Indian Pudding

Someone recommended Indian pudding, specifically this recipe. I’ve never had it before, but it might be fun to try it.

The intro begins:

My first encounter with Indian Pudding was over 20 years ago at Durgin Park, a landmark restaurant in Faneuil Hall, Boston, famous for its home-style Yankee cooking and, at the time, its cranky, octogenarian waitresses. Few desserts look so completely unappetizing yet taste so incredibly good. One bite of this lumpy, brown mush, with a dab of vanilla ice cream, and I was sold. Scraped every last bit from the bowl. Why indian pudding isn’t more widely known I have no idea…

Chinese Villagers Descended from Romans

The Telegraph has an interesting article about a Chinese village that appears to have descended from a lost legion.

Tests found that the DNA of some villagers in Liqian, on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in north-western China, was 56 per cent Caucasian in origin.

Many of the villagers have blue or green eyes, long noses and even fair hair, prompting speculation that they have European blood.

The genetic tests have leant weight to the theory that Roman legionaries settled in the area in the first century BC after fleeing a disastrous battle.

The clash took place in 53BC between an army led by Marcus Crassus, a Roman general, and a larger force of Parthians, from what is now Iran, bringing to an abrupt halt the Roman Empire’s eastwards expansion.

Blond haired, blue-eyed Chinese. That’s not a combination I would have thought of.

Chocolate Cobbler

I am presently making the beautiful (and hopefully delicious) recipe of Chocolate Cobbler from Adventures in Baking.

Usually her beautiful fondant cakes are beyond me, but this looked like something I could do.

The boys are looking forward to eating it with Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream from Bluebell.

It took a lot more time to cook, though, at 8×8.

Reener’s Grama’s Stuffing Recipe

I need that smell too–then it is Thanksgiving, says Reener.

I melt a stick of butter (yes, entire stick) in a cup of milk until butter is melted.
I mix the pepperidge farm stuffing mix with some bread I’ve let sit out and get dry overnight.
Then I grind a few sticks of celery and an apple in a blender until they are watery mush and oh yeah, an onion in the blender too, reduced to runny mush.
Mix with copious amounts of sage, salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you like.
Mix and mix and mix–this is where the smell comes in.
All together, it makes it a moist stuffing, which is what Thanksgiving is to me.
I stuff the bird with as much as I can, ignoring health safety warnings, then cook the rest in a casserole dish.
The latter gets dryer than the former; I then remix them together.

Just in case I decide to make stuffing next year. R likes it; I don’t.

This recipe is off the CHE forums.

Albuquerque Turkey: A Song for Kids

Albuquerque Turkey

(sung to the tune of “Clementine”)

Albuquerque is a turkey
And he’s feathered and he’s fine
And he wobbles and he gobbles
and he’s absolutely mine.
He’s the best pet that you can get..
Better than a dog or cat.
He’s my Albuquerque turkey
And I’m awfully proud of that.
He once told me , very frankly
he preferred to be my pet,
not the main course at my dinner,
and I told him not to fret.
And my Albuquerque turkey
is so happy in his bed,
‘Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner…
We had egg foo yong instead.

I think this is particularly funny because Stefania Guzman used to live in Albuquerque and her nephew called it “Alba-turkey on the map” because they would show him where it was on the map every time the weather channel came on.

The song/words are from Can Teach. I heard about it at an educational forum talking about things to do on Turkey Day. Their suggestion was print the words and make everyone march around the table singing it. Yeah, can’t you see my family doing that?

Anakin’s Grama’s Gravy Recipe

You can do homemade gravy! My grandmother taught me.

Do it right in the roasting pan on the stove.

First skim off the juices and fat, if any – leave the crispy bits in the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon fat back into the pan for each cup of gravy.

Heat on the stove, then add 1 T. flour for each T of fat and make a roux.

Cook and stir that for a minute or two, until it’s bubbly and a little darker but NOT dark brown – you’re going for “camel-colored” here.

Add (total cups of gravy – 1) cups of warm stock into the roux and whisk until it starts bubbling.

Remove from the heat and whisk in a cup of cream or whole milk, then put back on low heat and stir to thicken. Then adjust salt, pepper, stock or milk depending on your gravy thickness preference.

Songs of Christmas: Disguised

I want to put these up on Facebook next year, so I am writing it today (December 20, 2009 and posting it next November.

Identify the following Christmas tunes:

1. The apartment of two psychiatrists.
2. the lad is a dimunitive percussionist.
3. Decorate the entry-ways
4. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis
6. Present me naught but dual incisors for this festive Yuletide
7. The smog-less bewitching hour arrived.
8. Exuberation to this orb
9. 288 Yuletide Hours
10. Do you perceive the same longitudinal pressure which stimulates my auditory sense organs?
11. Woman’s Name, Questioning about her cognizance
12. The red-suited dude is due in this burg.
13. Stepping on the pad cover.
14. German guy has been drinking too much and thinks he is Dark Cloud’s boyfriend.
15. Far back in a hay bin.
16. Leave and do an elevated broadcast.
17. That exiguous hamlet south of the holy city.
18. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully
19. A joyful song relative to hollow metallic vessels which bring forth a ringing sound
20. As the guardians of little woolly animals protected their charges in the shadows of the earth
21. Frozen precipitation commence
22. O member of the round table with missing people
23. Tinkling metal spheres’ boulder
24. Vehicular homicide was committed on Dad’s mother by a precipitous caribou
25. We are Kong, Lear, and Nat Cole
26. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element
27. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your yuletide season
28. Parent was observed osculating a red-coated unshaven teamster
29. Xanthic hay
30. May the Deity bestow an absence of fatigue to male aristocrats
31. Natal celebration devoid of color as a hallucinatory phenomenon for me
32. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals
33. Behold I envisioned a trio of nautical vessels
34. Singular first person listening to the noisemaking metal on the day before St. Stephen’s day.
35. Nice Polish king
36. Tranquility upon the terrestrial sphere
37. Have hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief
38. God’s messengers first person plural listening to in a lofty place
39. Only thing wanted for holiday: Second person singular
40. Old rhymes-with-pang sign
41. Castanea cooking in an unenclosed conflagration
42. Romance language happy holiday
43. The fact is that it commences appearing as if it were yuletide
44. Happy ancient holy guy
45. Question about the kid
46. Imperative that the person is another name for Kris Kringle
47. Late year season uncertain/question/amazed by country
48. The thing you cut down (in German)
49. Berry plant, happy holiday
50. Infantile jolly old man in red suit

1. Nutcracker Suite
2. The Little Drummer Boy
3. Deck the Halls
4. Silent Night
5. Noel
6. All I want for Christmas (is My Two Front Teeth)
7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
8. Joy to the World
9. The Twelve Days of Christmas
10. Do You Hear What I Hear?
11. Mary, Did You Know?
12. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
13. Up on the House Top
14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
15. Away in a Manger
16. Go Tell it On the Mountain
17. O Little Town of Bethlehem
18. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
19. Carol of the Bells
20. While the Shepherds Watch Their Flocks at Night
21. Let It Snow
22. O Holy Night
23. Jingle Bell Rock
24. Grama Got Run Over by a Reindeer
25. We Three Kings
26. Silver Bells
27. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
28. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
29. Yellow Straw
30. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
31. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
32. Frosty the Snow Man
33. I Saw Three Ships
34. I Heard the Bells on Christmas day
35. Good King Wencelas
36. Peace on Earth
37. O Come All Ye Faithful
38. Angels We Have Heard on High
39. All I Want For Christmas is You
40. Auld Lang Syne
41. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
42. Feliz Navidad
43. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
44. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
45. What Child is This?
46. Must Be Santa
47. Winter Wonderland
48. O Christmas Tree, O Tannenbaum
49. Holly Jolly Christmas
50. Santa Baby

Eating on Thanksgiving

Orange rolls and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The boys and I ate the orange; R ate one of the cinnamon.

Turkey is in the oven with sweet potatoes for R and I and baked potatoes for M and E.

I’ll be making bean and cheese quesadillas in an hour and a half and sticking a pan of rolls in the oven.

We have broccoli and cauliflower, though I haven’t decided if I am making mashed cauliflower yet. We also have fixings for salad.

I want to make enough that everyone can eat and not so much that we have tons of leftovers.

We’re having Wayne’s cheese dip for dinner tonight and I’ll be eating turkey and cheese rolls, since I can’t have the peppers or tomatoes.

Even though my mother is gone and there are way too few people here celebrating, just R and the boys and me, it’s still an incredible blessing. Thank you, God, that we are able to be together.

Singing in the Car

Assistant Village Idiot writes about caroling in the car.

This is what I’m talking about… When I was growing up we sang in the car all the time and I thought it was such a big deal and so important. Turns out, for my folks, it was just a way to keep us busy because we didn’t have a radio.

My favorite rolled-up memories of my family are singing in the car… and no one else cared.

I did not marry a like-minded spouse and we never sang in the car.

It still makes me sad and I’m about to be an empty nester.

Education for the Poor

Joanne Jacobs says:

We know how to teach black kids – and other disadvantaged students — but we don’t do it, writes John McWhorter in The Root.

Starting in 1968, a huge federal study called Project Follow Through compared different methods of teaching at-risk K-3 children: Direct Instruction (DI), a scripted phonics program using repetition and student participation, worked much better than anything else for all students, but especially low-income black students. DI has continued to work where ever it’s been used, McWhorter writes.

But DI defies the conventional wisdom of education schools, which “keep alive the canard that teaching poor kids to read is an elusive, complex affair requiring a peculiarly intense form of superhuman dedication and an ineffable brand of personal connection with young people,” McWhorter writes. “In a better America, schools that do not use DI to teach kids from poor households should be seen as vaguely criminal. People should point them out as they drive by them, like crack houses.”

2,500 Years Ago: Chinese for Dinner

Chinese Noodle Dinner, 2500 years old

Noodles, cakes, porridge, and meat bones dating to around 2,500 years ago were recently unearthed at a Chinese cemetery, according to a paper that will appear in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Since the cakes were cooked in an oven-like hearth, the findings suggest that the Chinese may have been among the world’s first bakers. Prior research determined the ancient Egyptians were also baking bread at around the same time, but this latest discovery indicates that individuals in northern China were skillful bakers who likely learned baking and other more complex cooking techniques much earlier.

“With the use of fire and grindstones, large amounts of cereals were consumed and transformed into staple foods,” lead author Yiwen Gong and his team wrote in the paper.

for Dielli

Thankfulness 2010: O-S

Thank you, God, for:
Oklahoma–where Ron and my dad were born!
Oatmeal cookies
Oatmeal with fruit
Offices of Admission, especially ACU’s which I would like to let us know if M is in
October, especially in New York!
Olive oil (although I ask, if you are a virgin, how can you be an extra virgin? 🙂 🙂 (via Eileen Adams)

PhD from Purdue
Paul M
Peppermint tea and candy
pumpkin cheesecake, thanks Bolivia!
pretzels, especially from Wetzel’s Pretzels
Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz

quail, especially the brass ones from Mom and Dad’s house

Ron’s work ethic.
Ron’s steadfastness.
Ron’s creativity.
Ron’s love.
rating research,
radio talk shows,
rays of sunshine,
Ragamuffin Band,
Rich Mullins,
rodeo cowpokes…

Suzi (thanks, God, for making me, me)
sounds and the fact that I can hear them,
Stephanie Lynne and Stephanie Jane,
Stephanie Jones,
Stephanie Smith,
Suzy G (and her love for Impact),
Shannon (and all the work she does with our kids at church),
sappy love letters,
soda pop,
summer visits to the farm,

Dinner at Starbucks

Went to Barnes & Noble, bought a book, and ate dinner at Starbucks.

They have a great cream of chicken with wild rice soup, which I paired with an asiago pretzel. Very good.

Cheating Students

I am never particularly happy about cheating students, but this paragraph from a “shadow scholar, a ghostwriter” of college (undergrad and graduate) work really frustrates me:

I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America’s moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.

from a Chronicle of Higher Ed article on paying for original papers

Chemistry Books to Read with M

Dr. Joe Schwarcz has written a number of books that are a lot of fun-
The Genie in the Bottle
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles
Science, Sense, and Nonsense,
and many others.

I’ve used all three in my classes with good success. I’ve also used Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks but some students don’t like the way the footnotes are done in the book and state that it makes it difficult to read (I love the book!).

from the Chronicle of Higher Ed forum

Baby Names

The stability of boys’ names was meant to convey solidity and strength. Girls’ names came to be regarded as something more decorative. In evangelical circles, Biblical names were big, so there were plenty of Rebeccas, Sarahs, and Rachels, but there was also a wide field for something more unusual. Roman Catholics insisted on a saint’s name – my wife Tracy was actually baptised Therese. Paedobaptist traditions in general have been more conservative in naming. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has long bemoaned the drive to unique names in the African-American community, attributing it to the breakdown of families and generational continuity. But this also results from the black churches being much less likely to practice infant baptism, a reality that long predates the last few decades of absent fathers.

More recently, parents have taken to giving their daughters some of the less-common boys’ names, or English surnames with a rather aristocratic feel to them, such as Madison, Cameron, and Taylor. But far more common have been older female names, so long out of use that we cannot think of them as girls’ names, but as women’s names: Olivia, Sophia, Abigail, Isabella. Similarly, the new names for boys – Jacob, Alexander, Joshua, Ethan – are recognisable old names. These do not suggest continuity so much as approbation of tradition, which is somewhat different.

Assistant Village Idiot has some interesting points.

In my birth family, most of us had family names first. I had my aunt’s name; then my own. My brother had my father and grandfather’s name; then his own. My little sister had my aunt and my mother’s name.

My youngest son’s middle name is his father’s middle name. It’s his grandfather’s first name. It’s his great-grandfather’s middle name.

My eldest son’s first name is his great-uncle’s, though we did not know that till we had chosen it.

Family names are important in my family. Or names with meaning for my children’s generation.