people this has happened to.

Pom said...

Much to my dismay I make rather plain beans so I'll defer to the more knowledgable about that while I read with interest.

I asked Mini Me about the FB issue and she said that using an auto log-in seems to help. Of course when there are several different accounts on one computer that's not always the best option. My husband has also had problems with it but just rides it out. He's more patient than I.

Lisa said...

last time i looked at Ham hocks here ( australia) they were around $4 each !!!

Sarita said...

Considering the price of ham hocks, I guess it's good I'm vegetarian. :P

As for facebook...I don't know what to suggest, except to maybe try getting on it at your local library, or at work when you've got spare time. I have a similar problem, but with Witch Vox. I simply cannot get onto it on my home computer, so I have to go to the computer lab or library to read the latest articles.

Mama Kelly said...

I wind up with the same sticker shock when I buy beef marrow bones to make my grandmother's tomato soup.

These high priced ingredients used to be available for a fraction of the cost of "real meat" thus how they came to be used to flavor soups and stocks.

Now? Im not sure what theyre thinking

Anonymous said...

I may well be wrong, but I think part of the cost of these products is due to their becoming chic and the other part is that the purveyors have finally discovered that all those pesky "illegals" don't just steal our jobs--they like to eat the cheap cuts and are willing to pay a premium for them!


sott'Eos said...

Anne, do you use FireFox as a web browser? If not, then that might solve your problem (free download, and a much better browser than IE, IMHO).

If you are already using FireFox, then you might try installing a couple of plugins to "turn-off" the content that is causing problems. There is a plugin called "No Script" that disables scripts running from websites. On the downside, you might not even be able to log-in to Facebook unless their scripts can run (not a Facebook user, can't say for sure).

Installing FireFox plugins is easy, there is a menu item right in FireFox: Tools->Add-ons.

Maebius said...

I'l nod wisely and sadly at the ham hock debacle. We used to get fat trimmings to make into suet for our wild birds, essentially free, then about 2 years ago they suddenly had sticker-prices on them for more than regular ground hamburger. SHEESH!

In regards to Facebook, I ran into similar problems (using Firefox, ie, anything) when I added one of those funny applications. Lil Green sporuts, Karma, Hugs, etc. You probably know what I mean.
I had to go use a library PC with scripts all turned off by default (yay for actual library security practices!) and go through to un-enable all those kinds of applications on my profile, then add a few back that I had before the problems started.
Best of luck fixing it though!!

Goat Yoda said...

I used some chicken breasts when I did northern white bean soup today- I couldn't find any carrots to cut up, but I did use a nice onion. I'll get some carrots tomorrow and maybe some fresh spinach for green things. This will stretch till the end of the week.

BTW> My troll doll collection has been steadily growing! I've found several of the same ones I had when I was young and have found inventive uses for them- Oh- and the wishniks aren't as valuable as the DAMs- some of those guys are outrageously high. And they redress them in little southern belle dresses!

yellowdog granny said...

you and I are on the same page with the ham hocks..can buy a damn pig for what they want for ham hocks..and When I want stew meat I just buy the cheapest roasts on sale..usually chuck..and chop it up and make my own stew meat..actually in my little home town I can ask the kid behind the counter to do it for me..
I still giggle at the notion that I can get 4 slices of bacon or one pork chop, or 1 weinie..small town meat counters rock.
I noticed the last time I was using face book I couldn't leave comments on mine or anyone elses..going to go back and see if it's workig now..

Hillbilly Fairy said...

that's so weird. i was thinking about ham hocks the other day. i just recently started eating meat again, and got hungry for a bowl of black bean soup w/ham hocks like i used to make.... they call them "ham ends" here in berkeley springs. i'll let you know how much they are when i go get 'em!

As for Facebook, i've been having some weird little problems. i have a mac... have you tried a different browser??? good luck!

Madam Lost said...

As to the unwanted methane brought on by consuming the beans, here's a trick for eliminating this particular bi-product, assuming you use dried beans. Place beans and water to cover by 2" in a pan. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and wait two hours. Drain, rinse in fresh water, and cook.

Either one of two things happens: 1. the methane producing properties are removed, or 2. you believe the methane producing properties are removed and your body reacts accordingly.