Tag Archives: mocktail

I Like the Lady Horses Best

We’ve been pretty focused on dogs lately here at BigLittleMeals. But a couple of things got me off of dogs and (back) to horses (there’s nothing quite like being on the back – bareback, of course – of a horse). While I’m back to horses, Andy in Andy’s Corner is back to Sociology – AND horses. How clever!

First, I saw this article in The Atlantic about the evolution and domestication of horses. According to the author, “They say dogs are man’s best friend, but horses could also claim that title.” It’s a fascinating analysis of horse history and puts dogs and horses – as our helpers and pals – in more of a perspective. For example, did you know that dogs were domesticated 15,000 years ago – and horses weren’t domesticated until almost 10,000 years later?

Then came Mother’s Day and I got a call from my son, Travis, offering to bet on the Kentucky Derby for me in lieu of Mother’s Day flowers! Now I’m not a horse-racing fan, but the decision was simple. Who wants flowers…at least inside and in a vase and from a florist (my apologies to all of you flower-loving mamas out there. To each her own.)?

Rich Strike – the very long shot Derby winner for 2022

You know Andy and I have a ton of fun doing these blogs. We can jump all over the place and there’s no teacher or professor or editor – except ourselves – to tell us that our writing sucks. So I’d like to share the next sequence of events that resulted in this blog so you know just how random our reading and research is.

  1. After Travis placed my $10 bet on Epicenter (yup – way cheaper than flowers!), I started wondering if I should have bet on a filly.
  2. There were no fillies in the Derby this year to bet on – so I researched whether a filly had ever won the Kentucky Derby.
  3. The last (of only 3 fillies) to win the Derby was Winning Colors back in 1988 – 34 years ago!
1988: Winning Colors (a filly) besting Forty-Niner (ironic!) in the Derby
  1. Why don’t fillies win – or even enter?
  2. The answer to the above question is somewhat complicated. Fillies mature later than stallions, so a 3-year-old filly isn’t as strong as a 3-year-old male, and only 3-year-olds run in the Derby. Plus, there’s the “stud” thing. A winner stallion has the potential to bring in way more money as a stud than a mare does as a producer of a foal/year. Finally, the Derby instituted a point system back in 2013 that helps out European and Japanese bred stallions but does nothing to help fillies.

Stay with me here; it’s getting more random 🙂

  1. A week or so ago I skimmed an article in the NYTimes about a 46-year-old poet by the name of Ada Limón and happened to see that she grew up in Glen Ellen (our current home town) and Sonoma – and she lives now in Kentucky. So I read some of her poetry. My favorite? About fillies – and girls. It’s great.
  1. How perfect can this all be…except this is a food/life blog, and I’ve got to factor in food.
  2. I can’t possibly do horse meat – but why?
  3. Why don’t we eat horse meat, at least here in the U.S.? Mr. Beat – who is a YouTube-ing high school teacher in Kansas – has a video about that.

Since I can’t enthusiastically include a recipe for horse meat – or dog – or even cat meat – we’ve got a recipe for a variation on the go-to cocktail while watching horse-racing: the Mint Julep! We’ve even got a Mock Mint Julep recipe. But might I suggest that you enjoy it while you watch next year’s Kentucky Oaks, NOT the Kentucky Derby. It’s a race specifically for 3-year-old fillies. I’ll bet you’ll like “the lady horse swagger.”

My horse Besties, hanging out in the back acreage of our Ft Collins, CO, home in the late 1950’s. Patches – a black and white, pinto, part draft-horse, unregistered gelding, and Fleet – a palomino, purebred, registered Quarter Horse mare. To be perfectly honest, I loved them both equally.

A last minute footnote: Depending upon your feelings about racehorses, you’ll be happy – or sad – to learn that UC Davis has just decided to replace their “elite” racehorse mascot with…ta-da!…a cow. 🙂

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The Worst Christmas Song – Ever

I had no idea that ranking Christmas songs (from worst to best) is all over the web, so when I saw the ranking by Alexandra Petri in the The Washington Post, I was intrigued. Petri picked “The Little Drummer Boy” as the worst ever. I beg to disagree. IMHO the worst Christmas song ever is John Denver’s “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas.” What was he thinking?

If only John and I could have a conversation, I’d say…

“Oh, John, you were such an important part of my young life. How I loved “Rocky Mountain High,” “Annie’s Song,” “I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”

Your lyrics to “Rhymes and Reasons” still resound today – especially during this on-Covid-alert holiday season:

So you speak to me of sadness
And the coming of the winter
Fear that is within you now
It seems to never end

For the children and the flowers
Are my sisters and my brothers
Their laughter and their loveliness
Could clear a cloudy day

And the song that I am singing
Is a prayer to non believers
Come and stand beside us
We can find a better way

And, John, I’m sure we’d all agree that your songs were generally a little schmaltzy, a little philosophical, kinda sweet – and usually uplifting. Yet the song you wrote that will stay with me forever is Leaving on a Jet Plane” (“I’m leaving on a jet plane; don’t know when I’ll be back again”). You recorded it in 1969, and in March of that year Andy and I hugged and kissed and cried and said good-bye to each other at the San Francisco airport; I flew back to Colorado and he flew to Vietnam for the start of his one year of service there. We were practically newlyweds. So I guess it’s not surprising that both Andy and I tear up and get goosebumps when we hear that song – even now more than 50 years later.

Lyrics from Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane

I was getting my holiday music organized the other day (I traditionally begin overwhelming Andy with my Christmas song tracks on the day after Thanksgiving) and was humming this one…and that one…and inadvertently started humming The Worst Christmas Song – Ever. The lyrics are brutal and sad and anything but Christmasy.

Why in god’s name did you record “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas,” John? We found out after you died in that plane crash that you had a dark side most of us weren’t aware of, so maybe that explains a little. But you first recorded this in 1973, when it seemed you were on top of the world. Didn’t you realize how dreadful that song was – and how wrong for the holiday season?”

I guess we all have dark sides. In today’s Andy’s Corner we get a closer look at the dark bark side of Wynn, our 5-month-old Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Now – to lift our holiday spirits – and to counter John’s depressing song – I’d like to propose a toast…and hope that a toast is not inappropriate under the circumstances. Here’s to holiday Mocktails!

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