February 21, 2017: Weird Weather; Big Meals; The Park

February 21, 2017: Weird Weather; Big Meals; The Park

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Warm weather enabled outdoor activities.  This child was allowed to play until clear signs of leg muscle and brain fatigue were apparent.

A vast quantity of humans in Androp’s home town spent some of both days over this past week-end outside.  Conditions were unseasonably warm: a new record was set on Saturday with a high of 77 F.  Normal high (average of previous 30 years) is 46.  Hint: Weather Underground has great information posted online; their weather app is good as well.

Androp got in an early Saturday morning bike ride and a trip to the park with the youngest grandchild.  The slide was accessed and used more than 30 times.  The first experience in a ‘big girl’ swing resulted in great joy as well as a fall.  Jumping off a moving swing resulted in a face plant into weathered chunks of shredded trees.  Hint to adults: children younger than about 5 years or age are not ‘swing aware:’ they will walk right in front of a moving swing.  Small children do need some help with decision making.

In culinary news, Androp made way too much food for the family meal on Sunday: pork ribs, sausage, coleslaw, glazed carrots, rice, broccoli, baked pears, fresh pineapple.  The pears were effectively baked on the grill in a covered dish.  To accomplish baked pears, slice about 4-5 pears into cut into large (1 -2 inch) chunks, and toss them in 0.5 c sugar and 1 generous tsp cinnamon (a touch of ginger helps too).  Add a tbl or two of butter on top.  Baking time for pears can be quite variable: whether they are firm or soft, just pretend that was the idea.  Channel Julia Child and act like you meant them to be exactly as they came out.

Carrots enjoy being glazed – you can seem them quiver with excitement when sweet stuff is added.  Just boil them first, drain, add back to the pan, and then add a tbl of brown sugar or, better, real maple syrup and a tbl of butter and a tsp salt.  Heat them a bit.

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Pork ribs that can be eaten off the bone. Cut out every other rib close to the bone and the remaining ribs will be extra meaty.  Ribs are consumed with rapt enthusiasm by most humans.  Androp prefers to let guests add their own seasoning or BBQ sauce.

Ribs benefit from slow cooking.  Hint: St. Louis style pork ribs offer a good compromise between not meaty enough and too meaty to be called ribs because they cannot be eaten off the bone (as are some baby back ribs).  Ribs eaten with a fork are just pork chops or something – avoid this.  Androp usually simmers his in water with 0.25 c vinegar added for about 30 minutes, then drains, and places them on a hot grill to add a little crispy on the outside.  Seasoned salt is added before grilling.  Huge hint: to serve, cut every other rib out (close to the bone).  The chef or his favored assistant(s) should eat whatever meat is left on these ‘waste ribs.’  Everyone can add what they want later in terms of BBQ sauce.  Most humans will simply eat them hot off the grill with seasoned salt.  Few dishes are eaten with more blissful enthusiasm than ribs.  Two large racks were consumed Sunday, without use of any sauce at all.  Seasoned salt can be easily made at home: 2 tbs salt, one tsp sugar, one tsp paprika, and then lesser amounts of powdered garlic and onion, and dried mustard.

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Painting on frames covered in cloth was added as a leisure activity.

Finally, the younger daughter has discovered painting as a hobby.  She brought canvases and paints for everyone and all of the kids and some of the adults made paintings.  It was a fantastic idea, and a great outlet for creativity.  The children were quite pleased with their own efforts.

Odd note under inquiring minds want to know: why do humans buy un-hulled pistachios when they could buy delicious, ready to gobble down, cashews?  This seems to make little sense.

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