NuttyTart

Mageirocophilia

On Finns and their recipes

Fuel: Weingut Steininger Riesling Kamptal 2010. Fresh and green and delicious; gives a few New Zealander sauvignon blancs a run for their money.

 

Bless my fellow Finns – we are weird and spunky sort of people with plenty of talents and strengths typically found in the smaller nations. One of those strengths is not recipe writing, however.

 

Enter a Finnish recipe forum. Ask for a recipe, for example: ”I would like to make some sort of quick and spicy pasta dish tonight – I’m thinking with chicken – anyone have a good recipe to recommend?” Behold the answers: ”Oh, I made the best dish last week, you should definitely try it! Here’s the recipe: chicken, pasta, tomatoes, tomato paste, cream cheese, onions (if you like), spices. It was sooo good!”

 

I’m glad it was good. However, what you just wrote there, dahlink, is not a recipe and does not help anyone to recreate the bestest dish you made last week. It’s just a vague list of ingredients.

 

But you must not say so! Do not make the cardinal sin of asking them to be more specific: How much cream cheese did you use? What kinds of spices? How much of each? What did you do with the ingredients? Bake them? Fry them?? Pray tell! If you do, you will most likely be subjected to a condescending, hurt answer along the lines of ”Well of course it all depends on you taste, doesn’t it, I can’t know how much cayenne you like in your food. Just make it as you like it. Haven’t you ever cooked before?” [insert implied huffs, puffs, and eye rolls]

 

You know, maybe I really haven’t cooked before. Does that mean I should never start? Everyone has been a beginner at some point, and some of those beginners do not start cooking by ear, but actually prefer to follow recipes. Some fairly experienced cooks do not cook by ear, but actually prefer to use recipes, maybe tweaking them here and there to their liking (because now they know what their liking is). Some of us never evolve into great, instinctive cooks and actually prefer to use recipes, like, always. So what? That’s why recipes exist. And it is, in fact, not particularly helpful to say to someone looking for a spicy pasta dish with chicken that they should make a dish using pasta, chicken and spices. No, I’m being quite serious: it isn’t.

 

A recipe is supposed to contain the following, at the very least:

First and foremost and absolutely: the required ingredients along with their quantities. It is quite permissible to say “or to taste” after quantities of spices if you feel a need to cover your ass, but for Pete’s sake give a quantity;

Equipment needed to prepare the dish (Pot? Frying pan? Bowls? Oven? Stovetop? What?);

A list of preparation steps – what you do with your list of ingredients does make a difference. And by this I mean the specifics of what you’re supposed to do, not vague nothingness á la “Prepare ingredients into a dough. Bake bread in oven until done.” (A real-life example!) When do I add each thing; do I whip, beat, or stir; what is the oven temperature; what size cake tin do I need – every step.

 

Gone are the days when recipes were written for professional cooks and served mainly as reminders for someone who already knew how to prepare the dish. Most dinners these days are made by non-professional cooks, and recipe writing conventions reflect that. Tempora mutantur, move with them, people.

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On exercise

Fuel: Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. One of my current favourites: gloriously fresh and curranty. Nectar of the goddesses, nay, nectar for the goddesses.

 

One of the oft-repeated and uncontested truths of our time is that we all like exercising and that people who say they don’t, simply haven’t tried enough. You know what they say: you just have to find your own sport, the one you enjoy, and then you too can become a sporty, sweaty person who is ever so happy and healthy! Maybe you’re a solitary type! Maybe you enjoy team sports! Maybe dancing is for you! Just keep looking, you will sooo enjoy exercising when you find the one! Yeah baby!

 

What a load of tosh. The types of exercise I have tried in my life include but are not limited to: jogging, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, badminton, zumba, long jump, various forms of aerobics under fancy names and to various kinds of music, the gym, The Firm, high jump, latino dancing, ashtanga yoga, the exercise ball, sprint, circuit training, pilates, step, skating, cycling, and swimming. See? I have tried. I have tested the theory. I feel fairly certain I have covered most general types of exercise, from the simple to the involved, from the straightforward to the artsy. I fucking hated it all. I could stand some of the forms of exercise for about three times (I blame novelty), after which I fucking hated them.

 

Look: all exercise involves sweating, being out of breath and experiencing discomfort. I DO NOT enjoy sweating and being out of breath and uncomfortable, no matter how this state of affairs comes to be*. I enjoy sitting and reading.

 

At this point the happy sweaty person will pull out the next weapon: but you get such a high when you’ve exercised! It’s so wonderful, what a feeling! You’ll be hooked! Yeah baby!

 

I have no idea what you’re talking about. The only high I’ve ever experienced after exercising comes from the knowledge that I don’t have to do it again for at least 24 hours, likely 48. Now that’s joy, right there. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that if I never exercise, I can experience this high all the time.

 

The simple truth of the matter is this: you exercise fanatics are no more the norm than I am. So why don’t you stop harping on that I, in fact and quite unbeknownst to myself, do enjoy exercising, and I will refrain from telling you, with no restraint and in colourful detail, that you are all a bunch of masochistic freaks. Ok? Ok.

 

*And because someone who thinks s/he is very clever is planning to write a comment about sex right about now, I would like to point out and emphasise the word “uncomfortable”.

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On karma

Fuel: Santa Ana sauvignon blanc inna box. Quite bad – left over from a recent house party. Will drink because I can’t bear to chuck wine into the bin.

 

I’ll readily admit I don’t get karma. It is not a concept that makes intuitive sense to me. It seems that whenever someone feels they’ve been wronged, they’re all KARMA WILL GET THEM! (the wrong-doers, that is) OH YEAH! So, the logic goes that a mysterious force in the universe will straighten everyone out and everyone will get their just deserts.

 

Now, wouldn’t this logically mean that the shitty thing that happened to you… was something you deserved?

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On disliking David Nicholls

Fuel: Yellowglen’s Pink (with much thanks to Miss T who knows what I like). Marketed as a seriously girly, bubbly thing – I’ll readily admit I love its strawberry flavours and its spunk. It’s just on the border of a-touch-too-sweet, but never crosses it. Ah!

 

On to the gripe:

 

I’m sure I was more or less the last person to hear about the book One Day, only this autumn – I haven’t been following book news since I discovered Pratchett, Murakami and Stroud a few years back and have been busy reading everything they have produced (which, in the case of Pratchett in particular, is not a little). I only really heard about the book when I heard about the movie that was coming out, and like a true bibliophile, I will always rather read the book. My imagination is heaps better than anything Hollywood (or any other place, for that matter) can come up with. I did struggle slightly with the fact that, after having read that Emma was being played by Anne Hathaway, and I know what Anne Hathaway looks like, my mental image of Emma looked slightly like Anne Hathaway. This I could live with. David Nicholls, on the other hand, I could not. Oh, and nor could Emma.

 

You know the thing David Nicholls did in Cold Feet, where he went and killed Rachel for no good reason? He does the same thing in One Day. Yes, people (the 12 of you who have not read the book or seen the movie), Emma dies. About four fifths through the book.

 

Because that’s what David Nicholls does. Stupid, stupid, misogynistic, one-trick-pony David Nicholls. No great woman shall live! I shall shake you all to the core with this one turn of events I have been able to come up with! Ha ha! I shall create a character you really like and then kill off her for no reason, because life is shit and you should not become attached to anything! Ha ha! Look what I did there! *David Nicholls chuckles*

 

I have no idea what the remaining 1/5 of the book was about, since I cannot imagine anyone being particularly interested in what happened to the self-centred boring whatsisname who was apparently considered the other central character in the book.

 

Did I just ruin the book for you? Good. Thou shalt not spend money on it. It’s enough that I did. (And I shall be getting rid of said book through bookcrossing.com. Bwahaha! It will be somebody else’s burden soon enough!)

 

Gawd. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me, or some such thing. There will not be a third time, Mr. Nicholls. Just stop hating great women, willya?

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