Back in the dot-com days, Dave, Jen and I all worked together in a cube in a big empty building in Laurel. Jen would make us all kinds of tasty foods (she thought that I was too skinny and Dave’s meals too bland) and share them with us each week, and one day she brought in some little waffle-looking things. She explained that they were called galettes, and her ancient Pennsylvanian ancestors had made these while carving out a living mining coal and making moonshine. The recipe calls for prodigious amounts of butter, sugar, eggs, and most importantly, Four Roses whisky, which give the galettes a certain holiday flavor.This recipe is a family secret, passed down from her grandmother on a handwritten index card (now half-obliterated with butter) and guarded jealously, almost as much as the galette iron itself.
It’s made by an outfit called the The Berarducci Brothers Mfg. Co., from McKeesport, PA; it’s Model G1-3, “French, Belgium Iron”, size Large, and I can’t find a fricking thing on the Web about it other than the fact that the Brothers have long since ended production. More sleuthing to be done.
So far there have been no bites on the Steinberger; the listing has gotten 800+ views and 4 watchers but no offers. I’m not paying anything to leave it up there, so I’ll just sit on it and see what happens. Update: I got one offer this morning from a guy who wants to trade it for a Rickenbacker 4003 Pearlstar—something I might have been interested in back in my Geddy Lee worship days, but at this point I’d rather have the cash.
At work, I finally completed a torturous process that began two months ago to design and publish a digital report. The report itself launched last month but due to various editorial and review issues I had to update the PDF and then build the digital report. It’s a high-level view of the state of climate action with an eye towards the next 20 years, and it was a challenge to bring together all of the text, graphics, and digital assets. Even though the process is automated, I found myself diving into code at the tail end and fixing a ton of issues by hand, which was a pleasant surprise.
We’ve now made two different batches of Bailey’s, one from the recipe I posted earlier in the week and one from the Betty Crocker cookbook. Before you get the idea we’ve just been pouring cups of it over our cornflakes every morning, we’ve been sipping on each one slowly—the online recipe is lighter and very almondy and the Betty Crocker recipe is much heavier with more chocolate—but neither are a 100% stand-in for the real thing. So we’ll make our way through these and then we’ll try another recipe.
Jen did break out and use the galette iron on Tuesday, filling the house with the smell of Belgian dessert waffles and making it impossible to concentrate on work. There’s now a full batch sitting on the counter ready to eat when the urge to snack hits. She’s not as pleased with this batch compared to the previous one, so the search for the right modifications to that recipe continues as well.
And the duck boots that I ordered over a month ago finally arrived the other day: they are 1 size too small for my feet, which means I’m going to have to brave the crowds at Nordstrom Rack to return them sometime next week (depending on what the return window is). That was a bummer.
Jen started a Lockardugan family tradition after Finn was born, something I’d never seen until she explained it to me: an advent calendar. She spends a ton of time searching out fun activities and traditions for our family to enjoy together, and I’ve written about some of them in years past. This year proved to be an extreme challenge.
We spent a quiet weekend together continuing the calendar events, starting with a Friday night ride through the area to find the best Christmas lights with some hot chocolate. Some of the old favorites weren’t set up this year. There’s a house with music-keyed lights and a working, lighted disco stage that gets tons of visitors every year who put a sign up saying, in effect, “thanks for coming, we’ll see you next year.” But the good news is that most other houses that that have been historically dark are covered in lights: evidence of Jen’s theory that we’re all trying to find cheer where we can, and one way to show it is to clean out the Target decoration aisle.
On Saturday we got a lazy start and then got down to business making Christmas cookies: first we made a batch of molasses and then mint dark chocolate dough, and then baked both of them. We’d talked about making galettes after the cookies but I think everyone was tired after being on our feet into the afternoon so we took the rest of the day off.
After dinner, we went out to check out a new house that Jen had heard about, which by itself made up for all of the lame Christmas house displays of the past: a lone house up in Security that had an incredible display keyed to a metal Christmas playlist.
On Sunday we all had different things going on, so I cleaned out the kegerator and did some puttering in the basement before we went out for a ride to the store. When we got home I worked on the engine in the garage and then came in to watch some football in the warmth until it was time for our Sunday activity: a dinner picnic under the tree. Because we didn’t feel like making anything, we got chicken from Popeye’s, made a fire in the fireplace, and finished playing the rest of Thursday’s activity: a homemade game of Christmas Who Am I.
Jen spent a lot of time organizing the advent calendar this year, and really filled it with fun things for the three of us to do together. Despite all of the bullshit going on beyond the borders of our house, I feel like we’ve spent the best holiday time with each other this year than ever, and I feel more cheerful about this season than I have in a long time—even though we can’t see family or friends.
Remember when I was writing about organizing all of my photo files into date-specific folders? My obsessive-compulsive tendencies paid off yesterday when Jen mentioned that she couldn’t find her recipe card for galettes—the one she’d transcribed from an index card at her dad’s house, written in her grandmother’s handwriting. We happened to be at my desk, and within one minute I’d drilled into the December 2005 folder on the server and found that I’d taken pictures of that index card on the 26th, the day we found the box in her Dad’s cupboard.
I don’t know what I’m more excited about—the fact that everything is organized, or the possibility of fresh galettes.
When we were up at Mom’s house, I finished a roll of 120 film that had been sitting in the Yashica since 2017, and I sent them out to be developed last week. From the results I see here, it’s pretty clear I can’t leave film in the camera for that long.
That having been said, some of the defects in these photos are kind of cool.
I can easily photoshop out the two dark spots around Zachary’s head.
This one is from the winter of 2017 when Jen was making galettes with Finn.
This is the last shot on the roll, from up at Mom’s house.
While I was in New York, I fully intended to load up the Ikoflex with film and shoot more. But looking across the internet I found a bunch of conflicting information about how to load it, what film to use, and what film it was designed for. The big issue is loading the film into the camera and aligning it so that the frames align up with the shutter. The Rollieflex and Yashica have two arrows on the back that align with markers on the film. The Ikoflex doesn’t have that set of arrows.
Further investigation is obviously required. I’ve got a couple of rolls of ooooooold film that came from the Mildew House along with the Yashica, so there is some sacrificial film I can use to practice.
This afternoon I won an auction for a galette iron to give my bride, after waiting around for months to see one pop up. This one is a model G-1 (petit), which means it’s not as big as the family iron, but I figure it’s worth a shot for $9.
I’m keeping my eye out for the large version, to be sure.