New Squared?

When you are somewhere that you are unfamiliar with, it’s hard to tell the difference between things that are impressive to you but normal to the natives and things that would stand out as odd/different to anyone.

I was ecxited to take Tobias to a Moab restaurant that served elk, one of my favorite meat treats but a bit hard to find. He was more impressed with the size of his 14 oz steak. Good thing we didn’t have steak while we were in Texas – his mind would have melted.

His comment on the beautiful patchwork quilt in our room at the B and B: “It is made of pieces of cloth sewn together. These are called scraps?” Hmmm…kind of. Steak – 1. Quilt – 0.

The stars on a moonless night in Utah, though, inspire a comment that is universal: “Aahh…wow.”

And a 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a ?

Today’s game is called WHAT NEXT?
Remember those intelligence tests at school where you looked at three figures and had to guess what the fourth one was? Or the ones where you had a string of integers that formed a series, and you had to figure out what the next integers were based on the existing pattern? Please imagine the fourth activity in the following series. For today’s game, you will be a tall German man who is being inundated with his girlfriend’s family while on holiday in the SouthWestern U.S. The first three activities are:
Lifetime first yoga class: Saturday morning, a surprisingly long 90 minutes full of breathing down to your core, challenging floor excercises, and an instructor telling you to ‘put on your dancing shoes’ even though she knows full well you’re barefoot and lying down. If only she knew, that very evening, you would be having a …
Lifetime first hula lesson: Saturday evening, another surprise, this time in the form of a troupe of excellent and committed hula dancing friends of my aunt’s at her 70th birthday. They did amazing dances for hours, and then succumbed to our requests to join in.
Lifetime first American Football game: Sunday, the Broncos lost to the Raiders, which wasn’t a surprise, but the finesse with which they turned over the ball was! The score was 59-14, but our seats were spectacular and apparently the concept of cheerleaders was… new.
What Next? Pray tell, what is the fourth activity in this series? The only constants that I can think of are that none of these activities involved bullfighting or peanut butter. Oh, and that watching Tobias take part in them cracked my shit up. 🙂 We have another two weeks in the SouthWest, and time to kill. Let me know what the magical fourth activity is!


Let’s pretend that you’re explaining the concept of Halloween to someone from another country. Where do you begin?

Me: Halloween is the day that the kids eat all the candy!

Novice: That is every day, which combined with a lack of self control has led to much obesity in your country.

Me: Yes, but on Halloween the children get the candy from strangers because they wear costumes!

Novice: Who wears costumes? The strangers?

Me: The children. Well, adults do, too, but their costumes make them look like hookers.

Novice: Hookers? Like prostitutes?

Me: Yeah, but nurse-hookers or pirate-hookers.

Novice: Oh, they do it to be scary?

Me: No, that’s what the pumpkins are for.

Novice: Like how your Marilyn Monroe/Betty Page pumpkin turned into a Picasso/Jesus pumpkin!

Me: Yeah, scary like that.

If I made Pumpkin Jesus, am I Pumkpin God?

If I made Pumpkin Jesus, am I Pumkpin God?

Novice: I was taught that Halloween has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday All Saints’ Day, but is today largely a secular celebration with the exception of some activities related to el Dia de Los Muertos. This I learned in elementary school, during cultural studies, where we also learned the importance of being able to communicate in at least three languages. We then learned multiple languages because it is shortsighted to…

Me: While you were sitting in class learning, I was eating candy. Ha.

Salt and Sugar and Pepper, oh my!

On Wednesday, we made some corn and green chile chowder that had potatoes, corn and bacon from the family farm, and onions, roasted peppers, and milk from other farms in Olathe. The only non-local ingredients were salt and pepper. (Now you’re thinking I’m just bringing this up to be smug, but stay with me…)

On Thursday, we went fishing and I caught a fat medium-sized trout.

Oh, I'm smug about the fish catching, all right.

Oh, I'm smug about the fish catching, all right.

Today’s Friday, and the trout has now come out of a salt/sugar brine and is waiting with its brethren to be smoked for dinner. We’ll have it with the last of the fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash from the garden. Neither the sugar nor the salt in the brine are locally produced.

I bring up the salt/pepper/sugar bit because my folks have nearly no interest in producing sugar (even though the local high school mascot used to be the BeetDiggers in recognition of the area’s sugar beet production,) or salt (even though Salt Lake City is relatively close) or pepper (even though the trees are pretty.) My friend Jim calls himself a ‘completist’, and I think that he wouldn’t be able to relax being this close to 100% local – he would have to go the rest of the way: break out the sugar beet distillery (of dourse it’s not a distillery, is it, but I don’t know the name of the thing that makes ‘evaporated cane juice crystals’ from sugar cane,) or start looking up how to extract NaCl from the local high-salinity adobe. Surely ground chile seeds could substitute for black pepper, and then he could eat his all-local chowder and be right chuffed.

Rather, earlier in the week, when the family was talking about how much fun it would be to make hard cider, guess what got broken out? The apple tree catalogue! Varieties were researched, preferences were determined, hardiness was established as a critical factor, and the location and irrigation of the future orchard were planned.

I would totally make fun of them for beginning the race so far behind the start line, but I just ate a ton of the bacon that they made from the pigs that they raised. Call them goals or plans or dreams, they are both satisfying and delicious when they come true.

Last bit – my folks are not braggarts, and they may not be completists, but they can gild the ‘local’ lily. Last week, we made some calzones. I will list their ingredients in the ‘Ingedient – location of production (cartoony sound effect to show degree of difficulty or awesomeness)’ format:
Tomato Sauce – produce from garden, canned at home (zzzzzz)
Sausage – pork from the farm, venison from the neighbor, cooked and smoked at home (zzzzzap)
Ricotta Cheese – milk from local dairy, made into cheese at home (whappaaap)
Pizza/Calzone Dough – wheat grown in Olathe, ground at home (BOOM.)

I will now retreat to my onion-cellar laboratory to perfect my baking powder recipe using only local sagebrush and hand-plucked chicken feathers. Or was it baking soda? Damn…

Things I am Wrong About, Part XIV

-Pear Sorbet (it’s not good, it’s just sweet. At best, it tastes like pear lip gloss.)
-The wine in Paonia, CO – I was skeptical, but it’s actually delicious (although when I ordered a glass of Riesling, the server brought me a glass of… Merlot. No joke. Apparently the weed in Paonia is quite good, too.)
-Adding nutmeg to roasted cauliflower to cover up the taste of an overload of smoked paprika. (Blecch. It tasted like sludge from the factory that converts Christmas trees to cheap plywood.)
-Obama. Ha! Just kidding! I was right about Obama – he makes unicorns* smile.
-I was not the last one to wear the submersion/spy suit:

Technically, this could still be spy-related...

Technically, this could still be spy-related...

*and by ‘unicorns’, of course I mean ‘the uninsured’.

Overnight Shipping Not Included

Today we are going to a Deano’s for dinner and drinks. We will be bringing tomato essence to mix with vodka for a healthful and refreshing tonic. What better delivery system for such a health tonic than a delicious edible cup made out of cucumber? I made a few prototypes, and then Mom said, ‘Let’s put them on Etsy!’
How can you NOT create a cucumber cup portfolio after that?

Intro to the Concept

Intro to the Concept

Many Options to Choose From

Many Options to Choose From

Healthy, Useful, Delicious

Healthy, Useful, Delicious

Not Recommended for Use with Tequila

Not Recommended for Use with Tequila