Sunday, July 26, 2015

prefabricate inversion casework

"Be your own worst critic." (Paul Arden)   


Hey Bunnies-  Today is NATIONAL HOT FUDGE DAY!  Mark your calendars so you can be prepared for next year, then go visit your closest supermarket to gather supplies:


yield: A heaping 2 cups
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
total time: 15 minutes


2/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup Lyle's Golden Syrup, or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low (enough to maintain a low simmer), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate, the butter, and the vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before using (it will thicken as it cools). Store in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute until it's pourable but still thick.
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet Today and Smitten Kitchen)

Note:  I picked the squirrel picture above because it looks almost like chocolate!
Unfortunately I cannot make this because I don't have any pans, I don't have any spoons, and the chocolate is all gone too.  Be assured that as soon as I get back to a kitchen, it will be amongst the first projects I tackle.  Meanwhile I do see a visit to the local ice cream emporium later today.  Wish you were here...

And speaking of chocolate, my favorite ever chocolate is made right here in Somerville by a guy who was in school with my kids!  Local Boy Makes Good (Chocolate!).  It's TAZA Stone Ground and comes in little discs divided up like pie to snap off when you get the urge, available at Whole Foods and worth every penny.  It's heavy duty dark chocolate and also comes laced with different chilis, cinnamon, and other flavors I can't remember because I spent all my money on the Chipotle chocolate and the Guajillo chili flavor I tore through quickly.  Go to the website and watch Alex trekking through Haiti buying superior beans and helping grow the economy.  This stuff is fabulous, on my gift registry for a case!

Now lets chat about some weird art, isn't that why you dropped by?  I hope so.Pretty silver trees, eh?  All different, all very intricate-

The owner of has been turning ant extermination into a controversial art form by creating aluminum casts of expired colonies. After locating an anthill — mostly, those of the fire ant and carpenter ant species — he pours boiling, liquid metal into the entranceway, solidifying the tunnels and killing anything inside. The cast of the ant nest is then dug out, sprayed off, and mounted on a wooden base for display. Many of them are then sold on eBay to schools and collectors.

How about these toys we used to play with, probably right after we came inside from 
running after the truck spraying for mosquitoes!  Nice cool spray on a hot afternoon...  Anyway, we all knew some kid who had most of these and performed experiments in his bedroom with the door closed!  

The glass blowing kit (for boys!) was designed to be as instructional as it was entertaining. According to the manual (which you can still find online), the kit was a complete guide to everything a boy needed to know in order to make anything from glass toys and straws to champagne glasses, window glass, and even glass beakers and lab equipment for your chemistry set. It tells how to heat up glass with the alcohol lamp, warning that it’s going to be hot when it’s glowing red.  Note how the future glassblowers wear shirts and ties.
Boys are taught how to bend glass to shape it, and the step-by-step guide also thoughtfully warns against using kerosene in the house, as it’ll cover everything with a black residue that won’t make mom happy that you’re playing with lamps and molten glass inside.

The Atomic Energy Lab came with four different samples of uranium, along with a Geiger counter for measuring just what the uranium was putting off, a cloud chamber with power source, and the comic book, Dagwood Splits the Atom. The comic, which featured Dagwood of the popular comic strip (along with his wife, Blondie), gave kids a crash course in atomic energy that was narrated, in part, by Popeye.  This little atomic engineer is less formal, must be a blue collar job making bimbs?

Instruction booklets in the 1950s told kids how to create smoke and explosions – which kids love, after all. Today, even the iodine contained in most of sets is some of a controlled substance, because it can be used to make methamphetamine – and is potentially lethal to drink. But the fall of the chemistry set wasn’t just because of safety concerns. It went far beyond that.  I'd say giving a kid the tools to make meth might do it.

The Little Lady Stove was one of the worst offenders, on the market in the 1960s. It was one of a handful of toys that the National Commission on Product Safety recommended be banned completely, mostly because of the heat it put off. The oven racks would heat up to 600F (315C), which is hotter than most real-life, grown-up ovens ever need to be.  This would be used for pot brownies I suppose.  My own little play stove had a 100w bulb as the heating element to cook the tiny cake, but it would work on brownies too I betcha.

If any toy could be considered endlessly controversial, the toy gun. Even those that don’t see the harm in a nerf gun or a squirt gun can’t argue that the Austin Magic Pistol may just take things that bit too far.  Sold in the 1940s, the pistol fired ping pong balls at what can only be described as, for a toy, high velocity. The firing mechanism was calcium carbide, loaded into the back of the pistol and activated with a few drops of water.  This one also shoots flames. The problem with this toy is why would anybody play with toy guns when they can have real ones?  Both my brother and I had rifles as children.  I lost all interest when I shot my first rabbit.  My father was so proud, I cried for days, and that ended my hunting career.  My brother however took his rifles off to college with him and would head out to the Rockies on weekends. 

Today, we all know that lead toys are bad. Very bad. Lead paint and lead toys have now been banned, but it wasn’t very long ago that the ban happened.Strangely, the dangers of lead have been understood for many years – we have records dating back as far as ancient Rome in which physicians suggested a link between the widespread use of lead, especially to flavour wine, and the development of illnesses like gout and anemia. The use of lead goes back even farther, with small lead statues having been recovered from Turkey that date back to around 6500 BC.  

One of our European friends brought a DIY set of toy soldiers to my own kids.  We melted down the lead, poured the molds, and then painted them up.  We used them as balast in a chandelier that never would hang straight, stuffed them in around the bulbs to weigh down one side.  I wonder if the buyers of that house ever found them...  or have lead poisoning!  That's something I guess I won't ask them at this point.

1 comment :

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