Sunday, September 28, 2014

Smoking is fantastic!

Dad retired from work a bit early, and ever since he's been a bit restless. He spends a lot of his time now at home working on projects, "project" being the word he uses in his letters to describe what he's doing with himself.

The Baron and I recently discovered that the best way of finding out what the projects are that he's working on is to surreptitiously suggest them to him. This is the way we go about it: when we're up in Raymond Terrace at my parents', I say something like, "so we were thinking we need to get a [exceedingly rare and improbable item that you wouldn't be able to get anywhere else]". Dad usually pays no attention to this, so then Mum tells him to make it. In this way, we were able to get ourselves a chook carrier (actually getting stuff for ourselves is a, er, side benefit of this). It's really great, with a door at the top to put the chooks through and pegs so we can take the whole top on or off when we want.

Dad's latest project (which we suggested to him, naturally), was a cheese smoker. I had no idea how to go about making one myself - not surprising, though, as I have next to no practical skills in any area whatsoever. Mind you, I doubted Dad could pull it off either. Dad wasn't even sure actually, as in his first couple of letters about the project he seemed distinctly skeptical of the proposition. Eventually he came across a workable design on the net, and a series of tantalising discussions of his project followed in his letters. Last week, the glorious day came when the Baron actually set eyes on the thing:

That's right, it's made entirely out of wood. And it's going to smoke the cheeses. With smoke. From a fire....! The smoke is piped through a tunnel, cools down, and then just wafts around the cheeses until they are imparted with its flavour. Dad gave a series of complicated instructions in one of his recent letters talking about how he installed several "baffles" on the sides of the smoker. They're called baffles because neither you nor I have any idea what they are.

Everyone seems to have anticipated one particular difficulty we might have with this cheese smoker, including Dad himself, ie, what's to stop it catching flame while we are in the act of smoking the cheese? Or cheeses, multiple - apparently it can do about fifty. When I spoke to Dad on the phone he pretty much told me to make lots of cheese to smoke in it.

I'm pretty cool with that last suggestion, so I'm thinking in a couple of weeks I might have a smoking party! We'll take this huge contraption out back, strap it up, get a fire crankin' and shove some cheeses in. Might as well make an event of it - because we might be only able to use it once....

By the way, some readers may have thought I was talking about this sort of smoking in the title:

That's fantastic too!

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