Archive | May, 2009

The Great Search Term Round Up: Volume 2

31 May

The search terms that made the cut for this month's installment.

The search terms that made the cut for this month's installment.

Here we are, friends, at the end of another month.  Can 2009 be almost half over already?!  Be that as it may, the time has come for me to look at the search terms, and try to address them.  Some I will address with a Straight Face.  With some, my tongue will be firmly planted in my cheek.  And with others, I won’t be able to see to type since my eyes will be rolled Heavenward.

I will take the liberty of phrasing everything in the form of a question.  I can’t help it; I’m a Jeopardy! fan.  As a matter of fact, Miss Jill, Frau and I used to spend weekend nights in college making up whole Jeopardy games.  And then playing them.  Whoever made up the game got to be Alex, of course.  Oh, those crazy college days.  Seems like I’m leaving someone out, since we’d have to have an Alex and three players.  I’m sorry unknown-but-pivotal fourth player.

Anyway, here we go.

May I sprinkle sugar crystals on my croissants before baking? Yes, please do.  Put a wee piece (or not so wee piece) of bittersweet chocolate inside before rolling it up, and you’ll have a pain au chocolat.  Yay!  Incidentally, if you ever end up accidentally making a batch of chocolate seize up and you can’t think of anything else to do with it, keep it and saw off hunks to use in the centers of croissants.  Since the chocolate has seized, it will get kind of soft in the oven, but it won’t ooze out and Make a Mess when you bite into it.  And it will taste just fine.

Do you have any cheesecake friends? Well, I have never met a cheesecake I didn’t like.  As long as there was enough salt in it.  Salt really helps cheesecake.  My friend Ron often sings a song about munching on cheesecake.  Here is a video.  But this isn’t Ron.  This is a muppet.
And then, there was this comedian in the 80s named I-am-drawing-a-blank, but he did this bit where he talked about New York cheesecake– “what?  It’s imported?!”  And then, in a high, little boy voice, he’d say, “Hey, Billy!  Let’s go down to the docks!  The cheesecake boat’s a’comin’!”  And then, he’d pretend to be driving the boat (you know what I mean), and would sing, “Cheesecake boat’s a’comin!  Gonna party tonight!”  And that’s all the cheesecake friends I have.

Is it wrong for a person to eat another person? Yes.  It’s called cannibalism, and there are Rules about Such Things.  Just say no.

How do I make a pressed sandwich? I guess that depends on whether you want a hot pressed sandwich or a cold one.  To make a hot one, like a panini, you can use almost any sort of meat/cheese/veggie fillings, slap them between hearty bread slices (or a split loaf) with the cheese closest to the bread on both sides (to act as glue) and throw it in your swanky panini press or your George Foreman grill.  Or do what I do and heat up both of your cast iron skillets.  Put the sammich in one, and put the other one on top of the sammich to act as the heated press.  If you want a cold pressed sammich, read this.  Or, like Benny, you could just use your iron.  I know I keep mentioning Benny and Joon; I can’t help it.  It’s one of my favorite movies, and it always seems to offer PMAT-Post-Appropriate Illustrations.

What’s the technique for getting cream puffs to rise? First, you have to make sure that your cream puff batter (pâte à choux) is at the right consistency.  It should sort of slowly flow off of the end of your raised beater into a point.  Then, you have to make sure your oven is hot enough to make the moisture in the batter turn to steam quickly, forcing a rise.  I start pâte à choux out at 450F in a conventional oven and at about 425F in a convection oven.  Once puffed and light gold, turn the heat down to about 375F or 350F for convection to help them continue to set up, crisp up and dry out.  They should be a pretty deep golden brown when finished.  If your cream puffs deflate once you take them out of the oven, it’s because the sides aren’t firm enough to hold up the tops.  For small puffs, start at the higher temperature for about 15 minutes, and then reduce the temperature and continue to bake for at least another 15-20 minutes before you even open the oven to check on them.

What are the pastry chef secrets to getting a crusty muffin top? It’s no secret, or maybe it’s an open secret:  to get crusty muffin tops, put some stuff on top that will get crusty when baked.  Apply a decent layer of coarse sugar before baking, or pile on some streusel (with or without nuts), pressing down gently to make sure it holds together and sticks to the muffin.  And remember, bake muffins at a high temperature to get that nicely domed top–start them at 400-425F.  Seriously.

Sorry, Alex.  I can’t ask this in the form of a question, because I have no idea what it means:  April coats fruit.  Anyone?  Does the month really provide little coats to fruit?  I can just see a line of thin-skinned fruits waiting to receive their coats.  Or maybe April is a girl, and she’s coating fruit with….something.  Help me, please.

Is there an emergency substitute for Cool Whip? Hello, this is pastry 911.  What is the nature of your emergency?  I’m out of Cool Whip, and I need to top a pie!  Help me!!! Ma’am, calm down.  I can talk you through this.  Hurry!  Please, hurry!! Do you have your Emergency Cool Whip Substitute box?  Yes!  I’ve never had to use it before!  Oh, please help me!!! Okay, ma’am.  Break the glass with the wee mallet and grab the Sacred Pint of Whipping Cream.  Okay.  I’ve got it.  Oh, it’s cold! Yes, ma’am.  It whips better that way.  Whip it with some sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Oh, it’s getting thicker!  It’s magic! No ma’am.  It’s a foam.  Steady…..steady….is it standing up in peaks?  Uh huh.  Is it….edible? Yes, ma’am.  We recommend it over Cool Whip, actually.  Wow.  I had no idea.  Crisis averted.  Hey, this stuff isn’t half bad! We’re here to help.  Don’t forget to restock your ECWS box.

What can I do with duck lard? Thank you, Lord, for people who ask such questions.  First, lard comes from pigs, so not so much on the duck lard.  But, use duck fat in savory pastry, or be really over the top and fry your french fries in it.  Now I’m thinking–duck and fruit is a lovely combination.  Try making a pie crust with duck fat and use it for a sour cherry pie.  Sweet!

How do I make holes in pie crust? Oh, dear.  I assume they mean for venting steam.  Um, cut some holes. O:je soudo udi couehe.  Oh, sorry.  My eyes rolled Heavenward for a moment.  I’m okay now; thanks for asking.

Can I use spray whipped cream instead of regular whipped cream for stuff? I wouldn’t.  I don’t mind an occasional spray of Reddi Wip on a bowl of fruit or a piece of pie (although it does contain corn syrup, artificial flavor [um, it’s cream–what up?] and carrageenan [for body, I assume]), but it’s made with light cream, so if you try and fold it into something else, say melted chocolate for making mousse or something, it will break down into a liquid-y mess.

How do I make ground graham cracker crumbs? Weioj diujo ohghb vii o;auwo.  Iowej?!  Translation:  take graham crackers.  Grind them up.

And that’s it for this month’s round up.  I have a Sunday Supper post lurking in the wings.  I might get to it today, but the Beloved and I have a date with the New Spock and Kirk, et al, so it might not happen until tomorrow.

Quoth the Beloved: Never Again! We Shall See….

26 May
Here it is.  That's my flash in the window, not Glinda the Good Witch of the North, although I got a little excited when I first looked at the picture.

Here it is. That's my flash in the window, not Glinda the Good Witch of the North, although I got a little excited when I first looked at the picture.

First, just in case you were starting to think that I eat nothing but healthy food, I was just squirting leftover cream cheese frosting from a pastry bag directly into my mouth.  And I loved it.  Also, I seriously considered purchasing some Philadelphia Brand Cheesecake Filling to eat with some jam.  Sick, huh?  I resisted.  Barely.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the wedding cake, shall we?  Here’s the rundown:  the top two tiers were yellow butter cake with chocolate cinnamon Italian buttercream filling.  The two bottom tiers were chocolate cake with raspberry mousse filling.  The whole deal was iced in the afore-mentioned cream cheese frosting.   I had to wash dishes about 47 times, mop the floor three times and drive to the cake supply store three times to get stuff.   One time, I stopped moving for a moment, and my foot stuck to the floor.  There was some cursing and a bit of sweating.  In the end, it all turned out beautifully, and the bride and groom seemed very happy, so that’s all good.  Although I’ve done wedding cakes before, each one has its own challenges.  Here’s some stuff I learned along the way.  Some stuff is stuff that you should do, too.  Some stuff is stuff that you Should Not Do.  I’m here to help, even if I have to explain that I am Not Perfect.

  1. Cake layers stick to shiny cake boards and need to be pried off with a spatula.  This is a Bad Thing.  Use dull white cardboard.  Larger, heavier layers are harder to move than smaller, lighter layers.  Just so you know.
  2. Save yourself the headache and hours of Math and just use the Guide to Making Large Cakes (or something like that) at the end of The Cake Bible.  Rose has done all the math and has Handy Charts for you.  In my edition, page 490 is critical, although she says several times that the chart is on page 483.  It’s not.
  3. Melting chocolate in a stoneware dinner plate over a pan of simmering vanilla simple syrup works quite well.
  4. Do not bother with cake saws.  Seriously, a long piece of dental floss will torte your layers for you.  I wasn’t sure I could cut an even layer in a 15″ cake with an 8″ knife, so I tried the old dental floss trick.  Worked like a charm–layers came out Even Steven.
  5. Get a 4 layer 15″ tier that weighs about 25 pounds onto a stout board as quickly as possible.   One cardboard cake square isn’t going to keep that cake from cracking a little when you pick it up.  Even if you are Very, Very Careful.  I’m just saying, icing makes Excellent Camouflage.  Excellent.
  6. Do not try to make a Big Ass Wedding Cake if you have a side by side fridge.  Fortunately, we have one of those freezer on the bottom jobbies.  Still, we had to take out the produce drawers, two shelves and two door bins to make sure everyone Fit.
  7. To turn your small station wagon into a Rolling Cooler, layer towels in the back, and then put some of that non-skid rug padding down on top.  Put 20 pounds of ice on either side of the back, and put the cold cakes in the center.  Pull the cover over the back, fold down one seat, aim the AC back there on full blast and on recirculation.  Drive with a beach towel wrapped around you so you don’t freeze to death.  The cake stayed nice and cold for the whole drive.  But, see “8.”
  8. Do not agree to transport a BAWC more than a few miles unless you can be assured by God Himself that it will be overcast and cool that day.  Your AC will not help you if the sun is beating down mercilessly on your creation.   We drove our BAWC three hours to outside-of-Charlotte from outside-of-Raleigh.  Roads seem bumpier when there’s a cake in the back.
  9. If you’re going to put real ribbon around your cake layers, and the cake isn’t covered with fondant, do yourself a favor and attach strips of parchment the same width as the ribbon around the base of the cake.  This will create a Barrier to Fat, and your ribbon will stay beautiful instead of getting all greasy and sad.
  10. If you get dressed for the wedding and stop at a Bad Place to grab a quick bite because you’re starving, the universe will Take Note and make it rain on your head so your hair looks awful.  Lesson learned.  Does anyone have any hair product I can borrow?
  11. Try as hard as you can to make each tier as level as possible.  Then, make sure you cut your dowels accurately so you can keep things level.  Also, check that the table is level.
  12. If the caterer lady says she doesn’t need a tall container of hot water to clean the knife after each cut, and then she proceeds to use the Ceremonial Cate Cutter Thing that is the bride and groom’s keepsake, just take charge and tell her to get a real knife and the hot water.  Sadly, I did not take charge.  I was too stunned.  The result? Well, let’s just say that Italian Buttercream that has Sat Out for a few hours turns into a kind of crazy lubricant upon which cake layers just slide and slide.  Lovely.   Honestly, if you have to cut a square BAWC, use a very thin wire or Ye Olde Dental Floss.  No drag; no mess.

There might be more stuff that I learned.  Prolly there is, so I’ll update if I think of anything else.

If you need to make a smooth and intensely raspberry-y mousse, here’s how you do it:

Smooth and Intensely Raspberry-y Mousse

  • Frozen raspberries
  • salt
  • sugar
  • lemon juice
  • powdered gelatin
  • cold water
  • heavy cream
  • vanilla

Put the frozen raspberries in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until all melty and soft.  Mash the berries a little, measure the depth of the mashed raspberries, and cook over medium heat to reduce by about 1/4.

Pour the cooked berry puree into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl of some sort.  Mash all of the solids through, scraping the bottom of the sieve periodically.  When you’re done, you should just have a bunch of wet red seeds left in the sieve.

Season with a little salt and lemon juice.  Sweeten to taste, but leave it on the tart side.  Chill the raspberry puree until Thoroughly Cold.

For each cup of heavy cream you have, sprinkle 1/2-3/4 teaspoons of powdered gelatin over 1 TBSP cold water.  Let gelatin bloom for about five minutes, and then melt over low heat so the gelatin isn’t gritty.

Whip the heavy cream with a wee splash of vanilla and a little sugar (to taste).  Once the cream is at soft peaks, pour in the gelatin and whip really well to incorporate.  When the cream is at medium-ish peaks, pour in the chilled puree, whipping all the time, until you are pleased with the color and the flavor.  I figure I used about 1/3 cup of puree for every cup of cream I used.

Use this as a filling for a pie, for cake or just spoon it into pretty bowls and chill it.  Serve with some whole raspberries and maybe some chocolate shavings.

Meet Two Gallons of cream cheese frosting.  And that's not even all of it.

Meet Two Gallons of cream cheese frosting. And that's not even all of it.

This worked beautifully for melting chocolate.  Yay.

This worked beautifully for melting chocolate. Yay.

Crumb coats on the top two layers.  Notice the fridge still has all of its shelves and drawers.  Not for much longer, though.

Crumb coats on the top two layers. Notice the fridge still has all of its shelves and drawers. Not for much longer, though.

What?  You still have all your drawers and shelves?  Well, we can fix that.

What? You still have all your drawers and shelves? Well, we can fix that. Oh, and between the layers: dowel ends poking out by 1/8", a parchment square and a cardboard square. It makes it so much easier to unstack those suckers, even when they're doweled together.

Take that, Amana refrigerator.  Note the beverage there:  Mike's Harder Cranberry Lemonade.  My preferred girly drink of choice is Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade, but The Beloved felt that I should step up to Something Harder during the Cake Episode.

Take that, Amana refrigerator. Note the beverage there: Mike's Harder Cranberry Lemonade. My preferred girly drink of choice is Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade, but The Beloved felt that I should step up to Something Harder during the Cake Episode.

Oh, and about that title up there:  The Beloved said that if I ever said “yes” to a wedding cake again that he would Beat Me Soundly.*  Not because he enjoys it, but because It Is Necessary.  We shall see.  While I do admit to being a bit Snippy with him while standing in the Sticky Kitchen, I am pretty nimble and should be able to stay out of arm’s reach should a cake opportunity again present itself.

So, that’s it.  I have one more Harder Cranberry Lemonade, and it just now turned 5 o’clock.  So I’ll be out on the porch.

Oh, before I go, I wanted to give you a quick review of how the dueling mixers did.  My KA has nylon gearing (I got it before they wisely went back to metal gearing), so it’s more quiet than the Viking.  The Viking is a first generation, so there may have been some tweaks since I got it.  With that in mind, here we go:

  1. The Kitchen Aid did a better job of thoroughly mixing, even in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. The Viking, with its tilt-up head, is WAY easier to add ingredients to and scrape the bowl, beater and such.
  3. The Viking holds more–7 quarts compared to the KA’s 5 (5.5?) quarts.
  4. The Kitchen Aid is heavier, which I like.
  5. The Viking attachments don’t lock in as well as the KA attachments, so a few times the beater dropped out (usually after I’d scraped it and shoved it around a bit).
  6. The Viking mixes more quickly, even on low speed.  It also goes up to 12 (twelve!!).  And that’s one more than 11.

If I were comparing apples to apples, I could Declare a Winner, but since the gearing is different and the Viking is first generation, I have to declare a sort of tie, but I still think I’d choose the Viking, because I love the sound it makes. When you get to 12 (twelve!!) it sounds like a jet engine.  Yay!

*No need for alarm.  The Beloved is all talk when it comes to beatings.

Shameless Wedding Cake Teaser

22 May
Just look at all that potential energy.

Welcome to Appliancedome. Two mixers enter. One mixer leaves.

Here it is.  The calm before the storm.  And here are the players:

See that container of cocoa powder hiding in the back?  I'll be going through TWO of those guys.

See that container of cocoa powder hiding in the back? I'll be going through TWO of those guys. Oh, the onions and garlic aren't actually playing a part in this production. They're just being supportive. Thanks, guys.

I decided to sub one pound of shortening for one pound of butter, just to keep things from getting out-of-hand melty should Something Traumatic occur.

I decided to sub one pound of shortening for one pound of butter, just to keep things from getting out-of-hand melty should Something Traumatic occur.

So, it begins.

Oh, and one last shot, in honor of my American Idol and my best-friend-I’ve-never-met, Linda.  I had toyed with the notion of purchasing and applying black nail polish in honor of The Glambert, but Linda told me I should just use chocolate.  Here’s the compromise:  a dark brown nail polish called Hot for Chocolate.  Besides, Adam is a Winter, and I’m more of a Spring.

Don't worry.  I'll take it off before the baking starts.  Nail polish in the kitchen is sacreligious.  And kind of gross.

Don't worry. I'll take it off before the baking starts. Nail polish in the kitchen is sacreligious. And kind of gross.

And now, I leave you to bake and bake and bake.  I’ll post all about Wedding Cake Wonders (hopefully) on Tuesday.  Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone.  And here, listen to my Adam.  Here is the magic of Glambert:  my 75 year old mother and I will be attending the American Idol concert in August in Charlotte because we both think he’s dreamy.

P & G Says Pringles “Not Found In Nature.” Shocking.

20 May

Friends, check the sky for frogs raining from above.  Does the air outside your window smell of brimstone?  Are dogs and cats sleeping together?  Is the river that meanders through the center of your town a Suspicious Shade of Red?  Signs of the end times, people.  Signs of the end times.  And I just heard another sign on the radio today.  I know, I know.  I’m supposed to be writing about Pasty and Such, but this just Will Not Stand.  You’ll be on my side once you know what I know.

Ahem:  the most recent Sign of the End Times:  Proctor and Gamble says that their Pringles are not Made From Potatoes.  Huh?  Here, please check this out.  And, for those of you who don’t like to Click on Links, here are the highlights, all quoted from the article from the BBC News.  Never mind that Pringles used to be marketed as “Newfangled Potato Chips.”  I remember; I’m just that old.  But now:

“[Proctor & Gamble] had insisted that their best-selling product was not similar to potato crisps, because of their “mouth melt” taste, “uniform colour” and “regular shape” which “is not found in nature”.    Do you see that, people?  The manufacturer is saying that their “food” is Not Found In Nature.    And they’re saying this, not because they don’t want us to eat their Disturbing Product, but because they don’t want to pay a tax.  See:

An Actual Judge ruled that Pringles “are not potato crisps.  Their packaging, “unnatural shape” and the fact that the potato content is less than 50% helped Mr Justice Warren make his crunch decision.  As a result, Pringles, in all flavours are free from Value Added Tax (VAT).

Tell me that food manufacturers aren’t just doing it for the money and do not care One Whit for our Health and Wellbeing.  Oh, and go to the Pringles site to see what they’re saying to the consumers.  I see nothing about Pringles “not being found in nature,” or “more akin to a cake or a biscuit made of dough.”

Well, that’s all I have to say about that.  Next post will be all about the wedding cake I’ll be making over the next couple of days.  Promise.  Until then, make sure you’re wearing your Frog Repellent, and try to keep Fido away from Fifi.

The Homogenization of American Food

18 May

Well, friends, my parents came to visit us at The New House this weekend.  We had a lovely visit, but a comment that my dad made made me sit up and Take Notice and scribble a note to myself to Write About It.  At breakfast Saturday morning, he mentioned that he had heard an interesting piece on NPR about national food chains.  They spoke with some CEOs of large (soulless) chains, and they were bragging (my word) about how, if you order a Domino’s Pepperoni Pizza, it would taste the same whether you called them up in Carmel or Connecticut or Columbia.  My dad was impressed.  I was Dismayed.

I think I must blame the folks over at McDonald’s.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure they pioneered the idea of Manifest Destiny Taste Branding.  I just made up that term, but that’s what they do:  you can tell a McDonald’s burger blindfolded, from sea to shining sea, because they all taste the same.  Once the interstate highway system had folks zooming from coast to coast in hours rather than days or weeks, large chains swooped in and capitalized on Americans’ need to have things Stay the Same, even when their view out the window was radically different.  How sad–we could take to the road in our cars that had beds built in and go See the Country, but somehow, we wanted some aspects of our lives to stay the same, even on the road.  And it wasn’t enough to just bring some pictures of the old homestead with us on the road.  Oh, no, we couldn’t just Dream of Home while munching away on a Local Specialty.  We wanted our food to Stay the Same.  No matter Where. We. Went.

I’m a little hazy on the history, so I’m not sure if Americans demanded it and The Food Machine gave us what we wanted, or if The Food Machine made us believe that that’s what we wanted and shoved it down our throats.  Regardless, lots of Mom & Pop type restaurants were shuttered for good as the Interstates diverted traffic from erstwhile roadside burgs that made their livlihoods on the stomachs of hungry travellers.  I know.  I’ve seen Cars.

That’s why The Beloved and I make it a point to Seek Out local eateries wherever we live or visit or just pass by.  We can no longer bring ourselves to eat at The Usual Suspects along the highway; it is worth it to us to drive a few miles “our of our way” to sample food that tastes good and is place-specific.  Aside from the thought of the enormous carbon footprint of fast food restaurants, and despite the convenience and the advertising and the Catchy Jingles, we just can no longer justify spending our pennies to perpetuate the Death of Local Food.  When Money is the driving factor, food ceases to be something that sustains us.  It just becomes another Product to be manufactured and marketed.  There is no love at a fast food restaurant, and we all know that food made with love from real ingredients by real cooks is the only real food there is–the only kind that can sustain us.  The rest is just empty calories.

We’re shopping at our local farmer’s market as much as we can.  We’re frequenting local restaurants, spending a bit more to keep the money in our local economy and to know that the folks who’re making our food really care, and we sleep better at night.

Granted, The Beloved and I are just two people–no kids to feed–so it’s a bit easier for us to spend a couple of extra dollars a week.  After all, we have no daughter who needs a prom dress; no son who needs new cleats.  We do cut corners elsewhere, though.  I rarely buy new clothes, and my shoe collection would make most woman rush to get our their magnifying glass.  This is partly because I pretty much hate to shop, but it’s mostly because I think it’s more important to support local business and local food than it is to have this year’s gladiator sandal in teal ostrich skin.

When it comes to baking, it’s a little more difficult to buy locally-sourced ingredients.  Sugar?  Not so much a North Carolina specialty.  Eggs–I can get them at the farmer’s market.  Ditto milk.  But I will tell you, I have to make a Huge Wedding Cake for this coming weekend, and I shan’t be purchasing Organic Anything to make it.  A girl’s got to make a profit.  (I know that’s a wimpy double standard, but I’d rather tell you the Ugly Truth than make you believe I am St. Jenni of Organica).  Flour?  Honestly, I’ll have to do some research.  I think in this part of the country that it’ll be much easier to find local corn flour, but I’ll see what I can dig up and let you know.

So, that’s it for now.  Just had to get that off my chest.  So, what are your thoughts on buying and/or eating local?

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. She’s Trying to Kill You.

12 May

What keeps it crunchy, even in milk?  *Semi-permeable food varnish.  That’s what.

So, yesterday (I think it was yesterday) sometime in between the painting and the contemplating of The Vast Expanse of Yard, I wandered up to the computer to take a wee break.  The Yahoo people were featuring a recipe for a Cap’n Crunch Shake.  Suppressing a shudder, I went to investigate.  Apparently there is a woman out in the Hinternet that goes by the moniker “Hungry Girl.”  She is Very Powerful, and fat free snack manufacturing folks grovel at her feet in the hopes that she will Smile Upon their, let’s call it Food, so that they can sell A Bunch.

First, let me say that I’m sure that Hungry Girl is a lovely person.  She’s obviously doing something right, and I’m sure her mother loves her very much.  But, friends, I have some Things to Say.

Her most recent cookbook is about making food with fewer than 200 calories.  And that’s where the Cap’n Crunch Shake comes in.  I’m not going to write down the entire ingredient list here, because I’m afraid my keyboard wouldn’t recognize me.  Then, it might Cease to Work until I show it ID.  My wallet is downstairs–we have stairs now–and I’m so sore from painting and such that it might as well be in Guam.  So, if you’ d like to see what’s in this, this….ahem, Food, go on over to her site and check it out:  HG’s Cravin’ Cap’n Crunch Shake

What I want to look at is the ingredients for the ingredients.  I won’t go through all of them, because I’m still painting, but here you go (courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia):

Calcium Carbonate is found naturally in chalk.  Hooray.  And you know what else?  You could just grind up some sea shells and you’d be ready to go.

Polydextrose is made out of sugar and some other stuff, and it’s used as a sugar, fat and/or starch replacement.

Yellows #5 and 6.  This is in the Cap’n Crunch.  Yum.  Guess what else is in Cap’n Crunch?  BHT.  BHT is edible, supposedly, but it’s also used in embalming fluid, so you won’t need to be embalmed when you die if you eat enough Cap’n Crunch.  Eat up, y’all.

Sucralose This is Splenda.  You know, “Looks like sugar; tastes like sugar, but Psych!  It’s not sugar.” It’s all technical and stuff, but it’s chlorinated.  Weird, huh.  And not food, as far as I’m concerned.

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate This is some highly processed stuff, and it’s used as an emulsifier

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil I shan’t comment on this one

Artificial Flavors Ditto

So, why am I so opposed to this whole Cap’n Crunch shake thing?  (And here, I’m having a flashback to Monty Python, and the Wizard Tim talking about the deadly bunny:  “Look at the bones, man!”)  Look at the ingredients, people.  And here’s the thing.  I can’t give you a fat free, sugar free alternative to a milk shake and still be able to sleep at night.  I mean, if you want a milk shake, make one at home with ice cream that contains ingredients that only have one or two syllables:  milk, cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla.  [Update:  Jamie rightly pointed out that vanilla is a three syllable word.  Thanks, Jamie.  I blame the stairs.] Add some milk.  Put it in a blender.  If you’re concerned about calories, only make a little bit, or share it.  Then go take a walk.  Don’t eat Cap’n Crunch.  Or just eat it infrequently, at least.  And, whatever you do, please don’t mix up a whole bunch of highly processed chemistry projects together in a blender and then drink it.  Shudder.

That’s really all I have to say about that.  Again, I’m sure HG means well, I just think the advice is misguided.  And maybe she isn’t really trying to kill you, but just be careful, because you Never Can Tell.  Besides, Joon is the one who puts Cap’n Crunch in a blender with milk and peanut butter and drinks it for breakfast and then goes outside wearing a snorkel mask so she can direct traffic with a ping pong paddle.  See,  Cap’n Crunch shakes are for schizophrenics, not for well-adjusted people like you.  (See 3:11 and then 5:56 for The Evidence)

*Maybe not.  I just like saying it, ’cause of Christmas Vacation.

Bits and Pieces from The New Homestead

8 May
So, here's the new place!  We are In Love!

So, here's the new place! We are In Love!

Hi there.  I’m back!  I have missed posting, but I have been well behaved and have been getting the house in order.  And then, The Beloved directed me to “post to the blog” today.  And, being a Dutiful Wife, I could not say no, so here I am.  First of all, thank you so much to all of you who’ve left comments and sent emails saying “good luck with the move,” and offering to wipe my brow should I actually Break a Sweat.  I really appreciate all the support; it means a lot to me, Friends.

So, here’s a picture of the house.  For those of you who’d like to see more, I have set up a lovely Set of Photos for you to look at.  I didn’t post them all here, first because there are a billion (an approximation, you understand), and second because not everyone is interested in seeing pictures of the new house.  You’re welcome.

First, I must tell you about Kenny.  Kenny works for TWC, and as such, is a Minion of Satan.  Here’s what happened:

The lovely Dish Network man came to our house last Friday morning around 10am.  He looked through some crazy Geordi La Forge-looking glasses/binocular thingies and determined that The Dish needed to go in front of the house.  The HOA would be Very Upset about this, so he drove back to the office to pick up the Special Dish that gets mounted on a tripod on the roof so he could mount it on the back of the house.  He said most people don’t want to mess with putting it up, because it’s a Pain in the Ass, but he wouldn’t want to have a satellite dish hanging off the front of his house, so he wouldn’t let us have one hanging off the front of our house, either.  How is that for service?!  Very impressive.  So, he came back and hooked us all up and taught me how to pause live television.  I am positively Drunk with Power.

Anyway, after the Nice and Very Useful man (whose name I cannot recall.  Sorry, nice man) left, I was waiting on a Minion of Satan, dispatched by the Goddess Patricia, to come and install our Earthlink high speed Hinternet.  He was supposed to arrive between 1pm and 3pm.  At 2:40pm, a neighbor Hailed Us from the Street, and we wandered down to say howdy.  We talked to him for about ten minutes, and then went back up to the house.  I heard the tell-tale beep of the cell phone alerting me to a message.  It was from Satan herself (it was a woman’s voice) saying that our TWC technician had attempted to call us several times and now we would have to reschedule for a Later Date.  The Beloved sank to his knees, screaming heavenward, arms raised in a Vee, “NNNNnnnnnoooooooooooo!!!”  and, “DDDDDiiiiiiieeeeee, Time Warner, DDDDDiiiiiieeeeee!!!!!”  It was heart wrenching.  I called Satan and Spoke Sternly to her (I am Very Cheeky when I’m sweaty) stating that the Goddess Patricia would be Hearing from Me if they didn’t send their minion out today.  Satan apologized (I think because somehow she knew that I wield the power to Pause Live Television) and said that The Minion would be out, but he was running late.

The Goddess Patricia called at 3:23pm, sounding very tired and sad.  She said, “They haven’t come yet?” and I ‘splained that the Minion was Running Late but would be here.  At about 5:20pm, I called Satan and asked when the minion would arrive, since we were Tired and Sweaty and Cranky.  Satan advised Patience, and the Minion showed up at 5:50pm.  The Minion, Kenny, had an Apprentice Minion in tow.  Poor Abdul.  Anyway, Minion Kenny fumbled about and got us our Hinternet in about an hour.  Then, he left, snapping his fingers and barking at Abdul to Come On.  Away they went.  Little did we know then that they had left behind nothing but Ashes and Smoldering Ruin.

Fast forward to Saturday evening at 8:55pm.  The Beloved and Friend Scott had made two trips from the old house to the new, lugging Very Heavy Things up eight-plus-sixteen steps.  I had been feverishly pointing out Where Things Go all day long.  We were both hot and sweaty and exhausted and sad.  We went up to watch television, looking forward to an hour or so of Being Vegetables and possibly Pausing Live Television, just for fun.  I turned on the television.  Nothing.  I called the people at Dish Network and talked to a Nice Lady for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES as she tried in vain to help me establish connection.  Is it cloudy? It’s dark; I don’t think so.  Is the box plugged in. Uh-huh.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience. It’s not you, but the last thing I want to be doing this evening is talking to you.  We just want to watch TV.  We will send out a helper on Tuesday morning. I hung up and cried and cried.  Not so much because of the whole TV thing.  Just because I was exhausted.  That phone call was the cherry on the cake of our hot, sweaty day.

In the light of Sunday morning, The Beloved said, “I wonder if Kenny messed up our television.”  He did not say Messed Up, though.  We use Salty Language at home.  I cursed Kenny soundly and called our Dish friends, asking them if it were possible that Kenny could have Messed Up our Television.  She said that it was quite likely.  Great.  I spent the next couple of days listening to NPR–a quite nice way to spend days, actually–and taking things Out of Boxes.  I consoled myself with the fact that the Dish folks would be here on Tuesday morning so I wouldn’t have to miss American Idol.  I know, I’m sorry, but I’m addicted.  Go Adam.  Anyway, another Nice and Very Useful Dish guy came.  I told him that Kenny probably Messed Up the Television, and then I went and got the Goddess Patricia on the Horn.  I told her the Sad, Sad Tale, and she sighed a sigh that rose up from the bottom of her soul.  She told me to call her back after the Dish Guy left.

Then, Dish Guy, who I have decided is now a Superhero named Satellite Man (Save us, Satellite Man!!), came and told me that everything was fixed.  Get this–he even made sure that we had Hinternet as well as TV by Fixing Kenny’s Mistake with his Magical Powers.  Apparently, Kenny used a splitter and hooked it up to….nothing!  Hooray for Kenny.   After Satellite Man  left, I called back Goddess Patricia and told her that all was well and to please School Kenny on the Use of Splitters.  She said that she had already spoken to Kenny and would be calling him back after we got off the phone.  She also told me that she would reach into her Magical Purse and pay for any charge the Dish Folks wanted to charge us.

So, that’s that.  We have Hinternet.  We have television.  I can Pause Live Television, and all is well with the world.  And Adam rocked Idol on Tueday evening.  On Channel Six Thousand, Four Hundred, Sixty-Eight. For real.  Oh, and I bet that Kenny won’t be able to sit down for awhile.

We went to our new grocery store the other day, and they were selling a Thing that Gave Me Pause.  I will now tell you about it, so that you, too, will pause and scratch your head and wonder “Why?!” along with me:

This Thing is called AquaJuice, and the Welch’s people make it.  According to the accompanying Propaganda, it is Awesome because it contains no HFCS, no added sugar, has only 80 calories, has 20% of the USRDA of Vitamin C, and equals one full serving of fruit.   But here’s the Really Interesting Thing about this:  it is just watered down juice!  You know how I know this?  It says so on the bottle. “All natural fruit juice and water with added Vitamin C.”   Impressive scam you’ve got going on there, Welch’s Folks. You guys are charging almost as much for Watery Juice as for your Regular juice.  Ain’t marketing grand?

And that’s all I have time for, right now.  I have to tape off the bathroom so I can make the Pepto Bismol pink space into a Soothing Blue and Slate space.  Hopefully, next week I’ll get back to my Usual Schedule.

%d bloggers like this: