Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 17th, 2020

Starting a fire with a baggie of water

leave a comment »

I thought this video was pretty cool.

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2020 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

Carrot bacon, round one

leave a comment »

I have now made carrot bacon (“bacon” used analogously to convey an idea of the result). Above you see the strips cut from a carrot — that turned out to be easy — and those strips after brushing both sides with the seasoning mix:

• 1 tablespoon tahini
• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon honey (I used maple syrup.)
• 2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce: tamari has more flavor)
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon Wright’s liquid smoke

Per the recipe at the link above, I baked it in a 400ºF oven.

At the right is what it looks like after 10 minutes. At that point you remove it from the oven, flip the strips (quite easy — unlike bacon, they’re not limber), and put them in for another 5-10 minutes.

I went with 10 minutes, but  with the next batch I will go with only 6 minutes. With 10 minutes the thin ends of the strips charred a bit.

They came out crisp and tasty, but not so chewy as I would like — again due to the 10 minutes of additional cooking. There were a couple of pieces that did not get quite so done, and their chewiness was good. I do have enough of the sauce to make a second batch, and I’ll do that today.

I rate this a success, and the recipe (via the link above) says they store well. If I had a larger backing sheet (and oven), I’d make bigger batches — two carrots instead of one.

Some people take umbrage at the use of the word “bacon,” but I think the word is merely descriptive, with no intent to deceive (the “carrot” in “carrot bacon” pretty much gives the game away if one was thinking to trick the eater). The cooked strips are pretty much along the lines of bacon, only crisper, not so greasy, and no smoke.

Still, the words used to describe foods can indeed affect appeal. See the interesting passage quoted in this post on how well-chosen food names can enhance appeal (something of which menu writers are well aware).

Still, when you eat “prime rib” you do not in fact eat a rib, and a Porterhouse steak is not in fact a house. Names point to things but are not the things themselves.

Update: Round two

I cook the strips 10 minutes and 5 minutes, though I think 6 minutes might be okay. They were not so crisp as the first batch, more like chewy bacon. I did sprinkle a small pinch of Crystal kosher salt over them after they were on the plate.

The amount of sauce was enough for two medium carrots, though barely. It’s an easy recipe, and I’ll be making it again.

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2020 at 1:18 pm

Margaret Atwood, The Art of Fiction: A Paris Review interview

leave a comment »

This interview from 1990 is available outside Paris Review‘s paywall for one week only, so read it quickly (or save it to Evernote or Pocket). The interview begins:

The manuscript of “Frogless,” a poem that appears in this issue, by Margaret Atwood. Ms. Atwood wrote the poem on an SAS Hotel’s bedside notepad while she was in Gothenburg, Sweden last September for the Nordic Book Fair. “I’ve written quite a lot under those circumstances. Perhaps it’s being in a hotel room or a plane with no ringing phone and no supervision. Also, there’s something about jet lag that breaks down the barriers.”

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1939. As a child, she lived in the wilderness of northern Quebec and also spent time in Ottawa, Sault Sainte Marie, and Toronto. She was eleven before she attended a full year of school. In high school Atwood began to write poetry inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, and at sixteen she committed herself to a writing career, publishing a collection of poems, Double Persephone, six years later.

Her second book of poetry, The Circle Game, earned her the Governor General’s Award—Canada’s highest literary honor—and from that time forward she has been a dominant figure in Canadian letters. In 1972 Atwood sparked a hot debate when she published a controversial critical study of Canadian literature, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. In it she claimed that Canadian literature reflects the submissive as well as survivalist tendencies of the country, born from its being a subordinate ally to the United States, a former colony, and a country with vast stretches of untamed land. Following the publication of this volume, Atwood retreated from Toronto, where she had been working as an editor at the publishing house Anansi, to a farm in Alliston, Ontario, where she began to write full time.

Atwood has published nineteen collections of poetry—including The Circle Game (1964), The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), Power Politics (1971), You Are Happy (1974), True Stories (1981) and Interlunar (1984)—but she is best known for her novels, which include Surfacing (1972), Lady Oracle (1976), and Cat’s Eye (1988). Her most widely read novel is The Handmaid’s Tale (1986), a chilling account of a puritanical theocracy that won Atwood a second Governor General’s Award and was recently made into a motion picture. She is also the author of two children’s books, Up in the Tree (1978) and Anna’s Pet (1980) and two collections of short stories, Dancing Girls (1977) and Bluebeard’s Egg (1983). She has edited Oxford anthologies of Canadian verse and Canadian short stories and, with Shannon Ravenel, the 1989 volume of The Best American Short Stories.

The question of the status of women has frequently been an issue in Atwood’s work, and feminists have seized upon her writing as a product of the movement. Atwood has also made other political and philosophical issues themes in her work, such as Canada’s struggle to create an identity and, in recent years, her concern for human rights.

This interview was conducted in a house near Princeton University, where Atwood had gone to give some readings and lectures. In person, Atwood is much as one might expect from reading her work—incisive. For many hours over a period of two days, while teenage boys bounced basketballs and played music outside, people walked in and out, and football games played on the television in the next room, Atwood sat, attentive, answering each question without hesitation. She never strayed from her point, never seemed to tire, and remained, like a narrator from any one of her books, unflappable.

INTERVIEWER: Has the theme of survival always been intrinsic to your work?

MARGARET ATWOOD: I grew up in the north woods of Canada. You had to know certain things about survival. Wilderness survival courses weren’t very formalized when I was growing up, but I was taught certain things about what to do if I got lost in the woods. Things were immediate in that way and therefore quite simple. It was part of my life from the beginning.

INTERVIEWER: When did you make the leap from considering survival to be a physical battle to considering it to be an intellectual or political struggle?

ATWOOD: When I started thinking about Canada as a country it became quite evident to me that survival was a national obsession. When I came to the States in the sixties, I felt that nobody knew where Canada was. Their brother may have gone there to fish or something. When I was at Harvard, I was invited as a “foreign student” to a woman’s house for an evening for which I was asked to wear “native costume.” Unfortunately I’d left my native costume at home and had no snowshoes. So there I was, without native costume with this poor woman and all this food, sitting around waiting for the really exotic foreign students in their native costumes to turn up—which they never did because, as everybody knew, foreign students didn’t go out at night.

INTERVIEWER: You’ve written about the theme of foreignness a good deal.

ATWOOD: Foreignness is all around. Only in the heart of the heart of the country, namely the heart of the United States, can you avoid such a thing. In the center of an empire, you can think of your experience as universal. Outside the empire or on the fringes of the empire, you cannot.

INTERVIEWER: In your afterword to The Journals of Susanna Moodie you write that if the mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia. Could you say something more about that?

ATWOOD: The United States is big and powerful; Canada is divided and threatened. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “illness.” Maybe I should have said “state of mind.” Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation. Equivalently, the United States’s feeling that it is big and powerful is not a delusion. It is big and powerful. Possibly, its wish to be even bigger and more powerful is the mentally ill part. Every Canadian has a complicated relationship with the United States, whereas Americans think of Canada as the place where the weather comes from. Complication is a matter of how you perceive yourself in an unequal power relationship.

INTERVIEWER: How do you view Canada and its literature within this political relationship? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2020 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Books, Writing

Fougère forever: Creed Green Irish Tweed with the Baby Smooth

leave a comment »

First, a note on the brush: I do notice that natural bristles — even this very fine silvertip Rooney Emilion — do convey a slight feel of “grain” that is missing from the modern Plissoft bristles and even the gen 2 synthetic from Mühle. Now that I notice it, I enjoy it — and I certainly enjoyed the lather it made after I thoroughly loaded the brush from the tub of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, both in texture and fragrance.

The Baby Smooth produced the eponymous result, and using the GIT EDT as an aftershave was a pleasure.

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2020 at 10:34 am

Posted in Shaving

%d bloggers like this: