PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Chocolate City

I recently heard that, by and large, we humans are not consuming enough chocolate.

I’m pretty confident that I consume enough chocolate for several people, which can only mean that some people out there aren’t pulling their chocolate consumption weight. They claim to eat their fair share and sometimes even manage to, but then they slack off, and soon are failing to make chocolate an integral part of their diets. If there’s chocolate around maybe they’ll indulge, but they aren’t creative enough to think consciously about how to get their chocolate numbers up.

Guess what: that person used to be me. I know you think of me as a chocolate hero, always eating extra chocolate to account for the laggards who aren’t willing to put in the sweat-equity, always managing the house’s stores of chocolate and variety of selection, always ready with a friendly quip or adage about chocolate.

Close. I do go above and beyond, but the fact is I haven’t been ready with a quip about chocolate in quite some time. Will be talking to my life coach about this at our next session.

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Talking Mustard

How long has it been since we last talked mustard?

Too long, that’s for sure. It’s like mustard isn’t even part of my life anymore, the way I never bring it up in any serious discussion on the future of human beings.

But trust me on this: it’s a huge part of my life. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t think about mustard. Or consider when I might next use mustard. Or have little droplets of mustard floating around deep down inside my subconscious mind, such that I don’t even realize I’m thinking about mustard until months pass and the media start to get all over me: Hasn’t Mentioned Mustard Yet This Year! and so forth.

Sorry, but I have mentioned it. Maybe the media just aren’t receptive to hearing it. I’ve said things like, “How come we have so damned much mustard, honey?” And the response, invariably, has been “Costco.”

My parents used to have too much mustard in their house as well, but that’s because they entertained. Needless to say, if they were entertaining, they were serving mustard. Roasted mustard, creamed mustard, baked mustard. Not to mention that some people requested it as a condiment (!).

Bear in mind that I’ve actually been consuming my fair share of mustard during this so-called “period of silence.” What, I’m going to go to a Red Sox game and not eat the free mustard they have? It’s just sitting out there in gallon-sized tubs with attachments that squirt out as much of the golden goo as you’d like! How foolish it would be not to take advantage of that.

Heading to the ballpark tonight with mustard on my mind.

 

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Bonehead

You may be a young reader unaware of the living, evolutionary quality of the English language, but I’m not so young any longer, and I remember when a person who removed the bones from a chicken would be said to be “boning” the animal. Back then, when I was just a kid in the late 1800s (or so), I used to think: How odd, that removing bones is called boning. Shouldn’t it be called unboning, or deboning?

Then, the other day, I had to prepare my newest favorite dish called sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines – but you knew that!) and was directed by Jamie Oliver in how to “debone” the sardines. Dear old dad, a debonafide glossophile (Iook it up), is turning in his grave at the thought of deboning replacing boning in common parlance.

Interestingly, m-w.com (Merriam Webster online), which defines the transitive verbs “bone” and “debone” nearly identically (“to remove the bones from”), calls a person who debones meat as a “deboner” but makes no mention of a person who bones meat as a “boner.”

This also makes me wonder if ever, in the history of English literature, a character has been referred to as a “debonair deboner.” Will ask the people at Google to scan their databases for that pairing of words.

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Dust In The Wind

I’m sure you’re wondering how my brewing life is going these days, so let me tell you: it's going tremendously well! Did you know that I’ve been voted “homebrewer most likely to believe he’s going to brew commercially in an old barn?” And no, I don’t own a barn. (Yet!)

But I do own a Grainfather. If you don’t know what one is, would you believe that it’s a new, consumer-level brewing device that enables you to make fantastic beer just by sprinkling magic beer dust into fresh water, and then bottling? Hopefully not, as that would expose your gullibility. I’m told that the technology to concoct magic beer dust is still several years away. Needless to say, I’m working on my own version of magic beer dust in my beer laboratory. I think we can all agree that America can’t be made great again without a drinkable version of instant, powdered beer.

In the meantime, there is the Grainfather, a device that steeps grains to extract sugars and then boils the wort, all in one chamber, before pumping out the precious liquid gold through a chiller and into a fermenter. It’s practically like magic beer dust!

I suppose, actually, that the closest thing we humans have to magic beer dust is dry malt extract, which certainly is dusty, and, when mixed with fresh, clean Quabbin Reservoir water and inoculated with a dose of dry yeast, is magically transformed into beer.

(But the grainfather is still much better).

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