Orange Jell-O

Bummer. The cup is a terrible mold.

See what's become of me? 

This is a thing from the 1950's I think. And that's like what, seventy years ago. We were told that Jell-O is made from horse hooves. 

But that was before the internet and now we can check. Hang on. 

[is jell-o made from horse hooves?]

Snopes is first. Before a few years ago that's where I'd go, but not now. Now their presumed authoritah is risible.

Wow this orange Jell-O is good.

Here's one. The Daily Meal.


The page says:

Gelatin is made of the protein collagen. This is Jell-O’s primary ingredient. Collagen is the most prevalent protein in animals found mostly in bones and skin.

Ew, gross me out.

To make commercial-grade gelatin, bones and hides of cows and pigs are boiled, cured, treated with acid and alkali, and filtered during a multi-week process until the collagen has been thoroughly hydrolyzed. Then dried, ground and sifted into powder. The product is nearly 100% protein and so pure that it is no longer categorized as animal product by the federal government.

I’m sorry, what? I’m too grossed out to think right now. I didn’t hear mention of horses so the tale about using horse hooves is false. That’s my conclusion. Go away. 

There is another cup of orange Jell-O

And another package of strawberry Jell-O, at least something red. 

And you know what is going to happen? My fingernails will grow. Toenails too. Hair too. Like all the animal stuff that goes into Jell-O is now in me. I'll have animal fingernails and animal hair. Their animal essence becomes my physiology. And don't even ask me what that word means I only heard it somewhere. 

So, in a few days, there I will be, clipping my nails and scheduling a haircut. Because of the protein in Jell-O from frying animals so long and so hard that the product isn't even animal anymore. 

But my body is animal and it responds chemically as animal to products from animals. 

Do you think that animal spirit just dies? Or there isn't animal spirit to begin with? What do you think happens to animal spirit?

All the little chickens on the homesteading videos are just meat. They are numbers. Tended numbers. They live only a few months. Their lives are calculated by weight of feed against weight of product against time. I haven't heard one single homesteader mention their home-ranged chickens are 10x better than battery chickens and the eggs are clearly much healthier, darker and more erect. 

And then among those chickens are the few odd chickens that behave as pets waiting for the school bus and always greeting the farmer like a puppy. Birds that tuck their heads into a farmers chest indicating some form of affection. Indicating some kind of spirit.

You know what? Living in an advanced society really isn't all that pristine. I can see why people are always exploring alternatives. They are freaked out by modern animal processing. 

Fifteen years ago I went to a cafeteria with my brother. We sat down and a very large family passed by in front of us. The sister carried a plate piled up with food. The dad's plate was higher. The mum carried a very full plate. Finally, the little boy carried a plate with only a few cubes of Jell-O. 

What a stupid thing to want at a cafeteria but even with all that food around that is all that he wanted. We assumed this is all their first trip to the buffet. If it was their second ... Jeeze. 

And that's what you call control. 

Rib-eye steak salad

Miso soup

I am in trouble. Too dark. That means it is going to taste too strong, like wow, water this down, by about 300%. 

I already did water it down. Boldly watered it down. The whole time I was thinking this is the wrong thing to do but this must be the right thing to do.  Because I started with two quarts and ended overnight soaking with 1.75 quarts so I held the container under the sink water filter spout and filled up the container. That was about 2 or so cups. Pure filtered water into the cooked broth.

The broth only steeped for ten minutes. 

The second time with bonito. That is dry smoked fish flakes. Can you believe that? They take these fish by the thousands and dry them to tight little bricks. Fish-bricks. Then smoke them. Sometimes back and forth smoke/dry smoke/dry smoke/dry for months. Ferment them, actually. Grow mold on them. Then shave them to super thin airy flakes. Extremely flavorful dry evanescent flakes that float in the air. They put these flakes all over the place, all over everything, soups, salads, the whole lot, entrees, whores de ovaries, amuse-bouches, whatever. The flakes waft in the air. It's a thing with them, woo-hoo have some Fairy Fish flakes, they are magical, they will knock your socks off. 

And if you are not wearing socks then the flakes will knock your sandals off. 
And if you are not wearing sandals then the flakes will knock your shoes off. 
And if you are not wearing shoes then the flakes by shock will have you instantly pedicured.
And if you are already well pedicured then nothing but shock will happen to you. You are set. You beat the Fairy Fish Flakes to the punch. But you still get the shock, your legs will stretch out and your toes will splay open and we will all see how well pedicured you are. We'll all be, "wow, look at that guy."  

And it soaked overnight the first time with kombu. I never did that before. I always did this quickly. I never took the time to do this properly.

The piece of kombu looked to be too small for two quarts of water. I wiped it with a wet cloth as they say, but eh, I don't really care. The white powder is MSG that collects as it dries. This is the origin of commercial MSG. Japanese cooks think this is too much so they wipe it off. 

I don't care. It's too small to care about. I watched as the water came to a boil. I am interested how bubbles form in a new laminated steel pot. It's cool. I watched water ripples emanating outward along the bottom of the pot from the kombu that is soaking. The kombu will grow right before my eyes. The kombu is releasing its essence into the water and I can see the nearly invisible kombu essence snake along the bottom as bubbling from boiling begins to occur across random spots on the bottom of the pot. The snaking continues all around the kombu and right across the bubble paths without darkening the water. I taste it. Weak. 

[Each time I much check, week or weak, I mean the one that is not strong.]

I cut the heat, put on the lid and went to bed. 

Woke up and the kombu grew by X10 its original size and weight and the water in the pot was lower.

I don't know. I am guessing over here. The kombu was dry and small when I put it in and it was wet and large when I took it out. If you saw it you'd be all,  "What? You put that in your water?" The water was darker than usual but not by much.

After this dashi was done, after the bonito was added, I added more filtered water to restore the two quarts.

And even with that dilution it is still way too strong. 

The color comes from bonito. I think. And that is the part that is too strong. I used way too much. I copied the guys that I saw on YouTube. What else am I going to do? Huh? I actually have no idea how much to use. I don't have a teacher over here. I always thought that I used too little. And now I know that two giant handfuls is too much for two quarts. 

Live and learn, innit. 

Oddly, it tastes like orange. 

There is a faint and pleasant acidic element that rises to the top and the front of taste sensation and hints of orange. It only hints and it is off. Off-orange. The taste suggest to me some weird little orange.

The miso soup is odd when it is made with strong dashi like this. I got this whole thing way out of whack. 

I would get an F in Japanese cooking school.

Good thing I never signed up or this would be on my transcript.

This whole time I thought miso soup was just miso and water. I figured this out on my own, no, they start with dashi, not plain water. I ordered takeout from a restaurant and stood there and marveled how much better their miso than mine. "WTF, guys, wha chew doin?" That caused an epiphany. And I realized, "OMG, this is dashi." 

Why didn't you tell me? 

Maybe they did tell me but it was in Japanese and it all went right by me.

In this video the cook adds as much bonito as I did. Our water amounts are nearly equal. His broth is mild, by color, and mine is strong. And this tells me that I just cannot believe what I see. 

When I say bonito, the fish, you know that I intend katsuobushi, the dried smoked fermented mold-grown-on flaked fish.

Why does Japanese industry do this drying and smoking fermenting and infecting with mold and finally flaking to bonito and not to other species of fish when bonito is perfectly fine to eat straight as a fish? I asked, the websites that I read didn't say and I stopped looking. For now I will answer myself: It was convenient. And now it is art. Actually, this video has the answer.

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