Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Day of School Spring 2011

I headed up to Troy today for 8 am to make sure I made it into the financial aid office before any lines formed. Was in there for a grand total of 5 minutes... with a whole lot of time to kill before my 11 am class.

So after checking the price of my books and deciding I was NOT going to be buying them at the campus book store!, I headed to the lounge of the Trojan Center to read a book for pleasure. While I was sitting there, a group of students gathered at the other set of comfortable chairs. I tuned out MOST of their conversation except this snippet,

"I got a Kindle for Christmas!" from the only girl in the group.

"Kindles are awesome, but you can get an app on the Droid that'll let you access them as well as the books from Amazon." from one of the gentleman to the left.

A male voice questions from the right, "What's a Kindle?"

Sam gentleman on the left, "It's books.... without paper. No page turning. Just a click of a button.... Welcome to the future!"

Have to admit, it made me giggle, and just before I had to head to class. Which lasted all of 20 minutes... leaving me with an hour and half before my second class.

So I'm sitting in the lobby with another art student and we're talking about the price of books and how they've set up a new system where you can rent them for about half the cost of purchasing them and I share the above story and she says, "They really could offer some of the text books online."

Her point was that even though the books would cost about as much-- you wouldn't have to CARRY all those huge books!

So take that a step further to the lower grade levels-- where we actually have news articles about how many pounds of books that children are being required to lug around. Imagine if ALL of their books were on a school Kindle?

Now that really IS looking at the future!

Eating Things

Somehow yesterday, my youngest and I got into a conversation about eating cats.

(Image from http://secret.extrarisk.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/one-dog-two-cats.jpg)

He was informing me that only evil people do it, and I was trying to explain that in some parts of the world, cats are commonly eaten, but that doesn't make the people doing it evil. He looked at me in horror so I continued to explain that -we- don't eat cats because to us, they're pets and part of the family, but in the societies that do, they're just like cows and pigs to us.

This isn't the first time that eating things have gotten us into sticky conversations. We've previously had conversations about the cows and pigs, in fact. Except in that conversation, WE were the society doing the eating, where other societies believe one is holy and the other unclean.

We've also had conversations about cannibalism.

Hey, if you don't talk to you kids about eating other people, someone else will!

(Image from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-breaking-news/virginia/va-dmv-eatthe-plate-offensive.html)

This conversation is actually unavoidable in a house where zombies, werewolves and vampires are frequent fodder for conversation.

...Speaking of Zombies-- do you have any idea how hard it is to convince your children that you are indeed NOT a zombie, when one of their prime criteria for zombies is that they eat brains... and you've eaten brains?

After much running and screaming and making sure they were on the other side of the coffee table, they grilled me on the details:

When did you eat brains, Momma?

When I was in middle school.

Why did you eat brains, Momma?

It was in my science class in Germany, where our teacher was trying to explain to us that Europeans eat internals instead of muscle (which lead to a whole side conversation about different parts that are eaten and where in the world they prefer to do so.)

Were they people brains, Momma?

No honey. They were cow brains.

And all these questions were leading up to the question really burning in their minds:

Momma....what do brains taste like?

Well.... to be honest, they were like chicken McNuggets with too much garlic...

And the end lesson about eating things?

If you've ever wanted to convert your children from nuggets to burgers,

that's a pretty effective way to do it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

For New Year's Day, 2011, we had ham, corn on the cob, green beans and hash browns for dinner. We've previously done the traditional southern meals, but we end up with black eyed peas for a week that no one touches again. The same for the collard greens. Those things just don't appear to come in smaller portions. So we just skipped them this year. But I decided to try a recipe that I'd come across a couple of years ago for dessert: Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.

When I lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana, my first time in college, and worked at The Landing Restaurant, as a waitress, one of my favorite desserts was the bread pudding. There were several dishes from there that I've spent years off and on recreating. So New Year's Day, I tried my hand at the bread pudding.

PUDDING:

1 loaf Frenc bread, torn into chunks
1 qt. milk

1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 c. raisins
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Soak break in milk for about 30 minutes. Mix sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs. Mix in the raisins.  Combine with bread chunks. Spread melted butter on bottom of 13x9x2 inch pan. Add bread mixture. Bake at 350 about 30-35 minutes, until bubbly and hot.

RUM SAUCE

2 c. milk
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. nutmet
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. rum (or to taste)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Place milk, butter and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. (I actually added the Rum when I put the milk and sugar in because I wanted the flavor and not the alcohol, but you can add it when you add the vanilla, if you'd prefer.) In a small bowl, fix a rue of the cornstarch and vegetable oil.  Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch mixture. Remove from heat and add nutmeg and vanilla extract. Serve over bread pudding. And enjoy (: