Friday, April 15, 2016

Golden Oldie

It really does turn out golden. Here's the recipe from the cereal box.

Dip chicken parts first in canned milk and then in crushed crisp rice cereal. Lay the parts on a shallow pan and bake for around thirty minutes at 350 degrees. 

That's all there is to it. Finesse the preparation with a first-class bird. Have the meat at room temperature when it goes into the oven.
More after the jump.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Let The Farmer Do All The Work

I noted the title while watching a cooking show. The phrase encapsulates a healthful and efficient approach to getting food on the table. The less I do to ingredients in the kitchen, the more likely I am to eat as I should. I may pay a little more for first-rate fresh ingredients, but they're the best value.

The bottom line for food is that it's a medical expense.

More after the jump.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

This Old Sink

The powder room is furnished with the original 1915 sink. Decades of diligent maintenance with abrasive cleaners left the fixture's tender porcelain as matte and porous as blotting paper.

The sink is still serviceable, but routine hand washing leaves it less than inspiring to contemplate. A fast morning's pass with ordinary non-abrasive cleaning agents doesn't do much to make it presentable. In the past, I've set aside time every month or so to fill the sink with very hot water and strong detergent to lift the grime out of its pores, but doing so is a bother.

Lately I've been pouring excess boiling water over the fittings and body of the sink. A few days of routine scalding have worked miracles. If there were small children running around the house or much foot traffic in the adjacent kitchen, I would not risk carrying a hot kettle into the next room. As it is, though, the sink is not only pristine and sanitized, the drains are fresh as well.

Before the winter holidays, I'll pull out chrome polish and detail the faucets. 

More after the jump.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Order pizza by size so that it fits conveniently into whatever refrigerator you have available.

More after the jump.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thing Lotion

Recently I filled a few boring video minutes with a minor maintenance project that's been bugging me for months. I had found a small and elegant piece of reproduction Georgian furniture at a yard sale. The varnish was so  ancient and brittle that the least touch with a finger nail marred it. I removed the classic cast brasses from the piece, wiped it with a damp cloth, and annointed it with teak oil. I let the oil soak in for ten minutes or so, and wiped off the excess. After a few more minutes, I wiped on a coat of briewax, waited an hour, and buffed the surfaces.

The time was well invested. Inspired, I went on line and found a product I had despaired of every being able to buy again, the Boot and Shoe Cream named after Detroit's high-end automobile. The last time I used this product was in the Seventies. I treated one of the first high-quality vinyl side bags with it. The piece looked better and lasted far longer than the untreated one a friend bought at the same time. I also dressed the upholstery of a vintage VW and got an extra decade out of the seats.

Archival quality bookbinder's leather dressing from the Academic Bookstore is worth every penny. I dress every new leather item that comes into the house, and things look richer immediately. They age gracefully. The condition of old leather is a telling indicator of how the household is managed.

When Mt. St. Helens blew up, an auto parts dealer in Chehalis showed a news crew a tire that was on display in his showroom. The tire had been treated with an armoring finish. The dealer cleaned the corrosive microscopic volcanic pumice off the tire with a puff of breath. When I'm in a detailing mood, I dress electrical cords with this product so I can shake them clean, wiping them with a weak solution of no-rinse janitorial cleaner before I apply the silicone repellant.

Janitorial metal-interlock floor polish coats painted and plastic finishes to good effect. Consult an antiques person to make sure you're not vandalizing a treasure. The same advice holds true for the other techniques I describe here.

Surfing the detailing community as background for this post, I realized that even museum-level stately English housekeepers are bush league compared to the lens-grinding quality competition motor-lovers can produce. A 1930s edition of the US Navy's Bluejacket's Manual advises not to paint things that are shiny when they are new, a comment that de-mystified certain kinds of shabby. Shiny equals speed. Bright for speed is not the same as bright for private life, though. Old brightwork is rightly gentle and shows the hazy marks of careful usage over time. A dampened microfiber cleaning cloth is usually just the right product to produce a surface that looks cared for but venerable.


More after the jump.