Thursday, June 18, 2009

Book Club

It really is amazing how my book club karma is totally cursed. No matter what happens, I can't seem to get it together to make a book club work. Case(s) in point:

The only book club I ever actually started basically disintegrated after the first meeting because a) no one read the book and b) everyone wanted to drink wine and eat cheese instead.

The second book club I joined I forgot about and didn't attend - neither did anyone else. When it was rescheduled at my house I was the only person there.

This third and final attempt? I have made a glorious cake and have discovered after checking the organizer's web site that of the six people I thought were coming, there remain only two.

At least we will all have a lot of cake...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The caged bird sings..or just flies into the window.

I was sitting quietly on my sofa, watching Zoboomafoo with my son, when out of the corner of my eye I saw our cat Isis running frantically after something in the solarium. Which is rather amusing because she is pregnant and waddles something terrible.

Suddenly, a loud "thunk" startled me out of my television stupor and I realized, with some horror, that pregnant Isis had managed to chase a small house sparrow inside and was trying her best to kill the thing.

Not wanting to clean up that mess, I quickly got up off my lazy ass and carried the cat in while ascertaining that the poor bird was, in fact, still alive.

It was horribly stunned, however, and so I watched it hide in the corner for about an hour or so, until it recovered from it's head on collision with our door.

The funny part of all this is that after it had moved from it's hiding place, I went in to the solarium to look for it and try to shoo it outside. I looked under the coffee table, on top of the armoire, in all the corners...only to have the living daylights scared out of me when the bird flew out of the tree. Because that clearly wasn't the obvious place to look....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rendered Lard and Rhubarb Pie

I am a Food RENEGADE!

So today is the day I get to use my lard! I am very excited about using it in all of its white, lardy goodness. The process of rendering it was a tad disgusting, I have to admit, but the results were well worth it.

Basically I started off with about 2.5 pounds of leaf lard purchased at my local farmers market. (I use the word "purchase" was actually given to me in exchange for the delivery of a pie using the end product). After cutting it into one inch squares, we put it in a dutch oven, added approximately 3/4 cup of water and then let it cook on the stove-top on low heat for approximately one hour. By the end of the hour, we had approximately a quart of liquid and a lot of chicharrons - which frankly, I'm a little afraid of. It's one thing entirely to eat the lard, but I feel a tad squeamish about eating the by-product.

Don't ask me why, because I've eaten them before, but for some reasons the ones I made look funny.

Regardless, the lard itself is beautiful and should be fabulous in a pie crust.

In addition, my use of the lard today is my contribution to the "Fight Back Fridays" campaign, which you can read more about here.

Pictures of the finished pies will be posted as soon as I find my handy little USB transfer tool...


Here are a few pics of both the lardy goodness and the pie it produced. A bit messy, and I should probably use some pastry flour next time for the perfect texture, but not bad for a first go!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bike riding = rubber legs.

Apparently both the monkey and I were pooped out by our first real bike ride today. He fell asleep in the chair on the back of the bike about a block from the house, and I can't feel anything below the waist.

I appear to have underestimated the difficulty of climbing a 6% grade on a single speed bike with a 27 pound dead weight dragging my fat ass backward down the hill.

At least the ride between the house and the farmer's market is relatively flat...

Suffice it to say, jelly legs and 175 bpm heart rate aside, it feels pretty damn good to exercise! Having been dealing with the lingering effects of the c-section for more than a year now, I have decided the best way to address the issue is to ignore it and work through the pain. I am hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised and discover that this actually decreases the discomfort rather than exacerbating it.

On a more political note, the more I ride my bike, the more likely I will be to survive the post-fossil fuel apocalypse! Go me! (and my Huffy!)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lard and Fruit and Raw Milk oh my!

So we had a very productive trip to the farmer's market this morning. Unfortunately there were no eggs, but I did find bunches of greens, some fabulous rhubarb and, to top if off I managed to score 2 whole pounds of free lard! Leaf lard none the less!

All I have to do is bake a succulent strawberry rhubarb pie and bring it to the Lard Man next weekend. I suspect I am getting the better end of the deal...

I have almost finished the book Real Food, which I have decided everyone on the planet needs to read. My obsession with lard and raw milk has become fairly entrenched and I am even considering driving over an hour in order to buy several $10 gallons of raw milk.

Yes I realize that is ridiculously expensive, but it comes with free butter! In that the cream rising to the top can be churned into butter in the privacy of my own home if I am so inclined. It is worth the experiment imo, and if I can convince the dairy owner to ship me milk, it will be totally worth it.

In the meantime, I have to take care of my sick little boy, who is suffering from a head cold. I don't imagine lard will be of much help in this situation, but according to the activists, I probably should be stuffing him full of raw milk!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scary Meat

Once again I am reading a book that makes me wonder how people can be so stupid about their food.

In the book Real Food by Nina Planck, she goes through the differences between conventional (aka, industrial) beef and natural, happy cows. Who, for the record, do not come from California.

Reading it actually makes me physically ill, and when I think about the arrogance, stupidity, hostility, and general abuse with which conventional cows are treated, it makes me cry. And then want to throw up every single piece of beef I've ever eaten that was not raised on grass and allowed to roam free.

Just the information about E. Coli alone is enough to make me want to buy my own cow and name her and give her grass, not to mention the horrible stories about feed-lots, nitrogen waste, and open sores. And don't even get me started on the fact that all the corn being fed these poor abused animals is grown by Monsanto. And we know how I feel about them.

Aside from instilling in me a desire to own my own ranch and refuse point blank to buy anything from an animal to whom I haven't been introduced and have a personal relationship, it makes me really wonder what the hell people are thinking.

Is it not obvious, commonsensical, rational to think that if you eat something that is sick, you too will get sick? I mean, you wouldn't eat rotten potatoes or sour milk (unless you were starving or dared to) so why would you eat meat from a diseased cow? Do people really think humanity is so amazing that we can over-write the natural order without consequences?

The only conclusion I can draw is that indeed we do! Not only does this apply to our food, but also to our environment, our own physicality, our children, and even our pets.

Clearly, humanity has become full of itself. My solution? Abject humiliation on a regular basis.