To know me is to know that i am "thrifty and frugal" (read cheap and a tightwad), so i do just about everything i can to keep expenses down. That includes the electric bill.
Since we have no choice but to have air conditioning, since this is a swamp where you will melt without it because we only have two seasons, wet and hurricane, and the only difference is hurricane is hotter, i leave it as high as i can and we use fans in every room.
Besides the A/C though, other things that are big energy sucks are stoves and ovens. Just like the electric dryer, the range top and oven use 220 instead of 125, meaning it can take up to 18 times more electricity (according to one study i read) to heat water on the stove than in a microwave. Using my grandmother's cast iron to cook, i use the range top. Everything else, if i can possibly do it, i use the toaster oven, microwave, rice cooker, and crock pot, because they use so much less electricity. Oh, and i often heat water in the coffee maker, too boot.
So when Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, signed up to bring the potato salad to one of his church's gatherings (no, we don't attend the same church any more, thank heaven! the stories i could tell of when we did would curl your hair), i found myself with potatoes everywhere, along with celery, relish, scallions, and bacon galore.
Why was i cooking it? He's a bachelor, and doesn't know how to cook, at least not much. Plus, it's easier for me to do it myself while he goes elsewhere than to have him wrecking my kitchen and needing help every five minutes. We've tried that, it doesn't work. If we kept trying, i would probably lose my religion. (The reason i married Sweetie, and not his twin, is because if i had married The Mouth, i would be a widow and a felon because i would have killed him, but i digress again.)
First, he bought potatoes. Red potatoes, which are fine. But he bought the tiniest potatoes i had ever seen, loose, not bagged, and there were dozens. These were scrubbed well and microwaved until just soft enough, which was tricky, with their size, then cut, with the skins left on. There was no way i was peeling such little things. The few that didn't get quite done that way were finished off, after cubing, in hot water in the rice cooker.
|tiny potatoes chopped|
The bacon i sniped into small pieces with the kitchen shears and put in the crock pot on high. Yes, it works to start it out there, and when a lot of the fat is rendered out and it's pretty well cooked, i pull it out and pop it in the microwave to finish crisping up a bit, and this keeps me from having to clean out a ton of bacon grease from the inside of the microwave, which is awkward to clean and the grease gets everywhere no matter how much you cover the bacon when cooking almost two pounds of the stuff..
|bacon in the crock pot, bubbling nicely|
Besides, no matter how crisp the bacon, by the time you mix it all with the mayo and everything else and then refrigerate overnight, it's not crisp any more anyway.
While those are cooking, it's time to chop the celery and green onion. Those don't take too long.
|eggs in the microwave egg cooker|
After years of making potato salad, i've figured out that the easiest way to really get the bacon taste and the salt and pepper evenly distributed, without stirring the potato salad so much over and over that you end up breaking the potatoes down too much, is to go ahead and mix that with the mayo before putting it all in there together.
|mayo with bacon, salt, and pepper; looks awful, tastes great!|
Returning it to the fridge over and over to keep everything as cold as possible helps, too.
|everything chopped and added, set in the sink to show how much it added up to|
Finally, mix it all together, and you have:
|that's a big, honking potato salad!|
It was pronounced yum by my taste tester (Sweetie, of course).
Enjoy your Sunday, everyone!
Barn Day 2013 -- celebrating barns, old and new, and their history and importance
Bastille Day / National Day -- France, French Territories and some former Colonies (Quatorze Juillet/Fete Nationale)
Birthday of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden -- an official Flag Day of Sweden
Children's Party at Green Animals Topiary Garden -- Portsmouth, RI, US (annual party for children and the young at heart)
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival -- University of Fairbanks, AK (a unique study and performance festival; through the 28th)
Feast of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
Festival of Millennial Fairy Olympics -- Fairy Calendar (Closing Ceremonies)
Kilburn Feast -- Kilburn, North Yorkshire at The Square, England (dating back hundreds of years, it's no longer a horse-fair, but a great many fun events for villagers; the Mayor and Mayoress, both men in costume, are the highlight, handing out "fines" for "crimes" such as carrying an umbrella or having a moustache; money goes to a local charity)
M&Ms Argument Day -- which are best? plain? peanut? almond? minis? spend the day in a heated discussion with friends and end with an M&M feast
Nachi Himatsuri -- Kumano-Nachi Taisha, Nachi-Katsuura, Japan (one of Japan's 3 largest fire festivals, a grand summer festival and purification ritual, through tomorrow)
National Day of Commemoration -- Republic of Ireland (honoring all Irish people who have died in war or as part of a UN peacekeeping mission)
National Grand Marnier Day -- on Bastille day, to show the friendship between France and the US
National Nude Day -- not sponsored by any nudist organization that i can find, so there's no telling who started this one
Pandemonium Day -- internet generated; don't let the crazy things that happen in your life get you down, celebrate instead!
Republic Day -- Iraq
Runic Half-Month Ur begins (primal strength)
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival -- Santa Fe, NM, US (highly acclaimed chamber music festival that draws international talent; through Aug. 24)
Shark Awareness Day
Sinclair Lewis Days -- Sauk Centre, MN, US (a grand celebration in Lewis's hometown; through the 21st)
St. Kateri Tekakwitha's Day ("Lily of the Mohawks", first Native American proposed for canonization; Patron of ecologists, ecology, environment, environmentalism, environmentalists, exiles, people ridiculed for their piety, people who have lost their parents)
Tape Measure Day -- the first modern spring tape measure was patented this day in 1868 by Alvin Fellows of New Haven, NJ, US
Tommy Mottola, 1949
Roosevelt Grier, 1932
Polly Bergen, 1930
John Chancellor, 1927
Harry Dean Stanton, 1926
Dale Robertson, 1923
Ingmar Bergman, 1918
Gerald R. Ford, 1913
Woodie Guthrie, 1912
William Hanna, 1910
Dave Fleischer, 1893
Today in History
Foundation of the Mission San Antonio de Padua in modern California by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra, 1771
Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille and free seven prisoners, 1789
First ascent of the Matterhorn, by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom die on the descent, 1865
The Campanile in St Mark's Square, Venice collapses, also demolishing the loggetta, 1902
The United States $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills are officially withdrawn from circulation, 1969
A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth, 2000
The United States Government admits to the existence of "Area 51", 2003