Stuff White People Like – Farmer's Markets, and Goats

Collingwood, Ontario Farmer's MarketSean and I spent Saturday in Collingwood, at the organic Farmer’s market. The usual assortment of goods awaited us – locally grown organic vegetables (other than strawberries, not much local fruit is in season yet), grass raised beef and pork, kitschy wooden goods (including some cute pet bowl stands that my dogs would chew through in about an hour), and a young girl leading a Native(ish) drum circle.

Call me cynical, but I start giggling when I see very earnest young people talking about connecting with ‘mother earth and sister sky’ while they pound on a drum. Speeches, no matter how well intentioned, about ‘letting the spirit of our people flow through us’ become hard to take when delivered in the middle of downtown Collingwood (quite possibly the whitest place in Ontario) by a blond girl with dreads.

Plus, hippies make me itchy.

We bought some awesome plum jam, and a jar of peach chutney. I am enough of a displaced Brit that I still think chutney is the perfect accompaniment to a roast beef sandwich, whereas Sean thinks chutney is made by the devil. He swears it smells like brimstone, which is pretty tough words coming from a man who eats Haggis of his own free will.

We then grabbed some local brie and a really great loaf of chewy bread, and ate lunch over looking Nottawasaga Bay.

Our drive to Collingwood is through some of southern Ontario’s most beautiful scenery. We pass though the Grey Highlands and into the Blue Mountains, avoiding the main roads for the scenic routes. We had to stop to allow a very fat, very cranky porcupine to amble his way off the gravel and into the shrubbery, while I fumbled for the camera and contemplated whether or not porkies really can toss their quills. By the time I found it, he was off into the woods.

Blue Mountains, Ontario Canada

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and since Sean is off we’re going to head up to my favorite market, Keady. It’s a combination livestock market and Farmer’s market, and last time we went I was thisclose to coming home with a goat. In my defense, it was a super nice goat –  very affectionate and dog like. I’m pretty sure I could fit a goat into the back of the Element. It would be nice for Delilah to have a friend.

(btw, this blog entry title is taken from the frighteningly accurate blog “Stuff White People Like” – this entry, in particular)

Barbie gets strange in her old age

What’s up with the people over at Mattel? Did they all drink the Kool Aid or something, or has a merry band of subversive pranksters taken over their R&D division?

I can’t imagine what else is behind the release of two of their new models – S&M Barbie (OK, she’s really called the “Black Canary Barbie“), and the undeniably cute “The Birds” Barbie:

Rather disturbing S&M Barbie wears PVC, fisnets and fetish bootsBarbie Doll inspired by Tippi Hendren in The Birds

I guess it makes sense – Barbie has been a secretary, a pilot, a Veterinarian and a fry cook at McDonalds, so why not a Dominatrix(or a bird pecked 1950’s starlet, for that matter)? .

It’s nice to see Mattel opening up alternate career opportunities for today’s youth.

Personally, I’m holding out for Quentin Tarantino approved “Pulp Fiction” Barbies. The marketing opportunities are awesome – Gimp Ken, Honey Bunny Barbie, Asian Kid with Brains Blown Out, etc. After that, they could do Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill. Yeah, that’s your money maker, right there… are you listening, Mattel?

In which I try to kill us both

There are a lot of risks in surfing the internet, as almost anyone can tell you. One minute, you’re clicking along all innocently, looking at dog supplies and reading blogs, and the next thing you know, you stumble onto something obscene… something unspeakable… something tempting.

Yes, you’ve discovered porn – food porn.

Glossy websites jam packed full of artfully lit shots of chipotle cinnamon chocolate cupcakes, salted caramel ice cream, and pan seared polenta. Blogs detailing the author’s adventures in creating the perfect butter cream frosting. Recipes for booze soaked french toast. My hips widened just taking it all in.

Fried chicken, corn bread, sweet potato fries and garlic green beans

But, I’m weak, so I ended up drifting over to a few sites about southern cooking, and was overwhelmed with the urge to make some fried chicken. Seeing as how I live north of the Mason Dixon line – waaaay north – I suppose I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that I’ve never in my life fried chicken before. Nope, not ever. I’m not hopeless, though, as I can (and frequently do) make a wicked bourbon ribs with collard greens. I also do some pretty amazing Jamaican oxtail with fried plantain, but that’s another story.

I decided to make corn bread, fried chicken and green beans. Sean then decided that, since the frying pan was going to be full of hot oil, and we were both already going to carb purgatory, we might as well make sweet potato fries. I topped his suggestion with a remark about aioli, and he countered with ‘white gravy’. It was all pretty much down hill from there.

That’s the finished project over in the photo, and it all turned out pretty good. In case you’d also like to try killing off your loved ones via deep frying, here are the recipes.

Oven Fried Chicken

I combined Ina Garten’s recipe for oven fried buttermilk chicken with the seasonings from the recipe on Simply Recipes. I like the Barefoot Contessa’s cooking method, but her seasonings seemed insipid, so this was a pretty good compromise.


1 (3 pound) fryer, cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme) or a teaspoon each of the dried herbs.
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
2 cups grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil such as canola oil, or peanut oil

Soak chicken overnight (at least 8 hours and up to two days) in buttermilk with onions, herbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain in chicken in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken. In a large paper or plastic (sturdy) bag, mix flour with seasonings. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum – something that can take the heat) on medium high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil (but not so hot that the pan is smoking). Remember when working with hot oil, always have a pan lid close by.

Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don’t crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch.

When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

This is what I guess you’d call ‘northern’ style cornbread – sweeter and more cake like than a true southern corn bread is. It also makes a nice muffin, if you’re so inclined. I’ve added all kinds of stuff to this recipe – grated sharp cheese, canned corn, chopped serrano peppers, diced canned jalapenos. Go nuts.


* 1/2 cup canola oil or softened butter
* 3 tablespoons honey or natural maple syrup
* 2 large eggs
* 1/8 cup chopped chives or green onions
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
* 1  1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
* pinch cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan or a cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Stir together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat together all wet ingredients in separate bowl. Fold wet into dry using a wooden spoon. Don’t over mix.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 35  minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Cut the corn bread into squares and serve warm with butter.

(note: if you like a crispy crust outside your cornbread, pre heat the pan for about ten minutes, then add the batter to the hot pan before baking)

Delilah marches to her own beat

Delilah thinks I'm picking on herI own, I’m ashamed to admit, several pairs of those horrid, clunky foam Crocs. Yes, they’re ugly, but they’re also useful for scooping poop (you can hose them off after stepping the inevitable land mine that was hidden in the grass) and great for wearing when washing floors or hanging around near the pool.

A few minutes before I started this entry, Delilah ran past me with her head stuck inside of one of my Crocs. Not with the Croc in her mouth, mind you – with her whole head stuck inside the shoe, wedged in like… well, like my foot inside the same shoe, actually. She then careened into the coffee table, smacked her (thankfully foam encased) head on the side of it, and fell over on her side. Where she fell asleep. And yes, I’m sure she was asleep and not passed out cold, because A) she was snoring and B) I checked.

What’s oddest about all of this isn’t that my dog fell asleep with her head stuck in a shoe, but that I wasn’t particularly surprised that she did.

Delilah is weird. In a house full of strange dogs with “unique” personalities, Delilah gives proof to that old T Shirt slogan “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”.

Let’s compile a short list of ways in which Delilah is differently abled from the other Frenchies.

  • She won’t come down the stairs
  • She grazes nearly constantly on plants in the yard. This isn’t the occasional bout of grass eating, either – grazing is Delilah’s avocation, and she takes it seriously. We once watched her spend a good twenty minutes studiously snipping plants with her teeth and chewing them like a contented moo cow.
  • She prefers sitting on the upper backs of chairs, like a parrot. We’ve caught this on film, and it also captures her:
  • ..distinctly chimp like sound effects, which sound something like “oooph”. I guess she can’t pronounce her ‘W’s
  • She is disturbed by pop cans, and finds them untrustworthy
  • Her agile tail, which is an effective barometer of her mood, sets her apart from the other dogs, and makes them regard her with disdain and suspicion (“What’s that thing on her butt, and why is it moving?”).
  • She doesn’t really understand dog-dog interaction, likely because she was bottle raised. She gets upset when play turns rough, and hides inside the leather recliner. Yes, I said inside – she slides into the back of it and stays there until things calm down.
  • She has a giant freak tongue. We theorize it takes up most of the space inside her skull that should have held her brains
  • She can move objects with her mind. I’m just kidding – she can’t actually do that last one. She wishes she could, though.

Here’s a video of Delilah barking at a scary, scary pop can. Sorry about the soundtrack, but I shot it through the window, and all you could hear was the TV in the background.

Newsflash: Frenchies + Hot Car = Bad Idea!

Holy smokes, sometimes I despair for the human race, what with all the dumbness out there, just floating around.

How can there be anyone left who doesn’t know that you don’t leave dogs in the car when it’s hot – and especially not French Bulldogs (or any other flat faced breed)!

Heat stroke can kill any dog, fast, but dogs left in cars are at particular risk.

From the HSUS comes this explanation of exponential temerpatures inside of vehicles –

On a warm, sunny day windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle, and pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree Fahrenheit day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.

A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically even on mild days. With outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees, researchers found that a car’s interior temperature can heat up by an average of 40 degrees within an hour, with 80% of that increase in the first 30 minutes. A cracked window provides little relief from this oven effect. The Stanford researchers found that a cracked window had an insignificant effect on both the rate of heating and the final temperature after an hour.

Imagine the effect, in even mildly hot weather, on breeds like French Bulldogs that have impaired ability to regulate their body temperature. A brachycephalic dog’s inefficient breathing apparatus makes it less efficient at self cooling, all of which is a fancy way of saying “Frenchies, Pugs and Bulldogs can overheat really fast – faster than you’d believe. Faster than a German Shepherd, or any other dog breed”.

You’d think anyone who has even the most vague reading comprehension would have gotten the message by now that dogs in hot cars is a bad idea, but apparently not.

Here’s the British Columbia owner who had his Frenchie stolen after it was left in a parked car in 85 degree heat –

A Vancouver man is pleading for his dog’s safe return after it went missing from his housekeeper’s car last Sunday in Crescent Beach.

Andrew Knott, who has a real estate office in South Surrey, was away over the weekend, so his housekeeper and her friend took his French bulldog, Churchill, out for a morning walk.

They stopped to get breakfast at a restaurant and left Churchill in the parking lot with the car window partially opened. When they returned about a half hour later, they found the car door open and two-year-old Churchill nowhere in sight.

“I have no children of my own,” Knott told the Peace Arch News. “He’s kind of like a son to me.”

The housekeeper said she reported the dog stolen to Surrey RCMP and left word at the SPCA.

However, Janice Levers, branch manager of the Surrey SPCA, said this week that rather than Churchill being stolen, it could be that someone thought they were rescuing the dog by freeing him from a hot car.

Temperatures in White Rock reached 25.9 C Sunday.

“I certainly would be suspicious,” Levers said of Churchill’s disappearance. “The dog should not have been left in the car on a hot day.”

From the Peace Arch News

I don’t blame the owner in this case. It’s not his fault his housekeeper is a moron – but I don’t really blame the person who liberated the dog, either. I think the car door left wide open was a clear message – “Hey dummy, I took your dog before it died”. Point taken – now let’s just hope the dog makes it home.

Leaving your own dog in a car, however, deserves a special hot corner of hell.

A French bulldog died of heat exhaustion after it was left in a stifling parked car for a half hour outside the Watertown Mall Thursday afternoon, the Watertown Tab & Press reported.

According to the online newspaper, Watertown police were called to the parking lot around 12:42 p.m. and found the unconscious dog inside the car.

The 3-year-old French bulldog was taken to the Watertown Animal Hospital but doctors were unable to save it.

Police are investigating and it’s unknown whether the owner will be cited or charged in the incident.


Not sure if the owner will be charged? What’s not to be sure about?

And.. what the hell do you need at a mall so badly that you’re willing to condemn your dog to one of the most painful deaths I can imagine? Out of scented candles? Big sale at the Gap?

You jerk. You ignorant, stupid, evil, banal, mall shopping, dog killing jerk. I don’t have any sympathy for you, I don’t ‘understand that people make mistakes’, and I hope you’re banned from ever owning another dog.

Better still, I hope they ban you from ever shopping at another mall, since that’s probably the punishment you’d find most painful.

References: Go here to read our article on preventing heat stroke, and on what to do if it happens