Posted by: mincingaround | November 6, 2008

Thank You, America

Now that the 2008 Presidential Election is over and can be inserted into the annals of American history, I would just like to say thank you, America.

Thank you for giving me hope.

Thank you for taking a chance.

Thank you for giving me pride in my country again.

Thank you for getting out and making yourselves heard.

Thank you for demonstrating that Americans still have the power to show a united front.

And, most importantly, thank you for not forcing me to look at or listen to Sarah Palin for the next four years.

That is all. :)

Posted by: mincingaround | November 6, 2008

Where’s the wheat?

I went to my local gas station/convenience store today to get some lunch. Yes, I know that sounds strange. But they make the food to order and it’s usually pretty decent, and you can get chips, drinks, sweets, and all kinds of other yummy stuff to go along with it. Most importantly, it’s not really too expensive.

All I wanted was a sandwich. Not a wrap, not a sub, not a super pretzel melt. Just a plain old regular roast beef sandwich with some cheese, lettuce, and mayo. Simple enough, right? I walked up to the touch screen to place my order, and as I looked at the menu, I noticed that a roast beef sandwich was $4.99. $4.99. For some stuff slapped between two pieces of bread. Even better was the fact that the 6″ sub was only $3.49. What the hell?  Is there some kind of wheat shortage that I don’t know about? In what kind of universe is a fricking sandwich almost $2 more than a sub?

Suffice it to say I chose to put my sandwich ingredients on a sub roll. It was actually quite good, but really bready, and every time I took a bite the mayo caused everything to slide out. That wouldn’t have happened with bread, or at least not as badly, and I would have gotten a much better bread to meat ratio.

But, what can you do? Maybe from now on I should just start carrying a loaf of bread around in my purse. ;)

Posted by: mincingaround | October 14, 2008

Beware the flying dumpling!

I really miss my grandmother, for a lot of reasons. She was kind, helpful, loving, talented, smart, and never had a bad word to say about anything or anyone. Well, except for that one time. But that’s a topic for another blog. Anyhoo, she also made a mean apple dumpling. She wasn’t your typical grandmother who cooked all the time and baked cookies and pies. In fact, she didn’t cook or bake much at all, but she did have three specialties: Coffee cake, orange jello salad, and apple dumplings.

My grandmother died almost 11 years ago, and therefore it has been almost 11 years since I’ve had a decent apple dumpling. A decent apple dumpling meaning you peel the apples and slice them, and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar and pat them with butter and wrap them up in a delicious dough. None of this whole-apple-stuffed-with-crap kind of dumpling for me, no sir! They’re just not the same. You have to slice the apples so you get a better dough-to-apple bite ratio, and sliced-apple dumplings are just easier to eat in general. I mean, come on, people, put a little effort into it. Either make them properly or don’t make them at all.

So, since it’s been so long since I’ve had a decent apple dumpling, and since I tend to have a fair hand with all goods baked and pastry-like, I decided that I could make my own apple dumplings. How hard could it be, right? Other than peeling and slicing all the apples, which I’m not complaining about because I’ll reiterate that that’s the only way the dumplings are good, it seemed like it would be a fairly easy task. Hehehe. No. Not easy. Not even the least little bit.

I pulled out my mom’s cookbook, and then I pulled out the enormous, red, Betty Crocker cookbook that was probably printed in 1935 so that I could compare the recipes that had been written down in each. Both recipes were about half complete. No specifics, no baking times, just ingredients and basic instructions, but I figured I’ve been baking long enough that I should be able to figure it out, so I started making the dough.

It’s a fairly straightforward dough – flour, shortening, some baking powder to make it rise, a little salt, and some milk. I recently figured out the secret to making pie crust, so I basically just used the same method – cut the shortening into the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Then you have to roll out the dough a piece at a time and stuff it with apples and then fold it all up. Well, every time – every single time – I rolled out the dough it fell apart. It stuck to the well-floured rolling pin, it stuck to the well-floured board, it stuck to itself. When I did finally manage to successfully roll out one piece, it fell apart as soon as I added the apples, so I put that one aside and tried again. I managed to roll out the dough, and stuff it with apples, and then as soon as I tried to fold it all up the apples fell out the bottom. So that was it. I was so upset and frustrated that I lobbed the entire dumpling, apples and all, across the room, where it landed all too quickly with a thud that had an eerie sense of finality to it. I could tell that the dough wanted me to give up, but since I had an enormous bowl full of sliced, browning apples and since I’m not really one to give up that easily, I stepped away from the table and consulted my faithful friend, Google.

Google led me here, a website which is special in and of itself, and I found the same exact recipe I had been using, except for 3 small details: the dough uses twice as much milk, this guy adds nutmeg to his syrup, and he uses whole apples to make his bastard dumplings. I sat around for a minute and then got up to try again, and when I used more milk the dough was perfectly lovely and light and elastic, and not once did it fall apart. I was finally able to finish the dumplings, and I have to admit, they were damn good. Not quite as good as my grandmother’s, but I think with a little tweaking and a little more practice, they’ll get there. The only problem with the making of the apple dumplings is the excessive eating of the apple dumplings, but I think I’ll risk it.

And so, my quest continues…..

Posted by: mincingaround | September 19, 2008

Avast, Me Hearties!

My Facebook Pieces of Flair application informed me this morning that today is Talk Like A Pirate Day, so in honor of such a hallowed celebration I say, Argh! And Ahoy, mateys. If you’re not careful I’ll make you walk the plank. Heave, ho! Raise the Jolly Roger! Where are the cursed doubloons? Shiver me timbers! Thar she blows! Yo ho! We’re headed to Davy Jones’s Locker!

I figure since I’m a pirate today I can use all sorts of inappropriate exclamation points! Here are some more!!!!!! Anyway, since this about completes my miniscule knowledge of pirate speak, I leave you with this. BUT WHY IS THE RUM GONE? )

Posted by: mincingaround | September 18, 2008

8% Bastard!

I work in an office where I spend my days doling out money to often ungrateful college students and listening to what have to be, by far, the loudest, most obnoxious yawns that have ever been heard on this or any other planet. Like any other modern-day office we, of course, have a fax machine, albeit a fax machine that is usually broken or offline on 3 out of any 5 work days. I hereby swear that the day I leave that place I will violently yank the cables out of the fax machine and haul it to the nearest field, where I will proceed to beat the living s$&t out of it with a baseball bat, a golf club, a sledge hammer, or an errant textbook so that nobody will have to deal with it being a complete pain in the ass ever again. I bet an Organic Chemistry or Intro to Tax Accounting book would do quite nicely.

Anyway, I digress. The fax machine randomly spits out unwanted advertisements for things ranging from apartment-hunting websites for college students to free Caribbean cruises to wholesale meats. Yes, say it with me, friends: Wholesale meats. Usually the meat ads are for beef, but sometimes I’ll see them for pork or hot dogs, and they say things like “Get 200 lbs of quality-grade beef, all cuts, only 49 cents/lb.” or “For one day only! Get 600 all-meat hot dogs for the price of 300. (Storage freezer required).” There are just so many things amiss about these ads that it’s not even funny. Well. Wait. I guess it is. I mean, if the beef is only 49 cents/lb, I seriously doubt that it’s ‘quality grade,’ and what the h are ‘all-meat’ hot dogs, anyway? It all sounds a little shady to me.

Well, as I was walking past the fax machine today, I saw another ad sitting there for wholesale meat. But, in a modification I can only attribute to the changing of the seasons, this one was for wholesale turkey. I was in a bit of a hurry, and as I saw it out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw the word ‘bastard’ written on it in big, bold letters. I went about my tasks, but I kept thinking to myself, what in the world is a bastard turkey? So, of course, I had to go back and take a second look, only to learn that what the flier really said was “Name Brand Turkeys at Wholesale Prices. Wrapped and packaged and shipped directly to you. 8% basted. Order now to ensure prompt delivery for holiday seasons.”

At this point, I’ve gotten past the bastard turkey and am thinking about other things. For example, who in the world would want a (hopefully) frozen turkey shipped to them from God knows where, to feed, no doubt, to their entire family on a holiday that was created to make people buy cards and seasonal tschotchkes and get all sappy when they start thinking about all the wonderful things that they should be thankful for but aren’t really because all they’re really concerned with is the score in one of the 17 football games that is being aired that day on televisions across America? Frankly, to me, that just sounds like a raging case of salmonella waiting to unleash its wrath.

But then I started to think again about the bastard turkeys. What are they exactly? Are they the draft-dodging turkeys that go into hiding and start drinking and smoking and carousing while their less fortunate counterparts are off being slaughtered and plucked and stuffed with a delicious melange of breads, onions, and spices? Or are they the turkeys that just aren’t quite plump and juicy enough to grace my Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, thereby causing them to end up being only 8% basted and left to be traded and sold on the open, cruel wholesale markets?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what they are, but whatever the definition, I kind of feel bad for them. Only not bad enough that their mere existence, or the thought thereof, didn’t give me enough amusement to become fodder for my first full blog post.

To bastard turkeys everywhere: Peace out.

Posted by: mincingaround | September 18, 2008

A brand new blog

After putting it off for quite a while, I decided it was high time I got myself a brand new blog. So, here it is. Hopefully, as it grows, it will become far more interesting and witty, but seeing as it’s almost midnight here in my lovely little mountain town, this will have to do for now. Please, read. Subscribe. Enjoy the pretty picture. I’m fairly certain it’s somewhere in Ireland, a country I’d really like to visit again someday.

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