Friday, April 12, 2024

4. Nationality (check all that apply)

 Well, what do you know. After all these years, come to find out I'm Klamath.  

Am I going to look up my relatives?


I was adopted. This seems to be a subject of intense interest for other people. They think I must be obsessed with finding out about my background. That I feel like a lost lamb. The biggest and most incorrect assumption, though, is that I must be heartbroken wondering Why My Family Didn't Want Me. 

I do not care. I mean come on. That shit happened when I was a baby. It's like asking a cat why it isn't interested in Australia. I have no memories around which to construct any feelings, so I didn't.  

I did not expect this information to have any effect on me, but it has.  Suddenly, and for the first time in my life, I have a people, and they've been here for thirteen thousand years and probably more; so I have a land, too. It's Southern Oregon.   

This really pleases me. 

Monday, April 8, 2024

The Hunts Tomato Sauce Cookbook Post For Mr. Mago

 Here we have Mr. Mago. 

Mr. Mago has requested that I do the post about the Hunts Complete Tomato Sauce Cookbook, the one with the misuse of brown sugar.  Well shit yeah I'm going to get on that; do you see this fucking guy?


 Ta Da!!! Here it is.  The Hunts Complete Tomato Sauce Cookbook, artfully displayed with all my products, and my paper towels up there, and my Braggs Liquid Aminos. And my Cuisinart.

You got this book by sending in a can label and a buck eighty-nine to Hunts - or you got one as a free gift at the cash register at our local supermarket. You weren't supposed to, though. The thing was, Hunts would send a bunch of these recipe books out with a shipment of stock. They were meant as a gift for the store employees. The employees, however, already had several metric shit-tons of promotional cookbooks.  They just stacked these up at the register and tossed one into your grocery bag if you bought a can of tomato sauce.  This is how my mom got her copy.

This ain't it. This is one I got at a thrift store.  

1976, folks. 
Americas' Bicentennial year.  The Meat Crisis - and I do not lie, there was such a thing and that's what it was called - of 1973-4  had scared homemakers to death. Everyone was still buying hamburger and TVP and whatever the fuck a Round Steak was, convinced that cows were an endangered species or something.  You'd think people were going to starve to death the way they went on about there being No Beef. (This was way before Clara Peller.)  It's what lead us at the Lil' First Nations household to purchase horse meat. 

Our local store, Derringers, had ground up and sold the last of the beef it had been holding in reserve. People were buttonholing the owner after church about when was he going to get in more steaks, the poor fucker.  In a moment of desperation, he brought in a shipment of fresh horse meat from somewhere. We weren't supposed to know it was from Eastern Oregon, but everyone did. Why this was such a huge thing at the time eludes me.  

Anyway, there it lay in the meat case one day, beautifully packaged, surrounded by parsley and crushed ice, so lean it was purple.  

Horse, as it turns out, is delicious.  

This has nothing to do with tomato sauce, by the way. I just thought you should know.



God I love 1970's food photography!  It makes everything look so sexy!  Not so much my attempts to display this book in an arty way. 

They hit you with the 'Most Requested' recipes first.  And yes, that's a recipe for a bundt cake. Yes, it's made with a can of tomato sauce.  And it's not bad. My godmother used to make this. You do not taste the tomato at all; it's just really rich and sweet.  And an odd, deep red.

As for the Quick Spaghetti? ^^^ It's absolutely horrid.  In fact, here we have the first example of the Gross Misuse of Brown Sugar, Mr. Mago. Clicky to biggie ^^^. Or maybe don't.

Oh my God, oh damn, oh fuck, I have gotten so much therapy mileage out of this ^^^ recipe over the years...

This is the concoction known as 'Swiss Steak' to anyone who grew up in the U.S. in the 1970's. 
In my house, this is what Mom cooked when she was angry.

And cooked. And cooked. And cooked. And cooked.

Before any cooking took place, she had to beat that steak with a meat mallet while she sprinkled on flour, handful after handful. Fuck this 'two tablespoons' shit.  My mom would flatten that round steak out until you could read a newspaper through it. A paste would form and ball up into a blob of flour mixed with beef fragments on the mallet.  She'd pick off the blob and eat that shit raw - then go right back to whacking the steak.  Then the poor round steak would go into a huge iron frying pan with all the tomato sauce and whatnot on 'low' and proceed throw off about a pint of grey water, and shrink, and curdle, and curl up like a bowl.  You could look over from the dining room table and see the rim of that 'bowl' jiggling just above the brim of the pan. I remember this stuff going from two in the afternoon until six in the evening - but surely that can't be right?

Oh yes. Yes it can.

Aaaaaand we're done with that Dickensian Childhood Interlude.
To continue.

Now everybody is going to go 'Ewwww'. And that's because you're barbarians.   VVVV


 They used to serve Tomato Aspic at Lippman and Wolfes' fancy-schmancy Frango Lounge, along with a martini for Mom, and a silver platter full of small, cold luncheon this and thats - which, if you were twelve, was just SO STINKIN' ELEGANT.  You got a selection of special forks and spoons to use with each different nibble, and on a dish by itself the glistening aspic jiggled whenever someone bumped the table.
Did The Frango Lounge use this ^^^ recipe?  Oh fuck no! God no. No no no. 

This image ^^^ I took does nothing to convey the heaving sensuality conveyed by this meatloaf photograph. It basks in a mellow, sultry light, glistening with fat and juices, tipped toward the camera as if to say 'Go ahead, Tiger. Have a slice.'  And it's a good thing it has all that going for it, because the recipe is garbage. vvvvv

Here we are again with the Brown Damn Sugar Mr. Mago.    

There is no reason for brown sugar to be in this meatloaf recipe. Seriously. None. In fact there's no reason for tomato sauce to be in this recipe either.  -OK OK fine I know your mom did it and your aunts did it and your grandmas and your great-grandmas, but it's wrong and weird and they all burn in Hell now. And Do Not start me on BARBECUE SAUCE ON TOP OF MEATLOAF NO NO NO NO.  Or tomato paste or tomato ketchup or CAMPBELLS TOMATO SOUP  GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

My strong reaction is due to another incident of Childhood Mealtime Atrocity.  I'll spare you the tale and leave you instead with six words - Wonder Bread. Tomato Sauce. Two Hours On Low. 

Yeah, that's eight words. Fine.  

OO, this is extra atrocious! ^^^   

This ^^^ is what they're trying to say is a Pacific Northwest dish.  
We have access to fresh-caught salmon here.    NOBODY EATS CANNED SALMON.  And nobody who has ever tasted fresh salmon would ever dream of doing something this ^^^ heinous to it. 

Oh, well, unless they moved here from like the Midwest, or the South, where people literally do not care what they put in their mouths. They eat shit like Mayonnaise Cake in those places and then they move here and cry for canned salmon. 'Oh my, where is the canned salmon I done growed up on,' they wail.
 I say 'Yes well, look at how you grew up, asking for canned salmon. You need to get your shit together.'


                          Don't ask me what they were smoking back there in the Test Kitchen.
Before bagels became the bread product of the trendy there was the Pita; and before the Pita - and it's co-conspirator the Alfalfa Sprout -came the CREPE. We are way back in time here with these Sassy rascals.

You probably had a crepe maker; you probably got one for your wedding or something. Nobody ever used the thing, because Crepes Are Finicky.  They stick. They tear. They're clammy. You have to eat them instantly or they get rubbery and weird; and then what are you? The crepe slave, pouring batter and crying while all your friends are in the other room being all cool eating crepes.
I don't know what's making these Crepes so sassy. Maybe it's the 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. 

Honestly, this is just a taco. 
Make a taco. 
Just make a taco.

Honestly, kids, I don't have the heart to go any further. This cookbook is triggering me. I mean it! Just reading this post over for mistakes I can taste the memory of this stuff on the back of my tongue, like heartburn.  So I will leave you here with the Sassy Crepes and hope that you have a pleasant rest of your life. 
And please just say NO to brown sugar, OK?   


Thursday, March 21, 2024

SHOPPING RURAL AMERICA DEUX with bonus beer rant!

WOW OK here we are back in Lynden to do some shopping!  

You may ask 'Hey Nations, why are you out in Lynden all the time?' and I would answer 'Because my pharmacy of choice is way out in the brush, and as long as I'm on my way through, I might as well multitask and get some damn shopping done.'  

I hope you are happy.

Our first grocery store is The Fair Market!  No wait, it's the Food Pavillion. Shit.

Lovely spring flowers greet us at the entrance. I was so tempted!

And here we are inside!  As with most grocery stores these days, it is a big warehouse of a space, although this joint is like a fucking airplane hanger. I generally don't shop here because walking around  is just plain hard on the feet.  I get tempted to use one of the little electric scooter thingies but I can never find one, and then I think "Ew, I wonder what the seats are like?" and I trudge on.


   This is a full-size running and operating tractor. It's in all the parades and local events, and they even make poor Santa Claus drive this thing down the street around Christmas. No you cannot climb on and play Pretend Farmer however much you may want to.  Dammit, read the sign:   

They also have an old model T flatbed truck they use for the produce displays during the Summer. That's how much space they have to play with in here. Well, I mean shit, look at the background. 
And do take note of the backgrounds - There's eight people in the store, counting me, all roaming around like ghosts in this vast space.

I swear this place is so huge it has its own weather system.  Anyway here we are ^^^^ in the Produce Section (note bananas) looking toward the Dutch Items. 

Huh? You might say. Dutch items? We're five freakin'  miles from the Canadian border here. WTF Dutch items?

Oh wait. Just wait.      

         Here we are ^^^ in another section.  I don't know what this section is. I do know that there clearly isn't a dress code being enforced at the door fo damn shore. I know I took this picture for a specific reason but I can't remember what that reason was. Maybe it was the purse. I dunno.

OH!  This is....the same section.  OK dairy is on the right, and it looks like soup and chips? on the left there. Shit I don't know. I am so lost. 

I mean look at this. I could drive my car around in here without a care in the world, the aisles are so wide.  That would be cool, right?  Just driving around the store, reaching out the window and grabbing stuff.  If you beeped the horn in here, it would echo. 

Ok now I'm just turning in circles. This is...lunchmeat on the extreme left, and tortillas, and...bread, I think. Aw screw it. You all wanted to see the Dutch Section. Let's go do that.

Now see, I told you we'd get there. There was no reason to be so impatient. Jesus Christ it's just groceries. Now here we have the most Dutch lady in history, Sister Elsje Van der Schlagenhoorgogge, the Worlds' Strongest Nun, hero of Rotterdam.

   Actually I have no idea who this lady is, but she has chocolate so she's OK by me.    

Two whole aisles of Dutch groceries for Dutch stomachs!  You need some Kook Pudding? They have it here and it's strawberry flavored.  It's got vanillesmaak too. Damn.

And here we have...whatever this is.
Normally I'd take this as my cue to concoct some horrifying analogy because I am six.  This time I'll let the contents of the jar NO. You know what?  This looks like a jar full of intestinal polyps. WHAT THE FUCK.

You might be thinking all this Dutch stuff is just Lynden going too hard on the Nederlandsche thing, trying to suck those tourist dollars off the Guide Meridian. Nope. These products are here, salty liquorice and all, because there's Dutch people in Lynden living Dutch-as-fuck lives, and they for-real wear wooden shoes.  I always thought these things were just for Dutch-themed decor (??) or something. Nope. Over the years I've seen people clomping about their rural Lynden lives in these...Moms out shopping, guys driving tractors, kids out working with cows out in the barn - this is legitimate footwear. 

Not my damn footwear, but hey.

On our way out let's remember to pick up a few packets of the best regional seeds in the West. You can't go wrong with Ed Hume, Master Gardener, God of USDA Zone appropriate selections, and my hero.

HEY WOW WHERE THE HELL ARE WE NOW whoops I sneaked that up on ya! We're in Grocery Outlet Bargain Market! 


   In contrast to the last place, GOBM is scarcely big enough to swing a cat.  The entrance is way down that aisle where you can see a couple of people being Canadian there.  Directly to the center left edge where you can see the word 'Breaker' on a yellow box?  Thats a six of the finest West Coast IPA in America. Don't forget it. It's going to get scary here in a few pictures. 

OO! An adventure!   

Actually no. I'm just here to pick up some beers. I go straight to the booze section and take all my pictures from there. And I rant about beer, which I may have already done in past posts. Anyway.... 

Yeah, you. OK. Now our last store, though roomy, was clean and well stocked. The items on the shelves were in good order, fresh and undamaged.
Not so GOBM. Not so at all

Sadly, I am such a bargain junkie that I am willing to brave the horrendous produce section and the distinct smell of rodent. If you go through Lynden, though, please don't shop here. Really. It is bad.  I know it doesn't look that bad in these pictures but trust me, it's BAD.   

  You can enlarge this picture and examine it for 'shucks howdy' stuff. 

GOBM started out as Bargain Grocery Outlet, and it was a cool store that sold weird overstock items. You literally never knew what you'd find where - steaks next to the sport jackets, patio umbrellas by the ice cream case.  It was clean and organized, at least.  Now it's GOBM, and frankly, it's a rip-off. I can't speak for your GOBM, wherever you may be, but ours IS. The only reason I shop here is because I'm way out in the county and the gas money's been spent. Plus premium beer at low prices, occasionally.

We here at the El Apartmento call this place 'The Used Food Store.'     

This sign? About the cheese?  is a bullshit lie. They have meager cheese and it's 'dent and scratch' cheese, and it's expensive too. That goes for eighty percent of what's inside these four walls. What they're selling here is  
   Stock cull and RETURNED ITEMS.  
You aren't supposed to know it and I'm not supposed to know it, but there you go. If it isn't in a hard, sealed container, it's probably USED FOOD.  Hence the nickname. Keep up.

   In blithe disregard of current trends, I am not one of those now kinda women who lay around saying 'Yaaass!' in a saucy manner whilst swilling wine. No no. I am all about the beers. 
Here ^^^ I stand in the booze section. Straight ahead is the undrinkable wine, and to the left along the wall is the kiddie shit - coolers, spritzers, and flavored ices. The Suicide By Diabetes section, in other words.    

  Now standing here in the PNW like I am, there is premium beer for sale in this store, because there has to be if they want to do business, and I just posted the photographic evidence above so ha.  I bought me a six of Breaker, and was happy. But there I was with my phone, and there in front of me was a prime subject -    


    Hooray! is what I thought. Now I don't have to lurk around taking pictures of rodent damage and spoiled apricots for content!  I can rant about garbage beer instead!     

   TF is Old German?  It's only 4% (BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!)  so screw it. It's an animal beer. The animal in this case is an elderly German in lederhosen. It counts.
Although not technically an animal beer, Miller Oldstyle 4.7 is...I mean, yow, it's bad. Thick and slippery with a Karo Syrup finish, monsieur.  
Icehouse is Coors flying under a false flag. This is by far the worst - I hesitate to call it beer - I've ever tasted. Imagine a weird, thickish mixture of Zima, Karo syrup, and a little brown food coloring. It is swill. It is awful. Of course, Coors never made a decent beer on its best day. In fact, Coors is the racist, homophobic sweatshop of beer manufacturers, and

 You know what; just don't get me started on Coors, OK?  Just DON'T. 

4.1 Busch Light animal beer. Tastes like clinical depression. 

  Meet animal beer PNW!  WTF is PNW beer?  I'll tell you what it is.  It's a 4.2 lager Made in Tukwila WA by people who know that you can't afford anything better, is what it is.    

       5.0 Kokanee, although lacking an animal mascot, is still an animal beer, and tastes like a glass of water that's had a slice of bread floating around in it for a long, long time.            

GAAAAAAAH Budweiser. No.    

Here's the thing about Bud. It sucks. It has always sucked.  It's watery. It's sour. It's what you got drunk on in high school because your dad drank it and he wouldn't notice the cans in the trash. Why is it popular then?  SUPERBOWL COMMERCIALS.

And as if regular Budweiser wasn't bad enough?  Here we have 5.5 Bud Ice. It is VILE BEYOND DESCRIPTION. Which begs the question Why???
Well I'll tell you why; it's fortified beer. Because that needs to be a thing. It's been freeze concentrated so it tastes twice as bad and has a smidge more alcohol than other shitty beers for the same price;  and it comes in a tallboy can so you can feel like you're getting one over on the Man, or something.   

Well that's it! Wasn't that fun and informative?  Yes it certainly was!   You got to see a boring store and a skanky store! You got to see wooden shoes and you got to see animal beer*!  It was a kaleidoscope of whatever! 

Now go stand in front of our house and look fabulous!



Animal beer is cheap, sad, weak beer. You buy it because 1. You're underage 2. You're unemployed 3.Your life is a wasteland.

There is usually an animal of some sort on the label - eagles, bear, dogs, lions, deer, elk - you get the picture. The look is marketed hard to blue collar, manly-men types who think of themselves as rugged outdoorsmen. The allure is all about having beers with rugged outdoorsy pictures on the can, and being able to afford a mass quantity of those beers, and then feeling all expansive like you're really living large when in fact what you're doing is just peeing a lot. You're meant to buy six cases to take out on a 'hunting trip' or a 'fishing trip', which is when you and a couple of buddies go hang around in the woods for a week without showering, just a' belching and a' farting, saying 'fuck' a lot, shooting the limbs off trees, setting tires on fire, and above all, hammering those cheap weak suds. No animals are harmed. In fact, in this case the animals harm you.

You're welcome!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

SHOPPING RURAL AMERICA (with bonus mildly gay content)

  Well here we are in the Lynden Christian Thrift Store!
   Everybody in this picture is taller than me  

As you can see it's a big warehouse of a space, and that's because it's the old gymnasium building of the Lynden Christian School K-12.

 I've been going here for over 30 years and making out like a bandit, because the old dears they wrangle into volunteering have not the slightest clue as to value or collectability.  Few even know how to operate a cash register, come to that, and if they're feeling extra flustered they might just lean over the counter and whisper "Go ahead and take it."   

On the one hand I feel weird because the proceeds go to supporting Lynden Christian School, which is an institution that makes me itch for a whole number of reasons LOWEST TEST SCORES 'N' HIGHEST TEEN PREGNANCY PERCENTAGE IN THE STATE *ahem*  
But then on the other hand...

   Oh my Lord, they have the deals.   

I always go crate digging first. Some mornings you can still find quality vinyl here!  
Sadly today was not that day. 


Didn't you hate this guy^^^ when you was a kid? This fucker would come on around 4: P.M. Sunday evening with his stupid accordion and play all thisEasy Listening, German hoot and holler Swedish barf music, and your parents would instantly fall asleep like they'd been clubbed. GAAAH Lawrence Welk!!!!

This is what the old dears consider 'A Collectable'. I ask you.  So lets head into the next room, shall we?

Oh damn look we're there. 

  Some of this used to belong to dead people.     

   They have excellent displays that they change out from week to week, always of local historic interest. This week we have Vintage Pep gear on display way up on a shelf where you can't buy it. (I was all 007-ing around trying to take pictures here, since they seem touchy about it, so I didn't get the whole thing. It must have been 25 feet long, all memorabilia.)


Let's get this over with first. 
This thing^^^ is 4ft. tall.  Now imagine about 32,500 tchotchkes following this^^^ basic theme and you have the LCTS shopping experience in full.  Old Testament quotes are prominent, as are anything they can lift out of context like this from our man Timothy:  

“A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12

I wish I had a fuckin' nickle for every time I've run across the above quote in this store over the years.  GAAH.  

*ahem* Anyway. Back to our shopping!


  Now this^^^ is an actual collectors' item, if you like Heritage Plates and Franklin Mint - type stuff. Me, I would lose the will to live if I had to look at this thing on my kitchen counter every morning. 

 It's Babs! 

   Do you know what this is?  This is a miniature soft-cheese spreading knife for all your Halloween soft-cheese needs.     

About twenty years ago the town of Lynden kind of, sort of, banned Halloween; as in people would go door to door and ask that you take down your decorations because Halloween is a pagan holiday and Lynden is a Christian town (no shit, this happened) so yeah, tacitly banned the celebration of Halloween - as such. No, October was for celebrating 'Harvest', all about farming and the land and making your kids dress up like scarecrows.  Lynden Christian Thrift Store rigidly upheld this stand. They wouldn't sell Halloween decor. It never got past the intake area. They pitched it all, it as innocent as Casper the ghost, or as bloody as a life-sized statue of Freddy Kruger. Which I saw there. Being shit-binned. 

Now look at them with their Satanic Soft Cheese knives. I guess these days money is green no matter whose Satanic claws have touched it first.

OK, enough of that. Onward. 

   See this lady?  This lady works here. In fact, this is all the ladies who have ever worked here. She is your cashier. She goes around and straightens things all day long. She stops to chat, and she takes misplaced things back to their rightful locations. She sweeps and dusts and sorts.  I am grateful for this lady and the job she does.  She makes the LCTS without a doubt the best thrift experience in the whole of Washington.   

I LOVE their yard goods selection! This is only a small part of it - and it's all quality stuff, too. Lots of people out here make their own clothes, and I reap the benefits when it's time for them to let go of their hoards. You can get anything sewing related here, from hand-held Ronco buttonholers to full sized pedal looms, sergers, armature quilting set ups, you name it.  Buttonhooks, leather working tools, felting needles and tailors  hams - you can find it here in good condition and...


Another thing that Lynden Christian Thrift is good for is old weird cookbooks! Out of shot I have an armload of them.   

   LCTS also has the best glassware of all glasswares that can be selected ever of the moon and Venus! I have found signed Chihuly pieces here, and not just the tourist jellyfishes - the big statement pieces. Fact. I've found Waterford too, and Scandanavian lead crystal, and French Pyrex, all   


But what is the very best thing to buy here at LCTS you might ask?  Well let me fill you in buckaroo. 

For all your
...reading needs, damn bro, you could do a heck of a lot worse than make a trip out to the Lynden Christian Thrift Shop and visit their tremendous book section!

You know you want to.      

It looks nothing like this.

A lot of the people out here homeschool their kids.  And they don't fuck around, either**. They invest in quality materials, and then...dump it all. LCTS is where I've scored most of my hard reference over the years. I mean stuff like the Harvard Classical Encylopedia for TWO BUCKS BABY and The Websters Unexpurgated Dictionary of the English Language FOR A DOLLAR FIFTY OO RAH and hard rocking selections like that.  If you party like I party, go here for your high-end reference, and be assured it will be sold to you

...quite inexpensively indeed.

And then we have regular books that normal people like.  Travel books, hiking books, manuals, magazines. Yes, you can find Fifty Shades of Gray here.  I got a copy of 'Lolita' here years back. Anne Rice, Kurt Vonnegut, they're all here.  Mostly you'll find Hot Romance novels - oh yes, the train enters the tunnel and fireworks do go off - and Dude Stuff about snipers and spies and fast paced thrills and danger and explosions and shit. It all sells 50 cents for a paperback, a buck for a hardcover. The selection is huge!
You can read about Jane!  She's a stewardess!

 I mean look at these old hardcovers!!     

I adore the cover of this Teen 'Career Girl' novel!  Reminds me of Mistress Maddie out on a binge!


OK I'm sorry but I came back to this book cover about ten times asking myself if I just had a really dirty mind or was this a really...charged...image. I know two things:  This is a straightforward Christian book about Forgiveness, and dammit, that image out of context looks way more homoerotic than the publishers probably intended.    

    Being a bisexual person, this title seriously appeals to me. 
I flipped through it. Basically Janie climbs trees and runs when she should walk and gets her clothes dirty, and all the adults around her express grave worries about her character.  Well, as it turns out, Janie obeys the Lord in all things, and the adults finally just shrug and tell each other 'She'll grow out of this stage.' 
(Sequel:  JANIE WINS A NOBEL PRIZE and all the adults around her shrug and tell each other 'She'll grow out of this stage.')    

OO! Here is when the baby gay stars aligned and the gods sniggered like doofuses:

    Well well well!  I opened it to flip through and see what those rascals on Gay Street got up to on Saturday night, when I saw this on the flyleaf. 
I swear to you, I gasped.

Look who used to own this book -   

In her best Palmer Method.  

      This was a peak experience in my thrifting career, made ever so much more delicious by the fact that it happened in the Lynden Christian Thrift Store. I am a six year old. I know. I know.

Well there you have it.  

Next time here on whatever this blog is called:  GROCERY HIJINKS!  That is if I haven't lost you with the 'Lela Fagg' thing. 



     **If you intend on homeschooling a kid all the way through high school here in Washington, your kid must, by  law, pass state competencies in order to receive a transcript. Once Billy matriculates -Suzie will be two kids on by then - Mom and Dad dump the books at the ol' LCTS and I swan in and grab'em