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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Garlic

X-ray image of garlic clove, 2010.

X-ray image of a garlic clove. (Image by Antonio Fortunati, 2010.)

Last fall I did something every gardener should try: grow garlic. It’s not that hard, you can grow it in a pot or in the ground, and well, garlic is awesome.

Growing garlic takes nearly all year, but not that much effort. Plant it right around now, before the ground freezes, let it hibernate under the snow all winter long, water them in the summer til it’s time to pull them out, then hang them somewhere to cure for two weeks. There’s some luck and chance involved, but that’s what makes gardening fun, and you’ll be that much more proud once you’re pulling your precious, delicious heads out of the ground next summer.

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Punch

Vintage 1960s cocktail party

Sipping fireside cocktails in the 1960s.

Punches are originally from India (panch in Hindi), and were taken around the world by the boozy merchant sailors of the British East India Company. The idea of a cocktail you don’t have to make one at a time is good, so where ever it went, it took. The undiscerning rabble stuck by a charming rhyme to make their punches: “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.” Easy to remember if you’re already three sheets to the wind, but also handy when the kinds of alcohol and available mixers changed at each docking.

Lucky for us, we’re not limited to what can be dredged up at the port. Here are four punch recipes, dug up or invented (and taste-tested) by Lydia Reissmueller, who’s made cocktail magic in legendary bars from New York to Moscow. Right now, she’s running Tender Bar out of Portland, Oregon.

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Harris Tweed, Part I

Weaving a Harris Tweed.

Harris Tweed being made on a loom.

You may know nothing about the production of regulated Scottish cloth Harris Tweed, or you may be highly informed and would love to see some of the nuts and bolts of its weaving. Or you may just be a rabid fan of authentic products and their stories. The following is Part 1 of an interview with Mike Donald, the upright and breathing blogger of The Croft, about Scotland and especially focused on the Harris Tweed industry (croft typically refers to tenant farmland with a farmhouse. The word is in common use in Scotland).

The twist here is that Mike recently started on a sponsored scheme to learn to become a certified Harris Tweed weaver and is taking us along for the ride.

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