Friday, November 1, 2013

Moderation in All Things 'cept Maybe Mama Jean's

Now that we have found a really good doctor up the road in Little River, my Dear Wife and I can do two good things on one monthly journey: (1) Listen to some astute and gently delivered advice about eating sensibly, taking the right meds, getting the blood pressure and lipid profile looking better, and shedding a few pounds, and then (2) go directly to Mama Jean's for lunch and dig into some of the finest country cookin' that won't be found on any doctor's suggested diet.

A family-owned business, Mama Jean's features "Home Cooking Like Yo Mama's!" We haven't yet tried their breakfast -- all those pancakes, eggs and sausage, omelets, home fries, and grits that surely are heavenly -- but we're on the verge of becoming lunch-bunch regulars, of which there are many. A lot of workers come in for a hearty lunch, and there are many silver-haired folks like us. You'll hear a lot of talk about sports, especially SEC football, while Fox News is always on as the news outlet of choice.

The buffet line is overflowing with the finest Southern cuisine: fried chicken. hamburger steak, fish, ribs, BBQ, mashed potatoes (and gravy of course), collards, chicken bog, baked beans, fresh-baked biscuits and jalapeno cornbread, bread pudding, and a grand assortment of fruit cobblers. And those are just examples; there are plenty of other fine dishes. (You can find the menus and the neat story of this restaurant at Be sure to watch the video.)

Today, though, I had some misgivings going in. Lately, I have been putting back on some of the weight I'd lost earlier in the year in preparation for my knee replacement and in the rehab afterwards. So I thought I would make my selections as calorie- and fat-conscious as possible. I selected a nice piece of flounder and then (with deep regret) bypassed the mashed potatoes in favor of collard greens, corn, and baked beans. You have the option of substituting dessert for one of the veggies, and DW was amazed that I had left the cherry cobbler off my plate. Sugar is a medical concern of mine, but never one of my Tar Heel wife. In fact since Mama Jean's is just a mile or two from the North Carolina border, she's pretty much decided this really is home cooking like her Mama used to prepare.

So I suppose my only serious point is that you can make some relatively healthy choices even in a country kitchen. Or you can just consider it an occasional treat, and, what the heck, eat whatever you want and walk or bike 10 extra miles when you get home.

                                © Robert G. Holland  2013

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