Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It's one of those mornings where little things begin to annoy me. I can't blame it on a lack of caffeine. I had my usual mega-dose. It starts with a phone call to the doctor. I need a refill for a prescription. Someone screwed up and issued my prescription for a year's duration-no refills and only a 90 day supply. I call the local number. Judy answers. "Just a second, I'll connect you." Whoa, a direct shot. That's unusual. For the next five minutes I'm forced to listen to a rendition of something like High School Musical but performed by the gospel channel singers. I disconnect and redial. "Due to an unusually high volume of calls, we are unable to answer your call. If this is an emergency, dial 911. Click. Disconnect." Unbelievable. The clinic which is part of the local hospital doesn't take voice mail? I redial again. Living in rural America has its drawbacks. This time Jenny answers. She sounds like she's straight out of cheer leading tryouts at VHS, the regional high school. Before she can put me on hold I have her take my number and ask for a return call from the nurse.

While I'm waiting for the call-back, I start the dishes and make a mistake. I look in the refrigerator at the shelves loaded with food. For breakfast I have an omelet of fresh eggs from the Amish, crumbled Mexican cheese and leftover meat. On the third shelf from the bottom are plates of plastic wrapped food. The dinners were memorable. Now it's just plain old food. With a wee bit 'o Scottish in the gene pool, I can't bear to throw food away. But this is out of control. Then I hear that voice. My wife commenting about the blog. "Tough day, honey. You're writing about the refrigerator again." She always adds the honey to make it appear as a friendly comment.

The pizza was a thin crust marvel of homemade ingredients. The enchilada had a green chili sauce that was delightful. The beef bourginon was a let-down because I neglected to adjust cooking time for a reduced amount of beef. I saved it because I like the flat egg noodles. The rest of the shelf lies on the kitchen counter. I will take it to the Amish this afternoon for Buddy and Mandy, their dogs. Our spoiled cat loves freshly opened cans of pate, but turns up his nose at leftovers. There are open cans of red kidney beans, black olives, a plastic tub of sour cream, a glass bowl of leftover refried pinto beans AND way in the back is the last installment of a$100 kit to whiten my teeth from talkative Dr. Bob. I think about conducting a mold experiment for my own enjoyment. The corn bread I made last Saturday went into the compost when it sprouted small greenish-black dots. I enjoyed three pieces before it went awry.

In the converted space at the back end of the garage that will be a summer kitchen, I have a cardboard box with convenient handles that is filled to overflowing with frozen vegetables from two years ago. They will also be added to the compost. In my quest to shorten the length of our food chain, I froze anything imaginable. Unlike the man in a small Northern Wisconsin town who hit the news lately, my mother is not in the freezer.* (see below) As I write this, there are three shelves of jalapenos in the dehydrator. Whole or sliced, they were hidden in a container at the bottom of the chest freezer. I'll turn them into dried spices for sausage. One of the counter cabinets, a small free standing unit removed from adjacent to the gas stove features a deep drawer filled with our last onion crop. With sub-zero temperatures of late, I'm hopeful that the deep wooden drawer protects them from 25 degree temperatures lately. It's a blessing we drank the wine stored there.

Writing is kind of psychotherapy foisted upon daring readers who stumble upon this blog. In the time it has taken to upload the image and describe the process, I have convinced myself that the process of fine tuning the food chain is a long involved one in which there are many side experiments. I ask a good deal of questions of Titus' wife about their food processing. Since they have no electricity, a refrigerator and freezer are out of the question. Winter allows them some variations but Mother Nature's vagaries are consistently inconsistent. In January it reaches 40 degrees and at the end of February it is below zero at 7 am. I am going to include as many variables in my food experiments to create an interesting mix of pickled, salted, frozen, dried, canned and fresh food. I couldn't do any worse than the chain food stores with expiration dates that run as far out as 2011, the fillers, chemicals, processing and variations of sodium based "enhancements", corn syrups, beet sugars, carcinogens yet undisclosed and weary substitutes for real food like bacon flavored crumbles to spice up a salad.

*We spotted a bumper sticker the other day: What's in your freezer? A news article came out recently about a man who froze his mother after she died of natural causes to keep receiving her social security checks.

No comments: