Monday, September 24, 2012

Donkeys and Elephants

I think the Republican Elephant and Democrat Donkey have outlived their usefulness.


The cute mascots, originally sketched by Thomas Nast in the 1800's seem worn out and not particularly descriptive of either party.
Let's pick something new, like the Republican Rottweilers and the Democrat Dalmations. 

Both run around making a lot of noise and neither is very good at getting things done.



Friday, September 14, 2012

The World's Worst Recipe

Autumn is on its way.  It's time to start looking for that other glove.  It's also time to start thinking about tummy-warming comfort food. 

In the 1960's, our family had a favorite.  Fondue
We were active and frequent participants in the craze.  We dipped color-coded long forks into chunks of lean beef and plunged them into boiling peanut oil.  We tried ... not always successfully ... to avoid burning ourselves and each other. Dangerous food is always fun.

We also regularly treated ourselves to cheese fondue, made in a crockery fondue pot. We loved this in the sixties. Of course we also ate Spam.

Make this if you dare.


• 1 pound Velveeta cheese.  Don't be frightened.  It will appear to be made of rubber.
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup.  Don't be frightened.  It is beige and gelatinous goop. 
Pinch of garlic salt
• 1 box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed.  Cheap generic is preferable.

Small package of slivered almonds
White wine that has been in the refrigerator a month

Cook and drain broccoli.
Melt cheese and mushroom goop over low heat.  
Add broccoli, slivered almonds, garlic salt and a shot of the wine.  
Serve in a crockery fondue pot with bite-sized chunks of stale french bread.

It's a great way to eat your weekly limit of sodium and fat in one meal.

If there is any left over, you can always heat it up and pour it over slices of fried Spam.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hey Quaker! These Cookies are Nothing to Smile About.

My kid taste buds kicked in when I saw the ad on TV for my favorite treat, the baked perfection known as the oatmeal raisin cookie.  Even better, they were made by none other than Quaker Oats, Emperor of Oatdom.

My mother used to bake my favorite cookie using the recipe inside the lid of the familiar cylindrical paperboard box with the smiley Quaker man on the front.

The cookies were chewy and moist and yum yum yummy.  No nuts.  No chocolate chips.  Just raisins.  I am an oatmeal raisin cookie purist.

In the grocery store, I hunted in the cookie maze until I spotted the smiley Quaker himself.  Oh joy!

Then gloom.  The package said banana nut.  A travesty. 

It's neighbor said chocolate almond.  Heresy.

Next to chocolate almond was cranberry and yogurt. 

Was I sleepwalking in a bad cookie nightmare?

Not wanting to cry in the store, I frantically pushed packages around until I finally found one on the very back of the shelf that said Raisins.

Oh joy!

Of course I couldn't wait until I got home to try one.  I tore open the box on my way to the car, then tore open the individual wrapper. 

The first bite!

Then gloom.  The soft baked object from the Quaker package on the cookie shelf in the cookie aisle tasted nothing like my mom's oatmeal raisin cookie.  Not chewy.  Not oaty.  Not even close.  It was soft.  It was dry.  It was gummy.  It had a weird flavor.  It was ick ick icky. 

I threw the rest away.

The box revealed why these faux oatmeal cookies are such a disappointment.  The Quaker changed his own recipe.  His new recipe has more than 50 ingredients.  This is it:

Whole grain oat flour

Enriched flour (Bleached and unbleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron,
      thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
Whole grain rolled oats
Whole wheat flour
Palm and high oleic canola oil (with TBHQ preservative)
Invert sugar syrup
Mid-oleic sunflower oil
Raisin paste
Granola (whole grain rolled oats, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar,
        partially hydrogenated soybean oil, honey, brown sugar, molasses)
Dried eggs
Modified corn starch
Corn syrup
Poly dextrose
Leavening agents (sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate)
Oat fiber
Propylene glycol
Mono and di-esters of fat and fatty acids
Mono and digycerides
Soy lecithin
Citric Acid
Wheat gluten
Calcium phosphate
Natural flavor
Corn starch
Enzymes (1422-RV1)

Here is the original recipe, first printed on the box in 1955.  It has 11 ingredients.  It still makes my perfect favorite cookie:

2 cups flour
½ t salt
½ t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
½ t ground cloves
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 C sour milk (make by adding scant T lemon juice to milk)
1 1/3 cups Quaker oats
1 cup raisins

Sift first five ingredients together.

Cream shortening and sugar. 

Add eggs and beat until smooth.

Add dry ingredients in small amounts alternatively with milk.

Stir in last three ingredients.

Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden and springy to the touch, usually for 8 minutes.

Cool slightly.

Pour the milk.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's Coming ... Vacation Detritus

Have you noticed when you are on vacation, it is absolutely impossible to return home without a souvenir tucked safely away in your suitcase?

Vacation trips are magic carpet rides into different worlds.  I think we have a primordial need to possess at least a little piece of that magic.

The good news is that it is not your fault if you carry home something useless, ugly or embarrassing.

Look at the choices you have in the souvenir shop.

The ashtray

The cup and saucer.

The seashell thingy.

The wooden plaque.

It's even worse now.  In earlier souvenir shopping days, everything was not made in China.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Everyone Has a Mom to Thank

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

Men are what their mothers made them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

If  you ever become a mother, can I have one of the puppies? ~ Charles Pierce

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own. ~ Aristotle

Tell her you love her, even if you don't. 

You won't always have the chance.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let's See More Cowgirls, Hollywood

Our concepts of women in the frontier west have been shaped by movies and television. Women are portrayed as either helpless, long-skirted domestic drudges ...

or as buxom, sleazy, saloon strumpets. 

So where are the cowgirls, Hollywood?

In the real frontier west, ranch women performed all the same cowboy work that the men did.

Women went along on cattle drives and some, like Lizzie Johnson, The Queen of the Trail Drivers, were trail bosses. 

Legendary cowgirl and horse dealer, Kittie Wilkins, is said to have brought 3000 wild mustangs from Idaho to Missouri.

This is where we get the expressions … you're driving me crazy and you've driven me to my wits end.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Do I Have A Face?

The previous post about dolls with no faces ended like this................

Besides, if you have ever made a doll, you know hard it is to make a decent looking face.

I will now provide the evidence that sometimes it is much better to not have a face.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Where's my Face?

Why don't Amish dolls have faces?
The most popular legend is that Amish dolls are faceless because somewhere in the Bible it prohibits making graven images.  This makes no sense.  Once you have graven an entire body, how relevant is a face?

Another legend features the little Amish girl who had been given a doll by her "English" teacher.  When her father saw the doll, he replaced the pretty head with an old stuffed sock, saying that "only God can make people."  Huh?  Just because you have a sock head doesn't mean you're not people.
The Amish are not alone.  Native American tradition creates faceless corn husk dolls.  The Oneida Nation believes if a doll has a face, the child will identify too much with it.  A pretty face can cause the girl to become conceited and prideful.  According to Iroquois tradition, a corn husk doll sent to play with children became conceited after seeing her reflection.  As punishment, an eagle stole her reflection and her features.

Let's add some reality to the mix.
Dolls were created in some early Amish homes by wrapping pieces of wood in cloth and were played with by both boys and girls.  It is possible that the faceless dolls simply evolved from these crude dolls.

Non-Amish American pioneers were making dolls at about the same time.  The dolls were made of corn husks, old scraps of clothing, wooden spoons and clothespins wrapped in cloth.  These makeshift dolls were also faceless. 

If you are working from before dawn until after dark to create a home and family in the wilderness, a doll is a luxury, let alone one with a face. 

It's not like pioneer mom, Amish mom or Indian mom had a Sharpie or  thread to waste.  Besides, if you have ever made a doll, you know hard it is to make a decent looking face.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Does This Pony Tango?

In honor of his 21st birthday today, I would like to introduce my best horse boyfriend, Flash.

I'm on my way to a treat, a massage and my yoga. 
Life is good.  (I'm not kidding about the yoga.) 

Does this saddle make my butt look big?

I love long walks in the forest.

Sometimes even I have a bad hair day

I love the bitless bridle I got for my birthday. 
I do not like metal things in my mouth … do you?

Look at this!  Dumbass Duke knocked this perfectly good hay out of his stall
and I'm eating it all up.  Ha ha ha.  He's a moron. 
(Notice that I am not tied up ... I'm very good about not wandering off.)

I get baby carrots for my lunchable when we go trail riding. 
I love love love the cool sweet crunchiness.  Just like candy!
(Oh, so you never stuck out your tongue for a photo?)

A spa day for me is a nice mud bath.   It feels so good when I get my hour long brush massage to clean me up.  Then I go out and roll some more.

This sign is a joke, right?  Come on.  This isn't funny.

Could butt cheeks be any cuter?  I don't think so either.

Happy Trails!