Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Tom Chaney: Summer's Bounty

Of Writers And Their Books: Summer's Bounty. Tom shares a recipe to deal with summerís bounty. This column first appeared 20 June 2010.
The next earlier Tom Chaney column: Custer Wore an Arrow Shirt

By Tom Chaney

Summer's Bounty

After a lot of years of presiding over the morning round table meetings of the Downtown Philosophical Society in The Bookstore, I have learned that topics run in almost unvarying cycles around the calendar.

The earliest harbinger of spring is the first reported rainfall after the earliest member has turned up his rain gauge defying any lingering frost. Rain gets measured and discussed minutely. I have taken to jotting down amounts -- Paul showed 2.5"; George had 2.3" in his front yard gauge and 2.1" in his back yard. Therefore, it rained 6.9" yesterday with 'em all added together.

Thus are records set.

Not long after rain gauges comes talk of mowing. Old Frederick Law Olmstead who invented clipped yards along with Louisville parks must be preening what with all the energy and money spent on cutting down what nature tries to grow.

But the gardens take the cake. All of us are engaged in the search for the most tasty tomato. We bemoan the Styrofoam substitutes of winter. We stand at the fruit market and chart summer's progress as the source of the tomato crop inches up through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and finally Hart County. Some DPS'ers actually attempt to grow tomatoes. Others utter onions and squash.

I spoke with one of those growers of love apples just a few days back. He estimates that his home grown tomatoes cost a mere $2.99 a pound not counting the labor -- only about thrice what they get for them at the market.

I 'spect that price differential washes through the entire produce line.

But it looks as though this year is going to provide a bumper crop of most anything that is edible and vegetable -- turnips come winter will be no exception.

As we move through the garden season, I shall depart from matters bookish from time to time to share recipes for dealing with the summer's bounty.

This week's offering was found in The Oxford American 'Best of the South' Issue #69, page 18. It was submitted to that august publication by Jack Pendarvis. He provides a sort of clean up list of the Best of the South entrees that (almost) didn't make it.

Here with the horrified permission of The Oxford American is Mr. Pendarvis' submission for Best Recipe

1 850-pound mule

6 bushels of flour

4 tubs of lard

4 barrels of cheap white wine

1 truckload of turnips

8 cups extra-virgin olive oil

4 lemons, cut into thin slices

4 cups cornstarch

1 large bowl of ice and water

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Cut mule into one- to one-and-a-half-inch cubes. Reserve ears and tail. Roll cubes in flour and brown in hot lard in a mule-sized Dutch oven. Add wine and turnips, cover tightly, and simmer until mule is tender, about one month.

Meanwhile, in a deep saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it is smoking. Coat mule ears and lemon slices in cornstarch and drop into the oil, cooking until crispy. Remove mule ears and place in ice bath. Remove from bath when cool and chop fine.

Add chopped mule ears to mule-and-turnip mixture. Mix well, using a wooden oar. Season with the Worcestershire if desired. Garnish with tail and serve immediately.

Serves fifteen to twenty orphans.
When I first shared this receipt with the DPS, a question was raised about the use of horse meat or mule meat. The consensus was that mule meat is different. The difference may be caused by the tendency of the mule to retain certain noxious exhaust fumes. These will be mitigated by running the mule before chopping it into the cubes. Failure here might cause explosions in the simmering process.

Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at
Box 73 / 111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney -

This story was posted on 2015-06-21 00:14:43
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by Linda Waggener and Pen Waggener, PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia Magazine. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.