Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
I’m a lucky duck.
I have a 10-pound beef brisket swimming in a spicy brine solution in a plastic tub down in my basement refrigerator.
Hopefully, this Sunday, after a six-hour hickory smoke experience, this chunk of meat will become delectable pastrami.
I’ve wanted to have some pastrami on hand for quite a while, but I was discouraged from investing in a brisket given high beef prices, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade wars and everything else going on.
But now I am back at it and, I’d have to say, so far, so good.
The brisket, lean on the bottom and fat on top, fits nicely in my gray plastic tub and, with the help of a large dinner plate, stays submerged below the surface of the brine. The curing salts are slowly working their way into the meat.
My immediate task is to flip the large chunk of meat nightly. It takes some doing. I take my brining tub out of the fridge, set it on the basement floor, stab the brisket and, using both hands, seek to give it a nice flip without too much brine spilling on the floor.
The brine is pungent with garlic and, within the last several days, has picked up a darker red color.
I am dreaming of steamy pastrami sandwiches topped off with a stiff yellow mustard.
Hopefully, on Sunday, my dreams will come true.
I can see the end of a porch replacement project. What’s left is to make two two-foot square column caps out of African hardwood.
I have put off this last task for weeks, even months.
The reason is simple. I can’t do it with a machine tool.
Each cap has five-degree beveled sides. Each of the sides is roughly six inches long, which is double the reach of my table saw blade.
This means that I will likely have to use a long hand plane to create the bevels.
This scares me. I have only weak confidence in my ability with hand woodworking tools.
I can imagine myself taking long sweeps with my Record plan, creating long, beautiful curls of Iroku. Still, I think I will mess up. I am used to doing everything with a power tool.
I will likely try and minimize my hand work. I can drill holes at specific depths to remove wood, reducing the elbow grease I will need to employ. I will sharpen my plane blade, too, to speed my work.
I hope I can do a nice job. If I do, I will not only have a porch made of beautiful wood, but that will display a little personal craftsmanship, as well.
The presidential campaign that went on forever now doesn’t want to end. We will have, apparently, lawsuits, recounts and all that.
I can be patient, but, when we do get a president, I would hope he would be a guy who just didn’t campaign in Wisconsin, but would, now, do something for the state.
And here I’m referring to the state’s license- plate livelihood, dairy farming.
The Marathon County Conservation, Planning and Zoning recently reported Marathon County lost 68 percent of its dairy farms since 1987 and, likely, this is bellweather for the rest of the state.
The national government needs to address this situation. The correct response may be better dairy policy, but maybe not. There just needs to be a way for people to make some money living on the land. Maybe that’s better trade agreements. Maybe that’s carbon credits. Maybe it’s something else. But something.
Campaigns are full of amusements, vitriol, lies, empty promises, hope, fear and kissing babies.
In the end, however, politics needs to help people live their lives.
Contact Peter Weinschenk at pweinschenk@ tpprinting.com