Saturday, November 26, 2011

New words on the wind. Old words discovered.

Tim called our lunch slumgullion. I could not eat the soup/stew without savouring the word. It seems to be Irish (as is his ancestry), and traditionally made with beef and leftovers. I found this veggie version on the web by Rebecka Evans:

Slumgullion is Cookery Slang that describes an inexpensive stew or a mixture of ground meats and veggies browned in a skillet. You may know this dish by other more common names such as Mulligan stew or Irish stew. Slumgullion has a very old and diverse history. Famous authors, John Muir, and Mark Twain refer to Slumgullion with distaste because it was generally made by the impoverished. My Slumgullion is a vegetarian version based on my mother’s recipe. The intense flavors of dill, red pepper flakes and chive married with the addition of grits bring a new twist to old tradition.

* Prep time: 10 minutes
* |
* Cook time: 15 minutes
* |
* Total time: 25 minutes
* |
* Servings: 6

* 8 ounce(s) of tub Philadelphia 1/3 less fat Chive and Onion Cream Cheese
* 2 medium yellow squash
* 2 medium zucchini
* 5 crimini mushrooms
* 1/2 medium yellow onion
* 2 tbsp. of olive oil
* 1 tbsp. of butter
* 1 cup(s) of quick grits
* 1 1/2 tbsp. of fresh chopped dill weed
* 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes


1. Following manufacturer's instructions, pour 4 cups water into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil
2. add 1 cup cooked grits and 1 tablespoon butter to boiling water
3. stir to combine and reduce heat to low
4. cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
5. whisk in 1 8 ounce tub Philadelphia 1/3 less fat Chive and Onion Cream Cheese, cover and set aside until ready to use
6. heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat
7. clean vegetables before slicing
8. add mushroom only to pan and cook without seasoning until golden in color, remove from pan
9. add 1 tablespoon olive oil to hot pan and saute zucchini and yellow squash for 3-4 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from pan
10. saute onions in pan until caramelized but still al dente
11. return all vegetables to pan, season with red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon dill weed, cook for additional 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally
12. season with salt and pepper to taste
13. pour cooked chesse grits into a large serving bowl
14. top grits with cooked vegetables and garnish with remaining 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

Slumgullion reminds me of rapscallion, jerry mulligan, and other Irishisms. There is something authentic about it. If it's 'supposed' to be made of leftovers, can it really have a recipe?

How many more words (English) are there out there waiting to be chewed on? And why do some words fall behind the sofa?

Google is a great teacher. When I was 16 and living in Leeds I would go hiking at weekends in the Dales. I tried all sorts of things to waterproof my boots including dubbin [must check that out]. But my favorite was neatsfoot oil. Although this was befre my veggie days, I always wondered how many little neats had to be squeezed (or whatever) to make this oil, and what on earth neats are? The other day, I rediscovered the original can of this oil (yup, after 48 years), its label coming a little unstuck. I googled neatsfoot. Serious bad news from Wikipedia: "Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an old name for cattle. Today, many[who?] consider the best quality neatsfoot oil to be that which comes from the legs of calves, with no other oils added. Neatsfoot oil is used as a conditioning, softening and preservative agent for leather. In the 18th century, it was also used medicinally as a topical application for dry scaly skin conditions." Footnote: another Wiki article says neats are 'horned oxen'. I think of Sartre: Dirty Hands. And Derrida's critique of good conscience. How many calves have kept my feet dry on the Yorkshire moors? How many more neatsfeet are there out there? Could one (not this one) add neatsfoot oil to slumgullion?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Tim and Chris and I will join the Sanctuary people at Gaby's for Thanksgiving today. We have directions to his place, way down a dead end road somewhere in the woods. In the woods here, I would like to be able to thank the real turkeys, families of 4, 19 etc. just for being here, being alive, and for my/our not needing to eat them. And then I want to thank them for being beautiful, especially the boys, displaying for their lady friends as if they were peacocks. On the radio Roy Blunt Jnr explains the virtues of turkey meat - that it neutrally absorbs so many other flavors (like cranberry). How different from the real bird. And how can we not admit that language is subject to devastating slippage when we use the same word for the real live strutting cock, and the dead white neutral flesh on the plate. I want to start (Re)Occupy Language. Speaking of language, Leopard Zeppard came over yesterday to see about helping me furbish (can we say that) the sauna with cedar benches, walls and ceiling. I'm wondering if sticking with my birth name is not a kind of laziness when I could reinvent myself as I assume Leopard did. Or is it possible that his Mum and Dad were Mr and Mrs Zeppard and they were creative? Does he have brothers and sisters - and would they be big felines (Tiger, Puma) or rhymes? What else rhymes with Zeppard? Edward? Shepherd? I must ask him over lunch at Gaby's. (Or is it Gabby's?.

Tim and Chris are my latest wwoofers, from SF and Miami/Cuba respectively, currently installing a paver floor in the sauna. They are off to Korea in the Spring to teach English. Chris introduced us to her fried plantain yesterday. Mmmm. On the side, Tim is painting stick figures, Chris skulls.

Thanksgiving is a time for family. Reminds me how dispersed I/we are, across continents, seas, time, divorce, and the vagaries of love and other bonds. So we improvise community. And this time 'we' will bring alternative shepherd's pie (beans and split peas etc.) and sweet potato pie to a mixed group of mostly gay veggies and carnivors who have perhaps difference in common.

Last night at 3pm we were woken by lots of barking, with different kinds of barks all intermingled. What was happening? Dogs meet up with hungry coyotes? A canine contestation?. A hermeneutic conundrum! Whatever happened there will be no evidence left this morning as the mist rises over the meadow. Barking? What barking - asked Pinto, the pit bull that last year ate my cat Berserker.