i ran into a yard sale on prentiss street my way to belmont this morning. whatever you want to call it - yard sale, stoop sale, garage sale - this was one of the earliest ways to find a local bargain before the invention of services like craig's list.
i rummaged through the boxes of cd's but didn't find anything my taste. don't even remember the last time i bought a cd. i didn't bother looking through the tapes, haven't touched a cassette in ages (although a genuine mix tape might have some historical value). there were also several boxes of books which was more to my liking. the sellers were a cosmopolitan couple, relaxing in lawn chairs, tattoos peeking out of their clothes, flagging down strangers to check out their wares. they were moving out of their apartment, spending some time traveling through europe before returning to the states. so jealous! "oh, that's not for sale," a friend of their's told me when i picked up a bike helmet. her ride was leaning against a nearby tree, a beautiful teal roadster probably worth at least a grand.
i ended up buying a pair of NFT map books: a 2005 new york city guide and a 2009 boston guide.1 i also grabbed an, "art and history of barcelona," one of those touristy vacation books (the sort that comes in many different languages to cater to the customer, this one was the 1992 english edition). i figured i'd pay a buck each for the NFT guides and $2 for the oversized photo book, but they charged me only $2 for all 3 books.
when my mother heard i didn't have breakfast/lunch yet, she fixed me a bowl of beef liver soup with udon noodles. there was also some swedish meatballs and green peas. the liver was leftover from my mother; my father bought her some to treat her anemia.
i showed my father the rusty wheel i brought home yesterday. i knew that as soon as he saw it he would be all over it, disassembling it all to get to the gear hub in the center. he even brought out the power drill to speed up the process of unthreading all those nipples. afterwards he oiled up the hub gear and gave it a good clean. we didn't take it apart yet but watched a few youtube videos of hub breakdown to get an idea of how to do it.
i was surprised that the spokes on the rear wheel are the same length as those on the front wheel, just laced in a different angle. that means if i can get my hands on a decent raleigh front wheel, i can use it to build out a new rear wheel.
my mother and sister were busy making jewelry from all the gemstones they bought over the past few days. they were also watching an on-demand movie, quigley down under (1990) starring tom selleck. i've seen the movie before and thought it was okay, but they seemed to be totally engrossed with the film.
since it rained so much last night, the garden didn't need any watering today so there wasn't much to do. my father and i pulled off of first zucchini, and also cut our 2nd korean cucumber of the season. an inspection of the squash plants showed no SVB eggs. later in the afternoon i went outside with a Bt solution in a spray bottle and coated all the squash plants. not sure if this will even do anything, but better safe than sorry.
nobody in my family thinks i can cook, so when i volunteered to make the dipping batter for the fried squash blossoms, they quickly grabbed the bowl and spoon out of my hands before i hurt myself or poison everyone. i found a simple recipe calling for a flour-milk-salt batter dip before frying in olive oil. since we didn't have any milk in the house, we used water instead. my father took charge of the operation with my sister assisting. they also added some corn starch to make it crispier.
i couldn't really taste any squash in the final result. the batter tended to soak up the oil, so a few of the early ones were very oily. it just tasted like a crispy nondescript flat bread, almost like a scallion pancake. the exterior was crunchy with a slightly melted interior. we didn't remove the stems, which tasted a little bitter. everyone seemed to like them except for me. i found the experience slightly underwhelming, i was expecting something more delicious. my father remarked that it was kind of similar to japanese tempura, without the even crunchier panko shell. fried squash blossom sort of falls under the auspices of the old adage, "everything tastes better fried" - even squash blossoms. maybe next time we'll try a milk-flour batter. certainly we'll have plenty more flowers in a few more days.
i came back home to find a sprawling mess of cooking in the kitchen. bram apologized for the clutter but i told him it was okay. after opening up some windows (it was really hot and humid inside the house), i took a shower. later in the evening (11:00), bram left the house for some mysterious saturday night activities.
1 since i can't afford a smartphone, i'm still very much old school when it comes to navigation so i still rely on paper maps (printouts or otherwise). i already have a new york NFT guide but it's from 2003; not like 2005 is anymore up-to-date, but this one at least has a better fold-out minimap in the back of the book. the boston NFT guide is probably more useful. i bought a copy in 2005; it was stolen by my sister's then-roommate when they lived at my place while i was away in southeast asia for a third of the year.