protein procurement, box elder syrup and more
1) I got this text from Dan last week at 8:00 am: deer backstrap tonight, which made me think of a 1950’s father celebrating his raise by calling home to announce, “filet mignon, tonight.” But in our house this can only mean one thing: the roadkill fairies have smiled upon us again! I told the kids the good news and Col immediately asked, “who’s coming over to share it with us?” Because what’s not to celebrate about free, fresh wild meat? Although, when I got this sweet e-mail from a reader recently, “The way you write makes me smile, whether it’s about something beautiful, gross, or frustrating, because it is so real and easy to relate to,” I figured the “gross” part might refer to this certain style of protein-procurement.
It’s the name isn’t it? Roadkill. There must be a better term, like, I don’t know…highway steaks. I mean, just wait until the hipster foodies catch on. Until then I’m taking suggestions.
deer backstrap, pink sauerkraut, greenhouse chard and white rice (the family weakness)
2) My friend Natalie suggested that I read Ann Patchett’s book, Truth and Beauty, about Patchett’s deep, wild and frustrating friendship with poet/writer Lucy Grealy, who developed a Ewing’s Sarcoma at 9 which led to 1/4 her jaw being removed, chemo, radiation and numerous surgeries before she ever hit puberty. I promptly devoured that book and am now 1/2-way through Grealy’s own book, Autobiography of a Face, which is heartbreaking and beautiful all at once and peppered with such gorgeous metaphor that you will want to pause, letting the taste of her words linger in your mouth like a fine wine. (note: just finished Grealy’s book, second half is a bit vague and repetitive).
3) Not sure if smuggling pineapple peels out of Kauai is unethical or just weird, but look: pineapple vinegar, vinegaring in a headscarf!
4) When I was 23, and had recently moved to Durango, I called my mom up to say, “guess what mom? Good news!” My mom thought for a moment that maybe I was going to take the GRE’s after all, or perhaps got a job interview. But no, Dan and I had tapped a box elder tree for syrup…and the sap was FLOWING. Box elders are native to Colorado, in the same family as maples and produce some delicious sap in their own scrappy right.
enchanted box elder grove on the Dolores River from this trip
We’re looking for some local box elder trees to tap this spring. Perhaps you have an big, old box elder on your property and you would like some people to come tap it and share some syrup with you? Telltale identification characteristics: deeply furrowed grey bark, big knobby protrusions on lower trunks, box elder bugs present in warmer months.
5) Finally, on Wednesday, I’m going to post a step-by-step tutorial for making fermented ginger ale, so we can all have ginger ale together for Valentines Day, or maybe that other holiday, Feb. 21st (read about it here). So, go get your ginger and sugar and stand by.
just for the swoon of it: kraut and chard from the greenhouse
Dan and Cinder-rosella cleaning the cabinets (sorry honey about that hole in your sock)