Sunday, July 15, 2012


I think it is simplistic to view a country as a monolithic entity with a national ego. And since we are Americans one might think we would avoid this cognitive pitfall easier, as we generally according to our creed support respect for people as individuals and not as vast Marxist tidal epiphenomena.

I assume this viewpoint, while possibly being arcane to the political domestic publicity narrative, is well understood at basic preliminary levels of diplomatic work. So I view Pakistan as a country like many others, that has a sort of percentage of support for me and my nation's interests. The things where win-win situations apply, or are acquirable. There are negative views of the U.S.; we just wish them to be small percentages of real sentiment.

It is apparent that we have common interests with some responsible people in Pakistan, and I for one appreciate them and that we can work together.

I will continue to point out that public poseurs suggesting treating another country like a fantasy entity are foolish and should not be countenanced.

I am equally certain that no one will really take note of this pathetic fallacy, and we will be subjected to a never-ending  assortment of "Moscow thinks," "China wants," even "IBM feels," etc., for as long as the wind blows.

Nut Too Bad

My first shot at homemade peanut butter was sort of comedic: I set aside half the so-called "roasted" in-the-shell peanuts I bought, and shelled half, then convinced myself somehow that I had finished the whole bag. "Huh" I thought, "not many peanuts once I've shelled them!" So since I did not think they had been roasted enough before I bought them,  I roasted the shelled nuts once more in a little oil (have no idea if this helped or hurt) and they were not all that good, but passable. I salted them a bit when they got out of the toaster oven. So I added too much canola oil but made passable peanut butter (gave the old blender a real workout, so I got the texture right) and then cheated by adding exactly an equal amount of regular peanut butter from a jar. The advantage is it's now half as sweet, which is good. I had a spoonful at breakfast, plain on the spoon. Good.
I guess I will shell the rest of the peanuts and see what else happens.

And so I did. My peanut-shelling technique took some development, and includes four separate bowls and an oblong pan to work with. The shells go for compost, of course. All the red skins had to go, too. I was left with a pan of mostly half-nuts. I wished it was a windy day to winnow them but it was not.

This time I heated an iron skillet on the stove, let it stabilize in a 375 degree F. oven, and toasted the peanuts checking often and opening the oven and stirring with a wooden spoon.

Nuts are strange things when toasted, I swear they exotherm and generate their own heat: that they are undergoing  a sort of low-temperature combustion. Most writers note that nuts continue to roast even when they are removed from the oven or toasting. True. In any case, once I determined they were done, I began aggressively cooling them three or four minutes after I took them out; dividing them into two cold pans and touching the bottoms of those pans into cool water. Stop auto-toasting, you nuts!

So I decided since I had indeed earlier created a fine smooth blend, I folded into the existing product the new batch of peanuts, unsalted this time, and un-oiled, and the blender made a crunchy version. It would easily have chopped them into paste so there are no too-large pieces. Looks like professional work to me.

And now it has only 1/3 commercial peanut butter. Since I'm grown up, it still tastes nicely sweet to me.