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The Garlic Goldfish Have Returned!

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The Garlic Goldfish (a perennial favorite Christmas snack) have arrived!

Actually, they were assembled by yours truly, in a couple hours standing at the iron skillet, Worcestershire, Blue Bonnet margarine and garlic powder at-the-ready.  Then slow baked until dry and toasty.

(For the uninitiated, this is a snack I’ve made traditionally for years.  Originally, I made standard Chex Mix, with the requisite addition of peanuts, pretzels and the like.  With a tablespoon of this, a dash of that.  I determined two things – people singled out the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers for consumption so the other ingredients were wasted, and screw this tablespoon-dash thing!)

I cover roughly 9/10 of the bottom of the skillet with Worcestershire, add 1/2 a stick of margarine, and sprinkle garlic powder generously.  Then marinate a pan full of crackers until they soak it all up, over medium heat.  Transfer all to a turkey roasting pan and bake @ 300° or so, turning every 10 minutes of so to check for burning, until they are all dry and crispy.  (I use Blue Bonnet because it’s cheap and takes the high heat.)

I used to make these in massive quantities for Christmas when I was employed and bring them into work.  It became such a tradition that folks would start asking me in September if I was bringing in goldfish that year!
🙂

Consumer Warning – they are QUITE addictive and go great with beer!  People consuming these snacks needn’t be concerned they will be molested by vampires, or members of the opposite sex. (Unless they, too, have partaken of the garlicky treats!)

FTC – neither Blue Bonnet, French’s Worcestershire, Pepperidge Farm Crackers or anyone else gave me anything!  I bought and assembled it all myself.  Go make your own – and Merry Christmas!

Gov’t Just CAN’T Leave Well Enough Alone!

As recently posted by the lovely and talented Tamara

The .gov giveth and the .gov taketh away…

So, with the brewing industry having finally (mostly) bounced back from Prohibition, and small craft breweries having sprung up all over, you just knew there was some way the feds could screw up a good thing, didn’t you?

Small breweries will have to spend hundreds of dollars per beer to analyze the nutritional value of each type sold.

“A good analysis [will cost] probably somewhere between the $500-$1,000 range of what I’ve seen. Then multiply it across the styles that you have,” said Lawinski.

And at a thousand dollars a pop, that could keep unique and seasonal brews from making it to your favorite watering hole.

I’m thinking the BATFE is seeing the handwriting on the wall, and we’ll see a sharp upturn in revenooers chasing moonshiners as well!  After all, Eliot Ness & Co. wants to keep their jobs!

Yep.  Government.

It continues to be all about control…

Beer

Being diabetic, alcohol is probably something I shouldn’t consume in quantity.  Besides, I made up for it during my college years! 😛

And somewhat after…

Regardless, occasionally I still enjoy a good beer.  By choice, I significantly cut back on the quantity I was imbibing as of 1 January, and have lost a significant amount of weight.

But sometimes…

I’m not a fan of IPAs.  India Pale Ales.  They are just too hoppy for me.  In my youth, I was a Budweiser man, escalating to Michelob for special occasions.  And light beer never appealed to me.  And heavy porters and such just aren’t for me.  Not Guiness, either (sorry Brigid!)  With the advent of micro-breweries, there have developed many more choices, however.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying Blue Moon, which is a Belgian Wheat Ale with orange undertone.  Good restaurants serve it with an orange slice.  Quite refreshing in the hot Summer months.  I used to enjoy Lumberyard Raspberry Ale – but sadly the microbrewery in Flagstaff stopped production of this nectar.  A couple of dear friends have gifted me with Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic, a low alcohol content from Belgium which can only be described as tasting like raspberry champagne!  And, it’s corked!  They have also given us Sonora White Chocolate Ale, which is yummy in combination with the Lambic, or all by itself.  Sadly, I don’t drink these as often, because I view them as for special occasions.  And I only have so many.  🙂

Once of my loyal blog readers is Dave, of Musings Over A Pint.  If you like thoughtful discourse, and discussion regarding beer, and firearms (separately, of course!) Dave’s your guy.

Give him a visit!

“Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin

(Sadly, this is a misquote.  What Dr. Franklin actually said was, “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”)

But wine is for another post.

Cheers!  Or as Gramp always said, “Prosit” – loosely translated “May this beverage bring you health!”

True Detective

(No, not the pulp magazine Robert D******* purloined from the convenience store when we had a sleep-over in my Dad’s camper, when we were in junior high!  :-P)

We just finished watching Season Two of True Detective on HBO.  Each season had it’s own story, characters, actors and themes.  Season One was in Louisiana.  This one was central and northern California.  Both were in part produced by the lead actors from season one – Woody Harrelson and  Matthew McConaughey.  Rest assured, this is no longer the Woody from the TV comedy Cheers.  They are both consummate actors.

The theme carried over to Season Two is there is something larger, deeper, more sinister going on than first appears to the on scene investigators.  It takes the season to unravel the mysteries.  Both seasons consist of eight episodes each.

Season One took place over a number of years, following the rise and fall of career detectives in pursuit of a serial killer.  Season Two was revealed in a much shorter time frame, involving murder, political power and blackmail.  Both seasons were populated with extremely flawed, alcoholic, addicted and trapped detectives and career criminals, in extreme emotional pain.

Not exactly an evening of light television.

For the record, I liked both presentations.  The critics were especially hard on Season Two, as over-complicated and not living up to Season One’s standards.  It is still undecided if there will be a Season Three developed.

I’m certain both seasons are available on You Tube, Netflix, and the like.

The opening to Season Two, below…

Borepatch Hung It Up, June 11 !

BOREPATCH, blogger extraordinaire, posted his last post on June 11.

Almost SEVEN YEARS after his first!

He says he wants to hit the road on his new bike.

Can’t blame him, after all this time.

Vaya Con Queso, my friend!

Hope to catch that beer with you one day.

Stay safe.

Walking In A German W(u)onderland!

I’ve always liked miniature stuff.  (Insert rude joke here)  H-O train sets when I was a kid; stuff near impossible to make tiny.  My ex spent many years crafting dioramas of rooms, scenes from antique homes, complete with carpet, furniture and art.  All to scale.  Not in my skill set.

I marvel at people’s ability to craft such things.  Perhaps because I was never any good at it.

A friend pointed me to this You Tube video of a German marvel that is becoming a major tourist attraction:

This tiny wonder brings millions to Hamburg, Germany every year!  And is constantly be added to and tweaked.

I suspect I’ll never get to see Europe, but, THIS would definitely be on my itinerary, were I to go.

(Well, this and BEER!  🙂 )

h/t Judy

Beer

From my friend Borepatch:

We live in the best of all possible worlds

Stay thirsty, my friends:

I will leave you with one note of optimism, from Mark Perry.  I went to college in the nadir (1980) of the American beer industry, where a small oligopoly of mediocre beer producers was protected by government legislation.  It was a classic example of how regulation drives monopoly, consolidation, and loss of choice.  With deregulation, the American beer industry has exploded.
beer1

I don’t drink beer as often as I’d like.  1)  It costs money, and 2)  being diabetic with weight ‘issues’, beer is probably not the best choice for a beverage.  For me.

This doesn’t mean I don’t like it!

Thankfully, when I do imbibe, I don’t repeat my college years, wherein if I wasn’t scheduled to work or be in class, I had a can in my hand.  As did many of us.

A friend would stop by.  “Hey, wanna beer?”

These days it’s more diet soda, or coffee.  Or even water.  And it’s in a glass bottle or draught!  Canned is for the uncouth – or poor college students!  Glass just tastes better.

Borepatch, on multiple occasions, has stated he would like to buy me a beer.

I hope one day we can do that, BP!

And I can buy one for you.

(A belated mention – National Beer Day was April 7.  The anniversary of the end of Prohibition.  I did imbibe that day.  In honor of the end of government oppression and control.  Perhaps one day there will be a National Freedom Day?)

Having Gratitude Isn’t Always Easy

I’m in whine mode.

(I know I said at the outset that I wouldn’t use this weblog for therapy, but, hell, it’s my blog, so here goes…)

Holidays suck.

Why?  Not only do I not have any funds to get neat presents for friends and family, but, I’ve no one with whom to share the non-materialistic parts of the holidays.  One terrific couple I know gifted me with a cool assortment of cheeses and beers (including Lindeman’s raspberry ale!), and all I could give them in response was a small bag of garlic goldfish.

Hardly an even trade.

I love my sister and her kids, and her kid’s kids dearly, but going to a family celebration alone with certain people in absentia is always painful.

Now it’s the downhill slide from the New Year, to Molly’s birthday, to the anniversary of the accident, in March.

We’re told the best way to get out of this kind of funk is to create a gratitude list.  So here goes…

I’ve a roof over my head, and a working car.  Thanks to my friends!  I’m on Medicare.  I’ve disability benefits, which, while in no way am I rich, I can buy food, gas, and pay rent.  I’ve a select group of friends, both locally and on the Internet, who help out whenever they can.  Many of these friends have gone above and beyond – for years – when I am unable to give back in kind.

This must mean something.

I’m disabling comments for this post.  Because, in lieu of giving me an Internet “there-there”, or a virtual hug (or a kick in the pants), please stop for a moment and create your own gratitude list.

It helps.

They’re HE-ERE!

poltergeist(No, not poltergeists.)

THE GARLIC GOLDFISH, LAUDED IN SONG AND STORY, HAVE ARRIVED!

Well,  in a cheesy story, anyhow…

It seems once-upon-a-time, there was a lad who decided to make Chex Party Mix for enhancing his Christmas cheer.  And it came to pass.  And it was good.  But at a Christmas party, he noticed that most folks were being selective in what they ate from the mix of Chex cereals, peanuts, pretzels and Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Cheese Goldfish Crackers.  SO…

When it came time to make a subsequent batch, rather then spend all the extra money on the flotsam and jetsam which was being judiciously avoided, he just bought the goldfish crackers.  DUH!

And not only was it good, it was BETTER!

And a Christmas tradition was born!

When I was employed, I used to bring gallons of the stuff into work.  Beginning after Thanksgiving.  People would approach me in September and ask, “Are you making goldfish this year for Christmas?”

The traditional Chex Mix recipe calls for an assortment of cereal and snack goodies, marinated in a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and margarine, dashed with a bit of garlic powder, then baked until crispy.

I’m rarely subtle.

I modified the recipe to a half stick of margarine and enough Worcestershire sauce to make about 1/2 inch deep in the bottom of a frying pan.  Heat moderately until simmering.  Add garlic powder to taste.  I usually add a healthy dose.  (Suffice it to say we don’t have a vampire problem.)  Then coat the crackers until they soak up all the sauce, and bake @ 350-375, turning often until dry and crispy.  It’s okay if a couple burn a bit.  Those are the BEST!

Serve with ice cold beer or soda, and watch the garlicphiles come out!  They are hot immediately out of the oven – it’s wise to let them cool a bit.

goldfishENJOY!

 

 

Two Nights @ A Convenience Store…

Back in the 70’s, I worked at many jobs.  A grocery store, a couple of restaurants, security guard, McDonald’s.

utotemAND a convenience store.

The convenience store initially was a great gig – walking distance from my apartment, college-age crowd, and close to the downtown nightlife (in a white-bread college town).

THEN, the company transferred me!

Driving distance from my apartment, college crowd-coupled with highway travelers through a ‘bad’ part of town, biker gangs and gang members.  Lots more ‘action’ and ‘danger’.

Well, concern, anyway…

Against company policy, I carried a gun, concealed.  And had legitimate fear of the gang in the barrio just North of the store.

I worked graveyard shift, 11-7.  Alone.  It quieted down for restocking after 0100, which was the no-booze sales law at the time.

But, every so often, late drinkers would stop in and attempt to beg, borrow or steal after-hours alcohol.  I had a couple ‘beer runs’, but mostly folks left dry, begrudgingly.

One night, about 0200, two large gentlemen came in and asked for beer.  I explained it was after hours, so it wasn’t happening.  I knew them as barrio gang members, and had no interest in messing with them, but, I stood firm on company policy and the law.

The each took a couple six-packs, tossed some money on the counter (not enough), and dared me to do something about it.  I took no action, but did try to get their plate numbers off their motorcycles.  No luck.

The very next night a short man entered the store, accompanied by the two previous-night’s customers.  He was bookended by them, tall on the sides, short in the middle.  He was their leader.  It was almost as if they were bad children being dragged in by their ears by a tiny father.

He came up to the counter and asked, “Did these guys steal beer from you after-hours last night?”  I said yes.  He looked at each of them.  They bowed their heads, mumbled apologies, and made certain they left enough money to pay for all the beer!

He then told me I would have no more trouble from them or him.  He said he liked me.  He had my back!

And they left.

There were many more (questionable) adventures at the convenience store.  This was just one.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…