Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Canned Air

Imagethief's mordant post about Beijing's air reminds me of Del's entrepreneurial frenzy at the advent of Seattle's World's Fair in 1962.
One of Seattle's boasts was the clarity and freshness of its air compared to that of LA at the time, say. Seeing Mt. Rainier all year long from downtown was an unremarkable event. Del tied the thought of cosmopolitan visitors marveling at such transparency to the folks he knew who ran fish canning plants. A bit of time in the composition room of the label printer produced a clever label which he then had applied to a short run of a few thousand tins sans fish. The result was Pure Pacific North West Air which sold to fair goers eager for souvenirs of the lighter sort.
Another product he offered called on his friendship with a supplier of biological lab specimens and a dentist. From the first he purchased preying mantises. These were carefully placed in the dental molding centrifuge which replaced all of the insect with molten dental gold. The result -- the seven or eight times out of each ten that it worked successfully -- was a solid gold replica of a praying mantis complete with delicate gold feelers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Frivolous Thought

Brad DeLong regards Der Spiegle's interview with Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq, and concludes:

Is there anything left to say?

Yes, there is. Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.

While we're at it, Let's impeach John McCain.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dum Luk's a Potato German Salads

Reminded that this is the International Year of the Potato, the season of salad turned my pea brain towards the German style. Usually this is a fall or winter dish because it is served hot. If you've never had it, the basic idea is to dress some boiled potato slices with a vinaigrette made with bacon fat and cider or other flavorful vinegar. Crumbled bacon and sautèd onions garnish the dish. A coarse mustard is a good addition

Thinks I: What if I grilled the potatoes in one of those sieve-like wok thingies? It works nicely.

Slice a couple of potatoes (I like reds for flavor and ability to hold shape. Use yellows to significantly alter the texture to creamy. Use fingerlings for flavor and color. I like reds for flavor and ability to hold shape.) thinly -- a quarter inch or less. Put in the wok and set over a modest heat on your charcoal or other BBQ. Stir as needed to brown. Do not burn.

Dice two slices of fat bacon about 3/8". Cut a small shallot into a fine dice. Put these into a sautè pan over a low flame to render the bacon and caramelize the shallots.

Mix a quarter cup of vinegar with a tablespoon of coarse mustard and a teaspoon of celery seed in a bowl large enough to hold the finished salad. Add salt and pepper. Reserve.

When the potatoes are nicely browned and the bacon crisp, combine all in the bowl and toss.

You might add some chopped roasted red peppers, mild or hot to suit.
Or chopped olives.
Or pickles.
Some like the crunch of diced celery. The leaves are tasty too.
Italian parsley, or any other leafy type you are partial too can also go in.

This is a style rather than a recipe. You can add or omit to please yourself. Within reason. Change the oil to olive if you like -- but leave out the potatoes and we're talking about some other critter.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

In Memorium

The Fourth Amendment
to the
United States Constitution

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

December 15, 1791 -- July 9, 2008