Friday, June 18, 2010

Inspiration Can Come From the Most Unlikely of Places

One of the things I find ridiculous is when a dictionary, whether online or in an actual book, use the very word they are defining in the definition.  For example, recently I came across an AP news story about how the CEO of BP was being raked over the coals because of how his company is handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The term the author of the article used was "pilloried."  Obviously this is a word that is not used very often.  And I have to admit, before seeing it in this article I have never heard it before.  So, in order to understand what they were saying I turned to this fancy thing called "the internet" to find out what this word means.

Here is one definition that I found at the Merriam-Webster site:

Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): pilloried; pillory·ing
Date: circa 1600
1 : to set in a pillory as punishment
2 : to expose to public contempt, ridicule, or scorn

Obviously the first definition is not very helpful because I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT A PILLORY IS!

The second one, however, is a little more helpful, but doesn't go far enough.  So I tried another source at  This one was much more helpful:
pillory [ˈpɪlərɪ]
n pl -ries
1. (Historical Terms) a wooden framework into which offenders were formerly locked by the neck and wrists and exposed to public abuse and ridicule
2. exposure to public scorn or abuse
vb -ries, -rying, -ried (tr)
1. to expose to public scorn or ridicule
2. (Historical Terms) to punish by putting in a pillory
 Of course after reading these definitions I had to wonder: "I thought those were called stocks?"  So looked up the difference.  Apparently there is one:

This is a Pillory
(Of course it's French, why do you ask?)


Apparently I have been confusing pillories for stocks this whole time.  Basically the difference is: in a pillory your head and hands to through the holes while you are standing (there are other variations, but this is the shortest explanation), and only your feet go through stocks while you are sitting, or lying, down.

So basically our beloved Congress, whose motto is "We point fingers better than anybody", had metaphorically "pilloried" the CEO of BP.  Interesting mental picture, isn't it?


Moving on.  I happened to be playing a new game on Facebook recently called FrontierVille.  In it you clear land, plant crops and trees and things, and build your homestead.  One of the types of trees you can plant are cherry trees.  While playing the game, and harvesting your trees you can earn pieces of a collection that, if you gather all the correct pieces of a collection, you can earn special rewards.  One of the special pieces you can earn from harvesting a cherry tree is a jar Cherry Cider.

Of course I have heard of Apple Cider, but never Cherry Cider.  So I decided I should look this up and find out how to make it.  Thus began more frustration.  In every recipe I found the first ingredient always seemed to be: x cups Apple Cider.

What the heck?  I wanted Cherry Cider, not Apple Cider.

So I figured the process should be pretty similar in making Cherry Cider as it is with Apple Cider, so I tried looking up recipes for Apple Cider.  Once again every recipe I found for Apple Cider had as the first ingredient: x cups Apple Cider.

Apparently I have stumbled upon some sort of culinary catch 22.  How do you make Apple Cider if you need Apple Cider to make Apple Cider and you don't have any Apple Cider?  Well, you make Apple Cider, silly.

Head hurt yet?  Great, now you're catching up.

Finally I come across this description which can be found in its entirety here, but here is the important part:
"...Making apple cider is a simple process of separating the juice from the apples. You should use a variety of apples to allow each to contribute its own taste. Sweet apples such as Delicious and Cortland should be used for the bulk of the cider. But adding mildly tart apples such as Winesap, Jonathon or MacIntosh will really perk up the taste. It is perfectly alright to use bruised apples, but check for mold, rot or worms. Thoroughly wash the apples and remove the stems. Chop or grind them into a fine pulp. To save time, putting them through a food processor works great. Save any juice to be added to the cider.

The chopped apples are what home beverage makers call pomace. This will be used to extract the cider. Place all the pomace into a clean pillow case or cheesecloth and place into the cider press. This is not a process that can be rushed, so give yourself plenty of time. Apply press and wait until most of the juice has stopped dripping down. Then simply apply more pressure. In the long run, your patience during this process will be greatly rewarded by increased yields and a clearer cider..."
 So, armed with my new found knowledge on making Cherry Cider I plan on trying my hand at making some.  Of course this will be trial and error, but I think the rewards should be pretty good.

If anyone has any suggestions as to what I should put in the cider, other than the Cherry Cider of course, post in the comments.  This should be fun.


  1. Great post! =0)
    Maybe you could make hard cider? ;)

  2. Possibly, but I want start with the regular stuff first, then try and branch off into the hard stuff.

  3. I can't wait to taste it! =)

  4. I must confess I've also been politically incorrect in thinking a pillory is the same as stocks. Maybe if they were in use today, people would put a lot more thought into doing things that could potentially wreak havoc for so many others. Can you imagine how that would play out? Too funny!

  5. I don't know if it is politically incorrect, but I am sure that my misconception came from what I had seen in movies and what I was, more or less, taught. Which is why I usually like to check things out for myself.