Later On

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

Archive for November 27th, 2021

Time flies while you’re fermenting vegetables.

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And that’ll keep you busy, as Bob & Ray used to say. 

Two weeks ago I started a three-liter batch of Cabbage & Red, and today I am shifting it from “fermenting” to “food,” though the Red has paled.

Compare the photo above to the original. The Wife tells me that the reason the red radishes are now white and the red onion has no color is that acid is inimical to red. However, the orange of the orange peel still is vivid, and the taste is good.

I’m not sold on Savoy cabbage for fermenting. I have a batch of red-cabbage kraut underway, and that red seems to be holding up. I think i the future, I’ll use green cabbage or red cabbage for this recipe.

I decided on two weeks based on a remark by Michael G. of Pro Home Cooks, and it does seem fine. I will be draining the liquid to use in starting a batch of leek kraut tomorrow: sliced leek with a sprig of fresh tarragon.

The taste

It’s quite good. The jalapeño gives it warmth without pain (better than the Thai red chiles I used in Beets & Leeks, which were way too hot for me). Good textures, except the Savoy cabbage is tender where I wanted crunch. 

Definitely good to eat and confirms to me that fermenting vegetables is a good idea, especially now that I can use the liquid to start the next batch — and I think leek kraut will be interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2021 at 5:17 pm

Is society coming apart?

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Jill Lepore writes in the Guardian:

In March 2020, Boris Johnson, pale and exhausted, self-isolating in his flat on Downing Street, released a video of himself – that he had taken himself – reassuring Britons that they would get through the pandemic, together. “One thing I think the coronavirus crisis has already proved is that there really is such a thing as society,” the prime minister announced, confirming the existence of society while talking to his phone, alone in a room.

All this was very odd. Johnson seemed at once frantic and weak (not long afterwards, he was admitted to hospital and put in the intensive care unit). Had he, in his feverishness, undergone a political conversion? Because, by announcing the existence of society, Johnson appeared to renounce, publicly, something Margaret Thatcher had said in an interview in 1987, in remarks that are often taken as a definition of modern conservatism. “Too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the government’s job to cope with it!’” Thatcher said. “They are casting their problems on society, and who is society? There is no such thing!” She, however, had not contracted Covid-19.

Of course, there is such a thing as society. The question now is how the pandemic has changed it. Speculating about what might happen next requires first deciphering these statements, and where they came from. Johnson was refuting not only Thatcher, but also Ronald Reagan. Thatcher’s exclamation about the non-existence of society and the non-ability of government to solve anyone’s problems echoed a declaration made by Reagan in his 1981 inaugural address: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Thatcher and Reagan often conflated the two – to diminish both – but society and government mean different things. Society usually means the private ties of mutual obligation and fellowship that bind together people who have different backgrounds and unequal education, resources and wealth. Government is the public administration of the affairs of people constituted into a body politic as citizens and equals. Society invokes community, government polity.

According to the Reagan-Thatcher worldview, there is no such thing as society. There are only families, who look after one another, and individuals, who participate in markets. The idea that government is the solution to people’s problems rests on a mistaken belief in the existence of society. This mistaken belief leads to attempts to solve problems such as ill health with government programmes such as government-funded healthcare, as if these were problems of society, rather than problems of individuals. Government programmes like these will also interfere with the only place where real solutions are to be found, which is the free market.

Not many worldviews build worlds but, long before the pandemic, this one did. It not only contributed to the dismantling of social supports in the US and the UK, but also undergirds the architecture and ethos of the internet, which is ungoverned, deregulated, privatised and market-driven – a remote and barren wasteland where humans are reduced to “users”, individuals, alone, just so many backlit avatars of IRL bone-marrow selves.

Then came Covid. Remoteness replaced intimacy, masks hid faces, screens stood in for rooms. States enforced “social distancing”: stickers on sidewalks, chairs left empty. Much carried on as before, only more intensely. Corporations monetised “social networking”: predictive algorithms, “friends”, “followers”. The pandemic forced vast numbers of people not only to retreat from the actual world, but also to live their lives in the anti-government, antisocial world of the virtual, the ersatz, the flat, lonelylocked inside and burned out.

To be sure, campaigns to halt the spread of the virus have demonstrated, again and again, the strength of ties of mutual obligation, through sacrifices made for sick and vulnerable people and, not least, through the surging number of mutual aid groups, each another expression of love and nurture and care and fellow feeling, each another proof of the existence of society. All the same, angry unmasked Americans are punching flight attendants on planes and schoolteachers in classrooms, when asked to wear masks, and there is a general sense that social norms are under a wartime level of stress, absent a wartime solidarity. Picture the second world war, where, instead of queueing in the ration line, people are clobbering one another. Even among the peaceable, alongside grief, exhaustion and dread, loneliness and alienation remain as the lasting miseries of the pandemic. Whether the fateful social distance will ever close will depend on the ravages of the virus, on an aching longing for one another, and on something more, too: on political decisions about public goods.

This year, while the world begins to remake itself, and as each of us, like so many hermit crabs crawling along the blinding sand, try to get our bearings, it may be that  . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2021 at 5:07 pm

Lester Young and Teddy Wilson Trio – “Our Love Is Here to Stay”

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Teddy Wilson is a lifetime favorite.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2021 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Daily life, Jazz, Video

Roasted Royalty (pumpkin)

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Every knife I could find has been sharpened, and the knife sharpener stowed away again for a few months, plus dishes done, counters cleaned, and floor mopped. I decided as a reward to roast half the Royalty pumpkin — and its seeds, of course.

I still can find nothing on the internet about Royalty pumpkin, so note the label photo at the right. This is is indeed a Royalty pumpkin

The pumpkin halved reveals a paltry number of seeds: 28 (I counted). Still, 28’s a perfect number, so there’s that. With so few seeds I decided they could just take their chances with the pumpkin, so no pre-bake this time for the seeds by themselves before adding the squash.

It takes the oven a while to come to 400ºF because I usually have a cast-iron skillet upside down on the bottom shelf to get another coat of seasoning. (I use Larbee.) This time it was the Stargazer’s turn.

Here you see pumpkin (one half, cut into chunks) and the seeds (all 28), ready for the oven after being tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, fine grey sea salt, and ground chipotle.

Update: 30 minutes was perfect time. Pumpkin is tender and very mild flavored, seeds are extremely good: tasty and not in the least tough. I’m going to eat all 28.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2021 at 3:36 pm

Phoenix Artisan Cavendish and a comment on CK-6 lather

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In a comment on yesterday’s shave, Tony brought up the way that the lather from shaving soaps made with Phoenix Artisaan’s CK-6 formula has a different feel. I certainly noticed this as well on my first use of a CK-6 shaving soap — it’s a definite “We’re not in Kansas any more” sensation.

I’m pretty sure that the feeling is due in part to the extraordinary ingredients, and in fact I had much the same experience later, when I first used one of Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak shaving soaps and one of the Ariana & Evans shaving soaps. The ultra-premium soaps really do feel differently — and they also leave my skin feeling different, post-shave: softer, more nourished.

Otoko Organics is another soap that produces a lather with a different feel, not like the lather from regular shaving soaps nor that from ultra-premium shaving soaps. The lather from Otoko Organics seems stiffish, sort of like a drier lather, though it’s not dry — and it does a really excellent job. It’s another shaving soap that marches to its own drummer, and I like it a lot.

This morning, my CK-6 version of Cavendish delivered again the unusual — and unusually good — lather experience, and with the iKon Shaveraft Short Comb I got a very smooth result (and one minor nick — this razor is not quite so comfortable as some). My Nik Is Sealed did its job, and a good splash of Cavendish aftershave left me feeling (and smelling) good and ready for the rainy weekend.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2021 at 10:41 am

Posted in Shaving

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