Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pinocchio's Blog

That's me, Pinocchio, as I keep saying I'll show works in progress... My nose is now propped on the keyboard as I type. The hands are having a bad week with inflammation so I'm just inserting a few pre-typed chatty bits.

I’ve long been a fan of the free online magazine “Knitter’s Review” by Clara Parkes. Just go to the site to sign up for the email notifications of new issues. Clara does a fabulously thorough job of testing yarns through all stages – swatching, washing, beating them up in SO many ways to see how they pill and stand up to abuse. Clara has just published her book, "The Knitter's Book of Yarn," which is the result of her years of research.

For all of us local Judith MacKenzie McCuin fans, there are some very nice pictures of her here plus a bit of chat about one of her classes that Clara attended at SOAR (Spin-Off’s Autumn Retreat) here – scroll about half-way down the page. I went to SOAR one year and would love to go back – it’s well worth it to a spinner to go at least once. There are in-depth workshops with wonderful teachers, a tantalizing market and tons of camaraderie.

Can I make just a little fun of the 3-hour baked potato rage among bloggers? Y’all are SO young Darlins! How is it you think we baked those potatoes before microwaves and restaurant steamers came along? Why in the oven, at 350 degrees, and we didn’t have time for them to take 3 hours cooking! We wrapped them in foil (or not) and basted them unwrapped during the last half-hour or so. The scary thing is what we may have basted them with! In some cases it was Crisco (I know, don’t gag) or a bit of lard. The whole olive oil thing didn’t come in ‘til much later unless you were lucky enough (as I was) to have a mother who was half Italian and used it for everything. There was a fad to hurry up the cooking time in the oven by pounding in a big spike so it would cook from the inside out as well. It worked too! Apparently this idea hasn’t gone away completely and you can still buy the spikes. However, a Google and eBay search did not readily come up with them. I used to get mine from the hardware store. Just make sure it’s made from a metal that can take heat (avoid aluminum for health reasons - in my opinion), thoroughly cleaned, and doesn’t have some weird coating that will smoke in the oven and melt off into your potato. In the “old” days of baked potatoes, we even had to get up off our pre-gravity-ravaged behinds to walk to the TV and click the round knob through the 13 channels we were allotted to find something to watch while they were cooking. Update! For some reason most sites don't tell you that you must always pierce the potato with a knife or long fork before baking - no pierce - exPLODE-o potato. Same goes for microwaving too. See Elaine's hilarious comment!

Scarlet - waking up with me in the knitters' hotel room at a retreat...


At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Elaine said...

I admit the 3 hour baked potato was new to me. I tried it the other night. I know now the sound of a potato exploding just under 2 hours into baking - kind of a soft "bumpf" noise. It seems it's important to prick the little bastards before leaving them to cook. The exploded potato guts covered the inside of the oven much like poorly applied flocking. Fa la la la la.


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