Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bread in Dry Climates, the GRE, Home Grown Food, etc

Bread in Dry Climates
I moved back to the desert whence I came.  It has been hot and dry all summer. All my bread thus far has been totally inedible-- yeasty and dense on the inside. The first few loaves also never browned on the outside. I assumed that this meant that the enzymes were not adequately shredding the starches into their individual sugars, so I increased the rising time. This produced beautiful crusts, but the bread is still yeasty and inedible on the inside (see two loaves below):

I have used both old and new recipes, both dry active starter and the wild yeast I've been cultivating for a year (and I have tested both). Nothing changes. For the last month and a half, I've pretty much given up on bread.
The Dreaded GRE
I was not always a good standardized test taker. When I was in fifth grade I could not fill in a bubble sheet. That's how they found out I have a learning disability-- severe visual processing issues. However, I learned coping mechanisms and in high school I scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, which is how I earned myself a job teaching SAT prep. However, the GRE is a whole different ball game. Although I do spend a lot of time on the computer, I don't think there is any way I can manage to take a 4 hour exam on a computer screen. I've been studying from a GRE book and I'm doing rather well (although I've only looked at the verbal section so far), but these questions are on paper. I also would love to get dispensation to teach GRE-- which means that I need to score in the 90th percentile or above on the GRE. That means 640 or above on verbal (piece of cake), 5.5 on writing (doable), and a whopping 780 on math (oh dear). Wish me luck!

Home Grown Food and the Benefits of Being a Yuckie
A house-guest from Croatia recently left a copy of the UK version of Cosmopolitan. I am not a magazine reader at all-- I read my mom's Health if it's around, but I just do not particularly like the magazine format. However, I thought it might be interesting to discover the perspectives of the popular beat of the UK, or at least as much as possible from a magazine.

One of the features of the magazine was entitled something along the lines of "The Rise of the Yuckie" and it described a theoretically new group of people who were twenty-somethings with or without jobs who lived with their parents. The article essentially painted them as a generation without the motivation to find a way for themselves who were leeching off of their relatives. As someone who, for the moment, lives at home, I was rather offended. I have a job, but it's a teaching job and it's only part time. I have a lot of debt from four years of college which I have been working off for the last three years. I don't feel like I'm leeching-- I help out around the house and in the garden, I'm coaching my mom through losing weight (since I managed to lose about 50lbs in the past two years), I do about 60% or more of the cooking, I constructed and do my best to maintain a website for my father, I have bought cooking supplies, and I'm planning on paying for insurance and gas out of my salary when I get my license. So I felt pretty disgruntled about being lumped in with this group.

There is one benefit to being a yuckie-- as apparently my "kind" is so distastefully called-- and that is home grown food. Even if I could afford my own place, which I certainly cannot on my salary, I would never be able to afford a place with a garden. At home, however, we have a lovely garden and my mom and I have made a project out of growing herbs and vegetables for cooking.

Our cucumber plant and its first product, which quickly became part of in a salad.
Lovely sweet peppers for salads, vegetable stir-fries, pasta, and fried rice.
Tomatoes for, well, hopefully someday tomato sauce, but obviously not yet!
Sage for lovely sage sauces. I will post recipes soon.
Corn, because, well, we just could not resist. Also, not pictured: basil, green onions, and cilantro. However, the basil and the cilantro seem to hate the heat as much as I do.

Cerinthus is coming into town for my birthday before he goes for his semester in Italy. I'm totally jealous of his trip. He is going on a Greek Odyssey, where he reads texts and goes around Greece to see important sites. Then, he spends a semester in Florence. I have wanted to go to Florence ever since my first time reading A Room with a View by E.M. Forrester, which is one of my favorite books of all time. Sigh. Maybe I'll win the lottery and then I can join him there...

No comments:

Post a Comment