Slave labor and hickema frittos

You know how some things skip a generation? Well, I am a decent albeit not fancy cook. I have never canned anything in my life. My mother used to can things. She canned things when I was a very small child. Once (if I have the story straight), I was a baby and my old coot was off at banking school in Wisconsin and The Commander was canning something or other and somehow, moisture built up on the walls or something (I may be making this part up) and pictures and things started crashing down in the middle of the night, scaring her half to death. I don’t remember her doing a whole lot of canning when I got older but that was probably because she had a teaching career then and I’m sure she didn’t have time for canning. *Then*, after she retired, she began doing a little canning *again*. It was mostly tomatoes and I loved having those quart jars of tomatoes around for pasta sauce throughout the winter.

My Mouse has taught herself to can tomatoes and fruit and stuff and I may not have a clue about canning but I can sure cut up tomatoes for the cause and I am also an inveterate dish washer who loves to scurry around cleaning things while other people are cooking or whatever. Our project today was tomato sauce (or puree) and I think we did half a peck of tomatoes or thereabouts, a nice little half day prodject for me, Mouse, and Gertrude. Here’s approximately half our tomatoes. (Don’t look at the Froog, you’ll only encourage him.)


Here is yer fav-o-rite [baggy old] blahgger doing her thing. Whaddya mean, there’s a monkey on the coffee maker? Don’t you keep a monkey on your coffee maker?


Here is Mouse setting up her canning operation on Gertrude.


Close-up of our beauteous ‘maters, which were actually “seconds”, so we are supporting the Ugly Produce movement or whatever it is. Although these tomatoes were beautiful aside from some odd little irregularities.


Reading and baby-sitting. The yellow mouse there on the left end of Gertrude belonged to my loverly childhood dog Tigger. Of course I still have it.


Action shot.


Filling up the jars. Yes, the Froog is there again. You know the drill.


Because I have never been present for one of Mouse’s canning prodjects, I had no clue that she owned all of this top-notch equipment.


Here is the end product (and yes, shush, you see him back there). Mouse has more canning prodjects planned and with luck I will be able to help her again. What a great way to spend time with an adult child.


After this, we schlepped downtown to the Jolly Pumpkin where we ate quinoa salad and hickema jicama frittos. The frittos change according to what kind of fritto-able veggies are available, so the server always tells you what the flavor of the day is. When our waittress said “hickema”, I had to ask “What?” but I ordered them anyway. The last time we ordered the frittos, it was March and the veggie was rutabaga and they were out of this world, so I knew that “hickema” frittos would be good even though I didn’t know what “hickema” was. And then Mouse said something about the word beginning with a “j” and I did a great big “DUH”. It’s *jicama* and I have apparently been pronouncing that word incorrectly for decades. For a long time I didn’t pronounce “quinoa” correctly either. Sorry but my second languages (besides high school Latin) are limited to things like FORTRAN and javascript.

After that we went our separate ways. Mouse had some things to do at home and I actually jumped onto my work laptop to deal with some issues that have been nagging at me all weekend. I’ll leave you with a piece of Kitchen Art.


Oh, and just because… 1) It was on the radio just now and I loved it 2) I love Neko Case 3) There’s the Delirium Wilderness up near our stomping grounds in the Yooperland, here is my new fave song.

3 Responses to “Slave labor and hickema frittos”

  1. Sam Says:

    [We saw/heard a lovely outdoor concert by Laura Veirs years ago.] Great song choice, KW!

  2. Margaret Says:

    Ashley knows how to can also, but I don’t have a clue, nor do I want the mess. Like you, I’m good at cleaning up after people, chopping and organizing things. The food sounds delish, although I’m not sure how I feel about rutabaga.

  3. isa Says:

    A monkey on the coffee maker? What about a fish in the percolator?: