Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Smells Good. Looks Ugly.

The last couple of loaves of whole wheat bread I've baked have done this:

The strange thing is that the dough rises up very nicely, then it seems to sink back down during baking. WTF?? It's not like I'm banging pots and pans and slamming the oven door. I'm being very gentle and it's NOT WORKING. It smells and tastes good, but it looks like a damn brick.

Any bread people out there? This doesn't happen when I use all white flour, by the way. Only when I do part whole wheat. This loaf has 1/3 whole wheat flour.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This Happened Ages Ago, But I Loved It.

Way back in the mid 90's, when I worked as a bank teller at NationsBank at 6th and Grace, I regularly waited on this old, sort of crusty customer--I can't remember his name but he was 70-ish, sharp, trim and impeccably attired. He wasn't grumpy or mean, just not a fan of small talk, usually.

I was surprised one day when he informed me that he was "in the market" to begin dating, as his wife had long been in a facility after some years of living with Alzheimer's.

He pulled his wallet out of a pocket and flipped it open to show me a very worn-looking picture of a lovely woman with glossy, wavy hair and big, expressive dark eyes. It was a picture she had sent him when he was a soldier in WWII. He told me the picture was taken of her while she was writing a letter to him.

I remarked at how beautiful she was, and he agreed. He then commented that his wife no longer knew who he was, which made me so sad. I remarked about how beautiful she'd been and how lucky he must have felt to have her as his wife.

He agreed, and added that "She was magnificent."

After more than 10 years, I can still hear him saying "Magnificent."

What a lovely thing to say about somebody who doesn't even know who you are anymore.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 it!

I have discovered Well, Andy Cleveland really discovered it and told me about it.

Anyway, it's a great website that searches tons of other websites for recipes. The really nice thing is that you can use all kinds of different filters to narrow your search and you can search by ingredient, type of cuisine, special diet restrictions, methods/ techniques and length of prep time. You can save recipes in a recipe box.

How cool is that? This is going to be my new go-to place for recipes until the geniuses come up with something better. I constantly would find myself going to 20 different food sites for a recipe. Now I can just see all of them in one place. I call that excellent!

You have to register for this one. Now, I don't want to hear any whining about how you don't want to register. Just suck it up and register. Geez.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

England Pix

I know, we've been back for a week and no posts.
Here are some pix of our trip. We had a great time, as always.

Gardens at Chatsworth, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Yep, they insisted we come for tea.

Here we are leaving the house and heading towards the gardens. What a dump!

These are all pictures of the charming little park right across from the house Andy grew up in. His parents still live there, and they love it. Who wouldn't? Look how lovely!

The excursion to Brighton was a bit of a bust. We were so weary, after being up for 24+ hours, we would have been better off lounging in a hotel room. We were cranky and squabbly and I was even a bit weepy at one dark moment. Brighton was really quite charming--I just wish my state of mind had been as charming. We did finally find solace in a pub. We sat by the window, which overlooked a bus stop, and we got toasted and made jokes about all the rough looking women passing by.

Highlights of the trip included a 5-hour fantastic tune session at Sandy Bell's Pub in Edinburgh (Andy played his butt off and was every bit as good as the regulars), visiting Edinburgh Castle and Chatsworth. I like a nice castle, don't you?

I also must confess that I had sausage no less than 4 times and a beef pie once. It was mostly delicious, namely the Epworth sausages (made by a butcher in Andy's mom's home village) and a gorgeous beef pie at this charming pub. It was the house specialty, and it was really good! It didn't even give me a meat hangover.

Andy had lots of fish and chips, but I just had chips. Needless to say, I have returned feeling like a frigging zeppelin.

I can't wait to get back to cooking!