Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Stocking Up

Remember those boys who locked themselves in the library conference room last week? Well, I took a closer look at that door, and it turns out that it does have a key lock on the outside. So I didn't need to bruise my knuckles by knocking -- I could have just used my key and opened the door. I was so annoyed by the situation that I just didn't look closely. Anyway, now we've started locking the room when it's not being used, so kids can no longer get in there and lounge around. Problem solved!

Yesterday I was getting coffee in the staff lounge in the morning when I heard some co-workers on the cleaning staff debating the spelling and pronunciation of the word "mistletoe." (Our cleaners are mostly Portuguese, I think, and English is a second language for them.) It was funny hearing them dissect that word and try to understand the spelling -- after all, it is a weird word.

"The hardest word to spell, though, is 'diarrhea,'" said one woman.

I never thought about it before, but she's right. That's a weird word too.

I mentioned that Dave has been making homemade chicken stock. This has turned out to be a ridiculously long and involved process. Here's what it looked like on Sunday, when he was cooking down all the ingredients.

On the plus side, Dave is finally using that gigantic stock pot that I hauled home on the tube years ago. We've never had cause to cook with it, but when Dave picked up our deboned turkey from the butcher (that's another story), he decided to use the bones and giblets -- along with a package of chicken wings we bought by accident and some chicken leftovers -- to make stock.

What this involves is basically cooking the heck out of all the ingredients -- like, simmering it all for hours -- and then straining out the solid stuff. (I put the overcooked chicken meat, minus bones, out in the garden for the foxes, and it disappeared overnight.) This left us with three big bowls of broth, which we had to refrigerate until the next night, when Dave returned it to the stove to reduce until it fit into a single big bowl.

And that's where we are now -- with a big bowl of stock in the fridge. I have no idea what he intends to do with it. I admit I am a Philistine when it comes to culinary matters, so all this seems insane to me. "Can't we just buy a bouillon cube?" I asked him. (Questions like that elicit groans from the chef.)

(Top photo: Some fungus on a tree stump, found on my walk with Olga on Sunday.)


sparklingmerlot said...

You are fortunate to have a chef as a partner! Nothing nicer than home made chicken stock but I am lazy and go the cube route. Will he make soup, I wonder? Or use it as a base for gravy. Can't wait to find out!
The arrogance of teenaged boys never ceases to amaze me - and make me laugh. I love their cheekiness as, usually, they are quick to recognise when they have overstepped the mark.

Andrew said...

Never question or suggest anything to the person who cooks for you. Eat gratefully and mention how good the meal is that you've been served.

I suppose a bullion cube is a stock cube.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

That chicken stock is a beauteous thing to behold - it will add deliciousness to what ever your personal Gordon Ramsay decides to concoct. By the way, you live in England and this is how we spell - diarrhoea! It is the correct spelling... but let us hope that Gordon's chicken stock does not cause it to erupt.

Librarian said...

I have just had a look at your "Autumn on West Heath" pictures. They, along with the first picture of this post, are beautiful. You are right, our autumn and yours look quite similar.
Never in my life have I made chicken (or any other) stock from scratch. I am not very good or experienced at handling meat, but I can make a really nice goulash, as well as a tasty Bolognese. With both, the main ingredient (apart from good quality meat) is time.

Tasker Dunham said...

"Rhythmic" is another good one.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Yes, diarrhea is so annoying.

Unsurprisingly, my first thought was, “Don't they have bullion cubes or turkey broth in London?”

Jennifer said...

A bouillon cube, Steve? Really? Ha! You're lucky you live with a real cook. Count your blessings! :)

Linda Sue said...

Well done, Dave, that looks so good , nutritious, nothing that great chicken broth can not cure!

Colette said...

Stock can always be frozen.

Debby said...

Homemade stock is far healthier. An informal poll of the local fox population indicates that they want Dave to make chicken stock regularly.

Bob said...

As someone who loves making his own chicken stock this, sir ...

"Can't we just buy a bouillon cube?"

... is sacrilege.

Boud said...

That's how I make stock. I have a smaller pot, though. And I freeze it in quart containers. It's what I use for soup. I also make a veggie version, using all the trimmings from the weekly produce, kept frozen until there's enough. I'm glad you have a good cook in the family!

Ms. Moon said...

"Yacht" is another hard word to spell. Luckily, I do not have much need of using that word.
The really good cooks among us do love to make stock. I often find myself freezing things for just that purpose and then months later I find whatever it is I've frozen and throw it out. Well, sometimes I use it.
There is a product called "Better than Bouillon" which I heartily recommend. "Bouillon" is another one of those words.

Ellen D. said...

Well, if you have a gourmet chef doing all of the cooking for you, you should just say thanks! :) That is a huge pot!

ellen abbott said...

I agree, diarrhea is a hard word to spell. in fact I had to look at your spelling of it. and the picture of the stock pot and its contents looks like maybe 6" in the bottom. I'm assuming it's way more than that at least at some point.

Debby said...

I always have to look up souvernir

Sharon said...

LOL...I can imagine that groan. Homemade stock is so much better than anything else. It takes forever and it's a messy process but the result is awesome. I've only done it once though. Way too much work. Dave is a very serious chef!

Catalyst said...

Chefs make their own stock. Beginners and time-savers use boullion cubes or canned or boxed stock from the grocery store.

Marcia LaRue said...

I keep both the chicken and beef versions of Better then Bouillon in my fridge! It really enhances a stock that needs a bit of a boost in flavor! It is sooo much better then the cubes or the granules!
It almost sounds like Dave makes a consomme from his stock! That gets quite gelatinous!

The Bug said...

The english language is ridiculous to learn to spell. I pity my OWN self, much less someone new to the language.

Your question to Dave made me laugh. Ha!

Debby said...

Ha! I just bought the chicken and beef for this house as well!

Allison said...

Back when I was having terrifying arrhythmias, I had to look up the spelling each and every time I used the word. Who thinks up these words?
I will be making stock after Thanksgiving so I don't have to buy it. The prices for a box of stock are just ludicrous. We're having Cornish Game Hens, which I intend to boil for awhile. Dave's stock pot fills me with the desire for a large one, had one but it didn't make the cut in the great downsizing.

gz said...

One word that threw me when I was going through pre 11+ IQ tests was Colonel....said kernel....
Why not freeze the fresh stock in cubes?...ready to use, but not sitting there going "off"

Ed said...

We always make broth out of our turkey and chickens. It is a way to use up veggies going bad in our refrigerator too. Sometimes we just add noodles to it and eat it as chicken/turkey noodle soup but if we have a few jars, I hot water can it so it becomes shelf stable for when we might need it in the future. I smoked two turkeys last week and have three pints of turkey broth chilling in out fridge to be used for gravy and dressing later this week.

jenny_o said...

IMO, life's too short to be making your own stock. lol. I know chefs think otherwise though.

A word I realized late in life is hard to spell is camouflage. Why would we want to put a "u" in there?? Totally unnecessary and makes me understand why it got shortened to camo. All the words in the comments are also crazy. There's a YouTuber who dissects the weird things about mostly the French language, but also English and Spanish, in comedic fashion. In case you want a taste of it, it's this guy: https://www.youtube.com/@loic.suberville
But I suspect you had the gist of it (gist - another strange word) from your overheard conversation!

Glad you got the door business solved!

Margaret said...

Homemade stock is the way to go--bouillon cubes are very salty. Have I ever made stock? No way, I would botch it up plus I find the cooking smell unpleasant. Like wet chicken feathers.

Red said...

Dave went to a tremendous amount of work but the stock will be awesome.

Red said...

Dave went to a lot of work and he has a great product.

Kelly said...

That is a whopper of a stock pot!! Beautiful fungi, too.

Diarrhea can trip me up (haha), so there are times I actually appreciate autocorrect.

Susan said...

Dave's chicken broth was a lot of work. I hope he finds many ways to use it. A nice home made chicken soup with some crusty bread on a cold damp day would be my choice.

River said...

With all that simmering how often did Dave have to wipe condensed steam from the underside of those cabinets?
I cheat and buy my stock in one litre cartons.

Steve Reed said...

Caro: I think it's going to be gravy. As for the teenage boys, I'd be amused if I didn't deal with their arrogance quite so often!

Andrew: Yes, that is generally my rule of thumb too. I'm teasing him more than making an honest suggestion. :)

YP: Yeah, I hope all this talk of "diarrhoea" at Thanksgiving time doesn't bring the evil eye upon us!

Librarian: That's just the kind of dish Dave likes to make -- something that roasts or simmers for ages. For some reason he's very into that.

Tasker: Yes! That (and all its variations) is an impossible word.

Mitchell: Ha! We are cursed with practicality!

Jennifer: Ha! Well, I was kidding, but I really DO like broth from a bouillon cube. (They do have tons of salt, though.)

Linda Sue: The great international cure-all!

Colette: Yeah, we might do that with some of it. I can't imagine Dave is going to need all of this for gravy.

Debby: Oh, I KNOW the foxes were thrilled! (And possibly neighborhood cats.)

Bob: I have no doubt! I was just taunting him.

Boud: It's a good thing I married a cook because I am definitely not one. I can follow a recipe but it brings me no joy.

Ms Moon: The problem with "bouillon" is it's not spelled the way it sounds. At least, not the way we Americans pronounce it. Apparently it's a city in Belgium?

Ellen D: Yes, I do usually just say that. :)

Ellen: Yeah, he only used the bottom third (maybe?) of the pot. It's ridiculously large. As Dave often says, you could cook a fifth-grader in it.

Debby (again!): There are so many words that need a second look. I always struggle with hors d'oeuvre. Fortunately we rarely serve them.

Sharon: He IS a serious chef, and I know he loves these opportunities to use his training.

Catalyst: A beginner and a time-saver -- that's me!

Marcia: It's sort of a consomme, but it's not filtered quite as much.

Bug: When you grow up with English it's hard to appreciate how difficult it is to learn as a second language.

Debby (again, again!): It's good to have the shopping done! We still have to buy a bunch of stuff but fortunately here we're not competing with other people.

Allison: I love Cornish hens! Haven't had them in ages.

GZ: Well, a colonel and a kernel are different things. A colonel is a military officer; a kernel is a tiny bit of corn.

Ed: Canning is a good solution to the problem of how to store so much perishable liquid.

Jenny-O: Yeah, I'm with you on stock! I haven't heard of that You-Tuber, but I think a lot of the mysterious spellings in English come from other languages. (Greek, Latin, Norman French, etc.)

Margaret: It DOES have a rather earthy smell, especially at the beginning.

Red: He did do a lot of work and he hasn't even started on the main course!

Kelly: I also like autocorrect, as long as it's correct. Sometimes it takes a word I want to use and turns it into something else!

Susan: That DOES sound good! With peanut butter on the bread. :)

River: Yeah, we buy packaged stock like that sometimes too. Ours comes in little sealed plastic packages, almost like bags.

Jeanie said...

I can never spell the D-word. Who thought that one up, anyway?

The stock looks wonderful -- I see a lot of chicken soup in your future. Or risotto. It'll be gone before you know it -- or else frozen!