Several Short and Sweet

Since yesterday’s post was so massive, I figured I had better keep today’s simple and brief. First, if you read any of yesterday’s long post, thank you. Looking back, I do like my introduction to the post, and I may truly have to develop that week in London into a little narrative. Not only did we have a blast—a wonderful time, we did go through some adventures.  I also still enjoy the actual essay’s introduction. Former students: could you spot the thesis statement and identify where the intro ends? (No, there will be no test, although I do still have some of those Dum-Dums I used as prizes for the last twenty years in class. I am not sure how well a Dum-Dum pop will attach to an e-mail, however.) For the critics, I do admit that the text of the essay is more than just dry. I had apparently been reading far too many art texts (and I was trying to overawe the professor, whom I still have not forgiven for the impossible scope of the actual assignment). And I am just pretty pompous that way (viz. previous commentary)… Am I not?

Anyway, here are some random thoughts on several topics for today.

Waffles!

the last two waffles

My favorite part of yesterday came about noon, when I decided to try out a Christmas present from Janet’s folks (arranged by her, naturally)—a waffle maker (I almost wrote “waffle iron,” as we used to call the devices back in the last century, when evidently description topped purpose in naming things). Janet had purchased some box waffle mix, but I had wanted all along to try making some whole wheat waffles, not because I’m a granola but because I think whole wheat food tastes better than bleached, whitened-wheat products: I like big flavors not mediocrity (whitebread braindead screaming heads at Fox News to the contrary). So I went online, as everyone does these days, and searched “whole wheat waffle recipes.” I acquired of course 198,000 results in 0.26 seconds on Google. I printed out three selected almost at random and then combined/ignored/invented my way to my own recipe. And the waffles were delightful (all of them, which I greedily devoured through the day)!

I hadn’t eaten a waffle for at least a decade. Janet and I are after all getting older and not wanting to get any fatter (thinner would be preferable, however little I find myself running these days). However, staying at a motel over a long weekend in November, I encountered that newest (for me) treat at motel breakfasts: the waffle-batter dispenser and rotating waffle maker. While Janet prudently ate fruit or something equally dull and valid, I tried out the waffles. And loved it. When we stayed at the Oskaloosa Super 8 over Christmas, they had the same system, and I overate waffles for our two breakfasts there. Well, Janet’s no dummy: she had picked up on my excitement in November, and when we arrived in Anamosa on December 26, among my gifts was a small (two-waffle) waffle maker, which I initiated into service about noon yesterday.

My downloaded recipes were pretty similar, which is why I just randomly picked one and got started. One day I will make it as listed here. However, I wasn’t sure we had the applesauce (especially not unsweetened), so it was at that step I started improvising, as suggested by the other two recipes. Here’s what I finally ended up with (the total milk by estimation because I took seriously the recommendation of one to keep adding milk until I achieved the proper batter runniness; and I believed I should make it about like what the machine sproduced in the hotels):

Whole Wheat Waffles

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 to 3 cups of skim milk
  • 3 packets of artificial sweetener (go for the sugar if you wish; I may try brown sugar sometime soon)
  • 1+ teaspoon of vanilla extract (we don’t have the real thing so I use a generous supply of the faked stuff)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of canola oil or margarine (or butter, if you wish)

Blend the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix up the eggs, milk, vanilla and oil in a separate small bowl and then dump into the dry stuff. Beat with a whisk until it’s batter. Use in your waffle maker as directed by the manufacturer of your small appliance.

Yield: 12-14 “Belgian waffles”

Enjoy ’em!

Winter Wonderings (or maybe Wanderings)

The snow fell soundlessly through the night, Wednesday to Thursday, and then continued to whiten a gray but somehow not gloomy Thursday. I got up at 5:00 AM yesterday to shovel us out so Janet could get to work. When I actually shovel (as opposed to using the snow blower—hurrah! I am so glad Janet convinced me we needed to buy a new one!), it generally takes me close to ninety minutes. Although the air seemed clear as I started, the snow fell while I worked and the darkness gave way to gray daylight. I was pretty well snow-drenched (or ice-encased) by the time I finished. The city plows came by about 6:15, which was (for once) convenient, as I had already cleared the drive and partially the street in front, so there wasn’t a lot of snow to push away once the plow truck had finished his three passes, and I was able to rescrape the driveway on my way back indoors. We got her lunch packed, breakfast out and eaten, and the lovely wife on her way not much later than usual.

Most of the schools all around were closed, I quickly learned. (A year ago Janet would have fielded the phone call announcing the cancellation and then come to the front door to yell at me—pointlessly, since then, like now, I would have had my iPod blaring in my ears; but I knew what her appearance in the doorway meant.) I think those that had school got out early later on. Overall, I was glad I didn’t have to care (although Thursday evening play practice seemed a kind of school-like threat, considering the winter storm warning). I watched a movie we had rented for the New Year’s weekend and hadn’t gotten to, State of Play with Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren (I’ll let you use your own search skills if you want to check out the actors online). Although darkly illuminated and weak on the start, I liked it a lot, being a sucker for political thrillers (and a journalism junkie of sorts after all those years teaching Mass Media). I missed the BBC series it’s based on, and now I kind of want to see that.

With making waffles (and making a start on this blog post), the movie lasted until about 1:00, when the city plow came by again, so I had to return outdoors and shovel again, hoping Janet might be able to get off of work early to drive home in daylight (perhaps before the big winds to blow the snow into blizzardly white-out conditions).

Oops! It Appears to Have Become a Foxhunt Friday (apologies in advance—sort of)

As one of my pedagogical peeves was pupil innocence of the distinction between “wondering” and “wandering,” I amended my title for this section to make it clear there are two separate words, thus the old “I wonder as I wander…” In case the title bemused you or made you wonder.

The picture, by the way, is our unlovely view northwards of our back yard. Please appreciate the scenic loveliness of the Super 8 sign, the embodiment of the neologism gynormous.

(I hope you enjoy the illiteracy of the Urban Dictionary. I get their daily e-mail, and no one there cares about the language, actually.)

At length, why did I want to entitle this portion of today’s post “Wonderings?” Did you dutifully click on the links I have so conscientiously provided? Especially those involved in my apparently irrelevant (and as always irreverent) swipe at Fox (“We decide what to report so you don’t… know… —anything, really”) News? (Yeah, sometimes I love what you get when you search the internet.)

While shoveling yesterday morning, I got to thinking about global warming and climate-change deniers on the radical right (I’ll think about anything other than how all that snow is just flying to the right and left of my shovel, meaning I will absolutely have to go back over where I just shoveled at least two more times to clear it away). It has been a severe winter here and in Europe. I am sure this tough winter will seem to provide grist for their blind-eye-turning mills (that I feel sure some of you probably want to accept). Unfortunately (and I will leave to you to verify my assertion; your favorite search engines are just a browser tab away), I am certain that the computer models used to explore the drastically warming climate (which I learned about fifteen years ago—maybe longer—in Scientific American) include periods of cool summers and wild winters while the global temperature continues to rise until the Midwest dries into a desert (please, not a dessert), as weather patterns wobble, destabilized by the gradually increasing heat and water. Thus the Beck link to Discover magazine above (from even before he joined his pals at Fox).

Waffles sound good about now, don’t they? I guess cold and snow make me grumpy or something… Your comments are welcome.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

3 thoughts on “Several Short and Sweet

  1. We had those big, rotating waffle irons (“iron” probably being an appropriate term in this case) in the cafeterias when I was at Grand View. Having only rarely enjoyed actual waffles instead of the insipid selection in any grocer’s freezer, I rather enjoyed having it as an option, and ate more than my fair share in my 4 years there.
    I’m not sure the waffle batter was anything to write home about,(it was cheap cafeteria food, after all,) but they were still better than frozen waffles.

    • Excellent points, Tim! Perhaps I should write a post on frozen waffles (even though one great thing about waffles you make yourself is that they freeze well: Alton Brown told me so). And I’m not sure that hotel waffle batter is all that good, either.

  2. You know, one of the best things about staying at the Comfort Inn whenever we come to Maquoketa is the free breakfast they have, featuring those weonderful rotating waffle irons (makers? cookers? whatever!). In fact, my dad encountered them at a hotel and bought not one waffle iron but two – one for the house in Michigan and one for the “winter home” (read: trailer) in Florida.

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