Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fresh Squoze Orange Juice (and Lewis Grizzard)

Fresh tangerines and juice. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
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The name Lewis Grizzard probably doesn't mean much to readers from outside of Georgia these days, but in his lifetime he was the most popular writer in my home state and throughout the Southeast. He was only 47 when he died of complications from heart surgery in 1994, but produced 25 books of Southern humor, mostly culled from his Atlanta Journal columns.
Grizzard was a master of the one-liner, many of which became his book titles  - "Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, Don't You Know Them Taters Got Eyes," "My Daddy was  Pistol and I'm a Son of a Gun," "Shoot Low Boys, They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies," "When My Love Returns from the Ladies Room, Will I be Too Old to Care?" and "Elvis is Dead and I Don't Feels So Good Myself."

He was of a certain breed of Southern male true to his post-war generation. He was a good ol' boy faithful to his almost-alma mater, the University of Georgia, and a bit of a misogynist. Even in his heyday in the 1980s, his opinions on women seemed crazy outdated. Maybe that's why he was married four times. Maybe what's crazy is that a lot of female readers loved him anyway. You see, Lewis Grizzard was most of all a mama's boy, disparaging his ex-wives in his columns, but always putting his mama on a pedestal. After she passed, he collected those columns in a book titled "Don't Forget to Call Your Momma - I Wish I Could Call Mine." (a line that my mama reminds me was borrowed from Bear Bryant)

Lewis' mama babied her little boy, making him breakfast with fresh-squoze orange juice every day. And that's what I think about when I see three-pound bags of tangerines on sale for 49 cents apiece - fresh-squoze orange juice for my little girls. I used my hand-juicer and squoze every last one of those luscious fruit for the sweetest juice for my babies' breakfast.

My eldest daughter, the read-a-holic, pulled Grizzard's "If Love Were Oil, I'd Be a Quart Low" off the shelf a few months ago and recounted all of Lewis' stories of love and marriage gone wrong. We laughed about the stories, and I told her it's ok to laugh, but be careful of Mama's Boys - they will break your heart.

Make your babies some fresh-squoze o.j. now that citrus is cheap and plentiful. I found the 49 cent bags of tangerines at Aldi, my favorite shop for produce deals. It's super-easy to juice fruit and you don't need expensive equipment, although electric juicers are nice to have around. 

Fresh Squoze Orange Juice (or other citrus)
 in memory of Lewis Grizzard

Fresh citrus such as oranges or tangerines, sliced in half

1. Using a juicer, either a hand-press or electric model, squeeze the fruit. If doing this by hand, be sure to pick out the seeds or use a sieve set over a bowl. Store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to use. No need to add sugar or other sweetener - your kids will be amazed at how sweet fresh-squoze fruit can be.

To learn more about Lewis Grizzard, check out his official website, Lewis 

Are you a Grizzard fan? Did you ever have a chance to meet him ( I had a couple of encounters that I'll write about soon)? I often think about what he would say about politics and popular culture in the 21st century. Did your mama make fresh squoze juice for you? Let me know in the comments.


williammilt said...

I loved his books. Think about him when driving through Moreland on the way to Manchester.
Wm. Milton

Richard Moore said...

I think you have a typo in your post as Lewis Grizzard didn't die in 1947. He died March 20, 1994 at the age of 47. Lewis and I were at the University of Georgia at the same time and were in a few journalism classes together. He wasn't a friend but we were nodding acquaintances.

I interned on the Atlanta Journal in 1968 and he was by then a sportswriter there and we used to chat in the hall.

He won so much fame as a columnist and a humorist that it is understandably forgotten that he was also an excellent sportswriter.

Lewis had one guest role in the hit series "Designing Women" in a 1988 episode called "Oh, Brother." He played the half brother of the Sugarbaker sisters.

I thought Lewis did a fine job as an actor in a scripted role and regret he didn't have more opportunities to show that talent. But he left us with many books and many laughs.

May he rest in peace.

Lucy Mercer said...

Thanks for the catch, Richard Moore! As a Grady grad myself, I'm embarrassed that I let that one slip through. It's fixed now. And you're right, Grizzard was a versatile writer - from his sportswriting days to column writing and then some. He had a gift for humor and the human interest angle - one column would make laugh, then the next make me cry. Bet you have some great stories from that Atlanta Journal gig.

linda @spiceboxtravels said...

Love this, Lucy-- fresh squoze! Love how you also threw in life lessons for your daughter re: mama's boys.

The Teacher Cooks said...

Loved this post Lucy! I too, loved Lewis Grizzard and read his column. I was lucky to hear him speak at a fundraiser for AHS.