Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Flashback Wednesday

September 18, 2008

As I stood in my kitchen this morning I had a flashback to my youth.  Specifically, it was a sunny late afternoon in Sunnyvale, California and a family bar-b-que was underway.  Ground beef had been thawed to make some scrupmptious hamburger patties, but alas, a plight arose.  There were only hotdog buns… no hamburger buns.  I distinctly remember being so proud of my clever mother for shaping the hamburger patties into hotdog bun conforming shapes.  Brilliant.

Back to my kitchen, my boys requested French Toast for breakfast so I  mixed the magic potion in which to dunk the bread slices.  The first four were sizzling with merriment as I dug through the freezer for more bread.  There had to be some hiding in there because I just got five free loaves two weeks ago.  (Thank you, Coupon $ense!) Nada.  I made enough egg-milky goo to dunk half a loaf, so I wandered back to the bread box to find one and a half packages of hotdog buns.  Presto!  I invented Hot French Dog Toasted Buns. I sliced the top part in half horizontally and got three pieces out of each bun.  Wonder of wonders. 

I was seriously doubting if the boys would even eat them.  But to my sheer delight, they wanted the new fangled French buns instead of the regular slices.  As I was nearing the half way mark in the bun bag, one son announced that when he grew up he was only buying hotdog buns.  No bread.  Why buy bread when everything can be made with hotdog buns?  Sandwiches, hotdogs, and Hot French Dog Toasted Buns. I mentally added hamburgers.

Kids These Days

August 27, 2008

Chicken Coop Construction

It’s getting closer and closer as the Crosby homeschool start date approaches.  (Usually things that are approaching do get closer and closer.)  Redundancy is one of my many talents that I immerse myself in over and over and over.  (heh heh heh)  Anyway, we always start school the day after Labor Day.  Remember when that was the official start date… back in the day.  Old school.  I grew up knowing what Labor Day stood for….. S-C-H-O-O-L minus 24 hours.  The end of Popsicles dripping off our chins.  The end of late nights in the fort secretly eating the neighbor’s carrots from the garden.  The end of shorts and tank tops because back in the day we had to wear respectable clothing to school.  I guess you can’t learn as much in a tank and cut-offs. 

Anyway, with the need for higher level sciences that I am not schooled in, we actually had to start getting out of bed earlier than 8:00 a.m. in AUGUST to get our high schooler to Biology.  What in the world?  (You may have guessed, but I’m not doing too well on going to bed earlier…. or waking up earlier.  I’m 1 for 7 before 11:30 so far.)  When did American kids get so stupid that summer was cut short and classroom time increased to make up for the numbskulls here in our homeland?  And with the time adjustments, the tests got easier and the scores are still dropping.  In my humble opinion, it’s not the quantity of time sitting behind a desk that is leading to lower levels of learning.  It’s that less and less is expected of kids these days…. in school, at home, on the team.  It’s sad.

Yes, I’m still reading the book Do Hard Things and I whole heartily agree with the two whippersnappers that penned the tome.  Teenagers were not only not called teenagers 100 years ago, but there weren’t teenagers.  You were a kid playing with sticks and marbles, keeping frogs in the pockets of your overalls, making daisy chains, and then WHAM, you were an adult with grown-up responsibilities.  Twelve year olds WERE capable of planting the crops, shoeing horses, running the household, steering ships, nursing the sick.  What do 12 year olds do today?  The Wii, skateboard, maybe girl/boy scouts, but not a whole lot else.  Embarrassing, that’s what it is, that we don’t expect anything of youngsters these days.

The Crosby household is primarily run by three children, ages 14, 11 and 9.  I’m in a supervisory role, not really a participatory role any more.  (It’s SWEET!)  We have found that if we expect greatness, it arises.  When our kids were 11, 8 and 6 they measured and drew the backyard to scale, designed the sprinkler and drip systems for lawn, trees and flowerbeds… dug LOTS of the trenches… and our 8 year old son measured, cut, glued and installed the deal.  Three years later it still is working like a charm.  He’s not a nerd with thick glasses and a pocket protector either.

I remember getting a flat tire once and my seven year old son hopped out and changed it.  All the kids cook full meals that include fresh vegetables, homemade entrees and desserts.  If you can reach the dials on the washing machine… guess what?… it’s your turn to do laundry.  These kids truly are capable of grown-up tasks.  Some day, two young ladies are going to profusely thank us for training our sons to be REAL men… you know, laundry, dishes, meatloaf and toilets. 

If you are going easy on your kids, it’s not too late to convert. I highly recommend it.

Raising Tamale Awareness

June 21, 2008

Here is my friend Suzi and I on the Tamale Line.  I got this bright idea to have a tamale cooking day… and wanted someone to join in the festivities and raise tamale awareness, so I coerced my dear friend into joining.  We figured on making 150 little wrapped bundles of corn dough and chilies.  We borrowed four steamers (already had two).  We gathered the ingredients and set aside Friday, June 20, 2008 as our inaugural Tamale Day.  Let me just say, I had many warnings from concerned friends that it is an ALL DAY job… and we proved them right.  We started at 10:30 am and finished at 6:45 pm… exhausted.

Many valuable lessons were learned yesterday over the savory chicken tomato sauce and the corn husks.  Suzi unknowingly took the job of grinding the corn kernels and cornmeal… unbeknownst to either of us, it was a 3 hour job  with a blender.  We think it might be a one hour job with a food processor.  (Mental Note:  add food processor to my Christmas list.)  And the soaking, washing, rinsing, removing debris and silk from the corn husks was also a time intensive task.  I’m not sure how that could be prevented or improved upon.

At 2:45, when we hadn’t even started assembling the tamales… we looked at each other with weary faces and I asked, “What are you thinking?”  Suzi’s answer was priceless.  “I feel like Ethel  when Lucy talked her into some scheme and it turned into a huge affair that neither of them expected.”  And we laughed as our hands were shoveling corn and pushing husks.

We picked two different recipes, Green Corn Tamales  and Shredded Chick Tamales, but we never even made it to the dough from recipe #2.  Recipe #1 produced so much masa that we didn’t need the other.  We wrapped and tied and steamed and taught the kids how to wrap and tie and steam.  We converted the “Song that Does Not End” into the song “The Job that Does Not End,”  And sang it until we were almost as sick of it as tamales.

I was happy when I awoke this morning knowing that there were 70 tamales in my fridge, but relieved that yesterday was over.  Whew.  THANKS, SUZI!  ¡Usted hizo un gran trabajo!