My “Black Friday” Shopping List:

Another turkey; we nearly ate the entire bird from yesterday. And some butter.

As for that perennial pastime where greed perverts Advent, making it the season of goading sheeple into buying crap they don’t need, all while avarice and coercion fuels the fire of abuses heaped upon low-income workers, I will buy nothing.

God willing, I will buy nothing or as close to nothing as possible through the weekend, and (largely due to my tendency to avoid spending money until the last minute) past “Cyber Monday”.

And I will point out that these brief momentary opportunities to rest and take some time to be with family are priceless and scarce. Solidarity suggests that we not consume in ways that deprive others of the same enjoyment.

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Status Post No Chill Brewing

ciderrellibThe drought — the one that involves a dearth of decent beer at the Quartermaster’s house, but sadly, not the one threatening to send all of California spiraling into utter chaos — has finally ended, and following what has seemed like a marathon — of brewing, cleaning, sanitizing, racking and kegging — there is finally beer for the holidays!

Here’s what’s currently on hand:

  • Religious Liberty Ale (American Pale) – 10 gallons ready, 10 gallons in secondary
  • Ancient Roman Philosopher (DIPA, Pliny the Elder Clone) – 10 gallons ready
  • The Oliphaunt (Christmas Stout) – 10 gallons kegged, aging
  • Unnamed (California Common) – 10 gallons in secondary
  • The Grove (ESB, with “estate” Satsuma peel) – 10 gallons in primary

Adventures in Pork: HamRelocation

Now that we have FOUR whole salt-cured “prosciutto” hams to age for the next 12-18 months, and another two expected in the next couple of months, I have run into some capacity issues. In the past, I’ve referred to my CureBrewzer, which is a freezer to which I’ve added a temperature controller, a fan, and some materials for regulating the humidity.

FullSizeRender-1But the CureBrewzer won’t hold four hams, and with the weather changing and getting more wet (Deo Gratias) I am having some issues with moisture in the box anyway.

Part of the Brewhouse is lined in cedar, and there are two closets. I have a dream to convert one of the cedar-lined closets into a curing/food storage area, which I figure could be achieved by installing a “window” A/C unit and maybe amping up the insulation, etc. But that’s a little ways off, and I still need somewhere to hang these hams for the time being.

It turns out that during this time of year, the climate in the Brewhouse is pretty good for hanging. My little digital thermometer/hygrometer is reading temps around 50F, and 60-70% humidity. As long as the humidity doesn’t go above 70% (below 65% is optimal), things are good. At least until Spring.

Flavorful Turkey: There is Still Time

But there is not another moment to waste. Heed the Quartermaster’s instructions for brining your bird, get the turkey in the brine tonight, for significantly upgraded holiday nomnoms tomorrow.

FullSizeRenderThe beauty of brining a turkey is that while it takes a few minutes to prepare the brine, you can effectively omit: coating the turkey in butter or oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, basting during roasting, covering or flipping the bird while cooking (which is insane anyway). For our (brined) Thanksgiving turkey, I stuff the bird, roast at 325 (uncovered) until the stuffing and thigh reads 165F. Brining is the easiest way to achieve great turkey, with minimal effort.

Ideally, you would have begun brining 48-72 hours before Turkey Day, in order to permit the bird to “air dry” in the refrigerator for a full 24 hours before roasting. But if you brine and omit this step, it will still be far better than if you did nothing at all.

Other things you can do ahead: stuffing (mine’s already in the fridge), cranberry sauce (so easy, so much better than canned), anything containing Jell-O, sweet potatoes (all steps up to placement of the casserole in the oven to heat), peeling potatoes and placing in your boiling pot filled with salted water, the pies, etc.

Please note that *IF* you stuff your bird, which is safe so long as you reach a good internal temperature and handle the stuffing properly, you should be careful not to add too much salt to the stuffing, as some of the juices from the brined turkey (which are salty) will soak into the stuffing.

Today Mr. Karl and I engaged in some spirited debate concerning stuffing the bird versus having plenty of drippings for gravy. Apparently every person in his family requires at least a quart of gravy, because he was complaining that the stuffing absorbs all the drippings. This is not my experience at all, as we have always had an adequate volume of drippings even with a stuffed bird. But we don’t consume gravy with a drinking hose either. Meanwhile, the gaping open chasm of Mr. Karl’s turkey is pouring forth all the juices into the roasting pan. More resourceful people plug the hole to trap the flavor and juiciness.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Age of Euphemism in UK says Sex between 13-year-olds Kids is “Normal”

Our culture has surrendered to sexual deviancy. Period. There are those involved in one form of sexual sin or another who would prefer escaping judgment for whatever it is they are doing. To avoid hypocrisy, tolerance of what others choose to do is required.

For boys and men, we’re told that males are more visual than females when it comes to sex, so there is a plethora of imagery presented for consumption and gratification: commercial use of women as sex objects for the sale of products. Secondarily, pornography, which is ubiquitous and nearly inescapable. Finally, the allure of “free sex”, where males are free to be completely unaccountable, guaranteed by condoms, contraceptives, abortions, and if all else fails, simply bugging out on any parental responsibility.

For girls and women, there is the presentation that what makes one most valuable is serving as an object for sexual gratification. Hemlines get shorter, behavior gets more overt and over the top, and the belief that a girl’s availability for “free sex” will lead to some kind of “empowerment,” which is based chiefly upon the lie that everyone should prioritize sexual pleasure, and so long as a woman can attain what pleases her in bed, she will be happy and fulfilled.

Which brings us to where we are: In the United Kingdom, educators are being instructed to consider sexual activity among 13-year-olds as normal, and also that kissing and masturbation among 9-year-olds is okay too. This, btw, is at the urging of pro-abortion groups (I wonder why).

Suppose that a group of Catholic priests publicly held this view. Does anyone doubt that Satan, always most capable when he plays the fence, wouldn’t coax out cries of “We wonder why!” from the seculars?

In opening up the possibility of greater tolerance, given as consideration for non-judgment of one’s own activities, there are greater opportunities to destroy the very small pockets of innocence left in our culture. For some reason, innocence must be obliterated. Why?

Now that the Age of Euphemism openly posits that a 13-year-old is capable of giving consent for sex, how long will it be before consent is possible not just with another 13-year-old, but with anyone of any age?

Simple, Beautiful, Caritas

Pope Francis commissions showers for the homeless under St. Peter’s colonnades.

Rome doesn’t offer very convenient access to restroom facilities. Even children, whose cuteness can sometimes open doors, rarely register any sympathy. So it’s a beautiful gesture to the homeless, who seek shelter under the porticos of the mammoth curial buildings, to have a place to get clean. The article is well worth reading, because it describes the work of the Papal almoner, and the various projects in Rome undertaken by the Church for the homeless and needy there.

And, give — here’s a link to Peter’s Pence. Generally our diocese alerts the parishes a few weeks in advance when a second collection will be taken up. Remember showers in the colonnades for the homeless when you wonder what becomes of the money you contribute.

Terrible Advice…..

….. from Crux’s “ethical dilemma” columnist. Catholic mom wants to know if she should be concerned that her teenaged daughter is dabbling in the occult. Ouija, seances, etc. Columnist starts off by comparing such an interest to escaping into the writings of Tolkien and Lewis, and treats the whole thing lightly, concluding that “sooner or later” the daughter will have to “grow up”.

Either you believe in the Devil, demons and Hell (i.e., take the authentic Catholic view), or you don’t. But if you do believe in those things, then you don’t wait patiently by while a kid in your house invites Satan’s minions to have a chat.

You should be afraid. And I would let my kid know that’s why it’s not permitted in my house. Because it’s seriously real.

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us! All the angels and saints of God, pray for us!

We Missed World Vasectomy Day? Oh well, Maybe Next Year…..

Really, this is a thing, and this year it was the Second Annual World Vasectomy Day. And, you’ve got to love the embedded spin in the headline: “Thousands of men step up on World Vasectomy Day“, as though there’s anything remotely virtuous about getting oneself fixed. Secular culture says: “You want to be responsible and share your part of the birth control burden? Get fixed! Be a ‘hero’!”

Because non-alcoholic beer is just as good as real beer. And tofurkey is just as yummy as turkey. And EggBeaters, margarine, Bakon, Krab, cubic zirconia, pyrite, and that dumb Golden Retriever app on your phone are all the same as the real thing.

Oh, and says one guy who underwent the procedure, “There’s this whole stigma… It’s hard to put your finger on what it is…” I’m pretty sure I can help you out with that. It’s your conscience saying getting a vasectomy (even for nonsensical consequentialist reasons) is a stupid sinful thing to do.

Be a man.” And, “Be a man.

Sloth, Greed, and Avarice on Offer *Outside*, Nevermind the Store

For the annual post-Thanksgiving gluttonyfest known as “Black Friday”, and it is truly black indeed for the craven souls who worship at Mammon’s altar on this high unholy day, there are already shoppers camping outside a Best Buy store here in California, who will have waited 22 days before November 28, in order to be “first in line” for “deals” on….. who knows? They don’t know what’s for sale and how good the deals are because the promotion fliers haven’t even been printed yet! In other words, they don’t even know what they’re waiting in line to purchase. Make no mistake: this isn’t a bread line. It isn’t even a line for a thing. It’s a line where people partake in a lie, and not a particularly good one, i.e., getting a “deal” is really important and will fulfill that which is empty.

“’Some people say we’re crazy,’… adding that such comments don’t bother her in the least.”

Not crazy. Sad.