Saturday, January 26, 2008

an atrocious recollection

Last Sunday at church we were talking about the nature of God when someone made reference to Jonathan Edwards' sermon "Sinners in the hands of an angry God". In contrast to our belief, that God is our loving Father in Heaven, some believe that our God is angry, with fiery indignation for sinful man. In Edwards' own words:

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.

The gal in church who brought this up made reference to the thinking (in other circles) that we are as evil spiders which the Lord holds over the fire ready to drop at any moment. I agree with Edwards' thinking in one respect: Spiders are evil.
I hate spiders. There's no way around it. I hate them.
Perhaps this began as a child when we moved to the country. They lurked at every turn in our old barn, they would spin their wide webs in the field, and horror of all horrors, made their way into the house on occasion. Being much afflicted with the loathsome creatures, I learned to keep a lookout for them.
Yet, alas, I was not to emerge unscathed by these awful vermin.
One morning I dreamed I was eating shredded wheat. Just as I swallowed a mouthful I was suddenly awakened from my sleep with the realization that I really was chewing something. I shot out of bed to the mirror. I opened my mouth, and there, to my utter horror, were long, twitching spider legs sticking out of my braces. SPIDER LEGS! IN MY MOUTH! AAAAAAUGH!
I never recovered from that harrowing experience.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy National Popcorn Day!

In honor of National Popcorn Day, (which, coincidentally just happens to be today), I give you a recipe for "The Tastiest Carmel Popcorn ever!"

2 c. brown sugar

1 cube margarine

1/2 c. Karo syrup (or corn syrup)

Boil for 1 minute, pour over 3-4 batches microwave buttered popcorn.

Warning: Due to the unhealthy nature of this recipe, perhaps it is best to enjoy only on National Popcorn Day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A culinary misadventure

We bought an 8 pound jug of Orville Redenbacher's 'gourmet popping corn' a couple of weeks ago. As soon as we got home, I zipped to the kitchen and pulled out our heaviest pan and started popping. I had previously read that you can throw some sugar in (just before the kernels pop) and make kettle corn. So I got my sugar ready and voila! I had kettle corn! It turned out perfectly.
Now, I don't know how this happened, but somehow after this initial success my perfect popcorn popping skills took a turn for the worse. I burned every batch after! This was a problem. I suddenly found myself addicted to kettle corn and unable to duplicate my previous successful popcorn experience. Undaunted, (due to my newly acquired ravenous appetite for popcorn) I kept popping. I would just pick out the burned ones and call it good.
Then I had a great idea: MAPLE-CORN! Yummy!
Ooh, I couldn't wait. I even had 100% pure organic maple syrup! Ooh, yummy.
Now, what possessed me to think that I could suddenly produce perfect maple-corn after burning batch after batch of kettle corn, I don't know.
I took out our heavy pan perhaps a bit too optimistically. I heated up the oil and put in the kernels. I thought I'd just wait until the first one popped to add the maple syrup. That way, it wouldn't have time to burn to the pan. I even heated up the syrup so it wouldn't stunt the popping process.
I waited until I heard the first "POP!"
I whipped the lid off and was instantly pelted when 3 or 4 kernels exploded right at me. I was ready, though. I poured the syrup in as fast as I could and put the lid on fast, shaking the pan vigorously and
"KaSHZZZZZZ!" That unmistakable burning sound followed by that heart sinking burny smell. :-(
The stove was only on a low medium! I waited for the last moment to pour in the syrup! I even used gourmet popping corn! WAH!
I took off the lid. Every kernel was burned, half of them hadn't even popped. Lousy maple-corn. Lousy pan. Lousy popcorn!
What a let down! I grudgingly dumped out the scorched snack. I grabbed a spatula to scrape out the rest of the charcoaled confection, when there, on the bottom of the pot was the perfect image on John the Baptist burned right into the pan!
"MATT! Look! Look at this! Who does this look like? John the Baptist, right?!"
Matt agreed.
I could tell it was him because only his head had appeared.
I thought of that grilled cheese sandwhich with 'Jesus and the Virgin Mary' burned into it that some casino bought for some unreasonable amount.
"We could sell this on e-bay! We could be rich! Ha ha ha ha!"
Then Matt, and my conscience, reminded me that this would be taking advantage of those searching for spiritual enlightenment of sorts in the form of images 'miraculously' burned in cookery. John didn't actually appear to me in the pan. It would be like peddling vain idols. My mom tried to sway us by saying, "Hey, you could consider that fine art! Let the consumers decide! Don't deprive them of the chance to own such a culinary masterpiece!"
Matt heard this and washed the pan.

So I got down our 'Stir Crazy' popcorn popper, which pops plain popcorn perfectly every time, and enjoyed some perfect, unsweetened popcorn.

In observance of National Popcorn Day, (which, coincidentally just happens to be today- this was added January 19th), I am sharing my scorched pan picture featuring John the Baptist. I didn't realize it until just now, but it also looks like, to the right, John Lennon has appeared in my pan as well!
And, finally for your popcorn making bliss:
A note for those wishing to make kettle corn:

I did some research. If you put oil in your heavy pot, along with 3-4 kernels, you can turn off the heat once those kernels pop. Count off 30 seconds, and put in the rest of the popcorn and turn the heat back on. (Some swear this makes the perfect corn every time.) Then, just before you think they'll pop, throw in a teaspoon or two of sugar and shake. A few may still burn, but you'll get your kettle corn!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

To each his own

I knew there was something to be wary of when I saw the writing on the present:

"For Mommy. Just what you wanted, especially the top one."

I could tell that there were cds under that happy Christmas paper. Matt confided that two were for me, and two were for him. Then he laughed mischievously.

I had a flashback to when I was a teenager and had brought home Bette Midler's greatest hits cd. ("Experience the Divine") I was blasting "wind beneath my wings" when my mother came storming in with a somewhat shocked and very disgusted look on her face.

"WHAT is THIS? Bette Midler!?! I thought I had raised you better than this! I can't believe you have brought such vileness into our home! You should be ashamed!"

I sat looking at that package under the tree. Its gold paper glistening under the Christmas lights, innocently.

Christmas morning arrived with all of its festivities. We had read from Luke 2 the night before and sung carols. The spirit of Christmas was bright and cheery. The gold present gleamed in the corner.

"Here Kathryn, open this one!"

Matt slid the gold gift my way.

I picked it up and smiled. Matt laughed ominously again.

"No, open it from the other side! I want you to see the top one first!"

I ripped it casually for effect. There, smiling up at me from the top was.... Neil Diamond.

"Neil Diamond? NEIL DIAMOND? Is this a joke? Is there really something else inside?"

Now I know somewhat how Mom must have felt all those years ago.

Later in the week Matt was playing his new favorite cd on the way to Gram's. We greeted her and sat down to dinner, and ever so quietly I heard Amelia singing, "Shilo when I was young..."

Friday, January 4, 2008


Amelia is in the "Why?" stage of life.

She has actually been at this stage for some time, but recently it has increased to mammoth proportions.

"Why we don't touch hot things?"
"Why we don't want boo boos?"
"Why you are moving that hot thing?"
"Why are you covering your ears?"

She also recently learned the word "realize."

"Mom, I walked in here, and I turned around, and I realized that there was a chair here! I didn't know it! The blue chair! Mom, why the blue chair here?"

I have realized why moms say "just because." It all started somewhere with a toddler and a poor exasperated mother. And it soon extended into teenagerhood where "I'm the Mom!" is added on.

Asking why is a critical part of how children learn, yes, I know.

Still, at the end of a long day, I figure that "just because" is a better answer than, "AAAUGH!"