Out By This Poolroom Life

There are only so many minutes we can wring out of each day. The minutes I’d usually use tonight to pound out a post with both sticky paws might be packed with adventure and romance – or more likely with working at the food pantry and making yogurt at home. Either way: sticky. So you can bet I’ll be thinking of you, Poor Impulsives! How could I not? And speaking of me, I’ve been reading food preservation blogs. Did you know there are dozens of them? There are! And they are doing some really creative things like raising goats and pickling improbable pickles and farming fruits and praising raisins. And each of those blogs has a blogroll full of other preservation bloggers, many of whom are doing work just as interesting, by which I mean I want those bloggers to ship jars to my house for circumspect sampling. Is that too much to ask?

These bloggers are plainly not thinking of my needs. Hopefully soon, they will see the error of their ways. And speaking of me, I received a cookbook in the mail some months ago that sat on a table for weeks while I worked up the nerve to read it. Dad’s online foodie friends published their own cookbook with a section dedicated to Dad’s passionate pontificating. To my surprise, the writing sounds like him, the recipes make sense, the techniques he described were familiar enough that I could tell the editors had snipped a few words here and there but left his work largely undisturbed. His voice was clear and decisive, his opinions as firm as they’d ever been. One of our last conversations:

Tata: …I’ve been using bamboo cutting boards –
Dad: No!
Tata: (thinking of the three very expensive cutting boards aging gracefully on my kitchen counter) No?
Dad: (done talking about this or almost anything else)
Tata: Okay.

But he was like that. He read everything, formed an opinion and something drastic would have to develop or come his way to change his mind. I often wonder what he meant when he rejected the bamboo cutting boards. Yesterday, the Punk Domestics published When Is Content Original? I’ve been mulling over this, too:

Recipes – which is to say lists and quantities of ingredients – cannot be copyrighted, but “substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions” and images are subject to copyright protection. When using some or all of another’s recipe, including an image, there are some broadly accepted etiquettes about the use, attribution and adaptation of recipes.

First and foremost, cite your sources. If you are using a recipe from another source, it’s polite to get permission first, and top of form to give credit and link back. If you are adapting it or deriving a new recipe with inspiration from it, permission is not necessary, but the citation and link back are certainly good form.

I do not own the rights to the cookbook or to Dad’s writing and I’m the last person who’d fuck with someone else’s rights. For one thing, no one needs the cognitive dissonance inherent in being haunted by an angry dead atheist. For another, I have had about half a dozen conversations with people genuinely upset about chicken stock and there’s no need for that, either. Dad had a simple solution to – well, look: some folks want to cook with stock, but it’s expensive or it takes time to make or they don’t know how, and they feel judged about it. Making your own stock is not a moral obligation, but it is a good use of your resources, gets your money’s worth out of your groceries and improves the flavor of your cooking. Why are people anxious? I don’t know, but do you know anybody who isn’t?

In the cookbook, Dad says all you need is a large slow cooker. Put everything you’d put in a stock pot into a large slow cooker, set that bad boy on low. After an hour or two, check that the surface of the liquid ripples but doesn’t boil. Let’s say you do that after dinner. In the morning, you might need to add water. When you get home from work, strain out the bones and toss the liquid back into the slow cooker. Taste it. You might want to add some wine and a few pinches of salt. Let the liquid heat gently for another hour or two. Twenty-four hours in a slow cooker should do it. Let it cool, then store it in your fridge.

There you have it, without my stealing even a single phrase. Of course, I was thinking of your needs all along. Don’t we all feel a little less sticky?

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2 responses to “Out By This Poolroom Life

  1. I am a firm believer in fortified stocks, meaning use a little bit of better than bullion or box stock to get a homemade stock going (get it to that yummy rounded out full stock flavor instead of weak vegetable water).

    And I usually have bags of veggie ends and leftover bones in the freezer that I add to till I have the time to make stock.

  2. The best thing about Dad’s slow cooker method is that monitoring time is almost non-existent.

    We’ve had three weeks of corn on the cob now, so my freezer is filled with cobs for corn stock. It has a dense, rich flavor that perfumes soups FABULOUSLY. Maybe I’ll set that up tonight.

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