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February 6, 2000
two years ago

Sanity is Good

I woke up actually wanting to cook this morning. Sometimes I realize that sanity is an underrated thing. It really did take sleeping most of yesterday and the entirely positive experience of the party last night to get me back on even keel. This morning felt wonderful, and the first thing I did was pick up the huge copy of How to Cook Everything and browse through it for a good breakfast thing. As I read it more thoroughly I realized that this is probably the cookbook I would have written if I had the time and professional experience. As an example, the recipe for muffins had a standard, basic recipe with some good idea of what ingredients could be left out if one wished and after the recipe there were two dozen variants with trade-offs. It not only gave the room for making changes, but also the framework for how those changes would make sense to someone who had never cooked before.

In many ways, it is The Joy of Cooking for modern times, including a lot of basics that people understand now that they didn't three decades ago. One of the basics in this book includes sushi rice as well as more authentic variants of stir-fry recipes, better Italian dishes, and more authentic curries. Larger awareness of ethnic cooking and possibilities are reflected within this book in ways that are very encouraging as well as much more fun to cook with. The section on how to prepare and buy fish is larger than the section on how to cook beef, and there is an absolutely enormous section on how to prepare and find good poultry. Not something that the old cookbooks really covered as well or as thoroughly.

I made coffee cake muffins, a variant that had cinnamon and brown sugar and nuts all bake in as well as on top of the muffins. The muffins themselves only took 20 minutes to make, and came out tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. They were perfect with coffee.

For all that I am sad that Debbie and Matt don't have their dogs with them this weekend, it was very nice to be able to get up late on a Sunday morning. We got up late enough that in order to see Galaxy Quest we had to leave pretty much right after breakfast. At least, we had to in order to make the first of the matinee seatings.

It started the way I expected from all of the trailers that I had seen before all the other movies. It started as an excellent spoof of Star Trek, and recently all of the other science-fiction series as well. Then in actually turned into a really good movie, with interesting characters, cool development, and a real method for a type of redemption. That actually surprised me, and makes it a movie that I would recommend to just about anyone; but anyone in the SF community really has to see it just to laugh their guts out at the beginning.

After the movie, we went back home. John went upstairs and worked on the taxes, while I stay downstairs and just read, mostly books for work. There are far too many books I need to read for work and for the stock assessment basics for me to get back into fiction just yet. I also really have to think about seeing an optometrist, I'm about to run out of disposable contacts and I've been seeing advertisements for Wild Eyes, which seem to be a cosmetic set of contact lenses that have interesting things on them including making ones eyes look like cats eyes, or an eight ball floating around the pupil, or other variations that are all as interesting as those. I think I want to buy a pair sometime, but it would be easier with an up-to-date prescription.

After John was finished, I went upstairs and dictated the rest of last week, which took me all the way past 8 p.m.. I came down hungry, and it was already dark outside, so I started up some rice, sliced flank steak, and then had fun using a variation of stir fry from the cookbook and my own memory of how it should be done. The interesting variation included adding ginger, garlic, and seared onions. I really like the flavors of all those ingredients, so I added them. Both John and I really enjoyed the results. So, as long as it increases my capability to cook, it really seems appropriate to add even such a basic cookbook to my shelves.

So it looks as if the weekend has done its work, and I am fairly stable. I am a little apprehensive about tomorrow, and going back to work. I also hope that Geoff is doing okay, and that I didn't upset him too much on Friday when I was wrecked. Well, we'll see.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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