Category: just plain odd

The Graham Cracker

Tuesday 10.09.12

Not the most exciting snack on the planet. But certainly one of the only biscuits to be developed as part of a dietary regime designed to stifle destructive carnal appetites. Invented in New Jersey, of all places, by the Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, the graham cracker was originally made of far sterner stuff: graham flour with little or no sweetener. The thinking being that if one is to curb sexual enthusiasm, the solution would be to eat a bland diet. Apparently, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg also subscribed to this theory. Hence the invention of corn flakes. Who knew? These days the crackers are laced with loads of sugar, cinnamon and maybe even chocolate. And even worse, they are made from white flour. The ultimate sin.

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An Alternate Way to Separate an Egg

Tuesday 09.11.12

I don’t typically mind separating a few eggs the old fashioned way, but this new and improved method might come in handy if one were talking volume. I am very intrigued by the fact that the demonstration is taking place on the couch and not in the kitchen. Also note that the video has been viewed over 10 million times. Thanks to Danièle for sending my way.

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Aunt Velma

Monday 07.30.12

ca. 1888. A handwritten note on the back of the photo says, “Aunt Velma, she never married.” Everything about this image taps into my fear of female pattern baldness. Courtesy of my friend Kay who delights in all things odd. She found the image here. As an aside, when I was in grade school and high school we used to compete against Bucksport, Maine in certain sporting events. And, while I know this is a generalization, I remember those girls as not always being so nice. That said, I bet Aunt Velma is a peach.

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The Woodpile

Tuesday 07.24.12

Unfortunately, there is no sense of scale to this photograph. Take my word for the fact that the wood pile stands at least as tall as myself. If not more. It’s a beautiful site to behold as one moves up the driveway to our house. And, even though this is a familiar form, it’s uncommon for the wood-stackers among us to deviate from tradition. My husband — sometimes a quiet renegade — is responsible for this totem to his hand split logs.

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And Yes, Even MORE To Do Lists

Tuesday 07.17.12

Belated birthday present from my brother and his partner, John. For the full story on these, go here. And to see the rest of them go here, here and here. Thanks guys. Now we need to find you some treatment.

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The Last Meringue

Wednesday 07.11.12

“WHAT, you don’t know about the meringue?!!” screeched my brother and H. “HOW could you have missed it?” “It’s been in H’s freezer since that New Year’s Eve party we had back in 1979!” “Haven’t you ever seen it on the door?” John, my brother’s partner, gives us a sideways look. I sense that he is questioning our mental stability.

“Okay, okay…yes I have a vague memory of it.” I think to myself that they are referring to that teacup-size thing, enshrouded in plastic, sitting alone on the shelf of the freezer door. The thing I’ve often been tempted to throw in the trash. I admit to myself that I never really thought much about it and, in a slightly ashamed tone, confess my obliviousness.

How COULD I have missed its significance? Jeez, it’s been there for a good 33 years and counting. It now officially qualifies as an antique.

I ask if I can borrow it to take photographs, but dodge an immediate round of outrage spit at me from both sides of the dinner table. “Are you crazy?!” “You absolutely cannot remove it, much less unwrap it!” “No way.” They are united in their defense of this frostbitten wad of sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites. My brother adds that it is PERFECT. He reminds me of that pre-party madness long ago when he made the meringues for a crowd of 25. He conjures up images of a sixteen year old self, hunched over his cookie sheet, pastry bag in hand, piping out the glossy swirled receptacles that will later hold chocolate mousse, orange segments macerated in grand-marnier, all crowned with lightly sweetened whipped cream. He recalls throwing out two thirds of his creations, only keeping those that met his highest standards of perfection. I finally convince them that it’s worth a look. My brother concedes that it’s probably ossified, and that taking the cling wrap off will unlikely compromise its integrity. We rush back to the apartment before dark in order to rig up a quick photo shoot. This is the one meringue that is preserved for posterity. And it is indeed perfect.

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Tuesday 07.03.12

“Lay on Ground, Light Fuse, Retire Quickly” is the first line of the story in the NYT about the sale of George Moyer’s enormous firecracker collection. Moyer is a pyrotechnician and fireman from Pennsylvania, so it stands to reason that he might have an outsized interest in any and all types of explosives. The photos aren’t the best, but that’s the consequence of a massive drag and drop operation. The entire collection was/is online at Morphy’s Auction House. Oh, and Happy Fourth of July!!

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