my parents were supposed to get the day off today, switching work day with my 2nd aunt so she could attend a christmas party in her apartment complex. but she realized today that the party was actually last week, they just forgot to take down the flyers. still, my parents were scheduled to do a supply run, so my sister volunteered to take my mother and me while my father watched the cafe. they showed up at 1:30pm.
that whole area north of the mystic river - medford, malden, everett, chelsea - is where we get the bulk of our supplies (with the exception of occasional trips to boston chinatown, but even then, there's the super 88 supermarket in malden that carries a lot of the same stuff). first stop was costco, which is a staple for any businesses. that was the main reason i was asked to come, because they only have my father's membership card, and i could pass as him (my parents' have another card which they lent to a friend who hasn't returned it in years). often times i come here not getting anything, but today i got a stack of 12.9-quart plastic storage bins. i totally forgot i was also supposed to check on LED light bulbs and carbon monoxide detectors.
next we went to restaurant depot. i casually asked my sister if she's ever been there, but she got all defensive and turned it into an argument, accusing us of calling her forgetful. i only asked because i wanted to know if she knew how to drive there. it was 3:00pm at that point, and i wasn't sure if we had time for our last destination - the chelsea market basket - without getting caught in rush hour traffic. another concern was there wasn't anymore space in my sister's new car if we bought anymore stuff. but i wanted to go to market basket, if only to show my sister how big it is because she's a market basket snob.
i wasn't sure how to get there, and it seemed like we were driving in the wrong direction, but my mother was directing, and turns out market basket is surprisingly close to restaurant depot. we got there around 3:30pm, and left close to 4:30pm, a spectacular sunset can be seen outside the supermarket window, on this last official day of autumn.
there was a little bit of traffic on the way back, but just the typical amount. we chased the fading sunset all the way to cambridge where they dropped me off.
a package waited for me on my doorstep: alex's surprise holiday gift from japan that he sent 10 days ago. inside was a box of gum-brand angled dental flosser (surprised, because we also have them here in the states!) and a novelty vienna sausage slicer. was alex saying i have bad teeth with the flosser? the sausage slicer was particularly interesting. now i can create cute animals and shapes the next time i eat mini sausages, turning them into crabs or squids or fancy spiral and crisscross cuts.
i put my new storage bins to good use, 4 in the closet, 2 in the kitchen. i switched to plastic bins every since i had a mice problem many years ago. since then, my house has been mouse free. i'll need to take some time to reorganize my closet and find things to fill these new bins with.
i got a bag of market basket fried wings for dinner. they were okay, a little dry, maybe been under the heat lamps too long, and i didn't really notice the "honey-kissed" aspect of these wings. later in the evening, while cleaning out a kitchen container, i found some xi'an lamb paomo that i heated up and ate.
i watched more of univision, including primer impacto. barbara bermudo is still hosting, now with a younger female co-host (it used to be a suited male anchor with a beefy neck). unlike yesterday, reception was a little spotty, and there seemed to be a sweet spot with the way my antenna cable was rearranged that either allowed me to receive the channel or not. could weather have anything to do with the reception? because yesterday was a clear day, but today was cloudy.
my spanish is terrible (you could argue nonexistent), but every once in a while i'll pick up a word or two which is better than nothing. spanish is a language i don't speak, but when i hear it, i feel like i can understand it when i actually don't. i could also turn on the close-captioning (i read better than i hear), but given how fast spanish speakers can talk, often times the captioning can't keep up, so i leave it off. i watch these shows just for the variety, and also you can't deny they have prettier anchors and hosts.
i also discovered another spanish channel, 24.1 tv azteca. the reception is super strong, but for some reason when i program the channel into my lineup, my tv will simply skip over it when i'm channel surfing, jumping instead to channel 25.1. still, i prefer univision, and i don't think i've ever received telemundo clearly enough to even remember ever watching it.
fearing the possibility of mold in my sauerkraut, i opened up my jar late last night to check the progress. what i thought was mold was either dried cabbage or dried brine. i then cleaned up the airlock and reassembled everything. since then, i haven't really noticed any sign of fermentation. there's some spittle on the spout, but not enough CO2 is being produced to push up the floating bell anymore. this is day 7, and i wonder if this is a sign that the sauerkraut is done fermenting and ready to eat now.
in the late evening i went ahead and prepared the head of cabbage i got from market basket. this will be my second jar of sauerkraut, having not even tasted the first jar yet. but i had that spare fermenting jar and i wanted to put it to use instead of having it just sit there. besides, cabbage is cheap, and sauerkraut is easy to make. i wanted to cut the cabbage with a mandolin slicer this time, but none of the attachments give me a satisfactory cut, shredded the cabbage to cole slaw texture instead of sauerkraut texture. i ended up shredded the cabbage by hand with a knife.
i didn't know the size of the cabbage and forgot to weigh it with my fancy new food scale before i chopped it all up. but i was able to deduce the weight afterwards, my measuring the shredded cabbage and bowl (57.81 oz.), and then later just subtracting the bowl weight (20.07 oz.). the result is 37.74 oz. which is 2.36 lbs. bear in mind i removed the cabbage core and added a tbsp of salt and caraway seeds, i figured the cabbage i got was 2.5 lbs., about the same size as the one i got last week.
even then, once i let the cabbage reduce for an hour, i had a hard time getting it all to fit inside the 1-quart mason jar. at one point i thought i simply had too much cabbage, and started packing the extra in a pint jar. but after some additional compression, i managed to get it all to fit in one jar. i found a glass votive candle holder that i washed earlier and soaked it in boiling water to disinfect it. i wanted to use it as a fermentation weight, but there was just not enough room to fit something like that. i really should look into getting a larger mason jar (2-quart).