Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow preparations a la Field and Fenista

We are being warned and watched and generally asked to be worried about a big snowstorm on its way here. This triggers massive expeditions to stores to buy essentials such as toilet paper, milk, bread, etc, because who knows the roads may be closed as long as eek.. six hours....anyway.

Tomorrow is Saturday, the day I have a lovely afternoon off to slope around without any pressure, doing this and that, mostly that, and often this entails moseying around a supermarket actually looking as well as shopping, time to breathe. However, if we have up to a large amount of snow tomorrow, this will be impractical, since the plows will be heavy competition on the roads.

So I thought I'd rush out madly to the nearest, Asian, store, not to leave HP for more than a short time alone, to pick up vital produce anyway, for soup purposes, etc., and I'd also been reading recipes for piccalilli, and one thing led to another.

It's not everyone whose idea of vital stores ahead of a snowstorm includes the making of six pounds of pickles, but well, like I said, one thing led to another, I was there in the good produce department and there were cauliflowers and other good things and they even had nice cucumbers of the right size, and I ended up later in the afternoon chopping and simmering and fooling about with mustard seeds and ginger and mustard and turmeric and all sorts of veggies, using all the big pans in the house, and finding that I didn't have enough malt vinegar and substituting with various other vinegars for the vital malt stuff.

Which brings me to the interesting observation that to me malt vinegar is common, cheap, and easy to buy. In principle.

In fact it turns out to be highly valuable stuff, hard to find in the store, which has a ton of wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, which everyone knows is only good for rinsing your hair, and balsamic vinegar which I have tried and wondered wildly why people eat it when clearly it is destined for use on the hinges of the garage door....anyway, I found some malt vinegar labeled: Fish and Chip Vinegar! priced at a queen's ransom, complete with tiara and the Order of the Garter. So I sighed and bought a bottle of it, the only size they had, small.

But the other ingredients made up in price for it, and I continue to wonder why people buy expensive tiny jars of pickled items when they're fun to make, not too expensive at all, and you get a whole lot out of one recipe and if you don't mind having the house smell like a fish and chip shop invaded by mustard plants, it's fine.

So, bring on the snow, we are READY!

And take a look at this accidental artwork I found at the Preserve the other day. It used to be a galvanized metal tub, and got squashed probably by a tractor, and now looks irresistibly like -- no, I won't make your guess for you. You tell us what you think it reminds you of. This is not a Rorschach test, folks, just a fun thing. I know what I think it looks like, but if I say that you won't be able to see what you think, so take a shot at it. What do you think?


  1. Hope you aren't snowed in completely - but 6 hours isn't really very long! Pickling is indeed a lovely occupation. I love the smell of ground up veggies in the pot overnight!

    The lower piece of metal reminds me of a pig's head with foxy ears. The two above it don't make a picture in my mind at all tonight. Maybe tomorrow!!

  2. Sorry my brain isn't into assimilating your squashed galvanised tub into anything at the moment - probably has something to do with the lateness of the hour here.

    One other use for apple cider vinegar though, is soaking an old washcloth in it then placing the washcloth over a small bag of ice or one of those sports ice-pack thingies and resting your poor tired feet on it until they feel much better. Good idea to do it outside if you're able - can be a bit smelly. Have used it many a time after a hard day at netball.


  3. The top piece looks like a blissfully happy flying cat and the bottom one might be a horse's head. Love your pickle idea. I usually make a great big binful of soup when there is a storm warning.


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