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Pot luck

Did you know that a pot luck originally meant a dinner at which you got whatever the host happened to have? Rather than one where you were supposed to bring something? And that’s the sense you will get in this post. This is what I happen to have today.

  1. FUCK YOU, BOUNTY OF SUMMER. If I have to eat another green bean from my garden I will surely die. And this whole notion that all the seasonal shit matures at the same time so you can make things with, say, tomatoes and green beans and corn? That is a myth. At least in my garden it is a myth. Shit be totally serial up in here (ten tons of radishes, ten tons of lettuce, ten tons of peas, ten tons of beans, ten tons of squash). I do not feel inspired by this seasonal produce, I feel like eating a grilled cheese from the horrible bar down the street.
  2. There are two books from my childhood I have been trying to find for years, but searching the internet is not working. Do you recognize either of these plots? A) A child and her family live in a subterranean world, floating on a river that they believe goes on and on forever. The child places markers in the walls and discovers that in fact they are going in an endless circle. She finds her way out into the world above. No, it is not Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. B) A trashy YA sci-fi book. Boy goes off into space–he’s going to learn how to pilot spacecraft and, I believe, travel at speeds faster than light. In order to do this, he must forge a symbiotic relationship with an alien who I remember as being FUZZY. There’s also a girl. Name either book and you win a pound of green beans!
  3. I’ve made significant progress on my un-nesting project. I sold some stuff (I tried to sell my wedding dress–the shop wouldn’t take it–it’s not a traditional wedding dress, I should note), I donated some stuff* (mad props to the Salvation Army for actually coming when they said they would!) and threw some stuff out and the basement is now empty and painted and fingers-crossed-not-going-to-flood-again. And I would be done with the whole fucking thing if my spouse would just get of his ASS and do his part (to wit, moving the furniture that I can’t move because I am a) not that strong and b) pregnant). Oh, the waiting is driving me NUTS. I know it’s just the usual incompatibility between his put-everything-off-as-long-as-possible timeline, and my do-everything-as-quickly-as-possible timeline, but I fucking hate it. I really want to move Bunlet into his new room, because he deserves it, and also because he falls out of the guest room bed if you don’t put some pillows around him, which I never forget, but which other people who shall not be named DO.
  4. Bun Bun used her first curse word, in front of our child care provider. She said GOD DAMN IT, which is a particularly bad choice because the nanny is a believer in God, so took it rather to heart. She absolutely learned it from me. I say GOD DAMN IT when I am super upset or hurt. I have a linguist’s feelings about expletives (serve an essential function! ultimately just words!), so we had a nice chat about curse words. My position: These are words that you can’t say in front of some people because it makes them sad. Bun Bun: What are some MORE examples of curse words? Needless to say, I did not list them.

I hope you enjoyed your meal. What’s in your pot today?

*Things that are not in my house anymore!


23 Comments Post a comment
  1. We came to summer gardening rather late (bought some clearance plants at the beginning of June, all looking rather sad and forlorn), but have so far managed a harvest of about 15 strawberries and one very very very small pepper that “accidentally” came off in Gwen’s hand. Maybe next year we’ll actually buy seedlings in, oh, March.

    Can’t help you with the books, but that first one sounds positively dire. I love it. I have been working my way through various books at the library, and have found that children’s books tend to be far more dark and depressing than adult books. I like that.

    Today was the 5th? 6th? day of real summer that we’ve had here this year so far, so we did our usual “yay, it’s hot (well, sort of) and summer” meal — assorted cheese and sausages, salads (Gwen was disappointed we had no capers), and a baguette. Would’ve been perfect to augment with produce from our estate, except that we’re still nursing along the remaining itty bitty peppers to see if we can get them to a decent size, and while we may get a dozen or so tomatoes eventually, they’re still resolutely green.

    August 13, 2015
  2. Nicky #

    Hooray for things getting out of your house! Speaking of people moving things, my friends just paid some college guys $15/person/hour to move a bunch of heavy stuff. They came! They moved! It got done! The money might be worth your peace of mind, and marital harmony.

    Though I could eat green beans with every meal, my darling husband feels as you do. So, I limit any one vegetable to once per week, and can/freeze/hide in baked goods the rest. I recommend giving away your vegetable bounty to your neighbors or coworkers. It breeds goodwill, and then you don’t have to eat it.

    What is in my pot today… I made roasted Sungold cherry tomato sauce with Italian sausage and put it over spaghetti for dinner. It was amazing, I could’ve eaten it with a spoon! My children don’t appreciate what a culinary genius I am. They were thrown by the orange color. They’re lucky the rest of my ripe tomatoes are red.

    August 13, 2015
  3. Bug once said Jesus Fucking Christ On A Cross which was 100% my fault.

    Your childhood featured freaky books. So did mine, of course, but a different set.

    I’ve started Guerilla Green Beaning people. You know, like you do with zucchini.

    August 13, 2015
  4. P.S. fiahless salade niçoise? A nice fatty dressing fixes those beans right up. My kids even eat it.

    August 13, 2015
  5. I love these posts, because it feels like I’ve just had a virtual chat with the writer, without the awkwardness of actually having a conversation with someone (not you in particular, just you know, like talking to people and stuff. Shut up. Leave me alone). My husband is exactly this way. Excellent decluttering – I like the idea of taking a photo to commemorate the process. I’m going to use this explanation re the curse words. Where is your parenting book? WRITE IT IN YOUR SPARE TIME.

    August 14, 2015
  6. Ok so now the “everything in my garden is failing” woman is complaining that “there is just too much!” Don’t you know that there are hungry children in China? But seriously, what you are “meant” to do with all of that excess since, like me, you don’t take the time to succession plant (I KNOW this issue and yet I just reseeded my lettuce patch – all at once) is can, freeze and pickle. Since you clearly have more important things to do right now the simple solution is just to delegate that task to Mr Bunny ;).

    I wish I did know the answer to the book mysteries because I don’t have a single green bean ready yet. Bummer.

    As for the curse words. I feel somewhat lucky that we speak a different language at home so that most of the words that my kids throw about are not easily understood by the local population. However, we have had some serious problems with the MIL thanks to good old-fashioned blasphemy.

    August 14, 2015
    • *Puts green beans in box, labels it “hungry children, CHINA”, mails it* I would like to pickle, but I am afraid of all things that involve having to sterilize and I believe if you don’t sterilize, then they only last a few weeks? I should freeze them, though.

      August 14, 2015
      • Nope! You really don’t have to sterilize things; you’re growing lactobacilli by the million, after all. Although I recommend a good hot water and soap washing. It all goes salty and anaerobic; even surface mold/yrast doesn’t affect the food as long as it doesn’t touch it. In fact, its normal and you’re jsut supposed to skim it off (I do). The only things that are really important while fermenting are salt content by weight,all the food staying weighted/submerged, and temp below 80. People used to keep pickles in the cellar in barrels for months. Years, even. But even the paranoid people at nchfp don’t think you have to sterilize:

        “Fully fermented pickles may be stored in the original container for about 4 to 6 months, provided they are refrigerated and surface scum and molds are removed regularly.”

        That said, I pickled green beans last summer and they were so strange even my omnivoracious spouse wouldn’t eat them. YMMV

        August 14, 2015
      • Well that’s cool! But I have say, the part about removing surface scum and mold is actually more offputting than the work of sterilizing jars. Were the green beans weird because pickled green beans are weird or because the pickling mixture was weird?

        August 14, 2015
      • I think it was mostly just brine, so no spices and all. Maybe that was the problem. For me I think sour salty beans are just too strange regardless of the flavor, so I was not into it. But maybe you’d love them, I don’t know. I do love an extra sour pickle, but the beans ended up in the compost.

        If you buy/ make a fancy airlock it does cut down on surface scuzz. I guess all those years in lab inured me to it. You can Google ‘diy airlock for fermenting’ for various options.

        August 14, 2015
      • I include green beans in my okra pickle jars (in years when I do that, hint: not this one), mostly to hold the okra down in the brine. People like them. I do them a bit spicy. I think there’s fresh hot pepper, coriander seed, mustard seed, black pepper, maybe dill? Words to that effect.

        Those pickles are packed raw and then processed (therefore somewhat cooked), but I do refrigerator cucumber pickles without cooking anything, and they are good. Some good spicy recipes on Food and Wine. I might blanch the beans?

        I have never had any refrigerator pickles develop scum or mold, even after a loooong time in the fridge. It’s crazy-acidic up in there.

        August 15, 2015
      • SRB #

        DILLY BEANS!

        August 18, 2015
    • I’ve also never had refrigerator pickles mold, but I do get the typical white fuzz on the fermented ones. Will have to try your pickled okra/beans/hot peppers if I get the dewr fence put up this fall (because otherwise they eat everything).

      August 16, 2015
  7. ellen nenope #

    If someone hasn’t answered this already: River-in-an-endless-circle book = Journey Outside by Mary Q. Steele (link below)?

    August 14, 2015
    • OMG I LOVE YOU! I think my 6th grade teacher read it to us (she was amazing–she also read us Bridge to Terabithia after we agreed to not make fun of her if she cried), and it really left an impression. So excited to find it and read it again.

      August 14, 2015
  8. Ana #

    The only curse words my children know are, ironically, from my super-religious (not christian) MIL—but she doesn’t realize that she’s the one that said those words in front of them 2 years ago, so thinks its our fault, or school.
    Well, our green beans died, we had enough lettuce for one salad, and something ate all our tiny tomatoes so I have no advice nor sympathy for you on the gardening front!
    Hooray for getting rid of crap! i second the pay someone $15-$20 to do it for you if you can’t get husband on board, or are tired of nagging.

    I actually did know, but forgot, the origin of the word “potluck”

    August 14, 2015
    • I totally offered to find people to pay to do it (undergrads) and he said NO.

      August 14, 2015
  9. I love Bun Bun’s response! In this household I’m the one who puts everything off so my husband probably sympathizes with you…

    August 14, 2015
  10. 1. I did not know that was what potluck originally meant. Fascinating.
    2. I’m so glad someone figured out that endless river book because I definitely want to read it. I hope you figure out the second book too.
    2a. This reminds me of when I searched for years for a movie I had loved when I was a kid and lived in Hong Kong and I would go into movie shops in the US (remember stores that sold and rented movies!?) and ask if they had or knew of a movie about a girl and boy who discover a world that floated above the clouds with robot caretakers with incredibly long arms and they would all stare at my like I was crazy and then one day in college I was babysitting and the kids were watching Kiki’s Delivery Service because Disney had bought the rights to distribute the Miyazaki films and there, on the cover of the leaflet inside was the movie I had been searching for–Castle in the Sky–and I was so happy to have finally found it that I literally cried, which really freaks out the young kids I was babysitting.
    3. One of my daughter’s first words was FUCK! She yelled it with perfect pitch and enunciation, usually when she heard a car horn. (Sidenote, once while she was in the bath I stubbed my toe and yelled GODDAMN IT and she immediately yelled THERE’S SO MUCH TRAFFIC and that was when I realized how much I swear when I’m driving my car.)

    August 15, 2015
  11. SRB #

    Aaaaaah! So that’s what Pot Luck means. Reminds me of “boiled dinner” in the Maritimes. Equally vague.

    ANYWAY. Reverse nesting is sooooooo great!

    I swear in front of my kids. A lot. A LOT. I don’t really care. There are words that have appropriate timing, but no bad words. In my opinion, at least. And that’s the only one that matters!!!

    August 18, 2015
  12. Van S #

    Second book sounds like it might be Ender’s Game

    August 23, 2015
  13. Steph #

    Okay maybe your green beans are digested by this point but we love a honey ginger soy almond combo over roasted or sauteed green beans. Babies eat them SOMETIMES.

    “Shit” was one of A’s first 10 words and he says “Jesus Christ” all the time. You’re not alone but you’re right it can offend which I totally get. I’ll try your method of explanation next time to see if that helps both he and I.

    I’m unnesting myself. With a dumpster.

    And is your A. Book quest “Journey Outside” by Mary Steele by chance? It sounds somewhat similar. Probably not though as it’s a bit of an oddity.

    August 31, 2015
    • Am emailing for recipe! Yes, you are right about the book! Someone else beat you to it. I am so thrilled to have the title.

      September 1, 2015

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