Tag Archives: drinks

Another Short Review of Cider

cider, alcoholic beverage, hard cider, apples, Smiths Organic Cider, drinks, dining

Samuel Smiths Organic Cider

This last weekend I was in Ferndale, Washington and found a couple of ciders I had not seen before.

I picked up a bottle of Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider from the grocery chain Haggen. The bottle is the 550 ml size or 27 fl. oz. The alcohol content is 5%.

I like my ciders slightly sparkly but this one was flatter, with only the very slightest effervescence. The color as you can see is of a medium amber, consistent with most apple ciders. The glass is the lightest blue-grey so it could have affected the color slightly.

The flavor was a little too yeasty or musky for my taste. It didn’t have much aroma nor did it taste strongly of apples.Your basic hard cider.

Overall I found this cider lacking in flavor even if the apples were organic. I forgot to check the ingredients but often companies don’t list the types of apples they’re using. It’s very possible that Samuel Smith’s doesn’t use cider apples, which are specific and can make a difference in flavor and dryness.

This wasn’t a repulsive cider and if there was no other cider but this or Hornsby’s, then I would definitely choose this one. It just wouldn’t be that high on my list.

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Reflections on Water

I found some scribbled notes in my purse and recall writing it one night while sitting in the bar. Here’s how my mind thinks at times.

Creative Commons: by Lorna is flickr

Glasses lined like hardened ethereal soldiers, the larger toward the middle protected by champagne and port glasses. Then the sturdier ranks of snifters and martinis, a veritable chessboard of glass.

We waste water so much, where there is purified ice and water in a martini glass to cool it, that ice is tossed down the drain, steaming water, heated with detergent to clean glasses. Pouring in a stream from a running tap, straight down the drain.

In the Middle Ages people died from uncleanliness, cholera, e coli, from not washing and from inadequate sanitation.

We are coming full circle, needing to be reminded to wash our hands, which was common place fifty years ago and little about super bacteria killing people in hospitals because it just wasn’t spread. There was more politeness, more structure, more manicured and precise clothing and styles but more secrets were hidden.

The shadow side was under control, but perhaps too dampened down. Now it is in full flight. It is the light and the brighter side that is becoming hidden, being tamped down. Our shadows are winning and we are still out of control: too politically correct, too balanced to the point of sterilization.

Creative Commons: D Sharon Pruitt

We make heroes of the bad guys, wearing gangster clothing and black clothes because it’s cool or hot or the new white. We cherish the gun-toting, car chases and children emulate the drug lords. We are spinning into the vortex of darkness, embracing it with heady exuberance and forgetting the balance is still needed, that we need light and dark, and should let these out in controlled ways not in darkness masking itself as the light. Evangelical crusades, religious tirades, justice by sacrificing rights. We must be careful.

And water…more precious than gold, more pricey than oil for we cannot drink these other commodities. Look at Haiti, look at Japan. Water polluted by fecal matter, by radiation, by the dead. And here we are in North America, letting the liquid more precious than all just run down our drains, grace our cups as luxuries that we don’t necessarily appreciate. I love water but I could be much more frugal about it and hope I will consider not wasting it.

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The Work Less Party Works Less

In BC, the Work Less Party was a group of slightly organized people who wanted to move the work week to 32 hours. They began in 2003 and actually had a few candidates in 2005, but after that the Party dwindled. Part of the party’s mandate was to have more fun. And like our Rhino party of yesteryear they were never taken that seriously, even by themselves. They were de-registered this summer and no longer exist as a political party, but the party goes on.

It is now a big party. If you check out the site with the lofty ideals, it hasn’t been updated since 2008. http://www.worklessparty.org/ And if you find the party site, it hasn’t been updated since March. Considering they just had a party this weekend you can see how working less doesn’t always work. http://www.worklessparty.org/party/party.htm I imagine there is a Facebook page, with most of the details but I try to avoid too much FB as being a great resource suck when it comes to parties.

I had gone to two parties before and they were definitely an excuse to dress in wild costumes or work on your Hallowe’en outfit before the big weekend. But what do you get? They take place in a giant auditorium–you know the style, from your school days–with a stage and a big empty hall. There are no chairs so don’t dream on sitting down. There are usually a few completely lame booths that nobody seems to attend. I’ve seen the hugging booth, the spanking booth, the chillout booth, etc. You must buy tickets to get your booze and then get in the lineup and hope there is any.

There is usually a costume and body painting contest, and  while this is on the stage, if you’re not six-feet tall you’ll probably only see the back of someone’s head or glimpse the outfits. What I have seen of the body painting is quite stunning and may involve dancing, skits or acrobatics. There is also an upstairs area that is smaller and more festive in look, with a DJ.

I found after two of these parties with 500 plus people that it was just a crush of incredibly rude and self-serving party-goers. There are  stairs to the other floor and people stop and chat or just get stuck in the jam. I said excuse me as I tried to squeeze past the people coming down. I mean, it’s what people do, right? Try to be polite? But no, I was dissed for doing so and someone said nasty things that I won’t repeat.

As for the alcohol, if you drink only beer, you’re okay. But last time they ran out of wine and cider by 11:00 pm. The lineups are long and everyone is out for themselves, suspiciously eying the person behind them who is pushing forward. Most of all you can expect a crush of costumed humanity at this party. After two of them I left feeling quite bored. I swore off of going to the giant cattle pen.

However, a friend was having a birthday and she really wanted to go with a group of people. There were probably about 15 of us and I finally buckled and went. I made the mistake of wearing a dress that had a train, and even though I had that pinned up it began to drag through the night. The floor was a morass of slimy mud from the rain. Slippery and treacherous, so one had to be careful moving through the crowds. And crowds. There is this narrow hallway that you must enter through and as we first arrived, we stood off to the side as many people do. But that did not stop people from bulldozing us down. I had to fix the pin on my dress and someone pushed me. I said hey, and the guy told me I was taking up too much space. Really, I can only take up the space that my body requires. Not even five minutes into the place and the attitudes began. I called him an asshole and pushed him out of the way telling him that he was too tall and taking up too much space.Yeah, I gave it back but I’d already been pushed five times.

That’s one reason I hate the Work Less party, because any thin excuse for manners goes out the door. To complicate matters, the disorganizers chose to put the ticket sales on one side of the entry door and the tables for getting your alcohol on the other, causing long lines that people must push through. When I got to the alcohol , I stood there for almost ten minutes with a whole bunch of people as every server was juggling getting drinks. Granted those poor folks are volunteers but some foreplanning would have helped, like a couple of people pouring and others serving. And when I asked what else there was besides beer there was only rum or vodka, with no mix, served in giant cups. Very mickey mouse.

The dancing was fun with pretty good DJ action, and we planted ourselves in one spot to help avoid the giant crush of people. But some doofus must have thought it funny to pull the fire alarm. Try to get over 500 drinking people out of a hall where at first we couldn’t hear the alarm. But we had to exit, with no place to put your drink. The bouncers said, you have to exit but you can’t take your drink so chug it. Pure rum or vodka? No thanks. Then the alarm went off and everyone went back in but the firemen had not been through, so then we got to exit again. Good fun, that.

I can’t say that the lack of adequate alcohol, the more and more disorganization, the giant crowd (and I hate crowds) and the uber rudeness encouraged me to ever go again. The Work Less party could do with a bit of working better.

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Peppers and All Things Spicy

When I was a child the pepper shaker sat on our table like an icon to some ancient belief system. No one used it. Instead we liberally abused the salt shaker, over and over and over again to the point where my mother and my brother salt their pizza to this day. I used to salt cheese and my younger brother would make a bowl of vinegar with enough salt in it to make it murky and then dip his potato chips in…till his lips went white. We were heavy salt abusers but we shunned pepper.  

Then when I was in art college my boyfriend made tacos one night and had a bottle of hot sauce. He didn’t warn me, in fact I think he took secret glee in letting me use this medium hot sauce.  I had no experience with hot sauce, let alone pepper. Needless to say I turned red and gasped at the spiciness. Before long though, I was loving it and would use huge amounts of Tabasco on my food.  

Then I moved to Vancouver and met my friend Hanocia, who is from the tribal state of Meghalaya in India. She had a whole different degree of spiciness and would carry a bag of peppers in her purse. They were usually red but sometimes green and I believe Thai chillies. I learned to eat these chillies with my meal or whenever Hanocia cooked. At one point we were roommates and she, her boyfriend, and I would sit around eating our meal and chomping on chillies till we were all sniffling. 

Hanocia and I once went out for drinks one night and ordered bloody Caesars (for you Americans  it is a cocktail made of vodka, clamato juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce). We finally just asked the bartender for the bottle of Tabasco. He gave us one of the small, table-size bottles that was about a third full. We returned an empty bottle. The bartender’s jaw dropped.  

After that, Tabasco really was what I called the McDonald’s of hot sauces, lacking flavor and with too much vinegar. I came to enjoy the nuances of the different peppers, even eating habaneros (or Scotch bonnets) where are 10 on a scale of 10 for hotness. Peppers are rated on the Scoville scale. The hottest is the Naga Jolokia or ghost pepper. I have never tried this one. The second hottest is the habanero or Red Savina. This pepper is of course super hot but has a fruity flavor. I doubt many could eat a whole one. When I’m putting it into a meal I probably put in less than a eighth of a teaspoon.  

pequin pepper

 

 I had achieved full pepper assimilation. I always seek out hot sauces though due to now having rosacea (a skin condition exacerbated by cold, spice and histamines) I can’t eat as much spicy foodas I once could . Alas. One does have to build up to it slowly, or risk serious burn. The hotter peppers, like the habanero, can physically burn the skin as well as burning on the way down.Black pepper too has developed from those early days. It’s fresh now, not some ghostly reminiscence of flavor. I have a pepper grinder of course, because nothing but fresh pepper will do. I once made an Irish stew where I put so much black pepper in that it was pretty spicy in it’s own right. It’s not as common to have hot black pepper but you can get there. I’m glad I came to learn about the pepper family and appreciate the nuances of the hotters types. I don’t intend on turning away any time soon, even with rosacea.

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