Friday, 18 November 2016

What a Fine Mess

Plenty of garlic!
This week I learned how to make garlic & cheese scones, then wrote to the Electoral College.  Both were a little itty bit messy.

When I was little, clearing up after dinner was the sole responsibility of my older sister & myself.  At the time, I didn’t wonder why my 4 brothers were exempt from this chore; I was concerned with how messy it was to scrape dishes.  My sister, eternally 9 years older & 9 years wiser, said, ‘Lora, you can always wash your hands.’

Oh, if only all life’s messes were so easily dealt with.  Now, onto the mess in my country, the mess in the kitchen, how I’m reacting to both.  Let’s start with the Electoral College. 

They call it a Hail Mary plan, but being 3000 miles from home means there’s limits to what I can do.  So, when a link came up on Facebook to all the Electoral College email accounts, I filled in the template & sent off my request, thinking I’d done a little bit of my bit.

My only reply came from Alex Kim, a Texan College member, lucky me.  Without any salutation, not even a rude one, this is partially what followed:  

The good citizens of Texas have voted for Donald Trump.  The voters of this great nation have rejected HRC, and I have no desire for her to become President . . . The fine people of Texas really have no interest in the opinions of someone from your state . . . We all have our own political process, not to be interfered with (sic) others.

You cogitate on that a while & I’ll tell you about Life With Scones.

If you look at the recipe, it seems to be made of normal cupboard stuff.  I whacked off the butter I needed, put it on the plate warmer to soften & went in search of my normal ingredients.  

I can hear you laughing.  

Hag Improvs 1 & 2 - mustard seed & baking powder.
The first Hag Improv, no mustard powder, but I did have mustard seed, so in it goes.  I trebled the garlic as usual, cut fresh chives from the garden, then dearie me, the flour isn’t self-raising.  What does that mean for my scones?  

Google told me that for every 150g of ordinary flour, add 2 tsp of baking powder.  The recipe already called for 2 tsp, so this would increase the amount to 8 tsp.  I have no idea now if all that were needed, but since I’m writing this, you know I didn’t blow up the kitchen.  At least not fatally so.

How do people live without parmesan?
Now for cheese.  Grater in hand, I fling open the crisper drawer only to discover we had no cheddar & that the little tub in there isn’t parmesan at all.  How do people live without parmesan?  I can’t stop now, so what cheese do I have?  Bleu & Babybel Light.  In they both go.

Can I help?
(I smell cheese.)

Beat the eggs, add the milk to them, pour that mess into the dry ingredients, & learn that a whisk is not my friend.  There I stood, holding my clogged whisk, looking at the unmixed dough.  Mary Berry had blended this scone gloop with her hands.  She touched that cold, wet, icky stuff.  Eggs & junk. 

When I cook, I clean as I go, kitchen roll & hand towels always nearby, sometimes so fastidious that the utensil I used 10 minutes ago & need again is already in the dishwasher, the dishwasher already turned on.  I like order because it makes the what-happens-next easier. 

And not just in cooking, but in social interactions as well.  I value the order of social etiquette in first social contacts, in all professional contacts, because etiquette is a prophylactic for both sides of the situation.

This whisk i not my friend.
But when public officials such as Alex Kim or, in my own state, Pam Ramsey Taylor of the ape-in-heels comment, when they ignore basic respect in their interactions with people different from themselves, it’s only a matter of time before words become actions.  I see Alex Kim & Pam Taylor as not just insulting, but as dangerous.  First, because they’re shits in responsible positions & second, because they get applauded by more powerful shits.

In my heatless kitchen, I meticulously unclogged the whisk, put it in the sink, then mixed the gloop by hand, Mary Berry style.  Except with gritted teeth.  After forming 22 irregular blobs, I added my last Hag Improv, a sprinkle of dill, then into the oven with them.  The scones turned out so well, Siobhán got me the proper ingredients, & more batches were made with less gritting of teeth.  You can get used to most things.  But not everything.

Cheese & garlic scone w/dill sprinkled on top.
In my country, compassionate, sensible people are saying, take the moral high ground, give things a chance, work with the system, it won’t be as bad as it looks, there are checks & balances.  They think the whisk can be unclogged by playing nice.  

I think they delude themselves.  I want to be wrong.

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