Category Archives: small town USA

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

Sumer Is Icumen In

Jack feels guilty so the Wednesday guest post is on Wednesday – –

It’s the time of year to start thinking about planting and growing things again. We usually start with seeds inside in trays or plastic cups and that’s what we’re doing now with mostly tomatoes, but beginning to move on to peppers and other things.

We checked what needs to be started both before and after the last predicted frost and I made a ‘calendar box’ with compartments for each week. In each compartment we put the seed packets that are due for planting that week.

Since I hate gardening and have always considered it a Calvinist punishment for some past or future sinning, I have been designated management and Wendy is labor. So my job is to research what goes where in the garden and when it’s safe to transplant.

We have some black walnut trees and they produce a substance called Juglone which is toxic to particular plants, so this determines where we can plant certain things. An alternative is to construct raised beds with garden cloth and clean dirt and we will be doing that soon as well.

We had an additional corner of the backyard turned over by friends with a powered tiller a few weeks ago and that will give us more options. We need to keep our four chickens out of the growing areas so Wendy has made a fence round the tilled area and reinforced the existing fence round the inherited vegetable garden

Another job that Wendy has started is to make a chicken proof fence to keep them out of the yard area closest to our house and back deck. They are very friendly and when they hear our kitchen door open they come running and poop on the deck!

We learned a good few lessons last year and we’re hoping that things will be easier and more productive this time around.

Wish us luck – –

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