Category Archives: humor

What’s ‘Intilt’?

I was away from home so a day late as usual with the Wednesday guest post –

Now that we’ve both been vaccinated, as have many friends and neighbors, we can begin to look back on how we’ve handled the last year. A big part was in cooking with ingredients that Wendy had sourced very imaginatively – potatoes, onions, mushrooms that in some cases literally ‘fell off a truck’.

I enjoy cooking and am always interested in new recipes – for some reason I get regular e-mails from the New York Times Cooking page and I love reading their linked examples. But it is always just a vicarious pleasure. I never make any of them because they always involve an ingredient or a utensil I don’t have!

So I start from the opposite direction.

I do a Google search on the ingredients we have and the methods I’m familiar with. So I have recently searched for ‘potatoes, onions, carrots, peas and mushrooms’ and then choose something that uses a process I’m comfortable with. I discovered Lebanese seven spice mixture and love adding a teaspoonful to almost everything I make.

I had already searched for specialized foods I remembered from Scotland such as sausage rolls and steak bridies and they turned out to be easy to make.

Meanwhile Wendy has become a dab hand at canning as an alternative to freezing and that has opened up lots of possibilities too. So we have lots of jars of homemade spaghetti sauce, curry sauce, veggie soup and even ‘ready to go’ fries (Chips for my Scottish friends) which are par-boiled in the canning process and just need to go in our air-fryer with a squirt of oil. I often reference a story I think I first heard from my good friend from Aberdeen, Colin Stuart whenever she is making something. Queen Victoria and Albert sailed down Loch Ness and he visited the galley. He asked the chef what was in the soup. “There’s tatties intilt and carrots intilt and ingins intilt”. Well, my good man “tell me what’s ‘intilt’?’. “There’s tatties intilt and carrots intilt and ingins intilt” and so it went on round and round.

Finally, as the growing season has arrived, and after extending our vegetable garden, we will be hoping for our own carrots, onions, corn, tomatoes, peppers etc. through the coming year.

Some dishes we’ve become fond of – Dall with beans; Stovies; Bridies; Sausage Rolls; Vegetable Soup; Salmon Patties (Fish Cakes); various curries; Crock Pot Stews – – –

One thing I haven’t found over here is tripe, which my Mum used to make and I would love to have a go at!

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Hope Springs – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post is on Thursday again – – –

I was thinking about this blog post yesterday and going to do it about various hopeful small building projects we had planned on doing until Covid 19 hit. We had planned to have the bathroom remodeled and create a small laundry room and even had thoughts of an added room. But all that has had to wait!

Now that Wendy and I have had our two vaccine shots we can look forward to being less nervous about socializing and that means we can call on more expert friends to help, as they did when we erected the pergola on our back deck. They can also sit under the pergola now!

Two of them were able to visit yesterday and, socially distanced, added their knowledge and brain cells to our general thinking going forward. The idea of the extra room was dumped when they pointed out that our log cabin jail in the back yard IS our extra room. So what would have been the laundry room will be built, but to house the freezers that are currently in the jail. That will create room there where we can also house a wood burning stove in case it’s needed in winter. Once the freezers have moved out we can put a bed in there and it can become again Wendy’s writing studio combined with an extra guest room. The washing machine can stay where it is in the corner of the kitchen and we got rid of the dryer a while ago. We even have a composting toilet waiting to be installed in the jail too – en suite!

But in the process of composing this a certain phrase crossed my mind – one of the reasons for delay was ‘a shortage of lumber’. Now, for Scotsmen of my age that has a completely different meaning than here in the US. On a Saturday night, back in the 1950s and 60s young men would go to the local dance hall in hopes of ‘getting a lumber’ – engaging with a young woman in hopes of finding a secluded corner for some ‘slap and tickle’. There was rarely much tickle and a great many slaps.

I’m continually finding yet more differences between British English, Scots English and American English!

But, back to the subject – although I was head of the construction trades department at a college in Scotland for a number of years, my own specialty is painting and decorating. So I’m not comfortable with anything else, and particularly with plumbing or electrical. The area where the freezer room is going already has a double electrical outlet and they won’t need water or a drain, so easy. The first job I tackled when we had our bookstore was to convert a carport into an enclosed garage, and this is similar but smaller. An area with an existing concrete floor and a small deck above supported by pillars. Make the deck into a roof, create insulated walls and add a door. What could possibly go wrong – – –

Shift the freezers then get the wood burning stove and install it. What could possibly go wrong – – –

Create a toilet suite in the jail. What could possibly go wrong – – –

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Filed under between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch