24 December 2009
05 December 2009
Dear Mom and Dad,
Doesn't everyone love a family bike ride? Or a beautiful peace of art?
or even just a great pair of shoes? Well those happen to be the 3 things I want for christmas and I'm about to tell you why I want those things.
The first reason I want a bike is because we live in Provo and if I had a bike I could ride so many places like school. It would also be better for the earth. And plus I've always wanted a bike.
The second thing I want for Christmas is a set of markers. The first reason is Grandma and Grandpa always ask me to draw pictures for them but all my markers are kind of dried out so I gave them to Moses and Cecily. And if I get a big set of markers I won't have to get markers for school.
The next thing I want for christmas is simply a couple of pairs of shoes. The first reason is, winter is coming and I'm going to need some good shoes, and also there are these shoes called Uggs that I really want.
Those are the reasons why I want shoes, a bike and a set of markers.
24 November 2009
Winter Squash and Root Gingered Soup
½ stick unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 small butternut squash, roasted
1 small blue hubbard squash, roasted
1 32 oz. can whole tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
1 quart water
1 t. cumin
¼ t. cayenne
1 t. (or more, to taste, if you like it spicy) sriracha
½ pint heavy cream
1. Wash and pierce squash and roast whole in a 375 oven. Cool slightly, seed, and scoop out flesh.
2. While squash is roasting, peel and chop and then sauté onions and carrots on medium low in butter. Grate ginger into onions and carrots and continue cooking. This amount of ginger gives a very subtle background note, so if you really dig a gingery soup, add another inch or two of root.
3. Combine stock, water, tomatoes (and juice), cumin, and cayenne. Let soup simmer for 10-15 minutes.
4. Purée soup until smooth. Heat soup through then finish with cream and a teaspoon of sriracha.
I I I went all out and put on a table cloth, dim lighting (my best solution for bad wall paper and a non-spotless house), lit candles, etc. Mom and Dad, Pat and Bonnie and all the kids save Eva were there. I didn't photograph the soup because the moment was too good and I didn't want to leave it. In a moment, one single moment, my depression lifted and was completely gone. Almost twenty-four hours later, I still feel great. What happened? It feels miraculous, or maybe my soup is medicinal.
P.S.--My mom said I should enter my soup in a recipe contest. That was pretty much the highlight of my cooking life, coming from my cooking idol herself.
19 November 2009
18 November 2009
A few friends and I are hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet for our senior service project. We would be honored if you would join us. It will be held on November 19 at 7:00 pm at the Walden School (4230 N. University Avenue), tickets will be $10.
There will be talks from Gerald Brown and Warner Woodworth, as well as some musical entertainment and a photo slideshow.
We hope to see you there!
ps: email me (email@example.com) or call my friend Hillary (801-400-8182) for tickets and more information
17 November 2009
16 November 2009
30 August 2009
yellow enameled iron pan
r. front on 6 to 5 1/2--let
it get hot enough!
let edges of crepe get
crisp and it doesn't
stick in the middle
It was August of 1993, and we had just moved to Seattle from the Bay Area, and had decided it would be cheaper to leave the furniture behind that we had scavenged and salvaged when we moved to California than to rent a moving truck. So we arrived in Seattle with nothing, and immediately started scavenging.
If you're not familiar with Seattle, one of its many good features is its yard and garage sales, and one of its other brilliant features is September. September's yard sales were bright blue, not too hot, not too cool, and full of treasures. For eating on, we got a small wooden table with two small chairs for the little kids, and a marble bistro table for family dining.
For cooking, I picked up MTAOFC and a Moosewood Cookbook, both annotated with the marginalia of careful, thorough, tidy little cook--her recipes were accompanied by notations in a small, neat hand, notations like "6/27/77 very good" or sometimes "v. good" or sometimes just "good." Other times she suggested substitutions: "Used veal stock instead. V. good." I took the book home and made tahini dressing from Moosewood, then soupe aux choux, potage veloute aux champignons and soupe a l'oignon. I made them a bunch of times that fall, mastered them, actually, because they were the recipes I could afford to make. I carefully honed some skills that fall.
After coming home from the movie the other night, I got all excited about learning some new skills and pulled out my cookbook. I'm not sure what I'll make yet, but feel like, after the tired and not too delicious chicken teryaki I made last night, It's time to take the cooking up a notch. I was inspired by Julia's energy and dedication, which is what I need in my life right now.
Here's to more energy, more dedication to delicous food, a better brown sauce, Navarin Printanier, Moussaka, and Epinards en Surprise.
(My kids are telling me this resolution will only last two weeks, the length that most of my resolutions last.)
(And for pete's sake, can someone tell me how to put accents into this damn blog?)
24 August 2009
23 August 2009
Will it be dinner?
Will we start going through the Wendy's drive-thru on a regular basis? This makes me shudder. Will I get hard-ass on my kids and start making them do more housework? Will I buy pre-made food at Costco?
The answers are hopefully not, no, maybe, no.
One idea: only one item for dinner every night, like a buttery sweet potato (Monday), a pot of beans (Tuesday), a big salad (Wednesday). And if I tell myself I can only have one item, that means I will allow myself two, since I have to break every rule that exists to make sure I'm really alive and that such a thing as cause and effect still exists in the universe (I have to check in with cause and effect every day).
So two items: a pot of beans and rice? Spaghetti and marinara? A salad and lamb chop?
See the inexorable move towards complication?
This week, other people have cooked or are cooking dinner for us thrice. Happy day! So here are some happy menus:
*Matt's BBQ Chicken
*Many Platters of Corn on the Cob
*Tomatoes and Basil
*Suzette's Big Salad
*Seared Garlic Green Beans
*Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream
*Wine-braised pork-chops with a sour cream pan sauce
*Seared Garlic Green Beans
*Seared Petite Sirloin
*Tomatoes and Onions
*Vegetable Curry Soup
*Andi's Artisan Bread
*Emily's Cinnamon Brownies with Ganache
Today friends are feeding us again and I'm making salad, need to do something with the beets I bought at the Farmer's market last week.
But friends don't always feed us. I still have the complication dilemma. People out there who don't have fuzzy, weird, non-logical brains out there, tell me what to do.
18 August 2009
Six years ago I went in for a routine ultra-sound at 12 weeks into my fourth pregnancy. At the exam, on one of the darkest days of my life, my technician found a large tumor growing on my daughter's lung. In the ensuing months and years, I fought the monstrous bureaucracy that is private health insurance (and I have one of the "good" providers) in order to get care for my daughter. In addition to the hundreds of additional hours a year I spend on her care because of resulting chronic conditions, I spend another hundred each year dealing with insurance on providers, over-billing, and fighting for coverage of the proper drugs for her; then there is the two to three hundred dollars a month on out of pocket expenses for co-pays on drugs and doctor' visits.
I often wonder how many years of my life are gone due to the hours I spend in pursuit of health for my daughter, and to the enormous amount of stress I feel about procuring the funds and the approval needed to insure her care.
I compare this to my experience 19 years ago when I was living in California attending graduate school, pregnant with my second daughter, receiving care through California's Medicare system. We had choice, excellent care, and a very limited amount of red-tape to deal with, as well as a measure of peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that if the absolute worst happens, we had some security.
I would like to see the option to buy into Medicare made available to all because I would like the option of health care coverage by an entity whose concern includes public health and welfare rather than the only choice that is currently available: a private provider whose sole concern is their own bottom line.
I'm writing to encourage you to support comprehensive health care reform in order to help reduce health care costs and to provide greater security for the people of our country. Offering the choice to buy into Medicare to everyone seems to be the most logical, simple, and moral way to provide us all with a more stable health care system, and thus a physically and economically healthier population.
Thank you for your attention and quick response on this most urgent matter.
Lara Candland Asplund
14 August 2009
So picture this, from Seattle:
*Eva's Curryish Rubbed Roast
*Alice's Roast Pork Braised in Cherry Juice
*Chard Frittatta made with Farm Box Produce
*Pizzettas topped with Wild Mushrooms or Baby Zucchinis or New Potatoes
*Alice and Jim's Salmon, maybe doused in Pernod? with Fresh Sage
*Dick's Deluxe Burger
*Alice's Chocolate Cake (from Chez Panisse Desserts?) featuring Ground Almonds
*Molly Moos' Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
*Lara's Mashed Potatoes, Made the Way Jim and Robin Like Them: 8 lbs. Potatoes to TWO sticks of butter, Hand Mashed (I don't think I left enough lumps in)
*Alice's Korean Pancakes with Dipping Sauce
Add the smell of brine from the sound, or the smell of misty Seattle and the layered beauty of that town--all hillocks and nooks and crannies and ocean, lake, mountain, concrete, neon, tree, and boat mashed and crashed together--
30 July 2009
27 July 2009
June 26, 2009
I recently spent a foreign exchange year in Germany, where it is legal to drink alcohol at 16 and where beer is always present at social gatherings. Many times I would have to explain that alcohol is verboten in my religion, and often it also became clear that I don’t smoke, do drugs, drink coffee, and so forth. After all of this, I was often asked, “Well, what do you do then?” I usually answered with an attempt to be funny in German (with is a far more fearsome endeavor than one might expect) and say something along the lines of “Oh, we do have fun… twice a year, on Christmas and our Birthdays!”
But jokes aside, that is a very valid question—it always seemed to me that there are a lot of “don’t”s and “shouldn’t”s in the Word of Wisdom, but upon closer inspection I noticed many more “do”s and “should”s.
Although it is easy to remember not to drink coffee or smoke cigarettes, certain words and passages can be harder to interpret —for instance, what does it mean to use resources with “prudence”? It seems that many of our problems come from a lack of prudence when it comes to food—eating without thinking, without pausing and savoring has clearly led many people into health problems, and unsustainable farming practices have contributed to great environmental disasters.
It is certainly plausible that our Heavenly Father would want to protect the Earth as well as our bodies with the Word of Wisdom—they are both His holy temples, both beautiful and precious gifts from the Lord, and our lives depend on the health of both of these things. Also, many of the suggestions in section 89 are vital to the preservation of our Earth and our bodies—it mentions eating “every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof”, which was perhaps a strange idea at the time, because there weren’t many other options, but now seems very relevant, because everything that makes it possible to eat, for instance, a strawberry in December has proven to be quite harmful to the environment. In Germany, there is a very delicious variety of white Asparagus called “Spargel” that is very valued but is only in season for a few weeks of the year. Spargel season is greatly anticipated, especially in my rural community, and as soon as it ripens special meals are prepared in its celebration. Once, I was riding home in the bus one day through the farmland. Our bus driver pulled the bus over in the middle of nowhere, and got out, for he had seen a spargel stand by a farm and wanted to get the first of the season. I loved that, instead of eating it year round and taking it for granted, we waited excitedly for this special food and ate it gratefully when the time came.
It also says there that we must eat meat sparingly, and only in “times of winter or famine”. As a vegetarian, this section resonates with me in particular. It is not healthy for anyone—for our Earth, for us or for the animals—to eat it in great amounts. I know it’s not my place to preach a completely meat-free diet from the pulpit, but I will urge you all to look at these verses, twelve and thirteen, more closely.
Another word that is often overlooked in this section is “thanksgiving”. Out of habit, I always think of the holiday when I see this. I used to dismiss this instinct because it seemed a little silly, but recently I’ve started to consider that this might be intentional—perhaps every meal should be more like Thanksgiving… which isn’t to say that we should have enormous feasts every night, for that would certainly not be prudent. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had more frequent meals that were colorful, heartfelt, and festive, as well as a family gathering during which we can all learn about and build family traditions, and (perhaps most importantly) be grateful for the abundance of food that we can have, and the wonderful flow of the seasons.
Which brings me to the passage to which I was actually assigned, verses eighteen through twenty-one: “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel, and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.”
In this passage, I believe that there are things promised that the Lord will give us, but also many things that we must create ourselves, or that will come as a natural course of our actions—of course we’ll receive “health in our navel and marrow to our bones” if we follow the very health-conscious advice found in the Word of Wisdom, but what does the mention of “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” mean? I believe this is referring to many things, but among them might be the clear head and uncompromised judgment of sobriety and companionship of the spirit, the anticipation for seasonal favorites, the joys of planting a garden, as President Kimball so often advised us to do, or the excitement of searching a farmer’s market for, as verse sixteen puts it “the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground”. I also feel that I have gained many “great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” through wholesome food and drink. This is true of both preparing and partaking. Once, a friend and I participated in a school cooking competition. We were assigned to prepare something involving spinach, and hoping to do something creative we turned to a cookbook called “the Greens Book”. On the last page, there was a recipe for “Spinach Layer Cake”. We decided that it sounded disgusting but that there certainly wouldn’t be any other dessert entries, and went for it. In the end, it tasted surprisingly delicious, was a beautiful color, and won the golden spoon. This experience was a delightful opportunity to stretch our minds and taste buds and try something new.
But one of the greatest treasures I have gained from Word of Wisdom-conscious eating and drinking is time around the family dinner table. At mealtimes, I learn a great deal about politics, religion, literature, geography, music, and many other magical things that could certainly be termed “great treasures of knowledge”. For instance, in my family somebody is chosen every evening to give a prayer, and that person gets the special privilege of choosing the dinner music. It is very interesting and fun to hear the music that is chosen from the different members of my family, and my musical taste has become much more diverse because of it. Perhaps most important is an opportunity to take a moment out of our noisy and hectic schedules to talk and learn about one another. If we manage to pry the iPhones out of our hands and the earbuds out of our ears and talk with our families and friends around a beautiful meal, we will gain close friendships and deep family ties that have truly become “hidden treasures”. I testify that the Word of Wisdom is a beautiful and truthful scripture that our Heavenly Father gave us because he loves us, and that he will keep his promises if we keep ours.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ,
25 July 2009
Pioneer Day Party (aka Pie n' beer party):
*Wade's Grilled and Marinated Elk Steaks
*Cowboy Salsa (that was actually a salad)
*Chocolate Creme, Lemon Meringue, and Butterscotch Banana Pies from Kindra
*Emily's Blueberry Trifle
For next week I'm thinking mostly cold dishes and minimal stove time:
*Mark Bittman's Not-Sesame Noodles
*Salade Nicoise (and then learning how to insert symbols on blog posts so I can spell my beloved French words correctly)
*Grilled Bone-in Pork Chops
*Another Cowboy Salsa
There are Many Versions of Cowboy Salsa out there, but here's mine:
*1 can red beans, rinsed
*frozen corn measured in the red bean can
*1 sweet red pepper, diced
*3 roma tomatoes, diced
*2-3 cloves garlic, grated into mixture
*1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
*1 bunch cilantro, chopped
*1/2 c. fresh lime juice
*1/2 c. olive oil
*salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients but cilantro, lime and oil together. Next add lime juice and oil, salt and pepper, then gently turn in cilantro. Serve with chips or as a salad.
12 July 2009
So I overcooked the cabbage. Instead of par-boiled cabbage, we have boiled cabbage. Instead of wedges, we have leaves. I also added a cup of sharp cheddar, for health reasons, and a misting of bread crumbs, rather than paprika, to the top.
I don't know what the deal is. I'm tired, crabby, and having lady troubles, complete with a huge zit on my chin. That might be why I cried three times during Hannah Montana yesterday and found Billy Ray Cyrus incredibly hot. (Cecily was mortified, especially when I broke out my version of "The Climb" in the car on the way home.)
And I just made Choux Gratin with Cheez Whiz and Campbell's soup. I'll let you know how it tastes. So far, the sauce makes me hopeful, especially the salty, spicy, 7-11 nachos vibe I'm getting from a bowl-lick.
10 July 2009
09 July 2009
At the moment there's a rare lull in the summer fun: Lula invited in-town cousins "The Twins" to our house for a tea-party, over which she is presiding with aplomb. Christian, Eva and Ingrid are headed for Salt Lake to see Bon Iver perform, and I will soon take Lula, Cecy, and Momo to the Creamery for burgers and then to Kiwanis Park so Lula and Cecily can hit a few balls on the tennis courts.
I'm taking a quick blogging break from reading War and Peace--it's really funny and entertaining, did you know? Because the big girls and I are holding an impromtu W and P book club for the summer. Let me know if you wanna join. You'll need to read about 50 pages a day for the next five weeks to keep up. I'm surprised at how fast it's going. I'm not sure I chose the right translation (Constance Garnett, Modern Library Edition). We're discussing every Thursday. The thing I'm really happy about right now is that I have the entire rest of the evening, minus a time out for dinner and bedtime routine, to read a big, absorping novel. Nothing better than that.
No real cooking has occured here for at least a week, but some good eating happened: Green Corn Tamales at McCondo, Potato Rosemary Pizza from Pizzeria 712 (and Amano Chocolate Pudding), Shrimp Dumplings and Grilled Potatoes with lime mayo and srriacha from Rooster, a Veggie Scramble at Guru's and oh yeah, the one thing I did make: a decent, but not perfect, rice pudding. I'm still working on getting a consistency that is pleasing when the pudding is hot or cold, and on getting the right amount of sweetness. I have to confess that I also loved eating KFC at the park in South Fork, right by the river, with the really, really delicious watermelon that mom brought. If you have to eat fast food from a chain, it's hard to beat the Colonel.
Tell me more summer stories. I know there are some good ones out there. Especially from people who are in Trinidad right now, all hot and sweaty.
07 July 2009
24 June 2009
Where do I start? What are five dishes you need to know before you have to start feeding yourself like a big girl? I was thinking Marinara, as that was the first thing I really learned to do on my own (besides cookies, toast, and scrambled eggs.) But what else?
All ablaze, foreshadowing the unsupervised fireworks that took place in the cul-de-sac moments later.
Cake by Mom, prettiness by Eva
Last night I had twenty screaming 11 year-olds at the house for Lula's birthday party. Today I'm lying on the couch an exhausted quivering jelly. I'm all partied out, as you can see from the last few posts. We're hosting a Locust Salon at our house on Saturday night and then that's it. No more entertaining until fall, I swear.
16 June 2009
Aunt Annie's French Bread
(from my Aunt Anne Whitaker Law's cookbook, which I heart)
makes 2 loaves
2 packages dry yeast
1 T. salt
2-1/2 c. very warm water (not too hot or the bread will taste yeasty)
3 T. sugar
5 T. vegetable oil
6 c. unsifted flour
1 egg white
*In large bowl combine 2 c. hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 c. flour.
*Mix well by hand or in bread mixer.
*Stir in proofed or dry yeast, add remaining flour. Dough should be barely sticky. Add more flour if necessary.
*Mix well. Allow dough to rest for ten minutes and stir again. Repeat five times for a total of 50 minutes.
*Turn dough out onto oiled counter. Knead once or twice.
*Divide in two Roll each half into 9x12 rectangle. Starting at long edge, roll losely. Seal edges.
*Place both rolls seam down on one large baking sheet brushed with cornmeal. Gash tops diagonally three times with sharp knife. Brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, cover and rise for 30 min.
*Bake at 400 degress for 25-30 minutes.
15 June 2009
I am not usually one to be moved by sandwiches, but this one was so beautiful I almost cried.
This is a variation on a salad I made a lot last summer. It's super flexible and you can mix up the vegetables, cheeses, and vinaigrette to match what's in your garden and pantry. I can't wait for zucchini season. Note to farmers: let's see a lot of small, sweet zucchini this year!
Grilled Zucchini and Couscous Salad
8 small zucchini
3 cups prepared couscous
3 scallions, thinly sliced, including some greens
1 bunch italian parsley, finely chopped
1 sweet yellow pepper, diced
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. crumbled feta
1/2 c. shaved parmesan
1/2 c. olive oil
1/8 c. red wine vinegar
1 fresh lemon
salt and pepper to taste
*Wash and dry zucchini. Remove stems, then slice in half length-wise. On a medium hot grill, grill zucchini until tender and juicy and not too black on the outside.
*Let zucchini cool, then cut each slice in thirds so you have big juicy chunks of zucchini in the salad.
*Combine vegetables, couscous, and cheeses, salt and pepper, and gently toss.
*Gently toss with oil, then vinegar, then lemon, adjust seasonings and vinaigrette to taste.
Everybody told me that I will have changed, and I think they're right. So here is fair warning:
-I like sparkly water
-I sometimes take action against cold (for instance using sweaters, tights, and sometimes even socks)
-Yes, socks. Though I rarely wear shoes and socks at the same time
-I get lost rarely, and can even travel alone and reach my destination
-I can fit my hair into a bun. All of it.
-I use nail filers more often than clippers
-I am probably twice as tolerant as I once was
-I can build a habit now
-I am a lot blunter, and less passive agressive
I think that last one is going be a problem, so I want to tell all of you that I am probably not trying to be rude if I say something uncouth. The Germans are just not very well acquainted with tact, which I actually started to find better.
You know what else? And everybody warned us about this: I do have problems with English now. I spent the entire Physics class last Thursday trying to remember the word "misanthropic" (making it the most productive physics class I've had yet). But sometimes I mix up "your" and "you're", and I have problems with sentence structure. I might also incorporate German words in English sentences, which I also do when I speak German (with English words)-- It's really embarrasing.
Looking back on this post, I think it is very self-indulgent. As a disclaimer I will say that my mom requested it for posterity purposes.
14 June 2009
13 June 2009
*Dorie Greenspan's Brownies with Walnuts
*Minced Chicken Lettuce Wraps
*Coconut Curry with Tofu and Jasmine Rice
*Zucchini Fritters with Mashed Potatoes (welcome home ingy dinner)
*Homemade Pizza, toppings as yet to be determined, probably using dough from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
12 June 2009
If you've ever found yourself on a Friday night, home alone with little ones while nursing a hot water bottle and popping Midol, letting your six-year-old watch Avatar for the 10th time that day, letting your four-year-old play Starfall over and over again, and then at 8 p.m. realizing no one's had dinner yet, or if you've withdrawn from human contact and descended in to agoraphobia with a laptop standing in for a best friend and can't leave the house to shop, or if you've realized you can only spend seven dollars in the next week on groceries or you'll be living in your mother-in-law's basement with your five children come September, and then your six-year-old starts rummaging through the cupboards saying, "I wish we had soup," and you know it's because she's only eaten goldfish crackers all day and is craving something healthy and warm, this recipe's for you.
On the other hand, if you have beautifully organized crocks of pre-cooked organic beans and brown rice in your fridge ready for a quick little salad or soup in a snap, or if you have blocks of Valrohna chocolate dry-packed in storage in case you need some brownies in a trice and were caught unprepared, look away.
This soup is my answer to Campbell's and other canned soups (which my kids occasionally ask for, but will rarely actually eat). It takes about five minutes to prep and fifteen to cook. It uses cheap, cheap ingredients (look away, Alice Waters) that I almost always have on hand, even when I've hit the dregs of the pantry and my wallet, and uses canned and dry goods, minus the awful throat-closing corn syrup after-taste or soggy, mushy vegetables and pasta of said Campbell's soup.
It's inspired by a caldo, but is vegetarian, and could be gussied up with some oregano or chiles, basil or grated parmesan, but I think tastes great and homey with just the salt, onion and tomato savory-ness.
Starry Pasta Soup
2 t. butter
2 t. olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 small yellow crookneck squash, diced
1/4 c. canned red beans
1/4 c. star pasta
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3 c. water
2 T. heavy cream
salt to taste
*Gently soften onion and garlic over medium heat for two or three minutes.
*Turn heat to medium high and add pasta and squash until a light browning appears.
*Add water, tomato sauce and beans and give it a stir.
*Turn up heat until soup is at a rolling boil.
*Continue at this heat for ten minutes, stirring every minute or two, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. (You can adjust cooking time so squash and pasta have the bite you like, which may be more or less al dente then my timing calls for.)
*Remove from heat, stir in cream, and adjust salt level to taste.
09 June 2009
08 June 2009
04 June 2009
02 June 2009
01 June 2009
There is a big room in the Bundestag (German parliment) building where all of the work gets done. It sits under an enormous glass dome and has a metal eagle (which actually looks more like a chicken-- an appearance of harmlesness was intentional when it was designed because the Germans wanted to keep the eagle but avoid Nazi conotations), which weighs 2 tons or something. We weren't allowed to bring cameras, otherwise I would have taken a picture, because it's all a little hard to explain. In any case, there are seats for the civilians who want to listen (ie us) way above, and we got to watch lots of important things get done. They told us not to get our hopes up about Angie being there, but we all hoped deep in our hearts, and I had promised to "bestell schöne Grüße" (give pretty messages) from my host sister (for whom Angela Merkel is something of a hero) but when we got there and everything got started, we didn't see her. The members of the Bundestag who were there did give a little speech about our program and how proud they were of us and applauded, but it just wasn't the same without our beloved Bundeskanzlerin. But then, as we were all sitting trying to concentrate, guess who came around the corner and sat in her seat??? Angela Merkel! She chewed gum the entire time, which somehow made me really happy.
After this, we were ushered into a big room with 400 other exchange students and several important people (the ambassador from the US, Bob Bishop, Norbert Lammert, some other members of the Bundestag). A few exchange students gave speeches and there was a question and answer session (during which I completely humiliated myself by forgetting every German word I know)and we got a video message by Hilary Clinton (yes, the Hilary Clinton) about how proud she was of us and a letter from Nancy Pelosi (sp?), also telling us she was proud of us. It was all quite exciting, I think I got a copy of the letter and will try to get a copy of the video. After this, we were let go and I walked around Berlin until 10:00 pm. This, of course, was wonderful, we saw all sorts of buildings and memorials and other things that I won't try to describe because I'm trying to keep this shorter than five pages. My day ended with a dance party, where I shared a glass of ginger ale with another Utahn and put my roommate and a few other kids to bed, wishing them pleasant dreams and mild hangovers.
I am coming home in two weeks. We all fully realized this together, but I can still hardly believe it. I have heard that reverse culture shock can be brutal, and I have changed a ton since going-- I wanted to warn everyone because I've heard that it is hard for other people as well. So expect the same old Ingy deep down, but don't be shocked if I don't structure my sentences well anymore or get lost.
I can't wait to see all of you. Bis später.
31 May 2009
26 May 2009
23 May 2009
19 May 2009
17 May 2009
The events in my life have been...
1: Circus Baldoni-- not exactly the Circus McGirkus, but cute. It's run by this family who has been in the business for 8 generations, which I find astounding.
2: Crazy German swimming pool-- my host family decided that we had a free day and wanted to do something in Thüringen. I was disappointed at first because I can swim anywhere and wanted to see, say, a church, but then I realized that there is no better place to observe culture than swimming pools. It reminded me of the ones I'd been to before: In Mexico, which had a secret tunnel and lots of flora, where we had to ride back in the back of a pickup truck (which we flagged down with our thumbs/bikini-clad American girls), or in Turkey in the Hammam (which isn't really a swimming pool but was close enough), where we sat in a huge beautiful old building with a domed ceiling, being scrubbed by stern Turkish ladies and trying not to make eye contact with any of the chaperones (because we were all. naked.), or Seven Peaks, which... well, you all know it already. Anyway, this one was mostly inside. Everybody had to shower before and after swimming, and there was an enormous waterslide which they ingeniously got into the building (well... it's hard to describe. It wasn't exacly in the building... but I promise, it was brilliant). There was a pool for laps and a pool for children (with a whale in it, no less) and a pool for swimming and a salty therapeutic pool that was partially outside and full of jets. Apparently once a month is Naked Day, where everybody swims without a swimsuit. Would that be legal in the United States? I don't think so. Like I said, it is very German.
3: Friends-- Did I already say how I finally made them? Because I did. They are awesome, they like me and I like them. They even call me "unsere kleinen Sonnenschein" (our little sunshine), which makes me really happy. We write lots of notes to each other, because most of them are in a different grade from me.
Is there anything else? I don't believe so. I love you all, every single one, and I will see you soon! Which is a big deal!!!
15 May 2009
11 May 2009
10 May 2009
She reminds me of a story I heard about one the Presidents of the United States and the first lady (but I don't remember which)-- They saw one of the first lady's old boyfriends working in a gas station and the president said "Aren't you glad you married me instead of him?" She replied, "If I had married him, you'd be the one working at a gas station right now and he would be president".
(Okay, I know that wasn't delivered very well, but it was really funny when I heard it, I promise)
In any case, if I had been born to somebody else, I'm sure I would never have achieved anything without her-- I certainly wouldn't be in Europe. Whenever I tell her that I can't do something, she looks at me as if I'm being ridiculous and says, "Ingrid, of course you can do it. Just cut out your first paragraph." (those of you who were fortunate enough to have her as an English teacher will understand this). I am inspired by her good food, by the pragmatism that is very foreign but very impressive to me. I feel blessed to have shared a roof for 16 years with somebody who has such a power over words, who is so full of wisdom. She taught me to wear dresses and that no matter how bad your day is you always have dinner to look forward to. She insisted every night on knowing the highs and lows of our days, a habit which I found irritating at the time but have started emulating in my host family.
Happy mother's day, Thank you mama!!!
05 May 2009
At this point I almost gave up and pulled out an emergency box of dry pasta, but I took a deep breath and kept going. I made really wide, ragged noodles, which I love, and was the reason I wanted to make hand-cut rather than putting them through the Atlas. And just in time, Emily arrived, Emily who is the queen of doughs, pastries, and cakes, and saved my noodles.
So, long story short, the noodles were terrific, but our poor company had to wait a very long time to eat. Next time I'll know to plan a lot more time for the endeavor and to follow Julia Child's dictum: never experiment on company.
Scratch that. I always experiment on company. Company be warned: come prepared to wait.
I used these proportions for the dough:
3 c. flour
1/4-1/2 c. water, poured slowly into the food processor until dough begins to hold together
1 t. salt
*this makes a sticky dough and I had to use generous amounts of flour in the kneading and cutting phases.
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