i fired supermarket salad greens two years ago. i'd come home from the grocery with 'organic' salad mix, pop the lid and smell an atmosphere i know i couldn't survive in. not rot, but a nasty gaseous scent. high time to grow it myself. below is today's pic of a aspiring head of butter crunch lettuce 'thom thum' hybrid. i'm growing all sorts of lettuce in my tiny greenhouse, hybrid and heirloom, 4-5 salad mix variety's some organic some not, 3 different types of spinach, and lots of arugula outside in raised beds. but the real puzzler is...why do my salads wilt a day or so after harvest compared to supermarket salads that are more invincible? have they prolonged shelf life with fumigation or have they enlisted genetic manipulation? mmm, 'organic' franken-lettuce? no thanks.
maybe i embrace meat a little too much. i admit to feeling heart broken and disappointed when a meal goes by without any sort of flesh. like coming across a three legged dog, or french fries w/out ketchup or mayo. once we were invited to a dinner party where the host was a vegan/raw-foodist. i feigned illness but my wife insisted. i went reluctantly, somewhat soothed knowing there was a can of vienna sausages in the glove box (the dinner was actually a pretty amazing mix of nuts, avocado, and fresh greens from her garden, finished with a to-die-for tahini dressing). so yesterday a recipe popped up on twitter for a good old texan queso. later at the supermarket there was lots of decent looking asparagus and cute bags of little yellow skagit valley potato's. some ground chuck, yet another chunk of corned beef, and a plump skagit valley hen. i'd figure out the rest at home.
earth day festival, Belmopan, Belize, 1990. my brief stint as a knife sharpener. a week earlier i was at the guatemalan border packing my few possessions into a giant backpack, parting ways with my now ex-girlfriend (a mutually beneficial break-up...she wanted to go back to the states, i did not). she headed back in her camper van, i wanted to go east.
"what should we bring" i asked my wife when she said we're going to a dinner party. "they asked us to bring hors d'oeuvres...light ones" i immediately thought of gougeres and chuckled because the only thing light about them is the texture. count on the french to make dough where milk, butter, egg and cheese are used instead of water. brilliant. i recall laughing hysterically when republicans suggested banning french products when they didn't support us in our efforts to slaughter innocent iraqi's. it's one absurd thing to legislate what we do in our bedrooms, what a woman does between her legs, but it's complete insanity to ban things french. off with your heads! end rant.
as a kid growing up on the east coast you had to look out for two things, dogs and poison ivy. for reasons i can only speculate, dogs on the east coast tend to bite. i was bitten countless times for no apparent reason, no instigation, usually on the ass as i was fleeing the canine. "does your dog bight?" was the standard greeting when encountering a dog owner. bicycle rides really got interesting when a dog chase ensued. because you could quite possibly get the dog bite/road rash combo. i believe this is one reason my brother got quite good at local bike racing.
most adults are pretty good at recognizing (and avoiding) poison ivy, maybe some kids too. but kids are easily distracted. like when i was exploring a bushy niche and happened upon a wasp nest, got stung maybe twenty times, ran, tripped and fell into a thriving pocket of poison ivy. nice.
i missed out on corned beef as a kid. my parents were total foodies, way into that cast of 70's culinary super stars...Clayborne, Franey, Bocuse. but along with their urbane culinary pursuits came a certain snobbery/disdain for some really good comfort food like corned beef. the Hull family across the street was very different. they were in to good old american fare.
but hey i live on a island, near canada. and kressi is the best vinegar on earth. but it's hard to find.
last year's hogs are long since digested and so far it's not looking like i'm raising more this year so it's supermarket pork sausage making time. i assume most folks have a kitchenaid stand mixer or a friend who will loan you one. either way it's worth the $ to buy the optional sausage stuffer. then determine which local supermarket has a butcher who won't scoff at custom requests. like "...on your next order can you hook me up with a 10 pound pork 80:20 trim, 2 pounds fat, and sausage casings...please?"