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Sunsets over the Chesapeake

Golden rays of sun descend, On creeks and fields near Chesapeake’s bay. The sky ablaze in shades of red, As day gives way to night’s display.

The air is filled with peaceful sounds of chirping crickets, singing birds. The gentle trickle of the creek’s bounds A symphony of nature’s words.

The grassy fields, a sea of green Stretch out as far as the eye can see. Beneath the sunset’s dazzling sheen, A beautiful sight, so wild and free.

I stand and bask in nature’s glow As the sun sinks lower in the sky. This moment of peace and calm, I know, Will stay with me until I die

So I’ll sit and watch the sunset fade On creeks and fields near Chesapeake’s bay. Content to rest in nature’s shade As the world slips quietly away. theRooster 01/03/23

Both photos were taken on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on 2 January 2023 with an IPhone 11. Our Lord’s paintbrush, just doing its thing.

Fruitcake

Thinking back, more years than I really hate to remember, there was always a Fruit Cake in our, or my grandmothers home. Imbedded into the fruitcake was Paradise Green Candied Cherries–also known as Glace Green Cherries–have been a part of candied fruit recipes for generations. Green candied cherries are sweet and chewy, and complement red candied cherries in a variety of recipes, making for a more colorful and tasty baked treat. I detested those colored cherries as well as the red, orange and blue ones also. When you come right down to it, I detested Fruitcake, especially back in my single did-get days. I’d be right to say I detested Fruitcake in my teens also.

Citron is and has been used in fruitcakes forever. Perhaps as a youngster, now there’s a word you don’t hear much these days, I wasn’t a fan of Citron, but I’ve come to learn there are some real health benefits from eating Citron.

Let me jump forward sixty-plus years, actually one year shy of age eighty, and my ability to enjoy Fruitcake today. For the past four years I’ve enjoyed the Abby of Getheehsemani’s prize-winning 2 1/2 lb Kentucky Bourbon Fruitcake. The Abbey is a monastery in the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO), part of the body of the Roman Catholic Church. Nothing during the month of December brings more enjoyment in the mornings than a piece of the Monks Fruitcake and a nice hot cup of Pete’s dark roast coffee.

Should you try it, you will not be dissapointed.

Happy Cristmas to all 3 weeks early.

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.

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 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?

Warm your stomach with some chicken soup (a share.)

Where it all began.

With his permission, I share with you a recent piece from Stewart Perkins.

When I read his blog I immediately thought of Mary Agnes, my wife of fifty seven years come this November and our beginning. I also thought of her and our fifth great grandchild Alana, soon to be six months old. As a side note, grandchild Rachael is due to bring into this world Great # 6 later this month.

In the beginning, that would be late spring of 1964, our first date took place in New Jersey, just across the Tacony/Palmyra bridge from N/E Philadelphia. That bridge would cross the famous Delaware river George Washington once crossed. After attending a movie with another couple, we stopped at a diner for a bite to eat and headed north on Rt. 130 towards Willingboro where the other couple’s parents resided. As we headed north we came upon a cemetary in Cinniminson New Jersey. The entryway was well lit and beutiful aeration fountain was spraying water in the air. I can still to this day shut my eyes and visualize that entryway.

We would pull in, park, and begin a leisurely walk about the grounds. I can still hear ducks quacking and the spray of the aerated water hitting the pond. At some point we found ourselves behind a hedge and with her permission, yes I asked permission, we kissed. “Botta Bing, Botta Boom,” bells, whistles, fireworks. We were a match! Eighteen months later the four of us would elope and marry in Fall River, Massachusetts. (That’s a story for another day.) A young Marine, a Sailor, and two recent grads from Nursing school would take one Giant Step in our young lives. Just as a side note, we played Pinochle on our wedding night.

Cemeteries have always held a special meaning to us over the years. Several years back on a trip to the Canadian Mari tines we must have stopped in a least a dozen and commemorated each with a kiss, “EH.”

When weather permits and the wife is doing child care for Alana she pushes the stroller into a close-by cemetery and tells Alana, this is where it all began. It was also fitting that the first date was on a weekend’s liberty from Marine Barracks, 8’th & I, Washington, DC. During my three years in D.C. I would quite often find myself at funerals in Arlington National Cemetery, including that of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

To so many, a cemetery signifies closure. To me and mine, it was a beginning. To Dan, the Sailor who began that journey with us, “May you rest in peace.”

Much thanks to Stewart Perkins for allowing me to share his Chicken Soup for the soul.

theRooster

Suggestions of what to read (from my daughter.)

My daughter Kathryn shares with me often a reading list of worthy books. Her most recent list consisted of seven books to read. Here are two I thought worthy of a share. Shares were permitted in the article and here are all seven should you care to be interested.

I shall also share with you another Blog site.  This Blogger does a great job of book revues. We,my wife, daughter, and the Rooster, constantly cackle back and forth as to who these Bloggers I refer to are. Are they friends or acquaintances? Sometimes I even say my Blogging Buddy. So now, just what constitutes a Friend, Acquaintance or Buddy in the Blogging World?  Should you have any thoughts in this area please feel free to comment.

Here goes the two I selected from Kathryn’s list of seven but first, here are two Santa brought me this year. They were:

1:    “The Secret World of Weather”

2:     “The Judge’s List”

My Two of Seven Pics from Kathryn were:

1: “Deep Country” is Neil Ansell’s account of five years spent alone in a hillside cottage in Wales.

‘I lived alone in this cottage for five years, summer and winter, with no transport, no phone. This is the story of those five years, where I lived and how I lived. It is the story of what it means to live in a place so remote that you may not see another soul for weeks on end. And it is the story of the hidden places that I came to call my own, and the wild creatures that became my society.’

Neil Ansell immerses himself in the rugged British landscape, exploring nature’s unspoilt wilderness and man’s relationship with it. Deep Country is a celebration of rural life and the perfect read for fans of Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk orJames Rebanks’ A Shepherd’s Life.

‘A beautiful, translucent portrayal of mid-Wales’ Jay Griffiths

‘Touching. Through Ansell’s charming and thoroughly detailed stories of run-ins with red kites, curlews, sparrowhawks, jays and ravens, we see him lose himself . . . in the rhythms and rituals of life in the British wilderness’ Financial Times

‘Remarkable, fascinating’ Time Out

‘A gem of a book, an extraordinary tale. Ansell’s rich prose will transport you to a real life Narnian world that CS Lewis would have envied. Find your deepest, most-comfortable armchair and get away from it all’ Countryfile

Neil Ansell spent five years living on a remote hillside in Wales, and wrote his first book, Deep Country, about the experience. Since that time, he has become an award-winning television journalist with the BBC. He has travelled in over fifty countries and has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Big Issue.


2: “This, Becoming Free” by Michael Gungor

Ben Palmer, Associate Editor, News Division

I absolutely love memoirs, and this is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. Michael Gungor was a worship leader at a large church and a Grammy-nominated Christian musician who eventually left his faith entirely and embarked on a journey to really figure out what he believed. In the process, Gungor learned to let go of the stories that were defining who he was, working his way through various belief systems, including atheism and mysticism.

While Gungor’s story on its own is fascinating, what makes this such a great memoir is how different it is from other memoirs. Personally, I would’ve been happy with just his story of losing almost everything he knew to find who he is. But on top of that, Gungor adds in poems, artwork, musings on spirituality and philosophy, a little bit of everything, all in what amounts to a fairly quick read.

If you enjoy spirituality or dabble in the world of mysticism or philosophy or just like to talk about whatever is going on here in this world where a whole bunch of embodied awareness are floating around on a rock spinning in infinity, “This: Becoming Free” is a book you’ll love.

Thank you https://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing.  for allowing an amateur like myself to share this in the Blogging World

August is sliding right on by.

The last blog post by the Rooster was back on June 22, 2021. Where has this summer gone, I ask myself. I have kept abreast of the writings by others during these days; however, One blogger I’ve been following for some years, Mehrling’s Muse,(https://amehrling.com/about/) for whatever reason, I no longer get her notices. Perhaps her niece, a WordPress Techie, oops, Happyness Engineer, knows the reason behind that glitch. I do keep up with Anne’s husband, John, through E-Mail however. We have to keep that Train Ride going, right John. Oh, and Anne, I’m glad to hear the vision is good after the Cadillac Surgery, and you two are not flooded out.

From the Netherlands to America

Back about seven weeks ago, granddaughter Samantha and husband, Zed, transported their four children to Zeds parents. Sam made the trip alone. The kids would spend six weeks with Zed’s side of the family. 

Here is a rundown by Grandmom Elaine on their activities as posted on FaceBook and a few pictures.

Well that’s a wrap! The Wild West Grannie

Four grandkids for the summer.

– Seattle in a flash (space needle, Ferris wheel, fish market)

– Ranch adventure (horseback riding, dirt bikes, ATV, chores, water trough swimming, milkshakes, baseball, branding, birthday party, ditch wading, lawn mowing, treehouse climbing, a few bumps and bruises, fireworks, babies and Moosey) Thanks Cindy, Erik, Mylee, Scott, and the ranch crew for all the help.

– Burns adventures (yardwork, city pool, rodeo, church, parade, baby blessing)

– Road trip to Idaho (older “cousins”, swimming pools, RV sleeping, police car, Bear World, pizza and family) Thank you Sara, Rachel, DaeNell, Ben, Zach, Melina, Savannah, and all the others of the family there…so much appreciated help.

– On to Utah- (family time- more older “cousins”, baseball, dinosaurs, more good food, ducks, chickens, and solid sleep). Thank you Jessup and Amanda and family.

-then Colorado (water trampoline, watermelon and burgers, piano, run and run, feed chickens, sleep like the dead) Many thanks Bringhurst bunch!

– on to Missouri (quality cousin time, sleepovers, pizza, ice cream, Aunts and Uncles, swimming, jet ski and tubes, splash pad, baseball, trampoline, amusement park, Wonder of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, rodeo, beef demo and the Oscar Meyer WeinerMobile, and 3 new babies) Thank you Uncle Dallen, Uncle Wes, Uncle Jeff, and the Aunts!

– fly to Detroit for next adventures with other grandparents. Good luck and have the best time Jeff and Kathy. We miss them already ! Amazing is all I can say Elaine, good job.

Off to DelMarVa

The kids hung out with “G” & Pappy, Sam’s parents on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the next two weeks. The backyard pool got a whole lot of attention. Zoe, who didn’t like putting her head in the water on day one, was swimming under water by the end of the visit.

Trips to the beach at Ocean City and Assateague, the wild horses, no, not the kids, the ones at Chincoteague, VA were enjoyed. Great times with Libby and Ben, (Dogs,) Aunts, Uncles cousins, and friends. A special set aside day for a Barbecue and an invite for all friends and family to come and get reacquainted with the kids was great. Pappy had his usual array of Brats, Burgers, Dogs & Chicken on the grill. 

 The visit was too short, and before we knew it the kids, with pappy and G in tow, were off on their return to Europe via PHL to AMS. That’s Philadephia to Amsterdam for you non-flyers. Pappy & G would spend ten days across the pond; they would visit with friends Brian and Rose, travel the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and hang with Sam and Zed a bit. 

All four kids would start school, Zoe a first timer in Pre-K. Free at last, Free at last, at least for a few hours Monday – Friday for same and Zed to declare.

Zoe, the new Pre-K kid
May be an image of 5 people, child, people standing and indoor
Top to bottom, Dx, Ana, Mia

Misc.

So my friends I’m back out here once more. Our chickens are producing eggs once again after a brief hiatus from the production business. My but they were slackers for about three weeks. We’ve gone back to layer crumbles with Fly Larve,a few Sun Flower seeds and a 1/2 cup of song bird feed and the protein boost seems to have done the trick.

Now you are up to date as of, let us say, to 8 August, 2021 anyway. A few more happenings in the journal, for the sake of being called a Rambler I’ll close for now. 

If you don’t have a Covid shot, I wish you’d get one. Take care of the elderly, and Semper Fi to all and God Bless the men and women in Blue.

The Rooster