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I have no sense of scale

I bought one of these. It’s a single serve blender. I had it in my head that that glass on the top was like an eight-ounce tumbler so the machine would be a slim, compact addition to my kitchen gadgets.

It is, in fact, a counter-hogging brute.

Oh, well. It’s a smoothie thing. I think they designed it with gym bros in mind, one of which I emphatically am not. But I am kind of gullible when it comes to supplements.

I’ve taken and subsequently stopped taking scores of things after that one article I read in the Epoch Times (who, by the way, quietly renewed my subscription without me noticing when the three month trial expired).

So far, only two supplements make a measurable, undeniable difference: collagen (which makes my nails and hair stronger) and fish oil (which makes a definite difference to my achy hand joints).

My current smoothie is a spoonful of instant coffee, a cup of fancy Jersey milk, two spoons of collagen + hyaluronic acid + vitamin C, a spoonful of inulin (I don’t remember what this does, but I accidentally bought a big bag of it) and a scoop of protein powder (some sources say old people don’t get enough protein, some say they get more than enough, and some say you should chew your protein not drink it).

I buy my junk from a company that is obviously promoting itself for peak athletic performance. I have often contemplated writing them and saying they should make a separate website and packaging for that other potential customer base: wrinklies desperately clinging on to wellness.

Do you supplement? With what and how?

May 23, 2024 — 7:51 pm
Comments: 13

Trust me.

This is a lime Uncle B grew in his own greenhouse. It is – and you’ll have to take my word for it – bright yellow.

That’s perfectly normal. It takes a hit of cooler weather to make limes turn yellow and fall off, a thing they don’t get in the warm places they’re grown commercially.

I also imagine it’s easier to store and sell if lemons and limes look different. Fully matured, yellow limes are supposedly sweeter, too – although there are also varietal differences in color.

When I start poaching gardening photos from Uncle B’s Google, it’s a sure sign I have nothing to say for myself. That cold I had a few weeks back is still kicking my ass.

March 25, 2024 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 8

Physics, help me out here

This is the can we pour fat into before throwing it out. As far as I recall it’s a layer of lard followed by a layer of runoff from a roast chicken and capped with another layer of lard. Yesterday, it was level with the top of the can.

Today it looks like a big gross greasy lipstick. It’s a little warmer today. All I can think is the chicken grease expanded and pushed the lard out. I got his exact effect putting a can of refried beans over a candle once.

Yes, lard. Sadly, I no longer have a jar of bacon grease on the stove to use for cooking. British bacon doesn’t leak grease. In fact, I have to add lard to the skillet to make it cook evenly.

I don’t touch the stuff myself.

February 7, 2024 — 7:47 pm
Comments: 7


Absolutely disgusting. We did an Aldi run this afternoon and I was looking for a lunch that was the culinary opposite of Christmas dinner. I figured pot noodles was it.

I haven’t had pot noodles in twenty years. I remember them being junk but tasty. Huh.

Back to work tomorrow and bummed about it. It looks like I will be biking into the teeth of a storm in the morning, too. Way to shake out the last of the Christmas spirit.

December 27, 2023 — 6:45 pm
Comments: 4

Smells really nice, actually

This past Sunday was Stir-Up Sunday, the last one before Advent. So named for the day’s scripture from the Book of Common Prayer: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…”

It is the day British housewives cook their Christmas cakes and puddings. Or, in our case, British badgers do so.

Not being a religious sort of mustelid, though, he waited until today to start his Christmas cake. It smells lovely and spicy, to be honest, but I don’t touch the stuff. I’m not fond of dried fruit and I really, really hate booze in food. Brits make it five weeks before Christmas so there’s plenty of time to feed it dollops of brandy every few days.

You’re not supposed to drive after eating a big wodge of the stuff.

If you’d like to see it big and in color, here you go. I understand he has meticulously documented every step of the process. If you’re into cake porn, I’m sure he’d be more than willing to share the recipe.

November 28, 2023 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 6

I have promoted a falsehood

Kind of. Maxwell House coffee was named after the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville. The hotel was started just before the outbreak of the Civil War and was taken over and used, unfinished, as a barracks for the Union Army.

Finished, it was the biggest hotel in Nashville. Nathan Bedford Forrest was inducted into the KKK in Maxwell House, and the first national meeting was held there.

According to Wikipedia: “Its Christmas dinner featuring calf’s head, black bear, and opossum, and other unusual delicacies became famous.”

For the record, I have eaten black bear and it was gross. I have not eaten possum and I would nonetheless object on principle to calling possum a delicacy.

The hotel burned down Christmas 1961.

Maxwell House coffee was served there, but it was called that because the man who blended it, Joel Cheek, swore he’d name it after his first big sale and the hotel agreed. I doubt it tastes today very much like it tasted then.

The Cheeks were an interesting old Nashville family (I mean, as old as anything is in Nashville). Joel gave most of his money away and his cousins were the Cheeks who built Cheekwood, family mansion turned art museum.

Every year, Cheekwood hosts the Swan Ball, a giant showoffy charity fundraiser for Middle Tennessee’s rich bastards. There are some astonishingly rich bastards in Middle Tennessee, and it ain’t country music money. Old plantation money filtered down and the like. My folks went to the ball a couple of times, though sadly not quite of that ilk.

Anyway, back to the falsehood – but it wasn’t mine. Teddy Roosevelt did not declare Maxwell House coffee to be “good to the last drop” – but the company claimed he did for a long time. Which is why my sainted mother told me. They later confessed the trademark was invented by Clifford Spiller, the president of General Foods.

What Roosevelt actually said about the coffee was – and this is so much cooler than “good to the last drop” – “This is the kind of stuff I like to drink, by George, when I hunt bears.” (Forgive me, Durnedyankee, I thought you were kidding).

p.s. I don’t think I can accept Robert Card as a Deadpool win. We’ll never know when he actually died.

November 2, 2023 — 6:53 pm
Comments: 1

Tense moment

So I’m using my thrusters to float down a corridor coated in pulsating orange biomass while carrying a power cell (those blobby things eat power) and I’m just getting to the part where you have to make a hard right or get a faceplate full of lethal alien goo annnnnnd…the power goes.

Not long. Just long enough to shut everything down. I love Lone Echo, but there’s no manual save and I’m not sure how much of that I’ll have to redo. Am pissy.

Counterpart to yesterday’s Tabasco post, this guy experiments with making Sriracha. Fermented chilis, just like Tabasco, plus garlic (which you will know if you eat Sriracha) but also brown sugar.

I wasn’t aware of the taste of sugar, but then I rarely it it directly. A squirt into a mess of soup does the trick.

October 26, 2023 — 6:31 pm
Comments: 5

First batch

Dehydrated chilis. I put ’em in oil and vinegar dressing all year. Gosh, it takes a lot of time to hot all the water out of them.

Did you know that Tabasco (and Sriracha) are both made from fermented chilis? I didn’t. Coincidentally, I learned that by reading the label of a bottle of sauce on the table in the biker cafe where we had lunch today.

Looked it up when I got home. Tabasco in particular, they chop up the chilis, put them in ex-bourbon barrels, seal them with a layer of salt and leave it for up to three years(!) before adding vinegar and bottling.

I mean, I like Tabasco, but I never thought it tasted all that ‘rich and complex’.

Recipes at that first link, Tabasco deets here. Their own site is kind of boring.

October 25, 2023 — 6:06 pm
Comments: 12

I mean, I love onions, but…

Uncle B outdid hisself this year: LOOK AT ALL THEM ONIONS! I reckon that’s thirty pounds. Which is fine, but he doesn’t eat onions. I get them all to myself.

My family has a curious matrilineal history with onions. My mother’s mother adored onions, but reacted badly to them. I vividly remember her defiantly eating onions, then bending over in pain an hour later. Over and over again.

I half inherited that, by the way. I sometimes react painfully to raw onion.

My mother likewise loved onions, without the aftershock. It was even kind of a branding thing for her. The centerpiece on our dining table was a bowl of onions. We got onions as stocking stuffers on Christmas Day. Onion mad, that woman.

I gather we’re too far north to be growing this variety of onion, so it’s really quite an achievement to have this level of success. Got any onion soup recipes?

October 11, 2023 — 5:43 pm
Comments: 9

Krispy kon job

They made a big damn deal of it when they introduced Krispy Kreme donuts over here. I’m not sure why…I don’t think they’re made in the store bakery or anything. I tried one for nostalgia’s sake, and it was nothing like I remember the melty, warm goodness of a fresh Krispy Kreme donut.

Apparently, the real thing is another of those famous secret recipes and may contain potato: “…the recipe consisted of a cream (the eponymous “Kreme”) of fluffed egg whites, mashed potatoes, sugar, shortening and skim milk that was chilled and mixed with flour and then fried and covered in glaze. Today, very few people can say what exactly goes into a Krispy Kreme doughnut, with the top-secret recipe secured in a vault at company headquarters…”

It doesn’t travel well.

And can you see the price? That’s £2.25 for one ordinary glazed donut – or $2.75 in your US dollars. You’d have to be nuts to pay that for an unremarkable not very fresh glazed donut. The internet tells me the going rate in the States is $.99.

The Internet further says tells me there was once a Krispy Kreme sold in Selfridge’s for £1,000. It was gold and looked stupid.

KK was started in Nashville, so our local was probably one of the older ones. The back wall was glass and much of the process was automated. I’m having a hard time remembering the particulars because it was so long ago, but I have a vivid memory of donuts gliding down a conveyor belt into a bath of sugar glaze.

I’m getting it all confused with the local Krystal burger, though – probably because of the inappropriate K. Krystal is another story for another day.

September 25, 2023 — 6:53 pm
Comments: 14