Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

To clear up a misconception from what I've written in the past couple days:

"Shipwrecked in Carolina" did not write the piece of bilge that I responded to, nor does he agree with it. I am grateful to have it brought to my attention, since looking elsewhere on the net, it appears to be making the rounds of email. Whatever anonymous person wrote it, it was not the author of "Shipwrecked in Carolina" who frequently posts items to think about. I would further encourage folks to check out this post which has more recently gone up on that site.

And on to today's writing.

Finally, I got a day off - slept in and decided to watch a nice, brainless movie with a friend, so we caught the matinee showing of the latest "Harry Potter" movie, which I thought was one of those cases where the movie really is better. The sky was incredible today - that deep cornflower summer blue, fading at the horizon to palest baby blue. The clouds were giant cotton candy affairs, as though an artist had painted a fantasia across the heavens - it almost looked too perfect to be true.

So why, you ask, was I in a movie theater for 2 full hours of this glorious day? Anyone who had been through a DC summer could tell you: the air was heavy, wet, hot, and grimy. It wrapped itself around me the minute I stepped outside, invading even the shade.

And yet, after the movie, I found myself putting up mint syrup. Because mint only stores well processed - dried or turned into syrup. 4 cups of sugar, 2.5 cups of water - bring to a boil together and add 1 cup vinegar (we used cheap balsamic vinegar) now, let those simmer over a low flame for 1/2 an hour, then add a 1 gallon zippie bag of loosely packed mint that you pulled out to keep it from invading the rest of the world, as mint so often likes to do. Stir down until the mint is thoroughly mixed into the liquid, then put the lid on and leave it to blend well. We did a double batch of chocolate mint, and a batch and a half of the curly mint. And we'll be doing the bottling soon. Whew!

As I've mentioned before, I think it's good for people to process some of their own food, because not only does this mean that you can have some tastes out of season, but also you understand your food better. Plus, well, *you're* the authority on the quality of food you want. One of my favorite treats is frozen strawberries in August, a treat I can have because I put them up in early June. No tasteless waterbags, either, but little scarlet bundles of sheer strawberry-ness. Mmmm. And once you get over the bit about stirring boiling syrup in hot muggy weather, it's fun, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good thoughts... the sources of our food is something hardly any of us think about most of the time. My organic farmer friend has always advocated for buying locally. That in itself is huge because it doesn't have to be shipped. Growing something on your own is also very satisfying. I just picked my first zucchini of the season. And I wish I could share some of these raspberries with you.

7/16/2007 8:33 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I just picked up the first zucchini of the season from the local farmer's market. It, along with an onion and a tomato that wasn't as "pretty" as its brethren* will be joining some leftover orzo for dinner tonight. And maybe a radish salad... with cherries for dessert.

*I really don't see a lot of point to buying tomatoes for an extra $.50 a pound just to not have to cut off the top slice. Unless they're looking particularly awful, I always buy from the "seconds" box, which is usually just that tiny bit more ripe anyway.

7/16/2007 3:47 PM  

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