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Baltimore, MD
USA

Cat and Milk Studio: artwork by Caroline Devereaux.  Illustration, commissioned art, comics and sketches from an artist in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Cat and Milk Studio news, and anecdotes from artist, Caroline Devereaux. Illustrations in progress and sales and discounts on commission portraits are posted here. 

The Botulism Question

Caroline Devereaux

J and I spent the better part of an entire day bottling barbecue sauce.  It was one of those deceptive Pinterest-inspired ideas that we thought would be a cost- and effort-saving way to get our holiday gifts made in one fell swoop.  

Bottling tomato-based elixirs is more complicated than just dumping it into a tupperware bin and loading it into the freezer.  However, we weren't aware of this until we'd already ordered bottles, created and printed labels, and bought $60 worth of ingredients

Rather than a delightful afternoon of giggling and dabbing tomato sauce on each other's noses while It's a Wonderful Life played in the background, we were surrounded by stacks of sticky pots and pans, muddling through an improvised sterilization process for which we were completely unprepared. Starting by boiling bottles and caps for a half hour, but finding ourselves without the recommended pressure cooker to finish the job, we opted for another boiling water bath after the bottles had been filled with steaming sauce.   

The bottles were left out to cool, and we were pleased to find the majority of the lug caps had suction-popped inward. However, visions of angry phone calls from hospitalized, botulism-riddled friends and family lead me to load the bottles into the fridge as soon as possible, and toss in a recommendation to "KEEP FROZEN and once open, consume within 2 weeks." We gave (sentenced) our loved ones to consuming 14.5 oz. of barbecue sauce in a 14-day time span. Merry Christmas.