Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spices, Green Pans, and Afghanistan's Plains

So it's on to a new documentary series for me while waiting for the next episode in RG, AL, & PG's newest series, Wartime Farm. The series I'm rewatching is "Edwardian Farm" set in 1901. Click here to watch. What prompted me to write this is my astonishment upon noticing that, as Ruth Goodman set up the new Edwardian kitchen and stocked her shelf, she put a tin of Colman's Mustard up, and it's the exact same tin as what I buy today in 2012. Amazing.

Around Arlington and Bardwell, McCormicks was the stock spice for ages, mostly still is. It comes in itty bitty tins and costs far too much. When I can, I tend to buy spices in tiendas (Mexican stores) where they are reasonably priced and British or Hungarian brands, same thing. A lot of my fiber friends buy online from Penzeys, which they swear by, but I've not tried. I figure my palate isn't delicate enough to discern the difference.

Likely I use more powdered mustard than most around here. I make my own mayonnaise, and only use powdered mustard for that. I don't know anyone else who makes their own mayo, which I find weird considering how easy it is. At least I know what I'm eating and am not eating strange chemicals in it. I get enough of those in things I can't control. I also like to use powdered mustard in my deviled eggs.

Okay, let me say that  if you don't have any of the new green pans, you need to get at least one. The other day in a local Dollar General Store I fell prey to a "gotcha" display and bought at quite a decent price a 10" skillet with the new green finish. Since I'm yammering about it, I ought to provide more information on them, but I simply don't want to go out fishing for it. Suffice to say, it's a non-stick finish more durable than the original teflon we fell in love with. It's not supposed to peel off like teflon eventually does, and not supposed to pose the health problems that disintegrating teflon does.

All I can say at this point is that this is the easiest skillet to clean I have ever owned in my life. It's a nice heavy one - by that I mean it's stocky enough to heat evenly without being as heavy as cast iron. So far, it doesn't seem to matter what I cook in it, all I have to do is spray it with water, run the light-weight scrubbing brush around it, and tip it over into the drainer to dry.

And just because I'm rereading David Weber's "March to the Sea" which quotes part of this poem, and I'd heard it ages ago, before we first went in to war in Afghanistan, here's a stanza of a poem, "The Young British Soldier" written by Rudyard Kipling in 1895. I remember wondering what the hell America had gotten itself into when it didn't go in, smash the Taliban to smithereens, find Osama Bin Laden at the outset, and get the hell out.

Afghanistan has been conquered by no country. The British Empire fled, the Soviets fled, and I wish we would flee before 2014. How stupidly egotistical our military was and is. And yes, I'm an Air Force veteran who disagrees with the big boys in Washington.

The Young British Soldier, Rudyard Kipling, 1895

....When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
     An'go to your Gawd like a soldier.
     Go, go, go like a soldier....

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