Time for the weekly-ish round-up of randomness! 5 Things Friday is my way of shoe-horning in and discussing things that don’t necessarily belong on an urban homesteading blog, just because I’ve been thinking about them the past week.
This week: George Carlin is my kind of life philosopher, how to get one over on the internet, a 12 minute podcast I highly recommend and more.
1. What I’ve Been Eating
I purchased a whole pig back in November from my friends at Adalyn Farm.
The saying about a pig is, you eat everything but the squeal. My experiences enjoying the culinary satisfaction of pig heart, liver and jowl meat tells me this is very true. I’ve rendered lard and made stock and Canadian bacon but for fast family meals, our favorite piece-o-pig has become the “cutlet.”
The cutlet (at least in this case) is a thin slice of pork shoulder, run through a mechanical meat tenderizer. A quick three-stage dip in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs leaves these cutlets ready to skillet-fry.
I’ve used these pork cutlets a bunch of different ways, but the kids favorite is what my son calls “Japanese Pork Cutlet” – which just means we drizzle the fried cutlet with a Japanese-style teriyaki sauce (Tonkatsu sauce would be more authentic.)
With rice and a fast cabbage slaw it’s not the healthiest meal around – but everyone gobbles it up.
2. What Tool I’m Loving
The thing about the internet is, in many ways it’s the great liberator – the sum total of all human knowledge, condensed down into a form you can keep in your pocket. Pretty radical stuff.
But the internet can also be like a poorly trained, 130-pound dog, dragging you around from interesting smell to interesting smell until eventually you just wind up confused about why you are sniffing a stranger’s butthole.
As a blogger I am online far more than is really healthy, and I’ve learned the trick to surviving the interwoobles is knowing when to put your willpower in someone else’s hands. I use a browser plug-in called Anti-Social, which allows me to strategically turn off those parts of the internet that are most likely to whisk me away into butt-sniffing territory.
This is a $15 plug-in (I’m not affiliated with it in any way) that’s easy to use, annoying to circumvent, and helps me get more stuff done online.
3. What’s Going On With My Book?
Quick update! My book, The Hands-on Home, is getting really nice reviews on Amazon. Thank you to everyone who’s purchased a copy and taken the time to leave a review.
My husband took the kids to Costco the other day and saw my book right along side The Barefoot Contessa. That’s crazy! My publisher tells me Sam’s Club just confirmed a pretty big order to stock Hands-on Home this spring as well.
I’ve also gotten reader reports of my book in Elliot Bay Books, Ravena Gardens and Anthropologie, plus lots of great smaller indies throughout the Pacific Northwest.
This is all quite exciting! Thank you guys again so much for all your support.
4. What I’ve Been Listening To
I love podcasts. Podcasts are to radio what blogs are to magazines: a slightly less commercial, more personal way to tell stories and explore and solve problems. Long-time readers may remember my brief attempt at podcasting. One day, I hope to get back to producing my own podcast – it’s a medium I really enjoy.
For now, I seek out the best of other people’s podcasts. I’m a long time fan of Root Simple, Radio Lab, A Way To Garden, Permaculture Voices and Living Homegrown. And you probably know that I am a regular contributor to The Survival Podcast.
One of my new (to me) favorite podcasts is a weekly celebration of scientific randomness called Ockham’s Razor. The last several episodes have covered Alzheimer’s disease, the design of the ideal self-sustaining eco-town, and sea worms.
Each episode is in the 12 minute range, and since Ockham’s Razor is a production of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the quality is excellent.
5. What Quote I’ve Been Pondering
George Carlin is a personal hero of mine, contributing more to my outlook on the universe than is probably psychologically healthy. His stand-up comedy was no-quarter social critique about everything from race and religion to government and language, just barely disguised as two-drink-minimum fun.
A few Carlin quotes:
- Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.
- A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.
- I love and treasure individuals as I meet them; I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.
- The planet is fine. The people are fucked.
- By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.
- I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.
- Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’ Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.
But it’s this one that’s been most resonating with me lately: “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.”
Oh George – how well you know me.
I remember when I believed the mythology of the shining city on the hill – and even argued for it, while older and more sophisticated people with more visa stamps in their passport smiled at me indulgently.
From where I stand now, everyone looks at least a little dirty, everyone looks slightly culpable. It’s shades of unacceptable, and you just cross your fingers and hope you’re part of a team that’s a bit nearer to “pale smoke” than “wrought iron” on the great color swatch of evil.
It’s hard to feel idealistic or righteous in situations like these. But you know, maybe righteousness isn’t the point. Maybe just getting on with it as best you can is the point.
Or, as George Carlin once said, “Always do whatever’s next.”
So, what’s next for you?0
Just wanted to let you know that I was so taken by your book, that I bought my daughter a copy for her upcoming birthday. I’m sure she will find it as valuable as I have.
Thank you very much. Mary!
yay! I love 5TF!!! so…. we here are HUGE cutlet fans but we go full german, baby yeah! Schnitzel from here to eternity. mostly the same preparation but with a little lemon squeeze, a pile of mashed spuds, and served with pickles. IKR? but it’s a taste sensation. i think i need to look into anti-social…but if it hurts/helps i miss you when you are not around online.
OFG, totally not an enabler.
ps i’m thrilled for your book success! i’m telling everyone about it.
Erica / Northwest Edible Life says
Thanks OFG! <3
Yeah, so far with the cutlets I've done Italian (think Chicken Parmesan, but with pig), German (schnitzel as described, with red cabbage and spatzle) and the Japanese tonkatsu style. Honestly, if one is an eater of the pork, it's hard to go wrong.
I get it. I really do. And I am usually the most battle-hardened cynical disappointed idealist in the room.
BUT. The way I see it there are two paths, the one towards the shining city on the hill and the one towards DysfunctionVille. And, in my work, I have had to visit DysfunctionVille and have concluded it is much better to be stumbling sort of tipsy-like down the path to the shining city with a few detours along the way.
Always remember: the pollinators that visit your yard think you’re a real badass.
Bee a hero! ; )
Yeah, I read too much and then I get moody about shit – especially in winter when there’s less garden stuff to keep my brain busy. But that is why I love Carlin; he can be saying the most depressing truths, and yet it’s just hilarious and because it’s hilarious it’s okay. Humor is like philosophy’s practical little brother that way.
Enjoyed your thought on George Carlin. I view comedy as one of the last ways to get people to approach difficult subjects and facts without our normal walls and defenses immediately going up, because it is all wrapped up in entertainment and laughter. It is an amazingly powerful tool that George Carlin did use magnificently. Louis CK also does this quite often and the late Bill Hicks.
Erica / Northwest Edible Life says
Thanks Orange – totally agree on the power of comedy. I’m a huge fan of Louis CK as well – but I have to admit that I only know Bill Hicks a little. Appreciate the suggestion.
Sarah B. says
StayFocused is a FREE app that can block sites during certain times of day/days of the week. I only allow 10 minutes of slip-up time just in case and block from 8-5:30 every day.
After using StayFocused, I realized I was using my phone to look at those same websites (damn you Facebook and your cute puppy videos!) so got an app called Forest. You can set it from 5 minutes to 2 hours and it gives little warning that if you use your phone in that time, you’ll kill the tree you are growing. So basically the longer you have the app set, the more trees you grow.
I’m a MS student so distractions are so easy to come by but these two methods have helped.
PS. I obviously don’t have your blog blocked!!!
Great tips, thanks! I’m going to look at Forest – I can get phone distracted too!
Sarah B. says
I really enjoy it. You receive “coins” the more you use it and can buy new types of trees that you grow in your forest. Sounds silly but it’s enough of a motivator it works for me. Plus the messages it shows you if you look at your phone are hilarious. My favorites include “Stop phubbing!” and “Quit looking at me. Quit looking at me!”.
Love this!! Question about cutlets… Did your butcher cut and wrap the shoulder as cutlets, or is that something you did? We also got a pig last fall, and cutlets weren’t on our cut list sheet as an option. We’re loving pork chops, though, and using the shoulder for pulled pork.
I saw your book at Costco last night!! It gave me a little vicarious thrill. 🙂
Thanks for posting 🙂
The butcher did them like that – I’m pretty sure they have a giant industrial stabbing device that tenderizes the cutlets. But I think a sufficient amount of time with a meat tenderizer would do something similar.
Which butcher does Adalyn farm use?? Our farmer uses Del Fox up in Stanwood, and I have to say, I’m not that big a fan… They were supposed to use a different one this year, but that fell through and they stayed with Del Fox. We’ve only used them twice, but both times, it seemed like a huge imposition on them to save the organs and the fat (and this time, they “forgot” to save the organs, even though I requested them)…
They use Del Fox too and I totally agree – I’ve not been impressed with the customer service. I got quite the hassle about organ meats as well, and got the impression they would rather not deal with me. I’d love to see IGFC handle Adalyn farms meat processing in the future.
Ah, Friday – so here’s a vintage Carlin comment: “Some people see the glass is half full, and others say it’s half empty. Me? I see a glass that’s too big.”
Erica / Northwest Edible Life says
Right?! Get a new glass, people. 😉
Sheri K says
Thank you so much for the Carlin quotes. They were just what I needed to hear today.
Erica / Northwest Edible Life says
Glad they helped. Carlin always helps me. 🙂
I just leafed through your book last weekend while at the bookstore (I’ve been avoiding bookstores like the plague since my husband and I became unemployed–it’s easier on my willpower) and I can’t wait to get it! One day…when we’re employed again. 🙂 Or maybe some nice person will get me a copy for my upcoming birthday. Either way, I’m so darn excited to read it! And I will, of course, add my (no doubt 5-star) review to Amazon when I’m done.
Also, George Carlin? One of my favorite famous people ever. And the older I get, the more his words resonate with me.
Thanks for your kind words on the book – it’s available at most King/Sno libraries as well. Go libraries! 🙂
I also find that Carlin gets better with (my) increasing age. Must be something about experience making us smarter about bullshit.
Erica, thanks for the leads on some new podcasts to check out…been a big fan of radio lab and always looking for new ones. Always pumped to read a new NWE post and this one was particularly great. Been reading your blog for a couple years now for both the entertainment value and the practical tips. Bought your book for my wife’s birthday a couple months ago (and somewhat just out of guilt for taking so much info from this site for free..) made the Indian inspired creamed spinach last night with some salmon and it fucking ruled! Plus we used some of the extra heavy cream in our coffee this morning and was like a whole new experience! thanks again, in general, for making so much great information available in a very digestible way.
Your book surpassed my incredibly high expectations–left them in the dust! Everything I have tried from it has been wonderful, and I love the way it’s organized. I’m so glad I could help with it, even tho’ it was just a tiny bit.
I’m so proud of you for the awesome take-off of your book! Well done, madame! 😀
Re: Pig: I ordered half a pig last May. I was originally afraid it wouldn’t last the entire year (and am happy to report that I was wrong about that!), but next time I order a half-pig (it will happen again, for sure!) I’m going to get at least some of the hams and shoulder roast cut into “steaks” or “cutlets” or whatever the appropriate term is, so that they’ll thaw quickly (like pork chops) and I have to plan fewer meals 3-4 days in advance. 😉
Theresa Loe says
Hey sweet friend,
Thanks for the shout out about my podcast. Glad to see your book is still rock’n the house!
We all knew it would.