Fear of Frying

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Like many people I’ve always had a cast iron fry pan in my repertoire but I only drag it out a few times a year for certain recipes and usually afterwards I am lamenting that I didn’t remember how badly it sticks and how I should have re-seasoned it. Then, I generally leave it out for a while to remind myself before finally getting tired of seeing it and back it goes to the dark side of the cupboard. This is a cycle as regular as the seasons yet like many things, I am ashamed to say that it seems less tiresome to slope into my car, drive to a store and purchase yet another non-stick pan once the current one starts getting that sun-burned skin going on in the middle. Disturbing! But lately I feel guilty and a bit queasy when I recall all those things about not having any kind of caged bird around if you use non-stick  (how can THAT be okay?) and then there’s the entire health concern and environmental piece.

So, when I recently unearthed a truly ancient cast iron fry pan that had belonged to The General’s mother – the appearance of which was both endearing and alarming – I was inspired afresh to make things right.  Continue reading

October

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Bending above the spicy woods which blaze,
Arch skies so blue they flash, and hold the sun
Immeasurably far; the waters run
Too slow, so freighted are the river-ways
With gold of elms and birches from the maze
Of forests. Chestnuts, clicking one by one,
Escape from satin burs; her fringes done,
The gentian spreads them out in sunny days,
And, like late revelers at dawn, the chance
Of one sweet, mad, last hour, all things assail,
And conquering, flush and spin; while, to enhance
The spell, by sunset door, wrapped in a veil
Of red and purple mists, the summer, pale,
Steals back alone for one more song and dance.

Helen Hunt Jackson

Top Ten Bits of Random Wisdom

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10. Did you know that those egg slicers with the tight little wires across are the perfect thing for slicing strawberries – so quick and efficient and the perfect distraction for someone small or a slightly drunken dinner guest who wants to “help” with dessert … Credit to Frasier for bringing this to my attention!

9. If you are about to discard an expensive tube of hand cream/anchovy paste/anything that comes in a PLASTIC  tube think again! Cutting the end off with scissors – literally takes a second – can give you quite a few more uses.

8. I realized this summer that slices of lime and lemon freeze brilliantly! No more hardened ends in the fridge, just slice them up all at once, toss into a ziplock bag and you have an ice cube AND a zip of citrus for future gin and tonics or …er … sparkling water.

7. There is probably no one alive today who does not know this but just in case, the best way to rid the kitchen of fruit flies is by putting Cider vinegar –  and it must be cider vinegar – in a saucer, stretching plastic wrap across the top and then making a few holes with a fork.  Sad, but I believe they do go happy.

6. If you have a dog/cat you will at some point have to deal with evil, rage-inducing clean-up issues and I am not talking about fur. I therefore suggest bookmarking the instructions listed here from the nice people at Cats of Australia because they actually WORK! http://www.catsofaustralia.com/urinestainremoval.htm Continue reading