Saturday, February 29, 2020

Yesterday I made a passing joke about how instead of scribing 3,000 words (which would be madness!) I clocked in at only 2,466. Ha ha. So that’s where my day went. For this one I’ll actually be exercising a little brevity, because the dogs are off at daycare, I’ve got the house to myself, and this nap ain’t gonna take itself.

National Skip The Straw Day

Somehow the issue of plastic drinking straws has been politicized. It’s overblown, we’re told. It’s killing sea turtles, we’re told. People approach the issue with their own sources in hand, other fist raised and shaking in the air…

But you know what? It’s a single-use plastic, and if you can avoid adding another one of those to the unstoppable mountain of waste in our world, that’s a good thing. Jodie has her reusable straws (she has sensitive teeth) and I can live without them. On January 3 we took part in Drinking Straw Day – with washable, reusable straws because we’re not hypocritical monsters – and drank everything through a straw. Today we simply did the opposite.

It’s remarkably easy to *not* use a straw. Just don’t use a straw.

National Public Sleeping Day

I’m going to file this particular day under ‘ill-advised’. Falling asleep in public opens you up to theft, assault, and strangers drawing dicks on your face. We can’t find who originated this particular celebration, but I’m going to assume it was a petty criminal, hoping for a profitable trip through the park or mall on February 28. Well, screw that guy. Or gal. Or non-binary jerk-face.

Having once suffered through medication-induced narcolepsy, I’m not inclined to try to re-experience the weird disorienting feeling of popping awake in a strange place. Jodie was at Teacher’s Convention yesterday, so nodding off wasn’t possible. Instead we opted to simulate a public snooze. Fortunately, no one in the restaurant tried to snag our stuff.

The only place I’ve felt comfortable napping in public was back at University. There were couches strewn about campus (inside – not, like, scattered around the quad), and always a few students catching up on some long-forsaken Z’s atop them. Unfortunately I spent a lot of time in the Arts Building (I have a degree in Film Studies, which has been extremely useful in my professional life), and the couches in that building feel only slightly more comfortable than cinderblocks. The science and business folks were kind though – they provided an abundance of tolerable rest-spots.

So if you plan on doing this one, be careful. Leave your valuables behind and be smart! Also, don’t draw dicks on strangers.

National Tartar Sauce Day

Tartar sauce, or “tartare” sauce as they call it in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, is a fairly limited condiment. You can use it on fish, or… nothing. Just put it down. If you’re not having fish – and even then, it’s generally just deep fried fish – you probably won’t use it. This is why we opted to get some on the outside instead of making our own. We don’t have a deep fryer, and tartar sauce goes best with fish & chips.

I suppose we could have made our own tartar sauce and brought it to a fish & chips restaurant, but we aren’t that kind of weird. Joey’s Only fries a decent fish, and it’s hard to screw up tartar sauce. It’s mayo and capers, possibly with some pickles and herbs tossed in. You can get fancy with some hard boiled eggs, maybe some Dijon mustard or onions, but for the most part the parameters of tartar sauce are pretty well set.

We considered making our own (I found a recipe right here), then purchasing two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from McDonalds – one with their sauce and one plain so we could add our own – and doing a taste test. But then we’d have to eat two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and that would have made for a rather unsatisfying meal. We regret nothing.

Did the tartar sauce get its name from the Tartars – the Golden Horde from Mongolia who invaded Europe in the 13th century? That seems really unlikely. The more plausible notion is that it was named because the sauce is tart. We’ll go with that theory. Either way, nothing does fish & chips better than some vinegar and this stuff. Happy fish Friday.

National Floral Design Day

I originally feared I’d have to obtain a bunch of flowers and arrange them just so in a vase or as some sort of makeshift centerpiece. This is not my forte (though Jodie would enjoy laughing at my efforts). After all, this day was meant to coincide with the birthday of Carl Rittner, who apparently was like the Elvis of floral art in the 20th century. In 1995 it was proclaimed into being by Governor William Weld of Massachusetts.

We simply could not compete with Mr. Rittner’s work – check him out with a Google search. Nor do we have the materials to work with. Fortunately, a number of posts on social media has shown us that people are honouring this day, not with flowers, but by wearing floral designs, or showing off blankets and shower curtains and all sorts of merchandise with floral designs painted upon them. That we can do.

I wore the same shirt I wore yesterday for National Retro Day. Don’t fear for my hygiene – I only wore the shirt for the photo on Thursday. It was another day of doctor-prescribed isolation, so it was a quick change into my slovenly PJs right afterward.

National Chocolate Soufflé Day

Here’s a little-known fact about the soufflé – it’s actually of French origin! Okay, that’s not exactly a stunner of a factoid. The roots of this dish can be traced back to master cook Vincent La Chapelle in the early 1700s. But the person who gets credit for making it a true French masterpiece is Marie-Antoine Carême, one of the first big superstar chefs. This guy used to make massive pastries – like, several feet tall. He gets credit for being a huge part of the grande cuisine movement, using fresh herbs and veggies. He’s the one who categorized all sauces under the four “mother sauces”. He also pushed for the Russian style of serving food, meaning each course one at a time rather than everything at once.

Oh, and he created what we all know as the standard chef’s hat. The guy was a master of fashion and function.

As for the soufflé, it features a flavoured cream sauce or puree as the base, along with some fluffy egg whites plopped on top. We couldn’t find a place that served both fish & chips and chocolate soufflé (they don’t really fall into the same food genre), so after our trip to Joey’s Only it was a quick jaunt to Chop for some fluffy chocolate goodness. Theirs was more a cake-like concoction, but the fluffy and puffy part was perfect, and our evening was gloriously souffléed.

National Margarita Day

Better late than never – and never would have been downright tragic in this case. National Margarita Day pulled into town last Saturday, the 22nd, but we were in no condition to host. With the shroud of grotesquerie raised to allow a smidge of sun to squeak through, we felt healthy enough to suck back some tequila and toast this sacred celebration.

As with most every mixed drink we have toasted this year, there are numerous origin stories for the margarita. Rather than pick one as the gospel truth, let’s look at the similarities between the stories. The margarita was an evolution of the brandy Daisy drink, but made with tequila instead. It was most likely created in Mexico (possibly Texas, but the Mexican stories seem more legit), probably around 1936-1945, and it was either named after a woman named Margret (or Margarita), or else after the brandy Daisy – “Daisy” in Spanish being “Margarita”.

Once the first sip of a delicious margarita jazz-hands upon the taste buds, it’s hard to care who invented it. It’s tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice, and it’s perfect. I’m glad we didn’t miss it.

I kept things short yesterday and avoided adding anything extra to my original plan. Here’s what we’ve got for today:

  • Leap Day. We’ll look at some leap day history and facts. And maybe leap over something, we’ll see how we feel.
  • National Bachelor’s Day. Well, I’m not one of those, though I do have that kind of degree I guess.
  • Open That Bottle Night. A night to crack open that bottle we’ve had sitting around for a while.

Also, we can switch our answering machine messages back to normal today. That’ll be a relief.

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