TND – Ant ParadeApril 14, 2011
“In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
That’s all very nice, but what, I ask you, about the ants?
Spring is embodied by a lot of things. It’s that first day you can go barefoot, and that first night you sleep with the window cracked open (usually closely followed by that night you firmly close the window and pull up the five blankets you’d discarded in a fit of weather related optimism). It’s the sight of those first hardy crocus stems poking up above the snow, and later the heady scent of lilacs blooming. It’s fuzzy goslings trailing after mama geese down by the lake, and it’s a parade of ants across my kitchen counters.
Ants may not be part of everyone’s Spring routine, but they’re definitely part of mine. Admittedly ants lack the drama of mice, or the all invasive nature of moths, and (thankfully) entirely bypass the shiver up your spine that comes from eestie beasties with too many legs that run very fast. They do, however, make up for that by being very very annoying.
There are serial killers who are less uptight about the state of their work surfaces than I am at the moment. The counters are wiped down to within an inch of their lives every time food is so much as waved across them. The dishes are done with fanatical haste and the entire kitchen smells like vinegar. It’s safe to say that the last time my kitchen was this clean was . . . . well probably during last Spring’s ant invasion.
Why the pervasive perfume of vinegar you ask? Well, I refuse to spray my counters with Raid (our landlady’s suggestion for dealing with the ants – I nodded, smiled and made a mental note not to eat anything that came from her kitchen), and Sorry Carlisle has yet to stop by my apartment to recite the appropriate incantation over a line of mint to keep the ants out*. Vinegar, however, is non-toxic, doesn’t require that I spontaneously develop magical powers, and destroys the scent paths that ants lay down to lead them too and from food sources, which plain soap and water doesn’t do. Plus, while it’s not chicken soup or gingerbread, there are worse things for the kitchen to smell like. I also have pet safe ant traps on the counter, which I’m not thrilled about, but I’m even less thrilled about the ants so I live with the compromise.
* An obscure children’s lit reference that will probably only make sense to my mother, and possibly not even then.
Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese
Apple Fennel Slaw
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
My roommate has been asking for mac & cheese for more than a month now. I finally got around to obliging her.
Recipe previously given: Stuck a Feather In His Cap
Apple Fennel Slaw
Tart acid based slaws are my new obsession.
4 tsp honey
4 limes, juiced
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp garam masala
1 fennel bulb
1 (small) head cabbage (red or green, or mixed)
¼ cup peanuts
Whisk together the honey, lime juice, cumin and garam masala. Add enough olive oil to emulsify the dressing.
Remove any tough outer leaves from the fennel, cut into quarters and then slice thinly crosswise. Slice the apple into thin matchsticks. Thinly shred/slice the cabbage.
Toss the vegetables in a bowl with the peanuts. Season with salt and pepper and then dress with as much of the dressing as you’d like (I don’t usually need all of it, but it depends on how juicy your limes are). Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to meld and the cabbage to wilt slightly.