Roasting a Duck

photo by adactio from flickr creative commons

photo by adactio from flickr creative commons

On Saturday I roasted a duckling, the second time I’ve ever done that and the first time in a decade. The first duck had so much fat and was so difficult to clean up after, that I swore never again. That was back when I believed all I read about how fat is so terrible for us.

It had taken a lot to get me to the point where I could even consider roasting a duck since I’d had one for a pet as a child. My siblings and I had named him Duckess, somehow thinking he was female when he was a baby. He was the only duck we had amongst chickens and geese and he became mean when he grew up.

I love animals and believe they ought to be treated well. My physical body will not tolerate a vegetarian lifestyle and I’ve learned to walk away quickly from those judgmental people who don’t know me, don’t care to know me, don’t care what happens to me or why I choose the things I choose.

Anyway, my roast duckling didn’t look as pretty as the one in the photo here. Usually I need to eat only organic food because of high-maintenance health circumstances. In this case though I chose a $13 duckling from a regular grocery store instead of a $30 plus one from Whole Foods or the local co-op.

I tossed out the orange sauce packet and partially followed the directions on the wrapping, partially following the instructions for obtaining and saving the fat from an excellent blog post I found online. I’ll use the fat for roasting root vegetables and will be making bone broth with the carcass today.

Because I research about health online quite a lot, I’d heard of the GAPS diet. It usually seemed to be presented as a diet to help children with autism. Being a grown-up with other life long health issues, I didn’t pay it much attention.

When it finally came onto my radar a few months ago, after sincerely transitioning to an extremely healthy diet and still feeling like crap, it seemed to make some sense and when I transitioned to it cautiously, I began to heal. It will take some time since I have decades of damage. I crave the cultured vegetables, coconut kefir and other probiotic foods that are part of the diet but understand I need to use caution as the detoxing and die-off of bad bacteria can be awful. While the point is to heal, it’s also important to be able to function in life with some degree of comfort while doing so.

I didn’t have any butchers twine to tie the legs together and my motor skills were such that I couldn’t really carve the duckling in any decent manner–it was more like hacking it up. There was surprising little meat on it but I got a reasonable amount of fat and have gotten through the clean-up part of the process, except for the oven.

We are all so different and the GAPS diet is not for everyone. It would have saved me decades of suffering and missed opportunities had I understood this before, but it was certainly never suggested by the health professionals I consulted with. All the information being presented was pointing me in other directions. Much of what the health food industry was offering was better for me than the standard American diet, but it too caused me challenges and suffering in the long run.

Some people do very well on raw foods, or mostly raw foods but many of us don’t have the digestive fire to deal with a raw diet in a healthy way. Others seem to do well with a vegetarian diet. We’re all different and some of us have to do quite a bit of research and take a lot of responsibility for finding what works for us. Often without support, understanding or interest from those around us.

Other people’s life journeys involve things that aren’t so focused on health and food and they can seemingly get by without giving it much thought. I’m not one of those people.

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Directions

The Co-op was really busy today, just like a weekend. I walked over to get some organic produce and got the heck out of there rather than looking for replacements for the items on my list I couldn’t find. I have refined my diet so well this past year that there is no need for me to make resolutions in that area.

The past year turned out to be better than I ever expected and I did achieve some of my goals but no way in the linear steps I’d planned. One of the best improvements was my abilities with the specialized diet I need because of a health situation. Another improvement is finally coming up with a budget I can work with, something that has eluded me for decades. The organization of my living space is another long-standing challenge that has become easier this year. I can’t quite say how I got here but it feels good.

However I did it, I’m intending for the same grace to happen this year regarding organizing the information I need to run my life. Yeah, I have a fancy, expensive day-planner but I don’t really use it. I waste a lot of time looking for passwords and other things because I simply don’t take the time to write things down in a manner that I can retrieve later. That sort of information isn’t really meant for the mind to file away when we have all this high and low tech help.

The other two things on my list for decades–once again–exercise and drawing. I will begin with the information organizing first. This past year, it worked better for me to go deep into improving one thing at a time. In fact, overall, uni-tasking is more conducive for my success than multi-tasking.

I know what directions I want to go in and for me it’s enough that I’m accountable to myself.

Puttering

Many things change rapidly in this age, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the sake of change. Over the last few months I haven’t been posting here and now I find myself awkwardly navigating around the dashboard with things looking unfamiliar.

In October I got a new notebook PC and I allowed a salesperson talk me into something different than my internet research had led me to choose. It has one of those sensitive mouse things that has the cursor jumping all over and sometimes freezing. I’ve looked at fixes online, experimented and am learning to type funny, avoiding the mouse area. Just one more thing I’m learning to tolerate.

Most of the Christmas cards I’ll be getting have arrived by now. Cards from people who seem to be more, have more and do more than me. So,I work with that.

Dairy foods cause trouble for me, but I like Nancy’s brand yogurt and awhile back I found that they have sour cream too. And now I’m really happy that they have cream cheese! The products have live cultures in them and are organic. I even bought out of season strawberries at an outrageous price to slice and put on nut crackers with the cream cheese and I’m not feeling deprived of holiday goodies this year.

It might rain tomorrow and I’ll likely stay in as I’ve been pushing myself a lot lately. Lots of little projects to do and I’ll just pay no attention to the news and make good choices. Maybe I’ll even show up here again.

Junk Food

I don’t eat junk food and haven’t been able to for quite awhile. I’m on a very restricted diet and feel horror at what other people eat.

There’s someone I care about who’s mentally ill. His diet is awful and I believe it’s killing him, but he’s an adult and I ought to respect his right to make choices. He has a fair amount of money and could probably get whatever he wants but he has such a need control his environment that he lives quite frugally. As in unplugging his refrigerator to keep his electric bill down and opening a can of peas and eating it cold right out of the can.

It’s good to feel that people care during the holidays and I very much like for him to get presents in the mail. But he doesn’t like things people give him. My budget is such that I really don’t want to do without things I need in order to give him things he doesn’t want. But he does like crappy food. The healthy snacks I’ve attempted to interest him in didn’t go over well. So, today I decided to finally give him what he truly seems to enjoy, junk food. So he can get a package in the mail. It isn’t like I’m giving him illegal drugs or something but I didn’t get to this place easily.

There are two places I shop for my groceries. At the local co-op where I get my organic stuff and at an employee owned store where I get what I can because the prices are more reasonable. I picked out the usual amount of items, what I could carry and was surprised that it cost more than twice what the healthier food at the employee owned store usually does. And it’s about the same amount as an equal bag full at the co-op where the price of organic meat and veggies seem quite high.

The stuff isn’t boxed up yet and I’m looking at it across the room and am not at all tempted to eat any of it. In the grand big picture, this is probably not a big deal at all. Maybe it’s nit-picky and obsessive for me to have to over-think this so. But now, at the end of this day, this is what I most remember.

Post-Thanksgiving Weekend

The little indulgences I’ve had with my diet lately hasn’t seemed to be too harmful At least I don’t have weird cravings like I do with the aftermath of eating restaurant food.

My little burst of consumerism has run its course. One of the items I got (finally) is an e-book reader. My place is overflowing with books and I’d like to use it to read books from the library. Without the strain of staring at my computer screen more than I already do. What made this a bargain is that I wasn’t in that spaced-out, glazed-eyes mode that used to generally allow a salesperson to easily get a lot of add-ons in my cart by checkout time. Extended warranties, a cool looking cover, a charger when I won’t use this for travelling and can charge it through a USB cable through my computer. Nope, didn’t get them.

Most of the shopping energy I have these days goes into grocery buying–an area in which I must be careful for health reasons. These companies that began with organic ingredients and quietly down-graded into using genetically modified foods laced with toxic pesticides while charging the same–they can just go down too along with all the other groups lacking in integrity. Greedy and self-serving.

During financial times like we’re living in, marketers can play on our insecurity and manipulate our inner hoarder into buying what we don’t need and more of it. Stuff does not equate with love. Consumerism isn’t fun and being a consumer is not my identity.

I resent being cheated. Well, I won’t look back but I can certainly make different choices now.

Seventy Degrees

A touch of spring fever today and I’ll be rambling here.

There was paperwork that needed to be done earlier and I opened my window in the living room because I had to stay in. There are no screens, which never, ever would have worked back in the Midwest. When I first moved here I marveled at the lack of flying insects. One day it came up in conversation that yeah, they ultra-spray the entire downtown area. Not good, but I won’t move because of it. The window is only open about three inches but my concern is that a bird will get in here.

When I got the work done I went out for a walk and in order to have more of a purpose I went to the grocery store. If it seems like my life revolves around food, well it kinda does. I haven’t eaten ice cream for a long time so I got a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor called Late Night Snack. I will write about how I liked it when I try it.

The online gaming I do–FooPets–yes, adults like it too–has made a lot of more changes and the members are freaking out in the forums. Admittedly the company doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing and it is chaotic and annoying. But when you read the posts about how distraught the members are and then realize what all is going on in the world, it’s kind of bizarre. I guess people need their outlets and everyone is at different stages of growth.

Another thing that has got my attention is the Bob Parsons drama. I like to read books about the changes in business, customer service, the economy and entrepreneurial stuff. I don’t blog about it because I have nothing to add and I don’t really do anything with it now. Of the books that talk about domain names, many mention GoDaddy. I don’t see the ads on t.v. but have looked at the video blogs by Bob Parsons, which actually make sense although the style is quite different.

Anyway, Mr. Parsons seems to have had quite a life and has just made a PR error. I’m not judging him at all here, my point is how things can change suddenly. It seems he used to be in the military. There are companies who take people on big game hunts and this had to do with Zimbabwe and a “problem elephant” that had been trampling the crops of a starving village–people who get little protein. Whatever the justification or not, Bob shot the elephant and posted a video blog of it. It also shows the natives slaughtering it to a soundtrack of heavy metal music. Wow. People are name-calling and also going to the trouble of moving their web-hosting and other accounts. This isn’t going away.

I guess my point with this is that it’s important to be aware and make conscious decisions. We all need to be paying attention to upgrading our perceptions and to give thought to what we’re demonstrating in the world.

Bones

There are so many things to pay attention to in this life that I don’t really think about my bones often. There’s a tendency to consider them as a petrified substance. They are actually minerals in a collagen matrix. The minerals give bones density and rigidity. When there aren’t enough minerals in the diet, the body will use heavy metals. This makes the toxic metals very challenging to remove from the body.

The collagen gives the bones flexibility. There are new things being discovered about the body all the time. There is also a lot of disagreement about facts and opinions regarding this. Who to believe? Some of the information contradicts what we were told a few years or decades ago.

The suggestion has often been to take calcium, either in supplement form or making sure there’s a lot in the diet. Calcium supplements can clog arteries, contribute to kidney stones and other health issues.

Vitamin D from sunshine and vitamin K from leafy greens and making sure there are enough minerals in our diets are what’s really needed to help build strong bones. Weight bearing exercises are important also.

In a few minutes it’s Earth Hour here. Not only will I have the lights off but I’m shutting down the electronics too.

Edwardian Farm

A few months ago, I greatly enjoyed the BBC show Victorian Farm which someone posted in videos on YouTube. The DVD’s which are available on Amazon do not play in my regions’s DVD players.

The two archeologists, Peter and Alex, and historian Ruth, lived for a year on a farm they worked as the Victorians did for a year, like a documentary/reality show. After checking back a few times, someone has now posted the episodes of Edwardian Farm which I’ve begun watching. It’s all I can do to keep from staying up into the wee hours of the morning watching more of it.

The Edwardian era in England was from about 1901 when Queen Victoria died to about 1914 while King Edward the 7th was on the throne, ending about the time of the first World War. (This was about six years before my Dad was born here in America). I’m guessing that King Edward was the grandfather of the “King’s Speech” King.

Anyway, it’s fascinating. They’ve already brought in farm animals. Ruth scrubbed the kitchen floor with a brush on her hands and knees and said that women would do that twice a day in that era. (It doesn’t sound like my ancestors would have but never mind that.)

The soil is acidic and the men hauled tons (literally) of limestone to nearby kilns to burn into quick lime to spread on the field. Much of the men’s work so far has seemed very dangerous to me. The quick lime business let off toxic carbon monoxide and if gotten wet could cause an explosion or caustic burns.

A heavy granite rock was carved into a feed trough to keep the sheep food off the ground. It was moved in a very laborious way of the times.

One of the meals that Ruth cooked was a sheep’s head soup and it was gross to see the actual head on the table and later when the soup was done. Most of the meat during the time seems to have been sold and what was left for the farmers were such as the head.

The chimney was clogged up and Alex climbed up on the roof while Peter and Ruth were helping near the stove below to unclog it. Fortunately, Alex couldn’t bring himself to use the chicken–yes, he was holding a live chicken to throw down the chimney to unclog it–and they ended up using a bunch of holly instead. Another dirty job.

Ruth spent hours out in the field cutting gorse to feed the horses. It looked rough but they stomp on it first and eat it.

This is what I remember from watching–me of the not-so-great-memory–and I will attempt to ration my enjoyment of it to make the episodes last. There’s always the chance that YouTube will shut down the account like they tend to do. While I enjoy watching, I am certain I would not want to live that lifestyle after living as I do now.

Into Three Digit Posts

Yesterday I wrote my 100th post in a row. This blog is enjoyable and I’ve been showing up even when I feel listless and snotty.

After a weekend of rain, today was sunny and not too windy and it was one of those days when people noticed me and were friendly. Seriously, some days I’m invisible.

Mostly I was getting sunshine, exercise and more food. When a diet consists of mostly plants, there is a lot of shopping involved. Especially for fresh produce instead of frozen or canned.

I’m reading another new book on adrenaline exhaustion. While having several other books already and plenty of information, I find the subject fascinating. This year, I’ve kept my resolution to prepare all my meals at home instead of dining in restaurants but my break from book buying hasn’t gone so well. Looking at my credit card statement, I see I’ve spent about three hundred dollars on books this year. Perhaps that seems excessive but I’m not travelling or going out these days. With the weather getting better, I’ll intend to utilize the public library more and once again resolve to take a break from buying books until I’ve read more of the ones I have.

It just seems that so much change is happening in the world and people are writing interesting things about it. The health field is changing rapidly among other areas. While I enjoy the internet, I don’t care for what it does to my attention span
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Anyway, what I really wanted to write about when I began today–and I’m feeling perkier and chattier than the last few days– is that the recommendation for my diet is to eat every three hours. I love food and that’s great for me. Of course, they aren’t all meals–some are snacks–but still.

Reading Cookbooks; Books and Food

Long before there were foodie blogs with gorgeous photos, there were cookbooks with gorgeous photos. Most of the recipes, I’d never make. Taking a heavy, hardback cookbook and looking at the photos and reading some of the information has always been a pleasurable activity for me. One of my favorites is A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds–Asian cooking–and while it’s healthy and delicious looking, it’s beyond my skill and patience level.

Another is Lemongrass and Lime, which is about New Vietnamese cooking. Now that my interest and skill is upleveled, I may actually experiment with some of the recipes this year. About fifteen years ago, I worked with some Vietnamese women (off the boat) and had several occasions to eat meals they prepared. They were delicious but the aroma of the food was strange to me. I’ve yet to eat in a Vietnamese restaurant and am unaware of how that experience would be regarding aroma.

Once I bravely roasted a duck for my version of celebrating Chinese New Year (on a whim) and eventually found myself with at least three inches of melted fat in the roasting pan. The pan was so heavy that I had to get a neighbor to lift it out of the oven for me. I’ve blocked out whatever I went through to get it cleaned up–I remember the duck was greasy too–and I remember vowing that I’d never do it again. Actually, it took quite a bit to get me to try the experiment because I had a pet duck as a child. His name was Duckess. (a child, remember).

With heavy metal poisoning, my kidneys could be destroyed were I to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle but that’s another blog post.

In novels, I love reading about food. The description of the “white meal” in Charles Finch’s latest novel is magical. The sandwiches that the character Spenser makes in Robert B. Parker’s novels are inspiring and I’d often have to stop reading and get snacks.

Kinsey Milhone, Sue Grafton’s character eats weird snacks that are actually delicious and easy to make and I’d have fun with that when reading her series. They seem to have involved peanut butter, cream cheese, green onions and pickles–not all together, but simple ingredients like that.

Right now I’m reading The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg. There was a mention of eating crackers with cheese, horseradish mustard and red onion. That sounds like something I’d love to try and will get the stuff next time I go grocery shopping. Which may wait until tomorrow. It’s very sunny now which is making the little basil seedlings on the windowsill happy but it’s only 25 degrees. When I got up it was 14, which is a good reason to procrastinate if one can.

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