Mr. French always wore a sour expression. Whether or not he always wore a drab gray suit is immaterial, but that’s how I remember him. He was the fiercest figure of authority in my middle school years, and was known for yelling into the faces of students.
Rainy days, when everyone else was in the dumps, were the only times I would see him smile. He’d look up at the tropical torrent falling from the Miami sky and joyfully proclaim it to be “liquid sunshine.” Even then, there was still menace in the tone of his voice.
True story. Or at least that’s how I remember it. And I only mention it insofar that it looks like this will be a pretty rainy Memorial Day weekend. The rain will be followed by a cold snap. With a high of 63 on Saturday, it’s unlikely I’ll be getting in the pool as planned.
So what are you to do if you’ve found your weekend plans ruined–or at least your spirits dampened–by the unseasonably cold and wet weather? Well, I’ve got a couple of ideas.
Winter already seems like it ended a million years ago. But it hasn’t been that long since there was snow on the ground. For a while we had a long stretch where the days were warm but the nights dipped below freezing. And that was great for the maple producers, as those are the conditions required for the sap to flow.
Now we’ve got maple syrup, which apparently is a spring food even though its flavors are most often married with the harvest foods of fall. Maple and ramps or maple with fiddleheads sounds a lot less appealing that maple with butternut squash.
Maybe there were spring maple recipes once upon a time that fell out of favor after we became disconnected from the seasons. I have no idea.
What I do know is that this year I decided to try a couple of different maple syrups and pit them against one another in head-to-head showdowns. This is far from a comprehensive review. I’m just one guy. And I’m not even all that into sweets. But I can’t resist a good tasting.
Getting on the scale can be harrowing. While it may not be the best tool to evaluate a healthful diet, I keep track of my progress in between doctors visits by monitoring my weight. Part of me is trying to eat better. The other part of me is trying to be a little less strict this time than the last go around.
Today I had a fish fry lunch and a French fry dinner. Guess which part of me is winning?
But scales aren’t just things to be dreaded as we veer off course from our diets. Some scales are quite helpful. There’s the IBU scale for bitterness in beers. That can help prevent problems at home, as Mrs. Fussy doesn’t enjoy her IPAs when they are super bitter. And of course there is the Scoville scale that rates the heat of varying chili peppers.
However, just because the fieriness of food can be measured, doesn’t mean the places where you might want it used actually employ this handy tool. And more’s the pity in the wild world of wings.
How do you solve a problem like Monsanto? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down.
Let’s put aside the big questions for a moment of whether Monsanto is the cause or the symptom of our current state of scientific, legislative, agricultural and economic tensions surrounding the patenting of life and the increasing dominance of genetically engineered crops in corn, canola, soy, and cotton.
But for argument’s sake. Let’s just say they are simply bad. What do you do about it? I ask because there is a rally scheduled for this Saturday in Albany with similar rallies around the world, and some of you might be planning to attend.
I wrote a little bit about this recently. But I want to write a little bit more for a couple of reasons. One, last week there was a fascinating piece on Bloomberg.com. And this march also reminds me a bit of a Jewish folk story I wanted to share. Perhaps you’ve heard it.
Please forgive me for sharing this story with you. It’s not the most appetizing one I’ve done recently. But I think it’s important. And thanks to my good old friend Raf for bringing it to my attention.
Incidentally, my kids were trained from the earliest of ages to call Raf, “Uncle Doodie.” He chose the moniker himself. So yeah, this post is about poop. Actually, it’s even better than poop. It’s about exploding poop.
George Washington to the Throgs Neck going down. Whitestone on the way back up the Taconic.
There are no food stories from Great Neck this time around. The trip was too short with too many children and too much of a focus on family. There wasn’t even time to pick up a braided everything bagel bread from the Bagel Hut to bring back to Mike at Albany Bagel Co. in honor of the venture’s first day at The Crossings farmers market.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been stockpiling a bunch of press releases and other local clippings for upcoming events of interest. Speaking of stockpiles, I also have a box of three different Gatherer’s granolas and a bottle of Grade A maple by Tap House Syrup of Feura Bush, NY that I’ve been meaning to sample and potentially write about.
The comestibles can wait. They are good for a while. But lets move on to these stories of note, most of which are presented with little interruption from yours truly.
I love it when a plan comes together.
This FLB project really is about the long view. For better or for worse, I’m a fairly patient guy. If there is something I want, I can wait for it. Other things just take time.
There are so many places to eat ice cream in this region that awhile back I had come up with a three year plan. Year one was to check out the soft serve places that everyone went gaga over. Year two was to find actual good ice cream, the homemade hard stuff, that one would hope is filled with fewer stabilizers and synthetic emulsifying agents than the industrial mixes that get pumped out of machines.
Year three was always going to be about gelato.
And now here we are, right on schedule. Not a minute too soon either, because this could be the last tour until I return from the sabbatical in Jersey. However while there are some details that I’ve got nailed down for the Tour de Gelato, there are others that I’m opening up to the floor.