Monday, August 31

10E2471: That State Fair Look


Just back from the Minnesota State Fair, or the Great Get Together as they call it. File under 'good times'. If you have not had the pleasure it is 20% Ag, 20% rides and shows, and 60% fried food. With a little beer drinking mixed in... As in many fairgrounds there were various approximations of the Tilt-A-Whirl. The Sizzler, Tornado, Whirlwind... all work on the same chaos premise to trick the brain, as rotating arms move across a moving plane. Minnesota native Herbert W. Sellner invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926, in nearby Faribault (of mill and blanket fame). More on that town later...



It is not enough to fry everything though. It must be on a stick. This is for convenience of vendor as much as consumer. 


MN Dairy Assoc. has some pretty hip design work going on. Drink all you can from an overhead spigot (into your cup) for $2. Once you stand down you are done.

Down in beer alley the night was young so not too much music yet, but this wireless-guitared dude and his buddy were good value. Having fun, letting loose and why the hell not. It's 11:30. AM.



Cheese Curds. The 'fried' is implied and understood. New to me [East coaster - ed], curd is die sized lumps of barely cheese; milk with rennet but whey removed. Not aged. Imagine nuggets of mozzarella sticks but not stringy. And no bread crumbs. Totally acceptable.


Good deals or sales on all these over at Huckberry:
RW&B cap
Topo Designs chambray shirt
Ollo clip
Chippewa walking boots
Outsiders-style denims from Crawford Denim
Sis-in-law drove from Seattle to MN through Yellowstone and picked up this bandanna map


The weather in MN was not-hot thankfully. Low 70s. A couple of stalls near the arena would stamp out a belt for you with MINDY, or 10ENGINES, or whatever you wanted. The counter seats by the ring are open to all by the way... get close.

Friday, August 21

10E2470: Ursa Major Get Hoppin' Fresh

We are big fans of Ursa Major for their super natural and damn good skin care range. Their Fantastic Face Wash is essential kit.


If you have not followed their cross-country skiing / waterhole swimming / dogs at work-heavy instagram you may not know that Emily and Oliver are the couple behind the brand.

They have just introduced their long awaited natural deodorant as well; hints of ginger, rosemary, lemon, chamomile and grapefruit. Unisex. Get in on the ground floor by supporting their kickstarter and save $11 off a brace of sticks. The early-bird special is almost all gone... jump over there.



Wednesday, August 19

10E2469: Take Engines - Ivy Madras Shorts


Like something out of an O'Connells yard sale - these GTH madras pants were more GTFO... so now hemmed as ivy-tastic shorts. Perfect for strolling across the Yard or playing Episcopal Golf.

7" inseam. Hook and eye closure. Button tab. $1 thrift find.

Monday, August 17

10E2468: Episcopal Golf Rules


Unexpectedly attended church last Sunday but fortunately it was 'summer chapel' and bright colors are almost required. "The Uniform" of khakis, blue blazer and no socks was in effect for most of the gentleman of a certain age, yes. Fantastic.


The rev' started with a great bit about Episcopal Golf Rules. It fit perfectly with the crowd and the sunny day. Pimms #1 on the lawn afterwards did not hurt either.
Whenever you begin to play a round let your fellow golfers know you will be playing by Episcopal Rules. The Biblical proof text for this wildly popular method is Psalm 34:5. "Those who look to God are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." This of course presupposes one goes to church before playing golf...

So if your golf game has ever brought shame, try this new approach. The foundational premise is that everyone should feel included and valued not matter what. The most important attribute in scoring is one's intention, not necessarily the result. So when putting for par, if the ball should just happen to fall into the cup it is a Birdie. If the ball touches the cup is it par. If the ball comes within 3 to 6 inches of the cup it is a bogie. If it comes within 6 to 12 inches it is a double bogie. Anything else is a triple bogie.

At the end of the game everyone's score is added up together and divided by the number of players plus three more for the Holy Trinity. So simple and it is sure does improve your handicap...

 



State of Vermont needlepoint belt. Well played sir.

Thursday, July 30

10E2467: Thoreau and the American Idyll


Listen in pop-out player
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 19th century American writer and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. Anti-slavery activist and passionate environmentalist, Thoreau was above all a champion of self-reliance and individualism. He was also a champion of the simple life, a lover of nature and an enemy of the modern who lived alone in a log cabin in the woods away from society. 
In his seminal work, Walden, published in 1854, he wrote: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Thoreau has become emblematic of one version of American values and his work has been an inspiration to politicians and writers alike...
Yet in many ways Thoreau remains a mystery, a man of contradictions who advocated self-sufficiency but was happy to let his mother do his washing and cook his meals.With Kathleen Burk, Professor of American History at University College London; Tim Morris, Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Dundee; Stephen Fender, Honorary Professor in English Literature at University College London.
Listen via BBC.

Friday, July 24

10E2466: Giveaway - Carrier Roasting Co.


File under #coolbeans. Never met the guys IRL but through the grapevine Carrier Roasting Co. in Randolph, Vermont is giving away pound bags of small-batch roasted coffee beans to 2 lucky 10e readers, learn how below:

"Scanning local retail and grocery store shelves for fresh beans was incredibly frustrating and unfruitful. Occasionally we would find a bag that was roasted a month or maybe a few weeks ago (if we were lucky). But more often the coffee we could buy was stale. We don’t buy rotten fruits or vegetables, or meat that’s past the fresh date...so why suffer through coffee that’s past its prime? "
At its heart Carrier Roasting is simply 2 guys micro-roasting ethically sourced coffee beans and distributing via CSA in New England. Scott Kerner (above and) Ross Evans (woodstove below).

If you are in Boston you can get their product via Farmers to You, a Vermont operation that brings fresh products down twice a week... more on them here: http://farmerstoyou.com/. Or visit their site CarrierRoasting.com and sign up direct.


Not 'reinventing' coffee but they def aim to surprise and delight and excite folk again about coffee. I am not too knowledgeable about the inner workings of growers, or coops, or even different beans have to admit - so was informative to pepper Ross with a few questions as below;

10e: Preferred roasting style for Carrier - lighter green, or darker bitter french?
We tend to do a lot of sample roasting when we first get a new bean to dial in what we think the optimal profile is. I usually like what we call a full city roast… kind of on the line of medium and dark. [Neat quote from their intro video about getting at the "flavors from origin" - ed]

10E: What are the philosophical issues that bean importers should think about?

We think a lot about where the bean came from, what the farmer did to grow it, how the  buyer procured it, how much the farmer was paid and how fresh it is. We really focus on fresh, but we also need to know the origin and what conditions the beans were grown in before we buy a sample. We’ve been approached by sellers at origin who won’t tell us much about where their beans come from, or how much the farmers are paid… we’re not going to buy it. I guess that’s more sociological than philosophical… but we also think about what the flavor profile of the bean is going to be when it’s roasted. We have notes from the buyer to go off of, but ultimately we want a sample so we can roast it on our machine.

10E: Can you decipher the popularity of pourover/chemex in last 5 years??
I think the popularity of pourover and chemex in recent years is due to a number of factors. One is the Keurig. Like any product or industry the pendulum swings back and forth…with the mainstream popularity of Keurig we were pretty far down on the automation spectrum so part of it is the pendulum just naturally swinging the other way, to more manual methods. Also, the availability of good coffee has grown pretty considerably and as a result, people are being a little more careful with how they’re brewing coffee. Chemex and pourover put the user in control of extraction and ultimately how the cup tastes. It’s easier with these methods to get a consistent cup as well…funny story about the Chemex: my parents had a yard sale a few years back and there was a Chemex up for grabs. I jumped on it and they couldn’t figure out why…it was their first coffeemaker in the 70’s and they thought it was totally outdated. Little did they know… 

I’m all over the place when it comes to brewing techniques. In a single week, I’ll brew on a Bonmac dripper, Chemex, French Press, Aeropress and a bialetti. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be pourover with the Bonmac dripper. I use a Japanese gooseneck kettle made by Hario to pour the water which makes it super easy to adjust the flavor/strength. It’s a really versatile technique, but I’m also the only coffee drinker in my house, so it makes it easy to brew a single cup. 
But I’m pretty religious about only drinking two cups a day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon, around 2:00 or 3:00 pm. I’m a pretty level guy, so it doesn’t make me crazy or jittery.
10E: Besides "ethically sourced / top quality" what are you looking to convey? 1 banger cup a day?
Quality over quantity is definitely a theme. Also, coffee doesn’t have to be so special that it can’t be brewed in a coffee pot, or some other “less hip” method.  We’re trying to be accessible too…not overly “stuffy” or “snobby”. When we write tasting notes, we tend to stay away from comparing coffee to jolly rancher flavors or whatever…coffee should be good and well-thought out, but it doesn’t have to be untouchable or overly precious. 
About 80% of our beans stay in Vermont, where we don’t have as much access to thoughtfully sourced/roasted beans, especially in the more rural areas. Our customers have really enjoyed learning about where coffee comes from, how it’s grown and processed and how to brew it…it’s been an education for a lot of people.  In Vermont and I’m sure other areas we’ve been trained to disregard coffee’s freshness, or where it came from and how that impacts flavor…so we’re trying to bring about that awareness and so far, people are really excited about the approach.


Giveaway: To win a bag of just-barn-roasted / probably to the sound of a cassette tape (check out their instagram) / handwritten-note-bagged coffee beans - visit CarrierRoasting.com and email me a preference on bean type and 2 randoms will get coffee to enjoy in the mail. OR - follow @CarrierRoasting on twitter and tweet out your choice. Winners alerted at 5pm East coast time.  Congrats to Brian and JRT - Carrier will email you direct.

One thing I really like is their 'how to brew' page  describing all the different styles of brewing; french press, bialetti, pourover etc. Thank you Carrier Roasting Co! - btw most badass pigeon logo I ever saw...

Monday, July 20

10E2465: Get Some Coastline Poetry Down Ya!

From the National Trust in Britain, a celebration of the sea and coasts.
Dr John Cooper Clarke [dapper dude btw - ed.] is creating a coastal poem for the nation to help us celebrate all that's special about the sea. Clarke has created the first verses of the poem and you can help him finish it by sharing your memories and love of the coast using #lovethecoast.

Nation's Ode to the Coast
Dr John Cooper Clarke

A big fat sky and a thousand shrieks
The tide arrives and the timber creaks
A world away from the working week
Ou est la vie nautique?
That’s where the sea comes in…
 [and that's just the start - ed.]


Monday, July 13

10E2464: Telling Tails 2


 Swinging gently in a hammock is soothing. How to keep that gentle rocking if not moored in your rented yacht though? Note new rope tied to the porch upright... give it a tweak and keep the good times going.