September 10th, 2004



As the katydids of the summer night drone on, and the house barely cools despite the window fans, I thought this picture of a January day would be a nice change. I posted it once before, but only in the smaller version allowed by my former image hosting service. Now I can post the full sized version. Click on this image, then on the larger one you see next, and you should see it at 1536x1024. It was nice and cool the day I made this picture. Someday it will be nice and cool here again. But not tonight. Certainly not tonight.

Foggy Day

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Foggy Day

caillebotte_the orangerie

Thanks, Ancient People of the Andes.

I fried some potatoes for dinner. As usual, I made too many and I ate too many. That's one of the reasons I don't make them too often. For as long as I can remember, I've found home fries irresistible. We had them at least twice a week when I was a kid, and they were my favorite non-confectionery food. Given the option, I'd probably have eaten them every night. As I have long since developed a taste for subtle, complex and unusual flavors, I am a bit surprised that I still derive so much pleasure from the simple fried potato. But, because they are very starchy and must be fried in fat, I now limit my consumption of them to two or three times a month, despite the fact that the way I make them is probably healthier than the way my mom made them. She fried them in gobs of old-fashioned Crisco shortening, which was most likely loaded with those fatty precursors of dangerous low-density lipoproteins. I use extra-virgin olive oil.

I also have come to prefer thicker slices of potato than my mom used, which reduces the surface area exposed to fats. I've gotten pretty good at making consistent slices about three sixteenths of an inch thick. It takes a lot of patience to fry them properly, though. They require frequent and timely turning to get the slices a fairly uniform golden brown. I've found that lightly oiling the slices before putting them into the pan helps prevent them from sticking together, and makes them easier to separate when they do stick together. For a while, my mom went through a period when she would mix a bit of chopped green onion into the home fries, but I was never pleased with that. She got the idea from someone who had to fancy up every dish they made, probably as the result of something they had read in a magazine desperate to find copy with which to fill the space between ads. I like green onions, but not in fried potatoes. Some things are best kept simple. Potatoes, oil, and a bit of salt is all you need.

On the subject of food, but without delight, I suspect that the day when the casabas will vanish from the markets is almost here. Tasty melons are among the few things I will miss when summer is gone. The most recent casaba I bought has that tell-tale stringiness which signals the end of the season. But the casabas of July were splendid this year. They were firm-fleshed, creamy of texture, richly flavored, and with just the right amount of sweetness. They were so good that I can't even bring myself to complain that the price remained high throughout the season. They were well worth it.