I'm Just Saying

Oh yeah, I’ve got them. Doesn’t everybody? Quirky sayings.
“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas” is one I’ve been repeating for years. Now to be clear, I didn’t make that up. I heard it along the way some where and loved it. I’ve  said it a million times since.Not everyone gets it to start with, and I’ve surely gotten some funny looks when I say it. But somewhere deep within those wacky words is truth, a message.

 I like it for its truth, which is: I say “but” and “if” way too often. Just get it (whatever it is at the moment) done and quit moaning about it. I also like that saying because it mentions Christmas, which makes me smile no matter how bad my day has gotten. There’s yet another charm to that saying. It harkens to a simpler time, an era when candy and nuts meant something big at Christmas. So what’s not to like about that saying?

There’s another one I say that gets funny looks: “Are grits groceries?” That’s a yes. You say it when the answer to the question is a very, very obvious “yes.” Like Q: Do you love your dog? A: Are grits groceries? Or Q: Are you a Farmgirl? A: Are grits groceries?

When I used to work for Ross Perot’s company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS) I spent much of the day talking with other employees from all over the country. Now this was on the phone and I have a southern accent, so I took a lot of ribbing. One day I was on the phone with a guy who enjoyed teasing me about being southern. So when he asked me a question where the obvious answer was “yes” I used my saying instead of a plain ole “yes.” “Are grits groceries?” I answered. He said, “Um, I don’t know. Is this a trick question?”

I thought he was pulling my leg. He wasn’t; he claimed he’d never heard of “a grit” before. This was pre-“My Cousin Vinny,” so maybe.

“A” grit? I told him it was always referred to in the plural, “grits.” And hey, we were working for Texan Ross Perot so he surely needed to beef up on all things southern. The next week while we were on the phone he asked me how to make shortnin’ bread. Now, it’s true, I’m from the south but I have no idea what shortnin’ bread is much less how to make it. I know the song and all, but that’s about it. (If anyone cares to enlighten me, I’m listening…)
So I told this guy, no I don’t know how to make shortnin’ bread, but if he’s a real man, he’ll learn how to make cornbread. It’s just one of those things that guys do in the south, make cornbread. “Real men make cornbread.” My mom makes the biscuits, my Daddy makes the cornbread.
And in a minute, guys AND dolls, I’ll show you how to make yourself some great southern cornbread. But first, I have to tell you about this. One of my daughter’s friends came over the other day to spend the night. The next morning I served grits for breakfast. The friend looked at me and said, “Where do you get these?? I need to tell my mom!” So I laughed and told her that they are in the grocery stores, that grits are indeed groceries. Then I told her about the whole “Are grits groceries?” saying. She just looked at me, very seriously. Maybe grits are not as main stream as I thought? “Where is your family from?” I asked her. “Texas,” she said. Hmmm, maybe I led that fellow wrong so many years ago with Ross Perot and the cornbread…
On to the really, really fantastic southern cornbread. It’s “southern” in that there is no sugar added to the recipe; this isn’t a sweet bread. I’m lucky to be able to get freshly ground, no-preservatives corn meal. But, if you are using grocery store cornmeal, get the kind that is NOT self-rising and organic is great if you can find it.


1 ½ cups white corn meal
½ cup plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup oil
Your favorite well-seasoned cast iron skillet (mine is 8″).
First, Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Then, Put oil in your favorite well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put it in the oven for 5 minutes.
Mix corn meal, flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl.

Add the egg and the buttermilk to the mix.
Then pour in the hot oil from the iron skillet.

Mix well, but you know, not violently. Go easy for a soft, light bread.
Pour batter into the hot iron skillet and bake 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Oh my! Oh me, oh my!

Which brings me to my latest adventure. I’m doing it mainly because, you know, the whole “ifs” and “buts” and “candy and nuts” thing. I learned about an annual Shrimp and Grits Festival that is held every year on an Island off Georgia’s southern coast. It’s an island with an interesting, groovy history called Jekyll Island. There’s a lot going on that weekend and I’m totally psyched to be a part of it. Not only will there be wild Georgia shrimp and freshly ground grits, and famous chefs, and arts and crafts, but there will be three races in 24 hours. Races, as in running, my new…is it a “hobby”? Not sure. Anyway, follow me on my personal blog (www.rebekahteal.com) to track that adventure. I’ll be training for the race and experimenting with all kinds of shrimp and coastal recipes. And of course, we’ll be celebrating the warm yumminess of grits. I’ll be exploring the unique history of the island ’cause I’m a research person by nature. The Shrimp and Grits Festival is in about a month, September 17. WooHoo!
Now won’t you share with us your favorite saying or quote with us? It doesn’t have to be wacky or quirky, just something you like to say…
Until next time, friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit. That looks mighty tasty!

  2. Tina says:

    My kids will only have homemade cornbread. Long ago I stopped making it from a box when I realized that from scratch wasn’t that much harder. Love your post.

  3. Paula says:

    "Hotter than a popcorn fart" which is what it’s been here in Oregon the last few days. This was one of my dad’s favorite sayings on a hot KS day. He passed away this year and alot of his crazy sayings keep popping into my head.

  4. Becky G. says:

    Here goes: "ain’t no little fairy gonna come tap you on your head with it’s wand and make you happy!"

    What that means is, happiness comes from inside, not outside! And personally, I think contentment is so much more important than happiness!

  5. Cindy says:

    "Spend time, not money." After raising two boys our first grandchild is a precious little girl. Of course I am inclined to buy every cute item that I see but since we are retired (as in money is tight) I keep reminding myself to "spend time, not money" because it is what she will remember years later anyways.

  6. Cindy says:

    Well the other day I said, "I AM DONE – YOU HEAR ME?" I was talking to the boys I watch and my best girlfriend, and I can’t even remember what I was talking about. But my friend turned on her southern voice (She’s from Indiana so it isn’t real) and said, "Stick a fork in her, she is done!" We all started laughing. (I guess you had to be there)

    And just before reading this post I sent my Sister an e-mail asking her opinion on something and I said, "I’m drawing a blank." Then I asked, "How does one actually draw a blank?"

    And the cornbread – gonna try it. My husbands family is always talking about Aunt Evelyn’s cornbread and how good it was and how she made it for every meal. Mine will never measure up, but I’m still gonna try.


  7. Janice K. says:

    When I’m in the garden I am reminded of my mother’s saying, ‘now that’s a tough row to hoe’, referring to a difficult situation. If someone was in a bad mood, they were being ‘owly’ (spelling?). Don’t know where that one came from and when I repeat it, people look at me like they are totally confused! When we used to speak of a couple that didn’t seem to ‘fit’ together in our estimation, my mom would say, ‘you know there’s a lid for every pot’, and then we would laugh.
    This is a favorite little ditty that my dad used to say to make us chuckle:
    ‘It makes me laugh to see the calf run down the path in
    a minute and a half to get some grass to wipe his HOO HOO!’
    My folks had roots in Kentucky and I guess that might be where some of this came from.
    All I know is that losing them both was a tough row to hoe..

  8. Cait says:

    Two from my beloved g’mother: "You do that again and I will slap the taste right out of your mouth." And when I was acting "prissy," she’d tell me: "Honey, you may be sweet, but your aren’t made out of sugar and you won’t melt in the rain."

    Also, shorten bread is actually shortbread cookies…or that’s what I’ve always been told!

  9. Reba says:

    Being from GA as well, my husband is very "cold-natured." Being in one of the hottest areas in the US in my opinion, how is it that you are "cold-natured?" But one of his sayings that he heard which possibly describes how he feels is: "It’s colder than an Alaskan well-diggers a–!" Personally, being in my 50’s, I LOVE the cold!! LOL!

  10. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the cornbread recipe… I’ve been looking for a good one!

  11. Carol Branum says:

    Hi Rebecca,I make Martha Whites White corn bread,I get my bacon greese hot,and use a corn stick pan,and a wedged pan,My mother in law taught me when I was 17 how to cook southern.This is the kind she used,Momma Hallies was always yeller,and when I first saw white corn bread at age 17 I just did,nt know what to think!About sayings around here we say"She thinks shes Miss Aster,or she thinks shes Ms Vanderbuilt"talking about rich girls who think there #%$* does not stink."We don,t like like ritch girls in this neck of the woods,espically ones that think they know it all""I also like the Dorthy Parker quote"{about horitculture/gardening}Your can lead a whore to culture but you can,t teach her to think!"Dorthy Parker was playing scrabble when she said this jokely about herself.{this was a favorite saying of my aunt Dallies who wrote a gardening column for the Carthage Press.She would give talks to groups about gardening and use this quote and the room would roar.We also say "does a bear $%#* in the woods"a lot around here too…read more on my blog {its a dot not a @}Look me up,and please comment OK?Thanks!themofarmersdaughter.blogspot.com,have a great day Becka,Carol Branum,Lamar Mo.

  12. Marcie says:

    My husband has a favorite saying, "sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn", meaning he found a way to make the impossible possible.
    Speaking of grits and Texas….. I remember once when we were in a restaurant down in Austin, and was sitting next to a man and his young son. The little boy was whining about his breakfast and said, "Daddy, don’t make me eat those bricks".
    Grits were a food staple where I was raised (S MS) and sometimes the leftover grits were chilled, sliced & fried to a golden brown and served as a side dish for supper with gravy. They are very good, but I still like my grits and fried eggs with bacon or sausage for breakfast.
    Your cornbread recipe sounds great, Rebekah. This week we are making our late summer trip over to the other side of the mountain to Cades Cove, where my sister & I will buy freshly ground cornmeal, that is still ground on the old mill at Pigeon Forge and sold at the park. I will then try your recipe.

  13. MaryFrantic' says:

    I always tell each our son, "Better take good care of yourself cause nobody will do it for you."….
    and my personal favorite:
    .."SHE who tooteth not her own horn hath it not tooted!"
    and for good advice when things seem all but lost:…"Pretend it is a YEAR FROM NOW and you are looking back on this. It will have been resolved (somehow) and life moved on."

  14. Helen says:

    How about "kiss my grits!" (From the old show Alice.) I hope you’ll teach us more about them. This northern gal knows nothing about grits. How to buy them, how to cook them, how to serve them. I do make cornbread (from the jiffy mix!)

  15. Susan says:

    Love the blog! In response to Cindy and drawing a blank…in dominoes if you draw a tile with no dots, it is referred to as a blank. Therefore, if you draw a blank, you have nothing!

  16. Nancy says:

    I come from a family that has alot of quarky sayings…as long as I can remember, either my Mom,Grandmom or Great Grandmom had something to say…But my favorite when my five kids were growing up, and they asked for something that was either impossible or never going to happen, I would answer their question with "When pigs fly!!!"…hands down the one I want they to remember is "I’ll love you forever…

  17. Melodye says:

    Hi, Rebecca! I have always made yellow cornbread and instead of oil, I used butter. It’s also good with a layer of sharp cheese in the middle ( pour in half the batter and layer in grated cheese then pour in the rest of the batter). As my Dad used to say,"so good you wanna hug yourself for eatin’ it!

  18. Bonnie says:

    I’m a northern girl, but I love grits and cornbread. I do like my cornbread sweet!

  19. My husband’s favorite is "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!" spoken when someone’s request was not likely to be granted. My Aunt Edna used to say,"Leave it for the blind man on a fast horse to see." when we’d be housecleaning or such and little bitty smudges remained despite vigorous scrubbing!
    I LOVE your blog. I’m making the Hike Inn cookies this week for grandchildren

  20. Carol in NC says:

    I grew up in the deep south and ever since I finished reading ‘The Help’ all I can think of (besides praying that I wasn’t a brat) is the cornbread our maid used to make. It was divine and I’ve not really been able to recreate it. I’ll try this one.

    Hotter than a popcorn fart? hahahaha! Never heard that one before.

  21. Debbie says:

    Ever heard this one? Some days Chickens, Some days Feathers!
    My momm used to say it a lot when I was growing up…I never really " got it" until later in life… some days you get the whole glorious bird and other days… just feathers…. that’s life in a nut shell…!I’m a south western gal happily transplanted in New England…but my family out west is mostly TEXAN! They have more sayings than you can shake a stick at…They always make you laugh and think!

    I just love your writing and I gave you a little shout out over on my blog just yesterday… right along with all the other farmgirl bloggers!

    can’t wait to hear more about the shrimp and grits festival!

  22. Sherry says:

    Not my pig, not my farm. As in, not my problem.

  23. Teresa says:

    More’in one way to break a dog a’suckin’eggs.

  24. Lauie says:

    About grits, driving home to northern Ohio from Florida once, we stopped somewhere in Georgia for breakfast. I ordered eggs with bacon and toast. Went to pick up my plate and it had a bunch of white stuff on it, I said this wasn’t my order and the super nice lady said,, "thems grits honey, everyone gets a mess a grits." So I learned a lot that morning, mostly I don’t like grits. But I loved the place and the nice lady.

  25. Laurie says:

    My Mom would say "bread and butter" whenever we walked to the side of a post or whatever, one of us going one way, the other to the other side. Have no idea where it came from, have not heard it from anyone but Mom.

  26. Ellie says:

    I made the cornbread this weekend. It turned out great! The family gobbled it. I’m following the posts on your other blog. I hope the race goes weel!

  27. Leigh Anne says:

    Well my family is from East Texas. They have so many sayings; but here are a few I can remember. My grandmother would say when it was raining but the sun was still shinning "The devils beaten his wife again". One she said when I got older and something was upsetting me was "let it lye" as it let it be, most things work themselves out and the Good Lords in control anyway. My very colorful brother says things like "it’s colder than a witches tit-tie" and another thing everyone referred to me as "sister" as my name, I guess because I was the little sister. Oh and I’m sure we all heard this one, when dad would come in to wake me up he’d say, "time to get up the days a wasting", of course this was usually at 5am.

  28. Louise Fredieu says:

    "That’s so good it makes ya want to slap yo mama!" from the 6’8" son of a wonderful petite Southern woman who would lash back: "I brought you into this world and i can take you out!"

  29. Vickie says:

    Mammy’s little baby loves short’nin’, short’nin’

    Mammy’s little baby loves short’nin’ bread.

    Put on the skillet,

    Put on the led,

    Mammy’s going to make a lil’ short’nin’ bread!

    Ever wonder why?
    Give it a try!


    2 cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    ½ cup buttermilk
    ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
    1 cup molasses
    1 egg, slightly beaten

    Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

    Grease and flour a well seasoned 10" iron skillet
    (An 8×8 baking pan can be substituted).

    In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.

    In another small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk.

    In a heavy saucepan, stirring the butter and molasses continually, bring it to a boil.

    To the flour mixture, stir in the butter and molasses. Add the buttermilk, baking soda and the slightly beaten egg and mix well.

    Pour the mixture into the skillet and place it in the oven.
    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

    Slice and serve warm or cold with a cool, refreshing glass of milk for a delicious, nutritious treat and, "May you always be as happy as you make others!"

  30. michele says:

    A few years ago, my sister and I found two vintage containers that said "candy" and "nuts". We bought them and added 2 of our own
    "ifs" and "Buts"
    love it

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