Friday, March 05, 2010

Life list: week 1

So not even 24 hours after I posted the first half of my life list, I got a comment from the marketing director of the Stratford Festival. Did you see that? It stunned me.

I emailed her and told her that I have no idea when this is going to happen--I don't even know if my mother will agree to go--and I asked if there was any expiration date on the offer. She said no, just keep her address on file and use it when I'm ready.

I talked to Mom about it. She is, as I thought she would be, hesitant. It's based on a bad reaction to the way she was treated by some docent in a museum in Toronto back in the seventies. Woman made some comment about how the whole Nixon/Watergate thing would have never happened up there.

"Mom? That was, um, forty years ago."

"Well, there have been other things."

"Like what?"

"On the news."

"Like what?"

She didn't say anything. I still don't know quite what she's talking about, but then I don't read, watch, or listen to much news. The news industry's main objective as far as I can tell is to scare their audience. Scare them so badly that they'll need to come back again, to see what else they should be scared of. Either that or make them angry. Or both. No thanks.

"I just to don't want to spend my money somewhere that I'm not welcome."

"Mom, I've been in Toronto and Stratford a number of times, and I've never felt unwelcome. And not just because I'm spending money. They're polite, they're friendly, they're interested in strangers. At least, all the people I've met were."

Tell you what, if I do get her up there, we're not going anywhere near whatever museum that was. She told me, I can't remember. Something House. Yeah, that's helpful. And I want to say it had to do with government, which is why Nixon got mentioned. Mackenzie House?

I just looked up Mackenzie house. Vaguely to do with government, more to do with history and a Scotsman, it sounds like a place Mom would want to go visit.


And then JustMe sent me a bunch of stuff on weaving and spinning guilds in my area. Did I say thank-you yet, JM? I meant to. Some of my friends who knit also spin. I'm going to follow up with them about where they learned, is this local guild still active, things like that.

And then she sent me a recipe for tomato gravy that sounds pretty good. Thank you for that too. Gonna try that sometime soon. What I meant by "from scratch" was "from all fresh ingredients," and I think I can adapt this one. When I was looking around for what to do with my CSA tomatoes last year, I couldn't find a sauce recipe that used fresh ripe tomatoes, or didn't have tomato paste (or, in one case tomato sauce) listed as an ingredient. Yes. Tomato sauce as an ingredient to make tomato sauce. I'm not naming names (but it rhymes with Nettie Docker), but some of those old stand-by name-trademarked cookbooks are no help at all. I gave up and decided to stew them instead.

I think I need to get myself a copy of the Ball Canning Book. I'm probably going to need it anyway, if I really am planning to use everything I get from the CSA this year. Mom told me there's a simple tomato sauce recipe in there. I could try that one too.

And I've started on the 1000 fruits list. I decided that different varieties of the same fruit count as different fruits. Concord grapes don't have the same taste, color, or texture as seedless green Thomspon grapes, do they? So, different fruits. I've bought Pink Lady apples, some bananas, and a Korean butter pear. I'm going to try the butter pear tomorrow, but as I have no camera I can't show you what it looks like. I'll have a do-over after Easter and take pictures. Until then, I'll try to stick to the more common fruits.

I tell you what, though, just the idea of trying 1000 different fruits has made me pay more attention in the produce section. I didn't know Wegman's had prickly pears. Or kumquats. Or star fruit. There's three more that need to wait for the camera before I try 'em.

I'm gonna look into how much guitar lessons are. Someone in town who I know slightly (through Twitter) just mentioned he's about to start lessons, once he finds a good, patient teacher. We local Tweeters are getting together for lunch next Friday. I'll have to ask him how his search is going, and if he can give me a recommendation.

And now I need to go work on one of my many, many unfinished projects. I think tonight it's knitting.

Oh! And tomorrow? I'm going to go see "Alice in Wonderland" with some more friends from Twitter.

I added a few more things to the list, by the way:

51. Attend a Renaissance Faire. In costume. (Really need to get that "confident seamstress" thing going, don't I?)
52. Own and wear (on a regular basis) a black leather biker jacket.
53. Visit the farm in New Zealand where Hobbiton was built for The Lord of the Rings movies.
54. Watch 1000 movies. (Yeah, like that'll be hard. Maybe it should be "watch 1000 movies and then never watch another one.")

For the fruit and the movie thing, I'm not counting things I've already done. I've eaten a banana before, but I'm not counting it until I eat the one for my list. As for movies, I'm not going to count things I've already seen, even if I see it again. Ever. So maybe it should be:

54. Watch 1000 new (to me) movies.

I think this will finally get me to clear out my DVR queue and get through my Netflix list. I have a habit of collecting the names of movies that I want to watch, but then never seeing them. I've had the same two Netflix discs for months now. And my DVR is over half full. So maybe this is a challenge after all.

55. Make a pie from fruit I picked myself.

And now it's ten-thirty, too late to work on a project. I'm starting to get droopy.

Good night, everybody.


Rusty's Mom said...

My mom was a big cook from scratch person. Tomato sauce for tomato sauce (that does sound stupid doesn't it?) is just tomatoes cooked down and run through a food mill to smooth it out. Real tomato paste is just the tomato sauce cooked down until thick. Instead of putting in paste to thicken tomato sauce you just cook it down until it's thickened. Make sure you skim the yucky foamy crap that shows up on top of the tomatoes as it cooks down. It won't hurt you but I don't like it and my mom said to do it so I don't have a better answer than that. I do have an old fashioned cook book (don't know who wrote it my mom covered it with contact paper) that has recipes to cook the most basic of stuff. She was also a big canner and I highly recommend the ball canning book you were talking about. Sorry to prattle, this post brought back some nice memories.

Rusty's Mom said...

After reading my comment I realized that cooking down tomatoes may need an explanation. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and place 1 or 2 tomatoes in it for about 20 seconds. This losens the skin. Removed from the water with a sloted spoon. Cut the core out and the skin slides off. Throw it into another pot. Repeat until all your tomatoes are peeled, or your finger skin is peeling off, whichever comes first.:-) Then put a low to medium light under the tomatoes and let them simmer. I am impatient and cut them up into quarters after I peel them so they cook faster. They are ready for the mill when they are mush. After they're milled you have sauce. Cook it down more to thicken. Low water tomatoes are best for this endeaver. If you use wetter tomatoes you just have to cook them down longer. Plum tomatoes work really well. Hope that helps. E

This list sounds really cool to do. I might have to shamelessy do this too.

Just Me said...

E very efficiently handled the sauce/paste matter. I was just going to add that the paste isn't a required ingredient if you were willing to cook your tomatoes longer.

I am usually too impatient to wait when the smells are divine and my belly is rumbling.

I'm also thinking about pirating the list idea. Knowing myself, I'll probably keep thinking on it and never write it down.