Jellied Clam Juice Ring

Yes, that's more from the Joy of Cooking, but doesn't it sound like some arcane sexual practice? Or object, maybe. Let's not go there, it's can only lead down a bad road.

I don't really have anything else to say, but I've been going around repeating "jellied clam juice ring" for days now, and hoped that putting it out there to the world might help me stop. But you should try it! It gets all kind of interesting responses. It's all I can do to keep it inside when I'm at school. For the most part, the little switch in my brain works beautifully, and I don't spout inappropriate things around 12-year-olds, but as soon as I get home, boy howdy.

This cookbook has become something of an obsession. I suggested that we limit our eating to its recipes for a year, or a month, but I didn't get much enthusiasm - maybe the deep-fried calf brains were a turnoff? I think I will try the bananas wrapped in bacon, though. How could that be anything but delicious? A perfect addition to thanksgiving tradition.


A Whale of a Time

We've been saying for years that we should have an old-school Joy of Cooking dinner party, because of all the fun recipes like "Cheese Carrots," which requires you to shape cheese into carrots! With a sprig of parsley for the green bits. How droll! And delicious! It looks like a carrot, but it's....cheese! Yeah. I don't know. Apparently - even though I recall much laughter at the time - it wasn't fun enough to spur us into actually having that dinner party. But! Now we found something even better. I cannot possibly make it more entertaining than it is, so here is the original recipe, courtesy of Irma S. Rombauer:


If possible, trap possum and feed it on milk and cereals* for 10 days before killing. Clean, but do not skin. Treat as for pig by immersing the unskinned animal in water just below the boiling point. Test frequently by plucking at the hair. When it slips out readily, remove the possum from the water and scrape. While scraping repeatedly, pour cool water over the surface of the animal. Remove small red glands in small of back and under each foreleg between the shoulder and rib. Parboil, page 132, 1 hour. Roast as for pork, page 407. Serve with: Turnip greens."

*Do you think any cereals will do? Cocoa Puffs? Froot Loops?

There's something about a recipe that encourages you to keep your food alive for ten days before you cook it. If possible. If not, well, I suppose it won't be quite as savory, but it will do. And just in case you think that's a fluke, there are pages devoted to these critters - raccoon, peccary (?!), woodchuck, squirrel - there's a delightful line drawing of how to skin a squirrel: apparently once you've cut the skin a bit, you hold it down with your shoe and pull up on the carcass, and it will just peel right off. How many shoppers at Whole Foods know that useful tidbit, do you think?

So we have a new dinner party to plan, now. If anyone is feeling extra-ambitious, she recommends allowing 1/2 pound of whale meat per person (see page 362). I'll bring the Cheese Carrots.


Democracy, With a Cherry on Top

It wasn't so long ago that I lamented the lack of excitement in Oregon's efficient vote-by-mail system. I still think it's the way to go, but I'm missing out on more than the "I Voted!" sticker: if I lived in New York, I could have gotten a free mini vibrator from Babeland! Now that's empowering the people.

We've come a long way from the time when vibrators were used by Victorian doctors to relieve a woman of hysteria (you knew that, right?). Nobody would admit it was a sexual thing, but women just kept going back for more...and more...and more... and right there, again, please, doctor....oh! Now you can knowingly drop a Rabbit reference into dinner table conversation - and if they think you're talking about opening a wine bottle, well, maybe it's better that way. (in my head I was going somewhere with this, but it doesn't seem to have worked out that way. Pretend there are some intelligent comments in the mix, leading us to the current Bush-free era - except between our legs - when hopefully we will revive real sex education and generations of sexually aware and empowered young men and women will come of age)

Go Obama!