Monthly Archives: November 2013

Rushing the season

Hey! Cut that out.

The ‘Holiday Season’ may begin with Thanksgiving, even before, but that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving should be usurped by Christmas to the point where it doesn’t matter. For me, the Christmas season should not commence until after the bird has been consumed, burped up a few times and sandwiches made from the leftovers. Not before.

Each year, someone or some organization is pushing the envelope of when the holiday display can begin. Walmart rolls out their holiday displays right after Halloween, for crying out loud. Keep that crap up and some kid will feel perfectly justified wearing a Santa costume. That’s just unacceptable.

A few years ago, I started keeping note of when I heard the first Christmas song each year. It seemed to be earlier and earlier. But up around Troy, NY or Vermont (they are reasonably close to each other), I heard my first Christmas song on November 10. That is just bullshitake. I don’t care if winter arrives earlier in the northern latitudes, there has to be some limits. Most of the trees are still showing color that time. You can’t play Christmas music when there are still leaves on the trees.

Around here, the local easy listening station has held steady to on or about Nov. 16, a full two weeks before Thanksgiving. I don’t like it, but what the hell can I do? As the season progresses their play list gets shorter and shorter, to coincide with the dwindling sunlight, I suppose. Eventually they are down to about 10 – 15 songs, none of which I am fond of, that they cycle through endlessly. So they kill the joy of the season by the very means with which they proclaim it.

I understand that Mariah Carey has a great voice and is easy on the eyes, but I don’t like her version of the classic.

…all I want for Christmas is…
…for you to shut the fark up!

Then, on the 26th of December they switch back to their usual musical genre with a smattering of the same 10 holiday songs. By New Year’s Day they are done. Time to hunker down for the long winter and dream about St. Patrick’s Day.

Not that it matters to anyone except me, but here are some of my favorites:

All I want for Christmas is you – Vince Vance and the Valiants (Lisa Layne has a great voice).
Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Chrissy Hynde and the Pretenders. (her voice really shines in this song).
Felice Navidad – Jose` Felici-Ceurvo.
You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch – The Whirling Dervishes (so much more rockin’ than the original).
It’s the happiest season of all – Andy Williams (the slap-happiest of seasons).
Jingle Bell rock – Bobby Helms (NOT, Hall and Blokes).

But these songs are long gone by the time the shopping rush is upon us and we are left with Mariah, Burl Ives and Bing Crosby going over the same material ad nauseum.

What with the volume of material out there to choose from, I just don’t get that.

Taylor Ham

– or Pork Roll – call it what you will.
For those readers not enlightened, let me begin by explaining what Taylor Ham is (other than a good name for a Country music star).

Taylor ham is, by simple definition, a pork product.  Not exactly ham, but a reasonable facsimile thereof.  It is made exclusively in NJ and as far as the ‘Taylor Ham’ brand name, only in Trenton, NJ.  Trenton is the state capital, but producing Taylor ham is a much better accomplishment than housing the politico of this state, I assure you.

Taylor hams travel well, keep for an extended period, even if not refrigerated properly,  survive relatively unchanged in melted cooler water and thus make for damn good camp chow.

The Case company also manufactures a pork product similar in appearance, heft, bulk, size, shape, form, taste and texture.  Either way, the pork product comes wrapped in a cloth bag.   That, in turn is hermetically sealed in plastic. For better shelf life, and all.

Novel, yes.  Conducive to breakfast preparation while in the woods? No.

Now that all of that is clear, let me get on with my observations and statements:

Pretty cool, don't you think? All Jersey.

Pretty cool, don’t you think? All Jersey.

Pork roll tastes pretty good and as such, is a much sought after breakfast meat.  However, in no way does it make itself easily available to the preparer of breakfast.  In addition to the pork roll preparer being hungover, sleepy, cold and bitchy, the pork roll endeavors to add to the morning burden.

taylor ham 5

Properly prepared Taylor ham. Obviously not done over a camp fire.

How so, you ask?

First, the heat shrink plastic covering could trick you into slicing open your fingers with the sharp knife you are hacking away with, thus negatively effecting your ability to use said fingers for the rest of the trip, and beyond.

Second, the cloth bag, thoroughly soaked with fat and clinging to the pork roll like a sausage skin, defies being peeled back with hungover, sleepy, cold and bitchy fingers.

Third, slicing the farking pork roll into proper thickness results in the inevitable hack job of too thick, half slices, quarter pieces and all combinations of those.  (But after looking at it in print, I realize that may be the best way to cook it).

Lastly the pork roll slices must be slit around the edges, so that it lays flat on the griddle.  Otherwise, you have these puckered up disks that need to be flattened repeatedly with the spatula.  Even then, the slices may not lay flat.  This results in a pork roll slice that is burned in some spots, not so burned in others and despite being at least 75% fat, not exuding enough grease to cook eggs.

I am well aware that some pork roll comes pre-sliced and packaged.  But I have found it doesn’t cook up the same as a solid log of pork roll does.  It must be something with the extra preservatives or something.  That, or the farking pork roll itself is intentionally going the extra step to not cooperate.  So if you are going to eat pork roll, get yourself a 3 pound log and prep it yourself.

GFY, pork roll, Taylor ham or otherwise.  Sure, you taste good, but what a farking pain in the ass you are.

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