Sunday, September 13, 2009

Corporation vs. Love

It took a while, but I finally tracked down one of those childhood movies my sister and I used to check out from the public library and watch over and over again. Among the ranks were those delightful BBC productions of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and a number of other obscure 1980's productions.

The object of this hunt was none other than "Konrad, the Factory-Made Child". If you can get your hands on a copy (don't look on IMDB - it's not there), I highly suggest watching it. The anti-authoritarian plot is based on a book that comes out of 1970's Germany. An evil corporation is mass-producing perfect children in an institution and then hand-picking the perfect (wealthy, uptight) families that deserve to receive them. A misprint in the shipping department accidentally sends one of their prototypes (who arrives in a can, by the way) to the wrong, very wrong, person - a messy, artsy, failure of a woman who has lots of love and joie de vivre.

What happens to perfect little Konrad when he is exposed to the messy lifestyle of his new mom? What happens when the evil corporation inevitably discovers their mistake and wants to recover their "property"? Clearly you can see a Herbie-style debaucle will ensue as mustached men chase each other around town....

It captivated me at age 7; it will captivate you too!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How to Make the Best Raspberry Jam You've Ever Had

1. Get to Homer, Alaska.

2. Find the "Seaside Farms" campground and pitch your tent in the horse field. Be sure not to step in the horse poo. And don't mind the horse; he won't bite.

3. The next morning, walk out of your tent and into the organic raspberry patch. Pick to your heart's delight. Be sure to get low and look under the leaves. It's rude picker's etiquette to only pick the easy-to-reach berries.

4. Eat lots of berries as you pick. But also pick a lot and put them into your bucket.

5. Be sure to observe the epic view across Katchemak Bay to the mountains and glaciers on the other side of the sea. The berries have spent their whole lives imbibing the view. This makes them taste extra spectacular.

6. Carry the berries with you the rest of the day to make sure they stay safe. Whatever you do, don't let them out of your site. Berries tend to disappear that way. They also tend to disappear into bellies, so keep an eye out for snitching fingers too.

7. Purchase Certo liquid pectin, sugar, and canning jars at Fred Meyer.

8. Back at your trailer, mash the berries carefully. Be sure to say, "Smash smash" every time you make the mashing motion.

9. Follow the recipe inside the Certo package for making raspberry jam.

10. Make a big sticky mess.

11. Clean up the big sticky mess.

12. Eat delicious jam!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Granola is Holy, Constipation a Sin

This tidbit of history (read below) is just too ironic.

In case anyone was wondering if religious movements are influenced by time and place. Because everyone knows that today's good right-wing Christians wouldn't be caught dead eating granola. Obama probably eats granola.

And vegetarians are just straight up sinful. Didn't God create animals for us to eat? Except he apparently also created constipation to punish us for eating meat. I always knew he was a tricky bugger.

"During the early 19th century, most Americans subsisted on a diet of pork, whiskey, and coffee. It was hell on the bowels, and to many Christian fundamentalists, hell on the soul, too. They believed that constipation was God’s punishment for eating meat. The diet was also blamed for fueling lust and laziness. To rid America of these vices, religious zealots spearheaded the country’s first vegetarian movement. In 1863, one member of this group, Dr. James Jackson, invented Granula, America’s first ready-to-eat, grain-based breakfast product. Better known as cereal, Jackson’s rock-hard breakfast bricks offered consumers a sin-free meat alternative that aimed to clear both conscience and bowels."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mushroom season

Mushroom season is progressing very nicely. I would post photos if it weren't so darn difficult around here.

The warm summer and recent warm showers have created perfect conditions for a generous mushroom year. I am in heaven just walking the dog (yes, dogsitting again) and observing all the beautiful - and not so beautiful - varieties in abundance.

I've also been eating them. I've tried 5 varieties, a not-at-all shabby number for my first ever season of wild mushroom collecting. I'm impatient, but slowly I'm learning how much I can add to my cache of experiences and skills with time - and only with time. I can't expect to do everything at once.

So far, I've had: brown and orange birch boletes, honey mushrooms, gypsy mushrooms, and puffballs. My favorites is definitely the puffball - sliced thin and fried until crispy, like a mushroom potato chip. And conveniently, puffballs are among the most numerous and definitely easy to identify. The brown birch boletes are also numerous, but the flesh is often mushy, they are always infested with fly larvae (read: maggots), and honestly, they don't taste better than store-bought canned mushrooms.