Redneck Sustainability: Chow-Chow

jars of chow-chow
sweat and spicy chow-chow relish

While not exclusively a redneck food, chow-chow (the relish, not the dog), is certainly championed most by the rural folk of America, and with no uncertainty, is one of the sustainable marvels of our day. Seriously.

For you see, chow-chow is indeed the kitchen sink of canning. For my rural-impaired readers I will need to pause here for some clarification. Let’s start with canning.

Canning, for you urban folk, refers to the practice of preserving freshly grown fruits and vegetables in glass jars for use throughout the year. It is in and of itself a very sustainable practice due to its reliance on local produce rather than off-season stuff shipped from Timbuktu via carbon-emitting yack. And don’t think for a second that the “vine-ripened” tomatoes you find in January are anything of the sort, unless you live in California or think ripe means something like “edible enough to withstand commercial harvesting, processing, shipping and retail sale over the next week).

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Revived/Revised Definition of Redneck

Farmer reading "The Progressive Farmer"
Farmer and redneck reading "The Progressive Farmer"

Now that I have been writing about redneck sustainability for over a year, I figured it was about time to tackle a new universal definition of said redneck. So from here on out you can link this post to an wiki you may construct in dealing with this popular cultural topic.

According to wikipedia “a citation from 1893 provides a definition [for the American redneck] as ‘poorer inhabitants of the rural districts…men who work in the field, as a matter of course, generally have their skin burned red by the sun, and especially is this true of the back of their necks.'” A more concise way of saying this could simply be, “uncomplicated rural Americans.” And this indeed is the best shortened definition I can come up with. But there is no doubt something lost in the shortening.

Even a simple glance at the etymology of the word should suggest a need to refresh our understanding and use of it in modern society. It is no longer sufficient for Americans to lump the term ‘redneck’ into the same honey bucket as ‘white trash.’ Poor rural society is much too nuanced for such a disrespectful approach, and it is time that we stand up to proclaim this fact.

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Redneck Sustainability: Set Guns to Airplane Mode

I’ll admit, I have forgotten for entire flights to set my smartphone to airplane mode. Only one of those fights had to execute an emergency landing after dumping extra fuel over the Great Salt Lake.┬áBut, I never forget to wear my special security checkpoint outfit when traveling the friendly skies: sandals (no socks), form fitting spandex without belt and cotton undershirt (wife-beater style). It’s lickety-split through the dessembly line for me, and I never get a pat-down.

I figure the less I leave to the imagination the less likely anyone will want to imagine anything about me, including the likelihood that I might suddenly trill at the top of my voice and yell “Mecca, Mecca, Allah, Jihad!”

But at the same time, I realize that many of my fellow Americans are deeply concerned about the “porn scanners” that are popping up at TSA checkpoints. But, I ask you to once again consider the sustainable wisdom of rednecks. What if the wise redneck was in charge of airport security?

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