Re: Brooklyn reduced to barter economy

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When I get my artisanal goat cheese business* going, I'm so going to barter everything.

*This is my occasional back to the land, drop out of grad school plan.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:13 PM
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When I told my sister I'd move to brooklyn and sell preserves she told me to take up cheesemaking as well. But it looks as if they've got that angle covered.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:15 PM
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It seems like the country would be a better place than Brooklyn to live if you want to follow these pursuits. (Raw milk that's taken a car ride into the city? Hmmm.) Though I guess it's ideal if you want to get written up in The New York Times.

Cheesemaking is a rather odoriferous hobby.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:22 PM
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I bet there's a niche for gourmet rutabagas.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:26 PM
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Oh, I'm going to stay in rural California to do my cheesemaking. My parents live on land that's zoned for animals and hobby farms; surely they won't mind their 27 year old daughter moving back and setting up shop.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:36 PM
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I've been thinking a lot about stuff like this.

My general thesis is that we collectively spent the next decade's worth of money (on dumb shit, like inconvenient square footage of housing, cheaply made and ugly). Basically, we now have to generate another decade's worth of value without getting any new money for it. Which makes me wonder, what could we do to make Sacramento worth the money we already poured into it?

Far as I can tell, the options are to capture more energy flows, improve the human capital, and make the place nicer -more intricate and crafted. For free. I should get my head out of the internets and start making my place more densely neato.

The options that seem like a good fit for me are guerilla gardening. Or maybe organizing some people to put in nicely crafted (if unauthorized) bike parking sculptures. Those are just small examples, but things like that and the barter system described in the article are on the right track. Has to be cheap (since the money is already gone). Has to make the place actually nicer.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:41 PM
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Nope, Ben, your first instincts were right - these people are insufferable. Particularly the one who is planning to age hams in the middle of a city.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:49 PM
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6: Learning how to call contra dances, general preventative spackling and cleaning, I have no idea what to do about the schools, keeping reusable waste out of the general, contaminating waste streams...

...don't know what to do about energy-hungry buildings in the 'too far to bike' suburbs.

I've seen lovely rural mansions abandoned because the energy got expensive; ex-slaveholding places are salted with them. The ones in Jamaica were lasting well because they were built of coquina and couldn't fall down; my favorite adaptation was having the galleried ground floors turned into barns, with the people living above. Ramshackle wooden stall doors between the fluted arches of the entry salon.

I don't think we can do that with buildings made of gypsum and OSB.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 12:53 PM
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Yes, God knows why people think that you can deal with processing meat in the middle of a big city like New York.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:08 PM
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There's a reason why there's no "Ham-Aging District" in New York City. Prosciutto is aged up in the mountains, because there it won't take on flavours from the clear air.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:18 PM
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Artisanal food? Old news; ongoing trend. Artisanal food becoming big in Brooklyn? A good human interest story or trend piece.

Artisanal food supported by a system of, as Ben noticed but the author himself apparently didn't, barter and apprenticeship? Published on page D1? Why wasn't it on page A1 or in the financial section? Wait, what a silly question: the products being made are ultimately marketed to people rich enough to be part of the NYT's target market, so it's treated as quaint and innovative all at the same time.

Keep fiddling, you bastards, we never liked Rome anyway.

It makes me wish I had gone hunting as a kid. Most guys I know did, and more than a few girls, but my dad was from out of state so it just wasn't a family tradition for us like it was for everyone else. I'll make a poor hunter-gatherer.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:19 PM
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"Mmmm, this ham is loaded with civic goodness!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:19 PM
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On the other hand, this is awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:22 PM
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I find it endearing, even (as Negativland once said of Christianity) thought-provoking.

That's not what Negativland said at all.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:23 PM
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Not in "Christianity is Stupid", but in "Helter Stupid".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:35 PM
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I don't see what's so blessed about cheesemakers at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:47 PM
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A friend of my sister's just shot his first boar, prompted by reading Omnivore's Dilemma. Went out hunting twice. First time they started before dawn, trekked six hours in the heightened perception that Pollan describes, didn't find anything. Second time, a small boar was waiting in the pasture adjacent to the cabin when they woke up. No hunting required.

I asked him if it matched his expectations. He said he'd thought about it a lot, so it mostly did. Thought he'd get the heightened perception and did, enjoyed it. Didn't mind field dressing the boar. Two things were different from his expectations. First, he enjoyed feeding it to people even more than he thought. Second, he took it to a community college to be butchered (I guess they have a program that teaches that) and realized he'd never considered that step at all. There were a ton of choices to make about cuts and he was entirely unprepared to make them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:07 PM
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Too late for this advice to be any good, but wild boar and free range pork are two of the few meats that still need to be well cooked to prevent trihinosis. (Bear is the other). Commercial pork cooked rare is pretty much safe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:11 PM
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You know, people like to cite the Omnivore's Dilemma as the inspiration for their boar-hunting, but I can't help wondering about the influence of the Lost character John Locke.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:26 PM
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"When baking no-knead bread in Dutch ovens was popular a couple of years ago"

I just hope none of you are still doing that! *So* 2007.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:26 PM
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Hey, I get my coffee at Gorilla Cafe, pictured in the NYT photo gallery. Good coffee! I nearly mistook one of the people sitting out front in the photo for myself, but I don't have any shoes that color.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:28 PM
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I am still buying Mother's Pride in a nice plastic bag. Which is the way of my people.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:28 PM
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19 - There's a show on here (not sure if it's on atm, but has been on for a couple of series I think and presumably will be on again) called Kill it, cook it, eat it which does exactly what it says on the tin. I think Lost has a lot to answer for.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:29 PM
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Hmph. Of course my hobby-artisinal consumable is one of the few that's illegal to barter (or sell), so I guess I'll have to wait for the total collapse before I get in on this action.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:30 PM
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FWIW, we used to get poached things, brought to the back door when our neighbours had more than they needed.* So I'm not entirely ignorant of cooking/preparing wild food.

* realistic that probably happened only a couple of times when I was as a kid, but the memory of rabbits and other things arriving is quite vivid.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:32 PM
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17: Further evidence that the Michael Pollan cult has gotten out of hand.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:32 PM
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Whence the focus on hunting and killing? Hey, go for it if you must, but food *preservation* is the important skill.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:36 PM
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re: 27

Yeah. Something we've lost. My wife's family have a huge larder where they keep all the preserves they make over the year. The striking thing is the labour involved. The apricots will come into season and then my mother-in-law, and two sister-in-laws spend about 3 days doing nothing else but preparing them. It's insane drudgery. But come the 'end of days' they'll be the ones surviving.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:38 PM
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28: It's not such terrible drudgery if you make a party out of it, is it? But yes, I know what you mean. Still, it's necessary, and we've become a downright lot of stupid animals if we no longer know how to do it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:42 PM
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Whence the focus on hunting and killing? Hey, go for it if you must, but food *preservation* is the important skill.

Animals are just food that is preserving itself until we get around to eating them.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:43 PM
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It's not such terrible drudgery if you make a party out of it, is it?

I clearly need more community-minded friends because if I had three days of canning to do, it would be me and NPR.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:52 PM
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re: 29

I think that's OK if you are doing it for fun bourgeois reasons, the party element. When you are doing it as a primary source of food, it's not. The sheer amount of time they spend as various crops come into season is pretty amazing.

Obviously some of it is done communally, it's not necessarily lonely work, but it's hard and time-consuming.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:54 PM
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What's with all the businesses employing the "Bklyn" spelling?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 2:55 PM
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20: Actually, I've moved on to no-knead bread, stage 2: make a multiloaf batch of no-knead dough and leave it in the fridge, pulling off lumps to bake over the course of a week. Had fresh rolls for breakfast this morning; preheated the oven and spent two minutes shaping the rolls when I got up, put them in 20 minutes later, and took them out and ate them 20 minutes after that.

I will probably get bored and quit soon, but for now I'm entertaining myself with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:02 PM
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I think that's OK if you are doing it for fun bourgeois reasons, the party element. When you are doing it as a primary source of food, it's not.

I don't get it. Why not? It's alot of work, sure, but then you have homegrown apricot preserves! I've never done this myself, mind you, but I can't imagine it's any more work than, say, homebrewing beer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:04 PM
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32: Yep, I've done it in the bourgeois party sense and it's hard for me to fathom what it would be like to feel that you've got 50 lbs of food (or much more) about to go bad if you don't keep canning, canning, canning (or drying or pickling or what have you). I find it stressful as a fun activity.

And I think that as long as people can read and can experiment a bit,* we're not in danger of losing the ability to preserve our food. What are the Foxfire books for if not the preservation of our memories on how to preserve other things?

*I am not discounting the wisdom that accumulates over the years of doing something, but I do think that sometimes we overstate our ancestors abilities at basic things like that. There were a lot of bad housekeepers in the 19th century and before.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:05 PM
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34: Okay, now you just made that sound awfully easy. And fresh, hot rolls for breakfast! I may have to check this no-knead stuff out.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:06 PM
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35: I think he means that scale and the reasons behind doing it matter, not that it can't be a fun activity with rewarding products.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:07 PM
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why the scunner against kneading?

I don't get it. Why not? It's alot of work, sure, but then you have homegrown apricot preserves!

A vegetable garden is fun, but subsistence farming, less so apparently.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:08 PM
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37: It's incredibly easy. The recipe, if you haven't seen it. Just let it sit overnight and it's ready to go.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:10 PM
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35: If it's all you're doing for 3 straight days, it certainly is more work than home-brewing.

I mean, a big part of it is simply that when you try to make a good portion of your food in a pre-industrial-revolution sort of way, suddenly you're living the hours of a pre-industrial-revolution person. And that's one hell of a lot of time to spend on food preparation for not-too-diverse of a diet.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:11 PM
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More seriously, the difference is the "ability to stop if you want" element that makes all the difference between an all-night rave and noise/sleep torture in Abu Ghraib. If ttaM's relatives wanted to say "do you know what, I'm fucking sick of apricot jam and Wimbledon's on telly, let's sack the preserves party this year", they couldn't, which is what makes it a chore.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:12 PM
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|| For Ben.|>

If it's all you're doing for 3 straight days, it certainly is more work than home-brewing.

It's been a long while since I tried my hand myself, but I recall ridiculous amounts of time sanitizing bottles, boiling water, boiling mash, taking temps, taking specific gravity readings, monitoring fermentation, bottling...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:17 PM
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Er, let me try that again...

|| For Ben.|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:19 PM
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Eh. I've occasionally cooked for groups for several days. As you'd expect, it is pure labor. If there's a lot of need, I can maintain that for a few days. But I have no illusions that an afternoon of shelling or pitting stays fun. Or that other people will recognize the need and offer to help.

I have never wanted to own a restaurant or cafe.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:20 PM
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39: Combination of time and that a really wet dough doesn't need much kneading, and can make nicer bread than a drier dough. I've made bread in the past a fair amount, but most recipes I've worked with involve being home or near home for most of a day, and actively working on the bread for a fair amount of that time -- kneading (punching down, kneading again) is timeconsuming. The bread I made this morning took my seven-year-old five minutes to get the (4 ingredient) dough mixed last night (I took over the last thirty seconds of stirring to make sure there weren't any lumps of unincorporated flour), and five minutes this morning to make the rolls.

I don't know that this will turn into a habit, but it easily might. Kneaded bread couldn't possibly be a habit, I don't have the time for it without abandoning something more important.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:21 PM
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I have never wanted to own a restaurant or cafe.

Seriously; every time I read a cook's memoirs or even just a lengthy introduction to a cook book I cannot imagine the intense amount of labor needed to become a successful chef.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:22 PM
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40 -- so, for the rolls, do you just dispense with the cast iron pot bit?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:22 PM
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41 and 42 get it right.

They aren't farmers. But they have a large 'garden' [it's about the size of half a football field] where they grow pretty much all the fruit and veg they eat. That means it's seriously labour intensive, and my impression is that it's the preserving part that's the really densely concentrated boring work. And, I'd imagine not entirely coincidentally, the preserving part seems primarily the women's work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:23 PM
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a pre-industrial-revolution sort of way

Industrial revolution = buying canned goods at the store? I thought that came along much later.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:24 PM
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49: Hey, what about 36 and 38? I demand recognition!!

(Or, you know, whatever).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:25 PM
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re: 50

Actually, I get the impression from reading the odd bit of social history that workers at the heart of the industrial revolution -- factory workers in Lancashire, say -- didn't do much cooking or food preparation at all. They didn't have time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:26 PM
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Kneaded bread couldn't possibly be a habit, I don't have the time for it without abandoning something more important.

Standmixer, dough hook, easy peasy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:26 PM
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re: 51

Sorry! Yes, 36 and 38, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:27 PM
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the difference is the "ability to stop if you want" element that makes all the difference between an all-night rave and noise/sleep torture in Abu Ghraib

Dsquared and the NYT Dining section have come up with the new prisoner work-to-rehabilitation program. Train them up in butchering, cheese- and chocolate-making, preservation, and maybe some basic production and sound-mixing. Then set up halfway houses throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Ukrainian Village, Echo Park, Mission District, and Portland.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:27 PM
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it's the preserving part that's the really densely concentrated boring work

Can you tell how they feel about? All monklike and meditative? Happy to see their family and nonchalant about getting on with it? Resentful? Do they talk about small tweaks to the system when they aren't doing it?

(If I'm guessing the structure of your family right...) Do you think any of them would have taken to this as adults if they hadn't grown up with it?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:28 PM
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52: Yeah, it seems to me that home food preservation is dependent on other things. (Who's working and where.) When I was a kid we still did it, putting up everything from green beans and tomatoes and pickles to beef.

(Canned beef on shelves in the not-so-well-lit basement? Scary looking.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:30 PM
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re: 56

These are my in-laws, and we don't really share a language, so I only have a vague sense. It's just what they do, I think. I'd imagine they bitch and moan about it like everyone does when doing a boring chore. But I don't think the idea of not doing it would be an idea that would be seriously entertained.

My wife has absolutely no intention of carrying on the tradition.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:31 PM
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All monklike and meditative?

Have you done much canning? It's pretty stressful, with keeping things sterile and dealing with things under pressure.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:32 PM
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Yep. Put up jams every year as a kid. Canned tomatoes in college.

I was just trying to guess the range of possible responses. Three women who've done it for years could be meditative about it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:33 PM
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48: Embarrassingly, I bought a new cookbook, with a slightly different recipe for no-knead bread. It's a little bit drier (not much, but some). A roll is a fist-sized lump of incredibly wet, sticky dough out of the big vat in your refrigerator; you roll it in just enough flour that you can handle it, and then stretch it and fold it under until the outside is smooth. Let it rest for 20 minutes, slide it onto a preheated pizza stone, and bob's your uncle.

You could probably do it just fine with the other no-knead recipe -- I'd add some extra flour to the recipe, because when I made that recipe, it was so wet that I couldn't imagine successfully shaping it. (Still good, but the dough was so soft it was practically batter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:34 PM
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Meditative in the sense of moving smoothly and familiarly and repetitively.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:34 PM
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I think I'm just reacting negatively to the idea of romanticizing it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:36 PM
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53: It's still a project, even with the mixer. (Like, the mixer cuts 20 minutes of kneading to 10, and saves muscular effort, but you're still around monitoring the bread for five hours or so start to finish.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:37 PM
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61: Why is that embarrassing? I've been thinking about buying that book, actually. Would you recommend it? (Keeping in mind that I'm the sort of person who collects cookbooks, not the sort who demands absolute utility from every single one).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:40 PM
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I know it can suck. But I also know that doing hours of work with my sister can be sustaining. Some stints of manual labor are pleasant. Since ttaM's in-laws keep returning to it, I'm wondering how they feel about it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:41 PM
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61: That's encouraging to me because I bought that book a while back, but haven't tried any of the recipes because I don't eat enough bread to want a full loaf. I'll have to try that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:43 PM
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Since ttaM's in-laws keep returning to it, I'm wondering how they feel about it.

I'm guessing "hungry".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:43 PM
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Shaolin monk preserve-making meditation. I would watch Jet Li doing that for hours.

The advantage to doing it yourself is usually some perishable treat -- blood puddings, the froth skimmed from the jam, etc. But yes, work. On the other hand, possibly work is not actually avoidable, overall.

---

You butcher in the city because meat will keep itself fresh while walking there. Then the genius of the place comes up with a recipe that uses the flavors the cures absorb; this explains a lot of rustbelt sandwiches.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:45 PM
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It's embarrassing because I own a lot more cookbooks than would be justified by the chance that I'm actually going to cook dinner on any given night; Buck's the one who does 90% of the functional cooking, as opposed to frivolities like homebaked bread, and gets by with the Joy of Cooking and nothing else.

But I'd absolutely buy it; having bread dough sitting in the fridge to do random things with is fun. It lends itself to improvisation; I've made a couple batches of the basic dough, and have made it into freeform loaves, rolls, a cheese filled woven thingie, and garlic knots. There are other dough recipes, which look good but I haven't made them yet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:45 PM
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7, 10, 12: I can see that neither of you has ever had a fine, fine diesel-cured ham.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:45 PM
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67: Try it -- a batch of dough isn't that big, and lasts over a week; if you made and ate a small loaf every other day, I think it could easily work for a single person.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:48 PM
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70: Great, thanks for the evaluation - I think I shall buy it.

And embarrassing is my cookbook collection, which is massive and full of books that I might, one day make one recipe from. But for the time being I enjoy reading them and thinking about it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:52 PM
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I think I'm missing a comma up there.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:52 PM
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Then the genius of the place comes up with a recipe that uses the flavors the cures absorb; this explains a lot of rustbelt sandwiches.

Huh? All the stuff I can think of (corned beef, reubens, pastrami, etc.) comes from the Old Countries. They're definitely spiced enough to resist most flavors that the city air might impart though. As dsquared mentioned, you don't see too much city-aged braseola or proscuitto. (We could probably do speck though.)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:52 PM
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A hundred years from now no one will eat anything but diesel-cured. Luddites.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:04 PM
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I have never wanted to own a restaurant or cafe.

Owning—provided you have the nerves/money—is not the labor-intensive part.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:09 PM
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76: But will it still taste the same after we're making all our diesel by the Fisher-Tropsch process?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:11 PM
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s/Fisher/Fischer/


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:12 PM
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75: Huh? All the stuff I can think of (corned beef, reubens, pastrami, etc.) comes from the Old Countries.
So, nu, they don't have cities in the old country?

Also, the Reuben sandwich was invented in Omaha, Nebraska, a city still notorious for the odor of its stockyards.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:21 PM
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77: My brother owns a most excellent, wonderfully successful coffee shop (Bipartisan Cafe, 79th and SE Stark, Portland OR, family-friendly, best homemade pies in town, please no guns or nudity) and he's really, really pissed now, because the whole time that the banks were shoveling out loans to everyone who could walk or hop, they were refusing to refinance his high-interest loans.

So he really doesn't own it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:21 PM
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People will be arguing about it, Cosma.

It would seem that a stockyard odor would be about right for a sandwich meat.

You used to be able to smell the Henry's brewery in Portland three miles away when the wind was right. You can't imagine how nice that would be for someone like me.

But now a soulless modern corporation, different than the local soulless modern corporation, has moved it to some other city, probably Sleater-Kinneyville.

How's the revision going, Cosma?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:24 PM
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Are your brother and the pie-making sister in business together?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:24 PM
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Yes. Sister-in-law. A pie recipe that came out from Kentucky on an oxcart, perhaps, perhaps following the Oregon Trail.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:26 PM
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Dude, you've been calling her your sister for years. This is hardly the jaundiced attitude toward relationships we expect from you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:29 PM
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I smell a trap.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:32 PM
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Apparently relationships are acceptable so long as they're accompanied by delicious pie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:37 PM
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80: But those aren't Rust Belt sandwiches, since they predate it (except for the Reuben, apparently). I was just curious which foods clew was thinking of in particular.

As for whether corned beef and pastrami originated in the city or in the countryside/villages, who the hell knows?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:49 PM
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It is good to see that Emerson doesn't find his "principles" uncomfortably constricting.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:52 PM
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Diesel cured ham? In Adam Tooze's The Wages of Destruction, there's a wonderful photo of some Nazi bigwig meeting the first run of F-T aviation gasoline - two chemical engineers are toting a giant test tube, the sort of lab glassware that you can't look at without thinking "What if I dropped it?", while His Nibs sniffs it like a claret cork.

(I'm getting lead, and octane, octane with a slight overtone of machine-gunning refugees on the roads.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 4:54 PM
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As for whether corned beef and pastrami originated in the city or in the countryside/villages, who the hell knows?

Food historians. Corned beef is just beef in a brine, right? So, my guess is that it predates much urbanization - originating in the countryside. Same with pastrami and that sort of thing. Now, the classic deli sandwiches - those seem to be urban creations.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:00 PM
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Apparently relationships are acceptable so long as they're accompanied by delicious pie.

Just about anything is acceptable if accompanied by delicious pie.

I do my own jams and chutneys just because. This year, I'm putting up spaghetti sauce in preparation for being off my feet [effing knee surgery postponed again...]. I used to do veg when I lived in the country & had a garden that produced unbelievable amounts of things [it had been a sheep enclosure , so the soil was amply enriched], but, given that I can get fresh veg all year round in CA, I've given that up.

I inherited my grandmother's canning kettle. It has an interior bottle rack that can be lifted, making it easy both to sterilise the jars and remove the filled bottles after they've been processed. But it is an all-day thing.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:02 PM
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COMPLETELY OFF TOPIC: TO THE LA MEET-UP FOLKS:

PYC sent me the group picture taken by his lovely Plus One. Email me at domineditrixATgmailDOTcom if you want a copy. I'd like to put it up on the Unfogged Flicker site - let me know if you need to have your face blurred/turned into Brad Pitt's, etc. Identifying names will be your Unfogged moniker.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:02 PM
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82: I have reduced the word-count by 10% by several rounds of line-by-line editing, so I can now add the stuff the referees demanded within the space limit set by the editor. I can no longer read something without thinking of how to shorten it.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:04 PM
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I inherited my grandmother's canning kettle. It has an interior bottle rack that can be lifted, making it easy both to sterilise the jars and remove the filled bottles after they've been processed.

Oh, I love those. I really want one but they're all so HUGE and I don't have a ton of storage space.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:08 PM
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The awesome used cookware store near me has a few giant copper things that I can only assume are preserving pans for those who really mean it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:10 PM
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I'm actually not a big pie eater at all, but the pie-making s-i-l is by far the pleasantest of all my inlaws.

Are my s-i-l's pies worth flying cross country for?

Yes! Absolutely! Take the next flight out!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:18 PM
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94: By successive line-by-line edits I've reduced the word-count by 10% in order to add the material the referees asked for within the space limit I was given.
When I read something now I can only think of ways to shorten it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:31 PM
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Or:

By successive line-by-line edits I've reduced the word-count by 10% in order to add the material the referees asked for within the space limit I was given.
When I read something now I can only think of ways to shorten it.

I have reduced the word-count by 10% by several rounds of line-by-line editing, so I can now add the stuff the referees demanded within the space limit set by the editor. I can no longer read something without thinking of how to shorten it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:32 PM
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Iterated linear edits decimated length, allowing new material's introduction within space limit. Now in reading I think only of space reduction.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:34 PM
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"space limit" s/b "word count" and then there will also have been no repeated words.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:35 PM
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By successive line-by-line edits I've reduced the word-count by 10% in order to add the material the referees asked for within the space limit I was given. When I read something now I can only think of ways to shorten it.

I have reduced the word-count by 10% by several rounds of line-by-line editing, so I can now add the stuff the referees demanded within the space limit set by the editor. I can no longer read something without thinking of how to shorten it.

Not much really. The draft looked better.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:35 PM
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Now repeat on 33 29.5pp. of math.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:38 PM
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Ooh, I've played that game. Good times.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:38 PM
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I had a friend who was editing for "Science", which had a character-count maximum. Spaces counted as characters.

Some journals absurdly demand only first initials for authors, which means that J. Smiths should just give it up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:39 PM
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When I read something now I can only think of ways to shorten it.

You wouldn't know it from my blog comments, but this is true of me in general. It's getting worse with age, too. Cut, cut, cut!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:40 PM
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John keeps changing "referees demanded" to "referees asked for". In my experience only the former is ever apt. (And what do they demand? References to their at most tangentially related papers, of course.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:46 PM
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I bet that Euler and Gauss were real whizzes at this. That's probably why they're held in such high esteem.

Can you put in a few "the proof will be left to the reader"s?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:54 PM
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I sort of slipped into my own personal editing practices, which do tend to shorten, but not much.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:55 PM
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Some journals absurdly demand only first initials for authors,

I used to be on h-russia, and it was not uncommon for people to post the last names and initials of people they came across in the their research, always with the same question: would anyone happen to know what the initials stand for?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:20 PM
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I reduced the word-count by 10% so I can add the stuff the referees demanded within the space limit set. I can no longer read without thinking of shortening it.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:21 PM
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We leave "it" to the reader's imagination.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:21 PM
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I inherited my grandmother's canning kettle. It has an interior bottle rack that can be lifted, making it easy both to sterilise the jars and remove the filled bottles after they've been processed.

I don't see how you can effectively can things without one of these.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:23 PM
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111: but you left out how, and mine was shorter and more perspicuous anyway!

I don't see how you can effectively can things without one of these.

I have effectively made admittedly small amounts of jelly and marmalade without one.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:29 PM
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I've heard that the best shortening is Crisco.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:34 PM
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This absurdly expensive academic paperback is a really good book about women and work in the early industrial revolution in the US. I don't remember if there was much about canning. My impression is that canning and preserves and that sort of thing became a bigger deal towards the end of the 19th century, gradually industrial canning became pretty important, then you got refrigeration reducing dependency on canning beginning in the 1930s.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:36 PM
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Some referees will not recommend an article for publication without demanding baked goods.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:37 PM
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Someone upthread mentioned the Foxfire books.

36: And I think that as long as people can read and can experiment a bit,* we're not in danger of losing the ability to preserve our food. What are the Foxfire books for if not the preservation of our memories on how to preserve other things?

Part of the problem I fuss over from time to time is that very few people have ever heard of the Foxfire books, much less have copies of them in their possession. I wouldn't minimize the extent to which moderns have no clue how to do things, and (without the internet) would not be able to find out.

But I'm a broken record on this. It doesn't really need to be said again except on the occasions on which someone waves a hearty hand to say that they're sure everyone can figure things out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:43 PM
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I do a small amount of canning every year (approx. a dozen jars of jelly, give or take, depending upon the output of my parents' guava tree). I don't have any special canning apparatus, because I don't do enough canning to justify buying and storing another piece single-purpose equipment. But maybe that's what's necessary to transform my jellymaking process (sweaty, laborious and stressful) to the smooth and meditative routine described by some above. I have burn scars all over my hands from splashed molten jelly. Ow ow ow.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:46 PM
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Actually the worst scar on my hands is from the no-knead bread. Remember to wear your oven mitts, boys and girls, before you pick up your red-hot dutch oven.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:48 PM
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EB: with all due respect, you don't know dick about "absurdly expensive". In Central Asian studies a lot of essential books cost $80-$120, Not reference books, just books. There are books I've been watching for 2 years hoping for the price to go below $50.

And they're usually great books, too. At least they're not crap.

I'm sure that someone can trump that, but eb has led a sheltered life and I'm very happy for him..


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:48 PM
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117: If that was the issue, one of us could just bake them pie and cookies.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:49 PM
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Same in hard sci, John.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:51 PM
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116: Also decent is Sue Shephard's Pickled, Potted and Canned. It's a popular history book, but chock full of great information.

118: You really think that in a few generations no one is going to be able to preserve food and wouldn't be able to access information on it if they so desired, with or without the internet? In the case of an apocalypse, many many people are going to be dead. But I don't think that it is going to be because the majority haven't figured out how to preserve food.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:52 PM
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121: I'm sorry to have offended you in any way. $35 is indeed dirt cheap for a short paperback in a popular field that's widely read that does not appear to be priced for the library/institutional market. My mistake.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:54 PM
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Someone should give a grant to help "Science" print more pages, on the condition that they not increase the number of ads (if they have ads) or the number of articles.

I doubt that that will work. I bet the roots of their editing practices are deeply set and in the authoritarian, obsessive-compulsive lobe of the brain.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:54 PM
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Yeah, $35 for a paperback seems quite reasonable to me, since I'm used to prices like this.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:54 PM
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$34.95 is pretty low for "absurdly expensive academic book".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:55 PM
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125: I've been holding off buying that book despite the fact that it's really somewhat essential to my dissertation because it is expensive, if it makes you feel any better, eb.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:55 PM
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I don't mean to pile on, though.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:55 PM
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Oh never mind. I just meant for regular people who might be inclined to pick up a book but who aren't academics.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:56 PM
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126: Science, Nature, PNAS, etc. now let you put "supplemental information" of unlimited length online. (I refereed something for the Proceedings where the supplement was 200 pages; mostly graphs, though.) Our journal won't do this.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:57 PM
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A lobe recently discovered by -- ahem -- me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:57 PM
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131: oh, well, yeah, for that. But then almost every academic book is absurdly expensive.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:57 PM
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133: Dr. Crockus, I presume?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:58 PM
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119: Yes, absolutely the canning pot apparatus is worth it! If you have the storage space, as well as counter space, the canning of like 30 jars of tomatoes is a fairly smooth process: things just go from here, to here, then another foot over here ... and start over, back around. Not so bad.

And Ow. I remember your burned hands story, picking up the hot pot without oven mitts.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:01 PM
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134: True enough. I've basically stopped buying new academic books since I stopped "needing" to. (Also, I should read the ones I have.) The standard history price for paperbacks does seem to have jumped about 30% in the last few years, so admittedly I'm still working with old assumptions.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:03 PM
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I had this epiphany recently that I can charge books to my research account if they're related to my research. Somehow it hadn't occurred to me.

I don't understand the appeal of those journals with a maximum 4-page limit. I also don't understand why some people like to write 80+ page papers. If I ever start a journal, I think I'll demand that every paper be 23 pages. Precisely.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:05 PM
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137: So true! When I started my program books were considerably cheaper than they are now. Fortunately me and my hundreds of books are quite comfortable by now. And I don't have to read anything new, right?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:06 PM
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I should read the ones I have.

What a reasonable-sounding and yet totally unrealistic goal (or maybe that's just me).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:08 PM
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I don't want the product of the canning of like 30 jars of tomatoes, nor do I ever have the tomatoes on hand to engage in such an endeavor, so that works out for me. I love my jar tongs, though, which are useful for canning in even the smallest quantities.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:09 PM
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I don't want the product of the canning of like 30 jars of tomatoes

I knew someone would say that. It's still easier to have the pot: it holds 6 jars at a time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:12 PM
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139: And I don't have to read anything new, right?

History already happened. So, no you don't.

140: I like to pretend otherwise every now and then. In practice I end up accumulating cheap mass market paperbacks or paperbacks in awful condition for less than the cost of a soda and a candy bar. But those are usually fiction, which I don't read often enough, so that's not too bad.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:12 PM
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No offense intended, EB. But I've been waiting for so long for so many books to fall even to $50 that the $35 was jarring.

On the good side, I found that one of the 10-12 books on my list may have been remaindered because it just fell in price about 60%. And without you, I might not have caught it in time. So thanks.

I just hope that it isn't an abridgement.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:13 PM
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Regarding the cheapness or expensiveness of books these days, are people not shopping for *used* copies? For certain kinds of texts, you won't find them used, that's true.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:14 PM
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In each of several ex-industrial NE cities I've been fed some gaudily condimented sandwich-like thing (Reubens; or, say, chili with spaghetti and sausage, served in a hard roll) that was introduced to me as the best thing ever and a delicacy particular to the locale. And they all had preserved meat in them. Further than that, I am talking through my hat; but I don't believe any implied claim that in the old days/old world everyone ate clean pure food from the hills.

London, for some centuries, stored its grain at one end of the London Bridge and ground it in a mill there; it is said to have developed a particular tang of mildew. So I'll hypothesize some glowing ham from the dark satanic mills, with or without country-cured aflotoxins. (Haven't found out what made cured hams glow, though. Have found a claim that mountain ham is not there for the air, but the cold: "Temperature is everything in handling meat. This is why most hams are made in mountain areas: You need at least 30 days below freezing or the meat will rot." and the cheap space.)

Women preserved food for winter long before sugar was cheap enough that they were all sweet preserves. I made leather-britches beans once, out of curiosity, and maybe I got them wrong, but they matched everyone's description:tough and bland. Potted goose is kept in its own fat (I don't know why that works). We might have lost some traditional pickles: I'd feel safer learning to recognize the right tang from an experienced practitioner than from a book; and it was known that not all people hosted the right bacteria long before anyone knew what bacteria were -- there's a passage in Dream of the Red Chamber about it.

119: I think the cheapest burn-sparing equipment is a jar lifter (not the rack that fits one pot, a one-jar-at-a-time version), canning funnel, long-handled deep-bellied spoon (good for other things), and lots of cloth towels (ditto). I use the funnel all the time, because I keep leftovers in canning jars. I have splashed out for the plastic one-piece lids.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:15 PM
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132: Yes, and at least in my field, the "Supplementary Material" business has gotten way out of hand. It's now not uncommon for a paper in one of the "high impact" journals, where, say, 4 figures and their associated text will be allowed in the main body of the paper, for that same paper to have in excess of 8 figures in the Supplementary Material. This leads to some absurd situations where the main text includes entire paragraphs that discuss figures that you don't have in front of you if you didn't print them out. It's hard to articulate how frustrating and ridiculous this is. IF YOU'RE DISCUSSING A FIGURE IN THE MAIN TEXT, IT IS NOT "SUPPLEMENTAL." IF THAT DATA WAS CENTRAL TO YOUR ARGUMENT, YOU NEED TO PUBLISH YOUR PAPER IN A JOURNAL WHERE LONG FORM ARTICLES ARE ALLOWED. Fuckers.

And then, remember that business they told you grade school about the cornerstone of science being the reproducibility of results? And how scientists shared their methods in great detail so that other scientists could easily repeat their experiments? You'd think this would mean that lengthy Methods sections would be considered important parts of papers. Well this is true for the specialty journals, but not for many high impact journals, where you often get only a couple paragraphs. Nature, at least, is now including a page-long Methods section along with the pdfs that you download from their site.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:15 PM
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Cosma, Crockus was a charlatan. I'm the real deal. I thought you were on top of these things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:16 PM
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Potted goose is kept in its own fat (I don't know why that works).

I believe, though I'm dredging up old memories here, that this works because the fat has some of the same effect of canning in that it produces an anaerobic environment. (Not always a good one, which is why canning is more popular).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:18 PM
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147: Is Nature still useful if it's the high-status version of Science News? Or do you find use of methods that really haven't been published elsewhere?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:20 PM
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146: I have splashed out for the plastic one-piece lids.

Plastic one-piece lids? I admit replacing the two-piece metal lids on my canning jars is a drag.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:23 PM
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149: Anaerobicity makes sense to me, but... whoa, botulism! Especially since the last recipe I read didn't even have you boil everything together and let it congeal in one delicious mass; you packed cooked meat-bits in a pot and poured fat over them. Open-kettle preserving with meat. Edgy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:23 PM
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I'm not really militant on any food question, despite my yuppy baiting. This includes the ancient/modern fights. But based on the CDC reports, modern commercial pork is apparently trichinosis free. There are very few cases any more, and they all come from free-range hogs, wild boar, or wild bear.

It MAY be that everyone whatsoever is cooking their pork properly, after all that propaganda starting in first grade, but out of 300 milion people including a lot of recent immigrants, I don't think so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:23 PM
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151: They only work for fridge and freezer, you can't can with them. I just find them slightly more watertight than the metal lids not-canned, so I like them for traveling with leftovers. Ball makes them, I think.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:26 PM
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Doesn't botulism and canning figure in East of Eden (text version)?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:27 PM
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154: Okay. I was wondering about the hot water bath for canning -- boiling water -- with plastic lids.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:30 PM
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152: I looked it up (I'm procrastinating doing my powerpoint presentation for lecture tomorrow).

According to Shephard, Pickled, Potted and Canned:

"Potting, essentially a technique that involves sealing cooked food under melted fat, produces a food that is cooked at high temperature with plenty of fat and very little water. Most organisms are thus killed or entombed in fat as it cools and solidifies, unable to move or proliferate. The hard "skin" of fat also keeps airborne contaminants from entering. As a way of preserving food, however, it must have carried many risks from food poisoning, especially in some of the early recipes, which recommended pounding and repotting after some food had been taken, without resterilizing by reheating the food. But despite the claims for long shelf life, potted food was mostly a luxury item probably consumed quite quickly in most households."


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:31 PM
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150: My opinion on high-impact publishing are perhaps not as intemperate as 147 might make them seem. There certainly is a value in short form articles, since we're all busy and stuff (though not too busy to comment!) and don't all need every detail. And the tradition of short paper in Nature, long paper in J. Specialist is a reasonable one.

But certain methodological details in my field can be pretty idiosyncratic to each study, yes. How a visual stimulus was set up or how the data were analyzed for example. And a lot of the time this stuff can be sussed out with enough effort. Maybe my real complaint is that the effort to squeeze everything into the high-impact box can lead to a paper that is much harder to read (because of all the ridiculous cross-referencing that must be done) than it would be if it had been laid out in a more traditional format.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:35 PM
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Now I'm remembering a blog discussion where people in my subfield were accused by people in a neighboring subfield of being arrogant elitist pricks because we don't go through the ritual of trying to cram our work into 4 pages to publish in "prestigious" journals. (Academics are weird.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:37 PM
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You people canning tomatoes and tomato sauces, how are you doing it? I thought for not-very-acidic things like sauces you needed pressure canners, and also that these are unwieldy or expensive for the home.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:37 PM
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||

PGD: Kenneth the Page responds to Bobby Jindal.

|>


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:44 PM
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160: You can test the pH and add acid if your tomatoes are too modern.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:46 PM
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You people canning tomatoes and tomato sauces, how are you doing it? I thought for not-very-acidic things like sauces you needed pressure canners, and also that these are unwieldy or expensive for the home.

I thought so too, and also that most of today's modern tomatoes definitely fell into the not-so-acidic category. Someone we sort of know who lives in small-town Alaska tells tales of the pressure canner maintenance guy who comes around every year so that everyone can engage in tomato canning in safety.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:48 PM
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Slow me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:48 PM
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160: Tomatoes are acidic, and don't need a pressure cooker. Just the hot bath immersion routine. For a tomato sauce (which I've never canned myself) I would think it's still acidic enough. I'd be surprised if it's not.

I would like to have a pressure cooker for canning other types of things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:50 PM
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pressure canners

That's what we had when I was a kid. That's what I meant in 59 by 'dealing with things under pressure'.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:52 PM
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That's what I meant in 59 by 'dealing with things under pressure'.

I thought you meant maybe very tense parents.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:55 PM
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The entire subject of science publishing pisses me off. Those guys (the publishers, grant managers, etc.) can go piss up a rope. Principal, you know Agent, don't you? No? Meet Agent. Agent? Meet Principal.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:56 PM
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Putting up the year's okra harvest wasn't that stressful.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:02 PM
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168: Yeah, fuck them. But they're sort of low on the list of capitalist oppressors, all things considered.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:08 PM
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Okra? Fuck, I'm flippin' out!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:09 PM
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the pressure canner maintenance guy who comes around every year

There's a pressure canner at my mom's house, and it's just lacking its pressure latch thingy across the top. My uncle said recently that he had a spare one of those, could have sworn it was in the basement -- he runs around in the basement for a short while -- no dice! Must have thrown it away! Bummer -- he looks seriously at his wife, wonders why they would have thrown such a thing away. Everyone denies having done that.

This kind of thing makes me remember and appreciate the old country folks who would (try to, anyway) hang on to something like that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:14 PM
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172: That's the problem with moving around all the time; so hard to hang on to that sort of stuff. I remember cleaning out the barn when we sold the family farm in the 1990s, which had been in our possession for, like, ever. You can imagine the amazing accumulation of stuff in that place. A kid's wonderland!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:21 PM
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It's the same way with cats. Oh for the old ways, when you could accumulate 75 or 100 cats and nobody would even think to criticize you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:22 PM
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The olden days, when folks would take the time to properly can their 75 cats afore the winter came.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:24 PM
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Thank goodness some people will be prepared when the apocalypse comes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:26 PM
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I am really way too susceptible to earworms:

"Can't we give ourselves one more can. Why can't we give okra one more chance? (... This is our last can, this is okra -- under pressure.)"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:28 PM
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You never know when you might need a spare cat.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:31 PM
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Maybe my real complaint is that the effort to squeeze everything into the high-impact box can lead to a paper that is much harder to read (because of all the ridiculous cross-referencing that must be done) than it would be if it had been laid out in a more traditional format.

Do researchers in other fields tend to put their papers up on their websites in a less edited form? When I'm looking up science or finance research from the past 5-7 years, it seems that about half the time I can find a copy of a published article up on one of the authors' websites even if it was in a prestigious journal. It might be a final working paper draft rather than the published version, but that means all the original figures, results, and methods will be in there.

I don't know if Science and Nature specifically forbid this sort of thing, or if it's just not done in other fields (at least not to the same extent). It should totally catch on though, it's really handy.

Also, discussions of expensive academic books have sent me looking for the Methods bible we used back in undergrad, and I'm pretty psyched that it seems to be cheap these days. I could've sworn it used to cost about £50 from the university bookstore. But if anyone else knows a really great reference book for DiffEq and Calculus methods, please let me know. (The new edition is really expensive.)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:31 PM
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It's very difficult to teach cats how to play kick the can. They just hide in the barn.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:31 PM
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180: I bet I could teach my cat to do it. She loves fetch .... cans would make it so much better!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:33 PM
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this is okra -- under pressure

Blume has frightened off any and all comments regarding this, sorry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:34 PM
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160: One adds lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid to the sauce, keeps ingredients like shrooms to a minimum, and processes the little buggers for about an hour.154: I love those lids! I have half the stuff in my kitchen in mason jars w/plastic lids, carefully marked with a label maker.

I also have about a dozen old-fashioned zine/ceramic lids that I'm going back and forth on about getting rid of. I love their look, but they are not safe for canning and a bit of a pain to clean. So I procrastinate.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:38 PM
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181: We have one cat who loves to fetch, as well. She has a favourite toy that she brings to us, then sits waiting for us to throw it. Over and over again until she tires of the game. She is very proud to have trained her hoomans well.

We are now going to try the third collar on her - with the first, she twigged to the fact that the safety-latch collars could be yanked off with a paw, then she learnt how to unbuckle the next collar. We're trying a buckle collar with a really long tab now, that I don't think she'll be able to nudge through the buckle. I will probably find out that I am wrong.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:46 PM
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One of those Celtic solid gold torque neckbands would be impossible to remove. They have to be installed by a smith. You bury them with the cat so that they're high status in cat heaven and can bully the other cats.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:53 PM
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184: Yep, mine is proud of it as well. And endlessly patient and endlessly fascinated with fetch, which is not a great combination for when I want to not be playing fetch.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:54 PM
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184: Dom, you have a collar on her because she goes outdoors? Don't take this the wrong way, but I've tended to be a bit careful: I like an outdoor-going cat to be able to get the collar off if he or she needs to, as I've had two cats get hung up on things by their collars and be unable to get out. That's not so good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:57 PM
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My parents' cat chased things but didn't fetch when they first got her. Then my sister taught her how to fetch during a weekend visit. This led to the cat fetching obsessively for a few weeks until she'd completely worn out her cat toys, at which point she went back to chase but don't fetch with new toys. Meanwhile, she constantly begs for attention.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:03 PM
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Nature and Science won't let you put up a preprint, but they don't seem to mind your putting the paper on your website, or even arxiv, if you wait a decent interval after the official publication date.

(Our cat is currently playing fetch with balled-up sheets of manuscript. It's satisfying to see her sink her fangs in.)


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:04 PM
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I adore okra pickles, the spicy ones. I should make my own, but haven't. I grew up canning and could easily take it up again, I think, and it would be totally worth it to have okra pickles around all the time. I make myself sick on them, though.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:04 PM
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The folks can salmon, which is pretty good.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:08 PM
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I wish I could salmon.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:10 PM
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I'm pretty sure I've never had okra in any form, whether fresh, frozen, pressure-cooked, or cooked under parental pressure. What am I missing? I can't help suspecting this is one of those food items for which one must develop an "acquired taste" unless the taste was acquired during childhood?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:10 PM
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arXiv is neato. I always forget to read more papers there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:11 PM
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I can't help suspecting this is one of those food items for which one must develop an "acquired taste" unless the taste was acquired during childhood?

It's one of those things which is delicious fried.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:13 PM
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I think of okra as distinctively a southern thing. But maybe that's just because of my one grandmother who used to cook it all the time.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:15 PM
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Okra is boss. I can't remember if I had it as a kid. I've never figured out why it strikes some people as so weird and yucky. Maybe they're just weird and yucky people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:16 PM
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193: It's been discussed here before, but basically okra has a tendency to turn to slime if overcooked or cooked wrongly, and it's pretty nasty then, at least to my palate. So it has to be done right. Redfoxtailshrub has written rapturously of it and has some receipts recipes at her blog. I'd never heard of okra pickles.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:19 PM
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but basically okra has a tendency to turn to slime if overcooked or cooked wrongly,

This is why I consider okra hit-or-miss.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:20 PM
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I grew up loving it fried, and only fell for the pickles as an adult. I find most people love the pickles because the gooeyness (which I generally love) is killed by the pickling, so it's all crisp and crunchy, and you get the texture of the seeds and the flavor without any viscous goo.

That said, I fucking love the viscous goo, too. Fried, you get this beautiful crunch surrounding a gooey fleshy seedy interior. It's all I can do not to try to hunt some down right now. And gumbo! And bhindi curry! And okra salad! Yes, I will happily eat it raw.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:20 PM
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I don't understand why the entire academic world hasn't yet thoroughly embraced arXiv or arXiv-like solutions. It's been around for a long time.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:20 PM
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Okra pickles sound really good, in fact. But maybe that's just because I love pickled things.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:21 PM
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Talk O'Texas makes good ones. Get the "spicy."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:27 PM
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I thought I didn't like okra, then I thought I only liked it in dry curries, and then I finally realized that, in fact, I love it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:28 PM
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I'm sure I've had okra but I can't remember it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:30 PM
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I don't understand why the entire academic world hasn't yet thoroughly embraced arXiv or arXiv-like solutions. It's been around for a long time.

Probably because of the remarkably evil nature of the academic world, with the prevalence of the oversized authoritarian-obsessive lobe. That's what naturally comes to mind, anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:31 PM
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Probably because of the remarkably evil nature of the academic world, with the prevalence of the oversized authoritarian-obsessive lobe.

Nice to see a nuanced and objective opinion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:41 PM
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viscous goo

Gross! Gross me out!

But this is a family blog, and my feelings about slimy foods have been recorded.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:42 PM
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But this is a family blog

Fuckin' a.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:44 PM
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Someone needs to teach Stephen Colbert how to pronounce Jörmungandr. Not to mention Loki.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:46 PM
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Nuance and Objectivity R Me, Essear.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:48 PM
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201: Laziness and inertia. But I think it's catching on, especially as more journals start to accept working versions of the papers being available before publication.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:57 PM
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And bhindi curry!

YES.

The mother of an ex gave me an amazing recipe for stuffed okra. You slice the individual okras open and stuff in a masala mixed with a chickpea flour base, and then fry them whole in mustard seeds. Some of the stuffing falls out of the pods and ends up coating everything. So yummy. So time intensive.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:00 PM
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Emerson is more nuanced than objective, I think. Which is not to say that he's especially nuanced, of course.

But what does okra taste like, okra-lovers? I have to admit, "viscous goo" doesn't immediately appeal to me, but I'm willing to keep an open mind. Is it bitter? bittersweet? savoury? slightly salty? Does it taste like green peas, or spinach, or cucumbers, or fiddleheads, or something else entirely?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:02 PM
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It's, like, a vegatable. It tastes vegetable-y. Maybe it's between... squash... and... a tomato? Fucked if I know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:06 PM
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On its own it's a bit bland in a green vegetable-y kind of way. It's kind of starchy. It fries up good. How do you answer a question like that? It tastes like itself, yet it is a vegetable. It is not in some strange, hitherto unkown flavor realm.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:07 PM
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213 sounds yum. And 215 seems pretty accurate to me. There's something a little carroty about the flavor, too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:07 PM
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"vegatable", wow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:07 PM
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Um, it tastes like okra. I don't mean that in a snarky way, I just can't think of another vegetable I'd compare it to. Zucchini maybe, when zucchini is on the rawer side of cooked and very fresh, and the moisture of the flesh sort of pops against your teeth.

I bet AWB can describe it better.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:08 PM
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Okra has a deep, mellow green taste, kinda bitter. I'll bet if you like fiddleheads you'll like okra, if you don't mind the texture.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:09 PM
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Bave gets it. Texture-wise, the gooeyness really does remind me of like summer squash or something like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:11 PM
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Hm, strikes me now that was describing the texture of okra with that comparison, and not the taste.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:11 PM
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The texture is like if a roasted jalapeno contained wonderful edible seeds that pop juicily in your mouth. I find the texture absolutely divine.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:15 PM
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Okay, I think I'm starting to get it. It's more squash-like than bitter-greens-like, though in its unadulterated form, it might taste a little bit bitter?

I do like fiddleheads, and the recipe in 213 sounds good to me.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:17 PM
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Man I could go for some fried okra right now.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:18 PM
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If you're on the fence, Okra is awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:19 PM
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but basically okra has a tendency to turn to slime if overcooked or cooked wrongly,

If you're frying it up, the trick here is not to include *any* water. In other words, if you wash it first, let it dry completely or towel dry it.

bhindi fried with onion and a few spices (cumin seed, cayenne, coriander, a little turmeric maybe) is dead easy and really yummy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:21 PM
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Laziness and inertia.

It's not just laziness and inertia. I like the approach, but it presumes a method of working that isn't an unambiguous win. I think arXiv works remarkably well, but it does beg some process questions too. Not that the `tried and true' is actually that good, but I think arXiv like approaches will improve a lot yet.

Oh, and some blame is squarely on publishers.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:25 PM
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Okra plant, very pretty, and the okra flower is sweet, but the fruit of the okra, is impossible to eat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:29 PM
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giant copper things

Like this? (Sorry to have missed the thread, but flu+migraine, not surprisingly, =suck.) Our CSA has an end-of-season deal where you can go (not convenient, a good hour away) and pick large amounts of whatever's left as part of your share. I'd happily trade a large part of my illusory self-employment for a few weekends of setting food aside.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:35 PM
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thank you, peter paul and JE


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:36 PM
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I like the approach, but it presumes a method of working that isn't an unambiguous win. I think arXiv works remarkably well, but it does beg some process questions too. Not that the `tried and true' is actually that good, but I think arXiv like approaches will improve a lot yet.

Maybe the difference is that arXiv, in high-energy physics, wasn't a huge departure from "tried and true". There was already a strong preprint culture; Gin/sparg just made it more efficient. My understanding is that arXiv did change things, substantially, but it would have been a gradual and natural change. Probably that isn't true in other fields, if people are accustomed to finding out about other people's work from journals rather than long before publication. (I don't know much about broader academic culture, so that sounds strange to me, but I guess it's how things work?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:41 PM
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I feel like, in the fields where I'm curious about papers, preprints have always been the name of the game. Seems like everybody has their papers on their web site. Might be less true for the more biological and less computational side of things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:44 PM
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Maybe the difference is that arXiv, in high-energy physics, wasn't a huge departure from "tried and true". There was already a strong preprint culture;

Yeah, that's pretty much what I suspec. Physicists were already well set up to both accept and work with a system like this, and to some degree their way of working has shaped it.

I do think 'something like' it will become more normal, but a) it will take a while and b) it could be quite different for different disciplines. And hopefully the whole area will see improvements in web-of-trust sense, etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:45 PM
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Might be less true for the more biological and less computational side of things.

selection bias is a real issue here.

Also, different academic cultures really do work differently. Some areas do much of their discussion in big conferences, some by the web. Some people still work with physical paper a lot. I can barely remember the last time I went to the library.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:47 PM
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Okra plant, very pretty, and the okra flower is sweet, but the fruit of the okra, is impossible to eat. has prickly hairs all over it that make it a giant pain to pick.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:00 PM
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You certainly see a lot of pre-print in finance and econ, but I'm not as sure about how new research is spread before publication. Economics has a lot of working papers go through the NBER, which then has a number of mailing lists and publications that list the new research and related abstracts, with the papers available either through NBER or through the author's site. I don't know what propagation method finance tends to favor.

Actually, taking a look at the NBER site, it clearly carries some finance work, since one of the highlighted "new papers" just came from a prof of mine. But I don't think it's the main way new research is announced.

What did high-energy physics use before arXiv picked up speed?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:01 PM
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History, meanwhile, is still mostly a book discipline.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:02 PM
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238: you don't say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:03 PM
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And we lit people just content ourselves with updating the Wikipedia pages of our favorite authors.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:03 PM
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240: well, that and commenting here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:04 PM
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239: Hey, it might come as a surprise....

I believe I was last in the library on Sunday. Or maybe that was Saturday. Whatever. All the library days blend together.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:04 PM
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Okra tastes very much of plant. I think that that is actually a pretty good description.

I never had it when I was a kid but quickly became a convert in my dotage.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:25 PM
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231 is genuinely funny.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:34 PM
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240: I count myself among the lit people.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:35 PM
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Like this?

Nothing like that. Maybe a third has high and four times as wide. Think: very wide and shallow, to facilitate rapid heating and evaporation.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:40 PM
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Okra is bogging. That is all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:37 AM
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If only there was an academic field that concerned itself with how texts were created and how readers learned of and obtained them, we might have a hope of understanding this puzzle.

From what I understand, the high-energy phyiscs folks had no choice but to work in large groups and make extensive use of computers and networks thereof, so it's perhaps not surprising that they were the first to come up with something like arXiv. Tim Berners-Lee was at CERN when he invented the WWW, after all.

I hear that a lot of the purer humanities are viewed as inherently solitary, but don't know enough to say if that's true or relevant...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:40 AM
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Probably at least as true and relevant is the fact that the purer humanities are populated by people who mostly don't know their way around computers.

247: just what I'd expect from the guy who thinks brown rice mings.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:42 AM
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re: 249

The mingingness of brown rice is an objective fact! Okra is both hairy and slimy -- neither are good properties in vegetables.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:45 AM
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re: 249

You think that's still true these days? A lot of younger philosophers seem to use things like LaTeX and are a lot more au fait with IT than they used to be [with things like the Philosopher's Index, etc.].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:47 AM
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More than you wanted to know about why biologists don't use arXiv:

From the Information for Authors at Cell:

Manuscripts are considered with the understanding that no part of the work has been published previously in print or electronic format and the paper is not under consideration by another publication or electronic medium.

My understanding has always been that these sorts of policies, which were common last I checked, rule out posting your manuscript to a preprint server.

Reading a bit further down (under "Copyright" and "Authors' Rights," I see that although you agree to transfer copyright to the journal, they do explicitly allow you to post a pdf of the printed article to your personal website, and to email the pdf to "known research colleagues." IIRC, there was a time where you technically weren't even allowed to do the website/email bit.

Now, Cell Press is a subsidiary of Elsevier, which is a for profit corporation, so it's not surprising that their constraints on authors are as restrictive as they can get away with. J. Neurosci, meanwhile, is published by Society for Neuroscience, the main learned society for the field, so their policies reflect a more philanthropic spirit. Yet it was just last week that they announced that they will allow online-prepublished manuscripts.

So why do biologists put up with these restrictions? Biologists being a bit slower in the computer/technical uptake than HE physicists is no doubt part of the answer, as is inertia, but I think there's also a collective action problem. Why would you defect, and say "I'm not going to submit my stuff to Cell," when a Cell paper can a) bolster your tenure case b) increase the likelihood of getting your grants funded c) attract the attention of high quality potential students/postdocs d) boost your always-fragile ego (due to the knowledge that you beat out the competition to get into Cell's limited pages)?

To beat this, you need all the people who are secure in themselves and their careers to bring their prestige over to a new journal organized around more enlightened principles, so that everyone can get a-d from publishing there instead. This, in fact, is part of what happened around the time of PLoS Biology, although the more enlightened principle there was open access rather than removing restrictions on prepublication. They got a bunch of big names to announce that they were behind the journal (with some even publicly swearing off Cell) at the time of the launch. And to a certain extent, the PLoS experiment has worked. One problem is that reputations develop over time, so I still hear people say they "don't know what to think" about PLoS journals.

The other way hands can be forced is from the top down. Here NIH and some private funding agencies have stepped in and said that if you accept their funding, you are required to submit your accepted manuscript to PubMed Central within a certain amount of time (1 year for NIH). Since NIH funding is American biomedical research, this means there's no choice anymore.

As a result of the PR around open access and the fact that papers are now free within 1 year anyway, over the last couple years *a lot* more journal archives have been opened up. (Note that John Conyers wants to turn back the clock on all this.)

So, my point is that in biology, journals control access to something precious (the prestige of their name) and can extract rights in exchange for this prestige, but when scientists and the public (open access was pushed by citizen groups as well) actually care about an issue, the hands of the biomedical publishers can be gradually forced. And I don't think enough people care about being able to use preprint servers yet for anything to happen on that front.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 1:31 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 3:35 AM
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Okra really isn't like anything else. Get some. Fry it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 4:21 AM
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Spicy okra pickles are awesome. Not that different than a cucumber, but then I like pickled baby onion, carrots, etc.

As for squash, if you slice a big yellow squash in half and leave it for a coupla minutes, it'll start to 'sweat' clear fluid. Squash blood! Okra does the same thing but more so, because it only has a little green meat, and a whole lot of big soft seeds.

Traditionally, you just hack up a lot of okra and boil it for a while, which tends to come out really gooey. It's traditional because it's poor people food (water + okra), like boiled greens. I personally do not care for that - but then I doubt I would much like regularly eating plain, unmashed, unseasoned boiled potatoes (the food of the Irish poor). Ditto for boiled squash, pumpkin, and so on. However, I think okra goes fine in stewed vegetable mix (the Turks do that a lot) - any goopishness mixes with everything else, so it acts as a thickener, which is helpful in gumbo, for instance.

The other issue is that people often fry slowly at a low temperature for a while, like they would with maybe potatoes. This causes the okra pieces to collapse and absorb a lot of oil. It wants to be fried on high heat until just done - a bit crispy on the outside, hot inside, but not collapsed. Frying zucchinni slices (for an italian pasta dish) has the same problem. Chemistry-wise, if you boil some potatoes for mashed potatoes, you want massive but not total cell breakdown. But you if boil long enough for total cell breakdown then you have soup - the base for vichyssoise. And if you want to fry potatoes, they need to be crispy on the outside, and cooked, but not much on the inside. Okra is the same way, but since it is mostly seeds, it progresses through the same process much faster. You could deep fry okra but it changes internally so fast that it can go from undercooked to mush almost instantly.

So, boiled okra is not popular, and deep frying is a pain, so the traditional dish is okra slices dipped in egg or butter milk and then breaded in yellow corn meal, followed by frying in bacon fat. Of course, you can skip the egg and just let them sit for awhile and then bread them. And you can use white flour instead of cornmeal (but I don't think it works too well - coarse cornmeal fits better with coarse okra). And I add black pepper, salt, paprika, savory and sage to the cornmeal. And frying them in butter or olive oil instead of bacon fat works too. (If you use a vegetable oil other than olive oil it needs to be as neutral as possible - the okra will suck up the oil flavor no matter what. If you like the flavor of peanut oil tho, go for it.)

The Hindu and the Greek recipes are good as well.

max
['I like fried with yogurt.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 5:31 AM
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Otto is right in 252.

(And okra is an abomination before the Lord.)


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 5:38 AM
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Cosma, still editing? You poor bastard. Maybe you should go to Brooklyn to sell artisanal Afghan food. Granted that Afghanistan is apparently one of the two Ur-sources of wheat, you could probably make uniquely expensive bread out of a unique grain. (Though frankly, the stock market crash speaks against that plan.)

I must ask: why did the Good Lord [Allah, Elohim, Ilahu, JHWH] choose to originate wheat in inaccessible highlands like Afghanistan and Ethiopia? Mark Twain has claimed many times, even before Steven Jay Gould, the Good Lord is absent minded and not fussy about details. Can this be true?

It's possible that the saccharine quality of PP&M's version of "Lemon Tree" is delibberate, since the song actually gives us a nice bitter statement of the no-relationship policy. And yes, the song was popular during my formative years.

No one has really tried to refute my "remarkably evil nature of the academic world, with the prevalence of the oversized authoritarian-obsessive lobe" theory of academic publishing. Perhaps a functionally-equivalent "robber baron rent-seeking" explanation will sneak by the secular liberal taboos. Taylor and Francis (which I always misremember as Bartels and Stout or Bartels and Jaynes) really is milking their monopoly to the hilt.

Actual academic publishing is run by grad student slave labor on an shoestring and usually loses money, but the lucrative stuff is snapped up by T&F, Springer-Verlag, et al. , who pay the authors nothing and contribute nothing to the research. (Dutch publishers are fantastically expensive, but this may because they actually pay royalties. Further research is required.)

Academic print journal publishing, in many cases has nothing at all to circulating the work and mostly functions for resume validation and archiving.

The purer humanities are populated by people who mostly don't know their way around computers

Medievalists were far ahead of the game, though. My guess is that you could become competent (not quite up to date) in Anglo-Saxon studies without ever buying a book. (Yeah yeah, Anglo Saxon is pre-medieval.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 6:29 AM
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Anyone know anything about J Hampden Jackson? He wrote mostly about European history, but two books about African history. He taught at Haileybury College, which is a fairly old, pretty elite British prep-school thingy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 6:43 AM
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The destarkhan or sofrah is the Afghan smorgasbord.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 6:47 AM
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Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1 May 1852 - 17 October 1934) was a Spanish histologist, physician, pathologist and Nobel laureate. His pioneering investigations of the microscopic structure of the brain were so original and influential that he is considered by many to be the greatest neuroscientist of all time.[1] His skills as an artist allowed him to make hundreds of drawings so beautiful and lucid that many of them are still used for educational purposes today....

The son of Justo Ramón and Antonia Cajal, Ramón y Cajal was born of Aragonese parents in Petilla de Aragón in Navarra, Spain. As a child he was transferred between many different schools because of his poor behaviour and anti-authoritarian attitude. An extreme example of his precociousness and rebelliousness is his imprisonment at the age of eleven for destroying the town gate with a homemade cannon. He was an avid painter, artist, and gymnast. He worked for a time as a shoemaker and barber, and was well known for his pugnacious attitude.

Seriously, without Wiki the world would be a lot smaller. It would ahve taken half an hour on up to find this in a library, and it might not be there at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 6:53 AM
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OK, then, how about the Catalan artist Zush (Evru)? Te internet is being good to me this morning.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:15 AM
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I used to just wander into the stacks in the library and pick books off the shelf at random, flip through them and pick up a few odd facts, and move on to the next shelf or aisle or floor. I would spend half a day doing this. With Wikipedia I do something similar, following links at random through the site. Fun stuff.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:31 AM
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Seriously, without Wiki the world would be a lot smaller. It would ahve taken half an hour on up to find this in a library, and it might not be there at all.

Information about Ramón y Cajal? It would be a shitty library if you couldn't find any of that. Dude's pretty famous.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:36 AM
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Medievalists were far ahead of the game, though. My guess is that you could become competent (not quite up to date) in Anglo-Saxon studies without ever buying a book.

Probably due to nerd overlap -- the kind of person who's going to specialize academically in anything medieval is more likely than average to be the kind of person who was on Usenet back in the day.

And what's your start date that you're calling Anglo-Saxon pre-medieval? Anglo-Saxon went up through the Norman Conquest -- to you the eleventh century isn't medieval?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:37 AM
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And what's your start date that you're calling Anglo-Saxon pre-medieval? Anglo-Saxon went up through the Norman Conquest -- to you the eleventh century isn't medieval?

Indeed. Or, rather, Hwaet!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:52 AM
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(And okra is an abomination before the Lord.)

Better to eat hearty in Hell than diet in Heaven.

Anyone know anything about J Hampden Jackson?

Nope - do you know of Gavin Hambly? He was big on Central Asia.

And what's your start date that you're calling Anglo-Saxon pre-medieval?

Yeah. What she said.

max
['I thought the best part of the medieval world was the barbaric bits.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:54 AM
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237 What did high-energy physics use before arXiv picked up speed?

Paper copies of pre-prints, mailed to people and photocopied (mimeographed? the tradition goes back several decades, I think) and circulated and generally made available to as many people as possible. Also e-mail, once that became available; people would just type up their papers and submit the whole thing in a big email to everyone they knew.

248 From what I understand, the high-energy phyiscs folks had no choice but to work in large groups and make extensive use of computers and networks thereof, so it's perhaps not surprising that they were the first to come up with something like arXiv.

It was theorists who invented arXiv, not experimentalists, although I think both adopted it pretty quickly. This was pre-Web, or at least at about the same time the Web was developed; at first arXiv worked as some sort of mailing list. My understanding is that one day in 1991 some people were in Aspen, talking about how they were getting too many emails of long papers filling up their inbox, and decided maybe it would make sense to have some automated system that would collect a bunch of papers, periodically mail out a list of the abstracts, and then send the full text of a paper by request to anyone who asked. Gin/sparg wrote some scripts and arXiv was born.

It's hard to imagine a community deciding to use something like that without first having meetings and collecting proposals on different ways of implementing it and fretting over different choices, but somehow back then it just sort of happened and worked and people used it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:01 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:10 AM
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263: Sure, but I got it in about two minutes sitting at home. How long would it have taken in the library? I also found a page comparing his neurological drawings to the works of artists like Zush and Michaux.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:14 AM
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264: I'd put the British start date at 1066. You could start medieval in 800, but it was only barely founded then under Charlemagne, and Charlemagne had no influence in Britain.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:20 AM
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I have one book by Hambly. His career seems to have petered out. He was supposed to be working on Rasshid-ad-din, but nothing seems to have come of it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:22 AM
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265: In Scotland the Dark Ages lasted right up until the enlightenment, and unfortunately the Scottish Enlightenment has been terribly influential. Samuel Johnson understood the threat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:27 AM
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I can salmon spirits from the vasty deep. 45 minutes in pint jars does it.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:27 AM
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269: Yeah, Google is turning up interesting things for Zush. I'd never heard of him before.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:29 AM
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re: 272

Hah. Scotland had universal education, high levels of literacy, and several universities hundreds of years before just about anywhere else. There's a reason the Scottish Enlightenment happened there, rather than somewhere else.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:31 AM
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270: You could start medieval in 800, but it was only barely founded then under Charlemagne, and Charlemagne had no influence in Britain.

So what are we calling 379/476 - 800ish? Also, in the British Isles?

He was supposed to be working on Rasshid-ad-din, but nothing seems to have come of it.

I think his career has been called on account of death. Although he seems to have gotten the book about various Moghul women out. Odd, I know he's got more books than that, but they aren't popping up.

max
['Women in central asia: not a popular topic.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:31 AM
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270: Um, most medieval studies type people put the start of their era at 400-500 or so, after the fall of the Roman empire.

In the British university I'm familiar with, a course on the Viking invasions is classified as "medieval" not Ancient history or the like.

Nearly every medieval history survey course that I can think of also starts in the fifth century or so.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:38 AM
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Sorry, 277 was me.

Probably due to nerd overlap -- the kind of person who's going to specialize academically in anything medieval is more likely than average to be the kind of person who was on Usenet back in the day.

Also true, that medievalists are likely to be D&D players. Though I've actually noticed a large gap between most of the older generation of medieval scholars' computer skills (poorer) versus their same cohort of non-medievalist scholars.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:41 AM
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275: Why were they so barbarous then, with all that education? I tremble to think what uneducated Scots would be like.

"Medieval" is a catchalll term. Nobody's really interested, so who cares. But 500-1500 is way too long to be a period, especially considering the multiple changes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:41 AM
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279: Which would be why medievalists further break it up - high middle ages, etc. It is a long period but most scholars don't refer to things at 800 AD as "pre-medieval." In the Western World, at any rate.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:43 AM
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Anglo-Saxon society sure was a lot different than anything else we call medieval, though.

I don't care really. You'll note that I started off calling the AS medieval, and then hedged to preclude the kind of argument we're having now. Can't catch a break.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:48 AM
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257: The problem with this clever plan is that all my attempts at baking are epic failures. (But "real" naan, i.e., not the Indian stuff, is great.) The only thing I cook that people really seem to like are oily salty scallion cakes, and I have a hard time seeing any way of selling them as "artisanal".

267.2: This matches my memory - I started grad school in high-energy theory in '93, and one of the first things we were told about was how to sign up for the arxiv.org mailings. (Actually it was "xxx.lanl.gov" then.)

276: Women in central asia: not a popular topic

Perhaps not, but Veiled Empire looks interesting.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:49 AM
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Central Asia is not a popular topic, but women-related stuff pops up. As I've said before, Genghis Khan's daughter was a Christian dedicated to studying (Nestorian) scriptures. After her second husband died in battle, she took over the military role for herself. (Probably she was a daddy's girl.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:54 AM
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Northrop is a top guy, if it's the same guy I'm thinking of.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:04 AM
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283: "Daughter! What is best in life?" "To love your enemies, yet see them driven before you."


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:08 AM
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Oddly, when a theological adapter for "love your enemies" is needed, it's always found. God is bountiful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:24 AM
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You'll note that I started off calling the AS medieval, and then hedged to preclude the kind of argument we're having now. Can't catch a break.

Apologies, then. You were clearly right the first time around!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:12 AM
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But I wasn't! The middle ages begin in 1066!

Periodization is an endless source of fun. When was the Renaissance and when was the Reformation? At least you have a start for one of them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:21 AM
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288: At least you have a start for one of them.

Hus or Wycliffe?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:23 AM
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Wait, wait, now you want to argue?

I'm confused. I thought I was being needlessly argumentative above, but now I'm not being argumentative enough. Hmm. You can't win, can you?

The Renaissance, in my naive view, depends on which country's Renaissance you're talking about. It begins in the South and spreads North. So, basically, I'd say post-Black Death era, 15th and 16th centuries. The Reformation hasn't ended, so let's just start with the birth of Martin Luther or so (though of course you can argue about Hus and Wycliffe).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:27 AM
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Luther was willing to credit Hus and Wyclif, but historians seem to stick with Luther.

East European Protestantism was really very fertile. They really suffered from the Counterreformation. Toulmin thinks that in much of that area converted Protestants became cynical, lackadaisical surface Catholics.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:27 AM
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(I should have previewed).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:27 AM
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All history is divided into three parts: Before Calvin, During Calvin, and After Calvin.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:28 AM
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But Martin Luther was really a medieval.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:33 AM
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No, Martin Luther is early modern!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:34 AM
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Hus indirectly had a considerable influence on military tactics and weaponry, for which he is not given enough credit. In general, religious prophets have to very attentive to their military arm. "Pistol" and "howitzer" trace back to the Czech, per the OED, with some reservations.

He also invented the hacek, etc., that you see in printed Czech.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:37 AM
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Not that Calvin.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:37 AM
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We could compromise and just get rid of two useless period, with Luther at the Medieval-modern transition.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:38 AM
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Useless? I love the early modern.

And which Calvin, ben?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:40 AM
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Useless? I love the early modern.

And which Calvin, ben?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:40 AM
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Sometimes I wonder about you, Parenthetical.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:42 AM
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Wonder you should. I still haven't read the complete works of Calvin and Hobbes, mostly because no one sees fit to buy it for me off my wish list.

I think Before Calvin is much better than BCE.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:49 AM
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The early modern would still exist. It would just be "modern". The distinction would be gone.

Maybe the medieval is"pre-modern".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 10:56 AM
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275: what went wrong?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:10 AM
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Scots women are less promiscuous than Welsh women, leading to a lot of frustration and violence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:16 AM
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Scots women are less promiscuous than Welsh womensheep

Fixed that for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:17 AM
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Wycliff was terrified when others took him seriously. There's a great book about the peasant rebellion of 1381, http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Rebellion-England-Historicism-Cultural/dp/0520206975.

There's an enthusiastic ongoing debate about the hussite wars among Czech historians: unruly mob or inspired reformers. The first 200 years of debate have been inconclusive. The hussites were ultimately defeated via burning of the fields and villages which fed them shortly before harvest.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:19 AM
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285: "Daughter! What is best in life?" "To love your enemies, yet see them driven before you."

"Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth" is not a million miles from "You must have angered God greatly that he should send you me".


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:19 AM
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282.1: Cosma, those sound delicious. I may have to make some.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:24 AM
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The Hussites were pretty aggressive, but not really unruly.

The Hussite wagenburg seems like something that might have been learned from the Mongols or Tatars.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:24 AM
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307.1: wow, we actually have that in the library!


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:25 AM
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And which Calvin, ben?

Coolidge.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:26 AM
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303: But the early modern is fundamentally different from the modern! The distinction needs to be there.

(This, I run into whenever you read anything about the body and early modern Europeans).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:27 AM
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309: Let me know how it turns out if you do.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:29 AM
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276: That was sad. Everything I heard about Hambly was good, and I kept waiting for a magnum opus. But at least he was a real teacher, it seems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:31 AM
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309, 314: I looked at the recipe, and was wondering about the size of the cakes -- you say that the recipe made with four cups of flour should serve about eight, and that each cake should contain about one cup of flour, if I read it right. This seems off to me -- a cake is two servings? And a cup of flour seems as if it would make more than a handful of dough. Is there a typo in there somewhere?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:31 AM
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282: Those cakes look sort of NW China-ish, or something that Mongols or Uighurs might also make.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:34 AM
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While it's true that recently, the Husites-as-mob faction have been mostly apparatchik hacks, Palacky depicted them pretty unsympathetically. By the time that there were opposing armies and a Husite camp in Tabor, both sides were nasty. Historians of thought or religion usually pay attention to earlier events in Prague.

The Husite evangelical brethren recently had the bulk of their funds stolen by a transparent white collar criminal with a prior record. I hope their kitschy HQ in Dejvice won't consequently be torn down.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:38 AM
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||

Does anybody know much about this Mexican drug cartel crisis? They keep talking about Mexico turning into a failed state and massive numbers of refugees.

No chance we can use this to agitate for better drug laws?

Bill Clinton's drug czar Barry McCaffrey was on NPR, talking about how we needed to help them and possibly send in troops. So stupid.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:41 AM
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319 - I'm also confused about this.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:46 AM
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316: Well, I have big hands... But more to the point, serving 8 is more nearly means: more than enough for 8. (Because it's not proper hospitality if you provide so little food that your guests actually finish it.)


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:47 AM
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Cosma, would you mind if I add your recipe to our food wiki for safe keeping and sharing? I'll credit you, of course.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:50 AM
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319: The LA Times had a few good articles on the scale of violence that stemmed from Mexico's army taking a heavier hand in trying to stem drug culture/trafficking in the border states. The violence is truly horrific. There was also a piece in the New Yorker a ways back about the narco-something something culture that was really interesting and laid out some of the ground work.

From what I understand, and it is limited, you have almost a civil war type situation - the police, being thought to be heavily tied to the drug traffickers, were pushed out of the picture by the army, and now you have the army fighting directly with the heavyily armed drug lords, who are also unleashing random violence on the citizens trapped in between.

I do not think this will be a good rallying point for better drug laws; the violence is so bad that I think even people who would support looser laws would be unwilling to do so if it seem that these particular drug lords would be benefiting from it. (Not saying that they would be, but that it would play that way to Middle America).

I'll go looking for the articles.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:52 AM
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Here is the LA Times coverage:

http://projects.latimes.com/mexico-drug-war/#/its-a-war


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:54 AM
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322: not at all!


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:57 AM
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Say what you will, defenestration is a terribly underused political reform tactic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 11:58 AM
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Okra is fucking delicious. Brits, who eat marmite ffs, don't get a vote.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:20 PM
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187: We have collars w/tags on them just in case they get outside, and because our contract with the shelter we adopted them from requires it. All the collars we've tried are safety collars - the first has a clasp that comes apart under pressure [hence, Izzy's ability to stick a paw in and pull the clasp apart], the second has a breakaway band that snaps apart under pressure and the third is just plain elastic.

They are indoor cats, but deeply curious about what's past that door they aren't allowed through, Izzy especially.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 12:52 PM
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327: does fuck really care that they're eating Marmite?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 1:03 PM
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I had okra once at an Emmy banquet. It was not a pleasant experience. But it is useful in making gumbo.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 1:08 PM
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Okra is fucking delicious.

Okra is fucking delicious when made properly. It can be turned into pure nasty, too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 1:39 PM
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327: does fuck really care that they're eating Marmite?

What counts is the purity of their devotion, not whether fuck condescends to notice.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 1:51 PM
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something that Mongols or Uighurs might also make.
sure, we make it and call it gambir or bin


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 3:45 PM
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Okra is utterly magnificent.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 3:55 PM
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I have no opinion on okra. Is that bad?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 4:43 PM
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335: Awful. Worse than hating it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 4:46 PM
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331: anything can be made nasty by a bad cook.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 5:15 PM
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JE:276: That was sad. Everything I heard about Hambly was good, and I kept waiting for a magnum opus. But at least he was a real teacher, it seems.

He was a type I think. He was something of a horribly boring lecturer, he could be distracted and sent off on long tangents about totally unrelated subjects for half-hour at a time, he gave really hard tests (very very few A's in those classes) and... everybody thought he was great. Much teaching was accomplished, somehow. I think this only happens in history.

I incidently note that he taught a class in medieval English history, which covered the Roman occupation as background and then went from the 500's to 1066.

I would also say that the Black Death (1/3 casualty!) had to serve as some sort of continent-wide punctuation mark.

B:Brits, who eat marmite ffs, don't get a vote.

I like marmite AND okra! I like vegemite too. And oily scallion cakes. Since I have the same book as Cosma. Speaking of which:

The only thing I cook that people really seem to like are oily salty scallion cakes, and I have a hard time seeing any way of selling them as "artisanal".

You are not making with the Ants Climbing a Tree? (Pork w/ cellophane noodles?) You must, you must, you must, to have something go with the cakes.

And I see, checking my books, that Yan Kit says scallions cakes are from Peking (Peking representing the north), and my elderly chinese cookbook (the one where the pages are no longer attached to the binding, so I should call it my chinese folder) says the same, and refers to them as Chung Yo Bing. (w/ Peking spelled as Peking.)

Damifino how a northern dish would up in a southeastern cookbook. But then, I think that book is slightly suspicious anyways.

max
['Hrmmm.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:27 PM
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Early periodization schemes are pretty remarkably resilient. So you end up not just with early modern, which I believe came into existence as a concept not too long ago compared to modern, and late antiquity, and subdivisions like early, high, late middle ages. All of this is grafted onto the earlier schemes rather than someone creating a new one.

And there's also the debates over whether the thing that period x was known for existed outside of a retrospective categorization. Was there a Great Awakening? Was there a Renaissance? Still looking for Progressivism? Almost inevitably people seem to end up answering "we can't very well do away with the concept (or at least it's name), however much it makes the period seem much more coherent than it was." Except for "feudalism", maybe - medievalists I remember talking about it seemed to agree that the term isn't useful.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 7:35 PM
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339: Feudalism is the medievalist's f-word. Trust me, I lived with a medievalist for years. They hate it. HATE IT.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:25 PM
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f-word

Frontier!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:49 PM
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I can just shouting matches during the final breakup.

Feudalist? I'm a feudalist? YOU are telling ME that I'M a feudalist!!?

LET ME TELL YOU A FEW THINGS ABOUT FEUDALISM, BUDDY....

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:59 PM
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341: Yep. The plague of the western historian!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:03 PM
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Feudalism is the medievalist's f-word. Trust me, I lived with a medievalist for years. They hate it. HATE IT.

Now I'm imagining a medievalist playing Civ...

"You have invented feudalism!"
"NO I BLOODY WELL HAVEN'T! IT DOESN'T EXIST!"


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:03 PM
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The plague of the western historian!

Occidentalist.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:05 PM
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Asian Occidentalism is really great. You end up getting a real perspective on the things we don't notice about ourselves. I find Read's occidentalism very interesting.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:15 PM
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338: the one where the pages are no longer attached to the binding, so I should call it my chinese folder

We call that loose leaves, dear. Sounds better.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:20 PM
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re: 304

We stupidly allowed ourselves to be taken over by our thick southern neighbours.*

* kidding. It's also probably not a coincidence that the Scottish Enlightenment largely came to fruition _after_ the last war with England.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 1:21 AM
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We stupidly allowed ourselves to be taken over by our thick southern neighbours colonized by wankers.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 11:18 AM
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It's also probably not a coincidence that the Scottish Enlightenment largely came to fruition _after_ the last war with England.

You realize that this is a hot research field in Eighteenth-Century history these days, don't you? Roy Porter's last book is on it, and a crowd of people are following up.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 11:22 AM
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Did you know that Kant was part of the Scottish Enlightenment?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 11:48 AM
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In that he was responding to Hume, yes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:11 PM
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He's of Scottish descent.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:13 PM
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350: I miss Roy Porter.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:16 PM
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I know Scotland's the only place that came close to Swedish and Danish efforts at social control in the early modern period. Does that figure into it in some counterintuitive way?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:25 PM
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One of the arguments I remember was primarily cultural: the Scottish middle classes wanting to define "Britishness" in such a way that could include them. They had literary societies, universities, schools of elocution, and I think the claim is that these institutions were better developed than the English ones at the same period. Obviously the traditionally Scottish accoutrements of culture were smashed and suppressed, so perhaps the new print-based culture was a response--and an avenue of advancement for ambitious young people.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:32 PM
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Lobofilho is right if Wiki is.

His mother Anna Regina Porter (1697-1737), born in Nuremberg Regina Dorothea Reuter, was German [2], the daughter of a Scottish saddle maker and his father, Johann Georg Kant born in Memel, a harness maker like his grandfather (who had emigrated from Scotland) and his great grandfather before him [3]. Kant's grandfather immigrated from Scotland to East Prussia and even his father spelled their family name: "Cant."

Cant. The constant loud, passionate affirmation of meaningless and unintelligible slogans, e.g. by street preachers. The reiteration of problematic sectarian principles as though they were unquestionable truths. And a Teuto-Caledonian version of this dominated philosophy for a century or more, with effects lingering even to this day. Setting the stage for something even worse.......


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:52 PM
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Jesus. A Dalit leatherworker family. Damn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 12:54 PM
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A Dalit leatherworker family dominates philosophy?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 1:35 PM
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Indeed. The world needs to know about this.

My last Yankee (pre-Midwestern) ancestor in the male line was a tanner, which is also a Dalit trade. Anything we could have done would have been a step up from that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-28-09 1:37 PM
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