When you have found the shrubbery, then you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest ... with a herring. - The Tall Knight Who Says Ni
I started today, as I have for the last 18 years, with a taste of Blind Robin. A seafood product even the cats don’t eat.
Just like last year with a three replacing the two. The first year with all different digits since 1987. A year to be enjoyed for its lack of a Mayan Apocalypse and a continuation of our dysfunctional Congress.
We usually spend New Year’s in Cleveland with friends, but putting my bionic hip in a sub-compact for 3.5 hours seemed premature. So we decided to make our celebration at home. Dinner and a movie.
Dinner had to be something special, so I pulled out my Hot Stone. A Hot Stone is a form of tabletop cooking à la fondue or Korean BBQ. The stone is a nice piece of granite (my larger round one seems out of manufacture) which is pre-heated in its rack in the oven and then mated to a stand bearing alcohol burners. It had a brief appearance as a cocktail party accessory 20 years ago. I suspect it vanished in part from the need to transport the hot item from stove to table. Standard oven gloves are not enough. I use welder’s gloves and they barely suffice.
I hadn’t used it since I was single – lack of opportunity at first, followed by fear of a burnt child. Prep is only slightly more than fondue, etc. Cooking on a flat surface requires shaping of the items to be cooked to ensure contact. We prepped pork, beef, chix and shrimp. Red Pepper, Onion, Mushroom and Sweet Potato were the vegetables. Fresh pineapple for sweetness.
The last prompted Ellie to request me to open my Spam® Single, part of my collection of canned meat products. Grilled together with pineapple and eaten with a dab of Chinese mustard it tasted remarkably like pineapple, mustard with a bit of Pink Pearl® eraser.
A variety of dipping sauces were available.
The evening’s entertainment was “The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars”. This cinematic epic – a mash-up of the plot-line from Wizard of Oz and the musical style of Le Miz if conceived of by someone on psilocybin and helium – starred the vocal talents of a cast including Alan King, Wayne “Newman” Knight, Carol Channing, DeForest Kelley (in his last film role) and Thurl Ravenscroft (Grinch and Tony the Tiger). My mind is still numb.
Which brings us back to the Blind Robin. It’s a heavily salted, smoked herring – a relative of a bloater or kipper. Think a smoked anchovy on steroids. I had always assumed this was a Scottish tradition of my wife’s MacLaren ancestors, like wearing a dress with no underwear in the snow or singing songs with unpronounceable lyrics by Robbie Burns. But the tradition of eating a herring – usually a pickled herring – seems to have its origins in Germany and Eastern Europe.
I need all the luck I can get, but if the luck received is proportional to the amount of blind robin consumed I am only in for a bit of luck. A bit of this herring is salty enough to require several glasses of water. The problem arises as to how to deal with the remainder – as I noted the cats won’t touch it. It usually ends up in the Garberator™. But, this year I have made it a New Year’s Resolution (one of two) to use the balance.
Salty. Smoky. Fishy. Sounds like a Chowder to me.
Oh, the other resolution? I want to finally get my Jetpack.
Happy New Year!