7/11/17: A little rantlet

Here. Ready?

  1. Buy some jalapenos and habaneros.
  2. Buy a 32oz mason jar or something similar.
  3. Chop up the peppers
  4. Stuff ’em in the jar
  5. Cover them with water
  6. Add a teaspoon of salt
  7. Close the jar
  8. Open it a little every day to “burp” it. (Or, get an airlock lid so you don’t have to play this game.)
  9. Do that twice a day ’til opening the lid doesn’t release any pressure
  10. Pour the whole thing in the blender
  11. Blend the everloving fuck out of it
  12. Strain it
  13. Take the sauce and simmer it to concentrate it down a bunch (“A bunch” is “until it’s the thickness you like.” Alternatively, add a little bit of corn starch.)
  14. Put pour it in a bottle
  15. Have people fawn over your creation while inexplicably declaring they’d have no idea how to start something like that as if all you did wasn’t just look shit up online for 10 minutes and “oh my god you make all this stuff I could never…blah blah blah”
  16. Throw up

Seriously. It’s getting fucking old. It got old when I started baking bread back in 2001 (well, 2002, when it started coming out good.)

I encounter this every time I make any thing. From food and drink to woodworking projects, just…anything. I’m not particularly good at any of this stuff. For every SINGLE one of these fly by night hobbies of mine, there are whole communities of people who pay much more attention to what they’re doing, have better skills, and produce better results.

It would be entirely disingenuous of me to say that I didn’t do a lot of this for the attention. Of course.

But it now seems that the normal stance is that every single thing is to be purchased, and things that are purchased are made by some lost process. Sadly it’s self fulfilling. It’s as though people believe there’s some kind of priesthood, another class of people who are the ones who make things. Bread, butter, ketchup, mozzarella, ricotta, pasta, furniture, dishware, clothes. The only thing people seem to do is cook.

Yeah, it’s convenient to head to the store and pick up everything you need pre-prepared and packaged. And those products are amazing. You can get anything to your door instantly. Don’t even get me STARTED about Amazon.

Having that available frees us up to be able to make things as a luxury pursuit rather than a necessity. When’s the last time you had ketchup that wasn’t fucking Heinz or Hunts? Do you even know what another BRAND tastes like, much less home made? Do you have any idea how EASY it is to make your own butter? How much better it tastes than land-o-lakes (which is just fine?)

How about pasta? My GOD! Eating home made pasta feels like cheating at life. Ya know what’s in home made pasta? Flour and eggs. That’s it. Ya know how you make pasta? You mix flour and eggs.

Seriously. Mix flour and eggs until it’s a heavy, hard, consistent dough, then you make it the shape you want it, then you cook it and eat it, or dry it and cook it and eat it later. And the first time you do it, just put garlic and the butter you made by putting heavy cream in a mixer with a little bit of salt and walking away for 20 minutes ’til it turned magically to butter.

There’s no fucking priesthood of people who make things. ANYthing anyone has ever made, someone can make. The fact that you can get EVERYthing for dinner in one stop (including completely prepared and hot dinners) means there’s no excuse to not stretch out a little. Make SOMEthing.

“You make the best stuff. I could never.” Well fuck you. How DARE you sell yourself that short.

You can’t pour a quart of milk into a sauce pan, bring it to a boil with some salt and vinegar, let it sit for a minute, then pour it over cheese cloth and wait ’til it drains so you have fresh home-made ricotta and whey? Whassamatta? Someone broke your fucking fingers? That’s too hard?

How about you take that, then make some pasta and roll it out, brush some egg on it, put the ricotta in dollops on the sheet of pasta, fold it over and pinch them closed and cut it apart. There. You’ve got home made ravioli. That’s what I made myself for Thanksgiving dinner last year and it was fucking AMAZING.

Every single thing you buy, someone made. Most of the time it’s something people made at home for hundreds of years and it was only automated in the last hundred. So…what? You’re only ever going to buy Heinz Ketchup for the rest of your life? Are you that fucking dull? Really?

Get some damn tomato paste, salt, and a little bit of…I dunno, vinegar, pepper, cayenne for fun… experiment. How bad can the result POSSIBLY be?

Stop assuming things are hard.

You’re better than that.