Re: [gardeners] Harvests

penny x stamm (
Sun, 24 May 1998 00:35:35 -0400

George, I guess our tastes have changed radically since I was
in the canning mood. Used to put up peaches every year, and
raspberries were easy -- just rinsed and shook 'em, and threw 
them in a container in the freezer till it was full. Those got used 
for making jam -- the ones I put up for winter use got a light sprinkle
of sugar on them. Since I taught Chinese cooking for so many years, 
we are inclined towards an oriental diet. That means that I have to
have the special veggies right from the truck garden -- that's easy 
where I live, even in winter. 

Nowadays I concentrate on making big batches of soup, or pot
roast enuff for 24, or chicken tandoori [Indian style] for 12 -- but
whatever it is, it gets frozen. I have a 20  cuft and an 11 cuft
freezer left from my catering days, and they are always full. I
never worry about big snow storms -- we can be self-sufficient 
for an awful long time! I do worry about these fierce thunder
storms we've been having, though, for it's easy to lose power
that way, and then I'm in BIG trouble. 

Last night I decided to fix a mess o' Chinese chicken wings for
emergency snacks. For the first time in all my golden years, the
butcher had split the wings in half, and discarded the tips, so I
figured that the task would be easy after dinner. I mixed the 
very special marinade, swished the 24 wing parts around in it, 
and left the room for an hour. That was at 8 o'clock. At 1:30am, 
I went to close down the kitchen lights, and sunuvagun if those
darned wings weren't still sitting there! OK, ok, I said, dummy, 
it's gotta get done. So I turned the broiler on to full, laid all the 
wings in 5 old pie plates, put one in the broiler and the rest in the
oven, to get them started. And the job took forever, darn it! I 
finally gave it up, and chose to put all the wings in a gallon-sized
freezer baggie, to get further broiled today. 

Jimmie wanted a fresh hamburger on the barbie for lunch. So 
I thought ah-ha, when he is finished, I will trot downstairs and
slap my wings on the fire! He built a monster fire (loves the 
meat blackened) and I chided him -- how can you need SIXTEEN
sticks of wood for one hamburger...? I had the wings in the 
plastic bag, a big pot to throw them in when finished, and some
sturdy tongs in my hands, with no convenient place to put any-
thing down. Got half of them on the fire, when it collapsed into 
ashes -- it had been so0o0o hot that it used up in a flash! Still
juggling the bag of wings and the pot, I used the tongs to lift off
the meat grill, and added some new wood to the embers, and 
then wriggled the grill back in place. Grabbed one of the wings
which looked done, and stuck it in the pot. Missed the pot. Down
on the tarmac it went sailing. DARNNIT (plus a few other things)
I said, and reached down to retrieve the wing. Another one landed,
and another -- five of them came flying down -- and then it occurred
to me that something was not going according to Hoyle, and so I
checked the plastic bag. Incredibly, the bottom of the bag had melted
from the intense heat of the fire, and the wings were slipping out .....
Lord! but I was mad! I put the pot and the rest of the wings down on
the wood pile, and retrieved the fallen wings. And I knew darned well
just exactly what I was going to do: turned on the hose full force, and
washed off those wings. The flavor, of course, was already locked in
from their previous cooking -- and there were no chemicals spilled in
the driveway, only nature's dirt. <VBG>  Put them back on the fire
till they sizzled and bubbled, and then brought them all into the
and put them away. 

Tonight, Jimmie decided that he wanted another fresh hamburger for 
dinner. That makes the third meal in a row, but I was so busy planting
Straight Eight cucumber seeds and more radishes that I said okay. And
when he brought them in for our dinner, sitting quietly on his plate was
you guessed it, a chicken wing!  Good grief Charley Brown, I said, did
you find that in the driveway? Yup. Gulp -- and you washed it off..? 
Nope. Gulp -- You're kidding me!  Nope. It's just a little gravel, what's
the big deal..? And I could have hit him over the head with a cast iron
frying pan, but hey ---- next week is our 55th wedding anniversary, 
and I didn't want to visit him in the hospital. Too much planting left
to do. 

He didn't eat it though -- it had been sitting out there in the sun,
the bar-b-que, for 6 hours. He just enjoyed pulling my leg ...

Penny, NY        

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