It’s popular camp food. Know it? No? Been under a rock? Graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow – it has to be smushed together. And the marshmallow needs to be charred. There’s not way to get the flame so close. Yes the carbon charring adds that “je ne sais quois.” No! I didn’t say its good. I said it is traditional camp food. Ok, I didn’t say tradition in the first line. But you know it’s another priceless moment. The Californians call it “Glamping.” Glamorous camping – it was! The rain held off for 24 hours or this would have been one wet marshmallow. Oh for the “under the rock” crowd – it means s’mores – some mores? – as in after the first you want more? Ok?
When my kids had their first? …was at the Tyler place. We had a bon fire on the shore of the lake and a new sinful pleasure was introduced to them that night. We were with friends too. Susan? You reading? … four couples, lasted more than 25 years… in spite of a few conservatives among us…who knew back then?
Pearl and marvelous – Arabic names. Cats. I’ve named them. They adopted me. I’m a free meal ticket. I started with rolls. They are not vegetarian and finicky so they ate sparingly. Then I used canned tuna. I wasn’t sure if they would be back. So I did not invest in cat food.
Cats around here are stray and pretty much abandoned to the whim of people. They are painfully thin and pretty much know how to work a trash bin. There’s not much.
Two nights after I fed them from the tuna can – they licked the empty can – I found three bounding up to me when I opened my door. Pet food is located with the kitchen supplies at the grocery. There is even dog food. They are large (relatively), medium, and small. The little guy runs if I look in its direction. The large – now Badi – and medium, Lulu are braver. Badi let me touch him almost at once and Lulu is pretty ok. She will nip and scratch at me. At this point I have fed them about a week. And they now eat from my hand. They came into the villa for a visit.
Badi is dumb and started to meow and whine and climb through my curtain at the window. He doesn’t get the concept of a door or how to use it to get out. Lulu was in and out without a problem. Girls are smarter.
I finally got pictures of them both. The third guy is still missing. There are other cats lurking about. These three have adopted me. So we are getting to be buddies. I’m teaching them sharing. Everyone eats.
Amy is taking an iPhone shot of my next bird. It’s a bit more browned. Better oven and more experience. Hey, you get better with practice. My soup sure did get better. (see previous post) And we made another breast (wings included) because there were 23 people scheduled to show. Note: about a pound a person – we did not need the extra breast. Other note: when all is said and done, it is the trimmings that make the meal.
So the dishes that surrounded the meal and that were contributed by the guests really made it all great. I learned a new tradition – sauerkraut over mashed potatoes. (Hint: I could have done without ever knowing that.) I did stuffing on the outside – too heavy to transport a stuffed bird to a second location. It worked. I’m a crockpot (stuffing) fan now – not a crackpot. More family showed up and a good time was had by all. Dinner was scheduled for 6PM. We arrived at 6:08 and were the last ones in the joint. Do you think everyone was hungry? More family, more friends, more stuffing, success again!
No, this is not the second Thanksgiving. Wait patiently; it’s coming in a few days time. This is the annual chestnut cake. I’ve not made it myself. So I had to improvise. The food mill was a cheap piece and barely was serviceable. Caveat: get a good tool if it is important to your project. Yeah, yeah. Hey, it’s a nice looking cake! And I got someone else to do the whipped cream. Yes, I’ve whipped it into butter once upon a time. But that is not the disaster. For a change but not extraordinarily, I don’t have an actual picture. Nice cake huh?
It starts with the making. We prepared the soup near midnight the evening before. The next day was a full day’s ride to Elkins, WV. The soup was secure in the rear of the SUV in a pot with the lid taped shut. Insufficient for the task I might interject. You can see the disaster happening in slow motion already? In the dark, as I opened the hatch and moved the cooler, the pot beneath was precariously leaning on the edge and went on over. About two cups remained in the partially overturned pot. The rest was on my shoe, the bumper, and the driveway. (Note: see spot.) Salvage was not an option. Folks would have noticed road dirt not pepper in their soup. Off to the market on Thanksgiving eve. Yeah, it was a beat market. No, butternut squash, and then hours of cooking that I did not count on was a heartbreaking prospect. Acorn squash to substitute, until… light bulb – pumpkin! Yes, pumpkin puree for pie; it works. Substitution! And with the right seasoning….the soup was a success! Really, and not out of sympathy; I made it again, same formula and it was a smashing success two days later. And I will appreciate it if you don’t tell Jules about my improv soup recipe caper.
‘Cause there are two. Be patient I’m only doing one post at a time. Two – count ‘em two. I’m a gluten. Punishment? The first was staged in a kitchen then moved to a second kitchen and meanwhile I stayed at an inn far from the kitchen. Get it? I got it! – as in shot. That’s the next post. This one was about the kitchen in which the turkey was baked. And it was fully stuffed too. So think of a small galley kitchen. And then you don’t know the ingredients, spices, pantry, pots, pans, knives, or anything of how temperamental the oven might be. Think disaster. Nope, didn’t happen. Wait for the next post. This one is about how tiny the kitchen was. I’ve cooked in small kitchens. And maybe I told you about the Thanksgiving dinner in 2006 where as we sat to eat, a set of wild turkeys crossed the yard in front of the window before us. Magical! No, this was about the things people will do if you ask. We were talking about jump photos and Richard Avedon who popularized them in his portrait work. Yup, Lee jumped. The secret for someone who can’t jump is to fold your knees. You look so much more athletic! No, I did not think this up myself. My kids told me. They were embarrassed at how bad I looked in their pictures. Humbling, ain’t it?
How small? I had to park the turkey out of the oven on the washer. No space. Someone was doing apple pie in a toaster oven. I’ve never seen that before and Jane admitted it she’d never tried it either. The pie was gone on the first round of dessert.
Never have! Don’t. Nada. No. Nope. It’s not coffee. It’s an eggnog latte. I don’t do latte either! Well, there are exceptions. This is exceptionally good stuff. First you need a good latte machine. Who knew? I’m stuck at Mr. Coffee. But you do things right and with good coffee and good ingredients…. A friend Margaret Whalen introduced me to Kona coffee decades ago. It’s from Hawaii – Kona and expensive as all get out. But that is the start. And then, what’s not to like about eggnog? It tastes good therefore it’s bad for you. Forgo the barrista designs. I’m in it for the taste and mouth feel. Ah! A new sin to repent.
Sadly the machine suddenly quit. I’m contrite and swear to repent, now! The machine went to the coffee repair man with the hope it will recover and produce latte again soon. Meanwhile there is sadness on the counter. An empty space waits to be filled again.
There is nothing picturesque about an artichoke in the market. You can barely make one out behind this flower. So you can imagine (maybe not) my amazement to see this flower and find out it was an artichoke blossom. Ok, if you’ve never seen an artichoke, just smile. I find that most people are unfamiliar with the vegetable and how to eat much less prepare it. There really isn’t too much to do. It’s what you season with that counts. Garlic or garlic and lots of bread crumbs, either way it’s gonna taste good. And no, I will not tell you exactly how to eat it. Look on the ‘net. Meanwhile this is an artichoke flower. Neat! I learned something too.
We were up in San Luis Opisbo. It was dinner, fast, before heading to the drive-in movie. Pot pie – it’s comfort food. I was in the mood. It worked well. Nothing fancy, it was still memorable. Add – fried artichokes – it was a California dinner after all. I’m surprised how many people don’t know artichokes. So, you can’t see the food. The artichoke is batter fried. About anything fried and battered is good. And the pie crust covers the pot. Yes, but you didn’t taste either. I assure you that this was good.
Eat sleep, oh, forgot – cook. Fire? You are not allowed to cut down the forest. It is not wild. So no leaves, no branches, twigs, and definitely no felling of trees allowed. It’s camping in a campground. You bring in everything and you take out your trash. A good fire is hard to beat for warmth and I love a good barbecue. It’s not fancy but the eating is good. And we made it in a single pan. Yum is good.