Sunday, May 13, 2012

Technological Troglodytism

I think a person is pretty much doomed when it comes to keeping up with the latest things. I think it is perfectly natural to be less interested in what someone younger is into, after all one feels this way at age 10 regarding what the 6 year-olds might be up to. Once you get just a bit long in the tooth, you start to view much of technological innovation this way, reserving your involvement to what seems to matter for your daily life. At a certain point, you begin to realize this might make you seem a bit weird to much of the population. Possibly even as a reaction to that, you keep up a bit, but considering the pace of it, what are the chances of being up on it all?

Yes, sometimes it comes down to outright orneriness. When it comes to smartphones and I-pods, it is more of a matter for me of questioning whether I want to invest time and money. But for me anyway, when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, and the like there just seems to be too much contempt for it in my soul. I hear that one of the secrets to the success of Facebook is that you can click on your "likes" and that really 'does it' for people. 


Don't get me started on Twitter. 

So I apologize, many friends and family members are into these things, and that certainly should give me pause. But it doesnt, other than to say I am not trying to insult anyone and concede I am not being fair. However, you can pretty much count on me just not participating. I started with Facebook and have a user and password saved somewhere, but I got turned off immediately... I think it was instantly evident privacy problems that did it. 

I am a little ashamed to have to tell you I delayed for nearly a year after getting a new one to learn how to get pictures off the cellphone. The turkey I bagged finally motivated me enough and now I am definitely chagrined about how easy it is [I gave up too easily after first going about it the wrong way]. 

So, anyway, you might get treated to a few more pictures now. Here is one of Russell hunting turkeys, using a call and listening for gobbles. I'll let you speculate whether it is fair to put this picture in this post, considering how I have titled it. But I think it has been a while since we've had a picture of him. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Honey Syrup

Sue got me a book on cocktails for Christmas which has been pretty good for recipes. The best thing though has been the suggestion to use Honey Syrup instead of Simple Syrup in certain recipes. Subsequent experimentation has shown that the Honey Syrup works in all cases and we have switched completely. Honey syrup of course is basically simple syrup made using honey.

Using simple syrup or honey syrup works much better for drinks as you don't get the problem of much or most of the sweetness staying in the bottom of the glass. This is bound to happen using undissolved sugar and the same problem occurs with undiluted honey.

Simple syrup is water with table sugar added to the point of saturation; I forget the correct quantities, and you are supposed to boil it. What I found, though, was I would never have any properly made syrup unless I bought it; I was just not going to be spending the time to make it. What I started doing instead was just adding sugar to water until no more would dissolve. Unfortunately this tended to get mold growing in it unless you always remembered to refrigerate. Ultimately I learned that if there was a stack of undissolved sugar and only a small amount of water floating on top, about a quarter inch, it wouldnt get any mold. It would be a good question for a physicist, I think, to figure out why this was so. I thought saturated is saturated, but it seems the small amount of free water is even more saturated with sugar, to the point of allowing the preservative quality of sugar to work. No boiling!

So I figured this out. The new problem was, I never had enough simple syrup!

To make honey syrup according to the recipe given, you use 2 parts honey to 1 part water and pasteurize it. You do not need to get to the point of boiling [for simple syrup, the boiling breaks down the sugar into simpler sugars, which apparently is an improvement; otherwise the boiling point is unnecessary, I would guess, even for simple syrup]. Naturally I immediately tried to skip the step of heating the mixture, or the old problem would return, never having any! I was counting on honey supposedly having natural preservatives beyond the natural effect of sugar. Sugar basically works as a preservative by starving microbes of water, but I have heard honey has something more. The good news is, so far, I have had no problems with mold and just have been adding water to honey until it has the consistency I can now recognize without measuring. Hotter weather in the summer will be the real test! but in the meantime cocktail life is going to be much better in the Fall, Winter, and Spring; at least at our humble abode.