From “Moo” To Moosewood June 14, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Animal Welfare, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: Diet For A Small Planet, Humor, Lifestyle Choices, Vegetarianism
If they seem genuinely interested and I’m not pressed for time, I expand my answer, ”Being a vegetarian is better for me, better for the planet, and better for the animals that I would otherwise be consuming.”
If they press for more information, I elaborate along the following lines.
In my early teens, I read Diet for a Small Planet and learned how inefficient it is to feed the planet by growing grain for animals and then eating the animals.
If we ate the grain, and skipped “the middle man,” we would be able to feed more people, for less money, with less environmental impact, and fewer greenhouse gasses (including massive amounts of methane created by cows).
I decided to become a vegetarian. Since I have never much liked meat, cutting it from my diet didn’t involve any supreme sacrifice.
Giving up chocolate or pizza would have been far harder.
But my mother refused to let me make such a drastic (to her) lifestyle change at such a young and tender age. Not while living under her roof!
At home, I ate what everyone else was having. I would fill my plate with fruits, grains, and veggies before deigning to take a tiny sliver of London Broil or a single meatball. I learned to fly under the radar without loud pronouncements about what I would or wouldn’t eat.
But when we went out to eat, I got to “vote my conscience.”
Not Me. I wanted the buffet items ~ fresh melon, bagels, sliced oranges, waffles, fresh pineapple, pancakes, etc.
After we got settled, the waitress came around and took our orders, “Steak, rare. Eggs, fried.” “Steak, medium rare. Eggs poached.” And so on.
When she got to me, I would smile and say, “No steak, no eggs.”
My father would look at me, wondering who my real father was, and say, “The steak and eggs are the best part.”
I would look at him, wondering who my real father was, and say, “Order them anyway you want. I don’t want eggs or steak.”
Sandy, our Great Dane, became the beneficiary of this brunch battle because my uneaten steak went home with us in a doggie bag.
After college, I moved in with my parents for a year before heading to law school. I came across my copy of Diet for a Small Planet and decided, once again, to cut meat from my diet.
After a few weeks, my mother started worrying that a diet devoid of meat would cause malnutrition. Since she continued to harp on the magic of meat at every meal, I had a series of blood tests run to alleviate her concerns.
I was not anemic. I did not have iron poor blood. None of the test results revealed even the slightest hint of malnutrition or dietary deficiency.
Vindicated by the medical profession, I continued to omit meat from meals.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Quote: I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals . . . I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants. ~ A. Whitney Brown
“I Love It When That Happens!” June 12, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Synchronicity & Mystery.
Tags: Avocado, Barefoot Contessa, Food, Ina Garten, Mystery, Synchronicity
Yesterday at lunch, BFF and I watched Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, prepare lunch for her Architects.
On the menu:
* California Iced Tea
* Lobster Paella
* Avocado & Grapefruit Salad
* Shortbread Cookie Hammers
Neither of us liked the look of the salad.
“Wow! That Avocado looks . . . “
“Slimy! Yes! That’s exactly the word I had in mind.” I continued, “Of course, lots of people like Avocado. Food preferences are so personal. It’s funny that . . . “
I paused to watch Ina dropping Lobster chunks and frozen peas into the Paella.
A minute later, BFF picked up the thread of my thought . . . even though I hadn’t left an audible trail of breadcrumbs for him to follow.
“It’s funny that you and I dislike the same foods ~ food that other people adore ~ mushrooms, eggs, avocados, eggplant, sushi, calamari.”
“That’s exactly what I was going to say!”
I love it when that happens.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Have you ever read someone’s mind? Saying exactly what they were going to say, before they said it? Picking up where they left off?
Even when they could have headed in any number of different directions?
Don’t you love it when that happens?
Reflections on . . . Watermelon Pickles June 6, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Home & Garden, Humor.
Tags: Cooking, Food, Humor, Pickling, Watermelon, Watermelon Pickle
I love the anthology, Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle.
And I adore watermelon pickles.
I never understood why mom pickled zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, and peppers, but not watermelon rind.
Each summer, she canned dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, tomato sauce, beets, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, peach jam, peach chutney, rhubarb ginger jam, marmalade, lemon curd . . .
But, no matter how many times I pestered her, no watermelon pickles.
I’ve often wondered why watermelon pickles are both hard to find (relegated to small shelves in backwoods country stores) and expensive (triple the price of most pickled products).
After all, watermelon pickles are made from the inexpensive by-product of picnics and seed spitting contests. If you don’t turn the rind into pickles, it ends up in the compost pile or the trash.
Every time I toss out the rinds, I think, “I should make watermelon pickles.”
This year, I added “make watermelon pickles” to my bucket list . . . at spot #1137.
What? Stop judging me!
Item #1137 is no longer on the list because I made watermelon pickles! Yay!
Now I know (a) why mom never made them no matter how much I pestered her, (b) why they are hard to find, and (c) why they are expensive.
After 25 hours of prep work, I ended up with one quart of pickles. One!
OK . . . three pints. Tops.
Granted, most of that time was brine time (waiting for the salt to do its thing), not hands on slicing and dicing. Even so, it’s easier to make umpteen quarts of bread and butter pickles, and faster to pickle a peck of peppers, than to make a single quart of watermelon pickles.
Step 1 ~ Separate the pink flesh from the rind. (I didn’t count this time because I do it every time I buy a watermelon.)
Step 2 ~ Cut the rind into manageable pieces.
Step 3 ~ Get out your big pot. Put the rind into it. Oops! You’ll need a bigger pot than that!
Step 4 ~ Reach into the dark recesses of your least accessible cabinet to locate THE BIG POT.
Step 5 ~ Wash the BIG pot because it hasn’t been used in four years.
Step 6 ~ Put the rind into the BIG pot. Cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil for five minutes.
Step 7 ~ While waiting for the BIG pot to boil, read Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
Step 8 ~ Drain and cool the rind. Easy enough, right? Just carry the BIG pot of boiling water over to the sink and dump it into a colander. Ha! Try doing that with the-cat-who-must-not-be-named sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor between the stove and the sink.
Step 9 ~ Share a laugh with your BFF: Why did the cat sit in the middle of the kitchen? Answer: To get in the way.
Step 10 ~ Dump the rind into the colander until the colander spills over into the sink. Put the BIG pot down on the BIG pot holder. Find a second colander for the rest of the rind.
Step 11 ~ Rinse the rind to cool it down. Rinse it again. Rinse it again. Swap out colanders and rinse it again.
Step 12 ~ A watched rind never cools. Organize your sock drawer by color, height, and remaining elasticity. Stop kidding yourself that unmatched pairs are going to return some day. They are gone. Get over it!
Step 13 ~ Cut the edible inner rind away from the inedible outer rind, until you have 2 quarts of bite-sized pickling pieces.
Step 14 ~ Keep cutting. You’ve got 3 cups and you need a solid 8 cups. Keep going. You’re getting there. Watch your fingers! Great! 5 cups. Do I hear 6? Do I hear 6? Going once . . . going twice . . . done! At 6 cups.
Step 15 ~ Toss the outer rind into the trash. Wonder why it stinks. Take out the trash.
Step 16 ~ Wash the colanders, knives, plates, tongs, counter, and the BIG pot.
Step 17 ~ Put the rind into a non-reactive bowl. Adjust the recipe since you only have 6 cups of usable rind, not 8 cups as called for in the recipe.
Step 18 ~ Shake the salt container. Almost empty. Start pouring. Smack the side of the container to dislodge stray grains. Great . . . 1/4 cup salt. You’re halfway there.
Step 19 ~ Cut the top off the container to get the last few grains of salt. Uncap the salt shaker. Pour more. Huzzah! 1/2 cup!
Step 20 ~ Stir salt into 6 cups of water. Pour brine over the waiting rind.
Step 21 ~ Wait 6 hours. “We will rinse no brine before it’s time!”
Step 22 ~ Sniff the air. Yuck! Boiled watermelon smells like rotting fish. Put a lid on “eau de brining rind.”
Step 23 ~ Google “watermelon pickle” to discover who thought that pickling watermelon rind would be a good idea. “Anonymous.” Of course. Someone with more time than sense.
Step 24 ~ Check the timer. Three hours of brine time to go. What to do? What to do? Hmm . . . what rhymes with brine time? Of course . . . Wine Time!
Step 25 ~ At last! Drain and rinse the brined rind. Repeat. Keep rinsing until all trace of salt is gone. Wonder if you could have skipped the last 7 steps.
Step 26 ~ Put rind into a 2-quart saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until fork tender. Drain. Rinse.
Step 27 ~ Put 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar, 3/4 cup water, and 1 1/2 cups sugar into a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to boil.
Step 28 ~ Get out cloves, cinnamon, and allspice to add to syrup. Realize the recipe calls for whole cloves, stick cinnamon, and whole allspice, tied in cheesecloth. Toss in ground cloves and cinnamon. Look for allspice. Shrug when you can’t find it.
Step 29 ~ Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the rind. (Finally!) Simmer until rind is translucent, adding more water if necessary. Wait! Necessary for what?
Step 30 ~ Remove the spice bundle. Ha! Being able to skip this step saved me a bundle of time!
Step 31 ~ Pack in hot sterilized jars and cover with hot molten syrup, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims. Seal the jars.
Step 32 ~ Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Step 33 ~ Let the jars cool. Check seals. If not sealed, reprocess. Let the jars cool. Check the seals . . .
Give up. Put unsealed jars in the fridge.
Step 34 ~ Try to open a jar to taste the fruits of your labor. Stuck. Tap it on the counter to release the seal. Tap it again. Again. Shazam! We’re in!
Step 35 ~ Taste the pickles.
Spit it out! Spit it out!
Step 36 ~ Throw recipe away. Cross #1137 off Bucket List.
Step 37 ~ Write mom, apologizing for being a pest.
Aah . . . that’s better!
So, can you can better than I can can?
I bet you can can better.
Have you ever pickled watermelon rind? Did you do it more than once? What’s your secret? Infinite time? Or infinite patience?
Stuck Like a Duck on a Deck May 26, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: Boat, Duck, Food, Humor, Memorial Day, Rolex, Sarasota Bay
It’s Memorial Day in the States . . .
Creating a 3-day-weekend for many working folks who enjoy spending their “off hours” congregating in record numbers with other boaters in shallow waters atop barely submerged sandbars in the inter-coastal waterway while they float from boat to boat, cans in hand, to discuss matters of deep import.
We didn’t join them.
Instead, we went for a long walk in the waves on alcohol-free beaches.
We enjoyed $2 Happy Hour appetizers and a cold Yuengling at Bella Mia Grille on the Manatee River ~ our fave, fried green beans with chipotle dipping sauce.
We listened to the Sarasota Jazz Project while strolling through the Farmer’s Market on Lemon Avenue.
We enjoyed all the bright colors, textures, sounds, and aromas.
We bought fresh corn-on-the-cob for dinner, a pair of ripe red tomatoes, and two considerably-less-ripe green tomatoes to pair with grits for lunch today.
After getting our fill of the Farmer’s Market, we went for a short boat ride on Sarasota Bay with Captain Daryl of the Freedom Boat Club.
The weather whispered, “kick back and relax.”
We didn’t bring our checkbooks, content to spectate only.
After watching an original Pissarro sell for $11,800 and a Rolex go for $8,900, we turned our backs on the stifled bidding and returned home.
Where we found a duck, stuck, on our deck. We didn’t realize, at first, that she was stuck. She seemed to be enjoying the shade of the palm tree.
An hour later, she began pacing, intent on finding a way out.
We screened the deck posts so Tigger can’t slip through. The duck could have flown the coop by looking up.
But our stuck duck didn’t think of that as she waddled to and fro, flapping frustrated wings.
So we rescued her.
Aah . . . that’s better!
The Art of “Cooking” Raw Food May 22, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: Cooking, Food, Health & Wellness, Humor, Raw Food, raw food diet
To counter health issues, my sister is on a Gluten Free Vegan diet with lots of Raw Food tossed into the hopper.
I equate Raw Food with crisp crunchy salads . . .
And fresh fragrant fruit requiring little or no preparation . . .
Or a plate of crisp crunchy crudités . . .
Or better still, a pairing of fresh veggies and fresh fruit . . .
But what do I know?
A few weeks ago, my sister went to a Raw Food Sampling Event in Mount Dora, Florida. Attendees received samples to try and recipes to take home but did not observe any actual food preparation because . . . preparing Raw Food would have taken too long.
I find that amusing.
As it turns out, many Raw Food Recipes take hours longer to prepare than their cooked equivalents. A few examples:
* White Basmati Rice takes 25 minutes to prepare in boiling water. On a Raw Food diet, rice must be soaked overnight to become digestible.
* White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies take 8-10 minutes to bake, all the while perfuming the kitchen with delicious aromas that make it hard to eat just one. In contrast, raw cookies must be dehydrated for hours before becoming (barely) edible. And, even after all that time, they are still hard.
No, not hard to resist. Just hard.
When I asked my sister about the sampling event, she said, “Interesting talk and good food, especially the crunchy raw live crackers.”
“Did you enjoy any of the samples enough to recreate the recipes at home?”
“No. Probably not. Too much work.”
“Don’t you find it ironic that RAW food takes longer to prepare than COOKED food?”
“At least they didn’t call it a Raw Food “Cooking” Demo. That would have been oxymoronic.”
Aah . . . that’s better!
What are your favorite Raw Food “Recipes”?
Smoothies? Salads? Fresh Fruit? Or something more involved?
Why “O” Rather Than A, E, I, or U? May 20, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Humor, Word Play.
Tags: Cheerios, Cheetos, Doritos, Food, Fritos, Humor, Word Play
What is it about “O” that has allowed it to corner the market as the preferred ending vowel sound for food?
Why are we all urged to “give those O’s a go”? What does “O” have that A, E, I, and U are lacking?
Oh, sure, Italy got “I” in on the action:
We got your Ziti right here! And your Rigatoni, Spumoni, Macaroni, Cannoli, and Spaghetti.
But those “I’s” all sound like “E’s.”
Rigaton~E, Spumon~E, Ast~E Spumont~E.
So they don’t count.
Italy also got “A” some action with Pizza and Lasagna. But those “A’s” sound half-hearted. Pizz~UH, Lasag~nyUH. They don’t sound like “A” at all. Imagine if The Fonz had walked around saying “Uh!” instead of “Eh!” . . . Ferget About It!
And what about “E”? Rather a silent sort. Like nice white rice, “E” barely makes its presence known. Not like “O” which demands to be heard no matter how you pronounce it . . . Potato, Potahto, Tomato, Tomahto.
So what is it about “O”?
Why Gelato, not Gelata, Gelati, or Gelatu?
Is it O’s shape . . . a huge gaping hungry open mouth shouting for MORE?
MORE! MORE! MORE!
Perhaps “O” implicitly gives snackers permission to abandon the mantra “less is more” (at least until “the remains of the bag” contain only crumbs too small for a mouse).
Does O’s uncanny resemblance to donuts, pies, cakes, and cookies cause marketeers (and Mouseketeers) to march to the beat of O’s round sound?
But it’s not just in the food arena where “O” makes its presence known.
Oh, no. ”O” has a book named after it ~ The Story of O.
Ignoring A, E, I, and U (each waiting in the wings, ready to step into a Starring Role), Oprah went to court to fight for the right to use “O,” winning her trademark dispute in an epic Goliath vs. David battle.
Can any other vowel make these kind of claims?
Although, to be fair, “I” has quite a following among narcissists ~ the “I, Me, Mine” crowd.
But even narcissists abandon “I” and cry out to “O” during impassioned moments . . . O! O! O!
So, what is it about “O”?
I don’t know.
Maybe it just has a nice “ring” to it.
What say U?
Oh . . . that’s better!
What Have You Created Lately? May 17, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Books & Movies, Food & Drink, People.
Tags: Art, Books, Consumer, Creator, Desires, Movies, Seinfeld
Why do we create?
Parents create offspring to nurture. Cooks create meals to savor and share. Musicians create music. Artists create paintings, statues, collages, quilts, jewelry. Photographers create Kodak moments and memories. Architects create buildings, bridges, and alleyways. Attorneys create theories of the case, opening statements, closing arguments. Writers create plot-lines and poetry, heroines and villains. Friends create relationships, connections, and shared bonds. Philosophers create ideas and ideals.
Advertising and marketing moguls create desires for us to consume when we are not creating.
As consumers, we consume an endless array of consumables in every waking and sleeping hour . . . books, sleep, movies, classes, TV shows, meals, lectures, jewelry, alcohol, shoes, handbags, concerts, sporting events, video games, puzzles, magazine articles, and the occasional imported cigar.
Once we have consumed the object of each current desire, a new desire arises to take its place.
To kill time and fill the void between birth and death, we can consume.
Or we can create.
What have YOU created lately?
Aah . . . that’s better!
Another Fun Event for Sunday May 4, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events, Sustainable Living.
Tags: Food, Fun & Games, Music, Sustainable Living, Travel & Leisure
The weather cooperated for Food and Wine on Pine today . . . cloudy enough to be cool with light misty rain on and off. More than 30 musical acts entertained strolling eaters, drinkers, and merry makers.
Proceeds from the event, which highlighted 25 local independent restaurants (no chains), will benefit the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra, the Community Center, Cultural Connections, the Artists Guild, the Historical Society, and the Preservation Trust.
Maybe they’ll finally be able to re-roof the City Jail:
Tomorrow’s Cinco de Mayo and we’re headed East instead of West to attend a Sustainable Shindig at Riverwalk on the Manatee River.
If it gets too warm . . . we may enter the Splash Zone:
Aah . . . that’s better!
What about you? Any special plans for Cinco de Mayo? Enjoy!
What We’ll Be Doing Tomorrow May 3, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: Anna Maria Island, Fun & Games, Special Events, Travel & Leisure
Aah . . . that’s better!
How about you? Any fun plans for the weekend?
Emerson Quillin grew up in a small town in the southwestern part of Indiana called Bloomfield. He found out early in his teens that he could do three things well: shoot pool at Elmer Pool Room, hit an accurate 20-foot jump shot and doodle with the best of them. He doodled his way through Bloomfield High School. The doodling became his penchant and he perfected a very casual style of art that he still maintains today.
For more fun and funky artwork by Emerson: Emerson’s Humor
The Zen of Eating April 23, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
Tags: Diet, Food, Health, Mindfulness, Weight Loss, Wellness, Zen
Want to lose weight? Without feeling deprived and frustrated?
Practice The Zen of Eating.
Be mindful of the tastes and textures of the food you prepare.
Focus on the nourishment it provides.
Be thankful for the abundance and variety of food in your life.
Say a blessing for your blessings.
Express loving kindness for all who contributed to growing and harvesting the food on your plate:
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be peaceful
May you be safe
Explore your pantry.
Note the origin of ingredients from differing cultures and traditions around the globe: Curry from India. Olive Oil from Greece. Pasta from Italy. Cheddar from Cheddar. Maple Syrup from Vermont or Canada.
Savor the sensation of . . . enough.
Aah . . . that’s better!
When it comes to weight loss, the emphasis today is shifting away from fad diets and compulsive workouts toward sane, sensible techniques that incorporate both the mind and the body. This is the first book to apply the 2,500-year-old principles of Zen Buddhism to the modern struggle with the vicious cycle of dieting, losing, and regaining weight.
From a Buddhist perspective, overeating is a disorder of desire. This book will teach readers how to find freedom from eating problems and the tyranny of desire that triggers them. Filled with concrete, practical exercises and the wisdom of the ages, The Zen of Eating provides, at last, an alternative to ineffective diet programs, products, and pills.
Quote to Ponder: These words are simple. Mastering them is hard. ~ Tao Te Ching