Saturday Tweets: Small Apartments and Big Waves

Poor Man’s Paninni Press

paninni

Go ahead, spend your hard earned dollars on an electric paninni press, yet another one of those counter space hogging single-use appliances. But let me tell you what the hip kids do: wrap a brick in aluminum foil, put your sandwich in the pan and plop that brick on top. Turn the sandwich once, and you’ve got paninni.

This kitchen hack will keep you out of trouble with the spouses, partners and housemates who glare at yet more kitchen gadgets. And you’ll still be able to enjoy hot and delicious, horizontally-coerced Italian sandwiches.

lodge cast iron paninni pressBut the hipper kids might have a Lodge cast iron paninni press. For what the aluminum wrapped brick lacks is the ability to make those special paninni grooves across the surface of the bread. Plus you can preheat the Lodge press and avoid having to flip your sandwich. But, you might still face rage from housemates intent on radical decluttering.

I have no personal experience with the Lodge paninni press. Do any of you? Is this something I should order, in a late night Amazon binge, the next time Kelly is visiting relatives?

036 The Cat Doctor

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Our guest this week is veterinarian Dr. Tracy McFarland DMV, founder of the Cat Doctor and Friends–a cat-only veterinary practice in Santa Clarita, CA. Dr. Tracy is our veterinarian, even though Santa Clarita is a bit of a haul from Los Angeles. We commute to see her, because she’s that good. And we are thrilled to have her with us this week to talk about cat health and cat behavior.  During the show we discuss:

  • The importance of checkups
  • What makes cats unique from a biological perspective
  • Cat dental care
  • Vaccinations
  • Rabies
  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • The outdoor vs. indoor cat debate
  • Ohio State University advice on environmental enrichment for indoor cats (pdf)
  • DIY cat toys
  • A toy to be careful about
  • Strange things Dr. Tracy has removed from cat’s stomachs
  • Plants that are toxic to cats
  • What should you feed your cats
  • The raw food debate
  • Natural veterinary food and homemade pet food resource: balanceit.com
  • AAFCO feeding trial
  • How to tell if your cat is fat
  • Meal feeding cats
  • How to know how much to feed a cat
  • Dry vs. wet food
  • Flea control
  • Heartworm
  • Listener questions: weepy eyes,
  • L-Lysine
  • Cat social hierarchy
  • Zylkene

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Nance Klemn is in Los Angeles and She’s Teaching Classes!

NancyKlehmPhoto
Check out our friend Nance Klemn’s upcoming classes. Not to be missed!

February 19: An Herbal Mead Making Salon.
More info here.

February 21: Herbal Tinctures with Wild Plants
The workshop will be from 1 – 4 p.m. and will be held at Bailey Canyon in Sierra Madre, a lovely, lush, narrow canyon that extends way up into the San Gabriel Mountains. We will take a walk in the lower canyon, visiting and collecting some of the early spring growth (and possibly roots), then gather at a table in the park below to make tinctures using vinegar, alcohol, and glycerin.

Making tinctures is easy and preserves the essences of the plants for use as food and medicine. Plants have much to give us and so does Nance — you will go home with vinegar mother to make your own vinegars, and several tinctures.

Cost is $45 and space is limited to 15 participants, so put it on your calendar and RSVP now! I will send out directions and address for mailing checks upon confirmation.

CONTACT DELIA : [email protected]

February 22: Urban Forage Walk
More info here.

Bio
Nance Klemn is an ecological systems designer, landscaper, horticultural consultant, and permaculture grower, as well as a consultant, speaker, and teacher. Based in the Midwest, she lives and works in a diverse neighborhood in the heart of Chicago, and is developing a farm on her land outside the city. She is founder of Social Ecologies, a nonprofit that focuses on system regenerating projects, including The Ground Rules, an urban soil- and community-building initiative using local green and food waste. Nance has worked internationally, lectured at art museums (including MOCA and the Hammer Museum here in L.A.), and produced art projects and installations related to soil and earth concepts.

See http://spontaneousvegetation.net/bio/ for more info and links to her work.

The Return of the Monocle?

Joseph Chamberlain, monocle enthusiast.

Joseph Chamberlain, monocle enthusiast.

While Mr. Peanut still sports one, I thought the monocle would die out with the passing of eccentric British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore. But, apparently, we’re in the midst of a monocle revival.

I had planned to write about the monocle for years, but the New York Times out-scooped me on this story. The article notes that rappers and hipsters have brought back the monocle as a fashion accessory. There’s even an online monocle dealer based in San Francisco.

But what about the monocle as appropriate technology? It’s pretty much the same, after all, as wearing one contact. I have decent distance vision, so I could wear a monocle for closeup vision in my non-dominant eye. If you use glasses try looking through them with just your non-dominant eye to understand how a monocle would allow you to see both close up and distance at the same time. Monocles weren’t an affectation in the old days. I’m sure it would take some time to adjust to, but wouldn’t it be better than having to remember to carry around the hideous reading drug store glasses I currently use?

Kelly considers a monocle grounds for divorce and, I have to admit, she has a point. It’s hard to pull off a monocle these days without also donning a top hat and spats. Contemporary monocle use puts you in the same eccentric sartorial territory as the Monopoly Man and the aforementioned, Mr. Peanut (both of whom, it should be noted, are cartoon characters).

Then again, aren’t we all engaged in unintentional cosplay? Despite getting called “cowboy,” I like the broad brimmed cowboy hat that shades me from the blazing Los Angeles sun. Perhaps tweed and a monocle will become my winter blogging uniform . . .

Return of the Walkman?

broken walkman

Spotted on Figueroa  street last month: a smashed Sony Walkman (Sport WM-FS397, to be exact).  Here’s an “exploded” view:

walkman2

The BBC, back in 2010, gave a 13 year-old a Walkman to review. Here’s what the kid said:

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn’t is “shuffle”, where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down “rewind” and releasing it randomly – effective, if a little laboured.

Any holdouts amongst you, our dear readers? Some of us still seem to have dial phones, so I thought I’d ask. I gave my portable cassette player up long ago and the household now has no cassette tape capabilities. Kelly can no longer listen to her 80s mix tapes!

Saturday Tweets: Upcycling and Blizzards

Ghee for the skin

baby Krishna stealing ghee

Baby Krishna stealing ghee

Ghee, a form of clarified butter, is a well known cooking fat. What is less known in the West is that it is also used for skin care and as medicine in Ayurveda. In fact, it’s basically a panacea in Ayurveda. I’m no expert in Ayurveda, but it is interesting to know that it has such a long track record in India as a topical treatment.

What I have discovered so far is pretty neat. It is in the nature of ghee to sink into the skin rather than sit on the surface. This makes it a really excellent moisturizer. It is not the type of moisturizer which seals in moisture, or protects you from the elements, but it immediately soothes dry and chapped skin.

For instance, during my last head cold, I used it on my much-abused nose. The ghee saved my nose and my lips from a terrible case of chapping. I always keep my lips and nose balmed-up during a cold, but the ghee worked better than anything else I’ve ever used, in terms of absorption, relieving discomfort and quick healing.

Since then, I’ve been using it on my face and hands to fend off the dry, itchy skin of winter. Since it sinks in so fast, it helps to use it in conjunction with another moisturizer, one which stays on the surface of the skin, to seal everything in.

Color me totally fascinated with ghee. There’s much research to be done on it here at Root Simple.

Here’s an interesting fact: ghee doesn’t go bad. Ever. In Ayurveda, aged ghee is particularly treasured.

See, butter becomes ghee when you remove the sugars and proteins and water, leaving only fat. Without that other stuff in it, the fat alone can’t go bad. Ghee’s only enemy is water–which is true of all fat-based foods and cosmetics. Water sets up conditions for bacteria to breed. So keep your ghee dry.  In fact, you should never store it in the refrigerator, because this may cause condensation inside the jar, which will lead to spoilage. Just keep it on the shelf, and scoop it out with a dry spoon, and it will keep until it’s all gone.

That’s all I have to say on ghee, so far. I don’t know much yet, but I like the way it feels. More will follow, I am sure. I’m going to experiment with making body butter and lip balm with it.

Do any of you use ghee for medicine or skin care?

(Also, I’ll be making my own ghee soon, and will post on that, but in the meantime, there are loads of recipes for it out there. It’s basically just boiled butter–anybody can make it. You can also find it ghee in many “regular” super markets these days, as well as in health food stores and of course, Indian markets.)