Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chemists doing it for themselves

What are these?

Hops..providing bitterness to beer. Presumably there has been a hop shortage but Michigan farmers have stepped in  to grow these. My host grows them too

Pig head left over from the pig roast

An assortment of homemade beers and  ciders
In 2007, Steve was assigned to work in Kent County , England for a month, home of the hops. All around were the beehive shaped drying ovens called oasts (as those in Crossword Puzzleland would know). Saturday I went to a pig roast attended by mainly chemists thrown by my bicycling companion of two years ago (and of years back) Rasta man for his habit of putting dreadlocks on his bike helmet.

Aside from being chemists, it seemed many of the guests were amateur beer makers too along with my host who loves projects. One though was a mead producer. Where does he get his honey? Oh his bees make it for him. It turns out he has 5 hives of busy bees. He lets them forage for themselves. What is in season influences the taste of the honey. Currently that is clover and thistle. Soon the bees will switch over to goldenrod and asters. Those pretty mountain laurel flowers I posted in June? You wouldn't want honey from them..toxic to humans and other pesky mammals but aside from the Arb's small pocket of them, Michigan bees would not be feasting on them. He didn't bring any mead to sample.

I finally had mead for the first time less than a month ago (but now it seems like ages) on the Night of the Proposition. Maybe it made me more attractive? Despite its promising flavor, cherry and ginger, Boone's Farm of college years came to mind. Alcoholic soda pop. So maybe there is good mead out there but I just didn't have any.

And the pig..some how it just seems so primitive carving meat from a whole carcass complete with head and hooves. I guess this is how Americans differ from Europeans. We Americans seem to like our protein free of reminders where it came from. We were quite taken back during our first trip to Europe where we ordered paella on the shores of the Mediterranean in Barcelona and got a pile of sea creatures complete with eyes, tentacles, antennae, things thoughtfully cut off for us back in the States. Yes I've had calamari before but in battered rings, no eyes! Same with shrimp. I think the only things Americans are served whole would be lobsters and even then, they would prefer just the tails though in Maryland, crabs were served whole too (I opted for crab cakes) I guess it is reassurance to the Europeans that their fish is real, not some homogenized soy protein thing.

Some of the guests were gardeners sharing their bounty in the form of various salads and blueberry desserts so yum.

I have been busy. In between various events, I've been biking and running. Yesterday was tightly scheduled. I gave myself so much time to run, so much time to deliver a Mom and her husband to the airport for their European Adventure that I forgot to eat. What I didn't account for:  a long phone call from Soulmate (usually he calls later) and  blinding, pouring rain that made my anticipated speed of 70-75 mph go down to 45-50 mph making me late. Then off with 2 of the remaining Moms for more dress shopping in that cute town near Josh's where I love to eat (alas that restaurant is closed on Mondays but we found a suitable replacement though my friend's lobster tacos were the tiniest things I ever saw). We should have just gone there in the first place. I will return myself in a few months when I am all svelte (ha!)to find something for the Big California Wedding. Fun times. My favorite moment is my friend getting stuck in a too small dress. We thought we'd need the Jaws of Life to get her out of it. It took 2 of us (very helpful lady assigned to us) ten sweaty minutes to peel her out of it. It turned out that this Mom had grown up in this town before she was 11. It wasn't such a cool place then. We went around looking at her old stomping grounds. And since we were so close to Josh's, we stopped by for coffee and a house tour. One of the Moms hadn't had the privilege of meeting Ms. Allie, who was especially charming. She loves to perform.

On today's schedule, deliver Steve to his colonoscopy. I am supposed to stay there for the duration but I think I will sneak out to see the now dying agave in  its final bloom. And Steve is not enjoying the prep for this, no sleep for him and not much for me as I could hear him all night.
Alas, no photos of my Barcelona lunch, before I had a digital camera, but this dinner was in Vernazza, Italy. Note body parts.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

Goodness you have been busy. As usual.
Hops? I prefer the plant to the beverage. By a long way.
Here in Australia we 'sanitise' our food too. In some ways a mistake I think (says the non meat eater). I think it is important to know where our food comes from.


Blog Archive