Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ida Clare, There's Been Another Outbreak of Canning

Once again, Ida Mama has been bringing home trouble in the form of produce.  Let's all sigh together.

Tomatillos: those green things that look like green tomatoes that have that ominous papery shuck growing around it that live in a pile in the grocery store but never land in my basket or anyone elses evidently, because Ida Mama was given a boatload of them and that boatload now resides on my dinning room floor.  Let's sigh again.
What do you do with them? A sane person might ask. 
A sane person would buy about 10 or 12, shuck them, wash the sticky residue off them with soapy water, gouge out the stem and drop them in a hot boiling Dutch-oven of water on the stove. 
Then she would dip them out into a sieve over the sink because it is too dangerous to pour the cauldron with the little hot piles of floaters and boiling water directly.  This goes on until the sane person begins to wonder what in the heck she was thinking and what had she gotten herself into?
Then as this person is dropping them into the food processor while her hands are burning, she is grateful that she only bought enough of these little green hand grenades to make one batch of salsa verde.  She also has been chopping peppers, garlic, three cups (3!!!!!) of onions and juicing enough limes that she is starting to look at them longingly in the hope that there will be enough left over to make a pitcher of icy, cold margaritas. (After all, it is 102 outside and my air conditioner is operated by gerbils.)
A sane person would pulse the food processor, pour up the newly created salsa in a bowl, find a bag of chips, call in all the neighbors, their relatives and any errant Jehovah's Witness who might be bicycling by to sit and enjoy the fruits of her labors while shooting the non-existent breeze.

We, on the other hand, are insane.  Look it up.  We (two old women should be holding a crate of tomatillos) are under the entry for insane in the dictionary.  We would have looked better in the photograph, but the steam coming off the boiling hot water made our hair frizz and our faces turn red and I am starting to get that glassy-eyed look of the damned.
I  realize that the average person cares not for what happens to two nut-jobs who have lost the ability to "just say no" to crates of produce, but in case you, like us, can't stop yourself, let us all soldier on.
A sane person would be content with feeding her neighbors the batch of green salsa and call it a day.
Not so the insane.  With the volume of tomatillos that are lying about awaiting their fate, the insane are googling, "How to can tomatillos?" which is a misnomer because cans are not involved. What's needed are boxes of jars, lids, and something called a water bath that requires more heat, more boiling, and the steam and stamina of a locomotive.
I am tired just writing about it.  I'm off to make some breakfast tacos and see if the salsa verde makes it all worthwhile.   

Then it will be time to tackle the 50 ears of corn.  Aw shucks.   

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ida Clare, It's Adventures in Canning

On my last post, I mentioned my mother, Ida Mama, but did I mention that we live really close to each other?   Close proximity is a nice way of saying that I recklessly gave my mother a key to the back door of my house when I moved here and she never fails to use it when it suits her and it suits her when the produce wagon comes to town.

I realized the error of my ways when she showed up with the following:
2 cases of Roma tomatoes

1 case of bananas

2 cases of peaches

about 10 whole cabbages

12 gigantic cucumbers

a bucket of string beans

and a partridge in a pear tree (Not really, I made that part up.)

Kill.  Me.  Now.

What I am wondering is why not bring in a case of beer that's already been canned?  That would have made the work week more palatable, if you ask me.

I’m not the only one singing the canning blues.

My birthday was a while back and due to our busy canning schedules, the wild celebrations with my Ida Mama and my Ida Aunts had to be postponed.  I am being taken to the "Tea Room" in Big Thicket. 
I wonder if they have Long Island Iced Tea? And if I could manage to drink several of them while we discuss our respective ailments and canning adventures:

"What's good here?"

"I've heard the basil soup is good, but I hate to order it when I have 26 pints at home."

"What about the spaghetti?  No.  Nobody makes it like the sauce you just put up from that 2 cases of tomatoes.  I'll never eat Ragu again."

"That's why my hands hurt, from peeling all those tomatoes.  I probably won't be able to hold the fork anyway."

"My neighbor says the banana bread here is the best she ever ate, so I might have it instead of the peach pie.  Anybody need a case of peaches?"  Everybody shakes their head no in unison.

"I'd rather eat dirt than eat another banana.  By the time we ate banana pudding, banana smoothies, sliced bananas on our cereal, made and froze 6 double batches of banana bread before all those free bananas turned brown, I am starting to feel like a monkey.  I would have been better off smoking the peel."

"I wondered why you were looking at my scalp for head lice."


"Uh waitress, I'll have The Long Island Iced Tea.  I'm going to drink my lunch."

Have a good week, 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ida Clare I'm Feeling Snarky!

It has been brought to my attention that I am not being as honest as I could be in this space and that my tone has changed somewhat since I started this blog

“You mean you’ve changed from sarcastic to really sarcastic?”

No, it’s the other way around.

“Really?  You mean you aren’t sarcastic as you used to be?  I find that hard to believe.”

Oh, I hate to admit this, but when I first started this blog, I had planned to hide out here and keep a low profile.  It was easy to make snarky remarks about people I didn’t know.  But the longer I’m here, the more hesitant (read: afraid) I am to make snarky remarks about people who drive around with guns-racks in their pickups and are so religious that they have the ear of God on speed dial.

The real reason I seem to have curbed my enthusiasm for snarky-ism is my mother.  I haven’t talked about Ida Mama because I wanted to respect her privacy and I was afraid that people here might blame her for my audacity to mention that I am not a fan of Duck Dynasty or that the emperor doesn’t have on any clothes. (Here the emperor would be a naked redneck and really, who would want to call attention to that?)

So in deference to Ida Mama, I have toned things down so much that I just don’t write anything snarky and that has got to stop.  I haven’t written much about politics or religion because my mother told me that you don’t talk about them in mixed company.  I guess she meant a mix of Democrats and Republicans or Heathens or Christians.  Here, it can get you thrown out of Golden Corral before you have a chance to swing by the chocolate fountain three or four times. 

However, it is difficult not to speak up with Texas politics being what it is and a prize-winning buffoon of a U.S. Congressman with a last name straight out of Mayberry named: (wait for it) Gohmert. Here is his picture below.   Shazam!

My mother is well-known and well-loved in her community and surely she will be forgiven for her wayward daughter making a few wisecracks about butt-cracks in Wal-mart.  The truth is nobody reads this blog anyway except a few Big Thicket Outcasts who keep their opinions and their butt-cracks to themselves.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Ida Clare Dustin Hoffman is Da Man

A male friend on my Facebook posted the video below of Dustin Hoffman discussing an epiphany he had while preparing for his iconic role as Dorothy Michaels in the movie Tootsie.


Talk about dancing backward a mile in someone else's high heels. 

I have a new crush on dear old Dustin.  I don't need to elaborate much here because he said it better than any rant on the subject I could make.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ida Clare, I May Be A Sunflower

I love the line in this quote "even with my head full of seeds."   

Sometimes my head is so full of seeds I am afraid of being pecked to death by crows.  On other occasions my head is a desolate cavern where the wind howls and I haven't got two thoughts to rub together. It feels like I don't have a lot of control which version of my head shows up on any given morning.

This can be very disheartening when you are counting on using your brains for more than keeping your hat from falling over your eyes.  I have a friend who recently retired from one of the most stressful jobs imaginable.  Because she has some unaccounted-for expenses she decide she needed a part-time job.  Her prayer to the Employment Gods went something like this. "Oh, I don't care, I just need a mindless job; one where I don't have to think."

Well, you might want to file this for future reference, the Employment Gods are sick jerks who enjoy blessing you with the same kind of crap that Human Resources has been doling out for years. So it sends her exactly what she asked for: A job that is so mindless that she is afraid her brain will atrophy.  This woman has a masters degree and she is alphabetizing manilla folders, then scanning the contents.  Mountains of them.

And employers wonder why employees waste valuable company time surfing the net, stalking ex-boyfriends on Facebook, or Googling questions like:  Top ten ways to commit suicide using only office supplies.

I may not be the smartest egg in the carton, but I know that using my brain is preferable to not using it.  Even if it is full of seeds.  I hope you get to use yours today for good.

I wish you a Happy Muse Day and Best Brain Power!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Favorite 237 Year Old

Well, it’s the Fourth of July here in Big Thicket where we wear our red white and blue proudly like a drunken sailor wears his new tattoo.  Anything we can buy at the dollar store that has the stars and stripes plastered on it: we got it in triplicate. 

I went out early this morning to the grocery store before it closes at 2:00 so the employees can get high with their families to buy Miracle Whip and tater chips to go with my patriotic hamburgers and it did my heart good to see that we still love the country in our country.  (Hmmmm, I may have some bumper stickers and t-shirts made up with that little saying.  Could be a big seller in Big Thicket.)

I saw several gentlemen wearing what appears to be the unofficial uniform of the Fourth consisting of an unbuttoned blue denim work shirt with the sleeves cut out casually paired with a white tee-shirt that went just fine with their red necks.  One guy’s t-shirt had a picture of a large fire cracker that said, “Bang me.”  I thought to myself,  “Oh your mother would be proud,” but then I saw this plump little old lady wearing red short-shorts, blue vericosed legs and a t-shirt that said, “Let’s make fireworks together!” 

I wanted to go up to her and tell her that she should go meet the guy in the produce section who was thumping the watermelons, but I was afraid she’d misunderstand and I left well enough alone.

I hurried back home as soon as the pimpled face kid loaded my groceries into the car.  His shirt said, “May the Fourth be with you.”

I’ll just leave it at that.

Happy Birthday America.  You still look pretty good for a 237 year old.