Friday, December 08, 2006

A Giant Sucking Sound

Cut to the chase! Promised story time with unkie dave.

As regular readers will have surmised, I spent most (all) of my formative years in Alaska. Heck, I even spent a few decades (many) there afterwards cus I loved it so much. You will also have noticed I've biked in some really horrendous conditions.

Oh, wait! Note for new readers: Biking to me involves the kind of bikes which have foot rests that go up an down and circle round and round.

Anywho... It was late spring (end of May) up in Squarebanks and myself and a friend were out riding mountain bikes (we were roadies too). My friend worked at All Weather Sports and was also one of my fencing students. I didn't do much winter riding with him, but a lot of spring and summer riding.

Back to the story: We had ridden up and around Ester Dome all day (3 times maybe? didn't count, something like 6000 vertical feet of biking) and were on our way back along the Equinox Marathon trail when all of a sudden (gasp!) we spied a wooden, hand-painted trail marker leading off into one of the many swamps.

We were both very familiar with melted bogs and thawed tundra, but never-the-less just had to give it a go! Maybe we should have thought about the sign... "Goldstream Drainage Trail #8"... through the soggy tundra... in a low-lying area... But our brains weren't working after 5 hours in the saddle so we rode down the trail.

Any of you know how deep bogs are? Any of you know how deep pools are in the tundra? Hah! I do! The bikes quickly bogged down, and there was NO way of riding along the trail (we later found it it's a winter snowmachine trail, NOT a summer trail). Since it kinda paralleled the railroad tracks and headed in the general direction of where we wanted to go, we continued.

Hmmmm, bike on shoulder, every step sinking knee deep into mud, and skeetos (mossies) all around. No worries, it was about to get worse. Before it gets worse, I need to explain the title "A Giant Sucking Sound": Ever had your feet sink into soft mud to your knees? And then when you pull the foot out there's a "sucking sound". After about a 1000 or so steps, life becomes one giant sucking sound...

Then we reached the ponds (it gets worse at this point). 2 or 3 hundred yards of interconnecting pools. All just recently melted and 2 to 5 feet deep. For those of you who don't know how cold it gets in the interior of alaska, let me tell you that ponds and pools deep freeze completely solid by mid-december and then freeze some more over the next few months. They melt from the top down! The last bit of ice is at the bottom of them. The ice doesn't float to the surface cus it's frozen around and through all the weeds at the bottom. I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP!!!!!

So, here we find our two intrepid bikers. Bikes hoisted with both hands over their heads, wading through waist to chest deep water which was very very very very cold. Don't forget the ice on the bottom of the ponds and the routine slipping and falling from said ice while trying to keep bike above head (the head went underwater routinely).

Can we say, "FUN?" Wee-Hoo!

Oh, the other "giant sucking sound" was from our private parts... testicles ran and hid up into the abdomen, and the pissers shriveled to sprout size. Go ahead, try to picture this!

We eventually found firm ground and gingerly re-mounted the bikes (get your head out of the gutter) and rode back to town: 7 hours, 6000 feet of climbing, two shriveled dingies, and four cold testes. Ain't life grand?

Food Time!

Getting back to my holiday feast:

Pineapple Coconut Pie

This comes to you direct from Tonga! Very nice place, me likkie.

Pie Crust: to make it simple, just use a graham cracker pie crust. You can make your own, but by this point you'll be pretty busy. Oh, if you need me to tell you how to make a pie crust from scratch, then you'll just have to wait till next post.


What you need:

2 cups (473 mls) whole milk
1/2 cup (118.25 mls) unbleached flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) sea salt
3 beaten egg yolks
1 tbsp butter (NOT margarine)
1 cup grated coconut (you can use dessicated if you are in a pinch)
1 1/2 cups fresh minced pineapple
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (but not from my tree!!!!)

What you do (for the filling):

Heat the milk in a thick bottomed saucepan till it just simmers, then whisk in the flour. Remove from heat (that means turn the gas off!) Whisk and whisk and whisk it some more! Add the sugar and sea salt. Whisk in the beaten egg yolks, butter, coconut, pineapple and lemon juice. Whisk and whisk (I like typing "whisk'). Simmer on very low heat (or in a double boiler) for a minute or two while whisking (your forearms get strong!)

Pour the mix into your pie shell. Let cool.

While it's cooling, make the Meringue Topping:

What you need (for the topping):

3 egg whites (SEE! the same number of egg yolks!!!)
4 tbsp raw sugar
a dash of vanilla

What you do:

Ahhhh, mix egg whites, sugar and vanilla. Beat (use an electric mixer, otherwise your hands will get very tired) until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue topping over the pie, keeping care to bring it right to the edge of the crust --you can make cool designs in the topping at this point, FUN!

Bake that sucker at 180 C (356.03 F) for 10 minutes (600 seconds).

Let it cool.

Eat it.


Suzer said...

Ooh we had this in Rarotonga...loved it and have been looking for a good recipe.

Suzer said...

P.S. How'd you get the comment option to email follow up comments?