Playing Ketchup

I mentioned
“banana ketchup”
in a post a couple days ago,
and suddenly realized
as I was writing it,
that there actually
were many different types
of ketchup made at one
time or another –

– – and not
just that
familiar sweet, red
tomato stuff
we all like to put
on French Fries
and the like.

While the history of banana
ketchup is more about finding
a replacement for tomato
ketchup because of war-time
shortages, other forms of
ketchup developed much
earlier and for many other
reasons.

Walnut ketchup, for instance,
was originally one of Heinz’s
’57’ varieties – and shows up
in cook books from the 1860’s.

It was once a common
ingredient in Worcestershire
sauce, as well.

It’s flavor was described
to be nutty, bitter, and
vinegary, and was used
in shellfish dishes like
lobster, prawns, and oysters,
(as well as meat, rice,
and potato dishes).

And the vinegar aspect
should surprise no one –
since the word ‘ketchup’
( and it’s original spelling
variant, ‘catsup’, ) comes
from a Malaysian term
‘kecap’ meaning ‘vinegar
table sauce’ –

— but, the original
version didn’t use tomatoes,
bananas, or walnuts–
— but fish brine.

Sailors are thought to have
introduced ketchup to the
Brits in the 16th century –
and there, it was combined
with fruits and/or vegetables ,
the fish sauce was deleted,
and over the years developed
into a variety of recipes.

Other than vinegar,
the thing these sauces
all had in common was
something the Japanese
call ‘umami’  – a fifth flavor
that is related to a food
chemical family called
glutamates – with an
earthy character that
is said to open the taste
buds up to more intense
taste-bud sensations.

And there can no doubt
that it works –

I know people that put
ketchup on almost anything.

Tell me you’re not putting
ketchup on that hot dog….

Although —
in Belgium, there is
something called a
‘frikandel’ sausage,
which is eaten with
a sauce called “Curry
Ketchup”, and it weren’t
half bad, I must say.

So, anyhoo —
in addition to
banana ketchup,
walnut ketchup,
curry ketchup,
mango ketchup,
spicy fruit ketchup,
and, of course,
tomato ketchup –
there was also
( and if you’re willing
to make it yourself,
still is, I guess ) a
sauce called
‘mushroom ketchup’,
which as one might
imagine, was just
chock full of umami.

And of course,
one might find
(at the local farmers
market, for instance)
– or – make 
all sorts of other
flavors with
fruits and veggies
that might
qualify as a ketchup……

Hey-
the world’s
your oyster,
ya know.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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No Ordinary Ordinaries

This is a big ole world —

and although I
certainly recognize
that it’s impossible
that we should all
get to know each other ,

( heaven knows exactly
what THAT would
teach a person about
human nature )

— it’s nice to find things
that we all seem to have
in common, no matter
how far you get from home.

And there are a surprising
number of things, once
you start counting.

One of my favorites is
— FLAVOR —
the love of delicious food
is something you will find
in every part of the world.

Sometimes, of course,
how you define ‘delicious’
requires more of an open
mind and things may take
a little getting used to,
perhaps even an adjustment
made to accommodate
your new surroundings.

Just remember —
— if it’s the
spécialité de maison,
smile and say YUM.

It’s true, though –
ingredients can often throw
you even if you ain’t usually
scared to stray out of your
comfort zone.

Another is seasoning –
– what you and
I might think
is ‘too hot to handle’
wouldn’t impress
the average 5 year
old Thai kid —

— and what seems ‘too fishy’
to your Aunt Sally might be
right up the alley for a
resident of the
Hawaiian Islands
in their ‘Poke’.

How do you like salt
in your coffee ?

Folks in parts of Ethiopia
won’t drink coffee without it.

Textures and scents that
you’re not used to can also
throw you —

— chewy drinks like:
Bubble Tea In Taiwan
or
my friend Juanita’s Orxata —

or that sticky, smelly fruit
from Southeast Asia
called Durian.

Condiments can seem
very strange, too —

Banana Ketchup
is a popular
one in the Philippines —

and in Sweden,
they’ve got
some stuff in a tube they
spread on toast
that’s supposed
to taste sorta like caviar
but is actually cod roe  –
called, oddly enough –
‘ Kaviar ‘ .

And it does beat
eating dry toast, so….

As like we say around
here a lot, it’s all about
perspective.

Culture is like that too.

And that’s why travel
is so important –

— it exposes and opens
one up to the possibilities
in food,
in clothing,
in life style,
in attitudes,
— in every thing.

It doesn’t mean
that you’ve
got to put yak butter
in your tea the
rest of your life,
if you don’t like it once
you’ve tried it –

— but it does
mean that you recognize
that people have
the right to like it
the way they like it.

And why would you
have it any other way?

!! HOY !!

.

A Mess of Multiples

My long-time friend
Amy is expecting-

—- twins.

Her husband Gary
was a bit surprised
after the ultra-sound
about the whole
double-yer-pleasure
thing, but he’s
adjusting to it.

Yeah.

For some reason,
when she first told
me about it,
my mind cast
itself back to
another blessed event
involving multiple births
that happened around the
Depression Era up there in
the Great White North–

— The Dionne Quintuplets. 

They were the first quintuplets
born in North America that
were all known to have
survived the birth.

It was 1934 Ontario –
and those babies instantly
became celebrities –
the most famous
kiddie-winkies on Earth.

Unfortunately, there was a
great deal of wrangling and
money-grubbing involved,
because of their notoriety,
and the children were actually
taken from their parents and
made wards of the state for
a while.

The quint’s childhoods
had become about sales
and tourism.

It was an unabashed
economics issue for the family,
and a real cash-cow for the
numerous greedy ‘sponsors’,
governmental agencies,
and the media.

Their youth was a sad story
all around, and not the
charming one the pictures
from the era usually paint.

To my knowledge,
only two of the quints
still survive, Annette
and Cécile, living
quietly in a
suburb of Montreal.

When I told Amy the
story of the quints,
she kinda shuddered.

“Gary almost divorced
me over the two“,
she said.

While I doubt that
(she’s a real catch) –
she certainly brings
up an interesting point –

— the emotional/financial/
physical/mental/familial
stress and drama that
multiple births must put
on folks (on a day
to day basis!)
who find themselves
unexpectedly ..
.. blessed.

I’ve known plenty of
twins over the years
( Susie and Sandy
were my favorite dates
in my mid teens)
and I’ve always found
them pretty well adjusted.

Their parents, though —

Well, they always
seemed a bit :

Harried.

Stressed-out.

Panic-striken, even.

But, when some
Doctor tells you
that you’ve got
5 girls coming –

— when all you wanted
was a chip-off-the-
old-block who
could take over the
take-out-the dog chores
once in a while …..

Yoweeeeeeeeeee.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poor Frozen Charlotte

popsicleAbout that title…..

Yes, you’re right,

—- about it being pretty
damn cold here in
beautiful North Carolina
the last couple of days…

Brrrrrrrrr.

Still,
It’s not as bad as
where my nephew lives–

— he had about 5 feet of
snow a coupla days ago.

snowmanAnd, several hundred
miles from here,
one of my favorite
friends in the world
caught the flu from
her new husband

—– and got snowed in, too.

That’s the way to spend
your honeymoon, right?

So I’ve got nothing really
to complain about, I guess.

And I’m not grumblin’
or complainin’,
(exactly)
mind you.change

My gym was all but empty,

— I practically had the place to myself.

(Nobody ventures out
if they don’t have to
around here
when it’s as cold as it’s been….
—- except me,
and my motorcycle. )

which tells me,
that maybe,charlotte

….. just maybe,

Winter DOES have some small positive attribute.

But,
mostly,
it simply inspired
another one of my
‘weird trivia from the past’ posts.

This one.froz

Getting back to that title…

A long, long time ago, ( 1839 )

…. in a land far, far away ( New York )

There was an article
in the New York Observer,
about how a young girl –
-on her way to a New Year’s Eve ball-
froze to death while riding
in an open sleigh.

Despite the bitter cold temperatures
(the low that night was
around 10 degrees °F)
she had refused to cover up
her pretty new dress with a blanket.

Oh, daughter dear,” sligh
her mother cried:
“This blanket ’round you fold;
It is a dreadful night tonight,
You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“O, nay! O, nay!”
young Charlotte cried,

And she laughed like a gypsy queen;
“To ride in blankets muffled up,
I never would be seen.”

The above verse is from a folk ballad
based on the event,
called “Young Charlotte”,necklace
by Seba Smith in 1840.

It recalls poetically the
young girl’s belief
that somehow radiant beauty
would overcome biting cold,

— and the unhappy,
but almost unavoidable outcome
of personal vanity when it opposes Mother Nature’s will.

She was so busy chatting
away to her beau,
and showing off her
new outfit to the city,
that,
by the time anyone —frozencharlotte

— ( including,
presumably,
her or her boyfriend ) —

realized it,
she had a lethal case
of hypothermia.

Her sweetheart’s somewhat
valiant attempts at reviving her
were also mentioned :

“He took her hand in his —
O, God!
‘Twas cold and hard as stone
He tore the mantle from her face,
Cold stars upon it shone.
Then quickly to the glowing hall,
Her lifeless form he bore;
Fair Charlotte’s eyes were closed in death,
Her voice was heard no more.

Now, I do recognize
that it is a very sad story.

talkBut even more interesting to me is this item,

— from about 30 years after the fact – 1870.

It’s called a ‘Frozen Charlotte’ doll.

These little porcelain china dolls
became quite popular in the latter part of the 19th century,

…. basically between 1850 and 1925….

They were a kind of momento-with-a-moral,
based on the unfortunate girl’s story.

They’re still very collectible
as a doll or a historical curiosity.

Actually, even more so,
is a strange male version —
called a “Frozen Charlie”.

I kid you not.quality

This little Frozen Charlotte came with her own little coffin,
and the motto:

Don’t Talk So Much ” .

I dunno–

I get the idea,
but maybe
Dress Warm
would be just as good.

Or, better yet —
one that says :

SAY NO TO SNOW ” .

enochbolles

HOY!

 

Help! Santa Got Me

I’ve got nothing
against Santa, man.

When you really
get down and think
about it…..

the whole buzz
on the street about him
having a ‘thing’ for
reindeer —

and his rather peculiar way
of breaking into people’s
houses in the middle of the
night —

not to mention that thing
you saw Mama doing to
Santa under the mistletoe
that night —

doesn’t over-ride the
most important aspect
of the holiday —

— getting lots of
presents.

Hey,
I heard the reindeer like it,
and it’s worth a glass of milk
and a crummy cookie or two,
ain’t it ?

But truthfully, if there’s
one holiday job that there
ain’t enough money in the
world to pay me to do –

It’s the job of
department store Santa.

Sure, I know
what you’ve heard–
that they’re really all
Santa’s helpers
from the North Pole.

But, that’s
just bullshit.

Yes, not only are
those guys imposters —

but they’re actually
miserably paid temporary
workers in ill fitting costumes…

— who probably don’t even
get enough health insurance
to protect them from
catching heaven-knows-what
from those disease-carrying
screeching rugrats that strange
people keep shoving onto
their laps for a lousy
photo opp.

(I wonder if the real Santa
knows about all this….. )

I’m not that crazy about
kids, anyway…..

I love my own,
but other people’s
— I can definitely do without.

And having to go to work
day after day, knowing
that one or more of those
little bastards will be
sitting on my lap while
they scream bloody murder
in my ear, piss their (and
thus, mine) pants and try
to pull off the cotton wool
glued to my face ?

Fuck that.

It’s amazing you don’t hear
of more about guys doing
that job going ape-shit
postal at the Outlet or
the Fashion Square,
ya know ?

Man, you talk about
sainthood —
those guys deserve it.

Even if they are
impostors
and all.

!!! HOY !!!

.