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Ladies and gentlemen, my strawberry corer. Oh, you might laugh (well, one of my friends laughed, anyway), but it really is quite handy. I wish I had one back in the days when we’d buy a crate of strawbs for jam. You know, before we figured out we don’t eat that much jam.

We got carried away being country folk.

I mentioned the corer way back when I bought the spiralizer. Update: I still use the spiralizer, but I have yet to perfect the spicy curly fry. In fact, I’ve more or less given up.

I’m –

I don’t know how to put this.

Just blurt it out, I guess.

I’m putting spiralized apple in my cole slaw. I didn’t invent it, mind. A recipe for celeriac coleslaw called for a granny smith apple. I didn’t have a granny smith, but I had a pink lady. Apple, red cabbage and carrot. It’s nice!

Come on – it’s not as crazy as those people who put walnuts in their slaw.

July 27, 2021 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 7

Jam night

Sadly, that doesn’t mean rock’n’roll, it means it’s time to make summer fruit jam. Our first year, we went nuts making jam. After a few months, we realized…we really don’t eat all that much jam.

Still, all them red currants have to go somewhere! Good weekend, all.

July 23, 2021 — 7:17 pm
Comments: 19

A departure from his usual work


Do we have these in the States? Their website says they sell over there, but I don’t remember ever seeing them. They’re basically Tootsie Pops without the Tootsie. I am fond of them.

They’re Spanish. Chupa means “to suck” (like chupacabra, that old goatsucker). Chups doesn’t mean anything, but I like to translate it in my head as “Sucky Sucks”.

They were invented by a man named Enric Bernat in the Fifties. The Wikipedia article makes it sound like he invented the spherical candy on a stick, but Tootsies go back to 1931 and Dum Dums to 1924.

Indisputable, though, is that the logo at right was designed by Salvador Dali, who was, improbably, a friend of Bernat’s. He whipped it together in an hour after a chat with Bernat over coffee. It has been called one of the most durable logos in brand history, having undergone one small change in all these years. It’s intended be seen on the top of the pop, not the side, and the things are usually sold stuck into a stand.

I once alarmed a cashier at the grocery story by asking if it’s pronounced choopa choops or chuppah chupps. I don’t know why she found the question disturbing, perhaps because she couldn’t answer.

Turns out, you can go to YouTube and type in “pronounce Chupa Chups” and get a whole page of videos. What a time to be alive. I recommend this one. Such a soothing voice. I’d like him to read me a bedtime story.

So the Spanish speaker says Choopa Choops. But this American-sounding chap seems to be saying Choopa Chupps. He also claims Telly Savalas ate one per episode of Kojak, but I’d be astonished if those weren’t Tootsie Pops.

Their slogan was “Es redondo y dura mucho, Chupa Chups” which translates to “It’s round and long-lasting, Sucky Sucks.” Their Wikipedia page lists other unintentionally amusing slogans centered around the word “suck”.

I have no idea why I’m bringing this up.

May 25, 2021 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 9

Why is everything so complicated?

 

Well, Ebay let me down on the whole egg coddler thing. It seems 99% of the ones listed are Royal Worcester collectibles for stupid money that don’t look all that practical for actually coddling eggs.

Which is weird, because people are definitely still making practical dishwasher-safe ones. I found one I liked from a cookware shop. (The knobbly one, not the ones with the chickens. I like the knobbly one somehow).

If you can find it online, you can usually find it on Ebay.

In the same kitchen shop, I found this thing. It’s an egg clacker. They come in a variety of styles under several names. I know this because somehow in a surreal alternate universe I found myself watching YouTubes of people clacking eggs.

You put the thing over your soft-boiled egg and pull up on the knob, which is spring-loaded. When you release it, something goes clack and neatly decapitates your egg. Must be made in China.

I mean, there’s still egg in the top bit (soft-boiled eggs are weird to me), but at least you don’t have to tap all around it with your spoon. I guess. I would have thought that was the fun part.

 

 

 

May 20, 2021 — 5:30 pm
Comments: 13

Coddled

I didn’t have an idea for a post tonight, so I decided to take a bath. Now I’m clean and I don’t have an idea for a post tonight.

So here’s a picture of my lunch. I had a lively discussion about egg coddlers with some of my old lady friends the other day and I’ve been craving coddled eggs ever since.

I don’t have an egg coddler, but I have some little ramekins. I thought if I put them in a saucepan with a lid, I could get a similar effect. I love poached eggs but I’m really terrible at cooking them (yes, I’ve tried all the little devices. The one that works best is evil to clean).

They were nice. The egg stuck to the bottom a bit, so I should have added more butter (my solution to most of life’s problems is ‘add more butter’). But it is an experiment I shall repeat. Maybe even buy myself a proper coddler.

When you keep chickens, you learn to improvise.

May 19, 2021 — 8:50 pm
Comments: 9

My god, it’s full of stars…!

I saw something white scattered on the kitchen floor a little while ago. Being that I’m nearsighted, I got down on my knees and shined a flashlight on it. It was…tiny stars.

Dammit, they mice have got into my cake decorations!

April 19, 2021 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 7

Friends in low places

I’ve bitched before about my inability to get cinnamon candy in the UK. At least, not without paying scary Amazon “we flew these over first class for you today” prices. Well, lookee who has a 24-pack!

I made friends with a candy shop owner in town, who declared himself an essential business (candy is food, dammit) and thus is open. Dude knows his stuff. He got these and Hot Tamales for me. Also, he sells a mean chocolate-covered raisin.

The reason I put my big stupid hand in every photo is for scale. And so you can’t see how cluttered my countertops are.

Oh, watched Joe Biden’s presser earlier. I don’t usually watch press conferences, but his has the exciting unpredictable-but-potentially-disastrous atmosphere of Formula 1 racing or a high wire act.

He didn’t exactly crash and burn, though. He rambled, made a few oopsies, but his eyes were clear and his speech was a lot less slurred than it has been of late.

I want a bucket of whatever it is they shoot him up with before these things.

March 25, 2021 — 7:27 pm
Comments: 7

My descent into lockdown madness is complete

I bought a spiralizer. It came today.

I know what you’re thinking and it’s a filthy lie. I do not intend to make zoodles. I tried them once. As an interesting experiment in oven-roast zucchini, it would probably be okay. As a substitute for pasta, shit’s nasty.

No, I had a sudden and terrible craving for spicy curly fries. Can’t get them here. For all I know, you don’t eat them there any more, either.

There are a bunch of recipes floating around. I’m going to try baked rather than deep fried. Deep fryers scare me. I did a stint at Dunkin Donuts – the kitchen had a tile floor slippery with wet flour and I was sure some day I was going to slip and plunge my arm up to the shoulder in the Fryolater.

I have a vivid imagination when it comes to pain.

I couldn’t try a recipe at lunchtime. I remembered I had chicken stock that really needed to be made into soup, so I spiralized the hell out of all my soup vegetables. I liked the texture and it cut cooking time way down.

Any good spiralizer ideas?

p.s. I also bought a strawberry corer, but it’ll be three months until strawberry season. Look out – I’m a madwoman!

March 17, 2021 — 7:07 pm
Comments: 19

Ooo! I want to try some…

It’s qurt. Also called qurut, kurt, kashk, jameed or chortan.

Sun-dried yoghurt balls.

Very high in protein and calcium, it was historically very important across Central Asia as a portable and nutritious food. It will keep without refrigeration for years. It can be dissolved into a beverage or a soup. They’re salty, apparently, and can be spiced in various ways. They go hard as little rocks eventually.

The article says it “gave nomads a strategic military advantage in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.” So, like, are we not allowed to call them Mongols any more? Because we’re obviously talking Genghis and the boys here (who, probably coincidentally, were said to stink of sour milk).

On this subject, if you haven’t heard Dan Carlin on the Mongol Invasion, that’s eight hours of your life that you didn’t spend listening to Dan Carlin on the Mongol Invasion. Unlike me. Though I think I bailed after three. Hardcore is right.

I can’t find a local source. They give a recipe, but a) it looks like a lot of work and b) how would I know if I got it right if I never tried it before? Also, the British version involves blow driers, because wet little island. Phooey on this ‘multicultural society’ thing if I can’t even get qurt on a whim.

p.s. If you aren’t on Atlas Obscura’s mailing list, I highly recommend it. One of the few bits of solicited junk mail I get that I actually read.

p.p.s. Have a good weekend!

March 12, 2021 — 8:23 pm
Comments: 25

It’s a gingerbread duck

From our local bakery. For whom we are very grateful.

They fled town a couple of years ago because the rents were exorbitant. Now they’ve opened back up in the middle of all this (in a much smaller shop without an eat-in section) and we make a point of stopping there every few days.

Their bread is excellent. They make a mean doughnut. I’m a little iffy on the gingerbread ducks.

More to the point, we’re trying to be as thoughtful as we can about where our money goes.

No matter how good your intentions, you can’t avoid buying goods from China. I doubt there’s a zipper factory left anywhere else in the world, and I don’t look so good in a toga.

But I can certainly avoid giving my money to Bezos. We’re still lucky enough to have a local butcher and greengrocer and several excellent farm shops, and now our baker again, so we can cut down on supermarkets.

I don’t have much power, but I’ll enthusiastically swing my tiny axe.

February 15, 2021 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 11