Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cabin Fever Frenzy!!!

Isn't it time Jay Leno found some material about Wisconsinites in winter other than fat jokes? It's completely untrue that there's nothing to do up here in winter except sit around and watch our butts get big. There are many fun things that add sparkle to our seven long, icy, blizzard-battered months. Our winter only SEEMS to be excruciatingly crappy.

For example, my friend Emma says she always stops shaving her legs around Halloween and doesn't pick up a razor again until lilac time. She says there's a morbid fascination in watching her "coat" grow out. She claims that by New Years, she could coax her leg hairs into neat little braids and put ribbons on them, like you would for a prize-winning show pony.

Speaking of leg hairs, it was in February that a highly intelligent, well-respected in-law of mine set a match to the stubble on his lower legs "to see," as he put it to his wife, "what would happen." His theory was that the hairs wouldn't burn. Well, they got really hot and burst into flame. He hastily put out the fire and then had to listen to his wife wonder aloud for several minutes why an up-and-coming young executive, often consulted for his mature wisdom, savvy and business acumen, would light up his leg. He replied huffily, in an offended voice, that he had considered it a CONTROLLED burn.

I recall it was in the winter that some people in the area brought several whoopee cushions down to the street at midnight, and jumped up and down on them. These folks were originally from Illinois, so nobody was surprised. The cushions were LOUD. I woke bolt upright from a beautiful dream about the arctic wilderness. My first horrified impression was that a herd of flatulent polar bears had invaded the foyer, passing gas as they came.

Friend Sam dedicates his cold months to eating food that not only sticks to the ribs but encases them in a puffy flotation vest of blubber. He says this is nature's way. Sam wallows in the butter tubs of many nations, but said that the Land of Braveheart stands alone as a noble monument to hard fat. Scotland is the home of the deep-fried Mars bar. Scots also believe that pizza slices are improved by being boiled in tallow, eaten with scalding grease running down the chin, and chased with pints of bitter dark beer. Sam's favorite export, though, is the king of all pub food, the Scotch Egg. And you can make it at home, if you remember than an authentic Scotch Egg does not use fresh ingredients.

You take a hard-boiled egg that's been sitting around awhile, peel it, and gum it all around with odorous or even downright stinky ground-up swine's private parts. It shouldn't smell good, and if it does, you've failed. At this stage, a cowardly lily-livered cook might fear botulism; but the strong ones forge ahead, like Braveheart would. Roll the egg in seasoned bread crumbs from a dubious old loaf that's been kicked around the barnyard and peed on by cats. Then you deep-fry it in grease you've inherited from your old granny. Drain the egg on a funky old grocery bag that's been moistened by some unspeakable leak. Then Yay, the waiting is over! From now on, it's all BON APPETIT!

This kingly Egg, this majestic cannonball, had 1500 calories, a paunchy 300 grams of fat, and single-handedly acts on an artery like a potato rammed into an exhaust pipe. Sam thinks this is good, because "it keeps the heat in." He eats them all winter, with pickles and beer. "Beer is food," as he puts it.

Then in the spring, Sam advises, you need to clean all the winter crap out of your system with an old-fasioned but effective remedy. Take a really big dose of castor oil, one that would drop a moose, or blast you into outer space. You may feel a little bit weak, disoriented and dazed and not be able to remember your own name afterward, but you'll be as fresh and sweet as those sunny spring crocuses pushing up through all the ancient rotted tires in your yard. And that can only be good!


  1. Hello Margaret
    This is hilarious and well-written. Good momentum, good pauses, great images, endearing narration. Something in me kept hearing Phyllis Diller deliver the story. (spelling?)

  2. *giggles*

    Jay Leno appearing in a dream about the arctic wilderness would keep you asleep through May, I'm sure! :-)

  3. Crayons, I'm flattered by your kind Comment, and also that the narration reminded you of Phyllis Diller! I heard her being interviewed on All Things Considered the other day and was glad that the great old broad is still alive and kicking.

    Merisi, hopefully Jay Leno will stay out of my dreams, but the man is so rude and crude anything is possible! (Although, if he's saying one of his monologues, surely I'll sleep until spring!)

  4. Hey Marge,
    This was like reading a bizarro version of a Gourmet Magazine article on choice winter dishes. Did feel a little queazy reading Sam's egg recipe, having just eaten breakfast. Thanks for the fun reading.

  5. Hi Jane, Bizarro is exactly the right word for these Scottish treats! Although I admit I'm tempted to try that Scotch Egg recipe, just once.....

  6. First of all let me say that I apologize for never investigating your site more fully in the past. Its a terrific read - downhome, earthy, funny and comfortable if that can be taken as a compliment. I felt like I could hang around your place fighting the dogs for the best scraps until I got myself invited in for something preserved, put on great fresh bread to the smell of wood burning. Am I wrong or did I just romantisize the whole things?

  7. Cal, I'm basking in the generosity of your Comment. I greatly enjoy your site, by the way. I wish there were some way to serve kind Commenters fresh bread and preserves on my blogsite, because they definitely deserve it. But as for fighting my dogs for the best scraps, hey, I'm the one who gets to do that! :^)