Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just follow the recipe...

We make a spice cake with a caramel fudge frosting. The frosting is called
Buttermilk Icing and is from an old old cookbook that forms the basic of many
of our recipes.

Matisse knows how to adapt most baked goods so I can eat them (replace
milk with oat milk, buttermilk with oat milk plus cider vinegar, butter
with Spectrum shortening or lard, eggs with 1/4 cup applesauce, etc.)
as well as substituting raw sugar for white sugar, whole wheat flour for
white flour, etc.

So she wanted to make this cake and asked what she needed to do to
adapt the frosting recipe.

"Oh, no big deal," I assured her, "Just follow the recipe."

"Okay," she said, "the recipe calls for buttermilk, white sugar, butter,
corn syrup, and baking soda. How exactly do you want me to follow it?"

"Replace the buttermilk with oat milk and vinegar, the white sugar with
raw sugar, and the butter with coconut oil."

"What about the corn syrup?"

"You can omit that."

"So basically, the only thing I keep from the original recipe is the baking soda?"

"Yeah, and you cook it to soft ball stage and then beat just like the recipe says."

I guess I'd gotten so used to making substitutions on the fly that I didn't notice
I was replacing almost every single ingredient.

I found a recipe for a (no-bake) egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free
pumpkin pie (thickened with gelatin and with coconut milk to stand in
for the dairy) and I'm trying to write my own recipe for an egg-free,
dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free chocolate cream pie.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

All hail Discordia

I was stretching out my back when my younger daughter started chatting with me.

"I'm trying not to get on Puzzle Pirates," she said.

We chatted then about pirating, and I suggested we might go look up a trivia point on the wiki called the yppedia.

"I know you, Kat," she said archly.

"Hmm?" I said, curving my back in a cat stretch.

"You're the sort of person who responds to her screen name in real life. I don't think I would respond if someone called me Ace."

"I knew someone named Ace in real life once," I asserted, "Her best friend was Suzy. Ace and Suzy. I always thought that sounded a little strange."

I waggled my rear a bit to loosen up the back.

"Not as strange as Authority and Tamar, however."

"Once your father and I saw a movie called My Dinner with Andre. It was a movie about a long philosophical discussion in a restaurant. After the movie, we went to coffee house and got into a long philosophical discussion."

I have sometimes wondered how many people had a recursive My Dinner with Andre experience like that -- recapitulating the movie in a restaurant. My Dinner with Andre was my second most recursive movie experience. The first was getting lost in the warehouse section of Honolulu right after seeing The Terminator.

"As we were sitting there deep in discussion, a man walked into the coffee house, said 'Have you seen my friend Conflict?' and walked out again."

My daughter laughed, and I was caught in that moment again. All conversation stopped, and the coffeehouse sat frozen in time for a moment as we considered the meaning of that question.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This Life a Celebration

This life a celebration
Of the joy that we've come to know
My love for you, dear ones,
Is overflowing.

On Saturday, we threw a party to celebrate my daughters' 16th and 20th birthdays. For the first time, my only responsibility was to help get the house and food ready for the party. The girls handled the guest list and the scheduling, leaving me free to do other things.

We cleaned house in a leisurely fashion over a few days before the party, and I did the food preparation in a similar relaxed way. By the time the first guests arrived, we were ready for them and able to focus on enjoying our guests instead of madly getting things together.

Contrasting the preparations for this party to the preparations for a young child's birthday party gave me a new appreciation for having adult daughters. It's lovely to see children grow into themselves, and even lovelier to work alongside your children as partners in an endeavor. It's lovely to be able to hand responsibility to them and have them run with it and do a wonderful job with it.

Old friends were celebrating with us. They've watched the girls grow from young children to adulthood. We shared lots of joy and laughter over the course of the party. I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face and I gasped for air.

This has been a week of celebrations. Morganne and I went to vote together on Tuesday. As we were leaving the polling place, we heard that Obama had won Ohio. We went to a Meeting for Worship at the Meetinghouse after we voted, and the worship tasted like champagne. On the way home, I realized that I had an odd sensation in my chest.

For the first time in 8 years and more, I was proud to be an American.

This evening, I rolled out the biscuit dough and called Merlin to come cut the biscuits. After he'd cut them, I came in to roll out the dough again. He shooed me away.

"Thank you very much, but I think I can do this without your help."

Ah. I have two more children who are on their way to becoming competent, interesting adults.