Apr. 7th, 2017

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Tonight’s question, over dinner, was brother-in-law wondering what people in other countries/regions have on their dinner tables, condiments-wise. 

Like, we always have salt and pepper on the table, and with various meals there are specific condiments that are traditional. (Syrup for pancakes, ketchup for french fries, salsa for basically anything with tortillas and some things over eggs, jam for toast, butter for bread. That kind of thing.) 

behind the cut, more discussion and examples, and a question: what condiments live on your table, and where do you live (you don’t have to be specific)?

My dude’s mother is Latvian and has a lot of cute salt-and-pepper-shaker sets from Latvia, and they always include a third container, a little pot for mustard. She grew up in the US and so has never actually filled that pot, but kept the sets, because they came with her parents from the old country. She’s not sure you can get the right kind of mustard here, though.

My other brother-in-law is from Mississippi/Louisiana, and it was a running joke in our family to put a shaker of… some brand-name of cayenne seasoning mix in salt, that he liked to put on things but we’d never heard of. Tony’s or something. I’ve stayed in his house, though, and while he frequently cooks with spice mixes like that, he doesn’t actually keep them on his table. 

Farmsister had an Indian boyfriend in college who claimed that growing up, coriander and cumin were like salt and pepper to him, and Farmsister admitted she’d firsthand-witnessed that his dad had a drawer of whole spices in metal canisters that he pulled out and set on the counter whenever he was cooking. She qualified this statement, though, by saying those wouldn’t really be condiments on the table, but seasonings added by the cook to the whole dish, so it wasn’t the same thing, and she figured he was being poetic. 

FarmManager was over for dinner (he often is; Farmsister always complains about having to cook for everyone but then she frets that it’s inefficient to have him always cooking for himself when it would be so easy to just feed him too. He reciprocates, though, sometimes, and it’s kind of great, he’s a great cook) and commented that when he’d stayed in B&B’s in the UK they’d had bottles of HP Brown Sauce on the table all the time. I pointed out, though, that that’s more like a restaurant. That’s not the same as what a person would have on the table in their house. It’d be like an American always having ketchup on the table– a lot of American restaurants do, because the food you eat in a restaurant so frequently needs ketchup, but that’s not the same as the stuff most of us eat at home.  

I do know of people who keep red pepper sauce– like tabasco, or Frank’s hot sauce, or similar, the bright red, vinegar-based kind of hot sauce like they use on wings– on the table and apply it to almost everything they eat, but I don’t know how one would live like that. I like the stuff, but find it doesn’t go with most foods. Still, I reckon that’s a common enough Americanism– and you see a relic of that in the fact that so many of the US military’s MRE rations include miniature bottles of Tabasco hot sauce packaged with them. It’s clearly a common enough thing that the demand warranted their inclusion. 

In most East Asian food restaurants– Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, fancy Chinese– there are usually little jars of chili sauce in oil on the table, often not labeled, and you kind of have to guess what they are. Some are powerfully hot, some complex and garlicky. But would you have that stuff at home? My dude liked the stuff at the local pho restaurant so much he went and bought it at the store the waitress suggested, and he puts it in just about everything, but we don’t leave it on the table– the only thing we keep on the table is the salt and the pepper.

As a kid, though, my mom sometimes forgot to put salt and pepper onto the table, and never salted the food much. I grew up with a very middle-America palate, of not many seasonings and an emphasis on the plain unadorned taste of the food. We also never had fresh garlic in the house. This kind of thing has fortunately gone out of style, but it remains a bit ingrained in the habits– Farmsister and I both tend to be very light-handed with salt when cooking, so a lot of times, everyone at the table has to pass the salt-shaker around. It frequently does not occur to me to salt my food even if it is bland; I often wait for my dude to season his food, and then just copy him, because I honestly have such an underdeveloped palate I think. [The joke with the salt on the table for my brother in law was because the first time his mother came to visit my parents, Mom set the table all fancy and forgot to set the salt and pepper back on the table after she’d got the tablecloth and centerpiece all situated, and none of the rest of us noticed because we were used to our food being a little bit bland, but all the Southerners were eyeing one another and deciding if it would be rude to ask. None did, and when Mom finally heard the story, she was of course mortified. They were right there on the sideboard! She just hadn’t thought to put them back onto the table! So for seven years she gave my brother-in-law bags of exotic salts for Christmas, and at formal dinners marked his place with a wall made of every salt shaker she owned.]

The Assistant Livestock Manager likes to be able to taste the salt in everything she eats, to the point that Farmsister has given up refilling the decorative salt shaker, and has a jar of salt with a little spoon on it that she leaves on the back of the stove for ALM to avail herself of. It’s dead handy for cooking, though, so I admire this innovation.

I like spicy food, though, unlike my parents, who can’t tolerate even a little crushed red pepper sprinkled on their pizza. I don’t order the hot wings, but I order medium; I figure if your lips are chapped you should suffer a bit, but you don’t need to feel it the next day, if you know what i mean. 

Anyway– what condiments live on your table?
via http://ift.tt/2niOxjH:danceswchopstck replied to your post “more animal husbandry on the farm, warnings for discussion of…”

Um. When you say “dead white person,” do you mean as seen in a funeral parlor, or do you have other experiences with dead bodies???? Re why a brown pig might be pink under the hair, maybe hair just doesn’t necessarily match skin? I have known black cats with pink skin…

Oh, funeral parlor, for sure. And i know they paint the body in a funeral parlor so I have to admit I don’t actually know what color a dead body is, of any race, for real, outside of movies or maybe photojournalism! But there was something waxy and bloodless about it, and it just was so pale pink, it was a little eerie. Pigs are so close to human-sized in so many ways, it’s just unnerving. 

Most of the animals I’ve had, their skin matches their hair color, to an extent at least– my cat is gray and her skin is white-gray; we had two tabbies simultaneously when I was a kid and one had brown skin and the other gray, and you could tell even though their fur was the same color by the sort of undertone it gave their coloring. But the brown one had white fur all around his nose, and his exposed nose was pink. I had a white horse whose skin was mostly gray, but she had some Appaloosa parentage, and while her coat never quite came up in spots, she had some dappling on her hipbones, and her nose and eyes had mottled pink-and-black skin around them, visible where the hair petered out. 

I don’t know what this pig looked like with its hair on, because I don’t know which of the 20 or so pigs it was, but I could see enough traces to know that it had at least some black hair. But there wasn’t really any variation in the color of its skin! So I thought that was strange. 
via http://ift.tt/2nQAgqJ:mhalachai answered your question “Tonight’s question, over dinner, was brother-in-law wondering what…”

canada, so it’s all a mix, but in addition to salt/pepper, hot sauce (type varies on the meal), pickles and olives, and sometimes soy sauce

See those are all things I would get out of my fridge and apply to a meal as needed, but I would not keep them on my table, and would not bring them to the table as a matter of course. Pickles and olives specifically, I would not keep outside a fridge, and would get out as side dishes at lunch, but not usually as toppings– although, pickle slices are pretty important for certain types of sandwiches. I keep every one of those things in my kitchen, either in the fridge or on a shelf, but not on the table by default. 

I guess there’s a sub-set of condiments that live in the fridge but come out for every meal. I’m so lazy, they don’t come out unless I for-sure need them.

We used to eat a lot of hot dogs and there was a set of condiments we kept together just to bring out for those, but now we, I don’t know, don’t eat hot dogs so much, I don’t know why. Ketchup/mustard/dill relish/horseradish, as a set. 

Why don’t we eat hot dogs anymore?? I gotta take this up with the management. 
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- 3.001MB
- people adding comments that could’ve been kept in the tags
- people deleting your captions

I don’t know what people have about comments being kept to tags, me, I fucking LOVE when people comment in the body of their post. Like… that’s what it’s there for?

That’s one bit of tumblr “etiquette” I have NEVER understood.

Ha same, shall I add ‘there are two kinds of people’ to this post? I mean I am also happy to read tags, but I’m on mobile a lot so I can’t always copy/paste to respond to them, and my favourite feature of Tumblr is this ability to continue the conversation that someone else began. I love gifs but I need some words with them to really get interested and start thinking; if it’s *just* images often my brain just says, ‘huh. nice.’ and moves on. Keep commenting, my friends! 

I don’t use the mobile app, because it tried to take over my phone and never loaded any images, so I read on a mobile browser, and here’s a horrifying thought: tags truncate. I can only see a screen width of tags. I have literally saved thousands of posts to drafts so that I have a link to go back and look at them on my computer so I can read the tag art (it doesn’t save the tags, I have to use the saved draft as a link to find the post) because otherwise I have no access to what the tags say.

So I too find it a little bit annoying when someone’s commented on something just to say “wow!” or “great!”, a little bit, because if that’s the version that all my friends reblog I have to do a ton of scrolling to get past it (because no postblock on mobile browser either) but basically the only experience worth having on Tumblr that I can reliably access is someone’s amusing commentary. 
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Home. (I see you)

Checking and cleaning gear and recallibrating things. Saving space by hanging everything (Also makes it easier to locate) Window has a solid shutter that can be locked into place.

(This might be a bit of a slow burn pic…)
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Farm dog Dini only wants to lick the inside of your mouth, forever, that’s all.
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The trade paperback of The Edge of Worlds is officially out on April 25 2017, may ship earlier, and has a cheaper preorder price: Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

It’s already available in ebook, hardcover, and audiobook.

It’s the next to last book in the Books of the Raksura series. The last book, The Harbors of the Sun will be out July 4 2017, in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. (I don’t know about the audiobook yet.) (Covers are by Yukari Masuike)

If you want a signed, personalized copy, you can order one through Murder by the Book here: http://ift.tt/2nl4EwV

If you want a signed, personalized copy of the 150 page novella The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red you can preorder one here: http://ift.tt/2o54Spl
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I’ve sort of written myself into a corner with Kes and Shara in the Lost Kings because I just sort of absentmindedly outlined them a joyous reunion but uh. I keep trying to write it and it won’t. It just won’t work. Kes kind of slides off the page. Shara gets too mad at everyone. 

This is why i can’t write to an outline, because in outline form, it all seems plausible. But after the things I’ve done to him, to both of them, they can’t just do a Chariots-of-Fire-style reunion slow-mo run-hug and everyone cries including bystanders and it’s glorious and we’re all set and the characters go back to who they were before. It doesn’t work; I’ve put them through too much. Kes has convinced himself he’s dead inside. Shara has basically gone feral and abandoned all concept of normal living. You don’t just switch off a solid two months of constant burning fury, like, oh, it’s okay, I got him back, I’m cool now. 

So that’s proving tricky to write. Also I have about half an hour free per day and I spend 25 minutes of it in overwhelming despair about the death of representative government, so. There’s that.

Anyway. Writing emotional truth is hard. The wages of angst is awkward missteps in the writing stage. It’s hard to do. 
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answered your question

“Tonight’s question, over dinner, was brother-in-law wondering what…”

You’re right about the UK that sauce might be on the table in a cafe/restaurant, but not at home where it’s just salt and pepper.

I mean. Maybe if someone was a huge enthusiast. Maybe. But I don’t think I ever saw the stuff during the year I lived in the UK, except among the caddies of unfamiliar condiments on the tables in pubs.

danceswchopstck [replies probably don’t work because answers are enabled] No condiments live on my table. Supplements and piles of mail live there. ☺

Oh there’s all kinds of crap and detritus that live on my table, I won’t lie.

seramarias Salt and pepper mill, ketchup (my husband), balsamic vinegar most of the summer.

oh balsamic vinegar’s a good one!

awisekraken In our apartment it would usually be an empty teapot from that morning. :) Husband hates Tabasco, probably because of MREs, and much prefers Cholula now. It’s a little difficult to find outside of SoCal, but possible.

You can get Cholula in NY State! I first encountered it when I was at university in Rochester, on the tables in bars, actually! but now it’s in grocery stores, but just the big ones. I think it’s okay but not really different from tabasco? A little lighter maybe, less sour.

On the farm there often is a thermos of coffee sitting on the table all day. They don’t have a coffee pot! My sister is the type of person who hand-grinds the beans in a little hand-grinder, and makes the coffee in a French press and then pours it into a thermos to stay hot all day, which is quaint but labor-intensive. It was a big innovation for her to start buying pre-ground coffee for the slaughter day crews instead of hand-grinding half a pound of coffee on the night before chicken processing days. (There’s an industrial two-pot Bunn-O-Matic out in the barn that I salvaged from work, because I’m not making fifteen fucking French Press pots of coffee at six in the morning while they’re loading chickens into crates.)

tolrais reblogged your post and added:

At home, ketchup and bbq sauce, but if mayonnaise is an option I will put that on my chips especially garlic mayo. My dad uses salad cream or French mustard vinaigrette stuff cause he’s a weirdo. Brown sauce only tends to be used in bacon/sausage butties but I know a guy who puts it on chips and got Judged for it by half the table. Salt and pepper are usually fairly standard and then vinegar for fish and chips. Although my boyfriend put vinegar and salt on chicken nuggets the other day and I was low key disgusted. (By chips I mean fries of course) 

(this was tagged northern England formerly Yorkshire! that is my favorite accent by the way! at my ex-girlfriend’s wedding I was sat across from a lovely woman whose father was from Yorkshire and she did great impressions of him the whole evening. His advice for her before her first job interview was, for some reason, “Doon’t meention gays!”, and in her impersonation the word “gays” was about fifteen seconds long and the vowel was kind of a weird narrow e sound, it was hilarious. I guess he was worried that her liberal viewpoints would not get her hired.)

And I had someone privately message me, but wanting to leave it anonymous, that their preferred condiment was something Bulgarian that’s called Sharena Sol (Colorful Salt) that sounds fucking amazing. (Guess the Bulgarian community online is small, so it’d be pretty personally-identifiable to discuss it with name attached. I am astonished and enchanted by the concept of getting doxxed by cuisine.) But it sounds like the stuff’s not widely available, which is a shame because it sound fucking awesome. 

I dunno, I just wanted a conversation about something fascinating, and this has done the trick. Thanks for playing, y’all, and I’d love to hear more if anyone else wants to chime in with what condiments live on their table in their part of the world. 
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Rendering the lard from the pig we processed.
via http://ift.tt/2o6OeWf:UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world:



The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.

A new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.

The report says pesticides have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. Its authors said: “It is time to create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.”

The world’s population is set to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion in 2050. The pesticide industry argues that its products – a market worth about $50bn (£41bn) a year and growing – are vital in protecting crops and ensuring sufficient food supplies.

The new report, which is co-authored by Baskut Tuncak, the UN’s special rapporteur on toxics, said: “While scientific research confirms the adverse effects of pesticides, proving a definitive link between exposure and human diseases or conditions or harm to the ecosystem presents a considerable challenge. This challenge has been exacerbated by a systematic denial, fuelled by the pesticide and agro-industry, of the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals, and aggressive, unethical marketing tactics.”

Here’s the link to the UN report, if you want to read it.
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Babysitting. Playing hide and seek. I don’t fit in this box as well as the toddler does.
She left me hanging here until my feet went numb because she took a successful pee break on the potty all by herself instead of hunting for me, so I’ll take it as a win.



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