Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pretty sure that doesn't work anymore.

So I was at home last week for the Christmas holiday and I was set to work in the kitchen making baked goods galore (I think I made 4 dozen Christmas cookies, a pan of chocolate chip cookie bars which were really good, I'll put the recipe below, and a gluten free cheesecake). I was looking for the baking powder and my mom supplied me with a tin that looked like she may have picked it up at the antique mall instead of the grocery store.

"What is this?" I asked her
"I thought you wanted Baking Powder" she answered
"I'm pretty sure this is older than I am," I said, looking around the tin for a "use by" date. I didn't find the use by date (because it was made before those were popular), but I did find the "packaged on" date. December 1976. Yep. The same age as my 33 year old sister.

The thing that I think is more impressive/disturbing than my mom being unable to use a small tin of baking powder in 33 YEARS is the fact that this tin has moved with her through 3 states (Illinois, Missouri, to Virginia) and at least 4 houses. Maybe 5. Think about that the next time you're moving and you need to decide what to keep and what to throw away...maybe the baking powder can stay behind. I'm pretty sure they're going to have baking powder at the grocery store in the town to which you're moving. I'm also pretty sure they're going to have it 33 years in the future.

That said, I am my mother's daughter, proven by the medicine I found from 2006 in my medicine basket yesterday...which has moved with me from Charlottesville, back to DC, then to my apartment in downtown Columbus, and finally out to my apartment in the 'burbs. Glass houses, stones, etc.

Oh, and for the recipe of these cookie bars -- they end up basically just tasting like soft cookie dough:
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 8 crackers crushed up)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (3 1/2 ounces) flaked coconut, or about 1 1/3 cups (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt butter in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over melted butter; press down to make a crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Top evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before cutting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


"When her friends began to get engaged, instead of feeling jealous or antsy to do the same, Celia realized something: there was a very real possibility that no one was coming to save her. She would have to make her own plan. If she wanted to someday leave her job and write books, then she'd have to write books to do it, not wait around for some hedge fund guy to finance her fantasies. When she felt ready to have kids, she wanted to have them, regardless of whether or not she had found lasting love.

It was hard for girls like Kayla and Sally to understand this -- Celia got the sense that they thought she was just putting on a brave face to mask her disappointment and fear of being alone. But what scared her far more than loneliness was the thought of waking up one day and realizing that she had attached herself to the wrong person, out of fear or pressure or God knows what. As a result, she had decided to view men as fun and nothing more, at least for now."
from Commencement

"There are kinds of human problems which really do seem, as our tidy expressions would have it, to "come to a head" and "demand to be dealt with." But there are also problems, often just as serious, which come to nothing that we can recognize or openly deal with. Some long-lived, insidious problems simply slip us off to one side of ourselves. Some gently rob us of just enough energy or faith so that days which once took place on a horizontal plane become an endless series of uphill slogs. And some -- like high water working year after year at the roots of a riverside tree -- quietly undercut our trust or our hope, our sense of place, or of humor, our ability to empathize, or to feel enthused, and we don't see impending danger, we don't feel the damage at all, till one day, to our amazement, we find ourselves crashing to the ground.

Peter had one of those kinds of problems."
from The Brothers K