Thursday, February 28, 2008

Avril on Bob


Well, I'm not so sure about how good it is, but I made fudge last night. I had some leftover chocolate from a flurry of brownie baking, so I figured I might as well. After an amusing screw-up (added the butter rather than the chocolate to the milk and sugar and had to start over), I think I succeeded for the first time in making candy (I have tried before - not great).

I don't have a candy thermometer, so I had to use an old-school method for guessing as to whether the choco-sugar-milk-salt was early or late "soft ball" during the crucial part of the cooking. This could be important later, because I'd like to make some marchpane over the weekend and it of course involves candy-ing...

Anyway, now I'm going to inflict/bestow upon my co-workers some fudge Cockaigne (I found this interesting site while double-checking my guess as to the provenance of "Cockaigne" - land of cakes).

The flurry of brownie manufacturing is going to turn into a food story in the paper, so I'll spill the beans about that later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Guess the food

Here're the ingredients:

Corn syrup
Palm oil
(and less than 2 percent of:)
mono- and diglycerides
hydrogenated cottonseed oil
soy lecithin
artificial flavors
Blue 1
Red 40
Yellow 5


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Eerie similarity, no?


Masters of War

I missed this installment of Letterman, but I wish I'd seen it:

I recall this song was a (the?) top choice of BBC listeners as "best political song." I think that fits.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New knife

So, my father kindly brought back - among other things - a new knife for my kitchen, an ultra-sharp ceramic knife made by Kyocera. It came in an ultra-typical (for Japan) package, which stands in, um, contrast to the staid North American packaging.

To wit:

Mine is the knife at the top of the image. A shop downtown - here - carries other knives by Kyocera, marketed more like this image from the company's North American site:

Which of these looks like it comes from a place where people have more fun?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Beans & rice

Sometimes the store has sliced up smoked pork shanks, which don't look too appetizing but are brilliant soup starters:

2 sliced pork shank pieces (frozen, thawed, who cares?)
Five cloves garlic
1 to 1.5 cup beans (I like the white ones with the black eyes), rinsed and sorted
2 bay leaves
5 peppercorns
4 whole cloves

Place the shanks in a soup pot and add water to cover by about 3 inches (aka 2 or 3 quarts).
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Skim off the inevitable scum and discard.
Add the beans, garlic and spices and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hours (depends on the beans. If you soak them ahead of cooking, they will be done earlier.)
Make rice, and serve with the beans!

Friday, February 08, 2008

What a deal!

I thought improving morals would be a lot harder, but I was once again wrong:

To be fair, the little packets are pretty good. The orange was, anyway. I think it might be a stretch to say that the packets will make you healthier (encourages hydration and contains vitamin C - 25 percent of the RDA - maybe just enough to avoid scurvy?), but who's going to quibble when you have better "moral."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A fourth and a first!

What do you do for fun? I like to compete for top spots in Google searches. I think I've gone about as far as I can with "staph nose" - fourth place behind, and Not too shabby!

I've got the title, for now, with "strep nose," which I hope is a much rarer affliction. Ah, the power of the Web. I started out with just this little infection, and by writing small articles on the Net, I was able to...

Customer service

Now, I'm all for shopping local, but not yesterday. The butterfly lady's glasses broke - frames snapped in half, so she needed a new pair. This isn't so bad (except for the cost), because she's been looking for new ones anyway.

So I called the eye doctor, whose office is less than a block from our house. No dice: Their turnaround is seven to 10 days, and that's for a rush job. OK, no big deal. I called one of the dispensing optical places in town, and the guy said that depending on the prescription, they might have the lenses in stock (a couple of hours), or at worst a couple of days.

Two days is too long; two hours is OK. So I asked whether he could check, if I told him her prescription. Nope, I'd have to bring the prescription in for him to see.

Bullshit. The prescription is four god damn numbers, not some inscription in Aramaic. Besides which, I do not like gamesmanship, and he just wanted to get us in the door so we'd be one step closer to buying from his shop. To put it gently, fuck that. And in this small way, fuck Walla Walla, too. Pissants.

So we called a LensCrafters in the metropolitan area about an hour's drive to the west. "No problem," says the lady on the line, "Just read me the prescription and I'll see if we have the lenses in stock."

Indeed they did, and though we paid a pretty penny, she got her glasses, we got an excuse to go shopping and Katy the Newfoundland got a nice ride. I would have been happier, though, with a viable local option, or at the very least, adequate customer service.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Unauthorized personnel

She is pretty sure this counts as being on the couch only when the blanket is on it, too.