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Vintage Allan Sherman Re-Issues from Collector’s Choice

1 Aug

Collector’s Choice has just re-issued several classic comedy recordings by Allan Sherman. Some of you may have never heard of Sherman before, but he was absolutely huge in the 1960s. His LPs sold millions and made Sherman, a once-struggling TV comedy writer, a wealthy man. The radio hit that pushed him to the top was the unforgettable parody, “Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah!” (aka Camp Granada) from the LP “My Son, The Nut.” The album’s cover featured Sherman’s pudgy, bespectacled mug surrounded by a mountain of real nuts (see the picture above).  Baby boomers will surely remember the big hit – either from frequent radio play at the time of its original release or via Dr. Demento’s popular syndicated radio shows.

But before you start thinking of Sherman as another “one hit wonder,” I am here to tell you that Sherman was a very talented comic in the Jewish tradition whose fine catalog of work richly deserves this retrospective. I will admit that “My Son, The Nut” is the best of the bunch, yet other releases with titles like “My Son, The Folk Singer,” “My Son, The Celebrity,” and “For Swingin’ Livers Only” all have their shining moments. I am especially partial to wacky Sherman send-ups such as “Automation,” “Al and Yetta,” “One Hippopotami,” “My Zelda,” “Mexican Hat Dance,” “Your Mother’s Here to Stay,” “Hungarian Goulash No. 5,” and “Harvey and Sheila.”

“And when Ben Casey meets Kildare that’s called a paradox!!!”

Yes, Allan Sherman was surely a force to be reckoned with in the early to mid 1960s. He is remembered fondly by many Americans and rightfully so. His sharp wit and silly, childlike innocence not only still make us chuckle, but also whisk us back to a simpler time when comedy didn’t have to be filthy (or shocking) to be funny. Come to think of it, Sherman helped pave the way for everything from “Schoolhouse Rock” and The Smothers Brothers to Dr. Demento and Weird Al Yankovic. And that, my friends, is an impressive legacy of lunacy.

Louisiana-Grown Jazzmen Aromatic Rice Doesn’t Blow

1 Aug

Louisiana’s Jazzmen Aromatic Rice – “Music for your Mouth.”

We tried this new jasmine rice for the first time last night — it is truly amazing! Nice and fluffy and filled with flavor. Best of all, it’s grown right here in the good old USA (Crowley, LA to be specific) thanks to three Chinese-American gents who have been friends since childhood. It’s a fledgling enterprise at this stage. Last fall they harvested just 500 tons of rice. This year, according to co-founder Andrew Wong, it will be more like 12,000 tons. American-grown jasmine rice tends to cost less (about $2.99 for a 28 oz. bag) thanks to reduced transportation expenses. Jazzmen brand rice is now available in 6 states. It can also be purchased online at Eat well and buy American whenever you can — you will not be disappointed!

For generations, the most flavorful rice Americans have eaten has been Jasmine rice imported to the U.S. from Asia (most notably Thailand). Jasmine is recognized for having the most desirable “gummy” white texture after cooking and its “aroma” before, during and after cooking is what causes it to be called “aromatic.” Regular rice does not emphasize aromatic qualities nor is it noted as having any fullness of taste. Aromatic rice has a very pleasant notable aroma and taste qualities that contribute considerably to a variety of cuisine styles.

Twelve years ago, the LSU AgCenter started a project to increase rice production in Louisiana. We currently average approximately 500,000 acres of rice agriculture annually. There is a vast amount of acreage to build on.

The LSU AgCenter strives to help promote and build the quality and expertise of Louisiana’s agricultural community – our farmers and our farms. And, the AgCenter thinks of everything possible to enhance and increase the productivity of Louisiana’s vast acreage of farmland.

For twelve years, the “AgCenter” has been evolving, testing and improving a varietal (variety) of rice intended to compete head on with the quality, taste and cost of the thousands of tons of Jasmine rice coming into America each year from Asia. It has reached perfection.


Louis Armstrong’s Creole Red Beans

Satchmo’s personal recipe,
courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum


1 lb. kidney beans

½ lb. salt pork (strip of lean, strip of fat; slab bacon may be used if preferred)

1 small can tomato sauce (if desired)

6 small ham hocks, or 1 smoked pork butt

2 onions, diced

¼ green (bell) pepper

5 tiny or 2 medium dried peppers

1 clove garlic, chopped

Salt to taste


Use a 2 qt. pot with cover. Wash beans thoroughly, then soak overnight in cold water. Be sure to cover beans. To cook, pour water off beans, add fresh water to cover. Add salt pork or bacon and let come to a boil over a full flame in covered pot. Turn flame down to slightly higher than low and let cook 1½ hours. Add diced onions, bell pepper, garlic, dried peppers, and salt. Cook 3 hours. Add tomato sauce and cook 1½ hours more, adding water whenever necessary. Beans and meat should always be just covered with water (juice), never dry. This serves 6 or more persons.

To prepare with Ham Hocks or Pork Butts…

Wash meat, add water to cover, and let come to a boil in covered pot over medium flame. Cook 1½ hours, then add beans (pour water off) and add rest of ingredients to meat. Cook 4½ hours. Add water when necessary.


For non-pork eaters, chicken fat may be used instead of salt pork. Corned beef or beef tongue may be used instead of ham hocks or butts.

To Serve:

On dinner plate – Rice then beans, wither over rice or beside rice, as preferred… Twenty minutes later – Bisma Rex and Swiss Kriss.