Saturday, February 26, 2011

Halal Meat

I braved Fairway in the middle of a Saturday, yet couldn't convince myself to pay 12 dollars for a Murray's whole chicken, nor spare the cash for the lamb I was thinking of. I did pick up some baby octopus, all the way from the Philippines, for $3.99 a pound, after being inspired by it at Babbo a month ago. When I am at Fairway, I am looking for deals, not getting caught up in the smorgasbord. 

Afterward, I stopped in one of my local halal butchers for a whole chicken, keep the head, and maybe some lamb or beef. The whole chicken was $4.50, sold, but the lamb the tough kind, and the filet mignon would only be let go whole. What they did have, which I haven't seen since last year when the butcher offered some for me to try, was the cured/smoked beef steak you see below. I do not know the reason that it is sold at this time -for a festival, or holiday, or just because now is a good time to start up the smoker. It's made in house, is only $7.99 a pound (and it's light weight), is very lean, and fairly tender. Flavor is smokey, of course, but the texture is closer to a salt cured meat than a dried jerky. Sliced thin, it almost melts in your mouth. If you can find it, try some. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Eyes Are Full Of Smoke

We made the hour and a half journey upslope to the patch-treed, rumpled farm landscape, snow and ice refracted illusions of shadow and light at high speeds on two lane highways. Then, downslope, treed, over the Minnesota River, into the town of New Ulm, Minnesota. Unprepossessing, downtown paralleling the river, low rise, unanticipated one story marketplatz, grain elevators, powerplant, and grid of house-planked streets.

New Ulm is the site of significant battles during the Dakota War of 1862. New Ulm is also the ancestral town of my wife's paternal family. Mention her last name on the streets of New Ulm and any devotee of local history will first say, "ahh yes, first white baby born in the county." It is hard to hear these words without focusing on inflection. I joke with Rex that his ancestor is like some sort of Abraham of the Midwest.

The Dakota war led to the largest mass execution in United States history -the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Mn. Hermann the German, rising above New Ulm from its heights above the river, is a monument to German settlement in Minnesota. To me it's a bit ironic that 'Hermann the barbarian' should rise above a town with this difficult history, that he should become the symbol, controverted, of civilization over 'savagery.'

First stop, the New Ulm Historical Society in the old post office building.

Rendition of the mass hanging.

Little Crow.

Hermann, from behind.

New Ulm, after sunset, from the heights.

Wilhelm and Wilhelmina. The expression on his face seems a little out of step with the portraits of the times. I detect a little smile and she may even be suppressing laughter. Or not.

Apiary was the norm.

Day in the yard at "Waldheim." There are people who name their property and those who don't. What drives this difference?

Apiary in the orchard.