Re: Cornu-cope-ia

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What do you intend to grow in this garden?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:29 PM
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Food.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:30 PM
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They sell that in stores, you know.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:31 PM
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3: I've heard. More specifically, anything that'll grow in Virginia. So lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, corn, various herbs—you know, stuff you plant in your garden. Except I suck at it aside from watering. I'm a very attentive waterer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:35 PM
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Pretty much anything will grow in Virginia, as far as I know. Have you considered tobacco? It grows real well there.

This (via Sifu) is probably not helpful at all for your purposes, but it's still pretty cool.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:39 PM
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More seriously, this 10' x 10' plot already exists, correct? Have you been using it to grow stuff?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:41 PM
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Don't answer that.


Posted by: Stanley's attorney | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:42 PM
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Curses, foiled again. That's okay, we've got all the evidence we need right here on Google Earth.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:44 PM
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Have you been using it to grow stuff?

Yup. Peppers do well. Tomatoes do well. Oregano loves the place.

[On preview, 7's funny, but not in an incriminating way. Um, Officer. No, seriously, that's oregano.]


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:47 PM
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Okay, so you've got a garden that you use to successfully grow food and you'd like to expand it. What's the problem?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:50 PM
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Didn't ogged have a particular hatred for gardening threads?

Anyway, you can cover with newsprint and cardboard and cover that with soil (no need to lay down plastic beforehand), but I prefer digging deep and mixing your new soil and vermiculite and lots of organic matter with the existing soil. Don't know how clayey yours is, though.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:50 PM
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Compost is a great way to build up the nutritive content of the soil. You can jumpstart the process by picking out the parts of the lawn you'd like to use for the garden, and shitting on them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:50 PM
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Hey, how did that happen? 11 was I.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:51 PM
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What's the problem?

Well, I'd like to do better, is the thing. And I thought we might chat about it. Or you'd make fun of me. Or someone might highjack the thread. I mean, you just never know, 'round these parts.

Didn't ogged have a particular hatred for gardening threads?

I certainly hope so.

picking out the parts of the lawn you'd like to use for the garden, and shitting on them.

Done and done. Excuse me.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-29-09 11:55 PM
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Rule of thumb for gardening: devote 80 percent of your initial investment of time and money into soil prep, 20 percent into your plants. Those percentages are offered only slightly ex recto.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:01 AM
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I'd be happy to make fun of you, Stanley. Actually, I'd love to help, but I know very little about gardening and what I do know is all about climates very different from yours. I do know that composting is generally a good way to go about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:04 AM
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waaaaaay OT, but do you know about this, or is it already known to the Unfoggedariat?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_confidence_tricks (Search for 'Ogged,' and make quick work of the page.)

From: http://www.kottke.org/09/01/confidence-tricks


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:07 AM
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Yeah, I mean, I've kept a house plant alive for going on five months now, which is the extent of my gardening expertise. Let me offer you some advice!

Hey, you should raise chickens!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:07 AM
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17: it is indeed known.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:08 AM
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We had chickens when I was a little kid. They're pretty easy to take care of.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:10 AM
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I knew people who had chickens when I was a kid. It always seemed pretty great -- assuming you have the yard space, it's not that much work to take care of them, and you get these free, delicious eggs all the time! Spiffy.

Stanley might be a vegetarian, but that shouldn't stop him -- he could wear their feathers!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:12 AM
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Figured, as I've been largely AWOL (juggling what's effectively two jobs), and yet, I was harboring that little girl joy of discovering something first. (This is, I should mention, completely unrelated to the urge of proclaiming FIRST when commenting online.)


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:12 AM
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Personally, of course, I both hate eggs and am terrified of birds, so I have no interest in raising chickens myself, but it seems like a good idea for other people.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:16 AM
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Make some terra preta, Stanley. Activated charcoal, some potsherds, some crazy fungus, and presto!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:19 AM
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Two words, Stanley: double digging. Lot of work, but worth it.

What about birds terrifies you, teo?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:19 AM
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You could make a 10x50 oyster bed. They require some extra upkeep, of course. But oysters!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:19 AM
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What about birds terrifies you, teo?

Everything.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:22 AM
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Maybe you're transposing your fears and you're actually terrified of dinosaurs?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:23 AM
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I'm contemplating putting in raised beds over half my front yard, since that's the only damn place that gets any sun. I'd like to replace our farmshare with homegrown produce and fruit (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, apple and pear--these would be planted outside of the raised beds, excepting the strawberries).

Then if I can figure out how to root cellar effectively (the damn basement's cold enough), I want to grow potatoes, onions, etc. for use year round.

So I hear ya, Stanley.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:26 AM
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Nah, I love dinosaurs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:26 AM
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27: Wow, I can't imagine. Even cute little hummingbirds and warblers and such?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:27 AM
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Even cute little hummingbirds and warblers and such?

In theory, yes, but in practice they tend to keep their distance so it's not such a big deal. Chickens and pigeons are the biggest problems.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:28 AM
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What about dead birds? Or stuffed birds? Or strange men with horn-rimmed glasses and birdlike affects?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:33 AM
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Grow some stiffneck garlic, so you can harvest the scapes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:35 AM
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33: All problematic in various ways. Live birds are the worst, though.

I hadn't realized you guys weren't around for the post I linked in 27, but looking back at it that was kind of a long time ago in blog terms.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:35 AM
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Or strange men with horn-rimmed glasses and birdlike affects?

And Stanley can change his name to Jay.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:39 AM
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Tip for tomatoes: let them get to a foot tall or more in their pots, then strip all but the terminal leaves and plant the stalk in a trench; that way you end up with an extra-large root mass. I was given this tip by one of Oregon's most renowned organic farmers, who used to play for the Minnesota Vikings.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:42 AM
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Why do you want an extra-large root mass?


Posted by: George Formby | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:51 AM
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You can tell a man's worth by the size of his root mass.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:53 AM
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Better tackling.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:53 AM
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Why do you want an extra-large root mass?

Bigger, healthier crop.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:58 AM
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It's not the size of the root mass, it's where it's rooted.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:59 AM
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And Stanley can change his name to Jay.

Is that an allusion to Thai cooking? 'Cause if not, that elusive ben has lost me once again.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:00 AM
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43: arguably allusive though he also was he lost me too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:02 AM
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he also was he lost me too

I know what you mean.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:03 AM
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Elusive and allusive, that's me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:07 AM
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ben uses a lot of words to say "yes". Laydeez.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:11 AM
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Elusive and allusive, that's me.

Gardeners prefer their plots to be alloidal and alluvial.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:16 AM
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I have found gardeners' real strength to be characterization.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:17 AM
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I think of gardening as a process of iterative categorization.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:18 AM
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I agree with McQueen, basically. In your case, if it is hard-packed clay what you have there is land where the top soil had been stripped off, or never existed in the first place. So what I would want to do is to turn the underlying clay layer into topsoil, which will take a bit of engineering, unless you are determined to do it by buying topsoil. (I just hate doing that - they tend to lard it when chemicals, and then they overcharge you for it.)

To start off, a coupla layers of newspaper (or other paper that isn't clay-based) laid on top, and then covered with some kind of mulch. (Dead leaves should work fine.) I'd mark it off into 10x10 sections. After a month or two (when it isn't cold anymore), I'd pull up the newspaper on the first section, and shove the mulch from the second section onto the third. (A coupla months will not break down mulch, so I tend to save it and reuse it.)

Now comes the hard part. I'd dig out the first 10x10 section down about 2 foot, piling the dirt onto the section next to it. If you have a tree root issue, I'd take some metal gardening separator and wall off your hole, so your plants aren't strangled by tree roots, but also so invasive plants in the hole don't head off. One layer of newspaper on the bottom at the most to discourage enemy roots initially.

Then you get several bags of playground sand, a big bag of peat moss (I like it), a coupla bags of earthworm castings (that is, shit) or bat guana (that is, shit). Lay out some newspapers on the spot where you intend to mix, so you know when you've hit bottom, dump a bag of sand down, and throw some clay from the pile on and mix it. Then add some peat moss and some shit to it and mix that up. What you are aiming for is kinda like the consistancy of planting soil from bag. Damp, not wet, and when you pick it up with your hand, and make a fist, the impression of your fingers remains but the lump starts to fall apart. If it's sticky, it's too wet, or you've got too much clay. If it's really spring, throw in some more clay. It should smell ok and not be soggy. (Soggy clay soil (or the like) if it's packed tight and lousy for planting, will tend to smell lifeless, or stink from lack of oxygen, and will make a nice bean ball to hit somebody in the head with.) When you've got a coupla cubic feet of good smelling stuff, I personally would add some blood meal and some bone meal to start it off. (You may not like either of those.) Then throw it in the corner of the hole and do another round. Be a little observant, and save any earthworms you find. They are your friends. You may also feel free to add some bark mulch or something, just to add volume; just don't use to much, more than say, 10%.

Basically the packed clay dirt pile, when leavened well, should roughly double in volume; we're aiming for a nice fluffy batter, and not dry flour or sticky or gooey egg. That would give us four feet of top soil on top of wet clay. Roots from garden plants should easily reach bottom without becoming rootbound. When you've used up your clay, and have lots of dirt, you wall it off with wood posts like the section next door (don't forget the water-based paint to ward off the evil wood-eating bees), and move on.

Anything you plant immediately (tomatoes would be good if you have the sun) should promptly grow like a sumbitch. I wouldn't start off with any wimpy plants like lettuce or parsley (well, maybe parsley) or the like. Afterwards, you watch the plots over the next year. If you second crop this year (beans are good, they do nice things for the soil), work the area over with a pitchfork and see how packed down things have become. If it's hard to cut through the ground, add some more leaveners and mix it in good. Don't deliberately tramp anything down; water and rains and gravity will do that.

3: I've heard. More specifically, anything that'll grow in Virginia. So lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, corn, various herbs--you know, stuff you plant in your garden. Except I suck at it aside from watering. I'm a very attentive waterer.

Cucumbers should work nicely to start off. Potatoes are for fall. Avoid corn in general, as it is an evil soil destroyer. (Well, ok, you can grow it a little but rotate and be very considerate of any patch used to grow it.)

Also, get a cheap rain guage and leave it on your plot. If you're getting more than an inch a week of solid rain, you're easily set. If it's all drizzle, water once a week, equal to about an inch worth of rain (in the evening during the summer). More than that and you are overwatering, and risk root rot.

It's the first round of labor that's hard. Next year, add some mulch, a bag or two of soil amendments, and pitchfork it in and you should be ready to go.

max
['HTH.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:19 AM
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I've read that we should cover the ground with plastic to kill weeds and evil terrorist bugs

The bugs will just tunnel into the garden patch from outside, and eat your vegetables' roots. This is what people mean when they say you have to eliminate the "root causes" of terrorism.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:19 AM
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51: Thanks, max. That's really quite helpful, beans-wise in particular. I'm planning a Bean and Thyme section of the garden.

(No, but seriously that was actually seemingly good advice.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:27 AM
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||
No more masturbating to John Martyn. Damn.
|>


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:28 AM
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I agree with max, basically, but I'd advise against the sand. Sand is the antithesis of clay, but combined they make cement, an unwelcome synthesis gardening-wise. For an inert amendment, vermiculite or perlite, plenty of it, is good, along with copious amounts of organic material. Peat moss is great, very moisture retentive, but it should be combined with lots of compost, because peat moss alone (like mushroom compost) will substantially change the pH balance of the soil.

But definitely bust through the clay. If you layer good soil on top of it, roots will run along the top of the clay, and at the least you'll be watering more often. In this endeavor as in all things, you want your roots to grow deep.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:04 AM
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Peat moss is great, very moisture retentive,

and ecologically devastating, wherever it comes from.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:58 AM
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Stanley might be a vegetarian, but that shouldn't stop him -- he could wear their feathers!

Is it non-vegetarian to drink wine which has been fined using fish products?


Posted by: keir | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:54 AM
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Just a quick thought, I'll add more later with respect to soil, but 10' x 10' is a terrible bed layout because you have to walk on the soil you've worked so hard to prepare to get to anything in the middle. Better to do strips about 4' wide and however long you want them. Reaching in 2' from either side is comfortable for most people.

On a related note, don't put the garden right up against your back fence. Leave a strip for walking on that's wide enough for you to squat down and reach into the bed (i.e. about three or four feet wide).

Basically you want parts of your garden that you never walk on if you can help it, with paths in between. I've known people who make interesting shapes (e.g. like the letter E but with more cross bars, everything 4' wide) to achieve lots of garden space while still being able to walk around and reach into every spot in the garden.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:14 AM
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Anyone remember a show on PBS about 30 years ago called Crockett's Victory Garden? Man, I loved that show.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:52 AM
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Where do you get off calling those bugs terrorists? They're not evil. Just misunderstood.

Grow peas.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:05 AM
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re: 51

Wow.

Perhaps I am spoiled living where I've lived. When we grew veg as a kid the process was, literally, dig the soil a bit. Plant. Watch crops just boing out of the ground.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:24 AM
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Central Scotland is, come to think of it, just absurdly lush. Glaciation and thousands of years of cultivation probably do that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:29 AM
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While I'm not much of a gardener, Max' 51 seems like it's got to be overkill -- like, not that it wouldn't be great if you did that, but you're not really likely to. If your soil really sucks that badly, maybe put in raised beds?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:35 AM
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I don't have much time at the moment, more later, but I agree with MMcG and LB that it isn't necessary to spend that much time, effort, and money to have a successful garden. Gardening is one of those things where you can spend as much of all of those as you have, and likely have great results, but there are easier and cheaper ways of doing it.

And I advise easing into things rather than making it such a huge project that you end up hating gardening or deciding that it's just not worth it.

But all this reminds me of a joke I usually tell at the start of gardening workshops:

Q: What's the only thing that two gardeners can agree on?

A: What the third gardener is doing wrong.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:45 AM
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Also, have you got a compost heap yet? They're fun and profitable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:49 AM
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Since the Virginia climate is suitable for growing just about anything short of tropical fruits, you have the luxury of choice as to what to plant.

I recommend applying the following criteria:

- vegetables that are inexplicably expensive to buy fresh, even in the height of summer, e.g. leeks, fennel, celery root, endive. Fresh herbs also fall into this category. Conversely, don't even bother with stuff that's always available for cheap, e.g. potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips

- vegetables for which the garden-fresh variety are vastly superior to storebought, e.g. tomatoes, sweetcorn, sweet peppers, melons, lettuce. Some put peas into this category; I tend to think the effort you put into them isn't worth the small flavor bonus over frozen peas.

- vegetables for which you have a plausible use for a metric shit-tonne of them, all at once. Don't put in more than one or two cucumber bushes unless you're planning to make pickles.

- vegetables that will give you satisfaction long after the summer season is over. Brussel sprouts, squash and beetroot can still be harvested well after the first killing frost; you can have fresh homegrown produce for your thanksgiving dinner.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:54 AM
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Also, it goes without saying that "vegetables that will give you satisfaction long after the summer season is over" should be broadly construed to include the plant that shall not be named.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:02 AM
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Um, Knecht? Leeks, fennel, celery root and endive are cool weather crops, and any you find at the height of summer are probably expensive (and not particularly good) due to that fact.

Also, parsnips should go in the "vastly superior to storebought" category. They're a metric bitch to harvest, but fresh ones are easily ten times better than anything I've ever found in a grocery store. Also at least down here parsnips are generally only available in late fall / winter, not year-round.

And in point of fact I'd put potatoes and onions and carrots in the "vastly superior" category too, although I see what you're saying and the differential between homegrown and storebought is smaller than with, e.g. tomatoes.

Other than those small quibbles, though, your advice is most sound.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:03 AM
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||
"A Californian woman who gave birth to octuplets earlier this week already has six children, US media has reported. [...] The Los Angeles Times later carried an interview with a woman identified as the babies' grandmother, who said her daughter already has six young children and never expected fertility treatment she had received would result in eight more babies."
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:08 AM
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Leeks, fennel, celery root and endive are cool weather crops, and any you find at the height of summer are probably expensive (and not particularly good) due to that fact

That was poorly phrased. I meant "at the height of the season". Leeks and celery root need a particularly long time from planting to maturity (which is probably why they're so damned expensive), so you end up harvesting them in cool weather by the nature of things, but they do in fact grow in hot weather.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:09 AM
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70: No argument there. Especially with your first sentence.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:11 AM
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Now that I think about it, I'm not sure that I've ever eaten a freshly harvested parsnip, so I will defer to M/tch's expertise in this matter. I wonder where one goes to experience this? Most of the supermarket parsnips around here seem to come from New Brunswick.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:21 AM
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There is no comparison between freshly picked raw peas -- eat them before you get back to the house -- and frozen peas. The suggestion that the difference is small, is like the 13th chime of the clock: it calls into question everything that has gone before and everything yet to come.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:25 AM
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That's horrible, Apo.

My mom had a well-developed garden 30 by 30 feet which I was too lazy to work, though I did plant wildflowers. She had a friend who cultivated it and gave most of the produce to the Catholic school lunch program.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:41 AM
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I wonder where one goes to experience this?

Right out to your own garden. Duh.

And I'm sorry to say that 73 gets it exactly right, but I didn't mention it before because I felt that I was already piling on.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:44 AM
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What doctor gives fertility treatment to somebody with six young children?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:45 AM
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You know how when a magazine you like does an article about something you're personally very familiar with and you realize that it's full of crap on that subject, and then you start to suspect that all those other things it's sounded so authoritative on in the past might also be untrustworthy? I hate it when that happens.

Not that that has any relevance to the current conversation.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:46 AM
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What doctor gives fertility treatment to somebody with six young children?

Maybe they were some free samples from the pharmaceutical company?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:51 AM
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re: 77

Yeah, a mathematician friend of mine once said the same about New Scientist. The poorness of some of the writing about mathematics led him to suddenly suspect everything else they were writing.

Happens all the time with aesthetics, too, doesn't it? Some friend recommends something to you that is so absolutely awful that it casts into doubt everything else they have ever recommended.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:52 AM
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76 -- there's a class of customer for professional services that reacts to 'I'm not going to do that, even if you are willing to pay for it' with shock and disbelief. We lawyers used to joke that the reason accountants' hourly rates were so much higher than ours was that they never say such things. Then it stopped being funny.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:54 AM
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79: Reading most tourist guides for a locale one knows well is similar.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:57 AM
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Not that that has any relevance to the current conversation.

Hey, I acknowledged the legitimacy of the opposing point of view about fresh peas. My small-scale experience of eating fresh peas suggests that, yes, they really are a lot better. But the trouble you have to go through to grow and harvest enough of them for dinner is too much for me. It's a judgment call. YMMV.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:01 AM
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CharleyCarp is obviously right about the peas, she says, having gorged herself on fresh peas too many times. Mmmm.

69: Jesus.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:03 AM
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82: You're clearly on the wrong side, Knecht. Your fresh pea ambivalence will soon be consigned to the ash heap of history.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:08 AM
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We lawyers used to joke that the reason accountants' hourly rates were so much higher than ours was that they never say such things.

I would love to see a study of "fairness opinions" from investment banks that would plot the banker's fee (as a % of deal value) versus the premium over market value paid by the acquirer. The cynical hypothesis is that the correlation will be measurably positive for the buy-side advisor and negative for the sell-side advisor.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:08 AM
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Maybe all the lawyer jokes should be retrofitted for accountants and economists.

Krugman's having a debate with Fama, who he says saying something totally ridiculous about the present crisis. But Fama isn't a small-time guy like Luskin or Robert Samuelson, he's on the Nobel Prize short list.

I follow DeLong closely, and until recently I would see people chatting away about this or that in a professional way, not sure of the answer but supremely confident thatf the answer will probably found, and be found by an economist. But now they look sort of desperate and "WTF!?", and are giving policy advice in accordance with their political convictions. Which is fine, and what I thought they were doing all along, but no one has really admitted it, because if you do that means you can't freeze non-economists totally out of the debate.

On one thread a guy commented that Blue Dogs and Republicans think of running the global economy the way they think of household management. Cutting spending is rule one. (Low spending and low taxes has been the main Republican rule since at least 1920, maybe 1860). My Blue Dog Congressman is pushing a return to pay-go, which is diametrically opposed to stimulus. On one thread there was an ex-Republican commenter who voted for Obama, but was furious about the "pork" in the stimulus bill. Not clear on the concept.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:11 AM
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I like the metal taste in canned peas. Not better, not worse, just different.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:14 AM
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I like the metal taste in canned peas.

There, in one sentence, is the definitive proof that "Stuff White People Like" is a misnomer.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:17 AM
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10x10, going up to 10x50? That sounds huge.
(We've got a 2x8 raised bed here, in a shady back yard. Anything else would also have to be raised bed, since the soil here is, as a nerdier friend put it, not RoHS-complaint).

I saw a "top 10" and "bottom 10" garden foods to grow based roughly on the same idea as Knecht's 66, somewhere out there on the Internet. It seemed sensible - herbs and tomatoes were at the top of the list, potatos and corn at the bottom. I wonder where the rest of the list is.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:26 AM
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Fresh corn is super wonderful, but unless you stagger your planting it all comes in the same week, more or less, and you get sick of it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:33 AM
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90: But the other problem is that for decent pollination you need to plant a good solid stand of it unless you want to do hand pollination, which is pretty labor intensive. So, you end up with a lot of it all at once, which is what friends, relatives, neighbors, and random strangers passing on the street are for.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:35 AM
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Oh and I almost forgot:

Didn't ogged have a particular hatred for gardening threads?

Who??


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:37 AM
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Further to 69, with the 14 children:

"The woman's husband is expected to return to Iraq where he works as a contractor, the LA Times reported."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:42 AM
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82: But the trouble you have to go through to grow and harvest enough of them for dinner is too much for me.

I think this reveals the source of the difference of opinion. We always viewed peas as a browsing crop. (About the only things that I have grown that are sweeter are golden raspberries.) A high point of my gardening life was when I said asked my then 4-year old, "We can have ice cream for dessert or go pick some peas", and he chose peas.

... and then the deer came.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:43 AM
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93: The woman's husband is expected to return to Iraq where he works as a contractor

The great cycle of life.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:45 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:45 AM
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My first week back here I had fresh corn, fresh tomatoes and fresh fish all in the same meal. It only happened once, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:46 AM
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97: Then why did you report it twice?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:47 AM
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I'm shouting it from the mountaintop, M/tch. Spread the joyful news!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:48 AM
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Talk of gardening segues naturally into thoughts about hog farms.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:49 AM
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||

I read the conclusion of Jock of the Bushveld to my little ones last night. They both cried.

The elder Ruprecht child (who appears to have a future as a criminal defense attorney) pointed out that Jock's untimely death was not actually witnessed by the narrator, but only relayed to him second-hand ("Objection, hearsay!"). I assured her that she was correct, and that, in the absence of conclusive proof to the contrary, it is possible that Jock lived out his days in peace.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:54 AM
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100: Yoo needs to jam his "hard choice" up his ass.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:54 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:56 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:57 AM
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it is possible that Jock lived out his days in peace.

Cunning. Give them an out.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:58 AM
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I would recommend two books to you, both easily found in your local library: Lasagna Gardening, which is useful as a source of more information about the style of raised beds you seem to be favoring (tip: do not use newspaper with color print on it, as the ink may be bad for your plants) and Carrots Love Tomatoes, which is a neat little book about ways of laying out the crops in a given garden space.

I second the advice to limit yourself to beds that are about 4' wide, otherwise you're going to be walking all kinds of on top of your garden.

I also recommend one of the variously named garden weasel type tools, the things that look like short sadists' pitchforks that one can jab into the ground and then twist to break the soil. They are so incredibly handy, both in raised beds and worked earth.

Lastly, I agree wholeheartedly with max's recommendations but only if you're going to be working this plot for years to come and/or you just really love to dig. His method - though edited for laziness - is what I did for my flower bed and I can grow all kinds of great things in there. Raised beds I use for vegetables and easily got twice the space in half the time. Were I planning to do that for a space 50' long, though, I would seriously consider just hiring someone to come over with a garden tractor and a plow.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:04 AM
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101: I believe that Di's daughter has the same skills. Perhaps they should partner up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:06 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:09 AM
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When I first went to the west coast I was amazed at how poor and gravelly the soil was there, especially in the wooded areas. With luck, soil around here doesn't need any preparation except breaking the sod.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:11 AM
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Oh, and if you're going sufficiently crazy to try to build 500 ft^2 of garden, go ahead and buy a couple of tame blackberry bushes, maybe a couple of blueberry bushes, and watch those grow for a few years. I put in blackberries by the back gate three or four years ago and now the vines have grown enough that when they're in season I basically get a handful of blackberries every day when I come home from work. They're a mess and I don't take care of them but then, I don't have to take care of them. A little treat for no effort is money well spent.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:12 AM
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There's book by Buchanan called "The [something] of the Chinese Earth" about how the Chinese soil has been worked and reworked for three thousand years or more in some places. One book says that agriculture is so old there that it's hard to be sure what the original vegetation was.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:14 AM
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In Oregon blackberries are the default condition of untended land. Nobody likes them except kids and possums.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:15 AM
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56 et al.: You can use coco coir in place of regular peat moss.

Has anyone ever added mycorrhizal funghi to their soil to help with root development?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:16 AM
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re: 109

Yeah, I'm from the glacial carse, around Stirling. Which is perfect agricultural land.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carse

Although looking at various historical web-sites, the soil on the carse did go through a period of improvement [in drainage, etc] in the early 19th century. So it's not completely 'natural'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:17 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:17 AM
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12: Naturally, I am the latter.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:17 AM
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112, that is. Fuck.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:19 AM
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Don't throw Robusto into the blackberry patch, whatever you do. That would be cruel.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:26 AM
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Square Foot Gardening and/or John Jeavon's stuff are both pretty good books about deeply preparing soil and planting intensively. Use your local library and check out books until you find an approach you like and that fits with your own habits/interests/etc.

One of my issues when I first started gardening is that there's just so many conflicting opinions and so much differing advice and recommendations out there. What that actually means is that there are many many ways to achieve acceptable results. Find one that basically works for you and keep working on it and learning.

And don't be afraid to NOT listen to someone's advice, no matter how strongly they seem convinced of their own opinion. In gardening there's such a lag time between doing something and seeing the results that people develop all sorts of beliefs and practices, some of them probably true or justified, and others not. Plus everyone's situation with respect to space, temperature, seasons, sunlight, time, personal fastidiousness, etc. is different enough that advice may not generalize to your situation.

Also, never EVER listen to Knecht Ruprecht on the subject of gardening. The man hates fresh peas, for Christ's sake, and likes to make his daughters cry.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:26 AM
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I've been ridiculed for saying "opossum".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:28 AM
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Also, never EVER listen to Knecht Ruprecht on the subject of gardening.

I've eaten the man's tomatoes (IYKWIM), and they ain't nothing to fuck with.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:33 AM
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I'll add that I'd be especially wary of advice that is tied to selling you some expensive soil amendment or apparatus or suchlike. You can actually garden quite cheaply, and I think it's best to start out that way, and only look into spending more money once you've actually identified a particular problem with your site or techniques or sitatuation.

I find a lot of "home gardening" advice out there is actually geared towards or culled from commercial growing practices. Stuff that makes sense for a whole field of broccoli usually doesn't translate well to someone who's only taking care of one or two stalks in their back yard.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:34 AM
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Actually I've come up with a cunning plan for you, Stanley. You need to go on tour with your band and arrange it so that you're playing in Austin sometime in March. That way you can participate in one of our Spring Dig-Ins and gain valuable hands-on experience with double-digging and intensive planting! Not to mention karma points.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:38 AM
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OT: Samantha Power will be battling her Knoxian monsters from the NSC.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:38 AM
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Stanley:

I have a tremendous amount of fertilizer for you. Any time you want it, let me know.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:50 AM
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You're sick, will.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:50 AM
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Say that reminds me, will. I never responded to an e-mail you sent me last fall. I'll try to get that taken care of this weekend.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:51 AM
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Mostly, I don't know squat about gardening. But I've been renting a plot for the past two years in my town's community garden patch and have been trying to pick up tips where I can from my gardening neighbors -- many of whom have been growing stuff since back when my town was mostly farmland. One thing alot of my neighbors do both to enrich the soil long-term and deter weeds short term is to bag the clippings when they mow their lawns at home and then pile up layers of grass clippings around and between their crops. Great for moisture retention, which is kind of a big deal by late summer out this way. And they truly spend way, way less time then I do digging up weeds on the weekends.

Also, I have found that collard greens are really, really effortless to grow.

Also, also. Thanks for the post, as I was meaning to remember to order heirloom seeds around this time of year in hopes of getting an early jump on planting and I totally would have forgotten and now I have been reminded!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:54 AM
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collard greens are really, really effortless to grow

And delicious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:58 AM
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129: As a northerner, I wouldn't mind hearing any tips you have on cooking them. I tend to have way more than I know what to do with every summer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:01 AM
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120: I've been ridiculed for saying "opossum".

I bet you call "'dillers" "armadillos".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:08 AM
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130: The ratio of pork products to collards should never fall below 1/10.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:08 AM
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130: The traditional Southern method is to boil the hell out of them, along with a hamhock or some bacon or some such. Then maybe add some vinegar or tabasco when you serve them.

I prefer to chop them up and throw them, still wet from being washed, into a hot skillet or pan slicked with olive oil, shake on some salt and then put the lid on for a few minutes so that they sort of saute and steam at the same time. Stir a time or two to get the stuff on top down to near the pan surface and vice versa. Once they've just about reached your desired level of softness, throw in some chopped garlic and/or ginger and maybe a splash or two of vinegar if you like vinegar. Stir and then turn off the heat and recover and let them sit for a minute or two to let the flavors meld. A little more salt if needed, some grindings of black pepper, and just a splash more of olive oil for flavor, and you've got some delicious greens on your hands.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:09 AM
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OK, after removing the head and tail you skin, gut, and dismember the possum. Then take the collard greens....


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:11 AM
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90, 91: Yeah, this is something to keep in mind. My mom has always been pretty serious about gardening, and for a few weeks every fall we were all expected to eat two or three ears a day. Corn's good, but it got a bit boring. So I'd only recommend it if you have friends/family/neighbors who would like it but wouldn't grow any yourself, or if you really, really like it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:12 AM
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134: After scraping the 'diller off the road ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:12 AM
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Sauteeing some sliced onion, or some mushrooms, or some chopped up pieces of bacon in the pan before adding the greens is really good too.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:12 AM
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135: Around here it's the tomatoes and the godawful massive dirigible zucchinis that suddenly become legion. Thank God for zucchini bread (or does someone have something that uses them well ... in quantity).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:15 AM
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135: Deer and raccoons also really really appreciate corn.

Also, even more delicious than collard greens are mustard greens.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:15 AM
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There's some dish called ?Kolcanon? or something that my mom makes, which is basically half mashed potatoes and half collard or mustard greens, and it is super delicious.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:16 AM
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||

Any NY lawyers thinking of giving blood, there's a blood drive at 60 Centre and the snacks are really good. Rugelach, black&white cookies, danish... If you're going to be at the courthouse anyway in the next week, scheduling an extra hour to donate wouldn't kill you.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:17 AM
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You mean "is unlikely to kill you." Hard to say for sure.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:19 AM
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Colcannon. Yum!

If you need to know the name of those Irish caps Stanley likes, I can help out too.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:19 AM
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140:Colcannon, and I've only had it with kale. But you're right about the superdeliciousness.

130: Are you on AWB's recipe wiki? I put up a gratin of greens (not an old family recipe, I got it out of the NYT magazine) that ends up almost like a crustless quiche that's mostly greens (mustard, collard, you could also use kale) -- it's really good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:20 AM
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141: Looking for lawyer blood only? <pluck low-hanging fruit here>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:21 AM
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You know what else is delicious?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:22 AM
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133, 140: Mmmmm. Heebie, that sounds like an especially useful way to get greens into Rory, who would live on mashed potatoes alone if permitted.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:22 AM
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In general, I believe you can dump a handful of frozen spinach into nearly any recipe solely to improve the healthfulnicityness of it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:24 AM
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I twice had possums invade my house while living in Maryland. I was sorely tempted to kill them and eat them, but I was unsure if they might have eaten nasty things that contaminate the flesh, seeing as we were in a built up area. Also I have no idea how to gut, skin, and otherwise prepare possum or any other animal.

One of them actually killed itself. I chased it under the dishwasher but couldn't get to it. I thought that it had entered the house through a little hole in the corner where the dishwasher was, so I blocked the critter in, hoping it would leave, and went back to bed. In the middle of the night I was woken by the sound of running water. Downstairs there was a spray coming from under the dishwasher. The little bastard had gnawed through a hose under the dishwasher, and the resulting spray had both wet the possum and completed a circuit via an exposed bit of wiring, electrocuting the beast. Wet zapped possum smells really bad.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:25 AM
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Thawing it and squeezing all the water out of the spinach first reduces the dampaciogenicness of it.

My problem with greens generally is that I love them in recipes in which they're drenched in fat. The highest state of spinach (well, good spinach should be raw in a salad with lots of bacon and hardboiled eggs) is creamed. And so on.

So I eat them like that, but have a vague sense that I'm missing the point somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:27 AM
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133 and 137:

That's exactly how I cook spring greens [and kale]. I assume what we in the UK call spring greens are pretty similar to collard greens?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:27 AM
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148, 149: No, the answer to 146 is not "anything with frozen spinach thrown in" or "possum".

The correct answer is "sweet sweet pwnage".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:28 AM
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Also I have no idea how to gut, skin, and otherwise prepare possum or any other animal.

If you can get your hands on a 1970's or earlier Joy of Cooking, it's very strong on the vermin recipes, including skinning tips. I used to read them, fascinated, as a child.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:28 AM
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I've made a similar dish with mashed turnips, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut. It was extremely satisfying like mashed potatoes but more interesting.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:29 AM
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.The correct answer is "sweet sweet pwnage".

In your mashed potatoes?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:30 AM
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I think if it's just the turnips and potatoes, you call it Himmel und Erde, and it's traditional German food.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:30 AM
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151: I pretty much cook any greens with that method. Works on cabbage, chard, spinach, etc. With just a little added water, it works great on broccoli and caulifleur too. And yeah, collards and spring greens are pretty much the same, as far as I could tell during my sojourns in the UK.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:31 AM
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Well if I had known this was going to be that kind of thread, I'd have put my pwnage in the mashed potatoes!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:32 AM
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I can do the twist. But I can't put my pwnage in it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:34 AM
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Okay, now I'm hungry. And planning my weekend trip to the grocery store.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:35 AM
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156: I doubt that the sauerkraut makes it less German.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:35 AM
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153 - My dad had a number of back to the land type books with those sorts of things in them. I think I can still remember the instructions for skinning a rabbit. Apparently if you make the right set of cuts the skin comes of cleanly with a sudden jerk.

One day I would like to raise rabbits. Live off the fat of the land.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:40 AM
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156: I get the "Erde" part of the name, but where does the "Himmel" come from? Scots call the dish "neeps and tatties", IIRC.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:41 AM
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One day I would like to raise rabbits. Live off the fat of the land.

That's actually the extremely lean of the land -- isn't the problem with wilderness survival relying on rabbits for food that they're almost fat-free?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:41 AM
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23: am terrified of birds

Belatedly discovered this of my sister when we took her to the great little aviary here in town. The "walk through" rooms where you mingled with the birdies were not a hit; she was much more comfortable in the parts where the birds were "properly restrained". In subsequent discussion, she volunteered that the Hitchcock film was the most terrifying thing she had ever seen.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:43 AM
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164: That's primarily a problem in the dead of winter, and mainly in the far(ish) north. Other times of the year the rabbits have got some fat on them.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:43 AM
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162: Which I hear is the origin of the (British-only?) idiom "skin a bunny" as a way to tell your young children to raise their arms so you can remove their shirts. Rather grotesque when you think about it.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:44 AM
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Also, Buck raised chickens, rabbits, and a huge vegetable garden as a kid/teenager. He asserts that if you have chickenshit and rabbit shit, you can grow anything: some crops like one and and some the other. (And that if you have chickens, you don't need to worry about bugs. Your tomatoes have caterpillars? Courteously direct the chickens at the problem, and it's solved.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:44 AM
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There's a really terrible country song by Hank Williams Jr about how country boys can survive. Although it has the great verse:

I had a good friend in New York City
He never called me by my name, just hillbilly (Really? He called you "Hillbilly"?)
My grandpa taught me how to live off the land
And his taught him to be a businessman
He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
And I'd send him some homemade wine (This friendship seems far-fetched and patronizing. But sure.)

But he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife
For 43 dollars my friend lost his life. (That's city life for ya)
I'd love to spit some beechnut in that dude's eye, and shoot him with my old 45 (But this is my very favorite line.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:45 AM
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168: But keep the chickens away from your just sprouting seeds and very young plants.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:46 AM
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166: My acquaintance with wilderness survival is purely literary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:47 AM
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Rabbit is delicious.

The butcher always skins it that way. If you ask for rabbit he basically just pulls the skin off in one move.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:48 AM
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heebie, that's a great song and you know it. Don't be ashamed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:48 AM
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If you can get your hands on a 1970's or earlier Joy of Cooking, it's very strong on the vermin recipes, including skinning tips. I used to read them, fascinated, as a child.

Yes! "If possible, feed the oppossum rice and milk for 7-10 days before killing it."

basically half mashed potatoes and half collard or mustard greens, and it is super delicious.

Madeleine Kamman's recipe for "Truffade de la Vachellerie" ups the ante by adding pancetta, Cantal cheese, and heavy cream. Mmmmmmm, delicious.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:49 AM
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173: Brock, they don't know you're kidding. Everyone, the song is awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:50 AM
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174: That recipe has a truly fascinating use of the word 'vegetarian'. Truly, times have have changed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:51 AM
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175: the song is awful.

In a great way. Like Steve Earles's "Copperhead Road".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:53 AM
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169: Hey, that's the song I was alluding to in 94.2 of this thread! More than one member of my HS class had either mudflaps or a windshield decal with "A Country Boy Can Survive" on his/her pickup truck.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:54 AM
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There is a visual demonstration of the skinning of a rabbit in "Roger and Me" the film that launched Michael Moore's career. A laid-off auto worker is raising rabbits to survive.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:56 AM
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172: Indeed. The only things my mom taught me how to cook are mac and cheese from scratch and rabbit pie. She explained that if you can make a decent white sauce as in mac and cheese you can make a whole host of other things. The rabbit pie was, I think, completely random.

Now I think of it, I should try making steak and kidney pie. It'll probably be a disaster the first time, but it's delicious and it would leverage one of my few actual cooking experiences.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:56 AM
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176: My pet peeve is when "vegetarian" is used to mean "herbivorous". I hear it used thus on the radio and see it in print surprisingly often. No Virginia, the Brontosaurus, as far as we can tell, did not consciously decide to eschew meat.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:56 AM
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From Wikipedia I learn that Williams made a 9/11 version, "America Will Survive" as well as collaborated on a Y2K version. "If the bank machines crash, we'll be just fine". An we don't need no Neil Young neither!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:58 AM
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181: That's a pretty inexpensive, convenient pet peeve. My pet peeves take a lot more energy than that.

I had an odd job cleaning out rentals once and one house had about 6 inches of rabbit droppings on the basement floor.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:59 AM
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183: Yeah, I guess it is kind of a chia pet peeve.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:01 AM
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183: There should be a vigilante who kills musicians before they suck and besmirch their opus. "The Pete Townshend Killer" or something.

a rabbit in "Roger and Me" the film that launched Michael Moore's career.

That rabbit has a lot to answer for.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:03 AM
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185: Bring in the gro-lights and some seeds, and you'd be ready to go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:03 AM
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And we don't need no Neil Young neither!

You're mixing up your Southern Rock icons.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:04 AM
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Only somewhat related:

While I was skimming the jobs section of Craigslist this morning, I came across a very dubious ad looking for sexy women who are good cooks, allegedly for some sort of TV show. (Applicants were to send in a photo of themselves and a favorite recipe.) Can you imagine attempting to do some serious cooking while wearing television's notion of sexy clothing? It sounded so awkward and burn-tastic.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:05 AM
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I'm guess a comment was deleted? Because I'm all confused.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:05 AM
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Peeves for Sale: Pets or Meat.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:06 AM
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Check the neighbourhood weeds. If you see the stuff below, cover the plot with black plastic.

http://www.dgsgardening.btinternet.co.uk/horsetail.htm


Posted by: jayann | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:06 AM
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I finally had to get an indexing system to organize my pet peeves.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:06 AM
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185: That rabbit was framed! Now as to who framed Roger and Me's rabbit, we don't know.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:07 AM
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Can you imagine attempting to do some serious cooking while wearing television's notion of sexy clothing?

Naked Iron Chef?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:10 AM
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I dreamt last night that I was competing on Iron Chef. But I was neither naked nor sexy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:10 AM
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Anyhoo, I think Giada Delaurentis (sp???) establishes that the sexy woman cooking thing can be done.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:12 AM
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I pretty much cook any greens with that method.

Me too. The "traditional Southern way" of cooking greens more or less ruins them. I mean, I can still eat them, but it's like getting a well-done steak. Such a waste.

I assume what we in the UK call spring greens are pretty similar to collard greens?

Maybe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:13 AM
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Ah, here's the ad. Tell me that doesn't look skeezy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:14 AM
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Cmon, Di, ur sexy when naked. Or be willing to prove otherwise.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:14 AM
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I think Giada Delaurentis (sp???) establishes that the sexy woman cooking thing can be done.

Anyone who doubts that you can make a sexy show about a woman cooking has never seen Nigella Lawson lovingly licking cake batter off of her fingers on camera.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:15 AM
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re: 197

http://www.eden-project.co.uk/images2/spring-greens-b-File0012.JPG

Yeah, pretty similar.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:17 AM
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Nude frying is not recommended.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:17 AM
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re: 200

Shudder. Eeech.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:17 AM
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199: Not in the dream, I wasn't. I also overcooked the steak and deeply regretted the choice of baked potato as a side once I realized that there is just no way to attractively plate a baked potato. The asparagus turned out nicely, though.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:18 AM
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203: Agreed. Nigella bites.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:20 AM
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203: Speaking of celebrity chefs, did you ever go to that cookbookstore in Edinburgh down near Grassmarket run/owned by one of the Two Fat Ladies?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:21 AM
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156; 163

Himmel und Erde is made out of mashed potatoes (Erde) and sour mashed apples (Himmel). It's traditionally served with fried blood pudding or bacon.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:26 AM
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I also hate Jamie Oliver and his whole coterie of young rumpled slouchy food dudes.

Actually I think I hate all celebrity chefs.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:26 AM
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207: Ah, that makes a lot more sense. I wonder if the French call it something like "les deux pommes".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:27 AM
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What I respected about the Two Fat Ladies was that they didn't try to look like twins. One was clearly about 150 pounds fatter than the other one. A microcosm of the range of lady fatness, rather than merely a gimmick.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:30 AM
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206. I have. A thin lady who is a friend of Clarissa made us a pot of rather good coffee and talked about cooking and life to us for about an hour. At the end of which we discovered that we'd bought about $250 worth of books.

But she mailed them for free.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:32 AM
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I maintain that we need to have an unfogged cook-up. Maybe at Knecht's house.

I keep thinking about making things with leeks, like leek and potato soup, but I don't ever see them in the grocery store. I feel like winter fresh vegetables are not as good as they used to be.

I was once at a CSA organic farm in Maryland (right across from George Washington's house) which had a lot of rich folks involved, but also did work getting green vegetables to people in Anacostia. They said that they found raised beds really helpful for lettuce, since it made it so much easier to pick. By picking young greens they were able to get stuff earlier in the season and still continue to grow more lettuce.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:33 AM
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208 - I kind of love Gordon Ramsay though. Especially the bit where he takes his shirt off.

But I hate birds (because I am scared of them) and would probably rather starve to death than grow anything to eat.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:34 AM
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re: 206

No. I'm afraid not.

I have eaten in the restaurant of one of Scotland's TV chefs [Nick Nairn, when he still had his Michelin starred place]. Food was good, and not particularly expensive, either.

re: 208

The thing about Oliver is, his food actually looks pretty good. And the few things of his I've made, have been nice.

Lawson on the other hand, gives me the boak.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:35 AM
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I maintain that we need to have an unfogged cook-up. Maybe at Knecht's house.

Frozen peas for everyone!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:36 AM
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max' advice spot-on; I would also throw in a recommendation for reading "Lasagna Gardening" (here's a link: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1999-04-01/Lasagna-Gardening.aspx - there is also a book by Patricia Lanza. Get soil in bulk if you can!


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:36 AM
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212 - you'll need a lot of extra people to come and eat too, won't you?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:36 AM
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I like to snack on frozen peas in the summer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:36 AM
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211: I think I know the thin lady you're talking about. The one I have in mind was almost always dressed in tweeds or other country manor type attire. And in winter there was always a nice fire going in there and usually this lovely dog curled up in front of it (some kind of sighthound, I think). I lived just up the street and spent a good bit of time browsing and chatting in there.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:37 AM
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219. Called Isobel?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:38 AM
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birds (because I am scared of them)

You too? This is strange to me. I could see being scared of, say, macaws and hawks. Or cassawaries. But chickens? They're so docile and harmless.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:39 AM
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A lot of people are scared of ducks, geese and swans, too.

Which isn't that crazy. Some of the geese and larger ducks along the Thames are hooligans.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:40 AM
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214: You're right about Oliver's food. It's just him I hate.

And I guess it's just the more recent generation of celebrity chefs I don't like. I'm fine with the Two Fat Ladies and Julia Childs and Lydia Bastianich and the sort.

Also, "the boak" is such a great great phrase.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:40 AM
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There's a Tyson Chicken factory across the street from our fair campus. Sadly, you sometimes see small drifts of white chicken feathers on the ground.

Apparently a decade or two ago it was way worse, and smelled really bad, and, um, a really disgusting description of what turned up in the river.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:41 AM
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I'd go to an Unfogged Cooking party.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:42 AM
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I dislike Giada and Jamie as hosts of cooking shows, but they do both have really good ideas for food. (Giada I dislike for her weak-looking knife skills and grating faux-enthusiasm, Jamie for his silly patter. I like the way he does everything at once--chopping, sauteing, mixing--because that's how people who are comfortable in the kitchen cook.) My mother dislikes Ina Garten, but I sort of dig her. A friend of mine likes her because there's always this twinkle in her eye when she talks about cooking for special friends, like she knows they're going to have an orgy right after dinner.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:42 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:43 AM
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220: That's her!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:44 AM
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Ducks etc are pretty much ok - they're not as flappy, and they don't have the pointy beaks and pointy claws. Sometimes it seems like half the people I know have chickens (DFH) and I stare at them in their back gardens in morbid fascination. They're not even attractive. Hawks and macaws etcat least look nice flying around, but that's as close as I would get. There is NO FUCKING WAY I would ever go in a walkthrough aviary.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:44 AM
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I waver on both Giada and Ina, mostly because both come off as so freaking tranquilly serene. Sometimes I find them comforting, sometimes nerve-wracking.

I have a deep and abiding crush on Alton Brown, but I'm not sure if he is properly characterized as a "chef."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:45 AM
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188, 198: looking for sexy women who are good cooks

See, what you wrote isn't terribly creepy. But the ad says, "Looking for Sexy Females That Can Cook," which is creepy. They don't deserve to be identified as "women" (i.e. humans), and not even a "who"?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:45 AM
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229: But what if there were a ticking time bomb in the aviary that only you could defuse to save the entire city of, e.g. Sheffield?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:46 AM
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re: 229

We have red kites in the wood opposite our house. A couple of times I've disturbed them when walking and they've flown really low over my head. I've also seen them hovering over neighbour's gardens.

Until they get close it's hard to see how BIG they are [a little under 6ft wingspan]. They definitely look like any small pets or unattended children might be for the chop.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:46 AM
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I was attacked by a blackbird once, but I still love birds.

(and then called someone up and said "I was attacked by a blackbird." They were incredibly worried and concerned, and it was soon clear that they thought I said "black person")


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:48 AM
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There were hawks nesting in the tree across the street from my house this summer. Periodically, you'd hear them out there screeching or would look out the kitchen window to see one pursuing a frantic squirrel.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:49 AM
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I was attacked by a blackbird once, but I still love birds.

Four and twenty blackbirds? Or just the one?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:50 AM
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Himmel und Erde is made out of mashed potatoes (Erde) and sour mashed apples (Himmel).

Everyone knows about Erdapfel, but Himmelkartoffel remains a regional term.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:52 AM
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I'd go to an Unfogged Cooking party.

I vote for JRoth's place as a venue. There's more space, and we could use my brother's ginormous homemade barbecue rig.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:52 AM
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For a couple of years the Parks Department raised bald eagle chicks in the park by my apartment (there's a big wooded hilly part of it). One of them got confused while it was learning to fly, and ended up flying short distances from tree to tree down by the baseball fields for an afternoon. I've never seen anything that huge in my life -- it looked absolutely absurd that it should stay in the air.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:52 AM
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232 - Sheffield, hmmmmm ...... yeah, ok, I have friends in Sheffield. As long as I had something to put over my head. Don't ask me to do it naked.

233 - yeah, we get the odd one down here too. Around Watlington, that sort of area, you see huge numbers don't you? Very beautiful, and heartening to see.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:52 AM
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Pittsburgh is closer to me. We could carpool with Stanley and eekbeat.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:54 AM
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re: 239

Yeah, red kites have a similar wingspan to the larger eagles. But they are smaller and lighter in the body -- they mostly scavenge and kill small vermin I think, rather than take heavy prey.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:55 AM
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I can't believe nobody mentioned basil.

I'd probably grow 8' x8' of basil if I had a garden.

I keep thinking about making things with leeks, like leek and potato soup, but I don't ever see them in the grocery store.

This is bizarre to me. We've been getting leeks every two weeks or less.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:56 AM
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Don't ask me to do it naked.

Oh, please, asilon. You know that you are the first one skinny-dipping at any pool party.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:56 AM
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Not a pool full of egrets.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:57 AM
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||

I find it completely dizzying to scroll along this page, using the vertical scroll wheel on my mouse.

How weird that technology I've only used in the past few years has gotten that hardwired into my brain.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:57 AM
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Speaking of ducks, I saw a couple last night, walking around across the street from the Dupont Circle metro stop. It was weird.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:58 AM
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We are trying to cook different kinds of things for dinner.

Last night, I had gnochi, roasted sweet potato slices, plantains, and mushrooms. My son looked around and said "uhhh, where is the meat!?!?!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:58 AM
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241: Great! I'll bring the jello!

And not too far from JRoth's place there is a massive evening crow roost where literally thousands of crows spend each evening.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:58 AM
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My pet peeve is when "vegetarian" is used to mean "herbivorous"

That matches up with people claiming they are carnivorous, I suppose.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 10:59 AM
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237:
Himmelskartoffel, young Ben.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:00 AM
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Canadian geese, unsurprisingly, are very aggressive. But a loon can kill a goose. There's also a jay called a robber jay which will flight right up to you and try to steal food out of your hand.

I interrupted a flock of vultures at their road kill once, and stayed there while the circled above me. They really soar beautifully, as do pelicans. They're only ugly on the ground when they're eating.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:01 AM
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But the ad says, "Looking for Sexy Females That Can Cook," which is creepy.

Yes, I noticed that, but job advertisers have a certain leeway for sloppiness, especially in this economic environment. Everyone I know who's posted a job on Craigslist has been swamped with resumes (200 per day, or thereabouts) no matter how crappy the pay or adcopy. That doesn't mean the people who posted the above ad weren't looking for cheap Playboy bunnies for a ghastly porn cooking channel reality show, though. That's still very possible.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:01 AM
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251 was me.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:01 AM
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It's probably a takeoff from French maid porn. All you wear is a little cooking apron and an oven mitten.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:02 AM
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A remarkable bird is the pelican.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:03 AM
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There's also a jay called a robber jay which will flight right up to you and try to steal food out of your hand.

My grandad up North trained them to do that. He used to make these awful sourdough pancakes (no milk, no butter, no sugar, no egg), and we would save most of our breakfast to feed the camp robbers. There are a couple of great pictures of us as really young children with our hands outstretched, cowering in fear and delight. The jays could be fucking aggressive at times.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:04 AM
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OT- the office background radio noise is playing the B52s "Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage". I think I am the only one here who recognized the song.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:07 AM
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A few weeks ago, a friend and I were eating outdoors and watching the grackles fly over, sort through the sugar containers until they found the white packets mixed in with the yellow and pink, and then fly off with the white packets of sugar. I was impressed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:07 AM
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256: I love it when heebie tokes up before work.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:08 AM
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Grackles are great. I would have wanted one as a pet, but it would be unfair to prevent it from migrating.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:08 AM
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Grackles sound totally mechanical. They whirr and click and make crazy industrial sounds. I like to think that they are birdborgs and one day I'll see a spring pop out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:10 AM
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Le pelican de Jonathan
au matin, pond un oeuf tout blanc
et il sort un pelican
lui ressemblant etonnamment.

Et ce duexieme pelican
pond, a son tour, un oeuf tout blanc
d'ou sort, inevitablement
un autre qui en fait autant.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:11 AM
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On the topic of naked cooking: Jamie Oliver does not recommend it .


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:11 AM
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I love it when heebie tokes up before work.

A remarkable bird is the pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week
Although I don't know how in the hell he can.

Stone cold sober, bitchez!1!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:12 AM
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I have seen grackles making love. It is indeed mechanical. The lady points her bill up in the air, lifts her tail, and tenses her body. The dude hops on and hops off. Less than half a minute. I was watching through a window but didn't hear any sounds.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:14 AM
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I'd never heard of Grackles before this thread. For a moment there I thought they were some kind of made up critter from a kids book or something. Like a Bandersnatch, but not quite as frumious.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:17 AM
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Don't mess with the pregnant lady, people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:19 AM
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Emerson, proper birdwatching involves binoculars, notebooks and tweed. You make it sound voyeuristic.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:21 AM
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267: They're like crows, but animatronic. And super territorial.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:21 AM
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grackles are pretty frumious, togolosh.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:23 AM
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They have iridescent heads which would be beautiful on some other bird.

They're territorial about almost all territory, include other birds' territory.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:23 AM
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Frumious animatronic crows. Got it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:29 AM
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Grackles sound totally mechanical. They whirr and click and make crazy industrial sounds.

They got nothing on the lyrebird, though. So crazy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:29 AM
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The unfogged cooking meetup is a fine idea. I'd offer to host, but my kitchen is laughably small. You all can come and laugh at me making an awesome gong bao if you like, though.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:29 AM
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the godawful massive dirigible zucchinis that suddenly become legion

One of the more difficult parts of gardening for me was developing the discipline to pick every zucchini when it reaches finger size. The temptation is strong, (just one more day and you'll have a little more zucchini) but the punishment is also strong and harsh (three baseball bats worth of zucchini). I've learned.

Stanley, my advice would be to do some self-monitoring as you harvest. Sure, you think you'll make endive salads every day, but at the end of the season, did you end up turning them over? Did you come to dread cherry tomatoes, because you could get the same mass of tomato a million times easier on the other bushes? Did you love the peas and keep the plants completely stripped?

I've found that it has taken me several years to get a good read on my tastes. They aren't what I would predict. No. I don't want strange veggies in exotic colors. They look so beautiful in the catalogs, but I reach over them for the classics. I find I resent cleaning fava beans and thin-skinned peppers sit in my fridge forever and I don't know what to do with five tomatillos.

The other way I've been interesting in gardening recently is planting my sister's garden for the kids. New emphasis on things that grow fast, and mini-size things. Lots of peas and cherry tomatoes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:34 AM
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I don't know what to do with five tomatillos

Juggling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:35 AM
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I really love the green flowered fabric (curtain?) hanging behind the guy in the clip in 274.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:36 AM
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It starts 20 seconds in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:37 AM
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to get a good read on my tastes

This is why I love the farm share concept. We get the vegetables and then have to figure out what to do with them within a week, so we end up eating foods and trying recipes we never would otherwise.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:38 AM
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You could also describe the grackle as being like the cowbird, but more attractive, and without being parasitic and evil.

The giant long-tailed grackles of the south are kind of intimidating. I prefer the common grackle, Quiscalus quiscula.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:44 AM
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Yeah, I like that to some extent. The problem comes when I've got a garden that keeps producing enough that I always make the choice to eat my favorites and the rest languishes. Then I feel guilty for wasting. Better that I should figure out what I won't really get around to and skip it the next year.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:44 AM
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240. Well thanks. Fortunately we don't have an aviary in Sheffield, so we can rely on you to defuse any bombs around here without fuss. Knew there was a reason I didn't live in Slimbridge.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:44 AM
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Well, if a few Boston people want to come to my boyfriend's place, I bet that I could swing it, but the kitchen's not big, maybe 8 ft by 15, but I'm a terrible judge of these things. Of course, it could be useful to practice cooking in small spaces.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:45 AM
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I'm in favour of anything called Quiscalus quiscula. But they're basically starlings, aren't they?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:46 AM
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I read 281 first and though, wait, grackles are definitely evil birds.

Then I read 281.last and it made more sense.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:47 AM
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280: I get the appeal of that, and it works for a lot of people, but I just love the browsing and picking out my stuff myself too much to enjoy a CSA/box scheme type set-up. Plus I've never had a problem wanting to try new foods and recipes. I remember how happy I was when the first Fiesta Mart opened up in Austin and I could suddenly get yuca root and cactus paddles and cherimoya etc. etc. etc.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:48 AM
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OT
wolverine
i'm glad


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:50 AM
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The other way I've been interesting in gardening recently is planting my sister's garden for the kids. New emphasis on things that grow fast, and mini-size things. Lots of peas and cherry tomatoes.

Another good trick for kids is planting varieties where the vegetable to be harvested is easy to spot. For example, purple green beans. The regular green green beans can be hard to find.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:52 AM
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I don't know what to do with five tomatillos.

Roasted tomatillo salsa! Super yummy, you don't need many, and it's just a little effort to have enough for a dedicated snack or a meal!


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:53 AM
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read! Nice coin.

284: Are you still dating that offensively handsome canadian?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:53 AM
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Are you still dating that offensively handsome canadian?

Are there other kinds?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:53 AM
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Wolverine!


Posted by: Jed Eckert | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:54 AM
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I remember how happy I was when the first Fiesta Mart opened.

So great. There is one between work and home for me. Sometimes I stop every other day, it seems.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:55 AM
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292: There's no need to get defensive about your good looks, soup.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:55 AM
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The regular green green beans can be hard to find.

I'd worry more about that if they hadn't found every single one of my sugar peas. My sister and I barely got any. I submit that they can find green produce just fine. Also, they established tunnels through the plants, which was cute (after I abandoned my ideas of a non-trampled garden).

We're thinking of a green bean teepee this year.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:57 AM
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I had a chance to buy a coin minted by Genghis Khan in Khwarizm (Uzbekistan) about 1220 AD. Only $300. I'm sorry I didn't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:57 AM
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The problem comes when I've got a garden that keeps producing enough that I always make the choice to eat my favorites and the rest languishes.

One of the really cool things about our community garden plots is that they have a drop off stand for donating your surplus to a local food pantry. Nothing ever need languish!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 11:59 AM
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Thats a great idea Di. Hopefully the pantry is set up to deal with fresh produce pretty quickly...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:00 PM
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299: Yeah, I really like the idea. I keep saying we need to dedicate a section of our plot for this purpose -- maybe make it a summer project for Rory and her friends. But I'm not all that successful a gardener yet, so there's not generally been a great surplus of anything other than collard greens. (Which seems like a great thing to donate to the food pantry -- nutritious and durable!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:09 PM
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thinking of food related things , M/tch, the farmers market we met you and SK at a while ago is starting up a free cooking school based on whatevers available that day, done by Monica herself. Nice!



Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:13 PM
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301: Smart, too!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:17 PM
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This is why I love the farm share concept. We get the vegetables and then have to figure out what to do with them within a week, so we end up eating foods and trying recipes we never would otherwise.

This is why we did not love the farm share concept. We go the vegetables and then had them rot in our refridgerator every week because we could not figure out what to do with them.



Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:30 PM
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303: I usually recommend cooking and eating vegetables.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:32 PM
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Right now I'm making a beet and kale soup.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:34 PM
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See Brock? Everyone's doing it!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:36 PM
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Buy a hog and feed it the farm share products between Republicans.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:40 PM
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We did understand that cooking and eating were the objectives. We weren't sure how to do either.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:40 PM
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I've recommended it a thousand times, but Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is like a giant vegetable bible. You look up the ingredient you find yourself with, and she gives you several ways to prepare it, going from simplest (like roasting or sauteing) to combining with other ingredients, to special presentations of it. You can easily pair all of it with meat, but the point is, you say, "Oh, kohlrabi. What the hell?" and you look it up and she tells you everything you need to know---how to store, cut, prepare, and combine with complimentary flavors.

I'm making up this beet and kale thing, so it's not DM-approved. But when I find myself with veggies I can't think of anything to do with, she always has neat ideas. There are good sections on grains, beans, cheeses, eggs, etc., too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:41 PM
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The problem is, other than the few staple fruits and vegetables with which I grew up (apples, oranges, bananas, carrots), I'm basically very uncomfortable around any foods that don't come with detailed cooking instructions on the packaging.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:43 PM
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310 was not to 309.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:44 PM
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My sister might be writing just the cookbook for you, Brock.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:44 PM
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I thought she was a fish expert? I associate her with halibut for some reason.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:47 PM
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309: I just looked up that book, and I don't think I've ever seen it before. But I do have "Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets" by the same author on my amazon wishlist, and, since I don't otherwise know who that author is or why on earth I would ahve a cookbook on my wishlist, I suspect that might have ended up there on account of your (or someone else?) mentioning her in the past. I'll buy the book. Honestly, it sounds like exactly the sort of thing I need.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:48 PM
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I'll buy Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I mean, not that other one.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:49 PM
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The other problem I have with fresh vegetables is perishability. I tend to buy food and then eat it weeks or even months later. Which makes frozen a good option.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:51 PM
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Tell me more, ben.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:54 PM
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Please, I can say no more.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:54 PM
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It is hard for busy people, though. I have the same problem with CSA's as Brock, and while I'm sure this isn't universally true, I think a lot of it that the elapsed time from start to finish of a primarily vegetable based meal seems to be awfully long when considered as something you're going to start doing at around 7.

I need to learn how to cook faster -- I can do pretty much anything in the kitchen (not genoise! I'd always wondered what "The cake fell" really meant, and then Newt and I baked a frisbee) if I have all day to futz around in, but doing anything interesting as dinner seems out of reach. (I hardly ever cook dinner, of course.)

I'd be a better cook if I were a vegetarian, but I'd have to talk Buck and the kids into it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:55 PM
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I associate her with halibut for some reason.

Sexist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:56 PM
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I'll buy Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

I bought it after AWB suggested it, and it is very good. I plan to make good use of it since I am splitting a CSA share with a friend this year. We shall see how it goes since I haven't tried the CSA thing before.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:56 PM
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I like the way he does everything at once--chopping, sauteing, mixing--because that's how people who are comfortable in the kitchen cook.)

But it's wrong wrong wrong. You do all your prep work ahead of time and prepare your mise, *then and only then* do you actually turn on any heat.

Having that drilled into me was the single most valuable part of the cooking classes I took.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 12:59 PM
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Brock, fry it. If that doesn't work, boil it. Or the other way around. Boil with bacon if you wish. Eat with rice or maybe noodles with some combination of salt, pepper, butter, cheese, cream, tabasco, Worstershire sauce, etc.

If it doesn't taste good, throw it away. I throw away at least 25% of what I cook. That's because I'm such a venturesome, creative, cook.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:00 PM
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I've recommended it a thousand times, but Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is like a giant vegetable bible.

Seconded, thirded, fourthed. It's a great book if you have a CSA, or if you just like to branch out on new and interesting veggies at the market. I can't count the number of times my mother has called me wanting to know what to do with celeriac or what have you and I turn straight to it (and I do it for my own mystery finds in my CSA box too ... currently, I'm trying to figure out how to eat a bunch of red kale, a bunch of arugula, tons of spinach and four heads of lettuce in one week all by my lonesome).

Local Flavors is fun too but not the reference item that Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:02 PM
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322: Hee hee. This was a feature of my Iron Chef "nightmare" last night. No prep work! The steak was already done and I was desperately trying to defrost asparagus and what did I do with the potatoes and I had some apple-based dessert, right? Also, I was competing against my brother, which perhaps suggests sibling rivalry issues. But mostly I think it was about the mise en place.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:03 PM
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When I don't otherwise know what to do with it, my default tendency is not to cook a vegetable at all--I just eat it raw. That might be part of the problem with some of the exotics.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:04 PM
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322: I learned to cook from my mom and grandmother, neither of whom are mise people. This drove my culinary-schooled ex insane, because it looked stressful to him. Doing all that mise crap would drive me insane.

I'm guessing they teach you that way because professional chefs have people to prepare everything for them, so getting everything mised is more like what a chef gets to work with.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:05 PM
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But it's wrong wrong wrong.

It's not so much wrong as it's a particularly unhelpful way to teach people how to cook. Once you've spent as much time in kitchens as he has you can do your mise on the fly. There's nothing wrong with that if all you're doing is cooking. But if you're trying to teach people who haven't worked with particular ingredients or combinations or dishes before, it's a great way to set them up for disappointment, all the while showing off what a "natural" you are.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:05 PM
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You do all your prep work ahead of time and prepare your mise, *then and only then* do you actually turn on any heat.

Although... I don't agree with this entirely come to think of it. If I'm going to broil a steak, say, and then saute onions and mushrooms to throw over the top, I will season up the steak and stick it in the over before I start chopping my onions and mushrooms rather than doing all the prep work in advance and waiting idly while the meat is cooking.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:07 PM
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I'm guessing they teach you that way because professional chefs have people to prepare everything for them, so getting everything mised is more like what a chef gets to work with.

Nah, line cooks have to do their own prep work, they don't have lackeys to prep everything for them. It's just a hell of a lot more efficient.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:07 PM
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It's just a hell of a lot more efficient.

Not if you are just sitting there hanging out with all your mise while waiting for step 1 to finish cooking...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:09 PM
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I find particularly if one is trying to learn a particular technique that involves close attention to time or the condition of what's being cooked, having everything ready beforehand is crucial until you are familiar and comfortable enough with the technique that you can do other work at the same time.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:12 PM
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Much of the joy of cooking for me is the need to wrangle familiar chaos in the kitchen; I'll take squid apart or take a knife to meat ahead of of time, but doing a lot of stuff simultaneously that has to be done right now is what makes cooking fun. Maybe a more orderly approach the first time with a new recipe, but after that, fast and loud.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:16 PM
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Is a "mise" basically having everything chopped up and sitting in little bowls waiting for you to dash it in when appropriate? Because that dirties up a shitload of dishes and takes a lot of space, which is why I don't do it unless I know I'm going to be dashed for time.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:19 PM
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You do all your prep work ahead of time and prepare your mise, *then and only then* do you actually turn on any heat.

Yeah, I always cut the herbs I'm going to stir in at the end of a two-hour simmer before I turn on the heat, because otherwise, it might not be properly oxidized.

IOW, doctrinaire adherence to this rule is unwise.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:19 PM
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310: Me too. I have decided to change that, though. Last night I made a tolerable curry. Tolerable. Ate the leftovers for lunch. Tolerable is definitely the right word. Now that I've mastered tolerable I'm going to strive for "not bad."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:19 PM
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||

The Waldorf School - where they discourage the use of car stereos, lest the children be exposed to mass media - is delaying school for 2 hours on Monday to accommodate Steelers fans.

I'm speechless.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:21 PM
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One forgets fewer ingredients if everything is chopped and prepped first.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:24 PM
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And if one has one's partner do the prep and chopping, one can emerge from the office just to cook the food.

Otherwise, I tend to prep some stuff before starting to cook and prep some stuff while other things are cooking.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:25 PM
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Cala is the Timothy Burke of cooking.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:32 PM
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Mexicans are good at prep work. Maybe that's what Ogged is doing right now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:32 PM
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Brock, all your leafy greens and most of your squashes can be sauteed with oil and garlic. Root vegetables can be brushed with oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and roasted. Pretty much everything else can be steamed or put in a salad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:33 PM
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I'll take squid apart

I have no idea whether this actually *is* impressive, but it sure sounds so to me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:35 PM
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343: Depends on the size of the squid. Most "cooking squid" aren't exactly kraken.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:37 PM
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I'd be a better cook if I were a vegetarian

I'm working at this thread from both ends, so maybe there's some context I haven't gotten to yet, but:

???

In the sense that old fashioned meat-starch-veg American cooking doesn't develop any skills, whereas vegetarian cooking pushes you to do more? Or what?

This is very much not directed at anyone here, but I've often been annoyed by claims by vegetarians that they are better cooks based on comparing elaborate veg dishes with broiled steak. At this point my dinners are about 60/40 non-veg/veg, and there's no consistent difference in complexity or technique required. In some cases - stir-fries and curries especially - there's no difference whatsoever, but whatever style you're cooking in will vary more based on intended effect than on protein sources.

I have noticed that I find veggie leftovers distinctly less appetizing; I'm pretty sure that this is simply because a higher portion of the dish consists of things like green beans or greens that really don't benefit from sitting in sauce for 24 or 48 hours. Obviously plenty of veg dishes reheat just fine, but there's a particular kind of washed-out flavor I associate with, say, 2 day old vegetarian curry.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:38 PM
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I COULD TAKE LW APART WITH ONE TENTACLE TIED BEHIND MY BACK!!!!!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SQUID | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:39 PM
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Per Meyers, porpoises have a systematic way of prepping cuttlefish which is passed from mother to daughter. Really. First they make the cuttlefish expel its ink, then they pop out the cuttlebone.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:41 PM
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Cleaning squid oneself isn't worth it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:41 PM
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I'll take squid apart

I have no idea whether this actually *is* impressive, but it sure sounds so to me.

I took that fucking squid apart, man.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:43 PM
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WRT mise en place, I enjoy it quite a bit. If you have a dishwasher and non-apartment kitchen, there's no downside, but the doctrinaire approach is just silly. Plenty of dishes features 10 or 15 minute periods of downtime when one can profitably complete the chopping. And I sometimes enjoy the challenge of mapping out a meal in advance - 3 courses, lots of moving parts, and just enough gaps to get it all done without any wasted time.

It's not as if I can go relax in the living room with a cocktail while the onions soften. That said, I usually spend the couple hours prior to dinner guests arriving doing mise. I can be a better host if I'm not flying back and forth across the kitchen.

I do miss having AB available for sous-chefing. Pesky kids.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:48 PM
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345: One of the only vegetarian main courses I make is eggplant parmesan And it's good freshly made. But I generally find it to be like 10X better reheated the next few days.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:49 PM
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Cleaning squid oneself isn't worth it.

That's what the help is for, ben.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:49 PM
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345: Sometimes the claim is based on the idea that a limitation can force creativity and resourcefulness. For example, when I lived in China (yes, I did), there were no dairy products available. So I had to expand my cooking repertoire quite a bit to fill the gap in my diet that had previously been filled by milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, etc.

With regard to vegetarianism, I think this claim has some merit, although much less so today than in the past, since there are now a wider variety of vegetarian products, cookbooks, and cooks available.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:50 PM
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351: Wow. Doesn't it just sog all to shit? In fact, eggplant is high on my list of Vegetables That Deteriorate Rapidly.

Perhaps I've misjudged them. Sorry, eggplants.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:51 PM
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It's not as if I can go relax in the living room with a cocktail while the onions soften.

But you *can* relax in the kitch with a cocktail while the onions soften! "I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:52 PM
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354: Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:52 PM
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||
Is there a -phobia word for an irrational fear of black holes? Because I'm pretty sure I have it. They make me panicky.
|>


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:53 PM
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355: "kitch"?'

Oh Di Kotimy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:53 PM
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That's what the help is for, ben.

If by "the help" you mean "the friendly seafood people at the supermarket", then I quite agree!one.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:54 PM
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the idea that a limitation can force creativity and resourcefulness

As an architect I endorse this concept heartily. As a cook, I say Bah. I mean, I get it in principle, but the reality is that modern vegetarians are working with every ingredient imaginable, except meats - they're "limited" in a very modest sense. It would be a lot trickier and creativity-fostering to try to cook without salt* & pepper.

* Allowing for it as a component of other things, I guess - don't want to see people dying from desalination.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:54 PM
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354: Hmm. You might not like my eggplant parm -- the eggplant is never terribly crisp, but serves principally as the sponge to soak up all the flavors of sauce and cheese.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:54 PM
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357: Are you using "black hole" as a euphemism?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:54 PM
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358: Oh. I am so ashamed. Though you can buy all sorts of kitschy stuff with the wine quote on it...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 1:56 PM
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Jroth, couldn't you just allow people a daily salt allowance, to be consumed straight?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:02 PM
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That's right, JRoth. You'd better apologize!
Oh, and Di? I'd soak up your sauces anytime. One might even say I'm only tolerable when thoroughly sauced.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:02 PM
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Eggplant has a weird flavor to me. Or not exactly flavor and not exactly texture, but something I can't quite pin down. I'll eat it, and I've had a few eggplant dishes I've enjoyed, even. I don't really find it gross or unpleasant. But, just like with mushrooms, when I'm chewing eggplant, it sets off some little alarm in my head that I'm eating something that isn't actually food. I feel like I might get the same sensation from eating claycakes or drywall fritters.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:03 PM
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The best claycakes are from Tennessee.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:04 PM
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Making drywall fritters oneself isn't worth it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:07 PM
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360: Eh, if you're the only person in your family and among your group of friends who has decided to stop eating meat, and you've never been exposed to any vegetarian cooks or cooking techniques or cookbooks, etc., it can be quite challenging, especially initially, to figure out what to cook and how to make it taste good. Even more so if you also want to cook for non-vegetarians and have them actually like it. All your cooking resources in terms of experience and teachers and references up to that point have relied on meat, often heavily.

Now granted, vegetarianism and associated support structures are much more common and accepted today, but when I was learning to cook in the mid 80s that definitely wasn't the case.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:07 PM
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357- Hadronophobia?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:09 PM
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vegetarianism and associated support structures are much more common and accepted today

Yet another case of defining deviancy down, if you ask me.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:09 PM
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365: Saucy!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:10 PM
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Eggplant is my dating indicator food: if a girl doesn't like it, she's unlikely to share my general hedonistic philosophy. It has something to do with kou gan (mouth sense), as the chinese say. You're either open to all there is, or you're not.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:10 PM
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All your cooking resources in terms of experience and teachers and references up to that point have relied on meat, often heavily

Add some chicken stock...


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:10 PM
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Cooking without meat would be entirely easier than cooking without dairy or wheat, it seems to me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:11 PM
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366: Eggplant, particularly the globe varieties (and particularly their skin) contain very low but detectable levels of alkoloid neurotoxins which can produce a slight numbing sensation on your lips and in your mouth (eggplant is in the nightshade family, like potatoes and tomatoes and peppers and tobacco). That may be what you're detecting. It's more noticable the less cooked the eggplant is.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:12 PM
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But I love potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:13 PM
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375: True dat. I think I would die if I ever contracted celiac disease.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:13 PM
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377: Interesting. What's the name of that salad?

Eggplant has a much higher very low level of alkoloid neurotoxins than potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Tobacco has more, in the form of nicotine and related compounds, which is why you shouldn't eat it raw and can get really sick from just harvesting it if you're not careful.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:17 PM
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I find that the value of mise'ing (this is a verb now? I'm intrigued) is that it FORCES me to read the recipe thoroughly ahead of actually applying heat to things. Now, one could reasonably argue that I could just read the recipe thoroughly without having most things pre-chopped, etc. but for some reason that just never really works for me. If I do things on the fly, I'm inevitably getting to the point where I have to add tomatoes RIGHT NOW and only just have learned that they need to be peeled, juiced and seeded. It's no big deal if I'm just cooking for myself if things get delayed, but I find that if I'm cooking for others I get really stressed out at such delays. The appropriate prep work eases the anxiety and thus makes it more fun.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:19 PM
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you shouldn't eat it raw

But that's how I'm quitting smoking.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:19 PM
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376: how do you explain mushrooms?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:20 PM
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You might not like my eggplant parm -- the eggplant is never terribly crisp

I might, in fact like it, but it's not my preferred style. I like chicken parm after a day or two, but I love it when it's fresh and crisp. There's an Italian market in the Strip where they make great $5 hoagies, my favorite of which is the meatball/eggplant parm, because the eggplant's crispness comes through all of the other textures (soft peppers, lightly crusty bread, saucey sauce, tender meatballs).

But you *can* relax in the kitch with a cocktail while the onions soften!

I can barely cook without a bourbon gimlet nearby. On big meal days, when I start cooking in early afternoon, this can become problematic.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:22 PM
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bourbon gimlet?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:24 PM
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Jroth, couldn't you just allow people a daily salt allowance, to be consumed straight?

If you've ever had the creamed spinach at Hyde Park Steakhouse, you've come close to this (I ate that meal 3 years ago, and I'm still annoyed).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:24 PM
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bourbon gimlet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:25 PM
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381: Well, if it's for the greater good, then I guess it's all right.

380: Yeah, far more important than mise in itself is knowing what you're doing before you're in the middle of it. So many of the people I know who can't figure out why they're not very good cooks would benefit hugely from taking even a minimal amount of time before they start to read the whole recipe at least once or think through in their heads the basic order of what they're going to do.

Not that watching this habit play out drives me COMPLETELY BATSHIT INSANE. Oh no, not at all.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:26 PM
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how do you explain mushrooms?

The texture is a bit like chewing on an earlobe, but blander.

But really, most people are already familiar with them.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:28 PM
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Seriously, JRoth -- bourbon gimlet? Surely that gets its own name. Gin + Vermouth= Martini. Scotch + Vermouth= Rob Roy. Bourbon + Vermouth (sweet, and bitters)= Manhattan.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:28 PM
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benefit hugely from taking even a minimal amount of time before they start to read the whole recipe at least once or think through in their heads the basic order of what they're going to do.

For some reason, what I read doesn't register until I'm actually opening cans and cutting things, so that's why I find it necessary. You'd think I'd have a higher reading comprehension than I do, but apparently not.

Of course, there are many things that I've made so many times before that I can start acting like Jamie Oliver, but if I'm trying anything new, got to do the prep work. Which, since I have horrible knife skills, takes me for fucking ever.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:31 PM
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taking even a minimal amount of time before they start to read the whole recipe at least once or think through in their heads the basic order of what they're going to do.

One of the great things about Cook's Illustrated, of course. An entire narrative of how the dish should be and how the recipe achieves it - theory and practice - before they even tell you to turn the oven on. Thanks to that training, I'm able to improve recipes from other sources by applying both specific knowledge (eg, don't add the garlic with the onions) and general concepts (eg, if I'm building flavors this way, then I don't want to add that ingredient just then).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:32 PM
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373: "You're fat and ugly and stupid and made me eat EGGPLANT and your bank went bust and there aren't going to be any more $200 dinners and $1,000 bottles of wine and I may have to get a job and I HATE you. If you want to know more, go to DABA! Goodbye!"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:35 PM
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Seriously, JRoth -- bourbon gimlet? Surely that gets its own name.

I actually don't call it that. I've never run into a bartender or fellow drinker who's had it before, so I just describe it.* It all came about because they don't have sours mix in Canada**, but the bartender suggested Rose's instead. I have since consumed countless gallons of it.

* "Bourbon rocks with a splash of Rose's"

** At least not as ubiquitously as here


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:35 PM
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I don't like mushrooms. It's the texture - I've eaten enough things now that involve mushrooms made so small you can't feel them to realise I like the taste, but can't stand the feel of them.

391 - I find it hard to care that much about anything, really. I cook edible food, my family and friends seem to enjoy my meals, but stuff like not adding garlic and onions together sounds like having to put way too much thought into it.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:39 PM
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JRoth serves his eggplant parm sandwich with fries and slaw inside the sandwich.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:44 PM
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369: I also find that meat is more forgiving, in that while it's hard to cook a piece of meat perfectly, it's also somewhat easier to come up with a tasty meal. Meat + broiler = easy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:47 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:51 PM
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Is a "mise" basically having everything chopped up and sitting in little bowls waiting for you to dash it in when appropriate? Because that dirties up a shitload of dishes and takes a lot of space, which is why I don't do it unless I know I'm going to be dashed for time.

It dirties up a fair number of dishes, but they're little ones and thus easy to wash really quickly. (Besides, how many dishes do you make that require chopping up more than three or four things in preparation?) Plus, you can wash as you go, which means that you don't use that many dishes total. And I find that having everything prepped ahead of time (within reason, ben) makes the process of cooking itself far less stressful.

(That was the other thing I had drilled into me in the classes: don't just dump dishes into the sink, wash as you go. That way you don't have a disaster area waiting for you after you're done with your meal.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:51 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:53 PM
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don't just dump dishes into the sink, wash as you go. That way you don't have a disaster area waiting for you after you're done with your meal

Yes, agreed. A thousand times agreed. Failure to do this also does not drive me BATSHIT INSANE, oh no.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:55 PM
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373: My kou gan is *amazing,* fm.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:55 PM
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401: "do this" s/b "grasp this concept"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:55 PM
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stuff like not adding garlic and onions together sounds like having to put way too much thought into it.

This concept is so alien to me.

And not just in the kitchen. I put at least that much thought into practically everything I do.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:56 PM
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"Bourbon rocks with a splash of Rose's"

Yes, please.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:56 PM
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395: a friend of my brother runs a bar that serves precisely this sandwich.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:57 PM
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402: She's also quick with a good line. I mean, we're talking like under an hour.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 2:58 PM
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407: Hey, I took some time out to work. Sue me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:00 PM
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Hey, I took some time out to work. Sue me.

After all, one doesn't get amazing kou gan without a lot of training, you know.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:05 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:07 PM
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408: Nothing personal, Di, just doing my job too.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:08 PM
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396: That's exactly what I meant by saying that I'd be a better cook if I were a vegetarian. A steak or a pork chop is pretty appealing with essentially no thought or skill and very little seasoning. Non-meat food can be delicious, but you actually have to do something to it to get it to be that way.

When I'm short on time/energy/thought, meat is an easy pleasure. A vegetarian dinner that wouldn't make me want to start weeping softly is much more effortful -- if I built up the skills to do that offhandedly, I'd be a better cook.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:08 PM
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Tangentially to the topic at hand, I was shocked to see this book in my daughter's grade school classroom. The radical homosexual lobby will stop at nothing to indoctrinate our young people with their sinful lifestyle.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:09 PM
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412 was largely in response to 345.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:10 PM
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413: The alternate title is "Bears and Twinks".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:11 PM
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413: Good heavens. That bear is certainly not there for the hunting, is he?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:11 PM
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415: "Silly rabbit, twinks are for bears!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:12 PM
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416: Depends on what you mean by "hunting".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:12 PM
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The rabbit is getting ready to give new meaning to the term "cornholing"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:13 PM
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I'm a little scared to click on the "Surprise Me!" link over in the left menu . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:14 PM
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I think people often mistranslate the concept of mise en place from a restaurant setting to a home kitchen.

When you are working a line, your mise doesn't contain everything, it just contains everything you'll commonly use. And you are (almost) never only cooking one thing at a time, so you really want this stuff close to hand to keep any sort of rythm up and not screw up. And yes, line cooks do their own mise typically, ime.

Applying the same approach to the home cooking means having everything at hand *when you are doing the active parts in front of the stove*. It doesn't really mean you have to prep absolutely everything before hand and put it in little separate bowls or whatever. So this changes a lot depending on what you're doing.

If you're consulting a recipe for seasoning amounts in one hand while whisking with the other and pushing a pot off the heat with one foot; or if you find yourself sauteing away madly and then realize you should have put mushrooms in a minute ago, but they're still in a bag in the fridge....well, you probably need a better approach to mise.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:19 PM
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I was traumatized as a child by eggplant. My dad was inordinately proud of his homegrown eggplant and cooked it into something with a texture that whispered "with just a little effort I could be SLIME!"

I should try eggplant again someday.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:19 PM
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413: is this the same school that refuses to teach your daughter math? If so, it's no big suprise. Radical homosexuality and the New Math people have always been allies.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:20 PM
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I was traumatized as a child by eggplant. My dad was inordinately proud of his homegrown eggplant and cooked it into something with a texture that whispered "with just a little effort I could be SLIME!"

I should try eggplant again someday.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:20 PM
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Lovely.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:20 PM
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Brock:

Mark Bittmans book: "How to cook everything vegetarian" is good too, for lots of approaches to veggies.

Chez Panisse has a veggie book too, which a friend swears by (as in how to cook lots of, not as in vegetarian).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:21 PM
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424: eggplant parmesian is pretty close to a sure thing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:22 PM
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More relevant.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:22 PM
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Eggplant trauma leads to double posting.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:23 PM
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cooked it into something with a texture that whispered "with just a little effort I could be SLIME!"

This probably marks me as soulless, but I love that about eggplant. Buck makes this mess of a dish that's a lot of eggplant, peppers, crushed tomatoes, onions, and italian sausage (sorta vaguely like if you put sausages in your ratatouille), and the degenerated gooeyness of the eggplant is one of the best things about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:24 PM
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I love Chez Panisse Vegetables, but it's a bit on the haute and labor-intensive side of things. I'd go with Madison or Bittman, Brock.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:25 PM
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togolosh: want a dead easy curry recipe that will go well past "not bad" ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:26 PM
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Radical homosexuality and the New Math people have always been allies.

True. They both got their panties in a wad over my "marriage = 1 man + 1 woman" bumper sticker.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:26 PM
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I love italicization too. And unclosed tags.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:27 PM
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431: yeah, the panisse books aren't about dead-easy. some good stuff though.


the bittman is good, we've recently acquired it (xmas). I haven't used it enough to have a fully formed opinion though. First impressions: Not fussy, good advice, lots of recipes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:27 PM
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dead easy curry recipe

Just make sure the easies are freshly killed, as they go bad quickly.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:27 PM
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like eggplant that way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:28 PM
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430 sounds incredible.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:31 PM
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Chez Panisse Vegetables, but it's a bit on the haute and labor-intensive side of things. I'd go with Madison or Bittman, Brock.

Worst. Cookbook. Title. Ever.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:31 PM
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Buck makes this mess of a dish that's a lot of eggplant, peppers, crushed tomatoes, onions, and italian sausage

I think that this is an old Frugal Gourmet recipe. Does it involve lots of cheese and a long time in a deep casserole in the oven?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:32 PM
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439: nah, even the same series has " Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza, Calzone"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:34 PM
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440: No, it's stovetop improv, no recipe. Big pan, onions then eggplant and peppers and garlic sautéd in olive oil until soft, then a can of tomatoes and italian spices and simmer, and come to think of it I don't know how the sausage works because I don't make it. If it were me, I'd fry the sausage in another pan and put it in at the end, but it's possible he poaches(?) it in with the gunk. Serve over egg noodles.

It's eponymously known as ratatimmy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:38 PM
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432 - Sure!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:47 PM
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430 - Gooey is good. Slimy is disturbing. Admittedly, one of my favorite African foods uses (I think) nasturtium leaves and spinach to produce something that is absolutely delicious but which has the texture of snot. Green, leafy snot. Boogerlicious!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 3:50 PM
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1. I passed two perfectly good dead raccoons earlier today as I was driving, and I were truer to my ideals I'd have picked them up for the skins, to make a hat. (There was a third, but the quality of the fur was severely compromised.) I need to work on that.

2. The last couple of times I've made colcannon, it's been with beet greens, which make the potatoes pink. Fun, think the children.

3. I consult numerous recipes when I make something I haven't before, which is instructive but leads to non-replicable results. So I should really enjoy this mole poblano I have in the fridge, because it turned out surprisingly good and I'll probably never make another like it.

4. Food tastes best when the kitchen has been cleaned up during the preparation. Sometimes the satisfaction of a clean kitchen at serving time is so great, I'm not hungry anymore.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:01 PM
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442: Huh. Convergent evolution, I guess. Next time, suggest he add red wine and a buttload of cheese.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:05 PM
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Convergent evolution, I guess.

Well, yeah, it's not as if there are any surprising flavor combinations in there. It ends up awfully tasty, though.

Red wine, maybe, but I can't see how to get cheese into it on the stovetop -- without a browning step, it'd be kinda gross.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:13 PM
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Food tastes best when the kitchen has been cleaned up during the preparation.

So, so true.

Sometimes the satisfaction of a clean kitchen at serving time is so great, I'm not hungry anymore.

So, so wrong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:19 PM
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445.3: In the sense that, even now, you can't replicate what you did? Maybe you need just a bit more method.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:21 PM
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404 - that comment wasn't really supposed to come out directed personally at you J, but hey, I'm not saying it's a BAD thing! I quite enjoy observing driven-ness in other people, just not interested in it for myself, thanks. I'm happy with good enough, I don't care about perfection (in most things).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:21 PM
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Maybe you need just a bit more method.

With simpler dishes, method is the gain of extensive cross-referencing. Mole poblano is such a hodgepodge, though, I doubt I could piece it back together exactly, but there's a lesson there as well.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:29 PM
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450: Oh, I didn't take it personally. I just can't imagine it. I'm not driven in the Big Picture - for instance, I often spend time commenting on a blog when I could be trying to advance my practice in some way or another - but in daily living, I'm always looking to optimize.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:33 PM
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OK, based on a quick scan of recent threads, it appears that, other than one comment by me at 11 EST, no one has commented on any other thread here since 9:45 EST. That's just crazy.

/meta>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:39 PM
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Anyway, what is this onion garlic thing? (Am curious now!) Depending on what's going on the garlic will burn before the onion, so I would avoid burning it, but that's as far as my thinking goes. I cook dinner most nights whilst having 4 different simultaneous conversations, concentrating on what I'm doing is probably beyond me.

(This week I have been sleeping badly, and today I had to provide a packed lunch for 3 kids + me. Was too tired so took 3 cup noodle things for them from C's emergency stash for work, and ate some chocolate Hobnobs. When I got there, and tried to make the fucking noodle things, I was too tired to understand the instructions, and had to get my friend to tell me whether to add the water or the sauce sachet first. This is bad. Tonight I am going to sleep for about 15 hours.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:41 PM
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Undercooked onion is not so good; overcooked garlic is also not so good. Onion takes more time to cook than garlic does. Onion that has cooked for a long, slow time, so that it is both soft and browned (not crunchy inside and browned, not un-browned) is often especially good.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 4:50 PM
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Raw onion is the best onion. I grew up eating them like apples. I just want to note that. It was the only part of being basically amateur farmers* that I appreciated.

Eggplant is disgusting.

Now that I've read the rest of the thread I'm fucking starved, so I think I'm going to go whip up some dinner. I just want to note that as a member of the vanguard of the homosexual agenda I am against Knecht's kid's school's fake-ass math and place this under the "butch" column on my scorecard. It's pretty lonely over there, though.

445.4(1) is so very true.

*Not subsistence farmers but we grew way more than we, alone, could need, but we didn't sell any. We provided a lot of the vegetables my relatives ate. My parents' idea of a "garden" is measured in acres of rotated plots.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:25 PM
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452: but in daily living, I'm always looking to optimize.

I think the optimizer/satisficer divide* in day-to-day living is one of those well nigh unbridgeable gulfs in human behavior. And it is the unspoken burr under the saddle in many a discussion in these here threads.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:48 PM
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i also got hungry and ate some pie with rice pudding, both from cafeteria


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 5:54 PM
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I do also like raw onion, just not in settings where it's supposed to be cooked.

Tonight for dinner we had celery root that I had previously cut up and parboiled, fried up in a pan with a bunch of crunchy whole spices, accompanied by loads of spinach with butter. I realize this is exactly the kind of dinner that screams "we have no children," but it was easy and good.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:02 PM
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My beets and kale are delicious, but not very filling until used as a topping for toast with cheese on it. Perfect!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:47 PM
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I realize this is exactly the kind of dinner that screams "we have no children,"

Except that my wife is the one who doesn't like celery root, and our preschooler loves spinach.

Actually, I'm frustrated that Iris is not a better eater. She eats some very sophisticated things, but the gaps in her tastes (no sauces!) are so vast that, for a lot of meals, we just make her a plate of cold things or leftovers, and AB and I eat very well.

This is very much what I never intended to do.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:47 PM
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460: For lunch today, I had in mind slices of ham fried and topped with cheddar plus some leftover fries. At the last moment, I put a big mess of mixed lettuces on the plate. Turned out to be an awesome pairing with the ham. The oil from the melty cheese helped lubricate/enrich the greens, and since it was a fancy Euro mix (I made a fancy French salad last weekend, and this was left), it was pretty flavorful on its own.

I think the optimizer/satisficer divide* in day-to-day living is one of those well nigh unbridgeable gulfs in human behavior.

Amen. AB is pretty compatible, and optimizes some things that I satisfice, but certain things drive me batty. Why does she insist on turning both taps on when she's waiting for the hot water to come? There's no benefit, only waste!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:51 PM
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Israeli soldiers take a raw onion, wrap it in aluminum foil, shove it in a fire for a few minutes like a potato, and then eat it. It's pretty damn good.

But, 460? As dear Kevin might say, "New Thread!"

P.S. How does one get access to AWB's wiki?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:54 PM
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ybwwwe.pbwiki.com. Put in your email address and I'll approve you for access.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:56 PM
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465

Ooh! It's secret!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 6:59 PM
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You are approved!

Yeah, I made it secret only because (a) there's an odd combination of eponymous and pseudonymous users and you can theoretically figure things out that way. I figured it was safer. Also, I felt bad (or was worried we'd have to take them down) if people were posting copyright-protected recipes on an open site.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:03 PM
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That was supposed to be an (a) and (b) but I just woke up from a nap.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:03 PM
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Strips of thawed pork chop from some other shopping trip in some other time, stir-fried in sesame-seasoned wok oil with red bell pepper, zucchini, carrots and snow peas. I threw in an ass-load of garlic powder, a little onion powder (no onions around, natch), a little curry powder, a little cayenne, black pepper, a tad of salt, a little tonkatsu sauce and a couple of splashes of Iron Chef-branded (no, really) sesame and garlic sauce, basically enough sauce and spices to give everything a speckled, barely-glazed look. Rah walked in from work about two seconds before the rice cooker finished. Very, very tasty, if I do say so myself.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:26 PM
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Hmm. There seems to be a funny I-P joke hiding in 463, but I can't locate it.

Night, all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:37 PM
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I had to do real actual work today, so I got behind on this thread. As I begin to try to catch up, I wanted to pause and say thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I'll be sending you all some endive (except that I won't).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:43 PM
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466: I've added my (extremely limited) culinary wisdom.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:49 PM
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I'm pleased to hear people are thinking about gardening, for two reasons.

First: The Feast described in 468 was so fine. I am now inclined to wonder that such a thing as a red pepper can actually be coaxed from the ground by mortal means;

& Second: I know Monday as an annual festival in which the tales of winter are transformed into plans for the Spring. My ancestors would recognize, as I do, the wisdom & rightness of a conversation filled with garden lore, kitchen-mongering &, it seems (though by no means have I read the whole thread), lunch porn.

Hope everyone eats really well this weekend! I'm gonna feast on this thread. And then stir-fry a lot.


Posted by: Rah-thur | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:50 PM
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I can't believe I read this entire thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:54 PM
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And it was even worth doing!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:55 PM
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But you don't have a secret cookbook, do you?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 7:59 PM
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Who, me? No.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:00 PM
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[Pardon moi for bombing food thread.]

55: I agree with max, basically, but I'd advise against the sand. Sand is the antithesis of clay, but combined they make cement, an unwelcome synthesis gardening-wise. For an inert amendment, vermiculite or perlite, plenty of it, is good, along with copious amounts of organic material. Peat moss is great, very moisture retentive, but it should be combined with lots of compost, because peat moss alone (like mushroom compost) will substantially change the pH balance of the soil.

But definitely bust through the clay. If you layer good soil on top of it, roots will run along the top of the clay, and at the least you'll be watering more often. In this endeavor as in all things, you want your roots to grow deep.

58: Just a quick thought, I'll add more later with respect to soil, but 10' x 10' is a terrible bed layout because you have to walk on the soil you've worked so hard to prepare to get to anything in the middle. Better to do strips about 4' wide and however long you want them. Reaching in 2' from either side is comfortable for most people.

63: While I'm not much of a gardener, Max' 51 seems like it's got to be overkill -- like, not that it wouldn't be great if you did that, but you're not really likely to. If your soil really sucks that badly, maybe put in raised beds?

106: Lastly, I agree wholeheartedly with max's recommendations but only if you're going to be working this plot for years to come and/or you just really love to dig. His method - though edited for laziness - is what I did for my flower bed and I can grow all kinds of great things in there. Raised beds I use for vegetables and easily got twice the space in half the time. Were I planning to do that for a space 50' long, though, I would seriously consider just hiring someone to come over with a garden tractor and a plow.

1) VA was colonized by people who farmed in the lowlands down where the rivers dumped the silt. The silt came from the rivers that originated in the hills, where the water wore down said hills. There was not a lot of work involved in farming, since they had all that gorgeous silt. They did not work very hard to preserve the land. (Plus, cheap (in terms of capital) slave labor.) Then poor people moved up into the hills where the rivers originated. They didn't try to preserve the soil particularly well either, so they plowed up the soil, and then the rains came and carried off the topsoil down to the river bottoms where the rich people said, 'Hey, thanks!'. All that's left up in the hills is this red caly shit. Of course, down in the river bottoms, they were essentially mining the top soil and shipping it to Europe. Slowly, almost invisibly, the richness of the soil was destroyed. Then, if you will recall, they had this idiot war. So these days, VA is not nearly as important as it used to be. I expect this has something to do with the state of the soil. (The end of most major powers as major powers can almost invariably be punctuated by the phrase, '...and then they started this idiot war'.)

2) Stanley says his soil is this red clay crap. Since I am no more than 50 miles away from Stanley, I expect that the red clay crap he refers to is this shit I have in my back yard. As McQueen says, sand and clay make concrete which is exactly what this stuff is like. This lot, in particular, seems to have been made by having someone dig out the hillside for the basement; they piled up all the crappy dirt in the back yard. And by hillside, I mean the street at the front is about 20-30 foot higher than the ground at the back fence. The water, she tends to hit the concrete and run off.

A long time ago, someone suggested that you can 'read the weeds' to tell what kind of problems a given patch of soil has. Well, in Texas, clover tends to grow in places like the bottom of ditches, where water accumulates, and the soil is clay-packed and soggy. The clover functions as a set of midget nitrogen factories that are attempting to rehab the soil. Here, I have a slowly expanding patch of clover on the hillside that is pushing out the grass. (Actually, the grass just doesn't thrive, and the clover moves into the bare spots.) So, soggy clay soil, even where the runoff situation is excellent. Yuck. Further to that, I tried to dig a hamster grave in it, and got about 4 inches in before my shovel broke.

3) So, yes, what Stanley did with his first plot was to build a big wooden open-bottomed pot, on top of the equivalent of some crappy concrete. To fill one of those takes about 200 cubic foot of potting soil, and last time I bought any (awhile ago) potting soil was going for about three times what a similar quantity of sand was going for. That's not a big deal, except that if I built a big open-bottomed wood pot like that, I would worry about a coupla things. First, it's elevated, so it will heat up more than the surrounding soil, which causes water loss. Stanley says he's watering a lot, and he doesn't mention his plot turning into a bog. If the soil was rataining water decently, and considering how much free distilled water comes from the sky around here, I would think it would bog almost immediately. Further, potting soil from a bag tends to seriously compact over time, since it tends to be mostly clay and organic matter. Lastly, city water tends to contain lots of dissolved salts, unlike the free distilled water from the sky, and I would worry about a long-term accumulation of salt at the boundary layer at the bottom of the big open-bottomed pot. Accumulated salt in the soil is bad. See the Soviet irrigation projects around the Aral sea.

So, if I were just going to use potting soil, I would try and sink my giant open-bottomed pot into the ground, so it retained more water. If I were going to do that, I would be digging it out, so why not use the soil I have? Soil is made up of clay, rocks (sand = tiny rocks), and dead stuff, and the soil around here has too much clay and not enough dead stuff. So extra sand to (hopefully) break down the clay even further, and lots and lots of dead stuff, which is what actually holds water in a plant-accessible form.

4) All that said, digging down would be a double-motherfucker. On the other hand, so is everything else. Water from a tap costs money (continuously), potting soil costs money, digging takes labor. Pick your poison. What I was shooting for would be something that takes a lot of labor up front in year one, and as little as possible in years 2 through 20. If you have no investment in the place, then, no, that wouldn't make any sense. Also, I prefer peat moss over vermiculite because vermiculite tends to tear up my hands, and it is no doubt extracted by some nasty ecologically-destructive process, quite like everything else.

(This area is really kind of similar to a Brazilian rain forest. It's humid, it rains often but in small amounts, and it can get really dry and hot for brief stretches. Trees can handle this because they have the hydraulic power necessary to drill through the concrete, and their size lets them accumulate enough water (a tree is a standing column of water, after all) to weather dry conditions. But when you cut down there trees, there is nothing in the ground to feed other kinds of plants. So you get desertish conditions.)

So I second letting someone bring in a tractor and plow (if you can get the plow in there). A posthole digger would work too. Also, you could take your imaginary 10x10 plot, and insert a margin of six inches, and lay out four 4x4 (x2, x1, xWhatever) plots, which would (if you added another 10x10 plot next door) leave each plot surrounded by a one foot walkway. And then, you could pile up dead leaves in the walkway during the fall, walk all over them for a year, which would help turn them into tiny plant-digestible bits, and shovel that on your beds the next fall, in preparation for a new batch of dead leaves.

All of that is exactly what I would be doing if I had any investment (financial or personal) in this place, which I don't. Besides that tho, I am turn busy trimming these weedy ass trees, and moving fucking rocks to have time yet to do something like that. If I was invested in the place those, I would follow the Incas and terrace like crazy. Which would no doubt result in people looking at me like crazy because they don't even rake around here. Blah.

max
['Anyways, Texas sucks, or so I have been informed, repeatedly.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:01 PM
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Huh. I've never thought of "desertish conditions" as "kind of similar to a Brazilian rain forest".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:15 PM
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If it's worth anything, max, I think you'd make an excellent Inca.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:16 PM
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This area is really kind of similar to a Brazilian rain forest.

Maybe the advice in 24 is the way to go, then.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:17 PM
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I've never thought of "desertish conditions" as "kind of similar to a Brazilian rain forest".

Read 1491.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:17 PM
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if people were posting copyright-protected recipes on an open site.

If I recall correctly, and of course I'm no lawyer at all let alone one in the IP area, you can't actually copyright a recipe. The instructions, the photos in the book etc., sure. But not the recipe itself.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:22 PM
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482: Tell that to chowhound.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 8:30 PM
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2. The last couple of times I've made colcannon, it's been with beet greens, which make the potatoes pink. Fun, think the children.

You know what they'd probably think is really fun? Feed them plenty of simply dressed roasted red beets. Red urine and shit!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-30-09 9:05 PM
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455 - is that all JRoth meant? Like I said, I avoid burnt garlic but have never actually consciously thought about it before last night. I was imagining some weird interaction between the two, but perhaps I was just too tired. Managed 11 hours last night. Looks lovely out there, just wondering where to take the dog. Going to cook lots of curry tonight.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 5:24 AM
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is that all JRoth meant?

Twas indeed. When I first learned to do that (from Marcella Hazan, in college), it was a revelation - that something that minor could, and should, be done optimally. I'm still stunned to see recipes that specifically say, "Add onions and garlic to hot oil and saute for 8 minutes."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 7:01 AM
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Okay, I have a much less ambitious gardening project. I want to grow some herbs in some sort of pot(s). I don't have a deck or anything to put them on.

I could put them inside on the window sill in the living room which is about 5-6 inches deep (this apartment dates from the 50's), but the blinds are usually closed in summer to prevent the apartment from overheating. (Obviously, they'd have to be opened for that to work.) There are no windows in the actual kitchen area.


The other option would be to get a windowsill box like this one from gardeners.com or something much cheaper procured locally.

I'd like to grow maybe 5 or 6 herbs, definitely basil, parsley and dill. (I once read about a basil that can grow through the winter inside, but it's only grown at one farm in VA---guy was written up in WaPo because of some illness--and you are supposed to be able to buy them at the National Cathedral green house, but they didn't have any when I went.)

I'm not sure what's involved in installing a window box and would have to check with the landlord. The building is this weird thin textured brick which I think was popular in the 50's, so I'm not sure what you would attach it to.

If anyone's serious about giving advice, I can e-mail pictures of the setup. I'm not sure where the camera is right now, so it will be a few days.

I really love fresh herbs but they're so expensive to buy and I can never use all of the dill or parsley in a package.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 8:57 AM
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I grow herbs inside. I have right now two pots of mint and a pot of basil, all doing fairly well despite the fact that it's fucking cold out there.

Outside windowsill: you need to bolt this on, meaning that you would have to get your landlord to help and to bring up a powerdrill and make a big mess. The herbs will be subject to the seasons, meaning that they will die in autumn as it gets cold. You would need to water the everliving fuck out of them in the summer: missing two days would probably be fatal. However, windowsill herbs are very pretty and they would under optimal conditions probably grow bigger.

Inside: you want your herbs to be growing in the hottest sunlight you can find in your house. You want south-facing windows, if at all possible. If you need to close the curtains, is there any way to close the curtains around the pot, leaving the post in the sun? That method has the added benefit of trapping the light inside the curtain: my white curtains act as an intensifier, almost a mirror, giving my basil plant mad sunlight.

Also, keep all of your plants away from radiators. Herbs aren't totally crazy about being in super-humid environments, so the bathroom isn't a great idea. Lastly, herbs require good drainage (add some sand to the soil, and be sure that the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot is unblocked) and very regular watering. I have read that herbs prefer slightly alkaline soil and that smushed eggshells are an excellent soil additive for them, but my experiments in that direction haven't been conclusive.

Oh, and don't try to grow anything else in the same pot with mint.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:12 AM
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487: I bet you could fabricate something like these suction-cup window things.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:39 AM
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Gardeners.com sells a self-watering window box. Some of teh reviews say that you need to water the soil from above occasionally, but others say it's totally fool proof, but that doesn't sound like an option given the drilling involved.

I wasn't even thinking of growing stuff in the winter. The baseboard heater runs all along the length of the floor of teh only window where this would work. The apartment has two windows right next to each other in teh beddroom with Venetian blinds, and the living room has three also, all next to each other. I believe that they both face south.

Thanks, JM. I have a good source of mint, where it's invasive, so my friends are glad to have me take some.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:44 AM
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The wood window sill is about 6 inches by 8 feet.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:45 AM
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Stanley the half pots in 489 look really neat, but they say that they're not available in the US.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:47 AM
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492: Well I'm nigh certain such things exist in this country, or if not, might be fabricated by an industrious individual. Nigh certain but linkless.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:51 AM
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493: I'm not that ambitious, Stanley.

I definitely want to grow dill and basil, but I'm not sure what else.

I was thinking about rosemary.

Does anyone have suggestions about the type of pots. I've always been told to grow rosemary in clay pots, because it's really a Mediterranean crop, but I don't know what would be good for basil which seems to prefer a lusher environment.

Which ones are easy to start from seed, and what should I buy as plants?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:59 AM
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Oh and parsley, obviously.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:03 AM
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I would not bother starting any herb from seed myself.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:04 AM
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495: Parsley doesn't do great in pots.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:10 AM
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You might also want to consider some kind of supplementary light. We have no southern exposure available in our place (the south wall is the wall with no windows, because it's the shared wall with the next unit over) and the light we get is further weakened by the fact that there are overhangs outdoors casting a shadow. My umbrella plant was really struggling when I brought it indoors until I got one of these . Now it's gone from feebly dropping leaves all the time to thriving and putting out fresh growth like gangbusters. The light is not gorgeous, but it could be a lot worse, and the quality of the light is less creepy than with some plant lights.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:11 AM
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redfoxy--Do you buy your plants locally or order them from a nursery?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:18 AM
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Locally -- if you plan to grow them in season, it's really easy to find herb seedlings all over the place (the grocery store, the farmer's market, the hardware store...), and they're perfectly good. I am not much of a gardener, though. The umbrella plant was a handmedown from a friend who moved away, and I am very proud of myself for the fact that I successfully repotted it and solved its lack of light problem. I think this is the first time ever that I had a plant that was ailing and actually fixed the problem. Woo!

I am thinking of ordering some tiny ferny plants for my terraria from a specialist nursery, because one of the kinds of moss that I harvested clearly needs more light than I can supply, and I might want to actively replace it with something more suitable, rather than waiting for the more successful plants to take over. I also kind of crave an Aerogarden, even though they're rather absurd, now that I know that I could use one to grow all arugula all the time.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:27 AM
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The aerogarden does look kind of awesome, but it must increase your electric bills, and it can't be organic.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:51 AM
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On the organicness question.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 10:55 AM
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BostonianGirl: I've grown basil in all sorts of pots. It seems pretty happy to grow like mad anywhere so long as you give it a lot of room and good soil. It needs lots of feed (start with high nitrogen content soil, fertilize in the middle of summer) and decent amounts of light and heat (especially) so indoors is hard. If you keep pinching the tops especially, it will bush out nicely and produce a long time. If you've underfed it, the leaves will go pale, if the pot is too small it won't grow well.

THe more heat the better really, and don't overwater especially in pots (let the soil dry out)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 1:20 PM
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I've had good experiences with the built-in-reservoir pots from Gardener's Supply; and you don't have to put them outside. (A shelf that brings the top of the pot to the bottom of the window works for me; then the shade can come down to the top of the plants. Is why I usually have shades rather than curtains.)

max, that was beeyootiful.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 7:11 PM
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clew, which ones were you using? They all seem to be too big. Did you use the window box inside. I've got about 8" in depth. The wet pots look good, but they're not carrying them anymore.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 8:18 PM
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When I worked on a state research farm that was growing experimentally large basil they were planted in mounded rows covered in what I think of as "tomato plastic," the black, sheet plastic that keeps moisture in the soil and greatly elevates the ambient temperature around the plant. Basil definitely liked the heat and moisture.

On the other hand, my hands smelled like spaghetti sauce for three days after we harvested. Ugh. But I doubt BG is growing that much basil.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 8:44 PM
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506: They say that tomato plastic should be red, because the light it reflects helps the fruit to bud or something.

There's research on what color mulches are good for what crops.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-31-09 9:17 PM
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