27 November 2007

Lack of posts

Hey all (any) who might still be checking it. I haven't been posting anything lately, likely due to my "Autumn mode" kicking in. Those of you who know me well probably know by now that I kinda vanish off the radar for short periods in Spring and Fall.

SO anyway, without further ado...

This morning I was discussing food with Sarah, one of my adult students. She asked if roasted chestnuts were popular in Canada. I'm not sure how popular they are in other parts of Canada but, to the best of my knowledge, they're a bit of a rarity in Newfoundland. We have chestnut trees, but I don't think the nuts are edible. Anyone care to comment on that? She went on to talk about acorns (dotori) and something called dotorimuk, acorn jelly, a popular food here. I've seen it in the open air markets but had no idea what it was. It looks kinda like a cross between jello and tofu. I still haven't tried this delicacy but we're going to a Korean buffet next week which apparently has all manner of Korean food to sample. That should be an interesting day!

Koreans also eat a kind of rice porridge (jook) which is similar to Chinese jook or congee, but made with short grain rice. They add ground pine nuts to one variety of jook, I'll have to see if I can find a place that makes it. I've given up cooking much at home because my fridge is ridiculously small and things go bad or just fill up the fridge without getting used very often.

Today I finished off the last of my Christmas shopping, which is damned early for me, but still probably too late for the packages to get back to Canada in time. Hang in there, you'll have a second Christmas!

While I was shopping in some distant corner of the market I picked up a wooden plane almost exactly the same as the one in the picture at the top of the wikipedia article. I paid about $10 for it, a better price than I've found anywhere else. The best part was when I turned to leave and the older man who sold me the plane stopped me, took the plane from me, removed the cutting blades and ground and honed them. He then checked the "true" of the plane bed and, using a sharp cabinet scraper, proceeded to make the base perfectly true (no bumps or hollows.) When he was done, he showed me how to properly adjust the blade (done with a small hammer or mallet, by eye, there are no screws) and wrapped it up, bowed deeply and handed it back to me. I'm a shopping addict and a packrat, I know the markets inside out and how to shop pretty well here; Korean shops usually have decent service but this had to be the best $10 I've ever spent on anything. Not only did I buy a decent hand-made plane but I got a valuable lesson in the care and feeding of it.



  1. I had a few chestnuts on my tree last year, but I didn't know how to roast them.

  2. ya, a Monk post! Just when I was about to complain about the lack of them.

    "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" - Christmas song that comes to mind.

    When I was little in the T.O. area (especially Santa Claus parade time) there use to be the guys selling cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples etc. and I'm pretty sure I remember chestnut roasting carts. But it's not something I remember seeing in years.

  3. The wild chestnuts we have in NL are more or less inedible. Theres a chemical called saponin in them which causes hemolysis (thats bad). There is a way to get rid of it, but you are just left with a bitter starchy mash. Last night, Julie and I found the edible kind of chestnuts at dominion, we're going to try roasting them tonight.

  4. I had a bit of a look around about why we don't eat the chestnuts in Newfoundland. They're actually Horse Chestnuts, which are, as Will pointed out, pretty toxic. So DON'T EAT THEM! :P


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