Sunday, August 31, 2008

The reason grandma won't give you her cookie recipe

For people who love to cook or eat, finding a really good recipe is like finding a nugget of gold in a big cave of rocks. I have only a few good recipes that I go to regularly because they usually turn out edible. I don't cook very much, not much time for food or laundry. But I was in a class once where we were assigned to work in small groups. My group started discussing food and someone said they had a great recipe for red velvet cake. She went on and on about how lots of people thought it was the best dessert they have ever had. She promised to give us her recipe but she made up an excuse every time someone asked her for it. I think she really didn't want anyone else to know it. My own sister has done the same thing. They enjoy recipe envy. Does the knowledge of how to get muffins to come out as delicate morsels instead of tough little balls of Styrofoam mean so much that people have to hoard their coveted food formulas? Apparently, having a good recipe that everyone likes is second only to guessing a winning lottery combination. Everyone adores you because of your coconut macadamia squares. But what happens if someone else can make the same treat? You become very ordinary and your recipe goes in the pile of other banal instructions. So I challenge you to share your best recipe with the rest of the world, or at least with me.
Here is my really easy potato soup recipe.
Put 5 cups of water in a big pot and boil it. Take a bunch of unpeeled red potatoes (5-6) and chop them up into cubes. Chop up a cup of celery and a big onion. Add all the veggies to the pot and cook for 10 mins. Add 2 tsps salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper. Now take a hand mixer and blend the veggies until they are kind of lumpy but mostly blended. Melt a 1/2 stick of butter in a small pan, add 1/4 c. flour to the butter, cook for a minute. Add the butter mixture to the soup and stir. Now add 1/2 c. heavy cream...add a little milk if its too thick. Heat it up but don't boil it.
I like to sprinkle cheddar cheese and bacon on it. Bon Appetite!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Science Olympics ?

I am sure that many will disagree with me on this observation but I just can't stand it anymore. Part of what I think is wrong with the world is the dysfunction of society's priorities. Since the Olympics began I have heard people talk about "the thrill of victory/the agony of defeat" and how amazing it is that records keep getting broken. I will admit that I too am glued to the TV just to see the expression of glorious acheivement or devastating failure the Olympics bring. But after watching a fabulous athlete lose by an hundreth of a second and be described in the next mornings paper as " not golden" with a picture that shows the offender with a shamed look on their face, I feel great disappointment in our value system. Is athletic virtuosity so important that entire countries gain stature from an Olympic victory? Aren't there more important battles being fought? What about medicine or education? I would rather watch a team of scientists or engineers from different countries compete to cure diseases or improve infrastructure that helps millions avoid suffering. They could give gold medals and media recognition to those who truly represent our best; then we could all cheer and jump around when they cure AIDS.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Things I learned this summer

Like many students I took summer classes, sacrificing the luxury of days in the sun, the possibility of successful weed control and catching up on my to do list. Was it worth it? Yes. I have learned that we never can really predict or plan our experiences even if we think we can. Most of us have known what its like planning time off only to find that during that special reserved time we come down with some horrible virus or visit a place that seemed interesting but is actually kind of boring. The opposite seems to be true as well. The ugliness of daily routine can bring unexpected enjoyment. My classes this summer included Abnormal Psychology, Global Health and The Beatles. Among the interesting thoughts I have had about these subjects are: How the Lennon/McCartney collaborative team was successful in part due to their competition with each other, How horrible (socially cruel) the tuberculosis sanitariums were and that just about everyone seems to suffer from depression and anxiety. Who ever really wins the war on weeds anyway?