Friday, April 19, 2013

Meat Quest!

Meat quest is my quest to try as many different kinds of meat as possible in my life.

During our time in Africa with the hunting we were able to do, we tried quite a few kinds of unusual meats. Towards the end of our time, Jake and I got to discussing it and counted up the number. It was surprisingly many considering that the vast majority of meat anyone eats is either chicken, cow, or pig (only three!)
By now, it's a passion for Dad, jake and myself.

But Meat Quest is really about far more than eating meat. 

As I spent more time in Africa and came to love it more, I looked back and saw so many opportunities that I had passed up because I was perhaps too prejudiced or scared. For example, in India, we were riding along and passed a man riding his elephant to work. As we passed he shouted and asked if we wanted to ride it. At the time I was feeling very sick and extremely out of place. By the time our driver had translated we were slightly past anyway; I said no. 

I've never ridden an elephant. Now, turning that offer down would be unthinkable to me.

So it's not just about meat; it's about living life fully, seeing and tasting as much of this beautiful world as you can (whether you like it at the time or not)

And now, The List:

1. Beef
2. Pork
3. Chicken
4. Goat
5. Turkey
6. Duck
7. Goose
8. Elk
9. Mutton
10. Whitetail Deer
11. Caribou 
12. Thompson's Gazelle
13. Gerenuk
14. Grant's Gazelle
15. Wildebeest
16. Eland
17. Impala
18. Cape Buffalo
19. Hippo
20. Warthog
21. Francolin 
22. Largemouth Bass
23. Crappie
24. Catfish
25. Giant Trevally 
26. Red Snapper
27. Salmon
28. Shrimp
29. Crab
30. Lobster
32. Tuna
33. Clam
34. Prawn
35. Calamari
36. Bluefish 
37. Sailfish
38. Elephant
39. Grasshopper
40. Cod
41. Mussel
42. Rainbow Trout
43. Haddock
44. Cottontail Rabbit
45. Escargot 
46. Scallops
47. Tilapia
48. Frog
49. Pronghorn Antelope 
50. Grouper
51. Swai
52. Squirrel 
53. Bison
54. Pollock
55. Coon

That's it for now!
I really hope to make it to 100

Note: There was initially some discussion on the rules, but we settled on making a master list with only two rules that I can recall. 

1. If it has its own scientific name; it counts.
2. It must be prepared in some way (swallowing a fly doesn't count).

Stay Manly!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beef Mishkaki

Beef Mishkaki is the African version of Shish Kabobs. This is my favourite Tanzanian dish. I've had them at different places, so I found a recipe and modified it for authenticity and my personal taste.

Diced beef
1 small onion
3 Tb cooking oil
1 Tb lemon juice
3 Tb salt
1 Tb pepper
1 tsp masala
1 tsp ginger
1Tb thyme
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tb paprika
2 Tb garlic
1 Tb ketchup or tomato sauce
1 cup milk or cream
Dash chili or cayenne pepper

Dice onion and brown in oil. Mix onion and oil with other ingredients to make a marinade for the beef. Place in container and marinade for a minimum of one hour (overnight in the fridge is fine). Tip: for your meat to turn out tender and even, set container out and allow meat to near room temperature before grilling. Prepare your wood fire for grilling; this recipe won't taste right without smoke. Remove beef from marinade and skewer. Grill over hot coals and you're done! Tip: vary the fire depending on the cut. Better beef=shorter time + hotter coals, cooking them like a steak. A tougher cut = low and slow.

Perfect for your home made pit grill.
(these are not kabobs, they are brugers. Just sayin') 

 If it turns out right you'll get a smoky, beefy kabob with hints of the fresh lemon and ginger coming through.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hippo 2: Making A Sjambok

(Part 1 refresher)

After the hunt we made our way home with large pieces of meat in out large coolers. I spent most of a day with Jake and Linz helping to cut the meat and bag it for freezing and eating. As far as percentage, we probably didn't bring home even half a hippo, but we were eating on it from September to April IIRC!

That's most of only one back-strap!

The meat is very good and tastes mostly like pork, but you can detect a unique flavour of its own. I even dry-rubbed one and make a big "pulled pork" in our smoker.

Now for the interesting part...

Hippo hide is incredibly thick.
So thick in fact, that it makes them look fat. They're not.
Look closely at the slab my hand is holding. You can see the dark outer skin and down where my fingertips are, meat. 

No fat. 
The thick white layer? 
It's skin; all skin.
It's so thick that it won't even bend all the way over (you can see on the left that they're pushing it down)

Now, you may still be wondering what a Sjambok is. It's a semi-flexible rod/whip made of dried hippo hide that's been used in Africa for many, many years. They're truly unique because they are stiff like a Massai cattle prod. They're also flexible when swung hard; acting like a western whip. They're great for killing snakes.

An interesting part is they way they cut tissue. According to what I've read they will leave an outright cut like a razor blade, but, the cut has crushed edges reminiscent of a blunt force wound. I could cut finger sized twigs off a tree with mine. 

Unfortunately they have a bit of a stigma since they wee used by South African police with horrendous results.

How it's made....

We brought a big, sheet-like section home and washed it. Then I cut it into thick strips like obese snakes. These were pierced on each end and hung from rafters in a shed. We put bricks on the bottom end to keep them straight as they dried. Hippo skin has natural oil which preserves it even in raw form. ll you have to worry about is proper drying to avoid rot.
The sheet made about twenty; here are four hanging.

After drying for several weeks, I picked one, cut it down, and got to cutting. I removed the scaly outer skin and cut it semi round. 
I had read that to make them tough and round, that they were rolled for hours between heavy steel plates. I decided that there was no way that every bushman and Voortrekker carried steel plates around though. So I got the thinking about how steel is processed; now steel is often formed by rolling it between plates. But in older days....Bingo! Hammer and anvil.

Dad had  20 lb sledge hammer that I used for my anvil and a heavy hammer for beating. I spent hours and hours and hours and hours beating on it getting it round. It turned out really great. It made you see how wicked the things really are.

To give you an idea of how much time I spent beating the thing, I was getting fitted for a suit months later and the lady asked if I had broken my left shoulder when I was little, since it was so much bigger than my right!

Here's the finished product

Notice the taper so end will whip and the handle stay stiff.

With time, it will darken and look even smoother and better.

So there you have it!


Bootmaking 2: The Sad, Sad Conclusion

It has been a very long time since my last post; very long indeed since the bootmaking prequel. 
But I've been delaying because I was holding out hope that I would get the pictures. Sadly, in the course of moving and the pics being on someone else's camera, they were lost. Forever. And since I had to leave the boots themselves in Africa there's nothing at all to show you lovely people. 

Manly tears.

To continue with the process though, after sewing all the pieces together I put grommets in for laces and sewed the uppers to the soles. I think the soul sewing was my favourite part of the project. It was interesting seeing how the shape changed as they were sewn to another different shape.

By this time we were getting very close to the move so I hadn't the time to sew the tyres on myself. Dad and I went to town one day near the bus stop where they cut up tyres to make sandals. We picked which tread we wanted and then the Fundi traced the shoes and cut the rubber. We left them with him for a few days while he sewed them together with a very heavy duty needle (imagine sewing through a heavy SUV tyre). He did a good job and the shoes were done.

They looked something like this

Seriously though, I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. I wore them for about four hours one evening; there were a few spots that needed broken in, but they would have been quite comfortable with oil and wear I think. The two main mistakes were (1) the toe profile looked weird, and (2) the sides (that the laces bring together) were a bit far apart. I think they would have worn in though.

So there you have it. Believe me; I'm more disappointed about the pictures than you are. We can all be sad together

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Canvas & Leather

Hello peoples.

It's a topic that I haven't exactly covered here, but this post is about style.

Surprising isn't it?

Pretty much I have two opinions about style:

1. Form follows functions

2. Things that are truly stylish are nearly timeless.

Nothing much then fits the bill better than canvas in conjunction with leather. The theme has been proved over many years; British campaign equipment, safari equipment, and companies such as Filson and LL Bean. Anyway, I just like it alot.

Here's a camera pouch I threw together the other day. I guess I should have actually taken the time to do it right so it wouldn't be so cattywampus, but it works.

And by now you've guessed my other hobby; photography. Not really.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Watch Water Resistance Ratings and What They Really Mean

Well people, my only needle broke so that means no boot progress for a while. Also my computer broke so I can't do the hippo hunt and following project posts either. So in the meantime, I'll do a post on my surprising new interest;

Previously in my life I've never worn a watch and, as far as I remember, have only had one. I got some money from graduation so I decided to get a watch. After alot of research I got the beautiful Seiko SNKH63J2!

(Groovy picture thanks to Dad)

Anyway, during the course of my search I noticed some disparity in people's opinions of what Water Resistance rating mean in the real world. There are many people that know far more about this than I, but hopefully this will be an easy, condensed read detailing what I learned.
Here's the situation: You (actually, it was me) want to buy a watch that you can swim in, and since we all like overkill, you decided on one with a WR rating of 100 metres.

Step 1: this means that I can take it as deep as 100m! Huzzah!

Step 2:
You find out to your horror that 100m doesn't mean 100m. According to a chart on Wikipedia, a 100m WR rating means that the timepeice is suitable for "recreational surfing, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and water sports...NOT suitable for diving"

What??! You scream in outrage. They lied!

"Well, you know", you are informed by your local misinformed know-it-all, "when you swim, your motion increases the pressure on the watch by 27 megawattipixels times the squre root of the water depth."

Step 3:you find this post in a watch forum finally revealing the truth which is approximately as follows:

Watches are pressure tested to the rating which they're given, BUT that doesn't mean that a specific model is tested progressively deeper to determine it's limits:

"Thats right people! the rating on the watch is merely a market descision and not an actual fact of the capacity of the watch in question."

Now for the other part, called "Dynamic Pressure". In the actual post which I've linked above, the forummer gave the actual math and showed that the "moving increases pressure like crazy" idea is complete hogwash. it's a very informing post, if you should care to read it.

So what does it all boil down to?

It means that if you're extremely concerned about your watch's warranty you should follow the chart on Wikipedia.
However, if you're like me and you want to how it will realistically perform, then pretty much just follow the number on your watch. Maybe it could even go far deeper, but that's up to how much you're comfortable risking it.

Really though, it means that if you buy a 100m watch, you can use for anything that you or I will be doing.

Ta da!

P.S. Hot water and/or salt water will eat at the seals more quickly, eventually causing susceptibility to water.

Thanks for reading!