Saturday, November 17, 2012


The forests of upstate New York are ringing with the sounds of death for deer.

How's that for a poetic opener?  The reality, of course, is much less poetic.  The reality is that today is the opening day of rifle season for deer, and there is a gutted deer hanging from a branch in a tree right in front of our house, where everyone who drives by can see that we will be eating venison this year.

Hi, people from New York City doing wine tours!  Welcome to the country!  Who wants to come for dinner?

The deer, of course, was shot by A.  Although Cubby was convinced he could have shot one too, were he only allowed to go hunting with Daddy.  Alas, Mommy is lame and wouldn't let him accompany Daddy to the woods this morning at 6 a.m. for the deer stake-out.

A. shot a nice fat doe a couple of hours after sunrise and then dragged it home, over the stream and through the woods, up the gully bank and down the pasture.  After recovering himself from this feat of strength, he finished cleaning it out and hoisted it into the tree.  Cubby, meanwhile, was examining the deer. ("Where's the mouth?  There's the tongue!  This is a male deer*.  What's that?  What's a windpipe for?  What's that white stuff?  What's cartilage?  Why?  Why?  Why?  Why?" ad infinitum.)

It's really too bad he's so squeamish.

So now every time I get in my car, which is parked approximately three feet from the deer, I am treated to a close-up view of the nearly-severed head with the tongue sticking out.  Lovely.

Looks like we'll be bringing some venison to Thanksgiving dinner.  How very authentic.

* Unless informed otherwise, Cubby assumes every animal is male.

Friday, November 16, 2012

More Not-So-Fond Reminisces

I might say the following to A. in ten years:

"Hey, remember that night when Charlie was four months old and woke up every hour all night long, so I was bouncing in and out of bed like some kind of goddamn milk-producing jack-in-the-box?  And Cubby woke up crying at 5:15 a.m. for unknown reasons and then spent the rest of the morning behaving like a feral child, growling and clawing and generally menacing every person and animal in his path?  And Charlie woke up for the day at 7:30 a.m. and then cried for the next hour and a half, until I strapped him into his carrier and went outside with him and Cubby, where I stood and bounced Charlie up and down for two hours until I felt like my back was going to break?  Wasn't that a GREAT morning?  At least you didn't have hives."

P.S.  Hey, guess what?  I feel like complete and utter shit today, for obvious reasons.  Whee.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's for Dinner? Pasty Meat!

That sounds so appetizing, doesn't it?  It's about as appetizing to make as it sounds, too.

See, when we butchered our most recent sacrificial lamb, the MiL laboriously cut off many small bits that were too small for stew meat.  Her thought was they could be used for something like kibbeh.

Kibbeh are like meatballs.  Except instead of using ground meat, you use meat paste.  That is, the meat is put in the food processor and processed until it's smooth.

It's really gross.  To do, that is.  The meat forms this kind of slimy clump in the processor that gets sucked under the blade and thrown around with a really disturbing roaring sound.  It's like an alien is being pureed in the food processor.

Those are some tasty meatballs, though.  I didn't use an actual recipe, instead going with my standard method of reading a few recipes, then throwing some shit together.  In this case, I dumped the lamb in the food processor with some leftover white rice, an onion, a couple of garlic cloves, some egg whites left over from a dessert the MiL had made, cumin, salt, and pepper.  And then it all got blended together into the aforementioned unappetizing mixture, formed into little balls, and baked*.

They were really, really, really good.  Really.  Especially when served with a yogurt sauce (plain yogurt, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper).

So you should try blending some meat.  Just try not to look into the food processor too much.

* A tip:  If you do this, the mixture will be really sticky, because of the rice and the lack of fat in the meat to begin with.  So it's easier to form the meatballs if you keep your hands wet.  And please, for the love of your pans, use parchment paper.  I did not, and I would like to publicly apologize to the MiL for the horrid pan she had to wash as a result.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dietary Hypocrisy

I have publicly announced--on this very site even--that I do not consider fruit to be an acceptable dessert.  Cakes, brownies, cookies? Yes, please.  Fruit?  No no no.  And so what do I give my toddler for dessert?

Yup. Fruit.  And then I eat some chocolate chips when he's asleep.  Mother's prerogative.

But you know, he likes the fruit.  He asks for it for dessert.  And if he's happy to eat fruit for dessert, I'm certainly not going to be shoving cookies in his face.

Anyway, it's not as if he eats fruit unadorned.  Plain apples are for a snack in the afternoon.  For dessert, I peel the apples, slice them, cook them until they're soft with apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and maple syrup (seriously good--try it), then douse them with heavy cream.  That's dessert-y, I figure.  Pears he eats straight from the jar, but since they're also peeled, soft, and canned in a sweet sugar syrup, they're also pretty dessert-y.  Right?  Right.

I'm such a hypocrite.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Cubby went to the woods this morning with A. just as Charlie was falling asleep for his first nap of the day.  I was left with a whole 45 minutes (or so) of free time.  I didn't have another cup of coffee.  I didn't check my e-mail.  I didn't read a book.  

I processed cabbage.  And it felt so liberating.

The thing about motherhood is that it takes so much of me.  Of anyone.  Especially when the babies are so new.  I just am not . . . me for awhile there.  There is no existence beyond caring for the baby and the rest of my family.  So when I can reclaim any part of my pre-baby life, it feels like a small step towards reclaiming my vision of myself as my own person.

If this seems too deep in reference to cabbage, well, yes.  But food--growing, processing, and cooking--is my thing.  It's about my only hobby.  And not being able to do those things is frustrating to me.  The fact that I can go to a store and buy a bag of sauerkraut is not the point.  The food is not the point.  Me getting to do something that I want to do--something that makes me feel like me-- is the point.

So when we came home from our excursion on Friday with one enormous red cabbage and one enormous green cabbage after a stop at a farm, I thought, "Hey, I could make sauerkraut.  And German red cabbage."

I could!  There would be a time before those cabbages rotted when I would be able to shred the hell out of them and ferment the shreds!  Glory be!

So I did.  And it was good.