It has been a while since I wrote up the local political situation in any depth. Since the parties are electing their presidential candidates from the pre-candidate batch next month, I might as well offer an overview of Uruguay's offerings sorted by party with many omitted for irrelevance. Polls were consulted, but weighed trivially into this ordering: (more...)
Archive for the ‘Housekeeping’ Category
I like trees, open spaces, clean water, wild critters, and all the nice things nature has to offer. I also now live in a real city with a seven figure population. Across the river there's an even bigger city warehousing an 8 figure population. Compared to the trend in old country this is a fairly clean city. I'd like to consider myself an environmentalist, if only the word meant the same thing it did in 1896, but it can't mean the same thing because the shitgnomes were organized by 1904.
Today the bleeding1 edge of environmentalism is a "Green New Deal" proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other new guard Pantsuits that proposes killing high output means of electrical generation in favor of substantial capital investment in low output means of generation. Burning stuff is ruled out because today's "environmentalist" is primarily focused on carbon dioxide output as a prime evil. Nuclear is out nominally because radiation is an evil, but practically because the US can't afford nuclear. Hydroelectric is out nonimally because "think of the woods", but practically because the US can't afford the construction or concrete. Naturally they would like all of this in addition to the old Pantsuit guard's preferred strategy of taxing carbon dioxide output as a means of connecting socialisms across the globe under a singular Pantsuit order.
None of them will consider the actual environmental problem which is socialism aggravated by the Pantsuit belief all biogoop that emerges from women's cunt is sacred. Socialism redistributing things through theft is one kind of problem. The aggravated problem of today is socialism with fiat means all sorts of things that have no reason to exist get distributed to bipeds with little reason to have things. In the Pantsuitist welfare state precocious urban mobs no longer have to engage in their own theiving activity to sustain their own lives and those of their broods. Their own thefts simply raise their quality of life.
The downstream effects of this malicious overallocation of resources are myriad. Back home it wasn't uncommon to see cyanobacteria fed by surplus phosphorous washed out of farm fields to turn creeks or lakes into hellwater hostile to life. It turns out Uruguay's beaches are suffering the cyanobacteria problem as well. Cyanobacteria are thriving on the Rio Platense coast. From the second week of January my local brackish water beach was flying the sanitation warning flag. Unlike previous years the cyanobacteria blooms made it out to Uruguay's Atlantic coast with reported blooms as far as Rocha. If the beaches to the east are lost, carrying the country will go entirely to the beef. But Uruguay can only so so much when Paraguay, Argentina, and Brasil's farms wash down into Uruguay's beaches.
Industrialization changed everything. Not necessarily for the worst. That socialism became fashionable as industry grew changed everything for the worse. North Americans can't feed themselves with their own plot, and getting clean protein to eat no longer involves a short walk with a shotgun waiting for a critter that looks good per:
These days the difficulty of feeding yourself in Albany has nothing to do with you being able to kill a turkey with a gun and a limited supply of bullets, nor is it you being able to find dry wood or start a fire because there's no turkey, there's no dry wood and it's not even legal for you to try and live off the land in Albany. These days the difficulty of feeding yourself has everything to do with you finding a restaurant and then finding a seat and then their having some food to serve you. The resources are so scarce that you need to have everything imported from miles and miles away. The burden you've put on your immediate environment is so great that there's not even a shadow of a hope of survival on your own. Should these supply lines fail for as much as a couple of days you are doomed.
At 50 million heads in 1880, there were places in the US where living off the land was possible. Around 1920 and 100 million heads that era ended. It's not coming back. Lessons learned in Europe for coping with density, like coppicing woodlots... the new world with its abundance broke the percieved need and utility of such measures when the old mature trees carried on indefinitely into the horizon.
Buffalo could be hunted to near extinction with the bulk of the carcass discarded as trash, because that is where the incentives aligned. Different cultures have different poverty staples for lean times. The Russians have buckwheat. North Americans had pemmican. A rich mixture of dehydrated meat and tallow was traded in 90 pound rawhide sacks for expeditions and lean times, but when the Buffalo went, so did the staple. Pemmican went from a trade good powering the fur trade to not existing. Now it is the stuff of history hobbyists and diet fads. The rawhide bags completley gone as well.
Immigration applied population pressure challenging the plenty, popularly remembered as "opportunity" that brought mass European immigration to North America one the place was settled. 19th century Europe welcomed the population relief valve. Now the trend is for Eurocrats to want their continent to be Africa's population relief valve not even 200 years later, but that's a digression.
- Very rare for women in politics to still be of the age where they can do it in the hormonally driven way. [↩]
- While frequently repeated, the historical context this campaign slogan was made is very loaded with context that is frequently ignored:
- Chickens were still farmed primarily for egg laying.
- Intensive raising of broiler chickens for quick meat was still in its infancy
- At the point Hoover was running in 1928, broiler chickens appeared to be the next big thing.
- The pot is specified as the method of cooking because at the time chicken meant old birds. Failed egg layers or cucked old-gendered roosters. It did not mean supple young broilers.
Obscured in the mess of nutrition pseudoscience wank is the apparent truth that human beings thrive on a mixed diet that includes animal proteins. Here in the land of excellent beef, it is very easy to eat a lot of beef. But as great as beef is, there are are a number of non-bovine animals that deserve at least the occasional honor of becoming dietary protein. One way to get that protein is ceviche.
Ceviche is a simple thing. You take clean protein from one or more sea creatures. You cut the protein into smaller pieces, add salt, and then bath it in organic acids. The salt is critically important for powering the violation of the protein by the acids that will cook it. The protein's already arranged into an engine that will embrace this violation, the salt's simply here to activate the pumps.
In the smaller picture there is a local retailer that reliably stocks vacuum packed frozen cuts of tuna. This is clean, attractive protein, but it simply isn't from the prime part of the fish which would make it a good candidate for sushi or sashimi. For the acid, a dozen limes will do. add chopped garlic, red onion, and a bit of hot sauce made with "ajÃ" because the peppers themselves aren't locally available in a reliable manner.
Hygeine is important! Any fish or seafood that is unsuitable for sushi due to concerns about cleanliness is right out. This means working with big chunks of whole muscle that were in a sterile space when the critter was alive. After safely thawing the tuna it gets cut into smaller pieces roughly the thickness of a pencil. While cutting, it is important to look for signs of exceptional parasites. In the case of this tuna this was a remote possibility of low concern. On the other hand, this has been a concern with the locally available farmed salmon of Chilean origin, and for that reason the salmon was passed over.
With the cutting done it is time to place the fish into a glass1 vessel. Salt and mix in your onion, garlic, parsely. Finally cover with the juice of many limes. The cooking begins immediately. After 20-30 minutes it hits a delightful medium rare. After an hour it hits well done. Since this is a chemical process the cooking cannot be stopped, but it can be slowed through refrigeration and by discarding some of the delicious juice.
After 24 hours the leftovers look like:
Visually the tuna has taken on a bit of a canned or cat food appearance, but unlike heat cooked tuna it still tastes like delicious ceviche. That the texture has moved into "overcooked" territory, but still tender. I can't speak to time horizons beyond 24 hours nor do I expect to become capable of doing so. If there's ceviche in the fridge approaching the 24 hour mark, I'm going to eat it.
Thank you for reading today's Republican capture of culture from Inca.
- Ceramic can be fine, but we are dealing with acid here. Metal and plastic are right out. [↩]
The title poem which is both the poem and its own title comes out of a conversation with an Anglophone nomad passing through Montevideo. The fellow had been eating a lot of ham sandwiches, and made a number of other new arrival mistakes trying to eat inexpensively in Montevideo by eating in a manner cheap in much the rest of the world. This lead to a meet up centered around walking Tienda Inglesa on Sunday afternoon and discussing lessons learned feeding myself and the local peculiarities.
Ham is a scam
Now there are many good reasons to eat ham, all of them involve ham being what you want to eat. However in Uruguay while pork is cheaper than beef, after the pork is transformed into ham they get mighty proud of it. Even the fucking square US-style lunchmeat salt ham runs 300 to 500 pesos a kilo, but deli counter practice is showing the price for 100 grams when it comes to fiambres. Then there's the imported Spanish and Spanish style cured hams which are outside of the staple protein discussion.
Now over in raw meat land 1 kg of ground beef is 189 pesos, lean ground beef a bit more, and fucking entrecot can be had for 315-325 pesos per kilo. The local favorite "Asado de tira"1 can do anywhere from 170 pesos to 500 pesos per kilogram depending on the bone to meat ratio.
Little business and a lot of Uruguay was discussed. Maybe the fellow makes a key and joins the future?
As to my own dietary habits, during the days Gloria the Peruana isn't here to work the kitchen I have accumulated a lot of practice making burgers. Of course the method of doing so popular with the locals is acquiring frozen preformed and preseasoned patties for a permium over over the cost of ground beef in a situation very reminescent of the scam ham. This local norm means they buy less meat for more money which will require more cooking energy to render edible all because the package looks so much more convenient.
- Beef ribs cut so that you have a strip of connective tissue with a lot of connective tissue and some variable amount of meat. [↩]
To continue the exercise started earlier:
The way laundry works here is you have a laundry machine in your residence and air dry your clothes. Not having a half dozen children to cloth and an aversion to fitting too many things in the habitation module that I cannot easily carry or roll to a new location, I started out availing myself of the local lavaderos. Back in old country there were businesses called laundry mats where you fed a coin operated machine anywhere from 5 to 16 quarters and it carried out its task. In Uruguay where consumer and capital goods are precious and no one has cared enough to develop a way to automate coin handling we have laverderos instead. Your lavadero rents a space that could have otherwise been a kiosko and stuffs it full of washing and drying machines. (more...)