Wednesday, September 30, 2009

shut up, cosmetic accent: adventures in english VI

Moral objections to the product aside, the Juvederm ads make me crazy because there is an accent over the first "e" in the name, but the spokes-gerophobe always emphasizes the "u," which is totally understandable since it's an obvious frankenword formed from "juvenile" and "dermis," to mean "young skin." So the geniuses in marketing, knowing this, just stuck that accent in to tart it up. Gah! The cosmetic accent is up there with K for C substitution in sheer uselessness.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

next to lovin' I like fightin' best

Organized children's sports are a major stressor in my life. Practices, games, pictures that I never buy, childish parents, pop and candy handed out at every game . . . it's like they took my myriad aversions to an externally imposed schedule, overscheduling, disproportionate commemoration of insignificant events, failure/success-by-proxy parents and junk food, bred them all to each other and whelped a belching, oozing behemoth of irritation, capable of sending me into a rage seizure, complete with spittle foam and tongue swallowing.

Last night both of our boys had a soccer game (rescheduled for Fall Break). The Hulk's team has won every game, thanks almost entirely to a very skilled and competitive little boy on the team. He and The Hulk usually get along all right, but yesterday for some reason he decided to kick The Hulk in the crotch. Whaaa? Then toward the end of the game the kid (who it must be admitted is a showboater) shot from halfway down the field and missed the goal by a good fifteen feet. So his dad starts berating him (classy) and asking why he missed it. The kid answers, "Because [The Hulk] was in my way!" (Lie.) And the dad yells at him, "Well, next time just kick him!"

Pardon? Did that really happen?

So The Hulk has his instructions. Here's how they go:
Step 1: Say to the kid, "Look, man. You need to chill. I'm not in your way and you'd better step off or I'm going to deck you." He has my permission to change the wording to modern vernacular instead of creaky aging hippie speech. If problem persists . . .
Step 2: Tell the coach. If problem persists . . .
Step 3: Tell us and the other boy's parents. If problem persists . . .
Step 4: Punch the kid and keep punching him until the problem is fixed.

Don't worry, because I warned him that fighting hurts, but just like with Opie and the bully who kept taking his lunch money, sometimes it's necessary. And I've got his back.

It's this kind of cowboy diplomacy that makes me a better fit for the boonies than the suburbs.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

aren't everyone's vacation pictures of food?

Vacations are the best, right? I'm happy to be back and all, but deeply jealous of the Portland Farmers Market. It eats pieces of crap like the Logan Farmers Market for breakfast. Not to knock Logan. It does what it can and it's a darn sight better than the pathetic excuse that Thanksgiving Point used to roll out when I lived there. Not so in Portland--I could easily bankrupt my family in one visit, and the shocking disgrace of it is that it would all be food.

We're not much for chain restaurants. We do visit them, but when the option is there we'll usually choose an independently-owned place. It's more fun and you typically get better food, we've found. So we had a good time picking places to eat that helped us feel like we had really left Utah.

AJ's Restaurant in Mountain Home, ID
Those nice people paid for half of our surprisingly good breakfast buffet.

Banning's in Tigard, OR
The stuffed hash browns are like the crack cocaine. The rest of the food is standard diner fare; hearty, good, unsurprising but totally satisfying. They serve a five-layer chocolate cake that is crazy.

Breakfast was the waffles at our hotel. I'm googly-eyed about them. Lunch was salami, cheese and fruit in the car before we went to the zoo. Fred Meyer in Tigard sells manky Havarti, if you were wondering.
Manzanita Seafood in Manzanita, OR
Terrific clam chowder and the best fried cod we had the whole trip. The woman serving us was very nice to our kids, bringing them milk and crayons and free chocolate cupcakes. Not fancy, but everything we ordered was good. (Edited: John dissents, claiming that his tuna steak was not nearly as good as the one I cooked him a couple of weeks ago. Flatterer.)


Pears from some vendors at the farmers market, blue cheese from the Rogue Creamery vendor.

Russian Banana and Rose Finn fingerling potatoes from a farmers market vendor. They were peanutty and scrumptious.

Chicken from the Manzanita market. Their meat department was really sparsely populated.

Sunday we stayed home so as not to cause our manservant to labor and all that jazz. My mom made sure to ask me Saturday night when I called whether I had visited the grocery store to make Sunday dinner. She wanted to make sure I wasn't sowing any wild oats, I suppose. Boy, wouldn't her face be red if she saw the huge bottle of liquor I brought home! Kidding. I did look for some more vodka to do another batch of vanilla beans, but all I saw were aisles and aisles of local wines. Good for you, Oregon! I admire your pluck.

Tillamook Cheese in Tillamook, OR
The cheese was good. Duh. There's a reason it sells so well. I got a grilled cheese in their little cafe thingie which almost made me weep with joy. The clam chowder less so. I suspect the use of canned potatoes. The ice cream and fudge are great.

Norma's Ocean Diner in Seaside, OR
We were lured in by the siren song of a purported Sunset endorsement. Great clam chowder, the rest of the meal was totally unremarkable. And the fish for the fish and chips was dry dry dry.

Pot roast. Pot roast is good for your body.

Bread and Ocean in Manzanita, OR
Crumb Brothers they are not. The sourdough was wan and anemic, which made me cross because I had bought it especially to go with the crab we got from . . .

Jetty Fishery in Rockaway Beach, OR
We caught the Dungeness crab ourselves. One was a three-pound monster and the other was only two. The people cooked them up for us and we tore into them like cave men. I also had a fantastic raw oyster and another that had been grilled over the fire, thanks to some lovely old men who were sitting around the fire with us. So very good. You may be shocked and educated to know that the raw oyster was not very much at all like the one I ate in the Chinese buffet.

Wednesday night we had a hot dog and marshmallow roast on Cannon Beach, which I highly recommend. Totally worth all the sand in the food.

Taco Shark in Seaside, OR
Mediocre Mexican food. No Ricardo's this.

Thursday night was leftovers, in an attempt to lessen our garbage output for the next day (our last). We ate a mess of ice cream.

Bread and Ocean again for their meh Pain au Chocolat. Not impressed, but I'm such a dink that I'd go back one more time and try their baguette.

Camp 18 in Elsie, OR
Overpriced but good. My Reuben was fiercely tasty. They're really into wood there.

McDonalds in Pendleton, OR
The kids needed to get their wiggles out, so we succumbed. Hateful, as you can imagine.

I'm seriously in love with the waffle machines at the Comfort Suites hotels.

Garden of Eden in Eden, ID
Truck stop food. Pretty good. Very sick by that point of being in the car.

And now we're home! The animals were all well-fed and happy to see us, and while we were gone a neighbor boy pulled a drowning toddler from a car that had gone off the road into a canal and saved her life. I love this place.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

just as I suspected

I thought maybe the Oregon Zoo was padding their accounts, bear-wise. As I surmised, Kodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) ARE as big as polar bears (Ursus maritimus), and though I wouldn't want to witness a rough-and-tumble betwixt the two except for I totally would, my money's on the Kodiak. See above, re: fierce and crafty.

By the way, did you know that the Latin name for the Grizzly bear, which like the Kodiak is a subspecies of Brown bear, is Ursus arctos horribilis (emphasis mine)? Makes you think, doesn't it? About how Dwight says you can tell the difference because Black bears run away from you and Brown bears run at you? I just bet they do. I saw a movie when I was little called The Night of the Grizzly, and I vividly remember the pig with a big old bite mark out of its side. And the blood everywhere. Did I mention that bears freak me out? People need to not show kids movies about sharks and bears.

Monday, September 21, 2009

zoo reportkien

Hey--just a quick note to say that our beach house is great, and we will be buying Pain au Chocolat on Wednesday. The zoo did rock, and the lions were all hopped up on goofballs about their new habitat and were wrasslin' and charging the glass and pawing it, trying to eat all the eager/spooked children. The cheetahs were excited too, and the polar bear came right up and plopped next to the glass after he took a minute to urinate in his swimming hole. They are yooge, by the way, even bigger than grizzly bears according to the zoo display (but they didn't have any grizzly bears there, and I bet Kodiak bears are pretty big, and probably crafty and make up in ferocity what they lack in size).

One unpleasant note--the sea otter, which often is my favorite animal, seemed to be busily eating something pink, but it turns out that he was anxiously engaged in an activity best conducted in private, and I don't mean voiding his bowels. We even recorded some of it before we caught on to his little scheme. And that's why we will never have an otter president. No self-control.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I hope there's a stampede in the gorge

Everyone knows there ain't no predator like a Serengeti predator, 'cause a Serengeti predator don't stop. So when you see a young lion on the plain eating hartebeest, you gotta give a lion his props.

Some notes from yesterday:
An older couple at AJ's Restaurant & Lounge in Mountain Home, Idaho paid for half of our meal because our kids were so well behaved, and because "Jesus loves you all." Also we had a gun. Hear that? Our kids are well-behaved! Not monsters!

The gas station bathroom in Pendleton was pretty skeevy, and in the men's bathroom someone had taken a crowbar and ruined their beautiful condom machine and extracted the gooey innards (perhaps not the best adjective choice). The heart wants what it wants, I guess. At the same gas station there were two men trimming the juniper bushes with gas trimmers. One was shirtless, one was smoking. And it's illegal in Oregon to pump your own gas. NANNY STATE!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

how will I live without my down comforter for a week?

Packing for our vacation. Busy, busy, buy and sell, busy, busy, trade, trade. I told my mom I'd snag her a starfish and bring it home in a plastic bag. Because of the yummy way it will smell. Maybe I'll throw in a sea cucumber while I'm at it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

did june cleaver go to the market in kitten heels or flats?

Are you sick of looking at that worm yet? Okay then, let me tell you about my new dress--hey, where are you going? Sit down and listen! I got it from Downeast Outfitters for a slamming seven dollars, so it just needs to be one notch up from a potato sack and we're good. It's one of those dresses that you can smoosh in your suitcase and still wear without looking like a total hobo. See, that's how you know I'm a real no-foolin' American, because my clothing is judged first for its comfort and then for its comeliness. Maybe this is racist? But Asian and Hispanic women are always dressed so smartly, even at TJ Maxx or Ross, and then there are all these schlubby white moms in sweat pants with their hair and makeup not done (me, minus the sweat pants). It's sad that we're so rolling around in our own sick, but there it is. Maybe it's just Utah, though. Is it not like this elsewhere in our country? I can't imagine going shopping in heels.

Monday, September 14, 2009

justine's wild backpack kingdom

I'm poaching this story from Justine, but she doesn't have a blog, so it's not like she's doing anything with it.

Today she found a milkweed worm making a chrysalis in her backpack! Just hanging out in there! She's going to try to transfer it to a jar so it can carry on its great work. It's the craziest thing I've ever heard, a real Festivus Miracle. We've been trying to find milkweed worms for weeks now, but no luck. We think their migration pattern may have shifted, because neither my mom nor I have been able to find any for years, and we used to find them every fall. Maybe they have colony collapse disorder too!


It turns out that Justine was harboring a TOMATO WORM, which I don't think can get any grosser! It's like giving birth, and the doctor says, "Here, Mrs. So-and-so, here is your beautiful baby," only the baby is a Moray eel. YUCK.

Tomato worms are my kryptonite--right up there with the eggs-in-its-back frog. OH, I just remembered! Grandma Maxine gave us a bunch of her old books, and the other day I was leafing through one on animals, and it just happens to open on the page with a big old picture of the freaking Surinam Toad, with its babies all jumping out of its spongy back flesh. Sick. I can't escape that stupid thing. Always and always I'm seeing pictures of it on accident and it's nightmarish.

Here, I'll share with you:
And the video to make you cry while vomiting:
All photos courtesy of the internet.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

on the other hand I offer a bag that won't leak, and besides, it's got handles!

I agree with at least some of what I've read in this article so far. Wow. Ringing endorsement, that. But what she says makes sense--kids like to associate meals with happy memories, and they like repetition. And there are quite a few meals that we repeat, but some great meals have gotten mislaid or neglected, and I think I'm going to take her suggestion and put together a list of sure-thing meals. I've been keeping track of what we eat every night for dinner for the past few months or so, and I'll ask the kids for their opinions. Prediction:
Captain America: "Candy."
The Hulk: "Don't cook anymore."
Superman: "Candy."
Pinga: "I just peed on the floor again."

I'm excited about this! In other food-related news, I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe again, because we loved it so much last time, except for this time we used goat meat and it is now the High Potentate of all our homemade Indian food. All the other Indian recipes we've tried are now fanning it with palm leaves and feeding it dates. Which are gross, but I hear some people like them (perverts). I felt like I was IN the Tandoori Oven (not a real oven). My naan was weak, but I'm just a silly white girl from Utah, so give me time and don't be hatin'. If you've eaten at the Bombay House in Provo (good) or Salt Lake (eh), or the the Indian Oven (restaurant) or Tandoori Oven (gas station) in Logan, you will make this food now. DO IT I SAID.

people think the stupidest things

I'm pretty sure that at least one or two of the people who don't agree with Obama have based their decision on his performance, not his race.

I'm also pretty sure that he's not the Antichrist.

Just saying.

Friday, September 11, 2009

backwards serrations! what a time to be alive

I need this knife and so do you. My magnetic knife rack above the stove is starting to get hilariously overpopulated, but I refuse to give any of them up. They are my Imelda shoes. My current favorite is the Gladiator knife from Smith and Edwards (because it's tomato season), but normally it's the santoku. I think this wave knife would be a very cooperative new member of the family. Here's what The Kitchn says about it.

"drive my car" is not a vital component of the beatles catalog

Today my family has put me in a state of heightened aggro. I try to chuck the parts of of modern life that I find ridiculous and unnecessary, but it requires constant vigilance, and sometimes things creep in that oughtn't. In case you were wondering how the Chucking It is going.

We're celebrating Superman's birthday today, and I'm going to do Bittman's Golden Layer Cake--it makes three layers!--with the Marshmallow Frosting from Smitten Kitchen. Superman was sort of underwhelmed by the idea until I bought a plastic figurine of R2-D2 to plop on top of it, and now he's being a team player. He knows plastic makes it possible.

Pinga is in her room napping, by which I mean she is removing her clothing and pounding on the walls. I hope she will use her time to test-drive the potty chair I put in there. I figured, if she's going to be peeing on the floor, eventually she may hit the toilet, and then I can give her some candy and start associating proper placement of waste matter with tasty rewards. Also I can start cultivating a food neurosis of needing treats for performance, so it's a twofer!

In preparing the cake pans I was able, through careful placement of the pan and tracing it just so, to get three liners cut from one sheet of parchment paper. It was pretty amazing. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I compare it to Salk's discovery of the polio vaccine.

At Sumida's this morning there was this crotchety older woman who shoved her way to the front of the line with her purchases, and started complaining that there weren't any pears. Numerous people told her of places that carry them, and I mentioned that the Barkers down the road had Bartlett pears (which looked beautiful, by the way, like their stuff always does). And she launches into this lecture about how she heard the Barkers had peaches, but they were charging FOURTEEN DOLLARS A HALF BUSHEL if you can imagine, "just to shirt people." I know, how dare they try to make a living as farmers, growing food for us and selling it for a tiny smidgen of profit? It's not like they provide actual value to our society. Who do they think they are, professional basketball players?

She kept saying it over and over, "just to shirt people," "they're just shirting people," "they just want to shirt people." What the crap? First of all, I have it on good authority that peaches are going for sixteen a half in Logan, and much more than that in Salt Lake, and it's not at all unusual to see twenty a half. And has she ever picked peaches? Because it sucks, and takes a good spell of time. Furthermore, perhaps the Barkers have slightly higher prices, but their peaches are enormous and lovely and succulent, and though I don't know them, if they only charged me five dollars for a gigantic flat of cherries, they don't cheat people. Also, mean old lady? SHUT UP.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

if chickens are tobacco, turkeys are probably marijuana

(photo ganked from internets and courtesy of National Geographic, via Gary M. Stolz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Well, I promised Tipsy that I would post my findings on this topic, but you're all going to come out on the other end of this just as ignorant as when you began, so . . . sorry 'bout that.


Barbara Kingsolver is many things. A pinko commie, a lifestyle scold, a livestock pusher. But what she chiefly is is a prodigiously talented, wily temptress of a writer. I can see her machinations, and I don't care; I am a faithful disciple of the Church of Kingsolver. She is responsible for an embarrassingly large percentage of my worldview.

Which is why when I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago I became irrationally possessed of a consuming desire to raise a flock of self-perpetuating heritage turkeys. I mean, obviously, right? Who wouldn't want an antagonistic modern-day dinosaur running around the yard, from which you have to defend yourself with a length of pipe? (Mrs. Peacock, in the barnyard, with the lead pipe!)

As I've mentioned, there is a large wild turkey population (the bird, not the bourbon . . . although . . . ) in our area, and there are people willing to kill and clean the bird for you, so it may be that the lazy girl will win out and I'll stay out of the turkey business. We do have limited space in the chicken run, after all. And the processing--we still haven't done the roosters, and I'm not sure I want to buy any more of that crazy. But I started doing research all the same, to find out if there is a specific breed that would do better in our area of infernal summers and Hothian winters. Here's a link to the ALBC's information on the various breeds. From what I've been able to discover, it doesn't matter so much which breed you get, as the heritage breeds all seem to do well. So I'm leaning toward the Narragansett. It has a cool name, is calm and a good forager, and is beautiful. Comparatively, because those heads . . . so many off-color jokes to be made. But the prices! Yeesh!

So we'll see. I'd also like to keep a pig, and a cow, and get another goat, and have a big garden every year. But a quality I possess in spades is sloth, and I have little interest in the time commitment a heaping slice of Ingalls would require. But a Hereford pig--can you stand how cute he is, once you overlook the painfully large reminder of his virility on the back end there?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

shut up, life

You know what? Of course this is happening. Of course the children are being enormous butts. Of course they're choosing today to forget any training in piano they've received. Of course they can't remember how to spell anything or construct a sentence or read. Of course the baby won't wear any clothes. Of course she takes her shirt off by pulling it down her waist and stepping out of it. Of course she knows how to take off her diaper. Of course she also figured out how to remove gaffer tape to get off that diaper too. Of course she peed on her rug for the second time in a week. Of course she has picked a bloody hole in her cheek. Of course the house is a frigging pigsty, because I only cleaned it once today, and that was before the ingrates came home to destroy it all. Of course I can't get a spare minute to deal with any of this, because I'm busy teaching piano lessons and making dinner, trying to have it ready by five.

And you know why it's happening? Because I volunteered to feed the missionaries. Because I'm such a service hog, and I just had to decide that it would be fun to cook a meal and let my boys see some young men who are serving others. Screw that noise. I'm going back to being selfish.

sticking it to big mason jar

I'm sorry to interrupt Beatles day with this trivial matter, but it will take a mere-shmear moment of your time. You don't like canned peaches, do you? Because you're not eight months old. It's okay, neither am I. But fresh peaches are the best! We want to eat them always until our body composition shifts to 70% peach slurry! What to do?

Well, my brainy sister-in-law Emily slices up her peaches, puts them in a bowl with some sugar and lets them macerate for a spell, then she scoops up peaches and juiciness into a zipper bag and freezes it. Then she can taste summer during the winter. Yeah, they get mushy, but so do canned peaches, and they don't even taste good.

Here's my spin of her idea: I wanted to vacuum seal the peaches, which means I couldn't scoop clumps of peach and juice, or the bags won't seal, as I've learned to my sorrow (I'm looking at you, sweet cherries). So I washed and sliced the peaches--no scalding for me, I just wash off the fuzz and call it good. I'm a busy girl, and who cares about a little skin? Not me. Next I laid them out on a lined cookie sheet, sprayed them with lemon juice and sprinkled them with sugar. Then off they went to the freezer for a few hours, at which point I will pull them off the cookie sheets and plop them into bags. I'll show you that step next time.

Now go buy some Beatles!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

chick ride: low iron, lack of girlish bleeding--I WARNED YOU

I just went to give blood and I got REJECTED! Can you imagine how embarrassed I was? Like, not being able to do the thing that thousands of poor college students do for a free snack? Oh, those Lorna Doones. I am silly for them. I didn't get denied for AIDS or anything (knock on wood), but just because my hematocrit was too low. Common among women, the needle jockey says, "for obvious reasons." Hee. He didn't want to say period, because it's gross and girly. And Wikipedia concurs with him, mentioning that women of childbearing years lose a lot of blood during menstruation. Do tell.

But what if you don't menstruate? At least outwardly? Because I have an IUD that I lovelovelove (the Mirena--ask your doctor today), and since I got it two years ago I haven't had anything other than minor spotting every once in a while. It is the best ever and so worth every farthing. But if no bleeding, why low hematocrit? Grunt! Low hematocrit bad! I often have lowish iron, even though I eat red meat like a lioness and lots of iron-rich vegetables like . . . that animal that eats all the vegetables. You know the one I mean.

Why do I have low iron? Why does everything happen to meeeee?

I was wailing to John about my thwarted charity attempt, and how I didn't get my cookies, and he said I could have just gone over and gotten some anyway. Huh? I told him, "No, you have to pay for those cookies with blood!" and he seems to think that the little bit they took to test my hematocrit is enough for a package of cookies. Sigh. He just doesn't get it. It would be like saying I was a cancer survivor when all I did was get a mole removed. Lumping myself in with people who'd actually accomplished something. Well, I don't believe in committing medical fraud. I'm sorry, it's just the way I was raised.

tv and children's games

I'm in the second season of Lost now, and I just saw the episode that shows how Charlie's brother sold his piano, and I am so furious about it. It's like "The Gift of the Magi" gone perversely awry. I shouldn't get so het up about TV, but having children brought my emotions even closer to the surface than they were before, when I just had my Herd genes making me cry at supermarket openings and whatnot.

Speaking of het up, when John and I used to play Boggle he would not believe that "het" was a word, or "het up" a legitimate phrase. It is, by the way. It's a colloquialism for "heated up," as in losing one's temper. And he spanked me at Boggle every dang time we played, so we don't play that anymore. I played Boggle like Scrabble, looking for words like "cuneiform," while John busily writing down 2- and 3-letter words and their plurals--a winning strategy, it turned out. And I always wasted him at Scrabble (which I submit to you takes more skill and word knowledge to win), so we don't play that anymore either.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm a sucker for monty python animation

Here's what I'm doing to celebrate Labor Day: laboring in the kitchen a little bit to make some sour cherry peach jam. The cherries have been reclining in state in our freezers downstairs, growing ever more icy and brittle, and I need my cookie sheets back. Do you know, in the last little while I've occasionally had to wash a cookie sheet I just used, rather than get a clean one out of the cupboard? Gadzooks, what a world.

Yesterday I needed three big burners again, so I had to go outside and use the Camp Chef like a hillbilly. The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when we had family over and Matthew made both red beans and rice and jambalaya, because he's a graduate of the same cooking school I am (the Cook for Twenty Institute of Higher Learning). We had all these burbling pots, and had to pull the Camp Chef into service. Meow! These first world concerns are really getting me down!

There are too many bands and too many people writing books. All the angsty, groany, wuss rock people who sing every song like they're making pooface are total downers. I don't know for sure which one of them was the first, but I'm cranky about how they're diluting rock and popular music into this aural bowel movement. And I find Franz Ferdinand to be refreshing, not like that dingus John Mayer who would probably write a grief ballad about overtweezing his eyebrows. Isn't he over? Why is he still getting airplay?

And if there weren't so many abysmal books being written by people who are a)famous and untalented, b)well-connected and untalented, or c)survivors of tawdry news stories and untalented, then maybe I could get some books for my children and myself that aren't going to make us stupider. Our library is so packed full of noise and traffic from all these crappy books that I can't find anything by Steven Kellogg or Robert McCloskey or even Chris Van Allsburg. What kind of monsters don't have The Devil's Storybook on hand? Who has only one copy of Old Yeller? COMMUNISTS, that's who.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

goatsearch '09: do these people not own computers?

Traci in a happier time, when she still had that shouty Finola to make her look good.

I spent this afternoon looking for someone to sell us a "mature doe." Of the people in our ADGA district who raise Nubians, only one of them has a website--the Drakes, who sold us Traci and Finola. We'll probably end up buying from them again, which is not too bad, except I'd like to get some new blood running in our herd. For greater biodiversity and all that jazz. I'd like one of those crazy splashy ones with spots, but good night. Evidently the goat I want--long-legged, refined, with spots and a well-attached, productive udder--is available at the store where they sell basilisks and chimeras. Also I would like the goat to be free.

Look, I just want all my groceries in one bag, but I don't want the bag to be heavy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

we've cut costs and passed the calories on to you!

So I just Mennonited my way over to the neighbors' house in my skirt, Mary Janes, apron and pigtails. On my way I realized how anachronistic I must look, but . . . water under the bridge. They just had a baby, so they need some treats. Like cinnamon rolls. Like the ones I made this morning. And the three other pans since then.

when a problem comes along, you must whip it

Today is a day when I feel like a rad mom.

Last night at about nine o'clock while I was waiting for the milk to cool down so I could add the yogurt start, I decided I felt like making cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe (except I used butter instead of vegetable oil), because like I said, it was about nine, and I couldn't very well call my mom for her recipe. If you call my parents after nine somebody had better be dead, or somebody's going to be. That's what happens to people who awake at four thirty so they can get about the business of working circles around everyone else. They become bitter and cling to their guns and early bedtimes. (Kidding about the guns and bitterness . . . hi, Mom!)

So I got up a half hour early and we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, which means that I didn't have to resort to use of the pryin' bar to get my kids out of bed. They snarfed them down like pigs in slop, and it was a lovely, happy, conflict-less breakfast. A pretty small price to pay for peace at the table. I did cream cheese frosting instead of the maple glaze, because you know how that would have gone over with His Royal Whineness The Hulk--like a lead balloon is how. But I'm going to do some experimentation with the rest of the batch, because there is a grundle of dough left.

Speaking of The Hulk, last night I made him help me make the dumplings (it was a choice between that and cleaning the basement), and he says, "I never knew that dumplings are just dough!" (Lie.) "I bet I'm going to find out that I like them." Which of course he did, because he had decided to. And because they are delicious, just like I said they would be. GLOBBY BISCUITS.

Two food successes in two days. That's good Billy. Tonight I'm making the zucchini tamal that Tipsy test drove, because Captain America loves tamales, and I've tried to pass it off as a tamale in a pie pan. Prediction: everyone hates it but me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

how else am I going to win their loyalty?

Should I not be cooking chicken skin for my kids' after-school snack?

product may stay: duktig play flatware from ikea

I have three sons and one daughter, and they have all been babies. Babies have to learn how to use utensils to feed themselves, and have you ever used those insane things they sell in the baby aisles? The spoons are not so bad, but the forks are just stupid. The "tines" are so thick and blunt that they are incapable of spearing butter. I blame our Nerf world and our society of cork-forked Ruprechts. No one gets to experience natural consequences, it seems, until they get behind the wheel of a car for the first time. But that's a rant for another day.

I wanted utensils for Pinga that she could actually use, and saw these on a trip to Ikea. We love them. They are perfect for little hands and you may not believe this, but she has not speared her or anyone else's eye even once. She's far more accurate with them than Captain America is with his own utensils. That may, however, be due to his australopithecan habit of eating with his hands.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I am overly invested in this topic

I was wondering, how many of you have tried the Smitten Kitchen's chicken and dumplings recipe? It's terribly good, with the correct kind of dumplings: globs of biscuity dough.

John came home from a trip to South Carolina last year talking about the delicious chicken and dumplings he'd eaten while there, and the dumplings he described to me were like big, square pieces of noodle! BLASPHEMY! We had such an argument about it. You laugh, but I'm not joking. He claims that chicken and dumplings is a traditional Southern dish, so therefore the Southern woman who made it for him must know what she's doing. My rebuttal is that though noodley dumplings may be a variation, they are certainly not canonical, and even if they are, they're still wrong. EVERY recipe I've ever seen for chicken and dumplings has had biscuity dumplings. And maybe those are all Yankee recipes, I'm sure I don't know, since I'm a Western girl myself. But I do know this: why would I take dumpling advice from the culture that brought us dry, salty, crumbly cornbread? Soft, moist, cakey cornbread with a hint of sweetness, or failing that, corn pudding, is so OBVIOUSLY the better method, anyone who disagrees simply appears ridiculous. I don't know why it's even discussed. Some lovely people we met from South Carolina (the maker of the noodley dumplings, actually) eat their cornbread fried, which I would be willing to sample, but I go no further. Ridiculous.

I'm sure the dish was excellent--it sounds excellent. I would love to eat some of Michelle's chicken and dumplings someday. But like David Sedaris and the rubber hand, I will go to my grave averring that it's a sport of the pure chicken and dumplings line.

Go buy some leeks and make the Smitten Kitchen version. And you'll finish the entire pan of it because your mouth won't let you stop eating it. Unless you have more willpower than I.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the machine is mankind's madness and disfigurement

The worker people arrived this morning and constructed our hay shelter in next to no time. It looks like it will do a suitable job of keeping our goats' precious groceries out of the weather. You can sort of see Traci sulking in the corner of the pen--for a goat she is very calm and even-tempered, but I still think she would like some company. Any other Nubian (Finola, par exemple) would be raising hell out there to let us know just how lonely she was, you terrible, neglectful, abusive people, but Traci is pretty chill. She just sits there quietly judging us.

I'm having the worst time making a decision about whether or not to milk next spring. I love the actual milking, but the whole setup of mixing the teat dip, gathering all the buckets and cheesecloth, getting the grain and catching the goat is a real drag. And I admit that I've gotten lazy now that I've found a source for raw milk. Ah, me. What to do? I'm trying to locate a reputable breeder anywhere near here who would sell us a bred doe, since stud service can't be found for love nor money. A few of our neighbors who have goats have contemplated getting a buck to service all of our dairy does and splitting the cost, but I'm not sure if even then we would be able to justify the expense and hassle of year-round lodging for a big, hungry, pointy, aggressive, violent animal who regularly pees on himself. My uncle has an AI tank that he'd be willing to let us keep straws of semen in, but AI is so much trickier, and really, do I want to play a part in turning the dairy goat into another Broad-Breasted White? So that puts us back on the fence, sitting uncomfortably on the pickets.
In other news, apparently it's a frigging rooster farm up in here. FIVE we have. They haven't started attacking yet, but give them time. They may not get to the point of a testosterone rodeo, though, because we're going to process them one of these Saturdays when our neighbor Peggy can show us the ropes--last time we just skinned it and cut the meat off the bones, since it was a three-year-old hen, and nobody wants a roasted laying hen. This time, since these are spry young fellers, we're going to do the job properly, plucking and all. There will be copious documentation and a photo tutorial. That way you can refer to it when the Rapture comes and you need to know how to do home butchery. I'm all about providing services to the public.
You like to make noise at six in the morning so much? Well, take heed, brother: the bell tolls for thee.

Speaking of the Broad-Breasted White, a guy in our ward knows how I can get my greedy paws on a wild turkey--they're like rats around here, and he knows a fellow who kills and cleans them for Thanksgiving. Score! I bet it'll taste marvelous with my Blue Hubbard.