Saturday, January 18, 2020

As of yesterday morning, Edmonton had achieved the longest continuous stretch of -30 or colder (with wind chill) since 1982. As of the moment of this publication, we’re up to nearly 160 straight hours, which is the 7th longest such stretch in the city’s history. Alas, you wouldn’t know the Chill of Yuki-onna had descended upon this land by the happy warmth of our bellies. Why? I’m glad you asked.

National Hot Buttered Rum Day

Neither of us had ever sampled this delicacy. Its name is the song of a frozen night. It’s the melody of the snow wasset, tuned to a frequency that only the crystalline air of pure unadulterated winter can carry. My (Marty’s) taste buds were in a perpetual quake all day in anticipation of this beverage. Upon learning that it has a history as a tiki beverage, those taste buds were tizzied into an absolute throttle.

We tracked down this recipe from Rachel Ray, which is remarkably similar to the official Trader Vic recipe. The key difference is that Trader Vic made a “batter”, which would be kept in the freezer, then scooped out and mixed with rum and hot water. We decided to try both. Rachel’s recipe calls for honey and spiced rum. Vic suggests no honey, and regular rum. We mixed the ingredients (without honey), and created the “batter”, half of which went in the freezer. The other half got blended with honey and splashed with Captain Morgan’s finest. We’ll try out the batter (with regular rum) later this weekend.

Jodie found it too sweet – which I expected. She’s not a fan of rum, whereas I have all rum’s albums and a closet full o’ merch. I also found it to be a high dose of sweet (kind of like drinking hot caramel, but with spices). Still, I loved this recipe from the bottom of my liver. Mr. Vic has yet to let me down though, so I’ll jot down an update tomorrow or Monday to let you know how his version fared.

National Slow Cooking Month

January knows what it’s about. It’s soup month, it’s Sunday Supper month, it’s hot tea month. And yes, it’s also slow cooking month. Jodie, who remained sidelined from regular life due to a nagging stomach ailment, concocted a delicious pork loin with a root beer barbecue sauce, which was yanked and shredded into the perfect sandwich.

The slow cooker came to us (and by “us” I mean society, not our slow cooker specifically) from Naxon Utilities Corporation in Chicago, and was originally intended to cook beans. This might have been a great way to combine holidays back on National Bean Day had we known this little factoid. Slow cookers are also known as crock pots, but apart from the “crock” portion specifically referring to the ceramic innard of the device I have no idea why this name exists. Specifically a ‘crock pot’ is a brand name owned by Naxon, and it took the 70s by storm. Have a look for vintage 70s recipes and you’ll see a lot of love for the crock pot. Some of those recipes may turn you off food for a while, so be careful.

National Bootleggers Day

One hundred years ago on this day (yesterday), America went dry. For thirteen years booze was either smuggled in from another country (the term ‘bootlegging’ usually refers to sneaking booze over land borders, while ‘rum-running’ refers to smuggling it over water), or made from scratch and sold on the sly. It was an insane paranoia and a misplaced fear that led to this moronic decision, and it would take the country 13 years to ctrl-z this mistake.

Of course, Canada danced this insane little dance too, you just don’t hear about it as much. Federally, alcohol (more than 2.5%, so weak beer could still exist) was banned from April 1, 1918 until late 1919. But provincially, governments held out a lot longer. Most provinces had already closed the bars down by the time the federal ban hit, and many hung onto their dryness for years afterward. Ontario was dry from 1916 to 1927. Quebec reinstated hooch in 1919 because those French-Canadians, they know how to drink. Alberta switched on the taps in 1923, but Prince Edward Island – apparently our most puritan province, at least at the time – was alcohol-free from 1901 through 1948.

The only place in the western world that couldn’t toast the end of WWII with a drink.

Anyhow, we honoured this day by consuming some home-made hooch of our own, courtesy of Jodie’s co-worker, Brent. He crafted some sour cherry liqueur, and it goes down with a smooth fanfare and a resounding, echoing applause that tickles the ventral striatum with every sip. This man knows how to apparate pure joy and wonder in liquid form. He’s a damn wizard.

International Fetish Day

We could have done so many things for this day, most of which we would not be willing to share through photographs on Instagram, video on Youtube, or in print on this site. Alas, we held back (or did we? Would we tell if we didn’t?). Instead we had an interesting discussion of some lesser-known fetishes. Check out our Youtube page (the link is over there, to the right) if this discussion would be something you’d want to subject yourself to.

We won’t judge if you skip it. But we had a few laughs. Ultimately, the lesson learned is that if it ain’t hurtin’ anyone, if everyone’s consenting and on-board, have a blast. Also, trees may or may not be… “hot”?

Today will be a bit different: there will be no Youtube video tonight, and at least one of our intended celebrations (Peking Duck Day) will be passed upon, due to money and time constraints. We have tickets to see filmmaker Kevin Smith do a Q&A after screening his new movie, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot. The man has been a genuine inspiration to both of us, and I can trace a direct and straight line between his words of encouragement (mostly to the world, and not me specifically) and this project. He’s the kind of artist who regularly uses his success to encourage others to craft their own. We’ll also be celebrating these:

  • National Michigan Day. Some delicious treats will be enjoyed, along with a generous helping of Motown music.
  • National Use Your Gift Card Day. A teacher tends to have a gift card or two rattling around their possessions. Jodie still has one from Starbucks and one from Chapters, both of which will be spent today.
  • National Thesaurus Day. I considered leaning heavily on a thesaurus for this article, but that would be abusing it. A thesaurus is like a cool guitar effect – it can alter the texture of a moment, but use it too much and it becomes obvious and annoying. Just ask any English teacher. We will just appreciate it today.
  • National Winnie The Pooh Day. Anyone up for scooping up some honey with their hands? No? Just me? Well, it’s either that or get stuck in a hole. Oh, bother.

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