Wednesday, April 9, 2008


that wasn't even a remotely good pun. What's wrong with me?

I threw together a quick dinner of rice and beans tonight, all braced for running out the door to our Balboa lesson but, alas, our instructor has a bronchial infection, so no dancing for William and Camila. Instead I lay on the couch reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral (she makes her own CHEESE!) and then I got up and baked some crackers.

On the back of my Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour, purchased for the starter, there is a recipe for Rye Crackers that states, "These crackers are far superior to any commercial brand cracker we have tasted. You will love these crackers." You will love these crackers -- simple declarative statement, without the exclamation point that would push it over to the overblown-copy zone. I would love these crackers? Why, how could I resist?

(Speaking of that starter, I fed it this evening. It smelled bad. A 'faint citrus odor' my ass. Rotten citrus, maybe. I tried to think happy thoughts towards it but I strongly suspected I was cultivating rotten flour in a jar. Ah well. Onward and upward...)

With a few alterations for the sparseness of my pantry (no turbinado sugar or caraway seeds here), these are

Bob's Red Mill's Rye Crackers

1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 T sesame seeds
4 T margarine
3 T milk

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients, including seeds. With a pastry knife, work in the margarine until fine. Stir in the milk, form a ball, and roll the dough out between wax paper (or greased parchment paper) 'til 1/8-1/16th of an inch thick. Cut into whatever shape your little heart desires, prick with a fork, and gently transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned on edges. Cool on a rack if you have one, in which case poor Camila envies you, and then store in an airtight container.

Gee, that was quick! The result isn't really something I'd eat on it's own -- it's a little rye-y for me-- but it is delicious with honey. I think I'll mess around with the kinds of flour in that basic recipe, then try out some other cracker recipes for comparison. It's so easy and quick, why not?

I salted one and handed it to William, who bit into it with a curious look before saying, "it has a wheat-thin-like consistency, which I approve of." (Doesn't he sound like a hoighty-toighty connoisseur? true story: Camila sucks at spelling french words even more than she does at pronouncing them)

Then he looked at me with something approaching awe, and said, "You can make anything!"

Nope. nope I can't. But I'd sure like to try! I think I am approaching Andrew's parody of me, creating every meal item myself -- shaping grains of rice out of flour. But I don't mind one bit. I like eating food I made so much more than eating food other people made.

Seriously. Why pay someone to do the cooking for you? Cooking is so much fun! It's such a rewarding experience, so closely tied to our human identity. You might as well pay someone to tend your garden -- oh, wait -- might as well pay someone to raise your kids -- oh, wait. Truly, though, you might as well pay someone to live your love life for you so you don't have to cope with the distractions. How long till we reach that point, too, 'till we take that enjoyable aspect of the human experience and outsource it to someone who doesn't care?

Because really, who cares as much about what you eat as you do? And if they care less, why do you think they'd do a better job of feeding you?

As I said, I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and quite enjoying it. The move from Tucson to Virginia nicely mirrors the one I'm preparing to go on this July, which makes it still more interesting. The book is giving me guilty thoughts about organic-ness... I'm running the budget calculations in my head as we speak. Unfortunately, Saturday workdays preclude most farmer's markets, but I hear there's a Sunday one in Ahwatukee...

Most worrisome, though, is this: I find my thoughts turning to CHEESE. "That's all it takes to make cheese?" Cogs turning, gears grinding...

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