As The Rooster Crows

Home » Articles posted by elfidd / The Rooster

Author Archives: elfidd / The Rooster

Follow As The Rooster Crows on WordPress.com

My Paulownia Tree

No, these are not mine. They do make a nice entryway, don’t they?

Thank you, Wiki, to whom I contribute to, for my lead-in for this Blog.

Paulownia (/pɔːˈloʊniə/ paw-LOH-nee-ə) is a genus of seven to 17 species of hardwood tree (depending on taxonomic authority) in the family Paulowniaceae, the order Lamiales. They are present in much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam and are long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea.

It was introduced to North America in 1844 from Europe and Asia where it was originally sought after as an exotic ornamental tree. Its fruits (botanically capsules) were also used as packaging material for goods shipped from East Asia to North America, leading to Paulownia groves where they were dumped near major ports. The tree has not persisted prominently in US gardens, in part due to its overwintering brown fruits that some consider ugly.[1] In some areas it has escaped cultivation and is found in disturbed plots. Some US authorities consider the genus an invasive species,[2] but in Europe, where it is also grown in gardens, it is not regarded as invasive.

The genus, originally Pavlovnia but now usually spelled Paulownia, was named in honour of Anna Paulowna, queen consort of The Netherlands (1795–1865), daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. It is also called “princess tree” for the same reason.[3]

Paulownia trees produce as many as 20 million tiny seeds per year. However, the seeds are very susceptible to soil biota and only colonize well on sterile soils (such as after a high temperature wildfire). Well-drained soil is also essential. Successful plantations usually purchase plants that have been professionally propagated from root cuttings or seedlings.[4] Although seeds, seedlings, and roots of even mature trees are susceptible to rot, the wood is not and is used for boat building and surfboards.

Trees can grow to maturity in under 10 years and produce strong, lightweight timber, good as firewood, with an even higher strength to weight ratio than balsa wood.[5] Its density is low at around 0.28 kg/liter,[6][5][7] although significantly higher than balsa’s very low 0.16 kg/liter.[8][9]

My Paulownia tree was planted about fifteen years ago from seed. The tree appeared to die off that first year, and when I did the first mowing, what little I had left, I mowed over it. Throughout the mowing season, if there was any growth, it was cut. After that first year, it grew with a vengeance, underground, it must have been doing things I was unaware of. The tree has been growing ever since.

We had one winter back some years ago with a lot of ice. If you can pick out the difference of the right side of the tree, that side faces North. Several limbs broke off that year, and it remains vacant today.

Friday, 18 November 2022, she begins to lose her leaves.

Today, 18 November 2022, was our first frost. The temperature dropped to 28f, and the Princess started dropping her leaves. Historically the tree drops her leaves beginning on the first frost. After conferring with Mrs., we both believe this is our latest first frost here on Marylands Eastern Shore.

I’m guessing Al Gore would say Global Wahttps://www.conserve-energy-future.com/al-gore-and-global-warming.phprming.

L to R, our Fig tree, it was quite abundant this year. Next is our Swamp Maple, the Paulonioa Tree, and lastly, our Japanese Red Maple.

History of Paulownia

The below information is from the site – https://paulowniatrees.org/about/about-the-paulownia-tree/

Paulownia wood has been used in Japan for centuries primarily as a furniture wood. Wooden chests of drawers called Tansu are made from this wood and nearly every Japanese home has a Tansu of solid Paulownia, or sliced Paulownia veneer glued on a Lauan plywood. Other uses of the wood include musical instruments called Koto, wooden clogs called Geta, ornamental carvings, wooden bowls and spoons, bas relief panels, and large and small gift boxes. While the Japanese do not consider this tree “Holy”, the wood is held in reverence by those who work with the tree, possibly due to the ability of the tree to regenerate from its own root. This, coupled with its resistance to rot and its freedom from checking and cracking, may account for this reverence.

19 November, here she is, just 24 hours later, void of her leaves.

Properties of Paulownia

Paulownia is 30% lighter than any comparable American hardwood, falling mid-way between balsa and poplar. The wood weighs between 15 and 19 pounds per cubic foot air-dried. The tree will not rot when felled in the forest unless it is touching a contaminant of some sort. The lumber can be air dried in as little as 60 days in racks or kiln dried to 10% – 12% moisture in five to seven days.

Uses

Logs may be debarked, milled into lumber, exported, or used in established domestic markets. U.S.-based markets are being developed continuously and account for over 80% of all timber harvested domestically. Water and snow sports products make up much of the current usage, and marine-grade plywood production efforts are well underway.

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Across the Bay

jooin.com photo

There are three women from around here that do a Whale of a good thing together. For at least the past three years these ladies have ventured out on the SEA, we call it the Atlantic Ocean around here. So far it has been via the Tidewater area of Virginia. To get there from here you head south and cross the lower Chesapeake Bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This year the trio will take the Cape May – Lewes Ferry, crossing Delaware Bay. And what is this you ask, it’s a Whale watching adventure, on a boat.

The girls, Mary Agnes, Kathryn, and Alexis do a lot of things together. Mary Agnes is the Matriarch, Kathryn is her daughter, and Alexis might as well be a daughter. There is a definite Irish connection there. We shall save that connection for another time down the road. These girls also spend a lot of time together wearing out the soles of sneakers. Marathons, half marathons, 10-Ks, 5-Ks and lazy meanderings are often the order of a day off together.

Virginia Beach

Previously the girls used Virginia Beach, VA as their launch site. This year they shall venture out from Cape May. They will spend their nights in Wildwood Crest, just north of Cape May. New places to shop, new restaurants to try out. Perhaps they could work their way north in the coming years and travel further up the east coast. There great shopping and food venues in places like Montauk, Long Island, Newport, Rhode Island, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. I’m told they even see Whales way up there in Canada.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday we had temperatures in the low to mid 70’s here on the East Coast of the USA. It is now Sunday 13 November 2022 and as I type this at 0630 hrs. it is 49f, 9.4c for the rest of the world. Will we ever change and join the world community? But then again, the English still weigh in Stones. I guess we all have our little quirks.

Back in the day

11/13/2022 Today’s Marine Forcast…Nw Winds Around 20 Kt With Gusts Up To 30 Kt. Seas 3 To 5 Ft. Nw Swell 3 To 5 Ft At 4 Seconds. Light Swells. Showers Likely Early This Morning, Then A Chance Of Showers Late This Morning. A small craft warning is in effect. Will the girls get a rain check once again? Thank the good Lord shopping is always an option.

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

November 10, 2022

A Birthday

Yes today is my birthday, along with every other present and past United States Marine. No matter where we born, Parris Island, SC, San Diego CA or Quantico, VA. When you get that Eagle Globe and Anchor, your life as a Marine has begun. I feel I’m looking pretty good for a man of 247 years.

Here is the Commandant’s message for this the 247 Birthday of the Marine Corps. Should you be interested in learning a little more, take a few minutes and watch the accompanying video.

The US Marine Corps started as the Continental Marines on November 10, 1775. On that date, the Second Continental Congress decided that they needed 2 battalions of Marines to serve as landing forces with the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).

(Photo from : https://weaponsandwarfare.com/about/

After the war, the Continental Navy was dismantled, and as a consequence the Marines as well. However, after increasing conflict with revolutionary France, the Marine Corps was formally re-established.

Trainning

If you live east of the Mississippi river, your boot camp training will be located at Parris Island, SC. Now there is a special place that brings back many memories from every Marine who has gone through that training.

Parris Island has a long history of colonization. Many attempts were made at permanent settlement between 1526 and 1722. The first successful attempt was made by the French in 1562, followed by the Spanish and finally the British. After the Revolutionary War, Parris Island plantations began to grow cotton instead of indigo. During the Civil War, the island became a coaling station for the Union Navy.

Nov. 2, 1861 – The first Marines in the area of Parris Island sailed into Port Royal Harbor, S.C., as members of detachments aboard various ships with the Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Commanding officer, Navy Capt. Samuel F. Du Pont, seized the area and it was used as an important base for the Union Navy throughout the Civil War.

Aug. 7, 1882 – An act of Congress authorized the establishment and construction of a coaling dock and naval storehouse at Port Royal Harbor. A select group of naval officers chose Parris Island as the site.

Yamassee

In early July of 1962 this writer arrived at Parris Island via Yamassee, SC.

Although Parris Island’s first recruits arrived on the USS Prairie in October 1915, the Marines developed that same year a train station at Yemassee, S.C., which was the depot’s initial receiving point for the central and eastern recruiting stations. The town then had a bank, a general store, a few houses and “an abundancy of South Carolina pine.” A hotel was also there in 1915, and the Marines praised its ballroom and the gracious hospitality of the townspeople, especially its pretty girls. Recruits arriving at Yemassee on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad would be transferred to the Charleston & Western Railroad, which ran to Port Royal. Once there, the World War I recruits would be placed on everything from side wheel ferryboats, barges, long boats or a kicker (a small motor boat) for the trip to Parris Island. Today, most all recruits are flown to this great advenure and will land in Charleston, SC.

I along with a host of new recruits from more northern states would board a train at 30th street station in Philadelphia, PA and head south to 13 weeks of summer camp. Should wish to learn more of this summer adventure check out https://www.mcrdpi.marines.mil/Centennial-Celebration/Historical-information/8-Yemassee-SC/

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Today this Recruit Depot provides its nation’s Corps with basically trained Marines to fight in the current conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The depot has the responsibility to train all male recruits who reside west of the Mississippi River to serve at the call of the nation. Some history should you be interested. https://www.mcrdsd.marines.mil/About/Depot-History/

Officer Candidates School

The mission of Officer Candidates School (OCS) is to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled and challenging environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral, mental, and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Corps officer.

Reading at a young age.


My favorite children’s stories?

Hans Brinker and his silver skates was one of the first books I ever remember having. It was a historical novel by Mary Mapes Dodge. Now I consider myself old, in 2023 I shall turn 80 years old. This book, it’s really old, it was written in 1865. I had a bedside table in my room in the apartment my mother and I lived in. This apartment was the 2’nd floor of my great grandmother and great grandfather, Lena and William Peachmann. We lived there until until 1950. That book was always on the shelf of the bedside table.

So, I was reading at age seven. And yes, I’m still reading today. Several eye surgeries of late have put a bit of a crimp in this enjoyable endeavor.

Two memories of my great grandfather, who I called Grandpop, by the way, were playing checkers and him wittling. I especially remember him whittling a canoe and shavings always on the floor around his chair. And my goodness, I loved playing checkers anytime. Great grandmother Lena was my surrogate mother during those first seven years. She kept me well fed. She was grandmom, and spoiled me with love.

One other book, “Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson” was always next to the bed. Treasure Island is one book I’ve read more than once. “For sheer storytelling delight and pure adventure, Treasure Island has never been surpassed. From the moment young Jim Hawkins first encounters the sinister Blind Pew at the Admiral Benbow Inn until the climactic battle for treasure on a tropic isle, the novel creates scenes and characters that have fired the imaginations of generations of readers”. Thanks to HTTPS://WWW.GOODREADS.COM/BOOK/SHOW/295.TREASURE_ISLAND for this bit of information.

Here’s a book review on Hans Brinker from – HTTPS://WWW.PLUGGEDIN.COM/BOOK-REVIEWS/HANS-BRINKER-OR-SILVER-SKATES/.

Hans Brinker, age 15, and his sister, Gretel, age 12, live in Holland in the mid-1800s. Ten years before this tale unfolds, their father, Raff, suffered an injury that left him senseless and incapacitated. The children and their mother have lived in poverty ever since. They know Raff buried a large sum of money prior to his fall, but he’s unable to tell them where it’s hidden. Raff also left a fine watch with Dame Brinker just before his accident, making her promise to keep it safe. She knows nothing of its mysterious origins and has often considered selling it to feed the family.Hollanders get around in the winter by skating on the frozen canals. Hans and Gretel can’t afford real skates, so they strap blocks of wood to their feet. Though many wealthier children look down on the Brinkers, a few, including Hilda van Gleck, Peter van Holp and Annie Bouman, show great kindness and generosity. Hilda and Peter buy Hans’ homemade necklaces so he and Gretel can afford real skates without feeling they’ve taken charity. These children provide other necessities for the Brinkers as well.The children of the city are overcome with excitement when they learn of an upcoming skating contest. The fastest girl and the fastest boy will each win a pair of silver skates.As Hans goes to town to purchase his skates, he spies the renowned surgeon Dr. Boekman on the street. Hans offers his skate money to the man, if the doctor will examine Raff. Touched by Hans’ story, the doctor refuses the money and promises to come see Raff when he returns from a trip.Shortly thereafter, Raff’s health deteriorates. Hans and Peter go in search of the doctor, but without success. When Dr. Boekman finally returns, he performs a risky surgery to relieve pressure on Raff’s brain. Raff experiences healing that is miraculous. Though his memory is foggy, he is essentially the same person he was before his accident. He helps the family find the lost money, and the Brinkers are finally able to support themselves in a reasonable manner.Raff also begins to remember the story behind the watch he’d left with Dame Brinker. It was given to him by a man named Thomas Higgs who was fleeing the country. Thomas believed he’d inadvertently poisoned someone. He asked Raff to contact his father and give him the watch. Thomas told Raff to have his father contact him if it was ever safe for him to return to Holland. On one of Dr. Boekman’s visits, the Brinkers discover Thomas Higgs is the doctor’s son. Dr. Boekman explains that he had prevented the poisoned man’s death, so Thomas was not in any legal trouble. He’s thrilled to learn his son may still be alive, and Hans promises to help the doctor find Thomas. Through another coincidence, they trace Thomas to England. He returns home immediately.Hans and Gretel, along with all of the children of the town, join the race for the silver skates. Gretel wins in the girls’ category. Hans is one of the finalists in the boys’ category. When Peter’s skate strap breaks right before the final run, Hans graciously gives his strap to his friend. Peter wins the race.Dr. Boekman later returns to the Brinkers’ house to introduce his son. Thomas will be starting a business in town and offers Raff a job as his right-hand man. When Dr. Boekman learns of Hans’ interest in surgery, he invites the boy to become his apprentice.In a sub-plot, Peter leads a group of boys on a multi-day skating adventure to various Holland cities. The boys (including an English boy named Ben) see numerous historical sites and share stories about famous Dutchmen over the years. The narrator uses this trip to show readers a detailed geography and history of Holland. One legend made famous by this novel is the tale of the Dutch boy who sticks his finger in a dike to save his town from flooding. Peter and the boys say this tale represents the spirit of Holland. Any leak, be it in government, public safety or honor, is quickly filled by a million fingers. The boys lose their money, sail on an ice boat and catch a thief before visiting Peter’s sister’s mansion and returning home for the big race.

My take away from this was that the children of the Neherlands drank beer and wine in place of contaminated water. I thought that was neat.

Make sure to check on the elderly.
Make sure to check on the elderly.

A little of this & that

Our weather here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has been a bit cooler for this time of year. We have yet to have a temp in the 30’s, thought we might hit it two days ago, but alas, we only sunk to 40 f. This gorgeous Saturday AM we saw 44f.

Across the Bay from us today is the St Mary’s Oyster festival. The Mrs. daughter Kathryn and one great, Ana are attending the festival today while the rest of Ana’s family is involved in Scouting activities.
I happened onto this story a. few weeks back and thought it most worthy of a share. This article has led me to become an avid follower of the Golden Globe Race 2022. This race began 4 September, 2022 and is run every four years. The original rules, established in 1968 are still followed. Should you be interested in sailing, the ocean, or just plain adventure, there is so much to grab your attention.

Bass and Bunker

I was reading a very interesting story about the lack of food being available for consumption by the Striped Bass of Chesapeake Bay. They would be called Rock Fish to those of us on and close to the bay. The below article is quite lengthy, if your a lover of the Chesapeake Bay, fishing, the environment, anti or pro regulatory agencies. Lobbying groups, big business, or just what ever, read or scan over this enlightening piece.

Part of my youth was spent growing up in Wildwood Crest, NJ, back in the late 50’s. The Menhaden fleet was big then and a processing plant was close by. When the wind blew in the right direction the acrid smell of the plant was ever present in the air. So much for the lure of that sea air.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2012/05/02/a-fish-story/

It is not uncommon to awake to 98% Relative Humidity here on the Eastern Shore of MD. We have the Chesapeake Bay a few miles to our west and the Atlantic Ocean 35 miles to the East. We have a creek to the rear of our property and the Wicomico river to our West. There is lots of marsh land about also, thus, early morning fog in the fall, school starting time delays and Rime Ice in the winter. “Slip Sliding Away”
Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Autumn

MishMash on the first day of Fall

The other morning Ben and I were going for our morning walk. The Dew, as it often is, was quite prevalent. We here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore are quite familiar with high humidity, especially during the summer months. When I saw this web at the entrance to an old farm (Circa 1733) I thought Halloween, one month early.

Entrance to a Circa 1733 Eastern Shore farm.

The start of autumn and the fall equinox are celebrated in cultures and religions around the world with various fall traditions, holidays, and festivals. Fall festivals: Mabon, Navaratri, and the Snake of Light. Fall Months. In the Northern Hemisphere, astronomical and meteorological autumn runs from September to December.

For the Rooster, Autumn is his favorite month. Having resided for twenty years in New England, the change in the colors of the hard-wood trees, and a crisp morning to start a fire in the stove is special to me. It’s time for children to go Trick or Treating. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Fall is a time to bundle up on occasion, put an extra blanket on the bed or, just break out your favorite quilt.

Quilt by the Hen

Good job Mary Agnes. Grandson Kevin and his new bride Marissa check out their wedding gift

Tis the season
Pinterest.com
Wallsev.com

And then there was football. If your from the Eastern Shore of Maryland there are only two choices today, the Commanders, whoever they are, and the Ravens, as in Baltimore Ravens. There are still a few who like the Colts, the scourge of fans, so long ago, mostly forgotten. May you feel the shame of so many losers at the Brick Yard!

THE END

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Air Force Alex Blackwell Allen Allen MD As the Rooster Crows Blogging 101 Christmas Connecticut CT State Police Eden elfidd elfidd.com elfidd.com theRooster Family Food Geilenkirchen Germany grandchildren great grandchildren Jeff Journaling Kilkenny Maryland MD NATO Navy Netherlands OKC Oregon PHL PRMC Thanksgiving The Elderly thefidd.blogspot the Netherlands theRooster The Rooster Tinker AFB Tolland Travel Uconn USAF USAFA USMC WW II

BACON

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/we-tried-8-methods-of-cooking-bacon-and-found-an-absolute-winner

I share with you this wonderful article on Bacon. I’m sure the men, or most of them anyway, are fans of this nourishing food. “Here Piggy, piggy, piggy.”

The Best Method for Making Bacon

Cast iron or in the oven? Microwave or air fryer?

The Kitchn

  • Ann Taylor Pittman

k_Photo_Series_2019-11-skills-battle-bacon_bacon-method-lead.jpg

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: Kitchn

People often joke that bacon makes everything better. I tend to agree. I use it a lot as a flavoring agent in recipes — a slice or two to infuse a pot of dried beans with porky richness, for example. But on #treatyoself days, I’ll cook up a mess of bacon as a more substantial component to a dish, or as a standalone food. This is the bacon to pile onto burgers or BLTs, or to enjoy alongside pancakes or waffles, dragging the strips through syrup or runny egg yolks. 

Yet I’ve never had a consistent, go-to method for cooking that bacon. I’ve cooked it in a skillet and in the oven, and I’ve resorted to the microwave when I was in a hurry. I’ve read about air fryer and sous vide methods I’d like to try, as well as other hacks for easier cleanup or better texture. 

To find which method or methods work best, I tested eight that are touted by trusted website sources and compared the results side-by-side. My house smelled amazing, by the way, and my sons and husband were delighted to help me taste test.

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: Kitchn

A Few Notes About Methodology

Tests: I tried each method twice — once with regular-cut bacon and once with thick-cut. For each method, I tested the number of bacon slices that fit into the cooking vessel (skillet, sheet pan, air fryer basket, etc.) and made note of that in my description. 

Bacon: I used widely distributed grocery-store brands. For regular-cut bacon, I went with Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon. And for thick-cut, I chose Wright Hickory Smoked Bacon

Time: The time listed is the cooking time; any preheating time is noted separately. I did not list cleanup time.  

Ratings: I rated each cooking method on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing perfection. Texture, cook time, ease of preparation, cleanup, and appearance all factor into the ratings. 

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Water in Skillet

Total Time: 15 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 16 minutes (thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: This technique, touted by Cook’s Illustrated, instructs you to arrange bacon in a cold skillet and add just enough water to cover. You cook over high heat until the water boils, lower the heat to medium until the water evaporates, and then cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is done.

The theory here is that the water “keeps the initial cooking temperature low and gentle, so the meat retains its moisture and stays tender.” The site doesn’t specify what type of skillet to use, so I went with stainless steel, which is shown in the accompanying photo. There are no instructions to flip the bacon as it cooks, but I did (once the water evaporated) to make sure both sides were crisped.

Results

The bacon stuck to the pan, and it cooked inconsistently, with crispier parts and chewier parts on each slice. I had noticeable shrinkage with the regular-cut bacon (but not so much with thick-cut). The thick-cut bacon also curled up a good bit, while the regular-cut stayed flat, and there was more popping and sputtering than I’d noticed with other stovetop methods. Cleanup was a bit of a hassle because after the water cooked off, the skillet was covered with a sticky film that just adhered more firmly to the pan as the bacon finished cooking. I had to soak and scrub the skillet to get it clean. 

My Takeaway: The texture wasn’t superior to that of bacon cooked using some of the other methods. Cleanup took longer and required more elbow grease, too, which is a serious buzzkill.

Bottom Line: Best to skip this method.

Rating: 5/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Microwave

Total Time: 4 to 4 1/2 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes (thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: Although countless sources give instructions for this cooking method, I went with those in Food Network’s bacon roundup, as they seem both straightforward and authoritative. Here, bacon gets sandwiched between a double layer of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and cooks on high for four to six minutes. I was able to comfortably fit four slices on the plate without overlapping slices. 

Results

It took me a few tries to get the timing right: The bacon easily went from a bit underdone to burned in a few seconds. You’ll likely need to check on the slices, remove ones as they’re done, and continue to cook the rest in short bursts. The bacon was very flat and appeared to be uniformly cooked. The regular-cut bacon was brittle and tasted a bit burned. Thick-cut slices fared better, yielding lovely crispy-fatty pockets — when I finally got the timing right. Cleanup was a breeze: I simply tossed the paper towels and loaded the plate into my dishwasher. Even though there were no splatters in my microwave, I still gave it a spray and rub-down because the walls had a light oily film on them. 

My Takeaway: I wouldn’t use this method again on regular-cut bacon. I could see this method being useful if you only need to cook a few slices of thick-cut bacon, and you need to cook them fast — but I like to save my bacon drippings for later use, and with this method the paper towels soak them all up. You’ll need to check the bacon for doneness about a minute or two before the indicated cook time, and then cook in increments of 10 to 15 seconds until you get the right texture. Basically, although this method is the fastest, it requires some finesse.

Bottom line: OK for thick-cut bacon, if you’re in a hurry and don’t want the drippings.

Rating: 6/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Nonstick Skillet

Total Time: 10 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: I used the instructions from Food52’s roundup of bacon cooking methods. I arranged bacon slices in a cold nonstick pan and cooked on medium heat, flipping the slices occasionally as needed. 

Results

The bacon curled up a little as it cooked, and it ended up with some charred spots and some fatty-chewy spots. These textural differences were apparent by looking at the bacon. There were a few splatters on the stovetop, but cleanup of the pan itself was easy; I was able to scrape every last bit of the rendered fat into a container for later use

My Takeaway: This method seemed okay for cooking a small amount of bacon, but the inconsistent cooking was not ideal. I love having some tasty seared bits on my bacon, but some of the slices ended up charred in places and were unpleasantly burned-tasting. 

Bottom Line: It’s an okay stovetop method with easy cleanup.

Rating: 6/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Baking on a Rack with Paper Towels Underneath

Total Time: 24 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 29 minutes (thick-cut bacon); + 10 minutes oven preheating time

About This Method: I was intrigued by this tip, given in a tweet by Alton Brown: Filling in the blanks of his brief explanation, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with layers of paper towels, arranged a wire rack over the paper towels, placed bacon slices on the rack, and baked at 400°F till the bacon was done to my liking. 

Results

The bacon stayed the meatiest with this oven-rack method, with the least amount of shrinkage. To see what difference the paper towels made, I cooked one batch of regular-cut and one batch of thick-cut bacon over paper towels and one batch of each with no paper towels. The paper towels definitely helped with cleanup, but didn’t eliminate it entirely; the unlined pan gathered lots of grease and some splotchy scorched spots that I had to scrub off. But even with the towels, the rack had to be scrubbed, and that was, frankly, time-consuming.

I know what some of you are thinking — and no, the paper towels don’t catch fire or smoke at 400°F. They do soak up the hot rendered bacon fat, basically eliminating any chance that you’ll burn yourself with hot grease. Of course, if you value bacon drippings like I do, this method isn’t ideal.

My Takeaway: This technique is great for cooking a large amount of bacon; you could do two pans at once (that is, if you have enough pans and wire racks). I liked how baking the bacon on a rack makes it easy to control the end product: I cooked one batch until it was crispy and one batch until it was meaty-chewy, with a Canadian bacon–like texture. And okay, I admit that I might be a baby (or maybe even a bit lazy), but I really hated scrubbing baked-on bacon bits off a wire rack. I tried washing it in the dishwasher, but some stuck-on bits remained, and I had to get out my brush and scrub anyway. 

Bottom line: This is a good technique for cooking a large volume of meaty bacon with easy cleanup of the pan — but be prepared to scrub the rack.

Rating: 7/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Air Fryer

Total Time: 8 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: I was intrigued by the idea of cooking bacon in the countertop appliance of the moment and combined the instructions given by PopSugar and the blog A Pinch of Healthy: I arranged the bacon slices in the basket of my air fryer and cooked at 400°F, pausing to shake the basket occasionally, until the bacon was crispy, which for me was 8 minutes. 

Results

I tumbled them by shaking the basket every few minutes — so they curled up a good bit as they cooked. Thick-cut bacon slices had a crisp exterior and chewy-fatty interior, and regular-cut slices were pretty uniformly crispy throughout. I made sure to pour out drippings from the outer pan after the first batch, before I cooked another batch, to help prevent smoking. On subsequent batches, I did still get a little smoke and the faint smell of burning plastic — but these things did not affect the taste or texture of the bacon. To clean up, I scraped the drippings into a container for later use and washed the basket and the outer pan by hand. 

My Takeaway: This method works well if a few things fall into play: You only need a few slices of bacon (depending on the size of your air fryer), you don’t care if the bacon curls up or doesn’t sit flat (especially in a smaller air fryer, you’ll likely have to fold the bacon to get it in), and you don’t mind pulling out your air fryer (or even keep it on your counter). 

Bottom Line: If you’re an air fryer devotee, go for it.

Rating: 7/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Sous Vide

Total Time: 12 hours sous vide + about 2 1/2 minutes searing time (regular- and thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: OK, this one is admittedly a little outside the norm. But, hey, if you have a sous vide circulator, why not give it a try? The method was gushed over by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats for yielding bacon with a crispy exterior and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness within. You simply place a full package of bacon, in the store packaging, inside a large container with enough water to cover it, and cook with the circulator at 147°F for 8 to 24 hours. I settled on 12 hours with a Breville Joule circulator and, although López-Alt stresses that this is only worth doing with thick-cut bacon, I tested with regular-cut, too, for consistency. After the low, long cooking, you open the package, pull off individual slices, and sear in a skillet on one side then just briefly touch them to the pan on the other side so the bacon doesn’t look raw. 

Results

López-Alt was not wrong: This technique is wasted on regular-cut bacon, which just doesn’t have enough substance to showcase the tenderizing effect of sous vide cooking. With the thick-cut bacon, however, I ended up with slices that had a thin, crispy, shellacked-like layer on the outside and a juicy-fatty interior. The bacon was, indeed, buttery tender and uniformly flat, with little shrinkage.

My Takeaway: This is obviously not your everyday bacon, or even your Sunday bacon. If, however, you want to wow some breakfast guests — and you have an immersion circulator — the results are noteworthy and worth the effort. Plus, López-Alt notes you can do the sous vide part way ahead of time and hold the bacon in the fridge for a few days or even freeze for a couple of months. Shortly before you’re ready to serve, just sear the bacon (thawed if it was frozen) briefly to finish it.  

Bottom Line: It’s worth a try if you have the equipment, and will result in incredible textures (crisp, fatty, meltingly tender).

Rating: 8/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Cast Iron Skillet

Total Time: 8 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 11 minutes (thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: Many sites tout this old-school method for cooking bacon. I went with the directions in Serious Eats’ roundup of bacon methods, where you place strips in a cold cast iron skillet and cook over moderate heat, flipping the bacon occasionally until it’s done to your liking. 

Results

The regular-cut slices curled up a good bit, but the thick-cut ones remained overall pretty flat. With both cuts of bacon, I got slices that were crunchy and seared in places and chewier-fattier (with a crispy crust) in other places, probably because the ends wanted to curl up and cook without making full contact with the pan. The well-seasoned pan meant the bacon didn’t stick, and cleanup was moderate. I had to wipe away spatters on the stovetop, and I scraped the drippings into a bowl for storage and rinsed and wiped dry the skillet.

My Takeaway: I truly love this kind of bacon. It’s nostalgic; it’s good grandpa bacon. There’s something about the amount of sear and fat and chew that you end up with that’s just delicious. And, perhaps I’m imagining this, but even though you’re only cooking over medium heat, I believe there’s almost an equivalent of wok hei here, where the bacon picks up character and flavor from the pan itself. It’s a good method for cooking up a few slices (up to maybe six in a large pan), that allows you to hang onto those flavorful drippings.

Bottom Line: This is great for folks who want to cook a small amount of bacon and value crispy and chewy in each slice.

Rating: 8/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Baking on Parchment Paper

Total Time: 18 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 24 minutes (thick-cut bacon) + 10 minutes oven preheating time

About This Method: Martha Stewart’s technique promises a “spatter-free” way to get “perfectly crispy bacon.” You simply line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, arrange the bacon on top, and bake at 400°F until it is crisped to your liking. When the bacon is done, you transfer it to a paper towel–lined plate or platter to drain.

Results

Because the bacon sits in its own rendered fat as it bakes, it cooks more quickly than if you cooked it on a rack. The fatty parts also get wonderfully crispy (if you like that), because they’re basically fried. If you prefer your bacon chewier, you can simply cook it a few minutes less to achieve that effect.

Both regular- and thick-cut slices cooked evenly and completely flat, without any need to flip them as they cooked. One cleanup tip: Make sure to cut a large-enough sheet of parchment paper so that there is overhang on all sides. Then fold the excess up so that the drippings don’t seep through any cracks. I tried this (it’s not shown in the photo) and when the bacon came out of the pan, I let the drippings cool slightly, lifted up the parchment, and directed the drippings into a container for storage. I threw away the parchment and inspected the pan — there was not a trace of grease. It went back in the cabinet without even a rinse.

My Takeaway: I loved the texture and appearance of this bacon, and that it cooks hands-free with no babysitting. I also loved that this method works for a few slices or up to 20, and that, if you use the overhang trick, cleanup is just so incredibly easy.  

Bottom Line: Effortless cleanup (that allows you to save drippings), pretty slices, and easy control of the crispiness or chewiness of the bacon. This method has it all.

Rating: 10/10 The Kitchn

More from The Kitchn

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published November 27, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

My First Boss

It was early April in the year 1955. Less than a month ago I turned twelve and I was just starting my first real job. I’d had other jobs of course, Billie White and I sold snow cones one summer. I spread coal ashes on some sidewalks in our neighborhood when things got icy, and shoveled sidewalks after snowstorms. I even went to Frank’s Market for Mrs. Holler on occasions, she was always running out of milk or butter or something when she was baking. She lived two houses up the street, so I was convenient. That was always worth a dime or fifteen cents. But these were not real jobs, no boss, no regular schedule, and most of all no regular money. This job was for real, I was on my first day as a paperboy for the Philadelphia Bulletin. I would now have to show up on time, have a boss and get some real money.

On the day I started, It was a Monday, I hurried home from school, dropped off my books and stuff, said hi to my grandmother, she watched me, my mother was off at RCA working. My parents had been divorced for about ten years and my dad and his family lived in Connecticut with his new family. I’ll gather some stories from there later, there’s lots of them.

One like this, got the job done.

My rendezvous point to pick up the papers and to meet the Branch Manager was exactly a half mile away, a short peddle for this speedy rider back in those days. With my Vertigo and such it would be a disaster for this old man today. The newspaper company rented a garage behind the Audubon Bakery on Merchant St. All the paperboys met there to get their papers each day. We had a teenager about sixteen as our Branch Manager. His name was Allen, Big Al was what everyone called him.

I remember that first meeting quite well. As I pulled up near the garage, I laid my bike down, along with ten or more others and walked into the garage. My buddy Stan was there already, he got me the application to fill out and have my mother sign. My mother thought I was too young at first, but I convinced her, with help from Grannie of course that I could handle the job. I mean, how hard is to peddle a bike and fling a paper. “Come here kid” shouted big Al” and I ran over to a large table he was standing behind; the other kids were just hanging around, I didn’t notice any papers anywhere.

Big Al had a couple of printed papers from the Bulletin about delivering the papers and collecting the money and paying your bill each week.  Most of the money collecting was done on Saturday mornings. We delivered all the supplements for the Sunday paper on Saturdays. By doing this it made the thick Sunday paper a little lighter. These were the comics, advertisements, Parade magazine and such. I also had another official looking document to take home and have my mother sign. I was given my route assignment list, it had the customer’s names, address and, what paper they got on what day. Some only got the Sunday edition. I also learned I would have forty seven customers, a few more on Sundays. Big Al gave me a Canvas Bag, an official Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper bag. Hey, I was now “Hot Stuff.”

Worth Point image

Al explained how to collect the money, we would turn in the money on Mondays. The Sunday edition cost the customer .25 cents, the weekly 5 cents a day or .30 cents for the week. I would quickly learn that some customers weren’t very reliable at bills, others would always paying their give you a tip. I had one house where the man would always say, “I only got a twenty kid, you got change? I finally got smart and said I would take it a half block away to the store and get change for him. After that he had the right money, never a tip though. Later I would learn, if I hung around until Christmas, I’d see big money.  Once finished with me, big Al dismissed me and told me hang with the rest of the crew until the papers came.

Charles Cushing Fine Art

Big AL would become a good friend to most of us over time. He even escorted us to a few Philadelphia Phillies games back in the day. The Bulletin provided the tickets. They were the worst seats in the stadium, but who cares, we were kids. On those trips we took a bus and two subway rides and a walk up Lehigh Avenue to get to Connie Mack Stadium. Del Ennis, #14, was my Philly favorite back in those days. After twenty years in Connecticut I never grew to love the Red Sox. I always had a second love though, yep, it was the Yankees. I still root for them today.

Back to my first Boss and first real job. I remember practicing how to fold the paper and tuck in into it’s self so you could throw it from your bike. If it was a real thick paper we would use a rubber band to keep it together and throw-able. Most houses back then had porches. We would ride the sidewalk and fling the paper to the porch. A miss would require a stop and fetch and get it onto the porch. Sometimes a bad fold would leave the paper to the whims of the wind, (ouch!) That was like rounding up a flock of chickens. These little things made for little more time to finish the route, back in the day.

There were a few hazards in this job I need to make you aware of. People walking on the sidewalks caused you to divert to the street or someone’s lawn. A raised sidewalk lifted up by a tree route not diverted, could bend a tire rim and give you a flat tire. If you had to walk the bike and carry the papers to complete your route, it was a struggle. This event happened several times over the three years I had my route. Keeping an eye out for backing up cars was a must. I can’t forget the cold, the wind, ice and, snow. On a few foul weather occasions my mother would be my chauffer, what a treat that was.

So, the streets I delivered on were the intersecting streets to the west of Merchant St. Another route covered those to the east. My route ended a block from my house, it was quite a treat knowing when I delivered that last paper I was almost home. A few of those street names were, Audubon, Ave., Wyoming, Oswego, Central, Cedercroft and, Payson Avenues. Thanks for the help remembering goes to Google.

“Trucks here” someone shouted as a Box truck backed up to the garage. One of the older kids climbed into the back, checked the Route paperwork the driver gave him and began tossing bundles on to the garage floor. If I remember right, there were twenty-five papers to the bundle. I was told to grab two bundles, open one and deposit three in a large box on the wall. Makes sense to me, forty seven daily customers, leave three for someone else. Those papers in the box would help make up other routes. A kid with 53 on his route would take my 3 to complete his count.

Some of the guys stayed in, or right outside the garage and started folding their papers. Stan said, “follow me.” Stan and a few other guys went up Atlantic Ave. to the foot bridge over the railroad tracks. We would use the covered area under to two sets of stairs that led to the bridge over the tracks. I was to learn during lousy weather this was a great place to stay dry while folding.

On Sundays the paper was delivered early in the morning. The routine on Sundays was to go to the Audubon Diner, get a donut and cup of coffee to go, and return to the railroad overpass for the fold. There was a lot of talk while folding. Up coming, baseball was starting, did you hear about the fire last night, or, how about that accident on the White Horse Pike.

Audubon was divided in two by the white Horse Pike. There were two grade schools, #2 School on our side of the pike, #3 school on the other side. There was quite a rivalry in town between the two. All us paperboys at the Merchant St garage were #2’s. Guys from #3 school got their papers on their side of the Pike. That White Horse Pike could be dangerous to cross, especially if you didn’t cross at a traffic light.

For the first few days of delivering the paper I would have to use my route address ‘s card that I made up and pinned to my bag. My first Saturday, which started about nine am, was for collecting. I learned quickly that some would pay and others wouldn’t. I had a book I kept for the payment info that I made up myself.

Some customers would pay on Fridays, some Monday and some almost never. I learned to trick a few of these folks from time to time and find them on off days. On a few occasions I had to borrow a buck or two from my mother to pay my bill. I had a book I kept for the payment info that I made up myself. I learned quickly about keeping records, “If it’s not written down it never happened.” I still keep books today, I journal something daily. I’ve been doing that for years, I even write a Blog on the internet from time to time.

 If you went on vacation you had to find your own replacement, and Stan and I covered for each other. When one of us was gone the other would have a double route. Stans route began where mine ended so it was really convenient. Collections were kind of a long day, but we were young, and we survived. We were delivering right around 100 papers when we did both routes.

Fall would turn into winter and the days got shorter. Cold rain, wind, ice, and snow would add adventure to our flinging papers. When you think about it, we were kind of like Postmen. On most days our papers were delivered by 3:00.  When there were delays it was often dark when we started. I rigged up a flashlight with Electrical tape to my bag and had a reflector stapled to the back of a soft cap I wore. I’m still here, so I guess they worked.

I had to give up my route after three years when we moved to Wildwood, NJ. I would have several jobs there, one renting Beach Umbrellas and one as a Busboy in a restaurant.  I’ve always had a job, sometimes two, and a lot of Boss’. I remember some and there are others that I don’t. I will always remember Big Al, my first boss. For the life of me I can’t remember his last name.

Thanks for the memories Big Al.

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

My First Trip

My parents separated early in my life, I was two to three years old at the time. Japan, Germany and Italy came between those two young marrieds. My mother would have a small apartment over my maternal great-grandparents home in New Jersey not far from Philadelphia. My maternal grandparents would live but a block away. I was loved, dotted upon and for accounts and purposes, spoiled. My grandparents would always cart me along with them on any trip or outing.

I’m not sure which was my first trip, in the summer summer or winter,. I will write on both, these were trips with my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather. That would be Harry and Emma Wittman from Audubon, NJ. A trip to New York City prior to November 5th 1951 comes to mind. So, perhaps eight years old. I know prior to that date as the NJ turnpike was not open to Exit 10 from the Delaware Memorial Bridge as yet. We got on our bus in Camden, NJ and traveled old route 130 and crossed into NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel onto W. 36th st. I remember as a youngster, I would often hold my breath in a Tunnel.

EBay Photo

We would stay in the Victoria Hotel, 160 Central Park South. It is now a Landmark, Marriott house. We would make this trip several times, always staying in the Victoria. It was quite nice back in the day and continues to remain so.

This particular trip was during cold weather and obviously close to Christmas. I know this as we went to Radio City Music Hall and saw their Christmas production. I  shall forever remember the Rockettes. 

We also saw some ice skating, it was so long ago I remember not where. Here is a little history on Ice Skating in NYC, should you be interested.

I remember walking about the city, going into Gimbels department store and being awestruck on the toy floor. I remember the elevator and the operator, announcing the floors. Being an effective elevator operator required many skills. Manual elevators were often controlled by a large lever. The elevator operator had to regulate the elevator’s speed, which typically required a good sense of timing to consistently stop the elevator level with each floor. In addition to their training in operation and safety, department stores later combined the role of operator with greeter and tour guide, announcing product departments, floor by floor, and occasionally mentioning special offers. I would always get a special gift on one of these trips. I remember also getting jostled a bit as the operator lined up the lift so as one would not trip exiting.

On the same trip, 6 months prior or 6 months later, warmer weather, anyway, we would have a boat trip. That trip would either be the Circle line around Manhattan or a trip from the Battery out to the Statue of Liberty. I got to do both back in the day.

The Circle Line Trip was a cruise all the way around Manhattan Island on a guided boat tour that takes in every angle of New York City’s iconic waterfront. Traveling by boat means unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty—ideal for snapping memorable photographs. With live narration throughout the cruise, learn about the Big Apple while passing all five of New York’s boroughs.

The trip out to the statute of Liberty was special also.  Visits to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are musts in the Big Apple. On this guided tour, you get boarding on the ferry from Manhattan to visit the two important historical sites. Visit the grounds of Liberty Island and go inside the Statue of Liberty Museum. Then hop the ferry to Ellis Island and learn about the millions of people who arrived here between 1892 and 1954 in hope of living the American dream.

The highlight of my first trip was the ability to spit out of the window and to watch it travel down however many floors we were up. I also remember hanging out the window to see if I hit anyone down below. My leaning out the window and my grandmother going bezerk is still implanted in my head today. Three steps up a ladder with my vertigo is a high climb today. 

We would take several trips to NYC prior to age 13, the age my grandfather died. Those trips were always special. Oh to be able to recall such details. Now, to what do I attribute that gift?

Great #6

Born in forty-three, yep, that would be me, married in sixty-five. We eloped with two others and never told our mothers. For Dan and Murph with a year gone by, Godparents would become the wife and eye. Three children we would raise, in Jersey, Delaware, and South Caroline. Once out of the Corps we settled in Maryland, the Old Line State. We didn’t stay long, thinking Nutmeg would be great, Connecticut that is.

Kathryn, Sarah, and Matt, the Brat, would make it through school in one town learning the Golden Rule. When the last was gone and I retired, we moved out of state, thinking back to Maryland, would be oh so great. Our children would marry and raise families of their own. The firstborn grandchild to Matt and Beth was was David Lee. Kathryn would have a Samantha, Sam to us. Sarah would bare us an Andrew who would lite up our lives for seven short years.

Others would follow, nine in all, we had an Abby, a Kevin, a Jill, and Rebecca. Tommy would fit in there and follow cousin Sam, he’s now at USAFA and will defend our land. The grands would give us greats, four from Sam, Abby had one, and Rachael had a great for us at 11;00 AM today. Jack Lee @ 7 lbs. 4 oz. would make his appearance on his due date. We now have a little Mister Rogers. The other greats are Mia, Ana, Dax, and Zoe, Alana was number five and now we have six.

I like to say we have three, nine, and six, (396) I’m thinking I should play that Number for the rest of the week.

I share with you the following, so true.

Welcome to this world, Jack Lee.

Grandchildren

© Earline Brasher

Published: June 2007

Sometimes I really do wonder,
Why they are called grand?
Then I know A Loving Grandmother
Can always fully understand.
You get that important phone call
You have waited for so long,
Excitement really kicks in,
As you arrive and rush down the hall.
You see that precious baby,
Gender really doesn’t matter at all.
It brings back many memories
Of when your children were so small.
You congratulate the parents,
As you see mother and baby are o.k.,
You know without a doubt,
This was done in own God’s way.
Many sacrifices made along the way,
Are very much worthwhile,
When you see that sweet little face,
And that bright cheery smile.
Time rocks on as they grow and grow,
Then comes their future, rushing to and fro,
They will always be our babies,
If anyone should ask,
They are all very special,
From the first one to the last!!!!

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/grandchildren

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.