Saturday, July 11, 2009


I worked my usual Friday afternoon shift at the library yesterday. A little girl I had never seen before came in, maybe eight or nine years old, and spent the whole 20 minutes she was there talktalktalking: to me, to the other patrons, to herself if no one else was listening. It was clear she had not grasped the concept of an "indoor voice."

Eventually, she came barreling into the room where I was shelving books. I could hear her before I could see her. When she saw me, she made a beeline for me and announced, "It's too quiet in here." To which I replied, "It's a library. It's supposed to be quiet."

Does no one else remember the lectures about keeping your voice down in the library? Is that one of those things that will mark me as old, because only old people worry about being quiet in the library?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not a Lush, Promise

I seem to be in a pattern here where I talk about something alcoholic every Friday. I haven't actually been planning it that way. But then, of course, that makes it seem like I'm a raging alcoholic who structures my week around what drink I will have on a Friday. And that is most assuredly not the case. Nevertheless, I am compelled to talk about alcohol once again today, because yesterday we tried the elderflower champagne.

I will first address the issue of calling it "champagne." It wasn't bubbly. But that may have been my fault. I was supposed to leave the bottle cap slightly loose so the pressure wouldn't build up too much, causing the cap to explode off the bottle. (Though I was tempted to do this, because I thought it would be fun.) There were bubbles when I bottled it up. But there aren't any now. So. I guess I left the cap too loose and the bubbles all got away. Whoopsy.

But how did it taste? Surprising. When I strained it and bottled it last week, it tasted a bit like hard lemonade. But now it's really pretty dry. Not pucker-your-mouth dry, there's still some residual sweetness, but it's more like chardonnay or something. And the lemon flavor wasn't as pronounced as it had been, although there is a little acidity to it still.

You'll be happy to know I did not taste any notes of cat piss in its bouquet.

A. actually really liked it. I thought it was okay. The MiL was not terribly impressed, although she was polite, as always.

I only had a sip last night, so I'll have to taste it further to determine if it's something I would make again. It is a worthwhile experiment, though, if you have access to elderberry flowers. It's easy and cheap to make.

Have a fabulous weekend, duckies!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's Gonna Be a Bright Sunshiny Day

And it's about damn time. I think my skin was beginning to bleach and my eyes get all milky. You know, like those freaky creatures that live deep in caves and are never exposed to light? Like these super-creepy blind albino salamanders? Yeah, just like that. Is brain dysfunction also a result of light deprivation? Because I just sat here for, no lie, a full minute trying to remember the word "deprivation."


The paper this morning informed me that so far, this is the wettest summer since 1976. That would explain why the slugs and snails are holding a convention in the garden. However! We are finally getting a reprieve. At least today and tomorrow. There's no rain in our forecast. Wheee! It's still not going to be overly warm, high 70s I think, but at least there will be no precipitation falling. Until this weekend, anyway. But I won't think about that today. I'll think about it tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm Tired. Hence, it's A.P.D.

When I brought my beet and potato salad to the party on the fourth of July, I was talking to one of A.'s cousins who hates beets. She freely admitted, however, that she had not actually tried a beet since she was eight years old and her mother used to force her to finish her beets. She did try one of the beets in my salad, though, to be nice, and said it wasn't as horrifying as she had feared. Always the reaction you want to one of your potluck offerings.

But the point is, it got me thinking about vegetable aversions. And I honestly couldn't think of a single vegetable I won't eat. A. doesn't particularly care for beets, broccoli, and cabbage, though he will eat them if necessary. He absolutely will NOT eat cauliflower in any form. But me? I'll eat any vegetable. I have yet to try one that I actively dislike. I have plenty of other food aversions (smelly cheese, organ meats and fatty meats, fishy fish . . .), but none among vegetables.

So, this brings us to our Audience Participation Day topic: Is there any vegetable that makes you gag and throw a temper tantrum like a three year old? And if so, WHY do you hate it so much?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Welcoming the Weary Traveler

A. is coming home today. Assuming, of course, that none of his flights are delayed or canceled, which would suck beyond belief but would, sadly, not be particularly surprising considering the state of air travel today.


So. Yes. Coming home today. And about damn time, too. Two weeks is a long time to be gone. He's ready to come home. I'm ready for him to be home. I even cleaned the house yesterday. Because I know how much I hate to come home to a messy house after a trip. Well, and also because we're going to be having house guests for the next couple of weeks starting on Thursday. But mostly I cleaned for him. And for myself, because the dog fur on the floors was reaching alarming proportions.

Anyway, the house is clean. Also, I have a really big and itchy mosquito bite on my right arm that's driving me nuts.

And on that non-sequitur, I will end. It's that kind of day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

International Potatoes

Sherry asked yesterday what other varieties of potato salad there could be besides German and "regular, "(the mayonnaise and egg variety ubiquitous at delis across the country). WELL. Not that I need an excuse to talk about food in general, and potatoes in particular, but since Sherry asked, now I HAVE to.

So. Yes, the party I went to had "regular" potato salad. I'll call that one American potato salad. There was no German potato salad. But there were two other kinds of potato salad. What could they be? Don't you just love mysteries? Except I'm going to give away the ending of this particular mystery right now. SPOILER ALERT.

I brought a beet and potato salad with a dressing made of sour cream, horseradish, scallions, and dill. This one can be called a Russian potato salad, I think. Because of the beets and sour cream, you know. It was, if I may be so immodest, delicious. It was also a truly disturbing shade of bright pink, thanks to the beets. But really, I think there should be more neon foods. The recipe came from a cookbook called "Serving Up the Harvest," by Andrea Chesman. I love this cookbook. I made it because we have a lot of beets in the garden right now, along with a lot of potatoes and all the rest of the ingredients. It is not a dish to bring to just any potluck, however. You have to know the crowd will be adventurous enough to eat something so luridly colored. This crowd was.

The other kind was a Japanese potato salad. I had never heard of Japanese potato salad before. I guess I just don't think of Japanese cuisine as heavy on the potatoes, so it never occurred to me that there would be a Japanese version of potato salad. But what do I know? Not much, because it was YUMMY. I didn't ask the guy who made it what was in it, but I looked up some recipes online. I think the closest is probably this one, although the one I had didn't have any carrots in it, just cucumbers. Also, he smashed the potatoes a bit, so they were still lumpy but also a little mashed. I liked the texture. And the guy who made it put a little sign up on the bowl saying to put some soy sauce on it when you served yourself. Which I did, and that contributed greatly to the yumminess, I think.

There is, of course, also French potato salad, which I have written about before. That would be a . . . wait, lemme count . . . a fifth variety of potato salad. American, Russian, Japanese, French, and German. A veritable United Nations of potato salad. I'm sure there are more, too. Can you think of any?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Brief Message

Any party that has three different varieties of potato salad is my kind of party.

The end.