Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Everything Is Obsolete


Photo courtesy Flickr

The morning E-mail brings news of large scale three-d printing of houses. The work is accomplished using recycled materials. This story follows one a couple of days ago reporting a three-d printed rocket motor.

The two articles cause me to consider the worth and the future of every artifact I own. Greenest practice is to get the most use out of things that exist already. Ancient wisdom suggests that “new lamps for old” be taken with a grain of salt. However, I’m suddenly thinking about the scrap value of inventory that might be melted down for its metals and the possibility that synthetic textiles can be salvaged.

Inorganic processes now have a feed/excrete/recycle process that parallels that of living systems.

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More after the jump.

A Cookbook Is Just The Beginning


Photo courtesy Flickr

A leisurely visit with an old friend produced many welcome critiques of the food we were turning out. My friend’s partner is a competitive professional foodie, and he has osmoted her expertise.

A great-grandmother grew up in an inn-keeping family in the Old Country. She trained her daughter from age seven in good kitchen practice. It has been astonishing to discover how solid my early training apparently was. The oral tradition goes, “This isn’t bad, but it’s not nearly as good as…”

There has been no shortage of cooking literature on the kitchen shelf. I find that the information that matters, though, is what I learn word of mouth, by demonstration, or by simply hanging out and observing. One example: family tradition remarked that great-grandmother never used a meat thermometer. She simply prodded a roast to find out if it was done. My recent visitor demonstrated the meat cook’s checklist. Rare feels like the soft part of the cheek near the mouth. Medium feels like the smiling muscles close to the nose. Well done feels like the muscles over the brow and earns the diner requesting well done an invitation to the exit. (I would indulge a microbiologist or parasitologist.)

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More after the jump.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Outhouse


Photo courtesy Flickr

One summer morning I paid a call on a friend who was managing a blended family of ten children. Her house had only one bathroom, on the second floor. In the time it took to drink a cup of tea, several kids thundered up and down the stairs in gritty athletic shoes on their way to and from the convenience. I mentioned that the place had probably had an outhouse when it was new.

Karen brightened immediately and considered calling Portable Pot to park one of their fiberglass miracles in a corner of the back yard.

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More after the jump.