Friday, August 29, 2008

Food Meme: Yummy or yukky?

Found at Terrapin Station via Cathy's Grace Notes:
This is fun, and everybody's doing it. Andrew put together a list of 100 foods he thinks any good omnivore should have tried at least once. Andrew is British, so his list doesn't include some things this Yank might believe to be must-tries.

How the Omnivore's 100 works:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I'm going to put these in double brackets[[]] because I don't think Blogger supports strikethroughs).

4) Optional: Post a comment at Very Good Taste, linking to your results.


1. Venison
2. Nettle tea (No, but just give me time, The Herbalist recommends it highly)
3. Huevos rancheros
4. [[Steak tartare]]
5. Crocodile
6. [[Black pudding]]
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho
13. PBJ sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans (I even know how to make them!)
25. [[Brawn or head cheese
26. [[Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper]]
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (I've eaten gallons of clam chowder, but never in a sourdough bowl.)
33. Salted lassi (nope, just mango)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac [[with a fat cigar]]
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
(assuming oxtail soup counts)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (covered in chocolate, my father brought home once)
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. [[Fugu]]
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (probably, in Germany)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips (surely, foisted upon unwitting children by superhealthy 80s moms in my neighborhood)
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads (making sure readers know this is not BREAD)
63. kaolin - (as in Kaopectate)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. [[Frogs’ legs]]
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. [[Chitterlings or andouillette]] Smelled them cooking, that was enough!
71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
(I'm a little dubious about this but I hear they come with lots of garlic butter)
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. [[Horse]] My grandfather would rollover in his grave if I did.
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (We used to get this for Sunday brunch once a month in college)
97. Lobster Thermidor (I generally take my lobster steamed, stewed or in a lobster roll. I've had lobster ravioli and was underwhelmed.)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

What about you?
Comment: I see two common denominators of the things I haven't tried -- too expensive to imagine getting the opportunity, or the "ick" factor. Then there are the things I don't know at all -- what the heck is pocky? I'll have to look that up.

Friday Five: Labor Day

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Singing Owl notes:
Here in the USA we are celebrating the last fling of the good ol' summertime. It is Labor Day weekend, and families are camping, playing in the park, swimming, grilling hotdogs in the backyard, visiting amusement parks and zoos and historical sites and outdoor concerts and whatever else they can find to help them extend summer's sun and play just a little bit longer.

It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth nieces and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
For three months, I assembled printed circuit boards at a CB radio factory. There were many bad things about this job (like, a very crowded cafeteria with a clannish rural population not interested in meeting anyone new; coworkers whose main topic of conversation was how wasted they got over the weekend; low pay) but the worst was that I wasn't really any good at it. It was my first and only experience at a job that I really couldn't do on a high level. Fortunately I'd put in an application at the library and after three months there was a vacancy there.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
Maybe it was just the comparison with the one preceding it, but I think perhaps it was working at the public library in a small Minnesota town, at the circulation desk and also riding the bookmobile two days a week. Books, people, seeing the countryside, and all the people I worked with were nice (well, except the embezzling bookkeeper -- but that's another story and I didn't have too much to do with her.)

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
Do genealogy for hire. I can actually do this right now if anyone wants to hire me. Reasonable rates!

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
Alas, I did not have any labor to get a break from. This weekend I get a break from dog-walking because Onkel Hankie Pants and Rusty went camping. But that doesn't really count. I applied for a job a while back and didn't get it and worse still, the week after I was "not selected" the same ad appeared in the local paper -- in other words, it wasn't that someone else was better than me. So I'm feeling fairly unemployable right now.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
See #4 -- no change anticipated.

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
The only interesting thing about my 3 labors is that they were all fairly short. Having been prepared for my first by a Lamaze instructor who'd had a 24-hour one, I was worrying that there were no sandwiches made for OHP to eat while waiting -- ha! He was home by lunchtime!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuneful Tuesday: Vegetables!

To the right is a photo of "ratatouille-to-be" that I took a couple of weeks ago after a visit to the Farmer's Market. Now we've eaten the ratatouille (it was a "roasted" version that I got from Last week, I went a little crazy on cucumbers (3 for a buck) so I need to start serving a dish of cucumbers with each meal before they go bad. So of course, I began thinking of this song, and thereafter of other songs involving vegetables. Sadly, I wasn't able to find a good recording of one of my favorites, "If you're anxious for to shine" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, or, Bunthorne's Bride, where the advice to the would-be aesthete is to form "an attachment รก la Plato for a bashful young potato, or a not-too-French French bean." Try your local library. But here are a few more vegetable songs:
1. Call Any Vegetable, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, in a more recent version by Frank's son Dweezil.

2. I think the real name of this song may be "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," but it's known to many for the line "You like tomaytoes, I like tomahtoes" -- or is it the other way around?

3. I used some basil, rosemary and oregano from my little container garden in my ratatouille, but thinking of herbs made me think of this song, and I found a somewhat different version of it:

4. And this, although not exactly a catchy tune, is a very interesting example of what one can do with vegetables:

I hope you enjoy these vegetable songs and that they inspire you to go to your farmer's market (or your garden) and get some more vegetables! And at least I've posted something that wasn't a Friday Five!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five: Dates

Over at RevGalBlogPals, we read:

It's Friday afternoon, Eastern Time, and this is your faithful Songbird with a calendar-related Friday Five. Due to some confusion with our dates, I'm stepping in today, although I am usually here only on the 5th Friday, when there is such a thing.

Here are five things to ponder about dates. I hope you'll play!

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?
I try to do it electronically with Google Calendar. And, we have a wall calendar as well. The Google Calendar is synched with Onkel Hankie Pants's and occasionally with Sisterfilms (so I know when she's available for the phone). But, I'm not as good about this as I could be. Then again I don't have many appointments.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?
Monday.It was The Collector's birthday. I had actually thought about it and discussed it with SonShineIn the preceding Friday. I don't know if they even did much about it themselves, though, being in the throes of new home-cleaning and all. I have not done really well with birthdays the last couple of years.

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?
1972 I suppose -- if you don't count going out with your husband. If you do, well, yesterday we went looking for a toaster-oven....

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.
My daughters would probably say all my clothes and accessories are dated, and they would be right. I can't really think of a specific item.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?
I don't think much about dates except at Christmastime. Then, I want there to be stuffed dates (put a walnut inside a date where the pit used to be and roll in confectioners' sugar) and Aunt Charlotte's date pie. But, if they come my way at other times, I will enjoy them.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Five: Fall Transformations

Mary Beth, down in Texas, writes:

Here in my neck of the woods, rain is falling...a little uncharacteristic for August, but most welcome! It'll be hot and humid later, but a break in the heat is most welcome.

Also falling (especially into my driveway) are the fruits of the bois d'arc tree (also known as the Osage Orange). We call them "bowdarks" and enjoy bowling them down the driveway to the empty lot across the street. (Yes, I may be a redneck...)

Bois d'arc fruits are used only for: 1) making more trees and 2) eating by squirrels (if you have another use, please let me know!)

The wood of the bois d'arc tree, however, is very hard and very beautiful, and makes gorgeous items like the vase above. Such a lovely thing, from such an odd-looking source!

For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.

I'm not expecting any personal transformations this fall, although anything can happen and usually does. So I'm just going to talk about weather and so forth.

1. Of course, here in New England, fall foliage is one of the most visible transformations. Our lot has oak and maple trees, and there are mountain ash, birch and doubtless others I don't know the names of in the neighborhood. A couple of stressed trees have dropped the odd red or yellow leaf already, but it will be a while yet before we can really call it "leaf-peeper season."

2. Apples! Apples at the farmer's market, and fresh cider too. Of course apples from New Zealand and so on are available year round, but there's nothing like the home-grown. (Oddly enough, Blogger seems to think I have spelled "Zealand" wrong. I don't think so.)

3. College students will be coming back to town, and free lectures, exhibits and performances will resume in abundance. There's a lot to do here in summer too, but one of the reasons we chose Brunswick is that one doesn't need to hibernate in winter.

4. There's a big transformation in the lives of SonShineIn, The Collector, and Sisterfilms starting today. SSI and TC are buying their first house, and SF will live there with them. There is a lot of work for them to do to make it truly habitable, and they are full of plans for a garden, basement exercise room, etc. I wonder if this will mean Sisterfilms will call me more often, or less often?

5. Heating season is coming up. Until we figure out an affordable way to transition to heating with something besides oil, we're going to need to get used to a cooler house, and also do some work to make the house more energy-efficient. One idea is to use our sunroom more, not just as a dining room but have a reading nook there. It gets lots of sun in winter which makes it nice and warm (on sunny days, which are frequent).

Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.

I can't think of anything that I couldn't reasonably do at other times of year, but fall is when I start really preparing for the Advent and Christmas season. I'm beginning already to look for read-aloud stories to put on CD for a certain young person.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

By request: Vreneli, the lyrics

An anonymous commenter caught up with my Friday Five on Summer Camp from a few weeks ago and wants the words to Vreneli. I, too, was surprised at the non-presence of this song, which I've been singing for 53 years now, on the Internet, as far as lyrics went. Here's the lyric that we sing at Family Camp, to the best of my memory, and it's pretty much the same as I remember from Brownies:


O Vreneli, my pretty one, pray tell me where's your home?
"My home it is in Switzerland, 'tis made of wood and stone,
My home it is in Switzerland, 'tis made of wood and stone."
Chorus: Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho, tra la la la,
Yo ho ho!
O Vreneli, my pretty one, pray tell me where's your heart?
"O that, kind sir, I gave away, but still I feel it smart,
O that, kind sir, I gave away, but still I feel it smart."
O Vreneli, my pretty one, pray tell me where's your head?
"My head I also gave away, it's with my heart," she said;
"My head I also gave away, it's with my heart," she said.

Those are all the verses I know. If anyone has more or very different ones, let me know!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Five: God Days of Summer

Presbyterian Gal at RevGalBlogPals (who obviously doesn't live in Maine, at least not this year) writes:
It’s August. An oppressively hot and humid month where many of us live.

I remember the Al Pacino movie though not much about the plot. Just that it was very, very hot. And he had giant sweat stains on his shirt.

As I pass through this year’s dog days in my felon ridden neighborhood (OK, just two housefuls. But isn’t that enough?), I am trying to focus on the blessings apparent around me, past and present, that I might not notice, necessarily. In that spirit, this week’s Friday Five goes thusly:

1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you?
Any summer when I got to spend time at my grandmother's home -- which was also my grandfather's farm. Although Grampie retired from dairy farming when I was fairly young, they both still gardened, and one memory is of freshly-picked summer vegetables, especially tomatoes with sugar on them. They also had a "camp" at "The Point" (one of many such in Harpswell) and we'd spend some time there too. In later years I had more chances to experience being with them in other seasons, but in childhood it was usually summer, so that's a great memory.
2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day.
In high school and college, I had a sleeveless madras plaid shift -- blue -- it was so cool and nice!

3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten?
Berries -- strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. Yum!

4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory.
I have a lot of trouble with those "-est" words, as they tend to change frequently for me. So, here's one of them: in 1973, after Onkel Hankie Pants got out of the Army but I was still in, he joined me in Berlin and at the end of the summer, we visited his cousin in Munich and also took a Rhine River cruise from Frankfurt to Coblenz. People actually do (or at least did then) sing the song as the boat passes by Die Lorelei. Here's what it was like:

5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you His wonder in a new way?
I'm afraid it hasn't been that kind of a summer. But it's not over yet.

Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit?
It has really not been bad here this year, and right now, and for a few days, it's been rainy with temps hovering around 60 degrees! My favorite memory of something to do in such weather was going to an air-conditioned theater to see The Secret of Roan Inish. The great story, beautiful music, air conditioning, and of course the windswept Irish island setting cooled me right down!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Five: Lock Me Out, Lock Me In

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Songbird writes:

For some reason, Blogger declared this blog possible SPAM and locked us down yesterday. This morning, we're free to post again, but there was a fair amount of excitement last night among our contributors, who found a dire notice on their Blogger dashboards threatening that this blog might be deleted in 20 days!

We requested a blog review, and I posted a request at the Blogger Help group, where I found we were not alone. Many other perfectly nourishing and cromulent blogs got the same notice last night.

This turned out to be a very small barricade in our blogging community life, but it seemed appropriate to explore locks and blocks and other barriers this week. Also, I liked the picture of the security team above! Could they be Blogger's Spam Prevention Robots, working overtime?

In honor of their efforts, I bring you the "Lock Me Out, Lock Me In" Friday Five.

1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Since I am not ever the driver, I amuse myself pretty much all the time I am in a car -- in this case I would look at the workers, be glad I'm not working as a flagger for $8 an hour, and perhaps try to amuse the driver, if necessary!

2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?)
It's been a while. Many of you will be shocked, but we normally don't lock our doors, and this was true when we lived in the city as well as now. I do seem to recall an incident when one of the children had to crawl in through a window -- maybe one of them will remember and comment.

3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.)
Maybe this morning -- or maybe not. I had a job interview and I couldn't really tell exactly how well it went.

4) What's your approach to a mental block?
I try to think about something else for a while, and usually the answer will come to me when I'm not expecting it any more.

5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer!
I'm not so good at captions, but...
"If they won't slow down or stop for real live construction workers, why would they stop for us?"

My sympathies on the Blogger confusion, by the way. For several weeks, Blogger made me type verification letters in order to post. They were squiggly and hard to read and I often had to make two or three tries before I reached one I could interpret. My appeals for a review were finally met just before my birthday, and it was a wonderful present!