Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ithaca Antiques Mall for Cast Iron

Ryan and I went to the Ithaca Antiques Mall, looking for another bicycle for him. He has a nice touring bike, but I think he wants something that's a little more of a beater, to ride around town.

We didn't find a bicycle (there had been a whole bunch from an estate sale that had already been sold). What we did find was a section upstairs featuring very reasonably priced cast iron cookware. Of every variety. A while ago, I'd been looking into buying a dutch oven and I'd had the idea of buying an orange enameled dutch oven (orange because of the nostalgia for one my mother had from which I ate many a delicious stew or potato or curry or soup). But then we sort of came to the realization that everything a dutch oven would do can be done by something else that we already have* - with the exception of campfire uses, and since we really only ever backpack (verses "car camping"), a dutch oven would not be practical for camping.

Still, I have such an affection for cast iron. It's so... functionally elegant. This section that we found had every kind of cast iron cookware you could imagine. I spent awhile in there, squealing every time I found some oddly shaped muffin pan or tiny skillet. We looked at the dutch ovens and I found one that I loved - for $60! We didn't buy it though, for the reasons I stated earlier. We also found a real waffle iron, which I am still thinking about buying. We don't have a waffle iron and if we're going to buy a waffle iron, I want it to be awesome. This one is definitely awesome. It's the kind that comes with it's own stand which you put over the burner. The waffle iron itself is attached to the stand at the hinge. It rests on the stand until you pick it up by the handle and flip it over. I adore it, but alas, I have no room for it. If I did, I could make moffles.

*For example, we got a slow-cooker from Williams-Sonoma as a wedding present. It died after maybe 3 uses - the heating element (get this!) got too hot. When Casey discovered that we were living without a slow cooker, she picked one up at her thrift store for 5 bucks and it's way better than the fancy one (it fits on our counter and still has a lot of room for "batch cooking" and it's heating element hasn't gotten too hot).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ideas for Slate Magazine.

I know I get myself into these things. I'm fully aware of it. But, sometimes you need a release. A bit of fluff. Some amusement. Other women read Cosmo. I read Slate. Sometimes the articles are interesting. A lot of them are stupid and some are offensive. All of them must be taken with a large, grain of salt.

They have a particular type of article where one of the reporters makes a confession about not like something that everyone appears to like and then spends the rest of the time cajoling the readers into admitting that they really don't like it either.

If you'll pardon the expression, I read an article today that literally "took the cake". An anti-pie article called "It's gloppy, it's sloppy, it's un-American" by some giant ass named Nathan Heller. My first thought was, "I can't believe the presence of a pie actually affects someone so much as to make the entire afternoon unpleasant."

The rest of the article is about how we all eat pie because we think we're supposed to according to tradition and now trend, but really, let's just admit that it's not very good, because the author, apparently doesn't understand why other people like it, so they must be lying.

Clearly Slate is struggling for article subjects if they are attacking something as innocuous as pie (I mean really, why the hell does Nathan Heller care if other people eat pie??). To help them, Ryan and I came up with some possible titles for future articles.

"Puppies are just not that adorable - why can't we admit it?"

"Why we should all eat babies."

"Being inexplicably rude to strangers is a good idea."

"Paradise: Returning to the Religions of our Forefathers"

"Fear God!  FEAR HIM!"

"Walking: is this primitive form of locomotion overrated?"

 "Chewing your food may be worse for you than you thought."

 "Stop Blinking: Why Your Eyes Are Crying"

"Why Stubbing Your Toe Isn't As Painful As You Think It Is."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paleo Diet, cont...

I found this article, by Katharine Milton of UC Berkeley - published in the book The Human Diet, of which I'd love a copy, but I can't even afford the Kindle version (around $73).

It articulates what I have been trying to say to various people: "It is difficult to comment on "the best diet" for modern humans because there have been and are so many different yet successful diets in our species." She also points out of the few significant mutations that have served as adaptations which differentiate  us from our nearest great ape relatives occurred AFTER the advent of agriculture and animal domestication, so are not associated with our Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Tracheotomies and pulled up mint

We've finally got around to our garden, a little less ambitious this year: lettuce, onions and various herbs. Also, we have been cultivating the volunteer mint in our garden for the 2 years we've had a garden, with a view to mint drinks and mint preserves (we made pesto using oregano, mint and chili instead of the usual basil - it was divine. The magic ingredient was lemon juice, to taste. We have it on toast). Proud and excited about our crop of mint this year, we started making more plans for it (mint syrup! mint tea!), only to catch our rather unobservant downstairs neighbour pulling them out. Definitely an odd duck: she claimed that we'd told her that that was where the sunny part was (for her tomatoes) despite the fact that she was digging in the shadiest part of our garden. It turned out that she intended to plant her onions there. Ryan then pointed out some volunteer tomato plants that were growing where we had planted tomatoes last year and asked her to avoid them. She promptly trampled them as she trundled over to plant her tomato plants. I think she is new to gardening (as am I!). Ryan replanted the mint she pulled out - most of it is seeming to recover, so not a huge tragedy. 

We are going to buy some more plants this weekend at the farmer's market: a stevia plant and some more exotic greens.Currently, we have two mixed salad greens patches, designed to be harvested regularly for fresh salads.  I even found a cardamom plant for sale at the market but couldn't fit it onto my bicycle (our recent routine has been to wake up on Saturdays, eat a leisurely breakfast and then bike to the farmer's market and food co-op for vegetables (market), cheese and locally produced butter and yoghurt. With the exception of dried beans and grains, we are done shopping for the week.) The cardomom plant was in a little stall full of interesting plants and as I was exclaiming about finding cardomom, a hand gripped my upper left arm and someone whispered something in my ear. I turned and saw a white bearded, jolly faced man standing next to me, who repeated his whisper: 

"Can I help you?". 

I replied, 
"No thanks, I was just excited by your cardamom plant." 

Ryan stepped forward and asked him about wintering the plant, 
"Surely you can't keep it outside during the winter...?"

The man leaned forward to answer and I noticed he had a large white gauze patch taped to his throat, but the medical tape was coming loose on the side closest to me, revealing a gaping, dark hole at the base of his neck that had a sort of orangey yellow crust around the edges. 

"No, you bring it in, in the winter." He whispered back.

Ryan said, "It's a pity about your voice." and I cringed. 

"That's life." 

As we walked away, I asked Ryan if he knew why the man was whispering. He shook his head and I said, 

"He'd just had a tracheotomy."

Ryan had apparently thought the man was suffering from laryngitis. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Really, Jeeves? II

Jeeves has returned from the hospital! He has a very long incision, neatly stapled, and a shaved portion on his hindquarters to which the vets have affixed a clear patch that releases pain killers, (we were given explicit instructions not to eat the patch). In addition to those instructions, we were given a veritable pharmacy of pain killers, antibiotics, and healing agents for his stomach. This is in addition to all the eye medicine he is still on for the black eye he mysteriously came home with a few weeks ago.

He is in good spirits (almost too good - he celebrated getting home by jumping back and forth over the back seat of the car) and, aside from the heat (it's in the 90s F today), he seems content to be home.  

The offending object was identified as a squash stem along with various bits of vegetation. We are still unsure as to where he found a squash stem this time of year, especially considering that he was under quasi-house arrest due to the black eye!

His prognosis for a full recovery is excellent, given his physical condition, age and stubborn nature. We are glad that the worst part is over!