Tuesday, March 02, 2010

About last night

My friend and colleague Elizabeth, who is a convert to Islam, asked me what I was eating.

"Hominy" I said.

It was hominy with browned onions and a whole bunch of spices I get from the local Middle Eastern grocery (not to be confused with THE INDIAN BAZAAR AAAR AAAR ALL YOUR INDIAN FOOD NEEDS IN ONE PLACE ACE ACE RIGHT IN DOWNTOWN LITTLETON ON ON, as the radio ads would have it). Anyway, it had a variety of spices in it, and some juniper sprinkled on top. It's sort of soupy, and it's what I make when I don't have foul medammas (fava beans) on hand.

Elizabeth said, "That smells familliar."

I said, "Well, it does have spices from Ali's Bargain Bin in it."

She said, "Oh. So it's Muslim, then?"

I said, "Yeah...I guess so."

"So it's Ayatollah hominy*."


*** *** *** *** ***

A Faithful Minion who prefers to remain anonymous informed me at 3 am (or, rather, that's when I opened the email) that there is a whole website devoted to the popping of zits.

I am aghast. Because, really? Ew.

I can tolerate a lot of things and enjoy even more. The recreational draining of sebaceous cysts is not something I can get behind, though.

*** *** *** *** ***

Faithful Minion Molly writes that the single best way to cook artichokes (ten for ten bucks!) is in the microwave, after you rinse them, for seven minutes. I'll let her tell it:

"Take a healthy-looking artichoke. Put it top-down on the counter and bear down on it until it opens up a bit, then run it under cold water.

Place it in a bowl large enough to hold it and cover with a plate.

Put it in the microwave on high for seven minutes. Let stand for a minute while you melt some butter, and you'll have the best artichoke money can buy."

Molly is right.

*** *** *** *** ***

*The Supreme Leader of Iran has a name that, said quickly, sounds like "hominy."

*** *** *** *** ***

Edited to add: when I came home today, there was an adolescent red hawk sitting in the tree that overhangs my yard. She was squawking in the way that young hawks do; it's a sound between a rusty door hinge and an angry cat.

I stood at the kitchen window and chirruped back at her. She looked over her shoulder, curious to find out what had made that noise.

So I went outside. And I spent ten minutes alternately squawking and chirruping at a hawk, who eventually came over the fence on her chosen branch to look at me, first with one eye and then the other, trying to figure out what the hell kind of weird bird I was. She was ten feet away from me at one point and never showed any fear.

Her leg feathers were fluffy and well-developed, and she was beginning to show the bright red-brown of a mature red hawk. She had the yellow stripe under the eye that shows that she's becoming an adult. She still had that teenaged curiosity, though, and harpled along the branch, shifting her feet, until she could get me into good focus. "What the...? That bird has no feathers!"

Eventually she got fed up and left. She was replaced with a breeding pair of sparrowhawks which, according to the neighbors, have nested in their burr oak for five years. Sparrowhawks are no less impressive than red hawks on the wing, but when they're roosting, they quarrel like an old married couple. Every other bird in the area goes silent when they show up.

Red hawks dive, stalling right before they grab their prey on the ground. Sparrowhawks stoop and dive in midair, striking their prey (a bird on the wing) at up to 70 mph, blowing their brains out without warning. They then execute a perfect midair stop and grab the carcass.

I'm not sure which bird I admire more.


Bardiac said...

I love artichokes! I'll have to try this. (Now if only I can find a halfway decent looking artichoke around here.)

Kestrels (what we call sparrowhawks where I'm from) blow me away even more then hawks.

woolywoman said...

I have a Red Tail that eats at my bird feeder. She just doesn't eat what I put in my bird feeder. When she dives, the cockatiel whose cage is by that window flips out. All those hundreds of generations from the wild, and the bird still knows a predator when he sees it.

GingerJar said...

We must have good mice in the field behind us, because several hawks will hover (even in gusting wind) spotting their prey...it's so cool to watch, the tips of their wings bearly moving...and you can tell when they are zeroed in, sudden stillness...then the dive. The first year we lived here my baby weiner dog had to be accompanied outside, the hubs was convienced one of the hawks sat on a pole every day waiting on a "doggie" snack.

yrsis said...

That website wouldn't be popthatzit.com, would it? I stumbled in there once late one night and reeled back, clawing my eyes and howling.

If it is *not* popthatzit.com, then please do not tell me. I don't need to know that there are *two* websites out there like that.

Dr. Alice said...

That artichoke advice is great - I'll have to try it! I have always cooked mine in a pot of water but this sounds better.

(Turing word: shoutin. I'm shoutin' about artichokes.)

messymimi said...

Hawks and ravens are making a comeback around here, and watching them is a treat.

We also have the privilege of a new pair of bats in the neighborhood, a natural mosquito abatement weapon!

Bardiac said...

I tried the artichoke method tonight! It was pretty good... it would have been a LOT better with a fresher artichoke. :/

Thanks for the suggestion :)