23 December 2016

See The Way The Handle On Those Pruning Shears Matches Her Gardening Clogs? That's Not An Accident.

This year Chanukah begins on Christmas Eve . . . right through January 1. This is very exciting for me, and we have plans all weekend with wonderful friends. Rusty doesn’t celebrate Chanukah; I celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas. I'm excited about the holidays, as always. About 2017?  . . . that remains to be seen. Anyway, bitch that I am, my gift to you this year is a typical Kathy rant. Actually I’m still on that volume-versus-weight rant.

Sometimes I just need someone or some authoritative text/entity to agree with me on a fact that I know to be true. For example, in my recent endeavor with lime curd the recipe called for 150 grams of lime juice. This obvious error in the recipe consumes my thoughts. One cannot measure a liquid by weight. Would 10 grams of water occupy the same volume in a measuring cup as 10 grams of honey? Of motor oil? Mercury?! Of course not, and it’s making me crazy that the Internet contains a great recipe with an unforgivable error in a critical measurement. And I wonder why my lime curd is overly tart. Liquids are (or should be) measured by volume, be it milliliters or fluid ounces. I cannot let it go. Naturally my husband was and still is thrilled . . . or not. He simply wanted some authentic French Madeleines.

So it's the holidays and I should play nicely . . . should being the key word. A few days ago I did make Madeleines for that darling man o' mine. And the recipe read, thankfully, fluid ounces of melted butter. Got that? Fluid ounces of melted (i.e., a liquid) butter. Ah, but here in Costa Rica our butter contains so many additives that when one melts the happy product of a happy cow you’ll find all sorts of things floating on top (and, for you true cooks and bakers,  I’m not simply referring to the milk solids). These floaters must be skimmed before measuring the butter. So if I need four fluid ounces of butter, I’d better begin with six-plus ounces from the stick of solid butter. Surely you’re following my reasoning in this rant. No? Well let’s move to another topic . . . one of my favorites: grammar and the misuse of English words.

First let me say that I have very dear friends who are far more intelligent than I (most everyone is), and yet still use improper grammar. So here’s your little holiday gift . . . and you know who you are:
  • It’s aback, not back. You are not taken back by my Scrooge-like rants. But you may be taken aback by my candor regarding today's emotional breakdown.
  • It’s myriad, not a myriad of. There were myriad possibilities causing my cream puff failure. It is not There are a myriad of emotional issues that cause Kathy to rant. Now I'll grant you that many English purists have abandoned all hope of instilling the proper use of myriad among the general public. This defeatist acceptance does not mean that you should abandon myriad's proper usage.
  • It’s regardless, not (never!) irregardless. Double negative, people. Indeed it is irrespective, but it is not irregardless.

Proper grammar and punctuation, folks . . . use it.

Now let’s discuss some of my pet peeves in the English dictionary. These are words that forever should be stricken from the dictionary unless and until their misuse and/or over use ceases.

Transparency. Politicians, as well as corporations, police departments, and school districts overly embrace this word. Is this a 2016 thing? Anyone ever consider using that old-fashion word, honesty? How about disclosure? Is it just me, or is transparency the new LOL or OMG? I’d rather return to the “open book” cliché than hear transparency on every other CNN story. But it gets worse . . . far worse.

If you don’t agree with me on this one, please never return to this blog. Surreal. We saw monkeys in the trees and it was totally surreal. No it wasn’t! Monkeys live in trees. Not everything that is fascinating, frightening, or out of the ordinary is surreal. Melting clocks are indeed surreal. Witnessing the auto accident in the intersection may have been alarming, but it was not surreal!

Does someone need her first cup of holiday cheer? Probably.

On a lighter note, Rebecca (notice that comma there?), attempt number eleven resulted in perfect cream puffs. Yes, finally, bakery-worthy cream puffs. The Madeleines might have been mistaken for those from a French patisserie; and even in a country lacking transparency in marketing its cream cheese . . . a country with a myriad of additives in its butter . . . a country where you’ll be taken back by the similarities in the cheese flavors (it’s positively surreal, I tell you) . . . and, yes, irregardless of these challenges, the cheese cake with wheat cracker crust was perfect. Might have been that bain-marie containing the precise volume, not weight, of water . . . I don't recall.

You can tell that Rusty is having a golden day between my screaming and banging pots in the kitchen while raving about my myriad woes. He's probably counting the misspellings and poor grammar in this post. 'Tis indeed a happy holiday season here in Costa Rica. Lo que hay.