Big Head Todd & the Monsters
The Black Crowes
Toad the Wet Sprocket
[I have a wonderful new college-era mix CD from Matt.]
"It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating," said the Queen presently. "What would you like best to eat?"
"Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty," said Edmund.
The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle onto the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very center and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable.
~C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
I've never been good at telling jokes, and when jokes are told around me, I am often the last person to get it. Always. I do, however, have a good sense of humor with myself. For example, I thought it was the funniest thing in the world to edit in a clip from "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction when I was choosing the music for my senior class film for a close-up shot of my friend who was involved in an attempted robbery of...library books...from the Kent State Library our senior year of high school, right around senior paper time in AP English. I am certain that no one got this, with the possible exception of my friend, who did not find it particularly humorous at the time. If you're going to steal library books, though, you have to be prepared for a little ribbing from your equally nerdy friend. In college, one of my favorite memories was when I helped my friend Micah get dressed up as Waldo on Halloween—then Matt and I and a few others went uptown and shouted "Where's Waldo?" for an hour as he walked 50 yards ahead of us. (He was an amazingly good look-alike for Waldo, poor guy.) To me=funniest thing in the world. To everyone else=eh. Not so much the funniest thing in the world, though worthy of a little smile sometimes.
So tonight, I am hosting book club. We are discussing the classic Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I thought it would be funny to serve Turkish Delight. So I looked it up online, found a do-able recipe, and made it. To me=funniest thing in the world. To everyone else=well, based on my track record with humor, maybe not so much. We'll see.
Turkish Delight is really, really yummy. Here is the recipe. This is the unenchanted version.
rind of 1 medium lemon
rind of 1 medium orange
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups caster sugar (superfine)*
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp gelatin
1 cup water, extra
2/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 drops orange or rose flower water**
red food coloring
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Line base and sides of a 6 3/4 inch square cake tin with foil (I used a 7 inch-ish pan, which is fine), leaving edges overhanging. Brush foil with oil or melted butter.
Remove pith from rinds.
Combine rinds, juices, sugar, and water (here is where I made a guess--I put a cup in, which turned out OK, but the water directions were a little vague in this recipe, I thought. Hmph.) in a large heavy-based pan. Stir over medium heat without boiling until sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to boil, reduce heat slightly, and boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Temperature should reach 221ºF. (Use a candy thermometer).
Combine gelatin with 1/2 cup water in bowl. Stir over hot water until dissolved. In separate bowl, combine cornstarch with remaining water, mix until smooth.
Add gelatin and cornstarch mixtures to sugar syrup. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and clears. (At 6000+ feet altitude, this took about 15 minutes or so.) Stir in flower water and a few drops red food coloring. Strain mixture into cake tin, refrigerate overnight. When set peel off foil and cut into squares. Roll in powdered sugar.
[The recipe didn't say this, but I've been keeping my finished batch in the fridge. It tastes better cold. Oink oink.]
*at my grocery store, the sugar goes straight from granulated to ULTRA fine. No SUPER fine. My Turkish Delight is ULTRA good now, instead of just SUPER good.
**there is no orange water or rose flower water in my Turkish Delight. Mostly, because I do not know what this is, and the only person working the floor at King Sooper's on Tuesday night was a very deferential Asian man who did not appear to speak much English. (He did not appear to be Turkish, so I decided not to try and puzzle out with him about where to find this oddball ingredient.) The Turkish Delight did not seem to suffer because of it. Oink oink.
1.) Tilex™ works a lot better if you actually follow the instructions and let it sit for a long time before wiping it off.
2.) Likewise with vacuum cleaners: if you actually clean out the filter according to the directions, it works like new.
3.) If you chew gum while cutting onions, you won't cry. Tootsie Rolls, however, do not work as a substitution.
• light fixtures that have pieces magically come unscrewed and fall into the sink, breaking dinner dishes not yet into the dishwasher
• congestion in small children
• missing playgroup because of said congestion
• names that are preceded by the words "Category Five"
• other people's cats who roam around in the middle of the night and tear apart our trash bags that don't fit in the plastic trash cans, causing me to have to go pick it all up before 7 a.m. on a day when both girls are still quietly in their beds. [aside: We need a bigger trash can. Something to ponder—how does one go about convincing the garbage men to pick up the old-yucky-too-small trash cans as trash?]
• hysterical teething fits
• having to keep track of Indians games through the ESPN ticker and the newspaper instead of being able to just watch the games for real. (Nobody in this house wants to see Houston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Atlanta play baseball. NOBODY. Please just show the most exciting games in baseball. We would even settle for watching the Yankees lose.)
Things I Like This Week
• inexpensive furniture from Target
• being excited about our basement family room because of inexpensive furniture from Target
• Jill Scott singing on Sesame Street. Ok, who am I kidding? Sesame Street.
• cooler temperatures
• assignments from Simple Scrapbooks
• good books waiting to be read
• Maddie's new love of 100 piece puzzles
• Joe Glenn
• sisters who like playing with each other
• waiting for a friend's baby to be born
• wild card/divison races
• email from a college friend who might be coming to visit in November
• knowing that my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, and NEW NIECE will be here for Thanksgiving.
Please tell Mama that if she ever tries to feed me that green sludge she calls avocados again, I will bite her.
Mama is a hippy and will try to feed you every vegetable/fruit she can get her hands on. Soon you will be old enough to eat ice cream sundaes with your Da. Feel free to bite Mama whenever you can -- you won't be able to get away with such things for much longer.
"Mama, can I have lima beans for snack?" Maddie asks.
"Uhm, sure? I guess so... what do you want for a drink?" I ask.
"Water, please." Maddie says.
"Are you in prison?" Matt asks.
"Yessssss." Maddie replies.
Of course, she doesn't know what prison means, or that having lima beans and water for an afternoon snack is weird. We'll keep the truth from her on both of those things for a while. But you can bet this day will come back to haunt her in the future.
School is back in session these days, but Maddie isn't going yet. Despite the fact that nearly every one of her friends is headed to preschool, we decided to wait one more year to send her. Instead, we'll keep on going to playgroup, gymnastics, the zoo, the library, for walks, and our new activity: Art Friday. My friend Melissa's daughters aren't going to preschool this year either, and so we decided to invent Art Friday. On the second and fourth Friday of the month, we're planning little art activities for the three girls to do together. Today was the inaugural day for our new event.
We hosted Art Friday today. The girls learned how to mix paint to make pink and purple and all-color-brown, and went to town painting coat hooks to hang up by our respective garage doors. We took their pictures and printed them out to stick to their coat hooks, lest anyone might be confused as to whose coat hook is whose. They are all at the age (almost 3 1/2—almost 4 1/2) where they have an artistic vision. They were all very proud of their work—you could see it in their eyes as they held up their finished masterpieces for inspection. (Matt got to "see" them too, as well as you can see anything when you've just returned from having your eyes dilated at your Lasik eye surgery consultation. But that's a story for another day).
Art is so important to me. I can tell you each and every art teacher I ever had, including the jerk one I had for senior studio in high school who successfully damaged my love of making art for far too long. I've never been particularly good at painting or drawing, exactly, but that has never been what art is about for me. It's more of the process of making something out of nothing, or making something from something else. Of telling a story with pictures and pretty paper. Of having something to stand back and look at and say "hey, I did that!" I think a sense of ownership is instilled in children who get to do art; they have the power to create something by themselves, even when the rest of their world is mostly created for them. It doesn't matter what the final project looks like, really, because it's the process that matters most. And so we plan to continue Art Fridays (interspersed with Art Regular Days). Someday Maddie will be able to look back at these quirky little projects and feel a sense of contentment that she always had, and has, the power to create if she so chooses.