Category Archives: Sustenance

Mono No Aware: Tomato Jungle


Just a few short weeks ago, the garden was tripping over itself. I used to pluck and trim my tomato plants like Bonsai, but after a few years of awesome tomatoes, I had a run of bad luck: hard tomatoes, yellow leaf disease, spoiled blackbirds who ate but one bite of each. After giving up for a season, I decided to let the plants grow as they pleased and they made themselves a jungle. Now, after the most enormous haul of tomatoes ever, they have given in to exhaustion.

Copyright © 2016 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

It’s Snowtime!

Snow Globe

I originally wanted to call this ‘The Son of a B!t*h is Done @ I F&%king Hate Crafts,’ but thankfully a more civilized mood has returned. This was a simple project to create a beautiful snow globe well before the holiday season and which, at mid-January, is now as finished as it will ever be. My plan was to create a snow globe with a snowflake inside. The snowflake was to have interior cut-outs through which the snow could pass to and fro. For this I purchased Sculpey, a product which has served me well through all my children’s insane projects. First, I tried to cut out the snowflake using an Exacto knife, however, the result looked as if I had used a machete on the thing— Sculpey can be surprisingly difficult to manipulate. Then I had brilliant idea: I would purchase small snowflake cookie cutters. Everything went well, except for some unforeseen physics problems. The first was a gross misunderstanding of the magnifying power of water resulting in Godzilla’s snowflake. There were other difficulties as well: ‘snow’ that gathered at the top— casting an ominous shadow on the overgrown snowflake, errant air bubbles, general kitchen destruction, I could go on. If it wasn’t for the possibility of the glass cutting me, I would have crushed the thing with my bare hands. Okay. Fine. I made a little pillow with the Sculpey— you can sort of see it in the photo— and planted a lilliputian glass ornament in the center. I sealed this up using glitter, as I had gone through the entire package of snow during the ‘testing’ phase, and skipped the glycerin because I suspected it played a role in the earlier gravity-defiant snow. Amazingly, I did not get a bubble this time— although one may yet still develop. Practically perfect in every way. Except that the glitter settles so quickly, I almost gave myself a seizure trying to photograph it. And so, wishing everyone a lovely, if belated, holiday. Cheers.

Copyright © 2015 MRStrauss • All rights reserved


CucumbersWhen a small packet of heirloom cucumber seeds turns into this, you need more cucumber ideas. I have quite a few Asian and Greek inspired recipes so I needed something to go with other foods. This paired well with pasta.Cucumber

This is best made a few hours before serving. Start with this basic recipe and then see how it tastes. I usually end up adding a little more vinegar or sugar. You can also add chopped fresh dill or red pepper flakes for a different take. Or more garlic.

  • 4 cucumbers, skins removed and seeds scooped out, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons good tasting olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or put through a garlic press
  • salt to taste

 Copyright © 2014 MRStrauss • All rights reserved