Post # 134 KP the Last, and Random Musings

June 28, 2013 at 4:37 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

So, has anyone gotten the impression that I hate cleaning the kitchen?  Well, that’s just wrong!  I like cleaning the kitchen.  I hate doing the dishes.  It’s never ending.  It’s one of the most futile jobs ever.  As soon as they’re all done, they get dirty again.  During one of the few times in my life when I was living by myself, I actually would get fast food on purpose to keep from dirtying up plates.  That fact that it tasted good was beside the point.

Over the years, I’ve learned some things that are still surprising to me. For instance, salt is a great cleaner.  Remember in the last post, I talked about cleaning cast iron with salt and a paper towel?  Well, another trick with salt that my mother taught me is just as effective.  How many times have you burned stuff in a pan?  You try soaking the pan with hot water and dish soap, but the gunk doesn’t come out.  Steel wool, scraping forks, dynamite, nothing seems to work.  Mom told me to put enough water in the pan to cover the burned gunk by half an inch then pour table salt over the burn.  Put it on heat, let the water come to a boil slowly, and the gunk will lift right off.  If I was Alton Brown, I’d give you some kind of scientific explanation about the salt and water combining into some low-grade sulfuric acid and eating through the gunk compounded to the surface of the pot, but I’m not.  It does work.  I’ve seen it happen, time after time.

Another cleaning tip from my mom, but one that’s been verified time after time in every single “old wives tales” kind of cookbook is vinegar and water.  When I’m cleaning grease from the stove or oven or countertops or wherever else it collects, including the floor, I want the easiest thing I can find to get it out of there.  I typically go to spray chemicals, you know which ones.  But in the past, and likely into the future, I’ve used solutions of vinegar and water of various strengths.  Put equal portions into an empty spray bottle, give a couple of squirts, and it cuts through anything.  You need a little more elbow grease, but it works like a champ.  It also works on windows and mirrors.  If you use newspaper, it leaves no streaks of any kind.  Again, there’s a scientific explanation, but I’ll leave it to Alton Brown.

Yesterday, I gave the garden and the plants a “dry” day.  I do that once a week so they will act like they do “in the wild.”  Since the ground was dry, I decided to look in on the tomatoes to see what was happening.  I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes hiding in the dirt that I wanted to look at.  Turns out, all the cherry tomatoes were ready to be picked.  I had three dozen of them, or thereabouts.  Then, just to see, I started looking around in the goliaths.  Imagine my delight when I was able to pick a dozen of those guys.  All of them perfectly red, and perfectly delicious.  I gave half of them to my sister, who had a handful of her own from the seedlings that I gave her so many weeks ago.  FiL and I had several for lunch.   Then last night, for dinner, I had one of the goliaths chopped up with some mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, sunflower seeds, chopped scallions, and oil and vinegar.  Yumm!!!  The best part is there are still a TON of green tomatoes left on the vine and more coming.  I’ve about given up on the beans; the sun is just too much for them.  The carrots are coming along and I’m going to harvest all of them this weekend.  The peppers are doing what they do, and the herbs are looking good.  I used the last of the cilantro last weekend, so I’m experimenting with the parts I didn’t cut off, keeping them watered to see what will happen.  I’ve got a non-producing squash plant that I’m about to cut up.  It’s pretty and huge, etc.  But no zucchini.  I’ve decided next year, I’m going to move the garden to a section of the yard that gets shade for several hours and is protected from the afternoon sun.  That will help the plants that get burned so much.

So, who’s been watching the Paula Deen saga play out?  For any who are visiting from another planet, Paula Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, own a restaurant Georgia.  One of their employees charged them with creating a hazardous work environment, as well as using racial and sexual slurs.  In dealing with the law suit, Ms. Deen gave a deposition and that deposition became public.  I was a little skeptical at first, since the story was broken by The National Enquirer.  But as each day went by, more accusations arose and finally Ms. Deen gave a public apology.  But it didn’t end there.  Major sponsors dropped her like the proverbial hot potato.  More employees came forward with more information.  Her background and history were dissected, and suddenly it was divided along racial lines.  It’s still early days, and whether or not she and her brother win or lose the law suit(s), she will never be the same icon she was before this mess occurred.  I read this analysis recently, and it made sense.  Paula Deen became known as the Queen of Southern Cooking.  But in building her brand and empire, she ignored what many considered to be the real traditions of southern cooking.  She laid claim to the results of generations of tradition without giving due credit to those who had actually created the traditions.  It’s an interesting theory, and it helps explain the speed of the downfall.  Anyone else think something different?

This weekend is supposed to be one of the hottest in recorded history.  Please be careful, drink plenty of water, and watch your pets closely!

BTW – I LOVE chocolate cake.

UPDATE:  I went out to the garden just a bit ago pondering where to cut the squash vine to get rid of it and found three HUGE squashes!  Don’t know what kind yet.  I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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2 Comments

  1. Baking soda is the other magical inexpensive cleaning solution.

  2. Hey there Farmer Joe: (Love the new title) You’re quite the expert when it comes to the kitchen, I am impressed!! Another trick my Mom me about the cast iron skillet, after the skillet is washed, season it, before it is put away. I agree with the vinegar and water solution, great for cleaning. Also helps when you have nasty smells in the drain. Just make sure to label the bottle properly, so you know what’s in it. (I’m sure you already knew that). What about moving the garden closer to the grapefruit tree next year, where there is ample shade? Just a thought.


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