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Got the mowing done

On Tuesday, it was a fairly sunny afternoon. As I was cleaning the staff break room, at about half two, it started to rain.
As I was driving home, in the next little town along, it was chucking it down so hard I had to put the wipers on the second speed.

Cross the forest, the sun was out. It hadn't rained at home. It was a difference of maybe five miles between sitting in a deck chair or needing to build an ark. I kind of felt bad for that young girl I saw, who gave up trying to cycle home and was walking in the deluge, utterly soaked by this point.

Marte started fairly quickly, for a change, and together we got the grass cut. It was a pretty poor job, really, but the grass was green and heavy and between 10 and 20 centimetres tall (1/3 to 2/3 foot), so it was a little more than the mower was going to be happy with. Which is why I needed to get it down. But it wasn't until then that I felt that my internal tubing wouldn't suffer from the activity.

The strobe light... worked... briefly.

I had hooked it up with the coiled cable on top of the battery, under the seat. But at some point the cable had tumbled down onto the gearbox, gotten caught in the axle, and torn apart.

Strobe cable fail
Strobe cable fail.

So now there's only as much cable as necessary and no excess.

Strobe cable, fixed.
Strobe cable, fixed.

I also remembered to pick up a 55W H1 bulb at the supermarket, so swapped out the lamp bulb for a proper one. It is... much brighter!

Now you'll see me!
Now you'll see me!


Off work again

No, my gut hasn't blown up. Nor have I died.... except I did die a little inside at seeing pictures of the victims of the Texas school shooting. How many more before they realise that, yes, they do have a problem with guns?

No, I'm off work because today is a public holiday. Ascension, or the day Jesus went up into heaven. It's the 40th day from Easter Sunday. Catholic faithful are expected to attend a mass, and to abstain from work and recreation, and spend the day glorifying all of creation and praying.
Well, I guess there will be plenty of time for praying for those stuck in traffic jams. But rather than "oh wow, this lame polluted planet is beautiful", it's more likely to be "please make all the cars in front of me disappear / please don't let my radiator fail / please give me bladder strength so I don't wet myself after five hours of this nonsense / please teach my wife how to read a map so next time we can sail through the back roads and miss this" etc etc.
Probably not quite what God's faithful intended a Solemnity to be...

Tomorrow, we are making a "pont", that is to say it's a holiday one day removed from weekend, so we take the intervening day off as well (so a holiday on a Tuesday, take the Monday off too; or in this case a holiday on a Thursday, take the Friday off too). This, of course, depends upon our workload. We're not so busy right now as it's late Spring. But in the Autumn with the run up to Christmas and the extra hours and Saturdays, we'd not "faire un pont".

All of which means, in these past two weeks, I've worked four days instead of ten. I think I'm reasonably well rested. ☺

It's a bit of a shame that the "whoo, special day, season of peace on earth and love, blah blah" happens in the middle of winter. Wouldn't it be so much nicer to work our arses off now, to celebrate something in the middle of summer? <shrug>


Rick's burger recipe

I like burgers, even if I no longer go to The Creepy Clown because of the mediocre portions, and will also avoid their competitor because of what happened recently.

I should add, I don't think the burger place are necessarily bad, per se. Like with the company I work for, there is a lot of regulation around how they operate, plus samples and such. So while it is possible that an employee was lax about handwashing, or some piece of equipment was dirty, it is much more likely that I just had the bad luck that a fly that was previously licking the toilet bowl came and landed on my piece of lettuce. Something like that, that can make a person quite ill but isn't necessarily down to any particular bad practice of the place concerned.

Having said that, I did witness something that unsettled me. There was a guy sitting at a table near the counter. Black shirt, weird little rubber slip on overshoes, and some sort of earpiece. He got up, fiddled with the thing that has a map of the restaurant, then sat down. I'm guessing, due to his attire, that he was some sort of manager.
After a while, he was served and he carried his tray away. I think he went and sat outside.
He came back a few moments later. It was the wrong burger. So the guy behind the counter gave him the right burger (the two packages looked the same) and put the wrong one back on the rack.
Now, maybe his boss said "here, I've not touched this". Or maybe his boss opened the burger up and saw it was wrong and wrapped it up again. I don't know, but the idea of putting something that has left the preparation area back on the rack just seemed wrong. And no, it shouldn't matter if it's the boss handing something back, everything should go in the bin rather than be put back.
I know this because I was watching that burger very carefully, if it was mine I'd have refused it.
The Creepy Clown place, I once got served a 280 when I had ordered a CBO. Somebody just screwed up and picked up the wrong thing. I basically just picked up the box (it was a different colour and everything) and took it up with my till roll. The woman apologised, gave me the correct burger, and tossed the incorrect one in the bin. She saw me watching and explained that it doesn't matter if I didn't touch the burger, it has been out of the prep area, so it cannot return under any circumstances.
I would be surprised if the other place was any different, however there's a subtle difference between the rules and the observance of the rules.

Suffice to say, that days before my 20th year in France, and a month before my 48½th birthday, I think my interaction with Fast Food has come to an end. Sure, there's a lot of convenience to fast food, and I have eaten hundreds and hundreds of burgers in my life. But it's like science, you know? Any number of successful experiments does not necessarily prove a theory, but it only takes one to disprove it.
Well, any number of burgers does not mean fast food is good, but only one bad reaction can demonstrate that it is bad.

So, what to do?

Well, sigh, shrug, and reach for the frying pan.



It'll take about 20-25 minutes to prepare. You'll need a spatula, frying pan, microwave (optional), flame thrower (optional), and of course a toaster.




The ingredients chosen are:

  • Charolais burger (×2), €3,20.
  • Sliced "cheddar" (×10), €2,45.
  • Crustless bread (×12), €1,54.
  • Fried onion pieces (100g), €1,10.
  • Ketchup (already had, ~€1,50ish).
  • Mustard free mayo (425g), €2,00.
  • Fine black pepper (already had, ~€1,50ish).
  • A few drops of sunflower oil for frying.

Note that the ingredients are sufficient for at least two burgers, plus some other stuff such as a few rounds of cheese-on-toast, or what-have-you.

I do not like tomatoes in burgers, and frankly I'm not keen on lettuce either. If I had thought, I might have picked up an onion to fry some rings to pop in for extra taste. But that's the joy of this, you can make it how you like. Prefer BBQ sauce to ketchup? Go for it. Would rather have teriyaki sauce? No problems. Chicken burger? Done.
And, of course, if you like all the salad rubbish in a burger, then don't be afraid to stack up the rabbit food.

Charolais, I should add, is a cow race that is considered a more flavourful type of beef. It's akin to Aberdeen Angus in that respect.


Warm up the burger

Get the frying pan ready on a medium-high heat and drop in the burger. Turn it regularly until nicely browned.
Turn until browned
Turn until browned.
Then drop the heat to low and let the burger slowly cook, until it no longer runs blood. This will depend upon the thickness of the burger, but expect something in the order of 15 minutes.
Don't rush it, or you'll end up with a naff and somewhat dry result.



Drop two pieces of bread into the toaster. Or two halves of a burger bun if you're feeling posh. Toast it as is your preference. Time it to be done about when the burger is.


That flame grilled effect

Since BK's claim to fame is a flame grilled burger, the question is... is it possible to replicate this at home without making a mess and using a barbeque? The answer is.... sort of.

If you're batshit crazy, like me, then use some paper towels to scoop up any and all excess oil in the pan (it's flammable) and then pop a gas cartridge in that gizmo that utterly fails to kill weeds in the garden.
Fire it up, aim it at the burger. Ten seconds per side ought to do it. You don't want to incinerate the thing, and remember all the black bits are carcinogenic, so best to have a flame-effect without it actually burning. What you're essentially doing here is forcing the Maillard reaction with all of the tact and subtelty of, well, a flamethrower.

Flame grilled?
Flame grilled? Hell yeah!
Honestly, I don't think it really works, but it was fun to do. ☺


Assembly, part one

Put a slice of bread on the plate. Then a squirt of your base sauce (ketchup, BBQ, etc).
On top of that, a slice of cheese.
On top of that, the burger.
With the second slice of cheese on top.

If the cheese doesn't look like the clocks in the Dalí painting, give it twenty seconds in the microwave. That'll make it proper melty.

Look away, Mick!
Look away, Mick!


Assembly, part two

Give a generous squirt of mayo, and drop the onion pieces (either freshly fried or prefried and store-bought) into the mayo.

This is probably about the point where you'd add salad bits, if that sort of thing appeals to you.

Slam the final piece of bread on top, and call it a job done.

It might not look as exciting as something from a burger place, but there's more meat, it's decent meat, and you've made it just how you like it.

The finished burger
The finished burger.

Serve with tea.

And since my phone has a dedicated macro camera for some reason (an 8× zoom might have been more useful, but probably wouldn't have fit), let's put it to use. Let's get right up close to savour the meat.

Macro shot of the burger
Epic macro shot.

Hmm, looks like my intestines felt... ☺



Your comments:

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David Pilling, 26th May 2022, 16:45
Real strobe bulb? Allow planes to see you. A real strobe would be like a camera flash gun - charge up to high voltage, sudden discharge. Presumably you'd not need the rotating mirror. 
Food waste... in ones own domain one does things which companies cannot. I can eat tomatoes that are a month past their sell by date, scrape the mould off jam. Perhaps the individual becomes used to the bugs they expose themselves to. 
People in general, a different matter, a lot have allergies. 
Blackpool is home to "the £1 burger", the owner of the amusement arcade which sells this, boasts the unique flavour comes from never cleaning the hot plate. 
Gavin Wraith, 26th May 2022, 17:15
I have only once in my life eaten a hamburger not cooked by myself. I don't like ketchup, mayonnaise or cooked cheese (what I categorize as gloop). I cook what are called carbonader in Danish: veal mince shaped in a patty, bathed in egg and rolled in breadcrumbs, fried in a pan or on a grid. My wife makes frikadeller: made of 50-50 pork/beef mince with chopped onion. I suppose all these belong to the same genus.
Rick, 26th May 2022, 17:50
No, it's a fake strobe that works like a lighthouse. The light source is always on and the rotating mirror just concentrates the light in whatever direction it is pointing, hence a bright flash of light being seen. 
I used to know a guy that would buy a piece of lamb and leave it on the countertop for at least a day before cooking it. He claimed it "matured", but it would anybody else quite ill. However, his mother did it like that so he was likely immune to the bugs. 
I guess a lot of our tastes in things come from childhood. I'm shamed to say that I'm so used to tinned peaches, mostly from school desserts, that I find real peaches to be... something of a disappointment. 
David Pilling, 26th May 2022, 23:00
There are things were tinned and real could be different things - yes peaches, also salmon, find people who like it tinned and think the real thing is not as good. 
Tinned peaches are OK, but real ones are better. Are tinned "peaches" ever nectarines.
J.G.Harston, 27th May 2022, 01:57
I was reading your burger recipe and... argh! swimming in fat... can't you grill it. And then... argh!! covered in yellow paint! (Covers eyes and peers through fingers...) :D 
I rarely cook meat at home, because I can't trust myself to actually get it properly cooked. And I rarely eat meat outside home other than a proper full fry-up, because I can't trust *other* *people* to actually cook meat properly. I watch supermarket adverts on TV and end up shouting: That's! Not! Cooked!!!!! It's! Pink! Look, it's trying to crawl off the plate|! 
Rick, 27th May 2022, 03:59
Don't eat meat in France. 
They basically have two levels of cooking: "bleu" which means they show the cow the fire, and when it moos in fear, it's ready. And "a point" which means it's lightly browned on the outside, but still more or less raw inside. 
There is a third option "bien cuit" which marks you as either a foreigner or a heathen. The end result can be anything between slightly browner than a point to completely incinerated, depending upon the whim of the chef. 
I've found no reliable way of saying "just slightly pink in the middle" because if it doesn't bleed when you put the knife in, it's overcooked. 
Worse yet is that many places also apply this logic to burgers, but then I've actually seen people eat mince that was straight up raw. 🤢
J.G.Harston, 27th May 2022, 11:49
When I do cook meat at home it's almost always bacon, because that's easy - stick under grill until it shatters. Wallop between two slices of buttered bread. Brown bread, of course, to be healthy.
VinceH, 27th May 2022, 12:46
I like your way of thinking, Mr Harston! 😉 
Except that in my case I'll go for 'it's the thought that counts' - I'll consider using brown bread to be healthy, but oh what a shame I have none. Better have sausages, eggs, hash browns, and beans to make up for it. See those beans? They're one of my five a day.
Gavin Wraith, 27th May 2022, 21:26
I knew someone who liked his meat to moan under the knife. Bien cuit is insufficient for me. I like it black, carbonized.

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