13 December 2014

where have all the words gone?

A trivia tidbit:

Since 1960, the working vocabulary of Americans has dropped from 25,000 words to 10,000 words.

I think that is very sad.

According to my trusty online thesaurus, I could have used such words as "disheartening," "lachrymose," "lugubrious," or "pitiable."

But who talks likes that?


Oh, and "tragic." That would have worked too.

01 October 2014

Adventures In Brining

This actually happened back in November of 2006.  I had originally had it on another blog, that is no longer active.  It is sort of funny, so I decided to include it on this blog, now that October is here and the holidays are quickly approaching (yes, I know you don't want to think about *that*!)  

I hope it makes you smile, just as much as the memory of the situation does for us!

In November of 2006, my husband and I watched a Food Network show called Good Eats, starring Alton Brown. In this holiday special episode, Mr Brown brined a turkey, and said that all turkeys should be brined.

DH turns to me and says, "We should do that."

Now, a few notes here. DH doesn't really cook. Sometimes pancakes on a Saturday morning, but that is it. Any poultry cooking is going to fall squarely on me.

And, I have to be honest, I like my poultry to be pieces of chicken of the "individually-quick-frozen-boneless-skinless-breastmeat" variety. As a matter of fact, my 4 year old ate KFC fried chicken for the first time in her life a few weeks back, and as she ate that drumstick, she was astounded at the fact that there were "BONES in this CHICKEN! LOOK, MOMMY! This chicken has bones!!!" At which point, the "almost" vegetarian 17 year old girl gagged, the 8 year old boy cracked up, and I realized I had of course failed my children's education yet again, since my 4 year old wasn't aware that chickens have skeletons.

So -- I am not real into handling raw poultry. And when the poultry in question is about 25 pounds of slippery, wet turkey, into which I have to stick my hands to pull out the innards....ugh....anyway.....

So, when DH said, "We should do that." I replied with, "Uh-huh."
Which I suppose he could have taken to mean, "What a good idea!" but was honestly meant more like, "Yeah, right."

Thanksgiving approaches, and two days or so before, he says, "So, when do you have to start brining the bird?"
I am aghast! He remembers? And he actually wants me to brine a big ol' raw bird? 17 year old "almost" vegetarian is pulling for a tofurky. Though I am not so sure I want to go to that extreme, I hadn't really planned on doing a whole turkey. And, I have no idea where this brining is supposed to take place.

"Ummmmm...." is my stunning reply.

His face falls. "You don't want to do it?"

Inner sigh.
Inner dread.
Outer smile, with the bubbly reply, "Of course we can! Do you think you could help me?"

He is excited. I am thinking of cross contamination of salmonella all over my kitchen.

So -- off to Whole Foods to get our Organic, Cage Free, Free Roaming Turkey (this is a concession to 17 year old. Obviously, it must also be gold laced, judging from the price of the thing. ) And I think of the, IMHO, absolutely brilliant idea of using a disposable cooler to brine it in. You know -- the cheapy styrofoam ones at the store. It is cheap enough that we can throw it out afterwards without being *too* wasteful, and solves some of my bacteria ridden fears.

Get the bird home, talk DH into washing and pulling out all the icky inside parts - during which he makes awful faces and says he now understand my aversion to doing this. Into the cooler, covered with the brine and ice. Hurray!! We will have a yummy dinner tomorrow!! That was actually pretty easy!! We congratulate ourselves and head off to other preparations.

A few moments later, I happen to notice water on the side of the cooler. Hhhmmmm. Call DH. We both stand and inspect the cooler, and decide it must be condensation, or maybe I spilled some of the brine as I poured it in. Get a paper towel and wipe it off. Immediately, the pink water droplets show back up.


It seems styrofoam coolers are not actually watertight. And if you put a salt brine into them, and a 25 pound turkey, the brine leaks out through microscopic holes in the styrofoam.


Salmonella juice is spilling out the side of the cooler, I have a huge ol' bird and no place to put it, and what are we gonna do?
Call dd17 out to kitchen, hand her a roll of paper towels and say, "Wipe up the moisture, and we will be back in a sec!" She looks at me with horror but for once in her life doesn't argue. It must have been the utter desperation on my face.

Off to the store, to find a plastic container of some sort to hold this bird, and QUICK.

Of course, it is now about 11pm, and there is nothing in the local grocer that will work, and they are closing - they are turning off the lights as we look around for something, anything, that might work. We are starting to eye the plastic hampers.
Then DH looks at the plastic bags. Like the new HUGE ziplock bags that are for storing jackets or blankets? THOSE will hold the bird!

Back home, and maneuver the slippery, wet, and now VERY cold bird into the plastic bag. Back into the cooler. Another plastic bag around goes around the cooler.

I disinfect everything I can. I am thinking I will never do this again.

The next day, I cook the best Thanksgiving Turkey that I have ever made. It tastes SO good. Now I know why Mr Brown espouses brining. And I will brine again.

But it might be with individually-quick-frozen-boneless-skinless-breastmeat.


30 June 2014

twenty cents

It happened already.
I was in Wal-mart, and it has already begun!
(insert scary music here! .....dum-dum-dum-dum.....)
The rows are already in place, I got my sales flier in the mail today. On the front page -- twenty-four count crayons for .20 cents!
$0.20! What a deal!
And glue, and rulers, and folders, and notebooks!
Oh, my!

And, yes, we homeschool and all -- but won't I be depriving them if they can't pick out a brand new lunchbox and backpack along with everyone else?!?! We go on picnics, right? (✿◠‿◠)


Okay, but seriously now, I do buy the crayons.

Why? Not because we need crayons.

Our house has enough crayons that I could probably stack them up around the outside of our home like tiny colorful little lengths of timber for our very own unique wax log cabin.
No, I buy them because there is something so nice about opening that new box of crayons.
All in their little ordered rows, their little tips still pristine.

And the way the kidlings get so excited at a new box of crayons.
How one of my children will only take out one at a time as he needs it.
How the other will dump the whole box and line them up - to easily grab the next needed color.

It is like opening up a box of imagination, and creativity, and possibilities.

For twenty cents?
Yeah, that is more than worth it....