I SAY THANKS FOR SOME QUIET TIME

By: joealaska , 12:33 AM GMT on November 23, 2012

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Hope everyone is having a nice holiday, or a nice Thursday.

Right now I am in the middle of The Thanksgiving Miracle of 2012. It has been over 27 hours since my phone rang. Well, I did get a wrong number last night, and I admit I was a tad rude to the person who interrupted the silence. After I told them they had the wrong number, they pushed it. Hopefully the quiet will continue. At this point I feel good. It will be the first Thanksgiving I have not worked here, and possibly my first real day off since June 22 (not counting my vacation).

Vacation ended up with 4600 miles driven, and only one new golf course played. Still, I was able to play two GOLDEN OLDIES which I have not seen since 1986.

The turkey is in the oven. Actually only a bit over 13 pounds, small for me. This year I plan on cooking a well rounded meal. Normally I just “trough it.” Just leaning over the sink in my underwear and wolfing straight from the oven. Poor noble bird. Just kidding, often I do wear pants...

Would like to do the deep fry method, but I do not have a garage to burn down. Since I have the time, I am just baking it. No pan fry this year. Large fry pan, big stick of butter (unsalted for you health nuts). Medium heat, and a BIG spatula. Then more flipping than you can imagine as you watch football.

Salad, mashed potato and gravy (OK, CREAM OF MUSHROOM gravy), cauliflower, and a lot of turkey.

This morning I glanced to my right out the north window and saw AIVIQ towing KULLUK into the harhor. Quite a sight. Three tugboats as escort. The big tug GUARDSMAN, as well as two local tugs. They have taken about a week to get here from the far north drill sight. When I first spotted them, they were moving so slow it was hard to tell if they were just adrift. As usual, we are having decent wind today, about 40 mph. Kulluk was really rocking. The red light on top of the rig was swaying back and forth 20 or 30 feet.

Interesting with these tows. There is such weight being pulled that nothing happens quickly. Like stopping, or turning. Even at such a ponderous speed. It is not unusual for the tow boat to make dramatic course changes even as the towee plods onward. I have seen some of those huge barges in this situation, where the tug is actually side by side with its own barge heading in the opposite direction. The result is a crack of the whip where the barge slows immediately and turns around.

I watched for some time from my window, then the maneuvers started as they approached the narrow entryway to Captains Bay. So I headed out to get some pics and video. AIVIQ was making dramatic moves, and they were pretty close to the rocks BARANOF rode onto. By the time I got to LITTLE SOUTH AMERICA (the shape of the island there) the parade was passing by. Kulluk was very close to shore, surprisingly close. 100 feet? But no scraping of the rocks was heard.

A number of other cars were in that area, as well as a bonfire of some local divers (FARFEL’S OWNER!!). When I returned I talked briefly to them, and they said they had taken a dive earlier. It was 35 degrees. OUT of the water. WOW.

Check out YOUTUBE, with some video and pictures.

A movie about 4 minutes long, and it takes SEVEN HOURS to download.

Happy Anniversary Dave and Muriel.

Kulluk and Aiviq are now separated for the first time in a while, and Kulluk is safe at its dock.

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47. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
9:43 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
joealaska has created a new entry.
46. dotmom
3:30 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
Hee,hee hee Dave. Ease up on that stuff a bit. You'll be seeing two of those Kullucks.

Maybe those cats know something you don't know.

Guard cats???
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45. DHaupt
10:59 AM GMT on December 02, 2012
No kidding about it. I tried your suggestion and it really works. I saw Kulluck darn near pitchpole after a sufficient sip.

We are just shy of 2.5" of rain out of this series of storms. That would make this the biggest storm in probably 5 years. This has been a warm storm too. It is the wee hours now and the temperature is 62F. The cats are all out on the porch and don't want to come in.
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44. dotmom
3:32 AM GMT on December 02, 2012
Yah, I bet they just might want to take a nip off your nose if you tried to give them a big squeeze. The best way to really see that Kulluck swaying in the breeze is after a "little sip" of the bottle! :) Just kidding, just kidding.
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43. DHaupt
11:14 PM GMT on December 01, 2012
Dotmom,
I'm with you on the foxes. You just want to go grab one up and hug it! I suppose you just might get your nose bit though.

Kulluck was neat too. It is such a strange looking, comical looking thing -- not sure if I can call it a boat even. I had a little problem seeing it rock though.

Back to work. I've got a Trader Joe's roasting chicken about ready for the oven. Had to take a break and rest my back.
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42. dotmom
10:00 PM GMT on December 01, 2012
Just was watching Joe's videos - the two foxes in the wind and then the Kulluck being towed into dock. I think Joe knows Dutch Harbor like the back of his hand. Nice videos. Those fox have beautiful fur and tails.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1136
41. DHaupt
7:27 PM GMT on December 01, 2012
It is an interesting subject: preserving food without refrigeration. I should mention that vinegar is used for that purpose in a lot of foods, chorizo being just one. Another example is that our local carniceria puts a little vinegar in its prepared fajita mixes so that they will remain useable for many days with refrigeration. They sell their chorizo in two styles, "fresco" and "seco", fresh and dry. The seco is very much like hard salami and can be kept for months without refrigeration. The fresco version will keep for at least a week with refrigeration. If you want to convert fresco to seco, simply hang it up to dry. AND, you can rehydrate the seco by poaching it in hot water. Hey, we didn't get all the way from the African savana to the present by being stupid and eating poisonous stuff.

Another piece of food ingenuity is the French tradition of preparing "confit". Chunks of preferably fatty meats, greasy duck is one of the best, are deep-fried and placed in a crock which is then filled with hot oil to displace all the air with a nice thick layer of drippings on top for a seal after the fat has congealed. The meat has been sterilized by the cooking process and the submersion in the hot oil. The oil itself is purified of trapped moisture as much as possible, so, covered with a plate, it is very well preserved from going rancid. The meat can be kept in heavy crocks in a cool place for months.

Going Mexican again, the humble tamale is a piece of food engineering genius. The perishable meat is surrounded by relatively imperishable "massa" wrapped in a corn husk. The entire assembly is steamed for a few hours so that right out of the pot, it is totally sterilized. After cooking, the tamales only need to be kept cool and dry to make them last for several days. At rural Mexican fiestas, the women will make tamales several days in advance.

It was touched on in Mike Rowe's "History of Booze in America", but brewing and distillation of whiskey were seen as major ways to preserve, certainly the caloric value of grains, but as a means of preventing their spoilage or consumption by pests as well. In the case of beers and ales, much of the nutritional value was also preserved. In fact, one thing you generally did not want to drink in those days was the water!

Large plantations such as Mount Vernon made hundreds of gallons of corn whiskey annually. George himself customarily drank a CUP of corn whiskey daily with his breakfast before heading off to the pub to talk business and politics for the rest of the day, the wheels of society being well lubed with ale, wine and more whiskey. And, we think that we are the clever ones. Oh, those good old days, except for gout, the stone, typhus and cholera and ....
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40. Arbie
1:51 PM GMT on December 01, 2012
This is kind of interesting to me. I always knew people in the old days used "everything", but I never thought about them being hungry enough to maybe eat meat that was a little ripe.

I know they used to smoke it and dry it to preserve it. Of course, that made me wonder if the alchohol or spices in mincemeat could serve as preservative. Sure enough, I found out that yes, it can. This is from the LA Times http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2011/05 /canning-it-preserving-with-alcohol.html

Here is a blurb: "Peaches in brandy are a classic and delicious marvel of food preservation. We love plums in whiskey and citrus in vodka--though that may really be more about the vodka than the citrus. And if you have a surfeit of vanilla pods, what better way to preserve them than in a big bottle of inexpensive rum -- creating vanilla extract. The flavor doesn’t dissipate, it never spoils and you can use it for years if stored properly."

I never knew much about Chorizo. That is interesting, Dave. Sounds good too. People around here also serve it in ground form, often mixed with eggs. You know Mexicans and their eggs.

My mouth still waters thinking about that dried beef steak cowboys on cattle ranches used to get for their trail rides. At least if they were on the ranch that Sandra Day O'Connor grew up on.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1081
39. DHaupt
10:25 AM GMT on December 01, 2012
I don't understand how we have gotten this far into a discussion of "Mince Meat" without a single Wikipedia citation! Indeed, it was traditionally made with meat as a significant ingredient along with candied fruits and unspecified floor sweepings (just joking). I am very tempted to try one of the very old recipes.

Iaotter is on the right trail, stronger flavored meats such as mutton, venison, game fowl and, I suspect, plow mule were often used. With the generous use of highly aromatic spices such as mace and nutmeg, I suspect that the meat was often "peri-mortem". People back in those days were a whole lot less fussy about what could be et. Look up the origin of Vindalu (used to disguise carcass of dead street cur to the palates of British Colonel Blimp types).

Also, Iaotter, those corn-fed white-tailed deer are indeed excellent. I lived in West Texas during my high school years. The deer there were those mesquite feed mule deer (mulies) to which you refer. Other than some of the choicest cuts, the only thing to make out of the rest of the critter was chorizo. I worked in an "old time" grocery store those days.

Our butcher, Eusebio Morales, used about 1 lb, of course-ground red chile to 20 pounds of ground venison along with enough oregano, coriander and cumin to definitely be noticed. It was not put into casings, but cooked up as hamburger sized patties. They were literally irresistible, and they burned your throat on their way up if you ate too many (I know, TMI).

But face it UK: your ancestors, just like mine, would have eaten anything that Bettie struck down on the roadway and then chewed on her tyres.
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38. iaotter
2:22 AM GMT on December 01, 2012
I am disappointed. I guess store bought mince'meat' is kind of like 'pork' and beans or 'chicken' noodle soup. We used to laugh at the little square of pork that was in the bean can. We figured that one pig probably lasted them most of the year. Same with the chicken in the noodle soup can.
Still, those are many times the meat in that mince'meat'. Maybe they ran out of road kill?
Although I bet mincemeat would be good with venison. I love venison tacos and stroganoff. It has more flavor than beef and the Iowa venison is corn fed just like the cattle. Maybe even better than the cattle since the deer get what they want with no dietary restrictions. None of that odd tasting sage brush flavor like the ones my cousins used to haul home from out west.
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37. dotmom
12:17 AM GMT on December 01, 2012
Well, you all got me going and I just went to check my Mince "Meat" (Nonesuch) in the jar and there is nary a hint of meat in it. Oh well. The Joe's still like it!
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36. Arbie
7:32 PM GMT on November 30, 2012
From what I could tell from what I saw in my internet perusing, I think a few rural Americans are the ones still putting meat in mincemeat. Some of them sounded like subsistence types--they talked of using game as the meat and stretching it with the chopped apples if they didn't have enough meat for as much as they wanted to make. That is interesting Dave has a can with a little meat in it.
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35. osdianna
7:28 PM GMT on November 30, 2012
I too have a jar of Nonesuch mincemeat in my pantry, in case I get a hankering for my mother's recipe of Mincemeat Tarts...no meat in the jar!

As for "doctoring it up", I prefer my bourbon (and single-malt scotch) in a glass...neat!
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34. DHaupt
12:17 PM GMT on November 30, 2012
This post should have been just ahead of UK's but WU sent it off to the Great Blog in the Beyond. Doesn't really matter because it still fits in.

I have a jar of Cross & Blackwell's mincemeat in the pantry. It does contain suet, and I think some sort of finely diced "meat". It is the best of the commercial product that I've found, probably because it is very richly seasoned as well. I do like it. It's got a lot of fruit in it besides just raisins too.

Raining in Livermore tonight. I just woke up to open the front door and smell it. It's actually 60F outside and a brisk wind is blowing. Back to bed now.

'Night All!
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33. insideuk
12:07 PM GMT on November 30, 2012
I confess to have been completely confused…

The ‘mincemeat’ that is part of the traditional UK Christmas foodie offerings does not contain meat, just dried fruit, candied peel and suet (all stuff that should sensibly be thrown out in my opinion), baked into individual size pastry cases. I don’t know how many centuries you’d have to go back to find flesh in it but I fear it would be far enough back for ALL pies to have had deeply suspect contents that would better suit landfill.

A ‘mince meat’ pie (notice two separate words) is a savoury beef and vegetable mix with a little gravy, stuffed into a pastry case.


The space between words is very important.

Or you’ve cocked up your dinner good and proper.


I read that the KULLUK rig may be leaving Dutch to head south for Christmas after all? 'For maintenance' is the official line (it having been entirely refurbished earlier this year at a cost of millions of dollars).

Or possibly something to do with not having to pay Alaska State tax at 2% of assessed value if it's not in Alaskan waters on January 1st...

But, you know, if the lightbulb in the microwave oven is blown then what choice do they have?
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32. Arbie
11:03 AM GMT on November 30, 2012
Well, I googled mincemeat and found out all kind of interesting things. It comes from UK, so insideUK is probably familiar with it. In the UK, it is eaten at Christmas. I hate to say it, but the None Such mincemeat is not really mincemeat--it has no meat in it. I imagine that that is what my aunt was using, since she only made one pie. Now that someone mentioned it, I think I remember seeing a jar. So, I have probably never really had mincemeat. :( I think Americans started adding the apples, originally it was just chpped meat, suet, raisins, brandy, spices and sugar. I saw some old-fashioned recipes that would be a lot of work, and a modern one using ground beef. That sounds kind of gross though! It looks to me like most people don't use meat anymore.
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31. Dodabear
10:48 AM GMT on November 30, 2012
Dotmom, have you ever tried Crosse & Blackwell mincemeat? Here it is at Amazon. I like it much better than Nonesuch. Don't have to doctor it nearly as much. IMHO

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30. dotmom
4:04 AM GMT on November 30, 2012
Miyuki - that would be a yes! I have some in my pantry - even as we speak! I remember my mother making it as a girl. Nonesuch is good enough for me. It is way too labor intensive for we "modern day" women!
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29. miyuki
10:36 PM GMT on November 29, 2012
Dotmom, I have heard and seen Nonesuch mincemeat and my mother would make it at Christmas time, 'doctored' up in the same fashion as you mentioned.
Now I am curious of they still carry it in the local stores.
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28. dotmom
9:10 PM GMT on November 29, 2012
No one has ever heard of "Nonesuch Mincemeat" - comes in a nice jar and makes one pie. Add a little bourbon and finely diced apple and that perks it up and you have one good pie. Just ask JoeAlaska and JoeKY!
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27. Arbie
5:39 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
Funny you mention mincemeat. I love mincemeat pie, but I haven't had it in years. That is something you don't see in a store, at least not here in SE TX. I had a aunt who used to make one every Thanksgiving. She only made one, so she must have had a small recipe. She is still living near Dayton, OH, so maybe I will ask her someday for her recipe. I imagine it is possible she had a source somewhere--like one of the ladies from the church or something...
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26. osdianna
5:00 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
Those silly health inspectors! How many people have gotten a "bad batch" of home-canned goods at a church bazaar vs how many have suffered from a bad batch of something processed in a commercial kitchen or facility? We have far more recalls from the "big guys" (I'll bet), than from the locals....not to mention the bland taste and carcinogous packaging of the cans vs the Ball glass jars...now there is a product I hope is still made in the US of A!
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 27 Comments: 458
25. iaotter
4:14 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
Dave, you are right, it is a small world. I am not currently at Hudson, but about 100 miles west. Hudson was a nice little town. Cedar Falls had a great dog park where that 'beautiful young dog' got to play on a regular basis. The photo of her was taken at the house in Hudson. She was just a pup then; turned 8 a few days ago. Hudson is probably a bit bigger than you remember it. It was nice being that close to Cedar Falls and Waterloo. My brother went to Iowa State Teacher's college right after it changed names. That would have been about 1960 or so. It was State College of Iowa for a while and now University of Northern Iowa.
Some of the quonset buildings from WWII were still there as married student housing. They were converting to trailers when my brother was there. Now the trailers are all torn out and they have blocks of rather boring apartment buildings.
I was in Reinbeck fairly often when I lived in Hudson. My best memory is the Reinbeck UMC auction in the fall. They had all kinds of home canned food for sale. Beef, beans, tomatoes and mince meat. The ladies would get together and process big batches of it at the church kitchen. Unfortunately the health department closed them down. Said they weren't set up to be a commercial kitchen and all. I am sure no one was ever poisened. They had been canning for years and they were very careful, since it was mostly neighbors and relatives that were buying it.
Still remember that mince meat. It was good stuff. Reminded me of the mincemeat we made when I was a kid, but without all the hours of grinding ingredients through the old hand crank grinder. Good roast beef, apples, currents, raisens, some vinegar, and a whole lot of different spices. I don't know if I have the recipe or not. Even if I did, I remember Mom canning it by the quart, so one batch was probably a couple of gallons. Hard to cut down something like that and have it taste right. Now I have made myself hungery.
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24. DHaupt
12:49 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
iaotter, I just clicked on that photo of your beautiful young dog and was surprised to see that you are from Hudson, IA. I was born in Waterloo, my paternal grandparents are from Reinbeck and my mother is from Cedar Falls. I lived in Reinbeck during much of WWII and for a few years after. We used to drive through Hudson on our way to visit Mom's family. She was actually from Whitten, but her family moved to Cedar Falls just before the war. In fact, Dad and Mom met while at Iowa State Teacher's College and were married at Amity Church, near Reinbeck.

Until he retired in the early 50s, Granddad Haupt was pastor (founding pastor, in fact) of the large country parish church at Amity just south of Reinbeck. Dad was actually born in the parsonage at Reinbeck in 1918. I still have cousins in the area on my mother's side. I think all the uncles and aunts are now gone. I've not been there since 1996 when we took Dad back for a sentimental journey to Hanover, IL where he graduated from high school.

It is sometimes a remarkably small world!
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23. dotmom
9:13 PM GMT on November 27, 2012
Wow UK, that water is impressive and scary. I don't know if I have ever seen so much water out of its "banks." That will take a bit for it to recede - patience. Don't mess with it until it is safe to travel. You can't fool Mother Nature. She's a bugger.
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22. iaotter
8:26 PM GMT on November 27, 2012
Wow, UK, glad you got home safe and sound.
Thanks for the picture link.
I take it the pie disappeared according to option 3?
Do be careful. Frozen solid doesn't sound like an improvement on flooded.
The next video you send will probably be of 4x4 Landrover types falling through the ice into bottomless pits of cold water and muck.
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21. insideuk
1:46 PM GMT on November 27, 2012
The following link is to a local news website which has many photos showing the same areas (just to the south of Derby) that I was trying to avoid! I live within a few miles of all of these photos, and my friends live a few miles on the other side! My NORMAL route is actually on the roads and bridges you can clearly see in the pictures.
Link
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20. dotmom
12:16 PM GMT on November 27, 2012
Wow UK, I don't know what to think about you venturing out on a night like that. But I can say I am glad you are back home safe and sound. What a trip! After dark!



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19. insideuk
10:17 AM GMT on November 27, 2012
I did venture out, pie held aloft. I got less than 2 miles down the road before coming to a standstill in diverted traffic, filtering in a slow trickle off a flooded main road (the major road for the north midlands area was closed in both directions for 17 miles – still closed today).

The next mile took 40 minutes…

Betti had to mount the verge twice to allow emergency vehicles to squeeze past, the second time the verge was distinctly muddy and on an incline but thankfully we slid sideways onto solid ground. Not sure where she learnt that trick.

After that I kept moving steadily, albeit largely in the wrong direction, as I zigzagged to cut a path through the higher ground of South Derbyshire. It was dark, so the full extent of the flood could not be seen, but in many areas Betti’s headlights were picking out reflective surfaces where crops should be.

A £400 brussel sprout may come with a tempting free ipad gift this Christmas...

There were so many ROAD CLOSED signs that at every junction cars came to a screaming halt just short of the barriers. People were UTTERLY CONFUSED by the sheer number of routes that had only become blocked in the last few hours. The rain had continued to fall in the north of the county and that extra water flowed here, now seeping over roads that were passable when people left home that morning. And now, in the darkness, it was raining again, onto an already dripping sodden sponge of a landscape. I saw so many cars pulled over at roadside with the drivers just trying to take a minute to figure out a new route that didn’t involve DIPPED BITS.

It’s WAY harder than you can imagine. South Derbyshire is a series of gently shelving low hills with rivers and streams meandering in every nook and cranny. It is home to a sizeable population which clutters its narrow lanes every rush hour. Now every vehicle, that should have been using that 17 mile section of main road, was being diverted with very poor signage straight INTO the fray.

I know these roads like the back of my hand. I had prior knowledge of which roads had recently been closed and had adjusted my planned route several times before even leaving home. I had constantly updated travel news available on screen in the car. But even as I took my carefully plotted path I realised options were narrowing just by the sheer weight of traffic. The lovely ancient monument (Roman bridge) that is the ‘Swarkestone Causeway’ was struggling to cope. It was designed for sandal loving foot soldiers not frustrated jack booted commuters. My zig got more zagged.

I eventually reached my destination an hour late but with pie intact. Hurrah!

On my way home later that evening the ‘Powers That Be’ within the Highways Agency had decided the best thing to do was go ahead with the scheduled bridge resurfacing work in the middle of the major diversion route and sent me ricocheting off a heavily barricaded roundabout towards Birmingham. I visited 5 counties last night, just to cross from one to the next.

The next 5 days are forecast to be dry.

Frozen solid, but dry.
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18. osdianna
5:34 PM GMT on November 26, 2012
Loved the video, UK! We have same sorts of guys here...same sorts of 4X4 idiocy too, iaotter. Only more often for me it is the beach sand, unusually high tides and/or storm surge, or swollen creeks that come off the land running across the beach into the ocean. In the state of Washington, people are allowed to drive on the beach...it's considered a state highway with a maximum speed limit of 25mph. Most of the people respect that law, besides it's really a relaxing thing to. But they sometimes overestimate their vehicle capabilities, leading to some interesting encounters with salt water in their engines.

Hang on, UK, and stay put.
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17. iaotter
3:45 PM GMT on November 26, 2012
UK, your video is hilarious. Had the same experiences in Iowa when it was flooding. It seems 4x4 drivers everywhere are convinced that they can go through anything. What is it with 'grown' boys and their toys?
Soon we will get to see them in action on snowy, blizzardy days here. 4x4 traction is actually worse then regular drive on ice, a fact that the 4x4 drivers seem to be totally unaware of. They go flying around me as I drive sensibly on the ice. It is lots of fun to wave to them a few miles down the road as they sit nose first in a snowbank. (Bonnet first to you).
If you and Betti go out, do be careful. Eating that lovely pie at home seems like the best idea. You can always call your friends and tell them you are thinking of them as you eat a piece of pie in their honor. That way you can justify eating the other half without feeling guilty. You had to do it for your friends.

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16. insideuk
1:24 PM GMT on November 26, 2012
The biblical deluge has managed to close the roads that I planned to be driving today, finding alternative routes which are unaffected by floods means finding yourself sat in a traffic jam. The villages that lie just to the south of my area have either become impassable or are now cut off entirely by still rising flood waters.

Yesterday we had a spell of dry weather and beautiful blue skies, between the rain bands. This being a landlocked county the sheer novelty of finding 'SEA VIEWS' on the doorstep proved a popular tourist attraction. So much so that police had to issue warnings for people to not drive unless it was absolutely necessary – hundreds were driving straight into DEEP water and failing to emerge with any dignity intact. This was especially true of young men in 4x4's who thought this was the perfect day to test the capabilities of their prized vehicles...

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As it turns out the average Landrover is as lacking in amphibiousness as it's owner is lacking in dry pants. At least his cigarette was still lit.

Betti and I have stayed indoors SO FAR. I have tentative plans for seeing friends this evening but my 3rd choice route just got closed due to flooding – I have a nasty feeling that when people leave work and school today the route they took to get in will not be available to get them home again.

CUE MAJOR TRAFFIC ISSUES.

I made a key lime pie to share with friends tonight.

OPTION 1 – stay home and eat it all by myself.
OPTION 2 – get stuck in traffic and eat it all by myself.
OPTION 3 – arrive very late and stressed by journey, requiring medicinal sugar hit and eat it all by myself.

It's not so bad really...
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15. Arbie
2:44 AM GMT on November 26, 2012
I have a funny food story. My husband's first cousin, a physician, and his wife, from Detroit, went to rural Tennessee to visit their elderly aunt and his grown son. The first cousin decided to pay back some of the Tennessee relatives' hospitality by cooking them supper. They decided to cook baked potatoes as part of the meal. They heard muttering as they were cooking, but didn't pay much attention. It turned out the Tennessee relatives had never had baked potatoes and had never heard of potatoes cooked that way. The Tennessee relatives told my husband later that they couldn't figure out what the first cousin and his wife were doing, but finally decided they just forgot to peel the potatoes. They didn't want to be rude or make them feel embarrassed about being such bad cooks, so they didn't say anything. (They told my husband all about it, however!)

Hanfyh--I know what you mean by home-cooked Chinese vesus what you get in restaurants. There is no comparison.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1081
14. hanfyh
10:21 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
Hi all,
Food in Australia is definitely different.
I like pizza. I have a good recipe for you. Living on the coast with fresh seafood available most of the time this pizza is good. Instead of Tomato Sauce (Ketchup) you mix up a paste of curry powder. S&B Oriental Curry powder is good. (Not too much) with some milk and salt and pepper to taste. Put that on a pizza base and put seafood on the top (anything is good). Bash prawns (shrimp), sea scallops etc with a hammer first. The curry taste gives a new meaning to seafood pizza. Put some cheese on the top to bind it all together and you’re a goer.

Chinese Food: When very young an aunt and uncle had a seafood business that ran 24 hours a day and involved meals for the staff. They had a Chinese cook that fed us all. He just cooked Chinese. The ingredients were whatever was available. Mostly seafood and rice dishes. Never tasted a chop suey that can come close to what Charlie made for us. It spoilt me growing up eating real Chinese food. Fast food Chinese just don’t taste as good. He used to get fireworks sent out from China for cracker night too. Lucky we didn’t kill one another. We tried too though.
Tony.
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13. cholla
8:53 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
Growing up in Indiana, our first "foreign" food was first called Pizza Pie. Chinese food existed only in a can of Chung-king Chop Suey to be mixed with another can of those crinkly dried noodles. Mexican food didn't get to my part of the midwest until the mid-late 1950's, probably due to Korean War servicemen eating tacos while in training at San Antonio. I once took home a frozen package of tacos in my carry-on bag, and my dad became instantly addicted to them. Even now in some parts of Indiana Mexican food consists of a plate of French fries (OK, UK... chips) covered with Cheez-whiz and smothered in spicy ketchup. Tastes AWFUL !!
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12. iaotter
7:19 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
Our eating habits are interesting. So much depends on where you grew up or where your parents grew up and the foods that were eaten in your immediate family.
I didn't get introduced to Chinese food until I was in my second year at the UofI. I loved it but my parents never did learn to like it. I don't think my grandmother ever had anything other than a can of chop suey over those funny brown crinkly noodles.
One of my great Aunts had never eaten pizza until she was 91. We took Christmas dinner to her that year and when she was asked what she wanted for the meal she said "Pizza." She had heard about it and seen ads for it at the local grocery stores, but had never eaten any. That was back when you could buy a pizza kit in a box, a bag of dough flour, a little can of pizza sauce and some odd looking cheese in a package. We added our own hamburger, onion, olives and whatever.
How do we decide what is edible and the order it is to be eaten in? I happen to like salad with my meal. A nice crunch and clean taste in between other foods. Mostly soup is a meal in itself.
And then there is what we call various meals. Around here, the early one in the morning is usually breakfast, unless it is later and is brunch. The noon meal might be dinner or it might be lunch depending on rural or urban. Evening might be supper or dinner, again depending on rural or urban. There's coffee in the morning and tea or coffee in the afternoon.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving or just a great Thursday!
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11. Arbie
5:01 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
Dave, were you up all night?

UK, the appetizer thing is kind of awkward in the US. I should mention that we also have soup as an appetizer. At a restaurant, there is usually a choice between soup or salad. Some people don't like either (or aren't in the mood), and usually a batch of some kind of bread and butter is brought for them. Sometimes they get nothing and just have to sit and watch the others eat. And like Dave said, in many restaurants you can order appetizers that are all kinds of fried foods, like fried cheese, fried mushrooms, or potato skins, which are baked potatoes cut into smaller pieces and fried/broiled and covered with various toppings like melted cheese, chopped green onions and bacon. If you are in an area like mine where half the population is descended from South of the border rather than Europe, your appetizer can be a big bowl of tortilla chips and salsa for dipping. At home, I think most people serve the salad with everything else and people just eat it first. If people have soup at home, it is usually part of the main meal with everything else planned around it. It is usually served with finger foods or cold foods. A lot of people like a soup/sandwich combo. A lot of people eat soup, crackers, and some cold veggies/fruits, maybe some bread. Probably more than you wanted to know...
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1081
10. DHaupt
3:00 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
Repent! Ye sinful Brit. Yes, I mean you, UK. You are the cause of it all. Don't ask me why, ask HIM. Probably something to do with the English diet:

"(CNN) -- Days of heavy rain have led to flooding in southwestern England and parts of Wales and at least one fatality, British authorities said Sunday.
The UK Environment Agency posted a severe flood alert for the town of Helston, in the southwestern county of Cornwall, where the River Cober was rising over its banks, and warned towns across England and Wales to prepare for more high water. In Exeter, in neighboring Devon, a woman was killed when a tree fell on her Saturday night, the Devon and Cornwall Police Service reported.
On Twitter, Prime Minister David Cameron called the scenes of flooding "shocking" and said his government would make sure "everything is being done to help."
The region has seen four days of non-stop rainfall that has capped months of heavy precipitation, including the wettest April-June period on record. More than 225 areas stretching from Cornwall through the Midlands region to the northeastern coast were under flood warnings Sunday afternoon as the latest system moved through, the Environment Agency said."
Original article

Since He causeth his rain to fall upon the unjust as well as upon the just, we are due to have another decent little storm about midweek next. But more particularly, based on the Westborough Baptist Church's theology, our mean, old, sod of a God, clearly favors those who live upon the hill tops over those who dwell in the dark valley bottoms. Better buy your real estate accordingly. Joe seems to have the right idea.
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9. Dodabear
12:15 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
Somehow or other, the vision of Dave playing with cookies just isn't working for me.
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8. Ylee
8:21 PM GMT on November 24, 2012
Be it whitey-tighties or boxers, I hope Joe wore an apron.... ;-)

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7. DHaupt
6:23 PM GMT on November 24, 2012
UK, yes, I too have been getting that server error message for about the past fortnight. WU will let me see all the blogs, but when I tap on a particular one to display the comments, that is when the error page pops up. I find that I just have to wait a while and everything is back to normal. I've played with cookies, relaunched, even rebooted: all for no good.

I grew up expecting my salad to be the first serving of the meal. Even if it came in a big bowl, one would start with it. One would also be free to eat more salad after the main courses arrived. I do find that a salad makes a nice and true appetizer. What passes for an appetizer in most US restaurants, especially the "Applebee's" variety, is something like a deep-fried, cheesy bit with sour cream topping. After the "appetizer", you could really skip dinner for another 6 hours! Oof!

I don't think we are seeing Mother Nature "at work" exactly. I think we are seeing Mother Nature starting to take out her vengeance upon us. We are at the point where the opinions, rather the attitudes, of our politicians, religious leaders and Joe Sixpack aren't worth worrying about; it is too late for that. We are all along for the ride now. The Earth will survive, whether we do is irrelevant. How long it takes for the planet to recover from our husbandry is also irrelevant. Mother Nature can take millions of years to set things right. The evangelicals have been flirting with Armageddon for a few thousand years -- well, they may just have achieved it, just not quite the way they have wished.
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6. dotmom
1:51 PM GMT on November 24, 2012
I say Wow! to all the rain UK seems to be having. Weather seems to be unpredictable. In places where it is dry - it is really dry and in places where it is wet - it is really wet. Mother Nature at work I guess.

I guess Joe's video never did load up. Wonder what happened?
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5. insideuk
1:25 PM GMT on November 24, 2012
Is anyone else getting a frequent ‘INTERNAL SERVER ERROR’ page up when trying to load the WU blog comments? It’s been a frequent fault on all my computers this past fortnight – bloody annoying…


Arbie – This North European will eat salad whichever way you throw it at me (except mushrooms – severe food intolerance). I’ve never heard of JUST SALAD being served as a starter here, but given that a steaming bowl of soup is more suited to our climate I suppose that’s no surprise. A salad bowl would not be popular with most of the men I know! To them salad is mere decoration, it plays no more importance in a meal than the pattern on the plate, which doubtless they’d collectively fail to notice.

I have observed the men folk around me during mealtimes, and I have noticed a distinct pattern of behaviour you may recognise yourself. If they have a full plate of food which involves a portion of, lets say - ham, fried egg, chips (French fries if you insist), peas and side salad garnish, he will always eat the bit he likes LEAST of all, FIRST.

It’s as though he must be rid of the offending item before it ruins his plate completely.

My Dad, for instance, will eat his broccoli (the one tiny floret my Mum insists he endures every Sunday) as he is carrying his loaded plate to the dining table. It must be gone before he sits down or it will spoil his enjoyment.

My brother, my nephews, my male friends - they all do the same thing. Vegetables and salad to them are not for enjoyment. I can absolutely guarantee that every one of them would leave just the egg yolk, the juiciest bit of meat and the plumpest chip to eat as a LAST SACRED mouthful.

I would love to see their reaction to being offered a bowl of NOTHING BUT salad.

They’d either think you’d taken leave of your senses or they’d wait politely for the forgetful host to dish out the meat bit.

(My Grandmother once FORGOT FOR MONTHS about an entire frozen leg of lamb she'd put under the garden shed to defrost. She had a very small kitchen. It all made perfect sense to her to leave it under the shed... )

In case of point my brother and his wife recently attended a friends birthday party at a quality VEGETARIAN restaurant, that being the special choice of the birthday GIRL. It was costing them all £45/ $72 a head. The entire football team, for which my brother plays, and their respective partners arrived together in a chauffer driven bus. The husband of the birthday girl had a quiet word with the bus driver just as they all ARRIVED at the venue. With a few nods and winks at the rest of the fellas in the party the deal was sealed.

They had requested a trip to a local fish and chip takeaway on the way home!


Mega rainy, windy and flooded stuff here all this past week, with freezing fog this morning and a further 2 inches of rain and 60-70mph stuff due this afternoon/ evening. Local rivers are a mile outside their natural banks, country roads are blocked by flood water and sodden earth is shifting from its hillside locations without planning consent.
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4. osdianna
3:42 AM GMT on November 24, 2012
Hello all...I am so glad to hear you had a day off Joe...I'll bet you felt a bit at loose ends? We had a big break in the rain, so I took the dog for a long romp on the beach...with the Chuck-it for her and beachcombing for me. It was a tad cold, and quite windy, but it felt so good to get out and walk for an hour in real air!

I had a nice chat with a fellow who was kite-surfing, in a wet suit of course, and we agreed it was a great day to be out on the beach.

The rain came back with a vengence around 10PM last night and stuck around until 4pm or so today. We are forecast to have a couple of days to sort of dry out, then back to it.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 27 Comments: 458
3. Arbie
1:17 PM GMT on November 23, 2012
LOL! @UK. Yes, salad in the US is usually served as an "appetizer" right before the main meal. And it is usually eaten in its own bowl. In more casual settings, one may put the salad in individual serving bowls (or provide the serving bowls so people can serve themselves) and serve with the meal. In that case, people usually automatically eat the salad first, out of habit, since it is "supposed" to come first. I have heard Europeans eat their salad after the meal instead. I have never heard what is done in the UK. You must enlighten. All I hear out of the UK is that you all eat lots of fish and chips, and all kinds of puddings. :)

PS. Your Thursday meal sounded delicious!

I am off to a 4-hour drive to more faraway relatives I didn't see on Thanksgiving Day.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1081
2. insideuk
11:44 AM GMT on November 23, 2012
I have spent more time today pondering a difficult question regarding the contents of this blog than I have spent doing my paid job. Nothing unusual there.

My difficulty is with the SALAD.

My first thought was that it must be a starter dish, kept separate from the turkey meal because nobody in their right mind eats salad with mashed potatoes and gravy. Think of the wiltage. Yuck.

Then I considered the public nature of his salad disclosure and wondered if it was in fact a sneaky ploy to persuade us all that he had in fact swallowed a modicum of vitamin and enjoyed the lasting health benefits of something that may approach mineral status.

It’s all about balance.

In Joes case it’s about balancing his meal on a wobbly paper plate, since he lost his limited ceramic versions to the chow porch ‘take out’ food service in the early days. The earthern ware was returned to the ground since he failed to set up a refunded deposit system and Hoppy took advantage.

Perhaps there is a hardy variety of lettuce that has been developed to withstand high temperatures and hold onto its structural form, thus providing a greater stability to the paper plates? Maybe tomatoes acted as a dam to the gravy reservoir? Perhaps a chiselled cucumber has the greater scooped out retention capability and the added benefit of replacing the cutlery?

Or maybe he just stuck his head in the sink, TROUGH LIKE?

This blog leaves so many important questions unanswered.

Like how long does it take for a man to digest an accidentally consumed dishcloth?

For my Thursday dinner I opted for turkey steaks (so I didn’t feel left out of all the US fun). I powdered the living daylights out of them with a spice called BAHARAT and cooked them on my spanking new griddle pan along with corn on the cob, aubergine and fennel. Then I steamed my curly kale, broccoli, sprouts, carrots and fine green beans.

Then, having dressed for dinner, I ate it off a proper plate, using cutlery, whilst sat at a dining table. Followed up with a bowl of rum and raisin ice cream.

It’s still downloading.



I can confirm that towing is tricky.

My little brother will never allow me to pull him along the street on the snow sledge ever again…
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1340
1. dotmom
1:28 AM GMT on November 23, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving. Good to talk to you tonight. Dinner sounds well-balanced and yummy. The deep fry turkey for us is probably the first and last. I like the house to smell like turkey and eat it right out of the oven. (Oh yes, we do sit around the table and even wear clothes some times - hah.) It was a beautiful day here today - around 60 degrees. Lots of people out walking - probably after their big meals). I know you are looking forward to the bird being done. Enjoy. xxo
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About joealaska

With Dutch Harbor in the rear view window, I am camped out in Louisville, KY. looking for employment and a new chapter.

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