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October 10, 2018

Open thread 221
Posted by Avram Grumer at 08:01 PM * 115 comments

I’ve been asked to start up a new open thread. I don’t have anything funny or interesting queued up to start off with, so here’s a photo from Montréal’s Juliette & Chocolat, of a chocolate dessert called “Le gâteau forêt noire en pot” (“Black forest cake in a jar”). It was tasty.

Photo of a black forest cake in a jar, a chocolate dessert from Juliette & Chocolat in Montréal.

Comments on Open thread 221:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 08:19 PM:

and the backtrack to OT220:

Avram, that cake looks delicious!

#3 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 08:20 PM:

P J! Are you me? XD

Avram: Starting a thread with chocolate is not a bad thing! Thank you!

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 08:47 PM:

[checks self]
I don't think so. I just saw it a little sooner. And first spent five minutes or so looking for "black forest cake in a jar" recipes. (There are at least three out there. One doesn't use cherry pie filling.)

#5 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 09:09 PM:

I am also not you. As are thousands of others.

#6 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 09:49 PM:

I am not any of you, but will happily join in consumption of Black Forest cake, with or without the jar.

#7 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 10:09 PM:

Mmmmmm, cake!

Also, hooray new open thread!

#8 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 10:27 PM:

As Making Light's acting Hobden¹, I have to say that I have seen a lot of people pushing fluffy urban veganism as an answer to the world's ills, and it's missing some critical elements.

1: There are huge areas of the landscape that cannot grow human-edible crops. Maybe irrigation can make it possible in some places, but is that water supply sustainable? The movie-style Wild West shows a form of livestock production that can work.

2: Most of the meat we get comes from factory farming, which depends on arable land to feed the livestock. The livestock keeping is abusive, and the numbers on the food per acre are horrible. Effectively the number of livestock per acre is pretty high, 50 times what the number can be for those arid areas, but some of the propaganda will use the total area in a way that counts 2-hectares-per-sheep uplands with 25-sheep-per-hectare fertilised grassland. They're not interchangeable.

3: Arable farming can be very productive, but how sustainable is it? One possibility is that arable farming may be more sustainable with grass in the rotation, which means there still has to be livestock farming.1

4: The headlines, and the newspaper stories, are looking full of ignorance, even if the original research they report on is a bit less silly. Historically, meat-free diets have been limited to the hard-working poor in well-watered parts of the world.

The factory farming is closely related to the sociopathic attitudes of the rich to people like us. "I'm all right, Jack" is the polite version of the rule they follow. Human or animal, we are expendable, which starts feeling a bit scary when you consider how overpopulated the planet is.

¹: "Hobden" from "The Land" by Rudyard Kipling, taken up by some UK farmers on Usenet in thee closing years of the last century.

#9 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 10:56 PM:

Dave Bell #8: You speak earnestly of the planet's problems, but let's not ignore the elephant in the room: Americans in particular eat far more meat than even most rich nations, and we fetishize beef, which is particularly resource-hungry.

There's also buzz about ongoing progress in cultured meat and substitutes, but I wouldn't hold my breath on those; even when they're ready for prime time, it will take a while for the prices to come down.

#10 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 11:15 PM:

I actually get the feeling that the biggest problems facing us in the next couple of centuries would be due to a reduction of human population. The world's economy is driven in good part by demand, and that demand is fueled in part by population increase.

UN projections show an increase to 9 billion by 2070 and then a slow decline. That is something we've never encountered before.

#11 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 11:56 PM:

I got the opportunity last week to take some Milky Way pictures from Leakey, TX. For the technically inclined, it was a Canon 7D with a Rokinon 16mm lens, operating at f/2.

#12 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 05:53 AM:

Nice pics Steve. My best guess is that the orbiting thingie is this Delta 2 rocket body which launched Norwegian Comsat Thor 3 in June 1998.

#13 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 07:09 AM:

Re Infusions, The Cooking Issues people have a technique for doing alcohol infusions in the nitro pressurized whipped cream containers. Total time is in the range of minutes, and it allows for botanical infusions of things when they are fresh. (I remember this maybe 5 years back when I was doing berry and ginger infusions). Gin could be done almost instantly, and they were experimenting with things like fresh basil.

Their theory is that the pressurization and sudden release does interesting/destructive things to the cell walls, and that there's some contribution by the solubility of the NOx in the liquid.

#14 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 08:14 AM:

Well, now I have more ways to do Bad Idea Booze, though I'm really unlikely to do them because pepper supplies are limited (just brought the plant in in expectation of tonight's frost; it'll overwinter, but not happily.)

Jacque: you do have the right idea about alcohols, oils, and water. I hadn't thought of the type of alcohol making a difference, but once it's explained (thanks Joel Polowin!) of course it makes sense.

A couple years ago, I got a cookbook of mug cakes. I like it because it has lots of 'just go with it' notes-- recipes make two cakes because that's as many as one egg makes, if you don't want to pre-mix your flour whatever, it'll still be okay, don't stress about measurements too much because let's be honest it's a mug and a microwave and we can all chill. I am not a mug cake person, though, so I donated it to my job. The students (I work in an independence and job-skills program for disabled young adults) get cake, measuring practice, practice following directions (we get to collect data!), things like that. Very nice.

#15 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 08:26 AM:

Re: Chocolate

Yesterday I learned that German chocolate cake should always treat the first adjective as a proper noun and capitalize accordingly.

But not because it's from Germany.

Because it was invented by Mr. German, and so like Caesar salad and peach Melba, has a person's name in it.

#16 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 08:54 AM:

Elliott Mason #15 Thanks for making me slightly more well-informed this morning.

#17 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:08 AM:

Elliott Mason (15): Neat! Thank you. I did not know that.

Other food items with people's names in them: Graham crackers, General Tso's chicken. What else?

#18 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:10 AM:

Also, should you want a piece of interesting nonfiction that intersects with history, geography, politics, and food, I highly recommend _Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers_ by Deborah Cadbury (of those Cadburys, yes).

#19 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:23 AM:

But there are plenty of things with people's names in them where the name isn't capitalized: tar macadam (frequently abbreviated to tarmac), almost all plant names ending in -ia, just for examples. Many of those latter include food items (macadamia nuts, e.g.).

For a positive example, bananas Foster is a good one. But a brandy alexander is, I think, uncapitalized (though Wikipedia seems to capitalize both Brandy and Alexander in it -- which strikes me as Very Wrong). Should the drinkable manhattan be capitalized? We don't capitalize martinis, at least not consistently.

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:11 AM:

chicken Tetrazzini - for Luisa Tetrazzini, the soprano.

#21 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:23 AM:

Oh man. I'm moving back to Montreal on Saturday, and I had forgotten that meant renewed access to J&C. Bliss.

#22 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:30 AM:

When presented with macadamia nuts, the youthful Angiportus was known to take on a thoughtful look and say, "I always wondered what macadam roads were made of."

Rocky Road ice cream was not welcome, however, as marshmallows were texturally unpleasant for this palate.

Mug cakes might be investigated one of these days.

#23 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:37 AM:

*looks around, admires new Open Thread digs*

*settles in for good conversation*

#24 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:56 AM:

Angiportus: I was mildly dismayed* to discover that I have extremely conservative taste in sweets.

  • Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, only, thank you. NO NUTS, dammit.
  • Vanilla chocolate chip Haägen Dazs. Not mint. Coffee chip will do in a pinch.
  • Coffee Haägen Dazs.
  • No marshmallows in my cocoa, thank you. Whipped cream? Sure!
  • Chocolate malted milkshake. But with basic chocolate ice cream, not Belgian chocolate.**

And, sadly, it seems that (aside from cookies), I'm more of a milk chocolate fan. In principle, I subscribe to the thesis that Dark Is Better. But in practice, I find milk to be better just-eatin' chocolate.

This is not to say that I'll turn down other stuff if offered, but this is my personal dessert profile.

* Because it conflicts with my self-identification as being Open and Flexible.

** Did that once by mistake; I thought sure my arteries were going to solidify on the spot. Which surprised me, because I would have classed chocolate as definitely being in the category of "if some is good, more is better."

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:09 AM:

Okay, I won't make you any chocolate chip cookies. (The standard recipe in my family includes nuts and oatmeal.)
(I like mint-chocolate chip ice cream, too. But it's off my diet now.)

#26 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:12 AM:

May I just point out that the following is an excellent pentameter line?

Le gâteau forêt noire was served "en pot"

Now if someone else would simply supply 13 more like it, satisfying a few requirements of form and one or two of sense, we'd have a proper sonnet.

I wish I had the time, but a lot of tedious things are in my way right now.

Still, this suggests itself as second:

the wellingtonic beef was served "en croute"

#27 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:38 AM:

Niall McAuley @#12 -

Thanks! That could very well be the satellite. I never even thought of checking Heaven's Above afterwards

#28 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:40 AM:

I don't know if it's been reported already, but the View All By link is returning a 500 error.

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:48 AM:

I made waffle brownies (or were they brownie waffles?) the other day.

Terribly hard to peel out of the iron, which was non-stick and well oiled. Ended up really crisp. Tasted fine, but hard and crumbly.

#30 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:53 AM:

Hass avocados.

#31 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:08 PM:

I was consistently unable to spell “fuchsia” correctly until realizing the flower must’ve been eponymed for a Herr/Frau(lein) Fuchs.

Hood makes a delicious coffee Oreo ice cream, but its supply is fearfully inconsistent in the nearest stores I can get to. Which reminds me— since moving to New England, I have not seen frozen cranberry cocktail concentrate anywhere. Is this just a regional cranberry drought? (which seems odd, considering how many cranberries are grown around here) Or has the product weirdly disappeared from the market, like the unrefrigerated analogue that used to be in the bottled juice aisles?

#32 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:12 PM:

@Dave Bell no. 8: And don't forget that the non-food side of veganism often pushes the use of petroleum products. Fake fur and fake leather are made from plastic. Going faux doesn't necessarily mean reducing human impact on the planet.

In the temperate zone, old-fashioned mixed farming combined with new knowledge about soil health and such may be the least impactful way to get food. Animals (mammals and birds, with a fishpond somewhere on the property) graze in multi-species groups; the land is never left bare, but rotated through crops that variously produce food and manure the soil. I also note from a recent reread of Lost Country Life by Dorothy Hartley that there was very little garbage because there was a process in place for repurposing everything. Old-fashioned country cottages had animal hair mixed into the plaster because the tanneries sold the hair and associated gunk for that purpose, and the hair-plaster mixture was especially durable. Every useless byproduct of industrial processes--ears left from tanning rabbit hides, sand moved in order to get at useful deposits underneath, etc.--was used to fertilize or lighten soil. There's no modern way to get some of our useful waste to where it can become something other than, well, waste.

#33 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:38 PM:

Julie L. @31: Cranberry cocktail is readily available here in Ottawa, as both the bottled unrefrigerated stuff and the frozen concentrate. Perhaps it's a regional issue?

#34 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:47 PM:

Leonhart Fuchs, actually. His botanical plates are worth looking at: you can recognize most of the plants without problems.

#35 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 01:47 PM:

Joel @33: Ready-to-drink cranberry cocktail is still available here, in an ever-increasing range of flavor blends (pomegranate, pineapple, mango etc.). Unrefrigerated concentrate used to be shelved beside them in containers similar to drink boxes ~20 years ago iirc.

I really miss not being able to make a pitcher of iced tea with a can of frozen cran-raspberry concentrate— it’s possible to replicate by replacing 1/4 of the volume of iced tea with unsweetened cranberry juice and some sugar, but then the sugar needs to dissolve. Also, no raspberry flavor that way. I prolly just need to prep some simple syrup with raspberry extract from the baking aisle.

#36 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 02:05 PM:

Fusion cuisine: Tesco's tandoori spice is basically pork rub. Paprika, salt, garlic, onion, ginger, etc, with a little bit of coriander and fenugreek. Turns out that it's good on reheated leftover bratwurst as well.

Also Chaat Masala is really good for quick refried beans. Main flavors are cumin, pepper, and sour.

#37 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 02:27 PM:

Julie L. @35: Rather than worrying about getting the sugar to dissolve in the tea, make simple syrup and keep it on hand in the fridge: it's 1:1 sugar and water, heat on stove until sugar is completely dissolved, store. This is much cheaper than syrups in stores, And if you want to play with flavoring it, it's relatively easy: add flavoring while boiling (grated ginger is excellent for this), keep warm for half-an-hour, then decant through a strainer. We use one of those plastic restaurant syrup containers to keep it in the fridge: easily holds a 1-pint-each recipe, which makes about 1.3 pints of syrup.

#38 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 03:08 PM:

Eric @36: "Turns out that it's good on reheated leftover bratwurst as well."

So very close to a Berlin currywurst!

#39 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 03:13 PM:

eric, #36: Garam masala is also really good for sauteing sweet potato fries. Depending on the brand, you might need to add a little extra cinnamon.

#40 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 05:56 PM:

Mug brownies/cakes are often incredibly difficult to scrub out of the mug.


#41 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 05:58 PM:

I used to long for the Mocha Espresso shakes from Avogadro's Number back home. I recently found (now that I have to make milkshakes a rare treat) a nearby substitute. The Pittsford Dairy's chocolate shake, with an Espresso shot (or two) added tastes darn close. I think if the chocolate in the shake was darker, it would be even closer.

#42 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 06:14 PM:

Today is National Coming Out Day.

Pursuant to that, and because not all of you have known me Forever®, hi.

If you didn't think you knew any transgender people, but you know me, you know a trans person, because I r wun.

Specifically, I am a transgender man (I was assigned female at birth). I am, more than that, a gay transgender man, because I am partnered with a cisgender (!trans) man.

Because I am also an extroverted nerd and an activist and educator, I am also willing to answer any sincere question, from basic to advanced, about the transgender experience and LFBTQIA+ issues more generally.

Email me via gmail, to the username 2ells2tees -- it would probably derail here too much. Though I suppose a thread could be started for Talking About Coming Out Day Stuff if there's enough general interest.

#43 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 06:51 PM:

I would be perfectly content to capitalize "Sandwich" and "Nachos" from here on out. And "Pasteurized milk."

#44 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 07:23 PM:

Elliott Mason @40 -- I've made mug cakes a number of times, and haven't had any trouble cleaning the mugs. It's just been a matter of leaving them soaking with warm water for an hour or two, then using a gentle scrubbing pad on the softened residue.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 07:48 PM:

When I make one, it will be in a roundish-bottomed mug. Because it's the corners that are a pain to clean. (I'd even consider getting a couple of mugs for nothing else.)

#46 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:03 PM:

Tomorrow I make round two of a layered spice cake, made from scratch, with home-made cream cheese frosting. It's going to be an auction item at a political fundraiser. SUCH PRESSURE!

The practice round, distributed at a committee meeting, went over well. I used "cake bands," made from a cotton wipe-up towel, around the pans to reduce crowning. Surprised how well that worked! Also sifted the flour, and used special cake flour.

I'm hoping to use a more powerful blender for the final beating of the batter; my stand mixer can go very fast but at high speeds the stuff being mixes tops the sides.

I hope to heck the cake makes at least $20; I spent that much on ingredients. (Of course I'll still have the spices I laid out for . . .)

Wish me luck.

#47 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:20 PM:

Best of luck, Stefan!

I haven't contributed baked goods to a charity auction, but I have been the auctioneer: at the one I'm thinking of, we had 4 pies from the same cook. First one went for around $30; the last went for well over $100. as people got into the bidding. So I'll just say a lot depends on the auctioneer, and where you are in the bidding cycle -- I was completely shameless about working the audience.

#48 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:36 PM:

I've had things like my cheesecake brownies and chocolate-chip peanut pie go at auction for fan funds such as Interfilk, and do quite nicely.

#49 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:19 PM:

I have been forbidden (by myself) to consume butter, or any other fat that is solid at room temperature, ever again, on pain of gallbladder pain. For some reason, I'm reading cookbooks full of things I cannot eat.

The latest one (Cookie Love by Mindy Segal) contains an awesome idea for brownies. Make your brownies in a pan with some parchment tabs hanging out. Cool COMPLETELY. Then get yourself some cocoa-flavored puffed rice cereal, such as Cocoa Krispies, and mix it with some melted chocolate. Spread this over the top of the brownies, cool again, lift out by the tabs, and cut. You do have to eat up the brownies within a couple of days or the crispy part will have gone soft, so they'd be great for a fundraiser.

#50 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:21 PM:

In re chocolate: my local supermarket carries a frou-frou gourmet brand of ice cream called Coolhaus. I tried their "Chocolate Molten Cake" when it was on sale for a dollar off, and have become addicted to it. I am mostly able to exercise reasonable portion control, so its being on the expensive side isn't too budget-breaking.

I cannot recommend Juliette et Chocolat highly enough, to anyone here who might find themself in Montreal.

Elliott@15: I did not know that about German chocolate cake! Nifty.

I have known you long enough to know that you're trans. (I in fact know someone else via Dreamwidth whose circumstances are not unlike yours, namely Yoon Ha Lee.) But National Coming Out Day is cool, and I hadn't heard of it. So in its honor I'll note that I consider myself bisexual – although as someone monogamously married to a woman, I am straight for most practical purposes.

Theophylact@30: You have reminded me of Bartlett pears and Meyer lemons.

Using Google may be cheating, but it turned up an article in Mental Floss that lists in addition to what we've already mentioned: Chicken à la King; Salisbury steak; Cobb salad; beef Stroganoff; fettucine Alfredo; and pizza Margherita.

#51 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:45 PM:

David G @50 -- leaving out the officially "married" part -- completely with you on the coming uut meme.

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:02 PM:

I tell people:
Reading cookbooks is fun. You're only in trouble if you actually eat the food in them.

(I prefer dead-tree editions, but I do have some as e-books. The NY Times cookbook by Amanda Hesser is fun - it has recipes going back into the 19th century, including one for green tea ice cream, from the 1870s (IIRC). Newer cookbooks tend to be heavy on the pretty pictures and light on the recipes: more coffee-table books than working books.)

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 06:13 AM:

Elliott Mason @42: it would probably derail here too much.

Dude. It's an Open Thread. Still in its double-digits. What's to derail?

And besides which, with that comment number?? ;)

#54 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 08:58 AM:

Elliott @ #40:
If you have a somewhat shallow, microwave-safe soup/cereal/pasta bowl, I find you can substitute it for the mug. Also, you can then turn out the cake and cut it into small slices.

#55 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:24 AM:


It took me a while to figure out the common thread in all of this, but I think I've got it now:

This is all about coming out, and the sticky bits that are left behind in the pan when you do.

I guess it's related to the problem of breaking the mold? Or does this all sound half-baked?

If I'm still missing the point here, then I know you'll help me out. You are all smart cookies.

#56 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:36 AM:

Hey, is Wikipedia down or is my computer doing a thing again?

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:42 AM:

Try one of the Pyrex storage dishes - I use the 2-cup size for making hot cereal.

#58 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 10:04 AM:

@55, <snork>

#59 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 10:12 AM:

#55 takes the cake.

#60 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 11:58 AM:

Well, damn.

The guy behind the fantasy game-world Glorantha, home to the Runequest RPG and two old school board games ("White Bear, Red Moon" and "Nomad Gods") has died.

#61 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 12:39 PM:

Jenny Islander (56): I can get to Wikipedia just fine right now. If you still can't, then the problem is probably on your end.

#62 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 02:56 PM:

AKICIML: My RF wireless headphones are physically falling apart.

I am poor. The cheap wireless headphones are Bluetooth. My TV is not Bluetooth-enabled.

Preliminary research suggests the thing I need is called a Bluetooth dongle, and that I can plug it into the headphone jack on my TV and achieve wireless bliss.

Is that correct? Are there significant range limitations? I live in a tiny apartment, but sometimes go into the other room during commercials. Will this still work?

With the RF ones I could not only hear from anywhere in the apartment, I could go a full flight down the stairs before they began to be spotty. I don't expect that kind of performance from Bluetooth, but I don't know what I should expect.

#63 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 05:27 PM:

The bottle of allspice I bought the other day turned out to be . . . kernels, or seeds, or whatever the natural form is.

Bought a coffee grinder, ground some seeds.

Oh, lord, what an amazing scent!

#64 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 05:33 PM:

@Stefan Jones no. 63: Berries! Unripe ones, to be precise.

Can you imagine just...having an allspice tree in your backyard. Wow.

#65 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 05:47 PM:

I make no general claim that butter alternatives are more virtuous than butter. I, personally, cannot digest butter. Thus, I believe margarine or oil or banana is better for my own health, and labeling ingredients on what one brings to a potluck demonstrates the virtue of hospitality.

I discovered baking parchment after I had been baking for decades. Amazing stuff. I wonder if it would work for mug cakes? It probably would make it less fun to eat.

For those who like the chocolate-cherry combination, but not the dairy, here is a cookie recipe:
Mix in the order given, in large bowl.
0.5 cup cherry preserves
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup bland vegetable oil (ie, canola)
2 teaspoons flavoring extract of your choice (vanilla, orange, kirsch, almond...a person might use kirsch if it did not give them migraines.)

Mix 2/3 cup cocoa powder with 1.5 cup self-rising flour. Add dry to wet in 3 parts to make soft dough. Teaspoon of dough, roll ball, flatten on cookie sheet so it looks like a cookie. They won't spread out much in cooking. Bake 10-14 minutes at 350 F. Test w/ toothpick.

#66 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:10 PM:

On the advice of various luminarians on Twitter, my spice cakes now have cardamom in addition to the recommended spices.

I tasted some of the crumbs and flakes. Ohhhh, my!

Oregon's governor is going to be at that fundraiser; NO PRESSURE!

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:18 PM:

My mother put allspice (ground) in shortcakes and the dough for cobblers.
(I have allspice berries on my shelf.)

#68 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 10:11 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 42:

Completely unknowingly, the day that I emailed my father to tell him that I was dating a guy was national coming out day. I was amused when he pointed it out.

oldster @ 55:


Xopher Halftongue @ 62:

I can't speak to any of the various Bluetooth adapters, but you should get a minimum of 35 feet indoors out of them, unless your walls are lined with lead. Searching for a Bluetooth TV adapter will get you a bunch of hits. You will want to check reviews before you buy a particular one, because some introduce noticeable audio lag.

Qualified, "dongle" is a term for a thingy that you plug into a thingy to give it the specified extra functionality. Unqualified, in the computer field at least, it's a device you plug into your computer that's paired with a specific piece of expensive software, and that software will only run with the dongle present.

#69 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 11:19 PM:

Adrian @65: I, personally, cannot digest butter.

Does this include clarified butter (ghee)? Does the absence of milk solids makes enough of a difference to work for you? No agenda; just curious. (And I totally get that the answer might be "disinclined to chance it.")

labeling ingredients on what one brings to a potluck demonstrates the virtue of hospitality.

See also: the office snack pool. I've gotten nailed twice now by occult flax. Second one unconfirmed, because it was apparently a mix, and the box had been disposed of before  contamination  content could be verified. :-\

#70 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 01:37 AM:

Stefan Jones @66: one of my secrets to making an amazing pecan pie is adding a dusting of allspice once it's cooked. (The other secrets are toasting the pecans, about half-again as many as the recipe calls for; and having my partner Karen make the crust.)

#71 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 01:02 PM:

Stefan Jones #66: I like cardamom, I put it in my coffee. Also chocolate-chip cookies, which are a hit at parties.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 02:15 PM:

There's a recipe in SFGate for chocolate sables - it's celebrating Guittard's 150th year.

#73 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 10:40 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @62:

Similar story — the problem I banged my head against was latency.

This was a few months ago, so I'm can't recall if my TV or player had bluetooth built in or if I needed a transmitter. I did pick up some cheap headphones.

Watching TV, there was a slight lag between the display and the sound, which made everything look like a badly lip-synced movie. Apparently standard bluetooth has a lag — which is hardly a problem if you're listening to a music player, but is annoying if you're watching video.

I picked up another transmitter and another set of headphones which were supposed to have minimal latency — but the sound was prone to weird drops and there was a background ponging sound like someone was playing racket ball in the next room. Both the transmitter and the headphones were made by the same company, and in their instructions they cautioned that wi-fi might cause interference.

The next step would have been to test the headphones with another bluetooth device to see if the problems were in the headphones or in the transmitter. I had enough other things to do that I never got back to it (and no compelling reason to do so).

The headband on my old RF headphones were the part that was coming apart — I think the speakers might still work. I may someday try to cobble something together if I find an old pair of headphones in a thrift store that look like they might be compatible with the speakers I have.

#74 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 09:36 AM:

I know some software has a setting to delay picture relative to the sound, and there's a "latency offset" available in the sound driver settings on my Linux box, but I can't find anything on my TV that does the same.

Since picture and sound in digital recording are both compressed and interleaved in the stream of data, there's buffering involved for both, so a TV or digtalTV box could have a setting, but does the manufacturer think it's worth the bother of letting the user change it?

#75 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 12:05 PM:

Rob Rusick #73: I picked up another transmitter and another set of headphones which were supposed to have minimal latency — but the sound was prone to weird drops and there was a background ponging sound like someone was playing racket ball in the next room. Both the transmitter and the headphones were made by the same company, and in their instructions they cautioned that wi-fi might cause interference.

Yeah, well if the data isn't there yet but the front end is insisting "now!", something's gotta give... Following on Dave Bell, SMPlayer (which is cross-platform) has latency settings (in fact they're prominent enough to hit them accidentally. ;) ). Dunno about TVs.

#76 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:04 PM:

#8 Dave

"2: Most of the meat we get comes from factory farming, which depends on arable land to feed the livestock. The livestock keeping is abusive, and the numbers on the food per acre are horrible. Effectively the number of livestock per acre is pretty high, 50 times what the number can be for those arid areas, but some of the propaganda will use the total area in a way that counts 2-hectares-per-sheep uplands with 25-sheep-per-hectare fertilised grassland. They're not interchangeable."

The Nunes "family farm" in -IOWA- [they quietly moved from California... Devin Nunes doesn't want the public noticing... ] is a dairy farm with 2000 cows on fewer than 50 acres of land, and the employees seem to be undocumented Hispaniphones from south of the US border. A reporter writing an article found himself tailed be vehicles which turned out to be owned and operated by members of the extended Nunes family, and there were lots of thinly veiled threats and hostility aimed in his direction researching the article....

#77 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:27 PM:

#17 Mary

Beef Wellington
Sara Lee cakes
Aunt Jemima pancakes/waffles

Similar but not quite the same thing
Parker House rolls
Boston cream pie
Baker's Chocolate
Ghiradelli Chocolate
Cape Cod Potato Chips

#78 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:32 PM:


Thank you, Avram, for opening a new open thread!

#79 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:46 PM:

Rob 73: Thanks so much for this! I hadn't thought about latency. I'll make it a keyword in my searches going forward.

The headband is the part of my RFs that went, as well. Currently I'm wearing them with a folded cloth between the headband and my head; this looks silly, which doesn't matter much since I live alone, but also tends to fall off when I bend down, which is annoying as hell.

#80 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 06:15 PM:

There's a wonderful-sounding chocolate cake recipe in today's New York Times Magazine: "Bittersweet Chocolate-Almond Cake With Amaretti Cookie Crumbs". (This is one Dorie Greenspan made for Julia Child.)

#81 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 06:29 PM:

Note: This is a gluten-free recipe; amaretti are made without flour, as is the cake. Of course, if you're allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs, or chocolate, fuhgeddaboudit.

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 07:22 PM:

Ghirardelli is/was a real family in San Francisco; Ghirardelli Square is their old factory, turned into shopping.

#83 ::: Venus ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 07:32 PM:

Regarding 8/9/76: My take is that we need, as a species, to understand how to get a big portion of calories off non-arable land, because arable land will no longer be arable PDQ. The most hopeful solution I've seen means using grazing meat animals in ultra-traditional ways (think Africa, South America).

I live in the heartland, where calorie crops (wheat, corn, soy) are grown.

Weather pattern shifts are destroying the naturally occurring irrigation. Most calorie crops depend on an inch of water per week, *every* week, to survive, and temperatures that go from low to medium to low again, in a specific range/time.

Both of these are breaking, and they are breaking hard. (See the Chinese climate change report, if curious.)

My area of the country was in a D3 (extreme) level drought for most of the growing season, with most crops at 'poor' level. Recently several enormous storms dumped 3-4 inches in a week, so that 'mitigated' the drought level, but crops just don't work that way--they can't use that water, it just destroys the soil.

These shifts are becoming more vigorous. We're getting cold snaps at strange times, heat waves that burn, water that doesn't soak in, rain that pounds the ground.

All of these destroy the pattern of weather necessary for our main calorie crops. (It also destroys cash crops like tomatoes, but we can live w/out tomatoes.) Right now, we're compensating for some of this w/ petroleum based fixes, but that isn't sustainable. Even good farming practices (crop rotations, soil management, etc) can't compensate for these extremes. Agriculture is going to break.

Anyway, the good news is that there *are* plants that can handle these bizarre weather patterns. Weeds, basically. While humans can't eat the weeds, some meat animals can (goats, eg).

What many ag people are excited about is that there's a solution *at all*. Yes, it will take a lot more actual acreage to feed humans using meat goats eating weeds, 100% absolutely. But it can be done, even if the world's weather crashes. That's hopeful, even if it will be really, really hard.

Personally, I don't believe social-pressure based food choice is going to matter much on this issue. Be vegan, eat local meat, both lack enough direct impact. The majority of the change that needs to happen is at a government/international agribusiness level, and that's not dictated by the decision of a single person to eat buffalo burger vs bean burger. It needs to be tariffs, extension offices, farm subsidies, Paris accords.

#84 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 09:06 PM:

Venus @83: some "weeds" are quite edible, and even tasty. I'm reminded of my favorite definition of a weed: a plant which is growing where you don't want it. Fennel, blackberries, thistles like artichoke, bamboo -- all weeds.

Agreed that growing them is not usually a good way to have a cash crop.

#85 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 09:35 PM:

I remember a quote: a weed is a plant without guile.

#86 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 10:51 PM:

Among others, Oscar Romero, murdered archbishop of San Salvador, was today canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

#87 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 10:03 AM:

Swapping out half the chocolate chips for cinnamon chips in chocolate-chip cookies can elevate them to the near-sublime...if you like cinnamon with your chocolate.

#88 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 10:09 AM:

Re weeds: There is a plant called "Polish millet," "millet" in the sense that it doesn't produce much, but doesn't need much either, so you grow it when bread grains fail. It doesn't come ripe all at once, and it grows in tussocks, so it's not amenable to the field cultivation we apply to wheat--but if you can only gather a little at a time and you can't plow at all, it could save your life.

If you live in the temperate zone, you have probably seen it and you may have spent quite a bit of money trying to get rid of it. It is also known as Digitaria sanguinalis: crab grass.

#89 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 10:14 AM:

Xopher@62 and following:

On RF headphones that are falling apart, with the failure being in the head-straddling support structure:

I can think of a couple methods of salvaging the assembly by basically splinting it, that will work for most similar types of head-mounted ear-gear.

1.) find a plastic hair-band - of the sort that fits over the top of the head, rather than elastic - that fits well enough not to hurt. Glue or duct-tape busted heaphone supports to it, using it as an endoskeleton. Most have some sort of "nubs" on the bottom to hold hair, those may need to be taped over or covered in thin foam or similar.

2.) like 1 but substitute "alien antenna" headband or similar novelty product for endoskeleton. Missing the part that's novelty makes it cheaper/free as raw material.

3.) as Rob Rusick @73 mentions, stripping a pair of thrift-store headphones down to the support structure can be used instead of a hair-band. Might be able to mount speakers "like the factory did it", otherwise tape/glue/etc. like 1 and 2.

4.) an elastic-type headband/sweatband of the sort that covers the ears may be used to hold the dismounted speakers to the ears, if it isn't too tight. Probably need to finish removing the broken over-the-head support structure and poke the "hinges" or whatever that mount the speakers to it through the headband.

5.) similar to 3 but use a stocking cap.

6.) chunk of metal coathanger as splint - cut to length, bend to shape over head, duct-tape or glue broken headphone bits to it. Pad as needed. I use coathanger splints for a *lot* of make-it-work repairs, like reinforcing a busted laundry basket handle.

7.) if the speakers are loud enough when not pressed against the ears, and sound quality doesn't suffer too much, dangle them from a hat. Will take a bit of work with the attachment method (glue/tape/wire/string/other) to keep them from flopping around too much, but the idea is to make them like ear-flaps on a hunting cap or similar.

Note that most of these suggestions are semi-permanent, so you need to adjust the repaired assembly until it fits OK before you finish gluing/taping/other it down all the way. Unlikely to be adjustable after splinting.

Don't have any better BT suggestions than anyone else, and I hadn't heard about the latency issue either.

#90 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 01:26 PM:

Rob Rusick @73: latency

Once during kindergarten, a coworker's son's class did a project where each student was to become the "class expert" on some topic. Coworker's son chose as his topic brachiosaurs.* So after he'd given his presentation, the class was asked if they had questions. One classmate held up his hand, and wanted to know, "So, how long does it take them to swallow."

Which, you know, is actually a brilliant question.

* Quiet, you. This is a "family friendly" comment.

Venus @83: The most hopeful solution I've seen means using grazing meat animals in ultra-traditional ways (think Africa, South America)

The tricky part there is that a lot of times grazing leads to deforestation, and the trick to reforestation can often require keeping domestic ruminants off of the land you're trying to keep in forest.

Tom Whitmore @84: Agreed that growing them is not usually a good way to have a cash crop.

It's my understanding that companion-planting can actually substantially increase productivity. The trick of course is that this does not admit of current mechanized harvesting tech. I've heard it said (I think it was here on ML, actually) that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were masters at domesticating landscapes such that hunting and gathering was far more efficient than what we generally think of today. I doubt that, even at their heights, they were dealing with anything like the population densities we're coping with now, however.

cajunfj40 @89 metal coathanger

Coathangers are one of the basic structural elements of the Universe. I'm constantly on the lookout. I don't do dry-cleaning, so I don't have an automatic supply, but I use them a lot, both for art and for practical things.

reinforcing a busted laundry basket handle

I've started repairing a lot of plastic items, instead of buying new. Not only does that preserve loyal-and-true old items that really work for me, but ecology! I've taken to saving various color plastic lids off things, so I have a palette to work from. (I just repaired the battery door on my little digital camera!) Also with the wire reinforcing! (So it'll break in a different place, next time.)

#91 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 02:52 PM:

ISTR reading someweb (but can’t find it right now) that the 19th-century introduction of sweet potatoes to coastal China provided a huge launchpad for the Chinese diaspora, because they could produce an enormous nutritional yield without requiring the construction/maintenance of rice paddy terraces in monsoon-prone mountainous terrain. So fewer people dying of starvation -> population boom -> not enough land to share out, so go forth overseas? If so, an interesting reverse-reflection of the Irish Potato Famine.

With apologies to Jacque, guinea pigs are apparently very good household livestock; possibly quieter than chickens, but no egg production so you just have to eat them. Dunno whether escaped ferals could get invasive like rabbits, though.

#92 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 04:13 PM:

Julie L.: My current boss lived in Peru as a kid, reported seeing tunnels in the houses behind the hearth, where the pigs lived. The ones you find in pet stores are very thoroughly domesticated. I deduce this by the fact that California (being really paranoid about their agriculture) hasn't, so far as I know, banned them outright. (Pet owners will not uncommonly release them into the "wild," which doesn't tend to end well for the pig. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.)

Based on the behavior of my crew, they are strongly genetically selected to upcycle maize by-products. My kids will grudgingly eat the kernals when all the "good stuff" (i.e., the husks and the silk) is gone.

I think this domestication also speaks to their very sweet nature. Obnoxious cuis tended to get "invited" to dinner.

There is a wild counterpart (which I've heard is actually extinct in the wild), which I would expect are very much more wily and skittish around prospective predators.

I gather also that cui tends to be a special-occasion kind of dish. Though guinea pigs are actually kinda hard not to breed, if they're free-roaming in the house.

#93 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 04:25 PM:

Friend ate cui when he went through South America on his way home (IIRC) from the Galapagos. He said it was like rabbit. (His mother had raised rabbits for food, so his is an informed opinion.)

#94 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 05:10 PM:

@Jacque no. 92: I've also seen a photo, from perhaps a milder part of Peru, of a cui barn. The owner had built an itsy bitsy drystone barn using itsy bitsy flat-sided rocks, everything neatly squared away, all walls flush. I still wonder how much of that was The Aesthetic(TM). Or somebody fired up about local architectural history.

#95 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 07:41 PM:

On a subject (formerly?) dear to our hosts' hearts: With Europe's Hamsters At Risk, Better Call The 'Hamster Commish'.

Named foods:
plants: Vidalia onions. Rome (Ohio) apples, McIntosh apples, Fuji apples -- there are probably lots of these; ISTM that the name loses its capital when it's submerged, as in fuchsia (noted above), boysenberry, etc. There are an incredible number of varieties of hops, almost all named for something -- some a location (Hallertau, Tettnang) and some for the grower who recognized them (Goldings, Fuggles) -- although the burbanked monstrosities developed recently seem more inclined to brand names (Centennial, Citra).
Prepped foods: Delmonico potatoes (a prep) and steak (a cut), steak Diane, crepes Suzette (to go with bananas Foster), and less modern ones such as Yorkshire pudding, Welsh rarebit, Scotch egg, Eccles cake (I miss the local place that made good ones -- the factory imports just don't cut it) -- there's probably hundreds of these.

#96 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 07:52 PM:

A lot of old place names have lost their capitals: champagne, cognac, armagnac, calvados (is there a theme here? is the connection not hooch but the name being the thing rather than labeling something else?), but Wikipedia says it's properly Gouda cheese; Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a stretch, as it's the adjectival form of the name.

#97 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 08:20 PM:

CHip @96: i suspect that some of those are still protected regional appellations within the EU.

Bing cherries were developed by and named for a Chinese migrant worker in Oregon.

wrt cui barns (which now I have to find pix of), there’s an entire category of dovetcote architecture, such as the columbarium. City pigeons are pretty successful feral livestock.

#98 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 08:27 PM:

CHip @96:

The English language does have the concept of "proper adjectives", which are adjectival forms of the proper noun. It's standard form for proper adjectives to be capitalized like the noun they are based on. This leads to capitalized proper adjectives based on places, like "English", are most common, but I've seen others.

So I see nothing wrong, in English, with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I can also see a distinction being made between muenster cheese (a mild style of cheese made in the US) and Muenster cheese (a rind-washed cheese made in Muenster).

#99 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2018, 12:09 AM:

Foods named after people -- has anyone yet mentioned Peach Melba and Melba toast?

Julie, #97: Squab was a popular dish during the Great Depression (when most people still knew how to butcher and clean animals) because pigeon fledglings reach nearly their full growth before they can actually fly, which makes harvesting them relatively easy.

#100 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2018, 03:12 AM:

Rome apples are named for Rome township in Lawrence County, not for the village of Rome in Adams County nor for Rome township in Ashtabula County. Rome, Ohio is not a unique name.

So down south maybe they should graze goats on kudzu, then dig up the roots for the edible starch?

#101 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2018, 10:40 PM:

cajunfj40 89: These are all good suggestions. I don't have hair on top of my head, so the nubbly plastic hair bands won't work, but most of the other suggestions are well worth investigating. Thank you!

#102 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 02:26 AM:


We got a cat because we live close enough to a harbor that otherwise we would have rats. He had been surrendered to the shelter by a family that loved him because the new baby turned out to have an awful allergy to pet dander from birth, and you can't give antihistamines to a neonate. He has lived most of his life with us.

He was all business for a while. "Feed me, water me, change my litterbox, and leave me alone" was his style. But the older he gets, the more he bustles around minding our business. Lately he has decided that if anybody besides Salmon Man (my husband) is out of the house, he will wait for them outside, not inside, even if it's uncomfy. When the car pulls up, he will escort whoever gets out of it to the door. Because we live on a hillside, you sort of have to park the car in two stages, first to let people out, then to park in the sheltered area jammed between the house and the neighbor's embankment, where there's only room for the driver to get in. So he escorts the passengers, then returns to his post to await the driver. If you take too long putting away your key or whatever, he gets Quite Miffed.

Tonight it was blustery and I was taking Lappy (my middle child) to a school thing. Kitty was outside, wanting in, until he noticed that Lappy and Cooking Lady (that's me) were going out, at which point he did a little dance of frustration while Salmon Man laughed at him. Finally he zipped up the steps to the driveway ahead of us. He had a job to do and he was gonna do it, darn it, weather or no weather!

#103 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 06:04 AM:

Steve C. @ 10:
UN projections show an increase to 9 billion by 2070 and then a slow decline. That is something we've never encountered before.

Current (well, 2017) UN projections[*] suggest an increase to about 11 billion by 2100, at which point the population is still (very slowly) increasing.

[*] You may need to select "WORLD" from the pop-up menu, since it tends to default to the projections for just Afghanistan.

#104 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 10:01 AM:

CHip @96: When I've seen calvados, it's been capitalized still. Maybe it's in transition?

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 11:49 AM:

Jenny Islander: "Damn these humans take a lot of lookin'-after."

#106 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 01:04 PM:

Wines (and liquors) are often place-names Chianti, Champagne, Burgundy, Cognac, Bourbon, Sherry [Jerez], Port [Oporto], Madeira.

Dishes are often named for celebrities or celebrated events: Chicken [Luisa] Tetrazzini, Lobster Thermidor (in honor of a play of that name), chicken Marengo (a place-name, but a Napoleonic victory)

#107 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 04:51 PM:


one etymology of "mayonnaise", not universally accepted, traces it back to Richelieu's victory over the British at Port Mahon in 1756.

#108 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 07:57 PM:

Xopher@62, Bluetooth dongles are available extremely cheaply from AliExpress or DealExtreme, if you can wait a few weeks for shipping from China and maybe pay 25% extra for Trump Trade War Tax.

There are two main flavors
- Transmitter (plug the audio jack into a sound source, send BT to BT headphones/etc.) You need this if you're using BT headphones, or a BT receiver with regular headphones/speakers. Mine cost ~$4-5.
- Receiver (plug speaker or headphones into the audio jack, receive BT from a PC or other BTtransmitter.) You either need this + regular headphones, or else BT headphones and not this. I've seen them for $2-3.

Both of them need some kind of power supply; transmitters typically have a USB plug for power and a built-in rechargeable battery and an on-off-reset button. (I bought one because it turns out that my laptop, through whatever combination of Dell, Windows, and $DAYJOB IT dept settings, is very good at talking to BT mice and keyboards but incompetent at talking to BT headsets, especially if they ever get powered down for recharging.) Mine seems to be really picky about whether the USB power comes from the PC (with 60-cycle hum and other noise) or a generic USB wall-wart charger (nice and quiet.) I don't know if more expensive ones are really any better or not.

#109 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 12:16 AM:

So the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that alt-right folks have taken to chanting Harry Potter is not real -- how much of 20th C kidlit do you have to repudiate to make this work? Nesbit through Gaiman, there's more multiculturalism in kid's books than I could possibly list. Nicky Drayden's Temper> for a really current example, is completely outside this idea. For locals: think about Jane Yolen, just to list one semi-regular poster.

Trying to hide from multiculturalism is about as wise as hiding from automobiles in the 1950s. That battle was lost a few decades ago.

#110 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 12:53 AM:

@Jacque no. 105: And all he asks for in return is a few simple little things. Like being let in and out and in and out in the wee hours of a worknight. We are contemplating returning the house to the old double-safety-cat-door system: one hole cut into the wall giving access to the basement stairs, and another cut into the fabric of the house on the other side of the basement. The floors would be a lot colder, but we would get more sleep!

Today Salmon Man did not eat a can of salmon for lunch. He had soup instead. Kitty was Extremely Put Out. No salmon juice for him? What is this world coming to!

#111 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 01:42 AM:

Karen just passed on to me that apparently Pat Lupoff has died. She was the first woman to receive a Hugo (shared with her husband Dick for the fanzine XERO -- she was also one of the nicest and most gracious people in greater Bay Area fandom. She worked for Dark Carnival for quite a while; and she remained friends with Us at Other Change of Hobbit. I thought it appropriate to mention her here.

#112 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 08:08 AM:

Jenny Islander @110: I've known people who've had some success building a sort of cat foyer bump on the side of the house, with flappy insulated dog/cat doors on both ends of it (and space for 1.5-2 cat lengths between the doors). It works as an airlock, and keeps a good bit of the heat in the house.

Especially if it was on the outside of your stair hole ...

#113 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 09:59 AM:

My parents had something like that, in their house in Texas. Locking (either or both directions) cat door between house and garage, and regular cat door mounted in car garage door. (The one to the house opened onto the bottom shelf of a cupboard, about halfway between garage floor and house floor, and there was a hole in the cupboard floor.) The inside door was exit-only at night, but the garage was insulated enough that the cats had a relatively comfortable area, with water, to nap in.) It also allowed for frisking the cat, in that season - because they'd dry to come in with field mice they'd caught, or larger critters.

#114 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 11:11 AM:

I wonder if the heat-loss could be mitigated by making the lock bi-level: outer door lower than the inner door, so the thermocline threshhold is below the lower edge of the inner door, but above the upper edge of the outer door...? Some sort of ramp or stairs between?

Jenny Islander @110: Kitty was Extremely Put Out. No salmon juice for him? What is this world coming to!

The Ladies have only very recently come to terms with me not dishing out wheatgrass and dandilions (organic, from Whole Foods) when I come home from work. I'd gotten in the habit in Donkey's last year, for maximum little-old-man spoiling. It's been several months.

I still have to top off their hay and pellets, or believe me I hear about it. (I may hear about it anyway; I got a talking-to last night, an hour after I'd given them their dinner.)

#115 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 11:41 AM:

P J Evans @113 - Via the Wayback Machine, here's an article on a system that uses facial recognition with a cat-door "airlock" to block the inner door from opening if the cat is carrying a critter, or if the would-be visitor isn't a cat.

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