Goetta Grip

During the Lubbock years, my mother was very much the displaced Cincinnati German. Missing the cuisine of her native land-or city, rather-she often sought to recreate it. And in the 1990s, product globalization didn’t extend very far into food, so if you wanted something “ethnic”, it probably wasn’t in the dedicated grocery store isle. Some things we’d consider common today were not ubiquitous then. An example: bratwurst. It seems silly now, but she’d actually pack a carry-on with them on her return trip from visiting family. Brats are delicious.

But what couldn’t be bought pre-packaged left only the option of reverse-engineering. I don’t know if Skyline canned their chili back then, but it certainly wasn’t on shelves in Lubbock, so mom eventually developed a recipe for Cincinnati-style chili-a very bizarre concoction for one living in the heart of Texas. Cinnamon as an ingredient, and no spice? I’m glad she never served it up for any of my native friends (even though it was pretty good in its own right).

And one of her recreations that she didn’t get right, however, was something I’ve only just recently revisited, at the behest of others: goetta. I don’t remember this ever coming in packaged tube form. Instead, they were turned out of those small rectangular metal baking pans. Therefore, they must have been homemade.

Here are the ingredients, from Glier’s’ website-an apparently popular brand:

Pork & Beef, Pork & Beef Broth, Steel Cut Oats, Pork Hearts, Pork Skins, Onions, Salt, Spices, Monosodium Glutamate.

A quick reading of that list reveals its obvious origin: more poor people food. Cheap ingredients added to meat in order to extend it, like Hamburger Helper. Plus MSG, naturally. Something that would be created in some fashion by immigrants lacking the means to acquire more expensive food. Something filling and high-calorie. Something that’s an acquired taste.

Mom’s creations slid out of the pans on their own slime, wiggling as they plunked down onto the plate, where they were unceremoniously slathered in Aunt Jemima. A sticky, sweet, slimy loaf. *Shudder*

Glier’s, on the other hand, was…okay. I wouldn’t buy it myself, but I’ll eat it. Slightly crunchy with a nutty taste, it’s a convenient way to get fiber into a meat dish. Beyond making a bigger serving out of a little meat, it appears to have an alternate nutritional function.

Dwelling on the difference in experiences, here’s what I’ve concluded:

  1. Cooking method. Just as a meatloaf should never be cooked in the pan, neither should goetta. The pan holds the grease, which in large quantities will make anyone feel sick, but also the oats soaked it up. Grease, which is of course greasy by nature, not only coated the end product, but also reacted with the oats to form a wet glue texture that could have been consumed directly through a toothpaste tube. Glier’s, on the other hand, I sliced into patties and fried directly on the griddle. The grease cooked out and the oats toasted, resulting in that nutty crunchy flavor and texture. Pan frying is the way to go. Not baking.
  2. The oats. Oatmeal was a recurring breakfast staple, which I also hated due to its similar glue/slime texture. It was homemade, not instant. This generally calls for rolled oats. Greater surface area = quicker cooking and grain saturation. I very much suspect that mom used these same oats for goetta. This no doubt exacerbated the slime factor as steel cut oats would have retained their crunchier texture better.
Brown and crispy

Conclusion: More and faster grain saturation combined with more of the cooking liquid being fat due to the method of cooking caused over-hydration (fatification?) of the oats, resulting in no crunch and too much grease retention.


And the syrup thing was weird, too.

I didn’t notice this at the time, but the packaging does in fact give the proper cooking instructions.

Mom never much appreciated constructive criticism with her cooking, but some minor adjustments would probably have resulted in a much more palatable result. Liking goetta isn’t exactly a life-changing experience for me, but it’s an amusing way to end a decades-long extreme aversion to a particular food product.


Eternal Damnation

Karens, cockroaches, and blood parasites will survive the apocalypse. I know this because Fallout told me which bugs will mutate into low-XP enemies. And Hollywood showed me how I’ll die horribly. And Karens will always tell me what I’ve done wrong, and will always exist in some form. If there were a just and loving God, then the bugs would kill the Karens. But there obviously isn’t if the apocalypse were allowed to occur. That would be a vengeful and punishing God. The Old Testament told me that.

Fortunately I live in pre-apocalypse times, so the bugs are smaller. The Karens are more numerous, but I’ll take the tradeoff. Here’s my latest attempts at blood parasite mitigation:

Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis. I stumbled upon this recently. The concept is as follows: put a bucket of water somewhere, fill it with debris so it mimics the kind of stagnant pools that mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in, and inoculate it with a mosquito dunk, which is a block of dormant bacteria (species mentioned above) that infects and kills insects. The idea is to gradually decimate the local mosquito lineage as they reproduce, with the caveat that the trap should be the only pool of standing water available. Persistence is the key here.

For more immediate needs, I use a fogger. But the compounds it uses are sold very diluted and are more repellent than lethal, obviously targeted to the casual consumer. Instead, I purchased something that’s more of a commercial variant: a standard Pyrethrins/Piperonyl Butoxide mix, as is growing in popularity. As a bonus, it’s considered “safe” for agricultural purposes. The latter chemical disqualifies it from being organic certified, but it’s better in theory than much of the long-living spectracides. And I enjoy seeing cucumber beetles flee in terror. Finger of God indeed.

And lastly, in an attempt to capture adult mosquitos actively searching for blood, there’s the lactic acid-baited UV trap. The bait simulates the smell and CO2 emissions of a human, and upon getting too close the mosquito is pulled into the trap via a fan and held in a basket where it’s exposed to UV light, killing it. This captures a lot of moths as collateral damage, probably more drawn to the UV, but we don’t like those either.

I have it on a smart timer that comes on one hour before sunset, with the goal of starting capture during optimal hunting time, with a dawn shutoff.

Results so far have been encouraging, though gross.


The verdict so far? Fewer mosquitoes, but they’re not gone entirely. I think I’d need to get my surrounding neighbors onboard, but I know that’s not going to happen. Regardless, I’ll settle for the net reduction, and hope the remnants are primarily biting the neighbors instead.


Forage Patch

The industrialization of agriculture has been, without argument, very successful. It’s successful in that it produces large surpluses of high-calorie food. But it’s successful in that it’s effective, not necessarily efficient. Coop farming and companion planting have proven to be far more successful in the latter when measuring yield per acre, but subsidies motivate the former. Endless swaths of feed corn are not symptomatic of a natural symbiosis. Instead, they’re exploitative.

They’re also naturally particular. Plants that grow well in their original form, without genetic manipulation, are lower-yield but far less demanding of intervention. But the low yield excludes them from agriculture, as they are not cash crops. They are relegated to home gardens and their native environment. Forgotten or ignored. The province of hobbyists.

And as a hobbyist, it presents an unconventional opportunity: foraging. Or even more unusual: cultivated foraging.

The former herb garden.

First attempts at an herb garden were less than successful. The selected patch wasn’t nearly sunny enough for everything, and some of the initial selections turned out to be uncontrollable, e.g. mint. But the uncontrolled were still culinarily desirable, so they were left to be – picked as needed and then ignored.

Then I considered what else might fit with the patch? What else could compete alongside the verdant aggressors, hold their own, and still serve a purpose in the kitchen? Then I discovered the Jerusalem artichoke. A native, edible, perennial sunflower? That spreads wildly with few soil requirements? Sounded like a good candidate to me.

Apparently they’re still common in French cuisine (go figure), but fell out of general favor due to their affiliation with “poor people food”. Like cassava I guess. Perceptions drive people to make odd choices. Barbecue is technically poor people food, but you don’t find many elites snubbing their noses at it.

It’s also something that had to be sourced through online nerds, just like the hops. And true to their reputation, they started growing quick with little care.

Their name is a misnomer. They’re neither from Israel nor are they related to artichokes. And the tomato isn’t Italian, and the potato isn’t Irish. These are all American natives and I’m taking them back. Cultural appropriation countered!

On this continent, they’re more often called sun chokes. I briefly called them “Jew chokes” and “choke a Jews”, (I’m not feeling particularly pro-Semitic currently, what with the genocide and all), but settled on “feist chokes”, after the stupid dog kept eating and regurgitating them, prompting a net to be installed.

So now we have what I call the Forage Patch. It’s overgrown, resistant to organized cultivation, but all useful for food and drink, and all planted intentionally. It’s an unconventional approach to gardening, and falls more under the classic “kitchen garden”, rather than the “victory garden” concept, but it’s proving to be useful regardless. I’ll be curious how the feist chokes cook up.


Zone Rouge Hazards

Following the First World War, sections of the former No Man’s Land in France and Belgium were deemed uninhabitable for the foreseeable future, due to their lingering high levels of soil contamination of lead and various chemical weapons. These areas, assigned the moniker “Zone Rouge”, were quarantined and allowed to return to nature.

Following the Great BP Easement Purge of 2017 in Centerville, OH, lands that were formerly allowed to return to nature and then cleared, were in part allowed to return to nature again after some neighborhood hostilities. Their efforts to block us from view involved the planting of many conifers, which have gradually expanded to almost accomplish such a task. The Landscaper, who no doubt planted them at the behest of his screaming harpy, was considerate enough to do so in a manner that considered a property line buffer. It was a perfectly acceptable way to approach not wanting to see us.

The impetus to do so was upon the completion of the the BP Purge, followed by us deciding to get a professional survey of our property line, which revealed the former green belt to be primarily ours – a revelation that upset more than one neighbor, for now they were forced to utilize their own land to plant new screening, effectively reducing the perceived size of their own property. I mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again here: Surveying your property line might not make you any enemies, but it will definitely not make you any friends.

But moving along, as these conifers grew, the buffer shrank. Because trees grow. And while they had previously mowed this buffer, it shrank to the point that they couldn’t get their wide-track mower into it, because that would have involved mowing onto our side and we had since installed shrubs and gardens – with stakes to prevent any “accidental” landscaping incidents. A normal response would have been to tackle the buffer with a smaller push mower or a weedwhacker, but as The Landscaper had since been kicked out and the chore now the responsibility of their indifferent son, they instead decided to just ignore the buffer.

Which is why I call it the Zone Rouge. It’s a post-conflict abandoned strip of land. And occasionally and irregularly poisoned with isopropylamine salt of glyphosate, courtesy of the The Landscaper’s replacement (the new guy the Harpy’s fucking).

I, however, refuse to allow my property to return to the “communal” green belt. This makes my own landscaping somewhat more difficult, and hedge trimmers are now required to maintain the delineation. But there’s a greater problem at large: wildlife. Specifically, the insect variety. The blood-consuming variety. And they like overgrown flora to hide in.

To exacerbate the issue, the corner of the neighbor lot floods regularly. A french drain or perhaps a berm might reduce that problem, but as I have so subtly suggested previously, these aren’t exactly people who do anything to contribute to the community at large. Nor are they outdoorsy. So to them, “doesn’t impact me” = “I’m not going to do anything about it even though it might impact others”. Which is also why they haven’t put up any sort of containment system for their dog which constantly shits in everyone else’s yard. They’re a little young to be boomers, but they sure have the mentality.

Anyway, so following this long-winded complaining intro about bad neighbors – we have a mosquito problem. Which I have taken some steps to mitigate!

But I’ve recently received feedback that my shorter posts are more entertaining, so I’ll make this a two-part post! Haha! Teaser. You’ll have to wait to read about mosquito eradication techniques.

And now, a word from our sponsors…


The Tenants of Cinematic Selection (rev. 052024-2)

αPWN, our satirically-named gaming group, gathers every Monday for a movie night. And just as no one can ever think of a gift they want for themselves on the spot, no one could ever think of a movie when the night arrived. And agreements were equally difficult. And it’s Monday so we don’t have the time to discuss this!

So I fell back on my workplace skills: if we’re not advancing a project and no one will agree, then we’ll have a meeting and discuss the approach ad nauseum until everyone agrees, or collapses from exhaustion.

The result: The Tenants of Cinematic Selection. Properly versioned, of course. And I will document it here in the holy archives of Ephemerality…for all time. Yeah, that makes sense.

Anyway, here we are as of 5/27:

Modifications to occur as loopholes appear.

I should write government policy on the side.