Monday, July 11, 2011

Non-expertly challenged

I divide the world into three ambiguous categories:
  1. those that know everything about a few things
  2. those that know something about a lot of things
  3. those that know nothing about anything
It's tempting to relegate computer geeks and nuclear physicists to the first category, and a percentage of politicians and bureaucrats to the last. Finding myself firmly entrenched in the catch-all middle category however, I lack the necessary qualifications to pronounce any such judgement, so I will refrain.

There are advantages to not being an expert at anything, not the least of which is that you can say whatever you feel like and no one takes you seriously.

On second thought, I'm not sure that meets the strict definition of "advantage."

What I meant to say is that people are less likely to challenge an amateur opinion (if it is stated as such from the beginning) which broadens the range of topics upon which a blogger can safely opine without opposition.

That sounds weak-kneed. I'm still not sure it's actually an advantage.

Anyway, while we are on the subject of things on which I'm not expert, I had a chance to practice my very rusty Japanese the other day. Masahito Yoshida is a world traveller who is crossing Canada on foot. When I heard he had arrived in Upsala I walked out to meet him. We chatted for five or ten minutes, me stumbling around with the limited Japanese I could remember after 20+ years, and he in the English he had picked up along the way. I didn't get a photo, but you can visit his blog here. There is a fuller account of his world travels here, the only drawback being that the site is in Japanese.

Continuing the theme of non-expert things, here is a video of some West Virginia firefighters rescuing a kitten with a leaf blower. Erinn saw the video and suggested that perhaps the kitten went down the pipe to escape the firefighters. I'll have to add leaf blowers to my list of dubious cat rescue equipment.

On a slightly different note, my July column is up over at Canadian Fire and EMS Quarterly.

Along the lines of "to be or not to be" an expert firefighter, Vince MacKenzie from Grand Falls Windsor, Newfoundland writes a thought-provoking article about volunteer firefighters and standards. It's a topic that no one wants to talk about, but everyone needs to face.

And finally, to finish off this decidedly non-expert post, here is another recipe:

Tim's Rice Melange
  1. Dig out the leftover steak from a few evenings ago.
  2. If you don't have any leftover steak, use chicken or any other cooked meat you can find.
  3. Chop it into bite sized pieces and set it aside.
  4. Find some Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage, a red bell pepper, and a few baby carrots.
  5. Back up five steps and combine two cups of rice with two cups of chicken broth and two cups of water.
  6. (Side note 1: if you don't live an hour and a half from town, or if you don't think you're going to want the other two cups of broth before your next town trip, use all four cups instead of water).
  7. Put the rice on high heat, and add some garlic powder, onion powder, a little curry powder, some crushed ginger, a little salt and a shot of soy sauce.
  8. (Side note 2: Stop challenging my nebulous measurements. I TOLD you I wasn't an expert.)
  9. Cook the rice like you normally would (bring to a boil, turn low, cook for 40 or so minutes yada yada).
  10. When the rice is done, back up to step 4, chop the broccoli and Chinese cabbage. Then . . .  
  11. . . . ponder what to do with the carrots and bell pepper. Here's the problem - one of your children doesn't like them cooked, but the dish needs the colour. You have two options: 1 - Chop them big so the kid can pick them out easily. 2 - grate them fine so the kid doesn't notice them so much. Option 1 is problematic because if you break the cardinal rule of making your children eat everything on their plate, the downward spiral to family chaos begins. I bet if you studied it out you'd find that Charles Manson didn't have to eat his bell peppers as a kid. Option 2 is risky because kids are smarter than we think.)
  12. Side note 3: Not wanting to bail my kids out of jail in 10 years, I chose option 2, except that I didn't have much luck grating the bell pepper, so I chopped it into fine pieces instead.
  13. Now that we've settled that problem, saute the Chinese broccoli and cabbage in a cast iron pan or a wok until they are bright green but still crisp.
  14. Add the meat (which should be already cooked), and the bell pepper and carrot.
  15. Add a bit of soy sauce to the mix and some garlic powder and fresh basil. Ignore the kill-joys that say basil doesn't belong in a dish with curry. Fry a tad longer.
  16. Add the rice to the pan and heat, tossing everything together making sure everything is hot, then serve.
  17. Gloat over both your kids cleaned plates after the meal.
Now you know why I call them psuedo recipes.

1 comment:

  1. Delighted that I found your site, fantastic info. I will bookmark and try to visit more frequently.


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