T-minus 24 hours . . .

. . . until dinner tomorrow. I’m ready to cook! The turkey is salted and resting (not brined, thanks to J. Kenji López-Alt at The Food Lab, my current favorite food blog), and I’m ready to spatchcock the fowl and cook it tomorrow afternoon at Prof. Himmelhoch’s house. I’ve made the cranberry stuff* and dosed it with triple sec and left it to meld flavorifically in the fridge. Now I can enjoy a little of this brief calm before the storm that is always December in Higher Education.

*Bag of cranberries, half an unpeeled lemon, a whole unpeeled orange, a cup of pecans, a cup of sugar, blend, stir, add 1/4 cup of orange liqueur and refrigerate overnight. Yum! It’s good at dinner but even better as a relish on turkey sammiches later in the week.


Aperitivi! by Michael Tinkler
Aperitivi!, a photo by Michael Tinkler on Flickr.

Summer-time fun!

I had a few friends over yesterday evening for aperitivi – Italian for drinks-and-finger-food. Spritzers, savory bits, and good conversation.

The photograph is my cart ready to roll…but I had already taken the glasses and the cooler with the ice, prosecco, and club soda upstairs.

Coffee is our friend!

While the researchers could not prove cause and effect, they did find that the link was dose-responsive: Greater coffee consumption was correlated with a lower colon cancer risk. The effect held even after they adjusted their findings for factors like exercise, family history of cancer, body weight, and alcohol and cigarette use.

Yay, coffee!

Revelations of right-sidedness

I own a right-handed coffee maker.
You see, I’m having a little flare up of my old repetitive stress problem. This often happens toward the end of a semester when I’ve been on the computer far too much and taken too little time to do other things. I popped some ibuprofen, got a cold-wrap out of the freezer, and am using my right hand as little as possible.
But I had to pour water into the coffee maker.
I live alone, so I never fill the reservoir unless I have guests. On weekends I usually make more coffee than on weekdays, so I have to pour more than usual. For both reasons I need to be able to watch the water-level indicator while I’m pouring in water. The indicator is on the right side of the coffee maker – and is so subtly colored that I ended up turning the whole machine around so the carafe faced the wall so I could pour left-handed and see the water level.
My heart goes out to you, sinister friends (Fr. B first on the list). We rightists do underestimate the accident of our biological privilege!

Cannibals and Jesuits

Once again the people attacking early missionaries honesty turn out to be wrong.

Some historians had derided the missionaries’ reports of cannibalism as exaggerations. But the bones found in Cueva del Maguey–a hamlet built inside a huge, cliffside cave–should erase any doubts, Punzo said.
Tests showed that 80 percent of four dozen bones–found in houses dated to around 1425–bear marks and other evidence of being boiled and cut with blades of stone, Punzo added.
The bones had been relatively untouched for centuries–a godsend for scientists made possible by the isolation of Cueva del Maguey, deep in a pine forest and 8,530 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level.
For the Xiximes, the planting-and-sowing cycle was intertwined with a cycle of cannibalism and bone rituals, according to the INAH report, announced at the 14th Archaeology Conference of the North Frontier this summer in Paquimé, Mexico.
After each corn harvest, Xiximes warriors were deployed to hunt for enemies–and their flesh.
. . .
Body parts were cooked in pans until the bones emerged clean. The flesh was then cooked with beans and corn and eaten in a type of soup–part of an all-night village ritual, complete with singing and dancing, according to missionaries’ reports.

I really don’t understand why the 19th and early 20th centuries found cannibalism so improbable.