Posted by: icekaffe | 21. November 2011

Arctic food

Back at the Ice Kaffe food was actually pretty limited compared to life today. Given the lack of infrastructure and society, we did not have the kind of plenty where you can go to the store and buy whatever tickles your fancy, regardless of what season it is. Any kind of fresh produce was an extreme rarity. Every now and then we would get a bundle of root vegetables – usually carrots and potatos – or if a ship had a surplus we’d get some kind of citrus fruit. Before arriving at the Ice Kaffe I didn’t care much for fruit, but I think you get the idea.

So most of our diet consisted of meat and grains. This actually made sense if you look at the northern societies in this world today, where meat makes up a much larger portion of the national diet than it does in more southern climates. Cured meats were common, but being located in an icy cavern this wasn’t really necessary. After realizing that they didn’t harbour any viruses or nasty bacteria, we also ate the apocalypse wolves that roamed the island. The meat was tough and had a lot of smoke to it, but occasionally we’d remedy this by being creative. If all we had was wolf to eat, then my favorite way to eat it was wolf sausage. They weren’t as dry or smokey as the steaks and we would add various things to it like stored spices, oils, vinegar, or my favorite – beer.

Alcohol was something that we definately were not short on. After all, during this time what did one have to do besides wait around for grain to ferment? I did not have much experience with alcohol before arriving on the island, so I can’t judge whether our alcohol could measure up to the drinks of today’s society. Plus, I have an automatic affinity for everything from the Ice Kaffe just because of nostalgia. But the beer certainly made the wolf sausages something amazing. Read More…

Posted by: icekaffe | 20. November 2011

Bananers and mash

In the Western world, bread is a staple food. I never understood why in Asia bread is almost ignored entirely, yet in every other part of the world people eat some form of glutenised grain powder mixed with water. We underestimate how important bread is until we realize that nonsense sweetener is being put in 80% of the breads in your typical supermarket or the price for a loaf is over two dollars. After all, despite its importance, no one wants to pay a lot for bread.

Unfortunately, I am not a good baker. Sure, I have succeeded in baking something that others enjoy eating, but it’s all from luck. I simply cannot repeat the process. Maybe it’s a good thing, though. Bread making is a strenuous activity – kneading puts stress on the hands and also dries out the skin. It’s also very messy. Nonetheless, there is nothing better than the smell of a fresh baguette or loaf of focaccia, other than the taste of either with some marmalade or olive oil.

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Posted by: icekaffe | 17. November 2011

Like sand through the hourglass…

The holiday season has already been upon us since September, a luxury that should be both appreciated and scorned in a non-apocalyptic world. Why is it necessary to prepare weeks in advance for a holiday that lasts only one day and demands only that pre-prepared and wrapped sweets be handed out to little children? Such preparation may be necessary in a situation where resources are scarce and the work is great, but in our society we needn’t apply much effort for a decent effect. The signs of Thanksgiving were about well before Halloween showed its backside, but luckily Christmas this year has been shy to show its face. For the most part.

Shopping at the grocery store over a month ago, I noticed that egg nog had already hit the shelves (that is to say, the fridge). My instincts forced my hands to open the fridge door and grab the bottle of thick yellow liquid that resembles buttermilk but fortunately tastes nothing like it. Luckily my reason snapped into play and shut the door before the bottle even made it into the shopping basket. Now, I love egg nog. It is perhaps the best gastronomic symbol (after ham, of course) of the Christmas season and if I remember correctly, the Ice Kaffe served a wonderful egg nog on the rare occasion that there was potable milk. It is certainly a strange drink though, what with its egg yolks and milk refined by exotic spices that really seem to embody the season. I know that the homelands of cinnamon and nutmeg don’t even experience a proper winter, but compared to other spices they really do bring out the colder sensations of the taste buds.

And while as a young child I wished for egg nog to be available year round – after all, it is completely delicious – this really is one of those things whose appreciation is greater when it is limited to a specific amount of time. And that time was just not then. After my reason kicked in that day and told my hand not to put the egg nog in the shopping basket, I was suddenly filled with disgust and anger at the store for having the audacity to start selling it so early. It was barely October and here they were putting a green and red bottle in our view for sale. How dare they! It almost felt like they were trying to kill tradition.

So when, then, is the appropriate time to enjoy egg nog? The earliest one should drink egg nog is after the Thanksgiving weekend. It simply makes no sense to bulk up with this drink before such a feast and anyways – the drink really only demands one month. I have been craving egg nog ever since it teased me so prematurely at the grocery store, but luckily I have had the resolve to abstain. And in the end it will be worth it as the weather in this purgatory drops to the cooler temperatures more familiar to the late Ice Kaffe. ┬áBecause egg nog should never be drunk in warm weather.

But luckily, for those of us who have problems restraining ourselves, there is a cheat code. While we cannot drink egg nog, we can eat it. Trader Joe’s started selling egg nog cookies and they truly are a treat for the tongue. I don’t remember off the top of my head how much they cost – somewhere around the three dollar range for about 18 cookies. Two of these cookies with a good cup of strong black coffee is the perfect foreplay to a season of egg nog. Right after opening the box you can already smell that familiar scent and they have a soft texture that melts in the mouth. A true delight.