23 November 2008

A Little Comfort Food

Well, the Korean Conflict paper is finished and handed in. 17 pages worth of information on why the U.S. chose to commit troops to fighting. I'm really not at all happy with the last section, or my conclusion, but it really is the best was able to do. If I had only started a few days earlier, and worked a little harder, I may have had the extra time to proofread and revise it to the point where I could be happy with it. But, hindsight is twenty-twenty, and it's not like I waited until the very last minute to do this thing, so I'm not going to let myself feel too bad. On the bright side, I can finally return these books to the library, and stop having them hog all the space on our kitchen table.

In the midst of paper writing, I did end up a little stressed as the due date crept closer, so I made myself some comfort food. I had found this Chinese Cookbook on the bargain book rack at Borders a few weeks ago for like, five dollars. It had some nice stuff in it, so I grabbed it. Luckily for me, it had pretty good instructions for making Congee, which is exactly the kind of comfort food that I was looking for during the writing process.

Congee is, basically a rice porridge. You boil the rice in massive amounts of water until the rice begins to break up and the starches thicken. It's traditionally served for breakfast, and while I was there in the summer of '07, I had it a few times. It's not exactly a complicated thing to make, but I really like to start with directions before I experiment with recipes, no matter how simple or straight forward they may be. I must admit, that my version did not exactly come out as well as what I had in China, but I think it came out pretty well for a first shot. I used beef broth instead of the recommended chicken broth, or the more traditional plain water, and I threw some straw mushrooms in there as well.

It ended up being a great mid-day comfort snack. It was gooey, warm and satisfying: perfect for the weather around here lately, which has been below freezing.

I did, in my 10 minute sporadic breaks from writing (so I could keep my sanity throughout the process), make something: a prototype of a coffee cup cozy I've been planning for a while. I really waste more paper and cardboard in my coffee shop purchases than I care to think about, so I wanted to make myself a cute reusable cozy to replace the cardboard things they give you. At least that will cut down on some of my waste. In the end, this first attempt didn't quite turn out the way I was envisioning it, mainly because of my methods, so, it's time to return to the drawing board. I'll post here about it once I get around to editing the photos.

But first, I've got some other things to take care of, including:
  • A concert.
  • Multiple rehearsals.
  • About 300+ note cards to finish and memorize about... well, ALL of U.S. History.
  • One last paper, this one 20 pages on the changing tides of Chinese culture and identity from the decline of the Qing dynasty to the May Fourth Movement of 1919.

  • While I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, seeing everything in the context of history writing, it doesn't exactly help to be surrounded by the animals, who, by the way, are still spending most of their time sleeping, usually on each other, or even on themselves. In the tradition of Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the cat," huh?*


    *see Brooks, Mel. History of the World Pt. 1. Line: "It's good to be the King!"

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