Monday, March 31, 2014

Ritz crackers: a review.

Recently on the Facebooks, a friend posted the following:

to which I replied:

This weekend, I found myself at Target. (I know.) I got some cleaning supplies and bobby pins and a box of Ritz Crackers. Because it had been a long time (been a long time been a long time been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time), and I needed to see what they were like. You know, science.

I am here to tell you that between me and the historian and Bruiser, who polished off half a sleeve of them, they are gone gone gone. All of the Ritz Crackers are gone.

I suppose this means that

(a) they are delicious.

It can't be denied. They are crunchy (the effect of some horrible, who knows how horrible? fat), yet they are soft. Their flour is probably some weird hybrid between soft wheat and, like, marshmallows. They are salty yet they are sweet. You can put a slice of cheese on them, or you can eat them in a stack. One at a time, but still: a stack.

I think from the above analysis, we can also say that

so golden & delicious. like salty-sweet-crunchy-soft crack cocaine.
(b) they are dangerous.

Dogs will leap up onto a table to get them. Well, not leap up, but put their front paws up. People (some people) will eat them directly from the sleeve in the car on the way home from Target. And surreptitiously sneak a short stack (less than five) from the cupboard, if you can get them into the cupboard, and then return for another short stack, or even a tall stack! Until they are gone gone gone.

(c) addictive? like crunchy yet soft, salty yet sweet things are prone to be.

Last night before I went to sleep I had to give myself a talking to about things, like taking better care of myself, eating food that makes me feel good, this and that and whatnot. I was alternately compassionate and stern with myself, and I'm pretty sure that the Ritz Consumption Orgy of Late March 2014 factored in somehow. The people, I ask you: why is it that all day long one can think salad and vegetables with great happiness and equanimity, but by the end of the day, one is all CHEESECAKE?  Why?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Things I will never: a short and probably intermittent series.

with heels? be serious.
(via La Mimi)
1. Wear overalls as a fashion statement. 

I had a pair of overalls when I was in college. I bought them at Sears, in the men's work clothes section. They were cute. I was cute in them.

Then I had another pair later. They were short overalls that I bought at the Gap. They were cute, and I was, again, cute in them. You'll have to trust me. But it might have been the kind of cute that was right at the verge of its shelf life. Maybe. Even though I don't believe people have shelf lives. Whatever: cute.

But now? I was with my niece in Nordstrom and we stood near a rack where grown women buy their clothes and there were overalls on that rack. And I said, No. And by no, I meant not even.

2. Purchase, order, cook or eat offal.

I came, I saw, I said no freaking way.
There's a whole "tip to tail" movement afoot amongst farm-to-table restaurateurs and food people: if you're going to eat animals, you've got to commit to eating the whole animal. I concede to this point. The notion of all that this implies sends me fleeing in the other direction, however. I saw "Today's Offal" on the menu at an otherwise lovely restaurant in Boston. I saw it, and considered it and said No. And by no, I meant HELL no.

NEVER. (via The Big Bake Theory)
3. Grate beets into baked goods.

The people, why? Why? when there is perfectly good organic, vegan sugar right there?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Adventures in late night baking.

"I'm going to make chocolate banana bread when we get back," I announced at 10:15 p.m. That's right: P to the Mizzo, as in right after we got back from our dog walk.

The reason for all the late nightery was that (a) I read a recipe several days ago for double chocolate banana bread. I confess to you that regular old banana bread moves me not in the least. For one thing, it tastes like overripe bananas, which is the state you generally want your bananas in for banana breadery. So no: I will never look at old bananas and think: why don't I make you into banana bread? I will straight up throw those bananas out, true story. Not that I'm proud of it or anything. But chocolate banana bread? That had some possibilities.

Also, (b), I happened to have some bananas. Which had been (c) sitting around all weekend, looking like potential chocolate banana bread material. Did I want them to get brown and bespeckled? No I did not. But they were fully yellow, which by 10:15 p.m. last night seemed ripe enough for the baking.

We got back from the dog walk (beautiful sky full of brilliant stars) and I threw off my jacket and got out the bowl. The double of the double chocolate was first, cocoa powder and second, chocolate chunks. I happened to have a sad, past-its-expiration-date bar of semisweet baking chocolate in my refrigerator that was just the ticket for the chunks--I bashed it up with my chef knife until the pieces broke, then stirred them into the batter. The bananas tasted fresh and not gushy, so: perfect.

While it was in the oven, we did this and that. I graded a discussion and read some more material about last night's epic episode of The Good Wife (spoiler alert: I'm not going to say one damn thing about it). The house filled with the most divine smell ever, dark and cacao-saturated and fresh fresh fresh bananas. Beautiful.

I went to check it at the appointed hour. Found my toothpicks for checking doneness. Done.

I grabbed the hot pad that was directly at hand. Stiff, this hot pad was. Stiff, not to say unyielding. Okay, to say: unyielding.

The people, that pan fell straight out of my useless hot-padded hand and onto the floor.

Did I utter an oath? Of course I did. And then fetched a spatula and scooped it, as if it were pancakes on a griddle, back into the pan. And ate a little bit of the hot ruin whilst doing so. OMG.

It is the best banana bread I have ever baked. I cooled it on a baking sheet and put it in a Tupperware, and right now I am eating a bowl of it, broken into pieces and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let's play a short round of "should" and "am."

I should be grading.

This is perhaps the existential fact of my existence. 
There is no time at which 
I should not be grading.  
If I am sleeping, it's possible 
that I should be grading. 
Eating dinner, taking a shower, reading a book: 
should be grading, 
and why am I not?

I am, instead, blogging. And contemplating 
why my hand hurts a little bit. 
Thinking about cleaning the screen 
of my phone. Possible shopping online. 
Considering what I might make for dinner, 
and whether tonight will be the night 
that I do a little cleaning  and straightening
before I collapse like a heap of sad, 
devoid-of-willpower sack of laundry onto the bed, 
where I will watch more episodes of Veronica Mars. 
Also, come to think of it, 
thinking about Veronica Mars.

I should also take a brisk walk around the campus.

I have a full slate of appointments with students in the Learning Commons-stroke-Dungeon, which has suddenly become porous with last minute cancellations. I have, as it turns out, forty unscheduled minutes to take this brisk walk (once I have finished blogging).

I am, instead, blogging. And thinking about where I will stash 
my techno-stuff, and about whether, maybe, I should be grading?
Also, how does eating the orange I have in my bag
fit into this plan of walking?

But how can I even think about walking when I should be grading?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good Lord.

It's been more than a week! The silence(-ish) has been good for me.


Random bits:

The desert in the springtime is glorious. Bright, clear, dry, warm. Smells like orange blossom. I recommend it.


Seeing the people you love in faraway places is both wonderful and difficult. Even from the very first moment, I find I have to stop my mind from ticking with the moments passing. Time feels loud, if you let it. So you can't let it loom, all tickety-tock. But it's still there, all tickety-tock.


That said: we went on little hikes and to a children's museum and had a picnic here and shrimp al diablo there (pro tip: at Mexican restaurants in Mesa, when they say "al diablo" they are not kidding around). We watched movies and made drawings and built edifices with Lincoln Logs. It was wonderful. And then difficult, because we had to leave.


But you do have to leave. People have things to do, the people there, and you yourself also, your own little long list of things you must do.


The best thing about spring break: going to see the people you love.

The other best thing about spring break: being in your own home, in your own place, quiet, just you and the dog, doing the things on your list. [Bruiser's list: bark at the UPS guy; take a nap; take a nap in an auxiliary location; bark at kids walking home from school; backup napping.]


The list: long, but elastic. To include:

  • catching up on grading (nowhere near complete); 
  • read book for book group (making progress); 
  • mail this and that (check); 
  • get visa for travel to China (gaa!); 
  • put away heavy woolen clothing (check!); 
  • count the weeks till the semester is over (it's moving right along, folks); 
  • nag Scotland daughter perpetually about her trip to America (I'm very good at this);
  • video and other chat with all sorts of children and grandchildren (who needs to grade?);
  • visit daughter and grandson and granddaughter (check! at Costco!); 
  • read other book compulsively (done!); 
  • eat Girl Scout cookies (Q: how many is too many?). 
  • Laundry and assorted chores. 


One thing that always makes me feel like spring is coming: new white jeans. I found some perfect ones, you guys. I will be wearing them substantially before Memorial Day, and I will be the vernal equinoctial harbinger--one of them, anyway--of tulips, snowdrops, crocus, and all the light to come.


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