Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Can Explain...Really, I Can

Today I found myself in an unusual situation. I was explaining my actions to someone. You see, I am quirky enough that I pretty much gave up explaining myself to other people a couple of decades ago. I discovered early on that there is just so much weird most people can cope with, and I exceed those limits. So, for example, if you ask me what I had for breakfast this morning I am simply going to say oatmeal. I will leave off the bit about having rolled my own oats and topped my cereal with hemp hearts, a handful of cranberries I dried myself, and a spoonful of maple syrup I have shipped to me every spring from a small producer in Ontario. I accept that while completely normal in my life, this type of behavior might strike other people as being a bit odd, so I try to limit the information I supply.

Well, not this morning. I was stumbling all over myself to explain to the cashier why I was making this purchase. I should have remained silent. The look on her face clearly said, "Lady, you would be better off with a drinking problem."

So in case anyone from our community saw me slinking out of the Valleyview Liquor store at approximately 10:00 this morning, I am going to blatantly ignore the first rule of holes (when you are in one, stop digging) and repeat what I told the cashier. Only this will be better because you get pictures and she didn't!

First up is the bottle of Glenlivet Scotch Whiskey. (Does the word whiskey get capitalized when used with the brand name? Hopefully my ignorance in this matter should offer up some proof that I don't usually imbibe.) You see, I make my own vanilla, and my supply was getting low. I bought some vanilla beans at Costco last week but still needed to get some whiskey before I could proceed. Now you are beginning to see why the cashier was giving me a strange look. Anyway, making vanilla is actually quite simple. You take a couple of vanilla beans and slit them lengthwise, then cut them into thirds and plunk into the bottle of liquor. I have a master bottle that I keep refilling, keeping the old beans in to add to the flavor. I add the whiskey, give the bottle a gentle shake, write the date on the label on the front, then set it on my kitchen cupboard to remind me to shake it every day for the next couple of months. I will have a new batch of delicious vanilla just in time for Christmas baking!

Now about that Guinness Stout. I am a huge Jamie Oliver fan, and his latest cookbook is Jamie's Food Revolution (highly recommended). It has a basic stew recipe with variations, and my favorite happens to be the beef and ale. Thus, the purchase of the Guinness. Guinness is highly prized by another member of my family for something other than its culinary possibilities, so I clearly label the top of the box "Only For Cooking Jamie Oliver Recipes." I'm not sure if that warning had been heeded, because when I went to check my supply ahead of today's cooking a box of empty bottles greeted me. (These things probably wouldn't happen at your home, but they do at ours.) Oh well, no problem since I had to go to the liquor store to get that whiskey. The stew is now simmering in the oven and I wish there was a way for smells to be transmitted over the Internet. You would all be rushing out to buy a copy of Jamie's book and a 6-pack of Guinness before the day was out.

And I'm sure there's a good reason for the wine. While I sit and relax with a glass I will see if I can come up with one.


  1. I have Jamie's book out of the library right now, but a good cookbook you need to own. So...on to my Amazon wishlist.

  2. I had no idea that's how vanilla is made. Hmmm, I'll have to buy some vanilla beans and give this a try.

    I get that same urge when I visit the liquor store just before Christmas. We make a wassail punch that requires red wine, brandy, and beer (like many things, it tastes better the second day). Since I'm there, I also pick up a bottle of port for New Year's. I like it when the owner works the counter himself because somehow he remembers me and knows he won't see me again until the following December.

    PS - Of course you are right about the bed making. I did get my son to do it for almost two weeks, but it wore off! =)

  3. I may have to get that cookbook, too. I once borrowed it from the library, but like Maureen said, a good cookbook can't be borrowed. It must be owned.
    I like Naked Grape, too. ;)

  4. That's quite the assortment of drinks.

    I need to make a costco run - badly. The vanilla beans from there are relatively cheap, right? I think I'll try making my own vanilla

  5. ohhh yum : ) teach me how to cook! hahaha

  6. No one says anything about people buying cases of wine or several varieties of liquor here. It's a perk of living in an up-and-coming wine region.

    I'm going to make vanilla this year, but I think I'm using vodka.