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Archive for July, 2012

OK, I have to admit that I like bats.

(A fellow bat admirer and enthusiast)

This is quite different from having an interest in chiropterology.

Don’t get me wrong… I would totally love to be a chiropterologist

But not because I am devoted or dedicated to the  study of bats. It would be because I like bats and being a chiropterologist would, I suppose, give me an opportunity to watch bats.

Preferably in some clean comfortable setting. Like the bat cave.

(No, not that kind of bat cave. Although, it would be cool!)

Not an actual bat cave in real life which would be dark, dank and uncomfortable.

The problem with real actual caves is that there’s the constant danger of bat guano raining down on you while you’re stumbling around in the dark.

No, I think a bat lab would be much more my speed. Definitely.

I think what I like most about bats is that almost all of them eat insects. And when I say ‘eat insects’, I mean a lot of them. For instance, just one of our local little brown bats can eat up to 3000 mosquitoes each night. You really need no other selling point than that.

And yet, some people think it odd that I have such an infatuation with these wonderful flying sweeties.

Who couldn’t love something with such a cute face!

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Ran into this recipe over at Paula Deen’s website.

I love simple home cooking and this recipe does it for me!

Old-fashioned Meatloaf (a.k.a. Basic Meatloaf)

(Paula Deen’s Old-Fashioned Meatloaf)

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1   egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes (without juice)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Topping:
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix all meat loaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf.

Topping: 
Mix ingredients for topping and spread on loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour.

Servings: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 1 hour

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From Paula Deen’s Facebook page:  “Y’all made this meatloaf recipe one of the top recipes on my site last week! Do you have a “standby” meatloaf recipe?”

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The ninth day of Av  (Tisha B’Av) is perhaps the saddest day in the Jewish calendar.

It is the day we commemorate and mourn the tragic events that occurred on that day.

(Romans carrying the Menorah taken from the Temple of Jerusalem)

Tisha B’Av in History

On Tisha B’Av, many national calamities occurred:

  • During the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 12 Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)
  • The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. (586 BCE)
  • The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. (70 CE)
  • The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar — the Jews’ last stand against the Romans — was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 CE).
  • The Temple area and its surroundings were ploughed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city — renamed Aelia Capitolina — and access was forbidden to Jews.
  • The Spanish Inquisition culminated with the expulsion of Jews from Spain on Tisha B’Av in 1492.
  • World War One broke out on the eve of Tisha B’Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia. German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust.
  • On the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.

(To this day. Jews pray at the Kotel [Western Wall] – what remains of the ancient Temple compound)

The Tisha B’av fast begins Saturday, July 28th at sunset. It ends approximately 24 and a half hours later, Sunday night. Check for local times in your area.

May you have an easy fast and may HaShem protect and save the Jewish people from the hands of those who wish to destroy us.

(My son at the Kotel)

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My last bacon-related post set off an avalanche of requests [1] for more bacon unrelated bacon-related products!

Sure, there are bacon-flavoured products that raise the old eyebrows…

But what about products that are bacon-inspired yet serve no edible purpose.

Bacon clothing, for example…

Or bacon personal products?

Or bacon-inspired nerdy t-shirt products?

Bacon shoes…

Or slippers!

Bacon-scented candles…

Bacon suits for the kiddies!

How about a bacon iPad cover!

Bacon home decor!

Yes, bacon is everywhere…

(Bacon Xmas decorations!)

To bacon infinity and beyond!

It’s as if Canada and the U.S. have become one giant Bacon Land!

As they say, “It’s to die for!”

You’re welcome!

___________________________________________________________

[1] One.

(Thanks to Stephen Balen for the bacon photo inspiration!)

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I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve come to this conclusion…

… in Canada and the United States, bacon is the closest thing to a religion without actually being one.

I’m serious. It’s more than a mere fixation. It’s more than a national obsession.

People ADORE bacon.

I’ve heard people say (and mean) that they would seriously consider converting to Judaism but…

(Bacon sundae)

… just the thought of life without bacon is something that is, to them, simply unbearable.

I don’t get the obsession.

Sure, bacon tastes great but a lot of things taste great.

(The Bacone!)

Ice cream cones taste great.

(Chocolate-covered bacon – with sprinkles)

Chocolate tastes great.

Candy tastes great.

(Bacon cinnamon buns)

Cinnamon rolls taste great.

Mom’s apple pie tastes great.

And yet none of these foods even come close to the infatuation people have with bacon.

It goes WAY beyond liking it as a food. There is an emotional attachment at play here.

It is a national icon.

I will continue to try to understand this passion for bacon. I’m not sure I will succeed.

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There is a kind of ‘laugh in the face of death’ bravura found in The South that you just don’t find anywhere else.

And just as well.

A common expression is that a southern guy’s last words are usually, “Hey, y’all! Watch this!!”

(Just about everything here began with a “Hey y’all! Watch this!”)

A good motto would be, “Never do anything that you wouldn’t want to explain to the paramedics.”

This attitude crosses over to all levels of society and all manners of activity. You can find extremism everywhere.

But it is at the Southern Redneck level that the “Hey, y’all! Watch this!!” mindset reaches its apex.

For example, food…

(Hey y’all! Watch me eat this!)

Fashion…

Child rearing…

Child fashion…

Hunting…

Even portraits!

(Tell me this photo didn’t start off with a ‘Hey y’all. Watch this!!’)

You watch out of a sense of morbid curiosity.

Sometimes, you look away. Sometimes you just can’t tear your eyes from what is happening.

Either way, it is one of the many reasons why I Miss The South.

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Saw this over at Jamie Oliver’s website. Sounds wonderful, especially on hot days when you don’t feel like doing a lot of cooking.

A really simple, quick and amazingly tasty pasta dish which always hits the spot and will impress your mates. Try baking some fish filets over the herby tomatoes… it’s fantastic.

 (© David Loftus)

Ingredients

• 500g mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
• 150g good black olives, stoned
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• a bunch of fresh lemon basil, leaves picked
• a bunch of fresh marjoram, leaves picked
• 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 400g spaghetti or linguine
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

In a large bowl, scrunch the tomatoes with your hands to slightly mush them. Mix in the olives, garlic and vinegar. Tear in the basil and marjoram leaves and pour in the olive oil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Cook your pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and quickly toss in with the tomatoes. Call your guests around the table, then taste the juice at the bottom of the bowl and adjust the seasoning if you feel it needs it. Serve right away.

Stay cool!

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