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Friday, July 6, 2007

What's up with watermelons? (and other thoughts)

I'm a little disturbed by the changing shape of the watermelon.

I like the idea of those little melons. The biggest drawbacks of watermelons is the fact that if you aren't buying one for a large party, you often waste them. Little watermelons are just enough for one or two people.

I'm just a bit weirded out by the big melons. Big melons don't look the way watermelons are supposed to look. They look like over sized little melons. Big melons used to be sort of cylindrical. You could carry a big melon under your arm. You could carry two at a time because you could carry one under each arm.

Now watermelons are very round. They are not narrow enough to carry under one arm (unless you have very long arms). You have to hoist one in front of you with both arms wrapped around it. That can get really heavy. I work out regularly, but I can tell you I was really tired after lugging a watermelon through the grocery store the other day.

Bring back the long, narrow, watermelon!!

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And now for something completely different...

My birthday is coming up. My Amazon wish list is filled with all kinds of cooking implements. I am slowly trying to replace my scratched up nonstick pots with nice All-Clad stainless ones. I still need the 6-quarter, the stock pot, and the 3-quarter. I am also desperate for a good roasting pan. My main concern is Thanksgiving. I am hosting it this year for the first time and I'd like to make sure my kitchen is equipped. I need some extra big pots and I definitely need a roasting pan and roasting rack for the turkey. I could also use a really good meat thermometer, a fat separator, and a baster. All of these things are on my wish list. However, I don't want to be selfish and start insisting people buy me cookware off my wish list.

The problem with Amazon wish lists is that people will buy you the highest priority for the lowest price. This past Christmas I really needed some gym socks. I figured they would make a good stocking stuffer, so I put three packs on my wish list as high priority. I asked for three packs of socks and I got them - from 3 different people. Well, I said I needed socks didn't I? I can't go around telling people what to get from my wish list. Heck, I'm not even comfortable having a wish list sometimes. Who am I to dictate what they should get me as a gift? Still, Thanksgiving will be here eventually and the meal will be expensive enough without having to buy a bunch of new kitchen equipment.

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Still more to come...

What is it about black bottom pie? I can't find a recipe like the one I used to make in high school. I got the recipe out of an old YM magazine (back when it was still in publication and was actually titled Young Miss). It consisted of a basic pastry cream. You flavored half of it with chocolate and spread it on the bottom. Then you flavored the other half with vanilla and covered the chocolate layer with it. Garnish the pie with fresh whipped cream and shaved chocolate. The pie was just basic pastry cream. There was no booze and no gelatin involved. I lost the recipe. I guess as I grew older, I collected cookbooks and internet recipe sites became popular, so I didn't need to keep saving an old magazine full of pie recipes.

My problem is that every black bottom pie recipe I see has things like chiffon toppings and gelatin in them. I can't find a basic pastry cream pie.

However, I'm growing intrigued by some of the possibilities of how I can define black bottom pie. I'm tempted to give up on finding a recipe like the one I used to have and create one of my own.

My own version would have a bottom layer of chocolate pastry cream and then I would top it with rum-flavored panna cotta. Fresh whipped cream with a hint of rum would go on top.

Maybe I'll try baking said pie next week.

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