Sunday, September 16, 2018

DIY -- frozen food part 2

Way back in this page on this blog, I had a lesson on boiling water. If you were one of the newbies that I taught to boil water, here are some things you might be glad to know years later when you're baking your own bread and things.

First, almost any bread or baked snack will freeze well. So I usually make a double batch of English muffins and freeze half.

Most of my bread recipes make two loaves. But I'm on a two-grain a day eating program. So what I do is make one loaf, turn the rest into six rolls, bake and freeze the rolls. I eat the loaf, and then the unspoiled rolls are available as needed. You never need to run out and buy bread before a hurricane if you do this. Unless you forget to bake between hurricanes.

Recently I made a batch of Italian bread. What I didn't make into a loaf, I cut in four pieces. What you can do with them at this point is either ball them up and freeze, or roll into circles about the size of a small pizza, partly bake, and freeze with freezer paper between them. Pull out of the freezer, thaw, top, and bake. It doesn't rise as much as you might like so if you insist on a puffy raised crust, make your pizza the day you make your Italian bread.

Even the dreaded croissant freezes well. Either freeze the dough, or do everything including the third roll-in of the butter and then freeze. Take out in the morning and thaw IN THE FRIDGE. The next morning, roll out, shape, rise, brush with egg-and-water glaze, and bake. I haven't tried this yet but my croissant recipe specifically says that it will work either way.

Cookies are great for freezing. There are online recipes for the equivalent of the cookie dough you usually buy in the store; look for "icebox cookies". Or, wait to freeze them until you bake them. Works with brownies, whether plain, frosted, with raisins and walnuts, or with cherries black-forest style.

And now for a hot weather treat which I discovered just in time. Keep bottled lemon juice in the house. Make up a batch of lemonade with equal parts lemon juice and sugar, and pour some of it into an ice cube tray. You can either eat them straight, or put them in a glass of plain water or sparkling water, to both chill and flavor it. This should also work with any fruit juice, just remember to sweeten lime or pomegranate juice a little.

It should also work with any drink that uses fruit juice, the way you freeze a daquiri so -- vodka lemonade, screwdrivers, tequila sunrise (although you lose the layers).

I wouldn't freeze fresh fruit, however. If you're going to that expense, eat it while it's fresh or make it into jam or pie.  Pillsbury says you can put together a fruit pie and then freeze it until you're ready to bake it, but put it in three layers of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.  Better Homes and Gardens says you can freeze a baked pie but use two layers of plastic wrap. We put too much plastic into our trash and it ends up in the ocean, so I say fuhgeddaboudit.

You'll realize what great ideas these are when you look at the ingredients on the pre-packaged frozen stuff like this. Once again, you will avoid obesity-causing amounts of sugar and fat and salt, harmful emulsifiers and other chemicals, if you just DIY.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fact-Checking the Torah -- some implications

One more advantage to Olrik’s principles; they apply regardless of how Torah got started.
Based on Olrik’s principles, I say that if the people who first transmitted these stories couldn’t write, or had learned to write but had low literacy, it doesn’t matter whether they developed the narratives themselves or had them handed down by, say, Gd. The same features would show up because they help the human brain transmit narratives for, obviously, millennia.
These people were descendants of the people in Africa who were the first narrators in the world and whose stories “invented” the features Olrik observed, features shared by oral traditions worldwide.  The features cope with human memory, human needs, and how humans are affected by the passage of time and by migrations away from the place where a culture comes together as a unit and develops its characteristic method and content of communication.
Even if Mosheh wrote down Gd’s words about 1628 BCE and read the record to the Israelites, the likelihood of low literacy means that the material transmitted afterwards orally, not in writing. To say nothing of the expense of making a copy of a writing, and the inevitability that errors would creep in. Or the fact that the tablets that Mosheh engraved remained in the ark forever, along with the scroll referred to at the end of Deuteronomy.
The fine structure of Torah is the same one it would have been, had Torah developed out of tales invented by people as far back as 5000 BCE when proto-Semitic arose between the Caucasus and Lake Van. They had to transmit orally back then because the most we could say about creating records at that time is that things could be painted on cave walls and house walls, and clay figurines could represent the quantity of a given product in a shipment, but pictorial representations of abstract concepts were centuries in the future, let alone wedge or linear abstract representations of more or less abstract concepts.
Just like with the timing of creation, I refuse to argue the divine origin of Torah with you, because it’s irrelevant to the structure. The resemblance of Torah to oral narratives worldwide comes from the nature of the human mind.
In his 1987 book, Whybray called for somebody to go through every last bit of Torah to see if Olrik is a worthwhile tool for its study; that’s what I’ve done in Narrating the Torah, with just one more parshah to go in its final comprehensive draft.
There’s more to it than Olrik’s principles, however.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 2:15, triply weak verb

Genesis 2:15
טו וַיִּקַּ֛ח יְהוָֹ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּנִּחֵ֣הוּ בְגַן־עֵ֔דֶן לְעָבְדָ֖הּ וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ:
Translation:     **** Gd took the man; He set him in Gan Eden for the purpose of working it and guarding it.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
He took
Set him
Guard it
All right.  I have to eat my words.  The verb yiqach in this lesson is irregular.  The root is lamed qof chet.  The verb “learn” is lamad and it keeps the lamed; the verb “dress” is lavash and it keeps the lamed.  Notice that laqach also has patach plus chet at the end so all those rules apply as well.
The next verb is a peh nun verb that has middle vav and final chet and that is really weird so let’s do that.  It’s in the hifil binyan and what aspect?  Plus it has an object suffix.
The first is the gerundive for prepositions and the second is the one that cannot take prepositions.
This is the imperfect aspect.
This is the perfect aspect.
This is progressive aspect.
The nun takes dagesh because of that short vowel in the preceding syllable, the patach under the mem and so  on.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

I'm just saying -- SHTF

I'm tired of boutique survival sites.

I was researching some specific aspects of DIY cheese and I thought hey, the survivalists must have this figured out.


The websites I saw are basically just survival chic, not taking all the possible problems into account.

ALL OF THEM tell you things that

a) you have to stock for in advance. But due to SHTF you have no way to restock. You can't survive if you NEED the whole 21st century infrastructure to do it. You have to learn to survive WITHOUT infrastructure.

b) you need refrigeration to preserve. One two three NOOOO. Not even in a mild SHTF situation.

c) puts you into an unsurvivable position. If you are not using vegetable rennet, then you must either kill a calf for its rennet or have a way to keep existing rennet fresh. In a fridge. NOT a freezer. Now, in a real SHTF situation you can't afford to kill calves because your cows will get old and you need to raise those calves to replace them, not make cheese with them.

I realize that cows may be in short supply after SHTF but they won't actually be dying off unless things are so bad that humans are also dying off, in which case you won't be worrying about your cheesemaking. Not for long, anyway.

What I found was a site that showed you how to make vegetable rennet. It was not a survival site. It was a sustainability site. Everything it lists, you can buy seeds for. The seeds are open-pollinated, so you don't need the garden-store infrastructure to get more; they breed true. Start now.

If you have a "survival" website, assemble all the news stories of what happened in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria when the government refused to help. Now imagine that SHTF so hard, there's nobody to come help.

And rewrite your site.

Three hurricanes are churning out there in the Atlantic and one is drawing a bead on the Carolinas. This is your chance to test your plans for sustainability. Because survival don't mean squat when it comes to true SHTF.

I'm just saying...

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fact-Checking the Torah -- chronological signpost

Now I’ll tie together all of those archaeological textual finds, and the records in Amos and Hoshea of Exodus, the cities of the plain, Shabbat and New Moon.
Olrik specifically states that when a reference, a record in brief of an oral narrative, first shows up, it is incomprehensible to the audience unless a prior oral narrative on the subject was familiar to them.
When Amos and Hoshea refer to the cities of the plain as a paradigm of destruction, that wouldn’t mean anything to their audience, if the audience didn’t already know a vivid oral narrative about the destruction. The references to Shabbat and New Moon have nothing to do with oral narratives; they represent a reference to cultural features, which therefore existed before the references. To get their messages across, Amos and Hoshea would have to tell the stories, and they don't.
This coordinates with the archaeologists’ rejection of invention in writing at the point when a culture “needs to have a history”. 
The idea of “needing to have a history” is a literate viewpoint which corresponds to Vergil inventing the Aeneid to say that the Romans were descendants of the Trojans, and Gerald of Wales inventing the “Brutus” origin of the Britains, to satisfy a readership steeped in Roman history.  It is not how oralate (if you’ll let me coin the word) cultures operate.
Cultures with an oral tradition don’t create the tradition from a “need to have a history.”  They “need” to communicate cultural values whether of ritual/theology or of heroic ancestors. The narratives contain internal clues to their dates, but since oral narratives don’t run by the realtime clock, and since the fantastic elements necessary for audience interest and transmission overwhelm the realities, details that establish chronology are blurred or drop out as one of those things not crucial to the culture. Torah never names any of the Pharaohs, but Kings and Chronicles do record (versions of) the names of Pharaohs involved with Jewish politics.
According to Olrik, the rise of narratives related to historical events, closely follows the events depicted, the events are not projected backward in time by later generations.  That coordinates with archaeologists saying that no culture invents its entire past at some point in time.
But a simple reference to the key event in a narrative requires that the narrative be familiar to the audience – grandparents and grandchildren included – prior to the reference, even if the reference is only a survival.

What does all this mean for the origin of Torah?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- vocabulary review #5

Vocabulary review #5
There are a lot of words in this review but remember, it’s the ones above the line that you need to know really well because you will see them a lot of times in future.
Goes, walks
Not yet
To serve, dedicate one’s worship
Went up
He, it
Caused to rain
There was none
Water (v)
Caused to rain
There was none
Blew (aorist)
His nostrils
To the east
Placed, positioned
Had formed
To view, for looking at
For food
In the middle of
Evil, bad
Goes out
To water
Four (masculine)
That surrounds


Sunday, September 2, 2018

DIY -- back to herbals

So the vendor I normally buy from, to make my herbal hair mask, had been out of yucca powder for months. Actually it seemed like a year but I wasn't paying that much attention. I was using Ivory soap, my bath soap of choice for nearly 60 years, on my hair. Even with a rosemary tea chaser, I wasn't happy.

So I bought a commercial chemical shampoo. Before I went herbal, I had used this company's products. What could it hurt?

Well. I didn't have an allergic reaction, but what happened was scary because it could have been a sign of fibroids or even cancer.

Then I ditched the chemical shampoo. A situation that had lasted for three months cleared up in five days.

I reported the batch number to the FTC and also to the FDA because of the medical implications.

And I found a different vendor for the yucca powder.

Now it's time for all of us to look at our personal habits around the home.

Ditch things in plastic bottles. You've heard of the growing island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean? That's your fault. Chill your drinks in multi-use plastic bottles or re-use glass bottles. Ditch plastic wraps; there are multi-use microwavable BPA-free food storage boxes in every grocery store.  They range from pasta and cereal containers down to baby food containers, and include juice "boxes" with straws built into the tops. Support your locality's efforts to charge people for plastic bags in grocery stores -- and buy multi-use non-plastic bags for yourself. I've been doing these things for years.

Ditch sodas. Even the diet ones. It's not the chemical or the calories that promote Type 2 diabetes and obesity. It's the sweet receptors on your tongue. Artificial sweeteners trick them into telling your body to start hauling sugar out of your bloodstream, which wears out your pancreas, and store it as -- FAT. This is based on 8 years of clinical studies. You also have BPA in the lining of the cans, which the makers are hanging onto while all other manufacturers are advertising BPA-free products.  Aluminum cans are not better than plastic bottles; aluminum is involved in tariff wars just now. Drink juice, drink water, drink milk, drink tea and coffee. I haven't had a soda in 5 years.

Ditch alcohol based hand sanitizers. The alcohol gets into your bloodstream through pores on your hands -- the same way the shampoo got into my bloodstream. I am really worried for pregnant hospital employees like those nurses. Doctors show up with alcohol in their bloodstreams from these sanitizers, and no level of alcohol is safe for fetuses. Hospitals must ditch these sanitizers, which because of this problem are worse than plain soap and water.

Ditch "anti-bacterial" cleaners. Notice that they say they kill 99% of bacteria. That last 1% do not move out of your house. You breed superbugs from them. Same thing as the rise of MRSA due to incorrect use of antibiotics.  The chemicals they use have been banned because they waste your money for no more benefit than normal cleaners. Use thyme tea for a disinfectant.

Ditch Dow bug products. They contain the banned chlorpyrifos. Ditch Roundup which contains glyphosate. Ditch Bayer herbicides and pesticides, they kill bees. My garden guru Mike McGrath at WTOP can tell you plenty of ways to have a great landscape without these chemicals.

And look at your hair products. The ingredients in that shampoo -- it was a Suave product -- are in most hair products. Especially propylene glycol which is poisonous to pets. A relative's dog got very sick and since he is known to have an oral fixation, I suggested he had been licking bottles in the bathroom that he was able to reach. (The dog is fine now.)

This is strictly anecdotal evidence. If there are reports going around about this, I missed them. Or maybe Suave simply turned out one bad batch -- but that's the stuff of recalls and that's what I asked FTC to do about this, have Suave recall the batch number that I got off the back of the bottle.

Personally, I have cut ties with them for good.

Think globally, act locally.