Tuesday 21 October 2008

You may notice a bit of revisionist history going on in my blog, whereby a new post is labeled with a date prior to that on which the post actually appeared.  If by chance you pay close enough attention to my blog to notice the discrepancy (ha ha), you may rightly wonder just what is going on.  Well, changing the date on which an entry is recorded as being posted is something WordPress allows me to do.  This may be confusing for the observant reader, who knows perfectly well that the post dated 13 October was simply not there even so late as one week past that date, but it is helpful to me, as it keeps my archives tidy.  Because I no longer have internet access at home, I now save up my posts, put them on disk, and post several at once from my mother-in-law’s computer.  Without this date-changing feature, a post which was written on 31 October but not posted until a later date would get archived with the November posts.  And that would be confusing.


You probably didn’t need to have all that explained to you.  But just in case you were wondering, now you know.


At the venerable age of sixteen, Daniel is finally taking Driver’s Ed.  Four or more days a week, we drive him to Seguin, where he joins a group of his peers to learn how to lawfully operate a motor vehicle.  Aside from Sunday school and home school enrichment classes, Daniel has had little experience with classroom settings, but, as we home schooling parents have maintained for years, sitting in a classroom is not that difficult a thing for a well-behaved young person to learn to do.  He seems to be enjoying the class.


Daniel has driven me in the Suburban several times now, and I can report that he is a careful and competent driver.  It will certainly be convenient to have another licensed driver in the household.


A peculiarity of the house we’re living in is that the occupants are often hidden from each other.  Our Krum house had such an open floor plan that if you wanted to find someone, all you had to do was stand in the middle of the living room and call the person’s name.  Here, we have one bedroom opening onto the kitchen and the other opening onto the living room, with a bathroom between the bedrooms and a dining room between the kitchen and living room, and no hallway.  If you call out to the person you are seeking, he probably can’t hear you over the noise of the floor fans, so you go looking for him, progressing from room to room in a circular pattern, continuing to call.  If he figures out you are seeking him, he might also start traveling in a circular pattern in search of you, and if you are both going the same direction, you might make several laps before you make contact.  A figure-eight pattern can be created if you extend your perambulations to the enclosed porch, which runs the length of house and has entrances on both ends.


I have tried a couple of new things in the kitchen lately.  We bought a ninety-count package of corn tortillas (about a six-inch stack) and I went to work using them up before they could go stale.  Breakfast tacos took care of several, as did a double recipe of chicken enchiladas.  After a little trial and error, I learned to make tortilla chips in the oven.  I smear some olive oil and ground Celtic sea salt on both sides of twelve tortillas, line them up on two cookie sheets, divide each tortilla into four wedges, and bake at 300 for ten minutes (the oven at this house runs a little hot).  The chips crisp up beautifully, taste great, and are so easy to prepare.  On my last batch, I added a sprinkling of pepper and paprika before baking.  The spices tasted a little burnt to me, so next time, I think I will sprinkle the chips right after I take them out of the oven.


The other thing I tried was beef heart.  I have been buying this for the dogs for several months, ever since I started them on their raw meat diet, but for some reason I didn’t try cooking it for people until I bought this batch, which had a note on the package that said, Great for stew!  It cost less than stew meat, too.  I saved back one heart for the dogs and cooked the other two in my slow cooker for several hours.  The meat produced a lovely rich broth and was wonderfully tender and flavorful.  I cut up the meat into little chunks and used half, with the broth, in a soup, along with onions, carrots, and wheat berries.  The other half went into a beef salad, with half an onion, a big dollop of mayonnaise, and a teaspoon of mustard.  Greg was underwhelmed with the soup but really liked the beef salad, which he took to work for lunch.  It is an ongoing challenge to me to come up with tasty, nourishing take-along-to-work food that doesn’t have to be microwaved.  Heart meat is high in taurine and very nutritious.


Sadly, my slow cooker conked out after cooking the heart.  This is the third slow cooker I have gone through in nearly eighteen years of marriage, and frankly, I think these appliances ought to last longer.


Emilie just read over my shoulder and said that she, for one, really liked the beef heart and wheat berry soup.


A delightful book I came across at the library the other day is William Safire’s Fumblerules:  A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage.  A fumblerule is a mistake that calls attention to the rule.  Examples include, Don’t use no double negatives.  Verbs has to agree with their subjects.  Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.  And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.  Each rule is followed by an elegant, sassy little explanatory essay.  Mr. Safire’s lively and scholarly prose is, as always, high-class fun.

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