Friday, December 28, 2007

I don't want to go back to Chicago, really

This Christmas I accidentally wrapped some peoples' presents in wedding wrapping paper. My mom is really into the gold and white Christmas, as opposed to the red and green Christmas or the red and green and gold Christmas, so I just blindly grabbed at whatever was on the wrapping paper shelf. Apparently, my mom also like the white and gold Weddings, so some people were reminded over Christmas in gold cursive writing that "A Wedding is a beautiful fulfillment of love."

This year's Christmas gifts seem to have been overwhelmingly kitchen-themed for my friends and I. Stacy got a vacuum cleaner and a waffle maker, I got knives and a crock-pot, and salt and pepper shakers, there is a picture of my friend Julia lovingly caressing her 7-cup food processor, and some other people got things like a chocolate fountain, a pancake-puff...thing? pan? and a pink spatula with some other mixing things. This is most likely happening because our parents are realizing that we are graduating and are going to have to feed ourselves. On a side note, my mom still thinks I don't eat. More than one of our phone conversations have focused on food, and what I have eaten and what she has eaten, with her giving out a detailed description of how she made the pasta she had for dinner that night and ending with "I'm just telling you because it was good!", translating into "I am just telling you this because you should cook this." So come September we'll all be clueless but at least we'll all have great cooking supplies.

In one week I am going back to Chicago. This year I am positively dreading the return in the face of everything I have to do. I am going to live this week up.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I'm going to forget about this if I don't post it now

I already talked about how I genuinely enjoy reading the question forums on because I a. can learn some more foreign words from there and b. it's pretty funny and revealing.

The same goes for recipes. I love reading recipes when I'm stressed out because there's something really relaxing about reading how to make an orange sauce or that one may instead want to substitute some wheat flour for some of the white flour. The reviews of the recipes on provide an endless source of entertainment for me, with some of the reviewers modifying recipes until basically only one original ingredient called for in the recipe remains, and THEN the reviewer gives the recipe four forks.

This is the following exchange I saw for a recipe for a shortbread base:

Usually Gourmet's recipes are quite specific, so I'm surprised that they did not specify the temperature of the butter. Should it be room temperature? Chilled?

buddy7744 from Madison, WI
In response to the review from nadiat, you use the ingredients as they come (in this case cold UNSALTED butter from the refrigerator) and the crust recipe turns out fine. I have made the pecan bars many times with this crust and have always gotten rave reviews. Perhaps you need a bit more cooking experience before you send in a bad review of a good recipe.

cassellie from Philadelphia
Response to Buddy7744 for his/her response to Nadiat's post. Nadiat asked an honest question. The option we have to review or to comment is to help fellow cooks/bakers. There is no need to belittle someone or to somehow elevate yourself as a "more experienced" cook. There was nothing negative about the question, but it is noted that we are invited to post comments, positive or negative... Presumably without being insulted for doing so. Let's keep these reviews in the spirit they were intended to be and let no one ever feel they cannot ask a question for fear of ridicule.

It's very rare that people are at each other's throats on epicurious. But with a little imagination I can picture the be-aproned housewives standing in front of their computers with meat cleaver in hand, narrowing their eyes in suspicion over "Alphamom from Denver"'s half-butter half-lard suggestion instead of their time-tested habit of using only lard.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Should I be worried about this?

Every year I've been writing in this blog, I think I've written about buying the Christmas tree. I feel like there was always something unique about how the Christmas tree got to be standing in our house, decorated, and in one piece, like I had had to fight rabid monkeys at the Christmas tree lot to get it, or like I had to gnaw it out of the ground with my teeth because I didn't have a saw. Alas, this year the Christmas tree purchase was remarkably smooth. My sister and I went to one lot, found a tree matching my mother's exact requirements in height, weight, breed, and blood-type, put the tree in the car, and went on our way. The only unusual part was when I brought out our Christmas tree stand with last year's tree trunk still on there and the tree man couldn't get it off. So with a broad wink and a demonstration of true Christmas (tree) spirit, he gave us a new stand for free.

In case I don't make it back to this blog before Christmas, Merry Christmas. If things don't start to pick up, I'll just write back here tomorrow to complain about how the butter didn't cream properly or something.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Spirit

The washing machine repair man is supposed to come any minute now. The window is 1-5, and it's probably around 2 right now. I am getting to be pretty much an expert at this window business, what with having to have the dishwasher man come in Chicago about 3 different times. Only to discover that we'd been using the wrong sort of soap, but no matter, that has been discussed earlier.

Even though I know this is the only realistic way to schedule such appointments, I am still not a huge fan of time windows. I need specific times. These people are telling someone to wait 4 hours who will probably want to know down to the last second when to expect to go into labor or when the weather will change. During these 4 hours I could be doing something else! Like sleeping! Or going to the mall for the 9th time this break!

This morning I drove some friends to the airport and drove their car back to the SCV. This car is a Cadillac something or other. It doesn't matter what model exactly, the word "Cadillac" should immediately trigger a vision of a huge monster of a car. Cadillac, yacht, rocket, small country, they are all synonymous for me considering my rather petite height. This is the type of car that, ahem, OLDER people generally drive because the usual convertibles EVERY good Californian drives at 85 mph threaten to blow their wigs off and to disarrange their false teeth. And because you never know when you're going to have to use your car as a battering ram or a submarine in California.

I had a hard time reaching the gas pedal because I was basically sitting in the back passenger seat (my friends are quite a bit taller than me), before I realized that everything I ever would need in my life is found on the armrest of the door, including a shower nozzle and a heartbeat monitor, in addition to the seat adjuster. So I was able to drive home without being in a fully reclining position.

On the way home my mom and the owner of the car kept on trying to call me for various reasons, which I can't handle. I am an excellent multitasker: I am able to sing and drive at the same time, I am able to listen to how Macy's has EVERYTHING I might ever need for the holidays and drive, I can dance and drive, I can cough and drive, I can snap and drive, I can breath and drive, I can blink and drive, I can cross-stitch and drive, I can do long division and drive, but I cannot cellphone and drive. I know my limitations. By the end of the drive, when people were calling to ask EXACTLY when I'd be home, I thought I should give them a time window for my arrival: the back of the car would be arriving a half hour after the front of the car reached my town, and I'd be getting there sometime between that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

At Home

Being at home has been nothing short of exhausting. A long round of eating and sleeping interspersed with some stretching. This is what winter break is for! This is nearly as bad as my first winter break in college, where my schedule went something like this:

Bed: 2 AM
Awake: 10 AM. Eat. Go back to sleep until 3 PM.

As always it's been sort of nostalgic being here, surrounded by stuffed animals and old friends. The screen saver on this computer adds to that, and I have no idea if I've ever posted these pictures on here, I know they were somewhere at some point, but here we go.

Some Baby Adrianne Pictures. With Some Stacy.

I am going to say that these are probably the cutest picture of me ever taken. A minute after the pictures were taken I entered my awkward phase which lasted until...oh...I'm STILL awkward, but I'm in Hungary with my sister and neighbor. The one in the middle is the Hungarian neighbor. You could probably tell this because she isn't smiling, because people do not smile who live in Hungary.

Well, at least Stacy is cute. And the doll. I really like my tie dye shirt.

I don't really know what's going on. It looks like maybe I was constantly smiling and decided that the smile has been on my face too long and I'm trying to pull it down, or that I was frowning and decided that I had to manually put a smile on my face. Oh kids.

I bet when I was singing I was also emitting a weird whistling sound through that HUGE gap where my front tooth used to be.

Stacy is so cute it hurts. And I think that is the fakest smile I have ever seen on my face.

The girl on the left won "Miss Photogenic Santa Clarita Valley" 2 years ago. I think the judges were a little hasty in their choice.

SLEEPOVER! And I look slightly...drunk?

We all wish you a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Legitimate Happy Post

I got back to SUNNY! SO WARM! HOT! California last night. The first thought that entered my mind when I got off the plane was " smells so clean and fresh here." This is because in Chicago, I think the air just smells old, as if it remembers the 1871 fire and it hasn't circulated since.

I went to breakfast with the one and only Stacy, and in the parking lot of the place we were eating, I saw a car that had "I got into the University of Chicago!" written all over it. This makes me a little sad. Although this might be a little delusional, I thought the school was a sort of well-kept secret, especially from this suburb. It was a sort of bittersweet moment for me, what with me graduating soon and someone actually genuinely being excited to get in with apparently early action. So the way I handled it was to go over and write a note on the car, and to resist the urge to write "Hope you won't regret it!"

It's odd being home. I've never realized just how suburby this place is. I am going to go outside now. It's 73 degrees outside, WHY WOULD I WANT TO BE IN FRONT OF THIS COMPUTER!?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Give you what you want

Two different people asked me yesterday why I only write about sad things on my blog (i.e. me eating moldy bread and the really unglorified, mundane minutiae of my life. I guess I'll tell you right now here that I cut my finger with a bread knife and it hurts a lot). This is because I treat this like the news channels on television: I write the news here, and all the news shown on TV is bad.

However, I guess I can update with good news:

Last week, it was discovered that the reason my dishwasher hasn't been working for 2 whole months was because we were using soap that wasn't supposed to go in automatic dishwashers.