We had intended to make Chai yesterday, to provide us with some caffeine to stimulate our cleaning-and-organizing activities on Charlie’s last full day here at Skootamatta. We forgot to even consider beverages – hot or cold – until most of the day’s tasks had been completed, including the overwhelming majority of the physical activity. We got most of the tasks that directly benefit from daylight – chopping and bringing in firewood, fetching lake water (Charlie had to chop ice with an axe), and setting up the heating system for Tarrandus, my truck (her cabin-heating system is broken due to a jammed-in-the-cold-position blend door, so I used a small space heater that runs off household 125v alternating current to pre-heat her before today’s 2.5 hour drive to Ottawa International). Thus we felt we wouldn’t need a caffeine fix at 5:00pm and opted for an alcoholic choice, instead (wine!).
Also, we’re pretty frickin’ Canadian around here.
No photo again, because, again, I forgot to take any while Chai was being prepared. The recipe is basically “add milk to brewed tea” plus some spices – though we didn’t have any cardamom so that was omitted. The hot, sugary (sweetened condensed milk accounts for about 1/9 of the total dairy in this recipe) tea went into a big thermos we had with us and we drank it as we drove down Ontario Highway 417 eastwards into Ottawa. It was, once again, really, really good.
Charlie provided me with an Excel file that includes all 634 recipes in the 2006 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. So this cup of tea represents six down, 628 to go. Clearly, I need to increase my average rate to around two recipes / day if I’m going to complete this project in one year. Charlie convinced me this time limit should be my goal, because if I allow the project to drag out longer from the outset, I greatly increase the risk of never actually finishing it. A deadline is a useful thing for focusing my mind, and I’m already pondering options for completing some of the more ambitious recipes that require techniques I’ve never tried before such as deep-frying and candy-making as well as what to do with the tremendous amounts of food that some recipes will generate – there are three recipes that are built around whole turkeys (one involves a turkey-swallowing, propane-powered deep fryer), for example, plus half a chapter of casseroles. Not to mention the cakes, pies, batches of cookies, and general make-supper-for-your-whole-family recipes that form the backbone of this book.
I will be buying some non-food items to support this project, obviously. First on the list is a chest freezer, an item I’ve wanted ever since I gave my old one to a friend-of-a-friend when I left Saskatchewan. Other things I’ll be searching for include a candy thermometer, more plastic storage containers (to put in the freezer), and a waffle iron – I’ll be browsing the local thrift shops for this and a few other items, with Walmart and its ilk as my backup plan. I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to have a BBQ at my apartment, so either I’ll be using a friend’s (helping with the what-to-do-with-all-this-food problem) or buying one for a friend, and visiting often.