Bananas

I NO LONGER RECALL whether, in my nine years as a so-called blogger, I’ve written about certain themes here, or just riffed on them on FaceBook. So forgive me if you’ve heard this one before.

IMG_2343I don’t love bananas. I tolerate them. I feel obligated to eat them. Like it’s something I ought to do, because they’re good for you. All that potassium!

I believe there’s only a very small window when a banana’s ripeness is within the Ideal Eating Zone, and it’s usually something like 12:30pm – 5:00pm on a Thursday. Before that, too firm. After, too soft and good only for adding to fruit smoothies or making banana bread.

I’ve been known to buy one because I feel like I should, then carry it around until it is past The Window. It turns out, bananas are not nearly so good for you when you don’t actually eat them.

You can disagree, but this is how I feel about them.

This was my mindset as I purchased, on my way to work this morning, a banana and a bottle of water from a vendor. I had both hunger and thirst, and these items seemed the most efficient way to remedy both conditions. I placed my items at the register.

Cashier: A water and a banana.

Me (not yet sufficiently caffeinated): A water and a banana.

Cashier: $3.50, please.

Me (answering the question he had not even remotely asked): Bananas are healthy. I feel like I ought to eat them.

Cashier: I can’t eat ’em. The doctor says all that potassium isn’t good for me.

Me (looking wistfully at the trays of banana muffins): I wish I had that excuse.

I was a good girl today. I ate the banana, even as I wished for the muffin. (I make no promises concerning tomorrow.)

 

 

Corny

When your childhood bedroom overlooks acres of corn, it stays with you. You can grow up, leave the farm, move to the city and put 31 years between you and the corn fields, but you can't entirely leave them. Corn, it turns out, stays in your blood.

Such are my thoughts this morning as I just finished blanching 14 ears of sweet, sweet Pennsylvania corn, cutting the kernels off the ears, and packaging it for the freezer. Soup season is not far off, and I'll need the corn for chicken corn soup. Oh, you can try using the frozen stuff from the grocery store. It's passable in a pinch. If you use canned corn (home-canned is OK, I'm referring to the grocery store stuff), I'm sorry, but we can't be friends. No – you need sweet corn, and it has to be fresh when you cut it off the ears. Trust me on this.

Here's the link to my "recipe" for chicken corn soup

I've written about corn before, a hundred years ago on my old blog. When you do many dozens of ears, as we did back in the day, it takes a whole squad of good country folk. But this morning, I was only doing a few. I started with this 

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And ended up with this

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I think about my wonderful grandmas all the time, but never more than when I'm sitting in the kitchen, cutting corn off the ear. One of my fondest memories of my Grandma Losch is of her sitting in my childhood kitchen with a big bowl on her lap, slicing corn off of blanched ears with unrivaled precision and speed.  I don't remember anyone else doing this job. But I paid attention, because I knew one day I would get to cut my own corn.

See those intact chunks of kernels? We would try to sneak our hands into that sticky bowl to grab those because they tasted so delicious. Some kids stick their fingers in the cake batter (ok, fine, we did that too), but we wanted corn.

Alas, August is almost over and school starts next week. Summer is winding down. I'm happy to have tucked a bit of golden summer goodness away for later, when the days are shorter and the temperatures are cooler. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Talk

A MOMENT OF SILENCE, PLEASE, for our dearly departed Melitta Mill & Brew coffeemaker:

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*sniff*

We've had this gem for, gosh, probably nine years. It made a great cup of coffee, and we happen to be folks who prefer our coffee maker to grind the beans for us. (Fewer steps in the morning = good) Oh, it wasn't a perfect machine. Shortly after we got it, the latch on the top lid stopped holding it shut. We tried a duct-tape ghetto-fix, but once we figured out that if we propped it against our paper towel holder like this–

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 – it would stay closed and brew just fine, thank you very much.

And that was okay with us until we noticed a crack in the side of the carafe. the crack grew and grew - 

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— and for the past few months we've been wondering each morning if TODAY is the day we wake up to coffee shooting out all over the countertop.

Knowing it was going to break eventually, I started researching. Could we buy a new carafe, perhaps? Sure, for like $45 on eBay! Might as well buy a whole new coffee maker. Could we buy a whole new model of this beloved machine? My research led me to this website, where a small but ardent community of Melitta devotees mourn the fact that this very popular coffee maker was discontinued years ago. (I also validated that the broken-latch problem was common. That made me feel better.) Someone on eBay must have also seen this site because I just saw one listed for sale there for $168.

In fact, there really aren't many options out there for the all-in-one machine. I ended up finding this one on our bank's "reward points" website and we hoarded our points until we could "afford" it. It arrived today. It's… so…. big!

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And it's apparently so complicated to use, it comes with a 20-minute how-to video:

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…which I will watch. Later. I actually just brewed half a pot of coffee. (Possibly related: I'm the type who goes shopping and comes home and tries on everything again and makes everyone look at me.) It's good! I like that the hopper stores beans for a few pots at a time, rather than having to fill it every time you use it. 

So, here's hoping this one gets us through another decade (or at least lasts until we accumulate more reward points).