hillbilly Review

We watched this documentary last night, on purpose, because I knew I’d have a LOT to say about it. And I do. Here is the IMDB for hillbilly, which is currently on Hulu.

First, for those who don’t know, I am from Knoxville, TN. This small town is located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. My mother’s side of the family have been there for several generations, my father’s side were from Northern South Carolina and Florida. My mother’s side were hillbillies, my father’s side were white trash. (Yup, there’s a difference.) I lived in E TN until I was about 23, when I came to Atlanta to attend The Art Institute for Music Business. I never returned to E TN. Thank the gods. For the record: I do not identify as E TN, I identify as an Atlantan.

This documentary is centered on KY, where the filmmaker’s family lives, so it’s a very small slice of representation, but I can confirm that the overall attitude is the same in the whole region. And that ACCENT. Oof. The Tennessee version is a bit twangier, but similar. I do not regret losing that mess one little bit. TERRIBLE.

There is a section where they are discussing “code switching”, which is changing the way you talk to certain people, and it was hysterical! This chick was illustrating how she “talked to academics” and she did not change a thing. She *thought* she was cleaning up that nasty accent, but it was 100% the same before and after she supposedly changed it. THIS is pretty much how a hillbilly thinks in a nutshell. They *think* they are “trying” to get above the ignorance, but they are not. They do the same things generation after generation and expect different outcomes.

I grew up in E TN, I can tell you FOR A FACT that the festering resentment for EVERYONE who is not from a hillbilly’s little 10 mile radius is 100% true. Anyone from outside the community is considered OTHER and suspect. My parents opened a steak house in St Joseph MO and my mother would SEETHE in rage when they’d point out her accent. I once asked her if she thought she didn’t HAVE an accent and she sputtered and didn’t answer me. Again, this is pretty normal in that region.

Nick is from Detroit and I have a fairly neutral accent. He got TONS of shit when he moved down here, being a Yankee and all. I still have people ask me where I’m from. In the doc, the hillbillies complained vociferously about being treated as “other” by the rest of the US, but I’m here to tell you that they are EXACTLY the same way. They harass anyone who is not EXACTLY like them with the same accents and the same prejudices. They are mean, rude and nasty to “outsiders”. They tolerate NOTHING.

The documentary is attempting to establish that the media portrayal of the Appalachian people is inaccurate and is partly to blame for the continuing ignorance and poverty in the region. Well, let me tell you something: they are not “portrayed” as dirt poor and ignorant, THEY ARE. The media hasn’t “portrayed” them as anything other than what they are: racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ignorant assholes who hate everyone, but expect the government and all of the US to be nice to them and take care of them. They also excoriate the people who get the fuck OUT and/or promote getting the fuck out of there.

This is a class of people who live in a state of cognitive dissonance. They hate everyone who is not them, they hate the government, they hate the notion that others have it better, YET, YET, YET, they expect everyone to be exceptionally nice to them, to honour their idiocy and to be taken care of by the very government they hate. They voted for T**** because of their deep ignorance of how the world works. They believe what they are told because they want to believe it. They don’t want to hear that what they believe is wrong, no matter WHAT the facts are. They voted for T**** because they are dazzled by people with money who are promising them that they’ll get their share. Regardless if it’s a lie or not. And once they’ve gone down a road, it’s FACT. These people are militantly ignorant. If what they believe doesn’t line up with reality, well, they just doggedly hold on to their beliefs rather than change. These are people who’ve lived in the same shack for eight generations. They are not going to change, because that goes against the grain of who they are. It doesn’t matter if getting away from that shack would be an enlightening experience. They consider it a betrayal of all that they are – which is 100% true. And why it is 100% necessary to break the chain of HILLBILLY culture.

I sent a tweet to the woman that did the film and told her this exact thing and that I have ZERO pity for any of them.

She clearly wanted this documentary to elicit guilt from non-hillbillies, the notion that everyone has gotten it all wrong and hillbillies are not the way they are.

She is wrong, hillbillies are EXACTLY the way everyone thinks they are.

She sits with her MAGAt family during the 2016 election and cowtows to them when the Cheeto won. She goes on to say that it doesn’t mean she can’t relate to the family. (She left at 18, became a progressive and has not looked back, I might add. And clearly does NOT relate to her family.) And her family was saying, oh, it’s OK, we love you anyway, even though we think you are stupid. Her Granny went on to say that she is sorry she didn’t burp her (filmmaker) better as a baby, because she (filmmaker) is clearly DUMB. This is what you get if you dare bust out of their asinine bubble.

This is EXACTLY what my family thinks of me and how I am treated when I visit – which is why I don’t visit. I am the stupid one, because I dared to leave and I dared to question the load of bullshit I was taught growing up. That is the core of all hillbilly thought processes: everyone else is SO DUMB. Why won’t they be like WE are? And THAT, my friends, is why they are still impoverished and ignorant. Because they WANT TO BE. My family are technophobes and refuse to use any tech other than cable TV and cell phones – but ONLY flip phones, because smart phones are for dummies. And computers are for dummies, too. My mother once said to me “You are such an idiot because you use computers. You are so stupid.” And she meant every word.

So, yes, I’ve been up close and personal with hillbilly culture. And I’m here to tell you that it will not change. And they’ll vote for T**** again, because they’ve decided that he’s doing a great job and he’s rich, so OF COURSE he’s qualified to run the country. There’s no changing them and there’s no talking to them. THEY WILL NOT LISTEN.

The woman that did this documentary meant well, I’m sure, but all she did was illustrate the intransigent nature of the Appalachian culture and point out that it’s there to stay. If you want out, you MUST leave the area. Period. And when you do, you will be “other” to them, family or not. I don’t think the filmmaker really understands that. I think she gives them far more leeway and far more credit than they deserve. And she needs to lose that nasty accent, too. There is no reason to sound like that. I am a lover of accents, but I think really strong ones are counterproductive. I can turn mine on and off as it suits me. Children should be taught in school with a neutral accent, IMO, so they can truly code switch and relate to ANYONE, not just the people of their small community. But that’s just me, I have much distaste for all things hillbilly and the accent is a trigger. If you don’t want to be seen as a hillbilly, then DON’T SOUND LIKE ONE. Duh.

I encourage everyone to watch this documentary, especially if you do NOT live in the South. It will open your eyes to the deep rooted bullshit that is Appalachia. And even those who DO live here, you might learn a bit about the region that you didn’t know before. Just know that the tone is overly conciliatory to the hillbillies and it really shouldn’t be. They deserve all the bad press they get. These people are VERY MUCH average people of Appalachia. Such as it is. Take it as a cautionary tale. ;)

How to Stock a Pantry

Along with certain methods and doing your mise en place, having a stocked pantry will help you VERY MUCH in your day to day cooking. All these meal kits you’re buying for $50 a pop? They are simply giving you pantry ingredients and mise en place so you can get to cooking. BUT you can do these things yourself, easily, and save a bunch of money.

My pantry and fridge is full to the brim with herbs, spices and tons of condiments. It’s taken me a long time to gather up the things I have, but I can pretty much cook what I want, when I want with what I’ve got on hand. But this is for someone who is just learning to cook and just getting started amassing their arsenal of things to cook with. Ok, here we go!

Dry Goods
All Purpose Flour (I prefer White Lily; use for making roux)
Cornstarch (thickener for sauces)
Rice (I prefer Basmati)
Dry Pasta (penne is a good all purpose shape)
Any beans or legumes that you use regularly
You can include boxed items in here, but the point is to use fewer pre-boxed foods, right?

Canned Goods
Canned beans
Jarred pasta sauce (a marinara, not one with meat)
Canned tomatoes, diced and whole
Tomato Sauce
Canned soups
2 boxes chicken broth (or cans if you want to use less at a time)
You’ll notice there’s no canned veg here. Frozen veg is better all round than canned.

Condiments (R=refrigerate)
PAM food release spray (any brand/style is fine)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil (for higher heat cooking)
Salted Butter R (some ppl use unsalted, ALL my recipes use salted butter)
Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
Red Wine vinegar
Soy Sauce
L&P Worcestershire Sauce
Frank’s Hot Sauce (or whatever you like)
Lemon Juice R
Ketchup R
Dijon Mustard R
Whole grain Mustard R
Tomato paste R (get the kind in a tube!)
Garlic Paste R (if you can find it, OR minced garlic in a jar.)

Herbs and Spices
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (the standard and used in all my recipes!)
Ground black pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Dried Basil
Dried Thyme
Dried Parsley
Dried Oregano
Dried Paprika (I like both sweet and smoked)
Old Bay seasoning

Fresh Herbs and Veg
Garlic (do not refrigerate)
Onions (do not refrigerate)
Parsley (Or any herbs you’re using in a recipe. Put leftovers in salad!)
Lemons (do not refrigerate)
Buy only the veg you have a recipe for THAT WEEK. I make our salads once a week and hold it in a bag in the fridge. It is a fraction of the cost of bagged salad. A FRACTION.

Frozen Veg
Onion + Peppers, diced (great for SO many recipes!)
Spinach (buying it frozen is more economical than fresh if you are cooking with it)
Any veg you like and use often. The mixed veg bags are handy for all sorts of things from sides to soup. I also like the veg + grains sides you can get, too. They are steam in bag and very nutritious!

As for meats and all your proteins, buy what you’ll use in a week OR if you have the freezer room, buy proteins on sale and freeze. I’d recommend getting a vacuum sealer for this, however, or your frozen protein will have freezer burn. We bought a chest freezer long ago and it has earned its keep a dozen times over in my savings on proteins. Having all kinds of things to choose from at any given time is VERY helpful when cooking at home. At the very least, have chicken thighs, tenders or breasts handy. You can buy big bags of these pre-frozen, they are very economical.

I also advocate taking lunch to work. Prep salads and snacks on your day off for easy grabbing as you run out the door. Same for leftovers. After dinner, put leftovers in single serving containers so you can grab for lunch. THIS WORKS!! (Also: do NOT put meats and oils in plastic! It will break down the plastic when heated and that is toxic. Use glass for your reheatable lunches!)

To get started with cooking regularly, I suggest gathering up a couple of recipes per week and setting aside time to shop for and prep for the recipes. Do this on your day off, then when you want to cook, VOILÀ! All your ingredients are ready to go. At the very least shop for your recipes and have everything you need on hand.

I think many new cooks get frustrated when they attempt to make something and discover they don’t have an ingredient when they are halfway through the cook. This is why USING RECIPES and buying for what you’re making is so helpful. It’s what we chefs do, because it works.

You’ll find that as you buy things for recipes, your pantry will grow on its own. Suddenly you’ll have a fridge full of sauces and condiments that you can use for MORE recipes. You’ll have spices in the cabinet that you can use for furthering your repertoire. That’s how chefs like me end up with literally hundreds of spices and condiments at our disposal. :)

BTW, there are tons of easy recipes here on my site. I’m in the process of inputting them into an actual recipe template, but they are all printable even if they have not been reformatted. Go to View Posts By Category dropdown menu at the top right and choose Angela’s Recipes to see all of them together. Or CLICK HERE. ;)

I feel that I should also mention a couple of cooking VESSELS that will get you through most cooking:
2-3 Qt saucepan (nonstick is fine)
small saucepan (nonstick is fine)
9-10″ skillet (nonstick is fine)
9×9 casserole dish
one good knife (Henckels is my go-to, a decent 8-10″ chef or santoku knife should cost you around $50-75.)

Never put nonstick pans or knives in the dishwasher. I never wash my knives, I just rinse in hot water and dry. Never put a knife in the water with hand wash dishes – cuts SUCK. Always keep your knives SHARP. Take it to a pro for sharpening once a year (the steel is NOT a sharpener, it just hones a little).

Hope you guys find this helpful!

Cafe Gates

Cafe Gates coffee cocktail

Cafe Gates

This is a coffee drink from the 80s that I used to get ALL the time! It is SO good!
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword 80s cocktail, cafe gates, coffee cocktail, coffee drink
Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings 1
Author misangela


  • 3/4 oz Coffee Liqueur Kahlua
  • 3/4 oz Orange Liqueur Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 oz Dark Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 oz cream
  • Hot black coffee
  • whipped cream garnish
  • shaved chocolate garnish


  • Put first 4 ingredients in a tall coffee mug, preferably glass. Top with hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate. Add a cherry if you're FANCY.


This was my hands down favourite coffee drink in the 80s. I have a deep love for Grand Marnier, so anything with that in it will be close to my heart.  <3
Photo credit: Creative Culinary

Truth vs Being Nice

This is a theme that has been in my life since I was a child. Be truthful or be nice – with BE NICE being emphasized, most likely because I’m female. This has been and will ALWAYS be an issue for me. Like, why is it a choice? Isn’t being truthful the nicest thing you can do?

I get a lot of shit for pointing out the downside of things or pointing out magical thinking. I mean a LOT of shit.

But let me tell you something: if we’d had a friend or mentor who had been more honest with us about the fucked up pub lease/deal, maybe – just MAYBE – it would have kept us from losing as much as we did.

If I’m trying to help you by pointing out something you need to hear, it’s fine to not like it – who the fuck does?? – but do not attack me and turn it around to make it appear I’m just being mean. I promise, I WOULD NOT take the time to comment if I didn’t care. There was a study going around FB about why “mean” friends are the best. If by “mean” you mean that they tell you the truth, even if it’s not pleasant, then HELLS YES I AGREE.

I WANT my friends and especially mentors to speak the fuck up. If they had, we might not have lost as much as we did.

Why is it so fucking wrong to point out things that could cause another person harm or other problems?

We asked our mentors about the lease deal with the pub. They all said, “Yeah, yeah, six months free rent is great!” NOT ONE of them said, “Hey, what about build out funds?” NOT ONE. I’m not even counting that cunt realtor, I’m talking about our FRIENDS who own restaurants and had opened several places! I mean, really? Did they not get any build out money? Is it a white people thing to not ask for build out, so I only heard about it when I got schooled by a non-white person? I have no idea of WHY, but I know we didn’t get any indication that the lease was shit. Not until we had our consultant (non white person) come and and tell us to RUN AWAY from that dumpster fire of a lease.

Now, I’d already learned that white people pay WAY too much when building things. The white contractors were easily 2-3x more than the non-white contractors. I have no idea why this is, but it IS. I’ve got the quotes to prove it. So I can only assume that my white restaurant owner friends are just used to paying too much? I really don’t know what the deal is, other than what I learned while dealing with the pub bullshit, which is: white contractors are CRAY with the pricing.

Anyway, this post is about why people don’t want to tell you the truth. Random acquaintances, sure, they got no reason to burst your bubble, but in my mind, friends should always burst your bubble if you need it burst. If you’re my friend, then TELL ME when I am about to do something stupid/painful/ignorant/etc. Jesus, why would you NOT?

I call it The Stick; as in The Stick of Truth. And I’ll whack you with it. Without mercy. Why? Because if I care about you, I want what’s best for you and I want you to be your best, that’s why. Why would I NOT tell you when you need to hear the truth??? I expect the same from my friends. WHACK ME if I need it! Everyone gets caught up in their own bullshit at times – everyone! If just a few words of truth will snap them out of it, they why in the holy hell wouldn’t you SAY SOMETHING?

I will never understand it. NEVER. I will never understand the need for people to “be nice” when their friends are acting a fool.

We could have saved $70k if our friends had had balls enough to point out that our deal was shit. I am NOT blaming anyone other than ourselves, but someone questioning our logic would have gone a LONG WAY when we were freaking out trying to salvage an untenable deal.

SO, next time you have the urge to say something to a friend that might burst their bubble or snap them out of it, DO IT. You could be saving them $70k. Or a bad relationship. Or a bad job. Or even a bad life decision. THINK ABOUT IT.

Cheesy Curried Cauliflower Soup

This is an off the cuff soup that a friend requested the recipe for, so here ya go!

Cheesy Curried Cauliflower Soup
Cheesy Curried Cauliflower Soup

Cheesy Curried Cauliflower Soup

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
1/2 tsp thyme leaves (fresh or dried)
1 tsp curry powder (more if you want)
pinch nutmeg (fresh grated if you have it and you should, whole nutmegs last FOREVER!)
1.5 cup chicken stock or water with one bouillon cube
1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk (if you have it, it’s not that important)
1/2 cup heavy cream
(OR use about a cup of half n half OR all cream. Whatever, just get the consistency to where you want it.)

Bring a 4 qt pot of water to a boil, add 1 Tbl salt and the cauliflower. Cook until tender. Drain. In the same pot over med heat, put butter and celery, carrot, garlic and onion and cook until soft (do not brown, just sweat, adjust heat). Then add flour, thyme, curry and nutmeg and stir thoroughly. Add in cooked cauliflower and stock. Stir and let flour cook for a couple minutes. Kill the heat and puree with a stick blender (or use a regular blender). Stir in the cheese, buttermilk and cream. Adjust seasoning and consistency to your taste. Serve!