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Wit: From my notes, August 3

(Prolegomenon to an update on my life)

Say someone (probably a student) asks, "Are you a Christian?"

From now on I will say, "Yes, but I'm a heretic."

Hilarity shall surely ensue.

Nom nom

I just got back from a bike ride to Seward Coop, and I get the feeling this might be the last time this winter I make such a ride in above-freezing weather. The temperature is just beginning to dip, but the air has a certain harsh quality that warns of winter. It's not all bad though -- I also passed places that smelt like cut pine, which is a reminder of the good things winter brings.

One of those things is pleasure in cooking for a new season. Now that I'm back from the store, here's a few things I'm considering for my winter menu:


I didn't make too many salads this past summer, but I want to return to the craft. I plan to mix grapefruits, satsuma oranges, and pomegranate seeds. I love kale, both the curly kind and lacinato.There are both pecans and walnuts in my fridge -- I think I'll candy some of them.

Hearty Bean Dishes

I'm cooking up a big pot of black beans right now very simply, with just a single whole pepper and some salt for seasoning. Adam loves these, and I can use them in salads, tacos, soups, tacos, and tacos. I also got some kidney beans to begin making the seven chili recipes in The Tex-Mex Cookbook. I also really want to figure out how to use soy, adzuki, and mung beans. Just one or two recipes that actually work for Adam would make me happy.


I want to master and memorize a few key cookie recipes. Adam has chocolate chip down pat, but I want to work on icebox cookies, cookies with oatmeal inside, and double chocolate cookies.

Back to Texas

This morning Adam and I got up early for our flight to Texas. The early morning is a good time to leave town – a good time to see the town in a different light. Just before the seven o’clock hour, dawn is safely past, but the sharp angle of the weak autumn sunlight satisfies us that the day hasn’t yet begun. On the corner of Oak and Washington, there was a man inside a not-yet-opened pizza franchise. Standing under the full and hard lights of the new business, behind an unfinished bar, he had tools in his hands, and looked to be working with a purpose.


I went in early this morning for an appointment with the eye doctor. I told them how a I was seeing an odd spot in the vision of my right eye, especially apparent whenever I looked at light, blank surfaces. The doctor dilated my eyes to ensure there was nothing wrong with my retina. When there wasn't, he said it was just a "floater." We all have floaters, he said, some more apparent than others. It's not harmful. Would mine ever go away, I asked? No, it won't. But I'm just noticing it a lot now because it's new. Pretty soon I won't notice it at all. Why, the doctor himself has a major floater.


Overcoming a feeling of laziness, I went out Wednesday evening to the showing of The Red Lamp, a film setting of one of the "eight revolutionary operas" popular during China's cultural revolution. Afterward our classical Chinese reading group met up (our professor once again ordered shrimp pesto pizza). After an hour of casual chatting, we manage to read through the rest of my painting colophons. (Transcriptions and translations coming soon to WanderMonkey)

Alone day

Adam went to Washington, DC for the NGLCC national dinner, which leaves the house to me for a day or two. There are definitely moments when I miss him powerfully, but for the most part 2 days is actually a nice bit of alone time, I think. After watching two Chinese films at two locations in the city Friday night, I turned down a chance to hang out with university folks and rode my bike home. The night was very still, and the route through Loring Park, downtown and the West Bank was unusually empty.

I made a nice little bachelor dinner and ate while I worked, papers and plates together on the table. I slept. I'm up again, now cooking oatmeal as the unusually warm sunlight streams into the kitchen. Everything's perfectly quiet, except for the sound of oatmeal bubbling. Oh, and the cat, who can be quite noisy. He's playing outside, but I'm sure he'll be back soon.

Where's my focus?

I'm suffering from a critical inability to focus. I keep trying to picture the action of my mind as devoted only to one single thing at one time. But it just hasn't seem to happen this week. I think I need more sleep, more exercise, and less time on the web. 

Gingery ginger chicken, take 1

I stumbled on this recipe from someone who lists himself as a chef for P.F. Chang's. Of course, it's not authentic American-style Chinese unless there is a gloppy sauce with lots of soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. And with good reason! What red-blooded American does not love sweet and salty sauce that covers each grain of rice? Especially when you modify the recipe so that the ginger is more than doubled, with most of it thrown into the sauce and pulsed through the blender, which means every drop has gingery goodness. 

Yep, with a good blender you can put in as much spice as you like. How spicy would like your Chang's sauce?



We went to see The Importance of Being Earnest together at the Guthrie, and  21st_medici laughed so hard he cried. Really. We came home and made muffins whilst we await the results of Maine's Question #1. Right now it's looking like a close loss, "With 84% of precincts reporting, it's 52.57% for yes."

My biggest concern is 21st_medici's mood if the numbers don't swing round in the end!


Gingery ginger chicken, emphasis on ginger

Anybody know how to make ginger chicken or ginger sauces that are really, really ginger flavored? Like for ginger lovers and what not? I'm going try starting with this recipe when I get back from Texas.

I don't think I'll have time for matchsticks though, at least not a regular basis, so I'd kind of like some recipe where I throw the ginger into the food processor -- maybe incorporate it into the stir fry sauce?


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