Chunky Monkey, v. 1.0

Nance’s Chunky Monkey ice cream was a success, but not an unqualified one. It was basically a vanilla base with banana puree stirred in, and a handful of roughly chopped Hershey bars added at the end. Nothing like trying to re-create a product most people buy commercially to make you appreciate the problems of commercial food preparation. How do you make a chocolate bar that you can freeze for days and still won’t chip your teeth, for instance.

Alan: “They probably add a bunch of lard ‘n’ crap to it.”

Thanks. Way to put me off my feed. Of course, Alan, having worked at a Campbell’s soup plant, knows a thing or two about commercial food preparation. He won’t drink V8 juice, nor Campbell’s soup, but don’t let those prejudices put you off your feed.

My old boss Richard worked in a cottage-cheese plant. He doesn’t eat cottage cheese. My friend Jim went to boarding school downwind of a bourbon distillery, but he happily drinks bourbon — he didn’t start until long after graduation, though. And I think Mark worked in the Brach’s candy plant in Youngstown. He had an amusing observation: “Chocolate is the opposite of bourbon. You have to learn to dislike it.” He doesn’t like it.

But Project Ice Cream is an experiment, and you learn as you go. One thing I learned today: All hail vanilla beans. They are worth the money, at least if you’re making ice cream.

Kate wouldn’t touch it, by the way. She took the tiniest taste and turned up her nose. My little fern who lives on air and rain.

Bloggage aplenty today:

I learn some of the most interesting things at Amy’s. Did you know there’s a website devoted to cataloguing art that depicts the Virgin Mary as a breastfeeding mother? Now you do. Eat up, kid.

Last year, on our Fellowship, after we toured the Chicago Art Institute, one of our overseas members asked us Americans what the big deal was over “American Gothic” — he just didn’t get it. I wish I’d read this Slate piece beforehand: When the picture finally appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, real Iowa farmers and their wives were not amused. To them, the painting looked like a nasty caricature, portraying Midwestern farmers as pinched, grim-faced, puritanical Bible-thumpers. One Iowa farmwife told Wood he should have his “head bashed in.”

Quote of the day, from a Freep story on a murder sentencing. This is the victim’s mother talking: When Ronald Brown busts hell wide open, I hope my angel flies through heaven and sheds tears for him to drink. Because he’s going to be a thirsty son of a gun. Hey it beats, “Now we can get some closure.”

The Poor Man is taking care of two adorable kittens. And you know what that means. No word on whether he’ll be using the Citikitty, a potty-training device. Question: Once your cat is using the toilet, do you have to compete for it in emergencies? And is s/he allowed to scratch?

Oh, and I guess I promised this. The new kitchen. Note: cool color, new light, green back yard and, especially, the small stained-glass rendering of Spriggy, center bottom. One of my stranger Christmas presents.


Posted at 10:18 pm in Uncategorized |

13 responses to “Chunky Monkey, v. 1.0”

  1. Mindy said on June 9, 2005 at 7:42 am

    Kitchen looks great, color is lovely. Am very jelous. Whoever designed my house must have thought a kitchen was just a place to mix a drink. S/he should be forced to live here and prepare Thanksgiving dinner every year as punishment. Looks like you’ve got plenty of room to cook.

    My husband worked at a popcorn plant as a summer job in college. He spent weeks removing metal shavings from popcorn that had somehow become contaminated. “There’s no metal shavings in my popcorn, or my name’s not Orville Redenbacher!” We don’t eat much of it.

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  2. poochlover said on June 9, 2005 at 8:22 am

    Lovely, soft shade in your kitchen. Lavendar ice, right? What brand of paint? I think it would look well in our guest room. Darling likeness of Spriggy!

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  3. Dorothy said on June 9, 2005 at 9:48 am

    What a pretty color for a kitchen! I chose something similar for our living room and hallway in Cincinnati. Looks like a very nice room. Thank you for sharing the picture.

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  4. 4dbirds said on June 9, 2005 at 10:16 am

    In the army, while working a mid shift, I listened intently as a co-worker told what happens to a cow from beginning to end in the slaughter house where he used to work. I was repulsed and fascinated at the same time. I didn’t eat meat for a while.

    Love the view of your backyard.

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  5. Jeff said on June 9, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    I loaded bags for USAir for a while “between jobs” in journalism and used to carry a notepad around with me to jot down things I saw that made me cringe – guys lying on top on human remain containers in cargo bins reading the Philly Daily News, $3,000 road bikes crushed beneath baggage cart wheels and just tossed on the belt, etc.

    People would ask me what I was doing and my pat answer was “Someday, I’m gonna write a book.”

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  6. Linda said on June 9, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    My mom worked in a tomato processing place back in the 50’s and to this day she won’t touch store-bought tomato juice. She said they were not allowed to throw out the rotten tomatoes, they were all used.

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  7. Nance said on June 9, 2005 at 2:29 pm

    Well, as any Amish farm wife will tell you, that’s what rotten tomatoes are for — juice, sauce and the like. I think a lot of our squeamishness comes from being so divorced from how food gets from the field to the table. And as someone who has no desire to be a farm wife, I can say this is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Recall, too, that tomatoes are very acidic. Alan can’t get past the stories that went around the tomato plant about a shipment of soup that was found to have too many bug parts per liter to pass inspection. So they just …stored it for a while. After a few weeks, the acid did its work and the soup passed the test. (I have no idea if this story is true, by the way.) My feeling is, the whole world’s a graveyard, a few bug legs won’t hurt you and if it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger.

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  8. Dorothy said on June 9, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    If we eat any kind of meat (beef or chicken), think about what those animals eat. It becomes part of them. Grass has bugs on it, and chicken feed probably comes in contact with bugs, too. It helps not to think about it too much before you bite into the delicious meal before you.

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  9. harry near indy said on June 9, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    as for the maria lactans paintings …

    iirc, many painters between the 14th and 17th centuries used to paint baby jesus nude, with his penis and testicles right out there, front and center.

    they did this to show that jesus was god made flesh, and that he was a man.

    maybe the maria lactans paintings did a similiar situation — to show that mary was a woman, and she performed certain female biological functions.

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  10. alex said on June 9, 2005 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve heard some fabulous tales from friends who worked summers during college at a particular ice cream processing plant, and lemme tell ya�many of the chunks in their Chunky Monkey are cast into the vats by disaffected minimum wage hilljacks. Then there’s the orange juice processing plant I heard about where rats tumble around on the conveyor belt with the oranges�right into the blades that puree it all. Acidity must take care of them too evidently. Drink up!

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  11. basset said on June 10, 2005 at 1:30 am

    a long, long time ago – clear back in the 70s – I worked in a factory in Odon, Indiana which processed eggs for food manufacturers. turning a truckload of eggs in the shell into 5-gallon cans of whites, yolks, whole eggs, whites with sugar, yolks with salt, whatever, was pretty much what you’d expect – dirty, sweaty, monotonous factory work with brief interludes of dirty, cold, monotonous factory work when it came time to stack pallet-loads of cans in the freezer.

    every now and then, though, we’d get a semi-truck load of rotten eggs. on purpose. skids stacked high with gallon tubs of ’em, shelled and dyed red to avoid any confusion with the allegedly human-edible stuff we were turning out the rest of the time.

    so the summer-job “college boy,” i.e. me, would get to dump the rots into a slowly spinning screen-wire cylinder which separated out the solids for sale to dog-food manufacturers, and come the end of the shift, usually around one or two in the morning, I’d take a shovel and a steam hose and clean the machine out.

    not long after that, I would stagger home, take off my overalls and hang them on the fence, wash down with the yard hose, and only then be allowed into the house to shower up and crash for the night.

    tell you what, if there was ever a job that’d make you want to study and finish school, that was it. worse than detasseling, even.

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  12. Nance said on June 10, 2005 at 7:03 am

    tell you what, if there was ever a job that’d make you want to study and finish school, that was it.

    Precisely. It was working at places like this — and let me tell you, the Campbell’s gig was nothing compared to the Etch-a-Sketch factory in Bryan, now relocated to China — that made Alan a college graduate. Not that a newsroom is that much better, but at least you don’t have to deal with rotten eggs. Except in human form.

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  13. basset said on June 10, 2005 at 11:07 pm

    still took me seven years to get through IU, though…

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