Food & Cooking

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Things that fill me with melancholia

Dippin' Dots has been "the ice cream of the future" for at least sixteen years now. When I see those sad little Dippin' Dots kiosks at malls, I think back to the salad days of Dippin' Dots, the first time I tried them: It was in Nashville, at Opryland*, and I was in eighth grade. They were promoting Chaos, the new indoor roller coaster, and I ate my Dippin' Dots while standing in line waiting to ride it. The Opryland Hotel is still around, but Opryland the amusement park closed down years ago. It is Clancy I mourn for, I guess.

It upsets me when people write first-person statements on behalf of creatures who lack the power to signify. Like when you see a sign on an animal's cage that says, "I am an Asian elephant. Please don't feed me."

Sigh. Now I'm depressed. :-(

* Edited to add that I looked at the history of Dippin' Dots, and under the timeline, it says: "1989: Opryland U.S.A. in Nashville, Tenn., is the company’s first amusement park account."

Domestic Arts

Sunday afternoon, on the way to the airport, my mom and I stopped by my grandmother's house for a lunch of soup and cornbread. For a long time now, I've been wanting to do that once-a-month cooking thing; I hear those who do it save a lot of money. Certainly my grandmother has done it as long as I can remember; in fact, in that picture I linked, she and I are standing in front of the deep freeze, which is packed with soups, vegetables grown by members of my family, pies, and other goodies.

So I was at the grocery store this evening, and, inspired by both my grandmother and Lauren, I was seized by the urge to make a big pot of soup. I reviewed what I already had at home that would be good in soup -- brown rice, beans, chicken broth, and just-thawed chicken -- and I bought two cans of roasted garlic diced tomatoes. I baked the chicken (three breasts) in olive oil and a BIG pinch of Herbes de Provence, threw the rice, beans, chicken broth, and tomatoes in a pot, diced the chicken in the CorningWare dish so that it would sop up the remaining olive oil and Herbes de Provence, then put it in the soup. I added some red pepper flakes, but no other herbs or spices. It's fantastic, and there are now four jars of it in my freezer.

Christmas Activities

WHY do the Priester's honey glazed pecans have to be so good that I eat almost the whole bag?

So yeah, that's what I've been doing today: eating, reading, knitting, watching TV, and hanging out with family and friends. Good stuff.

I don't have cable, so when I'm home, I OD on it. Not the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Learning Channel. Oh no. I watch E! and Comedy Central, and sometimes Spike TV. Today I've been indulging in Comedy Central's Mad TV marathon and E!'s year-in-review ranking specials, e.g. Top 10 Entertainers of 2004, Top 10 Celebrity Scandals, etc. I'm very pleased to see that Jamie Foxx has been getting a lot of recognition this year for playing Ray Charles in the biopic based on Charles' life. I've been a fan of Foxx for many years now; I thought he was hilarious on In Living Color, and I thought his performance in Ali was underrated.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to catch an episode of Most Extreme Elimination since I've been here. Pity.

100 More Things About Me

I want to start the sequel meme! I mean, after the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, they released "More Dirty Dancing." After "Songs from Ally McBeal," they released Heart And Soul: New Songs From Ally McBeal Featuring Vonda Shepard. If they can do it, why can't I? :P Here are 100 more things about me:

  1. I have never bought or sold anything on eBay.
  2. My least favorite household chore is cleaning out the microwave.
  3. My second least favorite household chore is ironing. For years I bought only clothes that didn't require ironing.
  4. About twelve years ago, I wanted to be a writer for Soap Opera Digest. I mean it was my dream job. Ugh.
  5. I love almond butter and jam and honey sandwiches on stone ground wheat bread.
  6. I prepare and eat such sandwiches in a ritualistic manner. I put the honey on the bread first, so that it can absorb into the nooks and crannies. Then I apply thick layers of almond butter and jam. When I take a bite, the almond butter and jam ooze out from the crusts of the bread, so in between bites, I constantly run my tongue around the crusts of the bread to catch the excess, like I'm eating an ice cream cone on a hot, windy day.

A Domestic Arts Post

Because you were probably wondering what it is I do when I piddle around the apartment.

Cooking: Lately I've been into steaming vegetables; usually I sauté them, but then I remembered I have a steaming basket and thought, oh yeah, there's another way to cook vegetables. Last night I steamed spinach and cherry tomatoes, then doused them with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yum. Then tonight I steamed some broccoli to accompany my pork chops. Also, I've discovered that a banana covered in provençal fig jam is a delicious snack; I think I'll have one while I watch The Apprentice.

Knitting: I'm working on five projects right now, including a baby blanket in primary colors, a cushion in hot pink acrylic/wool blend yarn, K2 P2 rib, an forest green oven mitt which I'll be felting, a red and orange merino wool Windy City scarf with matching hat, and a purse I'm quite excited about. I was trying to figure out what to do with that ballet yarn, and then the other day I was going through my sock drawer getting rid of those threadbare-at-the-heels socks. Remember those trenchcoat-length cardigan sweaters that were in style a few years ago? The sash from one of those was in the drawer, and I was going to throw it away but thought, wait, I could probably use this thing in a knitting project. I think it looks nice with the ballet yarn:

Purple sash next to pink ballet yarn

So it's going to be the purse strap.

I'm ABD!

Whew! I'm elated; I just added dissertation credits! My oral exam went very well to boot. I don't mind admitting that 30 minutes before the exam, I was in my office having a catharsis/anxiety attack, but I pulled it together in time. In a second I'm going to have a delicious dinner of broccoli and cherry tomatoes sautéed in olive oil and chicken with curry, garam marsala, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. After dinner, a long bath and then some knitting.

Before Bed

I didn't watch Julia Child's show, but all the tributes to her -- and this interview -- have made me want to. I wonder if they'll release it on DVD?

When Krista and I went to the movies recently, I made an excited noise when I saw the standee for Seed of Chucky (link goes to the trailer). A little embarrassing, yes, but what the heck, I've already said I want to watch The Pirate Movie. Krista made the insightful observation that the more theory one reads, the more one wants to watch pleasantly stupid movies. Having been bolstered by this validation, I believe I'll rent both The Pirate Movie and Bride of Chucky tomorrow evening. I've seen Child's Play 1, 2, and 3, but not Bride of Chucky, and I want to respect the narrative sequence.

Best Turkey Ever

I am eating the best turkey I've ever had in my life, so good I might have to nudge my mom aside and make this Thanksgiving's meal myself (I'm sure she'd happily hand over that responsibility :) ). Last time I was at the grocery store, I bought two 1-lb. white honeysuckle turkey breasts and froze both of them. I'm already thinking ahead about how I'll cook the other one: with Cajun seasoning or herbes de provence?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. After I thawed this turkey breast by leaving it in lukewarm water for a while, I put it in a foil packet with some of the water, plenty of olive oil, tons of hot Madras curry powder, some ginger, minced garlic, and hot pepper flakes. I sealed it up tight and put it in the oven for an hour or so at 325 degrees. It's unbelievably juicy and delicious. I can't take all the credit, though; Charlie reminded me of the foil-packet method of cooking meat, fish, and poultry in the oven. He'll be terribly embarrassed that I'm saying this, but I will anyway: Charlie can give great advice and recommendations on just about any topic. He can tell you how to fix your computer, cook your food, optimize your exercise routine, and improve your teaching. He's also excellent at recommending movies and music.

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