This is the molasses cookie that kept me going through a round of flat-out typing this afternoon.
It reminded me of something I saw some months back while I was tapping away at a table in a coffee shop. A woman came in and sized up the array of the sweets. "I want something good, but something without sugar," she said. "Oh, look - I'll have one of those molasses cookies."
I almost coughed up my coffee as I overheard that one. As if the brown cookie was somehow like brown rice ...
Carving a pumpkin or two is something two of the three of us are good at. (Hint: I'm not one of them.) We bought a pumpkin the other day. It's early, and I'm not sure how well it will last until Halloween, but then again Nick wants to have a zombie pumpkin. We'll keep you posted.
Martha incidentally is a dab hand with pumpkin puree. That's another thing to look forward, too!
Christmas is months away, but I know that when fall rolls around, things like baking come to mind for some cooks. I do not dissuade this thought process, even when it involves something as controversial as fruitcake. Yes, I've had hideous fruitcake, and I laugh at all the jokes, but both my mom and Martha happen to make outstanding fruitcake. (Yes, this is a hint.) Stir-Up Sunday is months away, for those who follow the Anglican path, but I'll take fruitcake any day of the week, even when it's wrapped up in parchment and sealed tight in the freezer ... hopefully laced first with a drop or 80 of rum.
For the second time this summer, Nick and I pitted cherries - mounds of them. On Sunday, we pitted no less than four large containers of cherries, each holding about three pounds. A while back, Martha bought a "cherry chomper" - a clever little device in which you pop a cherry in the centre, pop the top, and (usually) pull back a depitted piece of fruit.
I say usually, because it does not always get the pit. However, it's success most of the time, and it's fun enough to use that Nick wanted to handle a lot of it. (This is no small attraction.)
Even though it makes cherry-pitting easier, it's still time-consuming work. Doing all four containers took a couple of hours, particularly as I became more concerned about not letting pits slip through.
The efforts, though, are already worth it.
We filled a great container with cherries, which Martha has been turning into pie filling and jam.
Here's some of the output from an earlier batch that Martha made a few days ago. Each bottle, basically, works out to one pie ... which means we have a full slate of pies for the fall and winter months ahead.
Star Wars pancake molds? Oh, yes, I think we'll definitely have a look at those. In our house, with an 11-year-old who thinks pancakes are heaven-sent and a running love for Star Wars humour, it's a bit of a no-brainer.
If you haven't noticed, the magazines and special issues about canning are out. A few years ago, Martha got into bottling and canning in a serious way, and we've enjoyed the, um, fruits (and vegetables) of her labours. I play a supporting role in the enterprise, as the lifter of objects, the chopper of food and the hoister of finished bottles and boxes.
To make a list off the top of my head, we've had jams, jellies, apple butter, salsa (both red and green), pickled peppers, cherries, pickle spears, beets and a variety of condiments, treats, savouries and so forth.
It's too early, yet, for all the gear to come up from downstairs, but it's a matter of time. It's a great time of the year, making it, and it's a great year to follow as we enjoy everything we've made.
You're supposed to learn something new every day, and here's one for me for today.
I learned that "pickle chips" is what some people call the above, such as what you put on a hamburger. I had until now been calling them "sliced pickles" because, well, that's what they are. We saw this on a Food Network show called Outrageous Foods, which features in each episode a way to give yourself a heart attack (e.g., the world's largest burger, hottest wings, widest sandwich, etc).
The ever-helpful Martha noted that pickle chips are sliced horizontally, and pickle spears are cut vertically. Actually, the latter one I knew. One of two isn't bad!
In 1986, while I was doing some reporting on health issues, I wrote about aspartame, which at the time was a fairly new product in the marketplace. One of the themes raised in the feature was whether or not aspartame actually helped curb the weight. A researcher questioned whether aspartame satisfied the brain, since it would quench a thirst but might tell the body to expect something satisfying to follow. A consumer I interviewed, Pat, was more succinct: when she drank a Diet Coke, she said, she would be hungry enough later that she'd wash it down with a chocolate bar.
Part of the problem may be traced back to aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in many diet sodas. According to a study from other researchers at the university, heavy exposure to aspartame may directly increase blood glucose levels, leading to an increase in diabetes risk. "Artificial sweeteners could have the effect of triggering appetite but unlike regular sugars they don't deliver something that will squelch the appetite," explained Sharon Fowler, an obesity researcher who co-authored both studies, in an interview with the Daily Mail. (If this sounds familiar, here's why.)
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.