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Buying Bacon in (South) Berwick

I’ve never had a reason to go to South Berwick, ME. Truly, never a reason in the several years that I’ve lived here. But, now, I’ve found one. While the city, the one whole street of it I saw while passing back through from a business trip, reminded me of some smaller upstate NY towns around Ithaca, it didn’t really strike me as a place I’d seek out to go. Small, quaint and quite–all nice things that attracted us to stop there for lunch last week while traveling Rt. 236 to get back to 295.

After we filled ourselves on pizza and fried things, my co-workers and I stopped into Nature’s Way Market on Main St. to pick up some drinks for the road. A little more upscale than Rosemont and, thankfully, a lot more intimate than Whole Foods, Nature’s Way is a food heaven you would expect to find in a larger–MUCH larger–town. Fresh produce, meats, local dairy, beers and jams packed it’s shelf. And somewhere, just above the packaged cuts of meat and just to the left of produce I found my reason to go back.

Duck Bacon.

Oh, sweet mistress of Moulard breast goodness… you’re nearly as giddiness inducing as a day at Toys in Babeland.(NSFW, btw) Seriously one of the best plays on bacon in a long time–nearly as blissful as Nutmeg Food’s Maple Bacon Truffle, with a sweetness and air of smoke to match. And because of this wonderful find, I now have a jar of Liquid Gold–rendered duck fat–contained and waiting to be used with something deemed worthy enough.

So, Thank You, South Berwick for introducing me to my new love.
Oh, and for having signs like this outside and in your local pharmacy:

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blight, gay marriage, Maine, michael heath is a douche

Gay Marriage to Blame for Blight–According to Maine Anti-Gay Activist

My apologies to all of the farmers whose crops have been destroyed because of my relationship. I’m truly sorry.

But, honestly, Michael Heath is a twat.

“Our crops are faring like our moods. The potato crop is blighted, and corn and fruit fields wither. In one historic building in Augusta, rain flooded the basement, as water from another source poured down through the ceiling and extinguished a century-old chandelier.

Few people would be bold enough to suggest the cause of the endless rain and gloom, that the moral climate in Maine has caused the sun to hide its face in shame.

Worse than the rain is the fact, that Maine voted in homosexual “marriage.”

In May, our elected officials overturned a law of nature, and in its place paid honor to evil and unnatural practices.

Our leaders allowed a cloud of error to hide the light of reason, and then the rain began. How fitting that this eclipse of human reason is mirrored by the disappearance of the sun!

What darkness equals the error of saying a family should be headed by two mothers or two fathers? What error equals saying that two women can be married, or two men?

I am not saying that homosexuals or the gay rights movement are to blame for the weather. Far from it!

The fault lies with a refractory governor and Legislature who imposed an immoral law on our people.”

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beef tongue, culinary experiment gone bad, fail, spacecake

The End of the Tongue

Hibachi.
Sugar Work.
Peeling a foot long piece of cow’s tongue.

These are three things that come to mind as:

1) Best left to professionals
and
2) Best done sober.

Needless to say, the end of the tongue adventure did not end well. I know exactly the moment it went wrong, too—the moment that I decided to, on my day off, get a bit…fuzzy. While defrosting (or, as it really was, taking a hammer and chisel to) my freezer I found a lowly thumbnail sized piece of a “medicinal brownie.” I used the excuse of a wonky shoulder to justify munching it around noon.

Now, a side note… if you, too, find an Alice B. brownie in your freezer and can’t remember who it was from or how long it’s been in there… proceed with extreme caution. And for the love of anything right in the world DO NOT work with offal.

So, noon time brought the start of what was a very cerebral deep tissue mind fuck. It also brought my putting the brined beef tongue into a dutch oven with some cabbage for a 4 hour stewing @ 275 degrees. It was around 3 that the dread starting trickling in. The thought of having to take that step of peeling the cows tongue ,while it was hot out of the water, was quickly becoming too much to bare.

And I want to apologize right now to the animal that provided the tongue that would be the center of my meal. I goddamn butchered the thing because I couldn’t stand the thought of actually touching it. As it came out of the water, my general sensitivity focused on the hairs and how it remind me of my cats tongue. Then there was the rubberiness of the outer membrane. Even just thinking about it now sketches me out.

So, I held onto some tongs and my Shun knife and prayed that I wouldn’t get sick as I thinly sliced the membrane away from the muscle. By some divine hand, I did not. I returned the butchered piece back to the pot and covered it as my hand shook. I had just touched my culinary limit. At dinner, I picked at a few pieces, but left some on my plate. I was completely unable to separate my queasiness even as I sobered up.

I was completely in it for over a week. I checked on it every day to make sure it was still immersed. I picked it up and checked for discoloration. I just stopped short of naming the fucking thing. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t meet my culinary challenge. While I’ve enjoyed the brains and frog legs at Evangeline and the Beef Tongue Ruben at Duck Fat, I am not a person meant to work with offal. Experiment FAIL.


in the pot


Finished with home pickled red onion and 3 Little Pigs Whole Grain Mustard.

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