The Weekly Watch

Cooking and Eating Edition

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The summer and fall crops are harvested and with the holidays looming we've been planning meals. We ate the first of this years sweet potatoes this week. We have some butternut squash waiting to become soup. A turkey and a variety of local meats from the mountain are stored in the freezer. Fresh lettuce and parsley in the garden, with cabbage, broccoli, and greens coming on strong. This is a good time of year to celebrate the Earth's bounty.

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Take a little, give a little. There's a return to the Earth as well as a harvest.
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And then cover the manured bed and put it to sleep for the winter
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Just like we've been shown. Nature's fall mulch.
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So the Thanksgiving holiday has plenty of issues, but the idea of the horn of plenty and the giving back to the soil and others has some merit. I hope your holiday is a good one, and you manage to eat well, appreciate one another, and enjoy the fruits of the season.

My Mom was not much of a cook. Like me she spent most of her working life in the classroom. She's always been an open a can or box type of cook. I began learning to cook when camping as a teen, and progressed more during college where it was easy to realize cooking for yourself is much cheaper than eating out.

For most of my life I've eaten what I thought was healthy foods. Only in the last few years have I learned what I now consider to be a healthy diet. I now choose to eat low carb high fat meals once or twice a day. I learned a great deal from the UK's public health collaboration presentations over the years. Additionally, I gained a good understanding from the Low Carb Down Under conferences.

Of course during the holidays I'm not very strict about it. After all we're going to Birmingham to visit my Mom and will eat what her facility serves. However, I now have the tool of fasting, so I can cheat and then take a day or two away from food to re-establish my low insulin and hunger level. Jason Fung taught me about the value and techniques of fasting. None the less I do stay away from sugary things like desserts or sweet potato casseroles with added sugar and marshmallows (if they only had well cured organic sweet potatoes they wouldn't dare ruin them with sugar nor marshmallows).

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My most recent cooking discovery has been the instant pot, which is a pressure cooker combined with other applications from slow cooking (like a crock pot) to making yogurt, to a saute mode. This week I used it to cooked a pack of local pasture raised beef short ribs. It is easy. Add enough water to reach the wire rack. Use chili power or your favorite rub on the ribs. Stand them up around the side, and pressure cook for 30 minutes a pound (at least at my elevation). They will be so tender and fall off the bone. I make my own sauce cause almost all store bought sauces are full of sugar. Did you know ketchup contains more sugar than ice cream? I use straight organic tomato sauce, a bit of Bragg's amino acid, some mustard, a little Balsamic vinegar, and hot sriracha sauce. Easy peasy and delicious.

The bonus of cooking ribs is the drippings left in the pot. I pull out the wire rack, add a pound of dried pintos (or white beans), and some water or stock to cover, and pressure cook them for 30+ minutes.

We ate the ribs with a baked sweet potato, and cooked cabbage the first night. Then had the left overs last night with fresh garden salad and the beans. Now this isn't exactly low carb. Sweet potatoes and beans are mostly carbs, but your gut critters love them both and I think they are good for us in moderation. All carbs are not equal. The carbs in sweet potatoes and beans are so called "resistant starches" meaning they get deeper into our gut and feed our gut biome.

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Cooking

Over the years, my cooking mentor has been Jacques Pepin who I first discovered on Julia Child's cooking show. Here he is cooking traditional Thanksgiving dishes...(17 min)

For those preparing Thanksgiving dinner for themselves for the first time this year, here is step number one: don't panic. Let the soothing voice of Jacques Pépin guide you through a stressful holiday season as he demonstrates how to make a deliciously moist roast turkey, stuffing, and gravy.

Of course as you become a more accomplished cook you stray from your mentor's lessons. I like to cook my turkey in a smoker, with a pork roast on the shelf above the turkey so the pork drips fat and bastes the turkey as they both cook.

Many rely on our favorite insider trader and home keeper, Martha Stewart. (1.2 hours)
Martha Stewart's 15-Recipe Thanksgiving Special | How to Cook Turkey, Potatoes, and Pie

Join Martha Stewart as she teaches you how to cook for Thanksgiving! In this YouTube Premiere, learn how to make everything you'll need for your Thanksgiving table, from the perfect roast turkey, to the creamiest pureed potatoes, to the most delicious pumpkin pie

She is quite experienced, but give me Jacques any day.

I enjoy OTC's A and B cooking stories. I was reminded of them when I recently came across a couple from Azerbaijan who cook outside in a fun, beautiful, and artistic way. Their pets roam around with the livestock and entertain as the meal is prepared. Here's their channel. To get you started here's a stuffed turkey they roasted last week and it already has 1.4M views (15 min)

I also like their style of cooking a turkey on a campfire
Campfire Roasted and Smoked Turkey (34 min)

As a Country Life Vlog, we love to share what we do at countryside, engage with nature and make the most out of village life. Come and see the colorful videos of nature, unique cooking recipes and just the beautiful life at a countryside. Sit back and relax!

The first of their videos I watched was drying persimmons and I was hooked on these peaceful cooking episodes.

I was sad to hear this week that Azerbaijan used Turkish drones to defeat Armenia. We are in the age of drone wars I guess. Thanks Obomber.
https://www.cfr.org/blog/obamas-final-drone-strike-data

The 542 drone strikes that Obama authorized killed an estimated 3,797 people, including 324 civilians. As he reportedly told senior aides in 2011: “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”

On a better note, these folk almost always make a fresh tea using their samovar. What a low tech way to make tea and hot water. They make a beautiful blue basil tea among many others.

Here's a short demonstration... (2 min)

In this video our friends are brewing Tea Russian style with a 150 year old SAMOVAR - Тульские самовар. It is old Russian tradition to prepare tea in samovar. Cамовар originated in Russia, but samovar is well known outside of Russia and has spread through the Russian culture to Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, the Kashmir region of India, the Middle East, Azerbaijan and is also known in some parts of Central Europe. Since the heated water is typically used to make tea, many samovars have a ring-shaped attachment around the chimney to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate. Though traditionally heated with coal or kindling, many newer samovars use electricity to heat water in a manner similar to an electric water boiler. Antique samovars are often prized for their beautiful workmanship

How a Samovar Works

A samovar contains a vertical pipe filled with solid fuel which heats the water and keeps it hot for hours at a time. To make tea, a teapot with a strong tea brew called заварка (zaVARka) is placed on top and heated by the rising hot air.

When not in use for tea making, the samovar remained hot and was convenient as an immediate source of freshly boiled water.

There are three main reasons why the samovar became so popular both in Russia and abroad in the 18-19th centuries:

  • Samovars were economical. A samovar has a complex structure and usually consists of 17-20 parts. Altogether, the structure of samovars was an amalgamation of all the knowledge that existed at the time on preserving energy. The heating pipe was fully surrounded by the water that was being heated and therefore created the largest possible amount of energy without much energy loss.
  • Water softener. Additionally, a samovar softened the water during the heating process, with the limescale dropping to the floor of the container. This meant that the boiled water coming out of the samovar's tap was pure, soft, and had no limescale.
  • Easily monitoring of water heating. Due to the sounds that samovars make when the water begins to heat, it is possible to monitor the stage of water heating throughout the process. First, the samovar is said to sing (самовар поёт - samaVAR paYOT), then to make a particular noise called белый ключ (BYEly KLYUCH)—the white spring, before boiling (самовар бурлит - samaVAR boorLEET). The tea is made once the white spring noise appears.

Well there's lots more to discuss about cooking , foods, and eating. Perhaps you'll share your cooking background, favorite recipes, or eating experiences below. However, this is an open thread and all comments on all topics are welcomed and appreciated!

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The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It is a beautiful time to enjoy the woods in this corner of Earth, and many others.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!

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QMS's picture

We will be doing a non-tradition local organic lamb shank this Thanksgiving.

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I like mashed potatoes and gravy, my mate prefers brazed red cabbage.

Our local farmers co-op have harvested Brussel sprouts which are nice roasted.

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There is also beaucoup butternut squash to roast.

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The local orchards are rolling in apples, so will attempt a slab pie for dessert.

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Then the traditional walk in the woods to kick thru the leaves. Fun Stuff!

Thanks for the WW. Bon appetit!

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Lookout's picture

@QMS

I've been enjoying Greg Judy's pasture management. He's a big fan of St Croix sheep and guard dogs.
Greg is with fat healthy sheep on winter stockpiled forage.

Sheep are much easier to graze in winter than most animals. No hay or grain, just let em graze. Sheep have a much quicker payback than cattle. Cold weather does not bother them.

a 7 min intro

Have a great holiday and enjoy that good looking meal!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@QMS
We saw this on a cooking show but sadly can't find the exact recipe. Brussel Sprouts cut in half. Fig Jam. Crumbled goat cheese. Cook the sprouts in a frying pan adding the other ingredients at the appropriate time. DELICIOUS.
Sorry for the vagueness, I'd sure like to have the exact recipe again. You seem adventurous. Experiment.

We will be having our traditional Cornish Hens (two people can't eat a big turkey. When I had teenage boys, NO PROBLEM, they are eating machines)

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

QMS's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Thanks!

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Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness @QMS

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/charred-brussels-sprouts-w...

Close enough to adapt for sure. Sounds good. Fresh Brussels sprouts baked or sauteed in butter are simple and good too.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
except for the pancetta. Much prefer the goat cheese.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

dystopian's picture

Hi all, Hi LO, Hope all are well. Fall looks nice there. What's not to love in an eastern deciduous forest in fall. Pretty hard to beat. We just get little spots of color here. And the people and chamber of commerce flip out over it. We have not frozen yet, or even frosted (!) which certainly has not occurred in the prior 18 Novembers we have been here. All the great breeding birds are gone, and hardly any winter birds have shown up as it has been so mild so far. We had no Pecans this year in our yard, in a good year we can be covered in many pounds of them. The Hackberry crop mostly failed too, which is critical winter forage for a litany of species, especially Robins and Waxwings.

Be well all!

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Lookout's picture

@dystopian

I mean it always varies some year to year and over decades, but we have neither numbers nor variety. One aspect is we stopped feeding cause it was bringing in bears. None the less we're seeing real decline.

Still let's celebrate what we do have while we have it. Hope your holiday is a good one!

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Pluto's Republic's picture

...to the rural life. It's a complete immersion to live as you do. I need to make some friends with a farm.

It's so practical and enduring. It's interesting how the Chinese government figured out that by modernizing millions and millions of tiny farms throughout the country, it would be the key to the rapid eradication of poverty. They used their military to rebuild farmhouses and brought modern infrastructure to the fields. They gave the farmers drones and computers to make their work easier, and opened high tech agriculture science centers in every district, where the farmers can test their soil, find new kinds of seeds, and learn about low pesticide farming and ways to perfect and enhance the fruits and vegetables they grow.

They also taught the farmers how to produce videos and broadcast shows that would tell the world about their farms and show viewers the things they grow. Amazingly, these farmer broadcasts became wildly popular on China's Internet. The Farmers have branded their special melons or long beans or whatever it is they grow and managed to create tremendous demand for their produce. (The Chinese are total foodies, it's a national passion.)

A Chinese farmer goes livestream

It just so happens that a farmer in China is never very far from a high speed train traveling to the larger cities. So a boutique shipping industry popped into existence. transporting unique produce to millions of fans and customers in the cities. Farming has been the occupation of the poorest Chinese for thousands of years — and in a few short years it was transformed into a prosperous occupation

Once a country has been through industrialization — and it has built a state-of-the-art infrastructure — people can start living the dream, doing the things that they love to do. And networking with like-minded people around the world. It's not an ideology. It's civilization.

In rural areas, people live closer to the earth and harmonize with seasons, tuning in to the natural lifecycle. Rural life can remain grounded and traditional for centuries, millennia.. You can see that all over Asia and much of the world. It's timeless. So, why and how did the rural areas go so crazy in the US?

This image popped into my head as I read your essay:

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Lookout's picture

@Pluto's Republic

If only the US promoted small farms and local food production instead of promoting war, fossil fuels, and all the rest.

I wish I could turn US acrimony into harmony with both China and Russia. Cooperation would benefit all, but conflict and aggression is the US stock and trade.

I know I'm lucky to to be here, but it wasn't all luck. We planned and made it happen. I can't recommend enough to get to know your local farmers/producers for a number of reasons.
https://www.localharvest.org/organic-farms/

The turning point for US Ag in my memory was Earl Butz telling farmers, "Adapt or die, resist and perish," Butz had advised in the 1950's Which meant get bigger or go under.

Foreman calls Butz “a fraud when he says he's acting in the interest of farmers. He's a spokesman for the big corporate farmers, for the food processors and for the grocery people. He's not on the side of farmers or consumers. He's on the side of people who buy from farmers and sell to consumers.”

...

The Agriculture Department's cozy relationship with the half‐dozen big grain exporters is in some ways the most troubling aspect of Butz's reign. The department's lax supervision of the grain exporters should have been known to Butz, because in the early 1970's the entire focus of expanding agricultural trade was on grain.

...

It was obvious, however, that policy decisions in this area were being made at the State Department. High Agriculture Department officials began refusing to answer questions relating to grain sales to Russia and to Eastern European countries, saying sarcastically that the “diplomats” had taken over. “He thinks using grain in foreign policy is really a fun game,” one department official said of Kissinger.

Big Ag, Big Food, the MIC and others in league to promote the 1%.

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@Lookout
Combined with The FED's double digit interest rates is what caused those "Places in the Heart" farm foreclosures. The government encouraged them to go deep in debt to buy more land and equipment. When mortgage rates rose to 12-15% they were wiped out. The FED cruelly and stupidly fought OPEC Cartel induced inflation by squeezing the Liverwurst out of the USA's real economy. Oil prices were the obvious problem not demand-pull inflation. Jimmy Carter did NOTHING. This led to RR and you know history from there.
I would have supported a Middle East invasion, not to "bring democracy" but to seize the OPEC oil assets.
Was the FED that stupid? Or was it a plan to break the American worker?

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

has wanted to own it all. And they are currently buying it all.

Had we stuck to Jimmy's energy self dependent model we wouldn't need OPEC then nor now. Why aren't we currently energy independent? We don't have the refineries here in the states and big oil make bucks shipping, refining, and selling US oil back to the US.

To my mind invading any where is a bad idea that never works out well.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Lookout

Why aren't we currently energy independent? We don't have the refineries here in the states and big oil make bucks shipping, refining, and selling US oil back to the US.

We've got the refineries. Imagine a world in which one could blend, merge, split, and manage pure currencies in the form of the coinage of the various issuers of said coinage. A situation could arise where $50 of pennies sold to nation x via broker y could purchase 85 zlotys worth an estimated 80 bucks worth of euros. Free market economics leaps into action ... [blatt]

So bigass oil sells 500bbl of WTI crude worth $42/bbl for some Kazakh biowaste that will serve as primary feedstock in a process that will produce 1,000,000 bux worth of regular at retail and has it shipped here by culogrande oilshippers, inc., of Panama (a wholly owned subsidieary) for a mere 500,000 bux shipping and handling. ...

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

@enhydra lutris

I guess oil is currency.

Just wait till water becomes the mode of exchange.

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snoopydawg's picture

Just today the HuffPost wrote about the case for no reason I can understand. Unless they are pushing another false narrative on us. My local rag wrote about a military dude lying about China and the people who commented didn’t know that they were being lied to. One reason they get away with this is because Obama rolled back the Smith-Mundt act. Before the government could only do propaganda overseas, but just in time for Russia Gate they could do it to us.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Lookout's picture

@snoopydawg

...of my suspicion. The shitlibs have gone nuts on any topic which dings China.

MSM is constant propaganda these days.

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Azazello's picture

I only cook a couple times a week now, but I was the primary cook in my house for a long time. I learned to cook from books checked out from the local library, dozens of them. I've tried a bunch of different cuisines, always seeking after authenticity, whatever that is.
I also enjoy serial infatuations with YouTube cooks.
My latest is Celebrating Appalachia.

Kent Rollins lays it on pretty thick with the cornpone cowpoke b.s. but his Chicken Fried Steak is legit, as is his camp coffee.

I've learned a lot recently from Doña Angela at De Mi Rancho a Tu Cocina. She lives in Michoacán, cooks Mexican classics in a ranch-style cookhouse over a wood fire. Her vids are in Spanish, but it's very basic stuff, easy to follow.

Jacques Pépin is my favorite of the TeeVee chefs. I bought a dozen eggs once just to practice making his Classic French Omelette. Have you read his memoir ?

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It didn't have to be this way.

Lookout's picture

@Azazello

Jacques was de Gaulle's chef, and became head chef for Howard Johnson's. He is also a sailor which QMS might appreciate.

Thanks for the cooking show tips. They all look fun. My go to cooking book is the old "Joy of Cooking" I got it at a yard sale as a teen.

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Azazello's picture

@Lookout
The best part, for me, was learning about the "batallion system" that the classic French restaurants used. The heart of a restaurant would be a big 6-burner, cast-iron, wood burning stove. Jacques' first job was to be the kid who comes in early every morning to start the fire. So, the whole system was based on there being limited burners. Some in the back always had stock simmering on them. The ones in the front were where the cooking happened. Each burner was manned by a chef who had a platoon of guys under him prepping his ingredients so he never had to leave his station.

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It didn't have to be this way.

A friend brought me turnip greens from his garden. Monster plants, 3 times the size available at the grocery store.
The Thanksgiving tradition with A and B is to eat out, skip the cooking and traditional food.
We will dine at Lulu's, enjoy some live entertainment.
Lulu is Jimmy Buffett's sister. The restaurant is family friendly, and features booze. Nothing says fun like a drunk parent, right?
I hate to hear of the troubles of Armenia. Things were tense between them and Azerbaijan when I was there several years ago.
I had some extraordinary meals. So many dishes, it always took 2 hours to eat dinner.
Have a great Thanksgiving, LO, and all c99ers.

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Lookout's picture

@on the cusp

over dinner is one of the great joys of dining!

Hope you have nice weather in Gulf Shores if you're still able to get in the trip.

Lulu's sounds wonderful.

Y'all have a great holiday!

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usefewersyllables's picture

the record for the latest first snow in recorded history tomorrow. We’ve only had two nights of hard frost so far, and we still have fresh sage, parsley, and a few good chives in the garden for our thanksgiving dinner.

We might make it into December with no snow. Let’s hear it for climate chaos, eh?

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Lookout's picture

@usefewersyllables

We had a rare mild wet summer, but have now turned dry. We had a frost down in the bottom, but it hasn't reached up here to the garden and house....but it will.

Good and bad in everything, including the unpredictable climate.

Take care and have a good holiday!

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QMS's picture

My mate doesn't like white rice, and I know it is a traditional Monday (NOLA) fare. But she's gone so I can cook it up the way I like. Had some kidney beans in the freezer, started with hickory smoked bacon, red onion, some garlic. Added the thawed beans, dumped in some chicken stock and some green peppers from the garden. Letting it simmer down now. Probably won't bake a French bread, as
the leaves are calling me outside. Have a garlic naan instead.

Learned love beans and rice from a cajun cook on one of the tugs in the GOM. Good hearty meal.

Cheers!

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Lookout's picture

@QMS

usually with sausage. Sounds warm and hearty for today.

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QMS's picture

@Lookout

Oregano, thyme, basil, cumin, paprika, black pepper. Bacon is salty enough. Save the Tabasco for the plated dish. Smells wonderful.

Smoked sausage is traditional, but Tasso ham is excellent!

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

Lookout's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

hope it works out better or is more practical than cold fusion.

My grid power is TVA nuke sourced.

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mimi's picture

I always dreamt of a man who can cook, that, I thought, would be a dream come through. But the dream didn't realize, that's the reason why I always burn the food on my sister's cooktop, as I can't stand these 'induction cooktops'. Her husband was a cook. (lucky her) and she never learned to cook anything.

When I still was a student, the tiny student apartments had the ususl iron stove tops. It worked for me, I never burned any meal back then.

There was no barbeque griling in the open air, outside, in my life. I am not giving up on it.

May be we will have to cook on a grill with coal these days, who knows what the evil-doers have in mind for us to go through. In fact I would need a device with which I could cook with wood. Wood is the only thing we have plenty in the garden.

May you all have great Thanksgiving Days ahead of you - to enjoy with your loved ones !

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mimi

QMS's picture

@mimi

Some like charcoal, but I cook with gas.
It's better to go with the woodies..
Apple, cedar and maple are nice.
Oak works in a pinch. Just let it burn down first.

There are many wood cookers available, but a
regular Hibachi works fine. Tent it over with foil
for that nice smokey flavour.

Cheers

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Lookout's picture

@mimi

for cooking with wood.
https://homesthetics.net/Rocket-stove-plans/

Happy Erntedank or Erntedankfest (“harvest thanksgiving festival”), though your celebration may have come and gone.

No matter, have a wonderful week, and thanks for the visit.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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Lookout's picture

@gjohnsit
And chronic diseases as a result. Bet you can't eat just one.

Big Ag, Big Pharma, and Big food have driven big disease and hunger.

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enhydra lutris's picture

cooking. I will spatchcock the bird, hit it with a good rub (I see rubs now being called "dry brining" - I will spare you the rant on fads and fad language -and then slowly roasted in a weber kettle, to the coals of which I will apply a stream of fresh herbs sufficient to keep the bird bathed in herb smoke. Mashed spuds, green beans, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie (purchased - a luxury, but worth it)

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

@enhydra lutris

which I use and love. Sounds like a great menu, just don't hit your bird too hard with that rub.

Have a good one!

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Lookout's picture

Buckets of Rain by Bob Dylan, covered by Toni Lindgren

Toni singing and playing Buckets of Rain from the back of a van! We spent a couple weeks hiking around the beautiful mountains and trees of Alaska in September and playing some music in good old mother Nature. This was one of the on-the-go sort of videos we shot. I heard Toni working out this Bob Dylan finger-picking pattern in the van while I was reading my book up in front, and it sounded so amazing, so I asked her if she would play it again once through with the camera rolling. I hope you enjoy this performance by Toni as much as I enjoyed filming it!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”