Thursday, September 29, 2011

Random Recipe: BOB

Actually, we do have a Random Research tidbit for today:
If exposed to hard vacuum (outer space, not malfunctioning Electrolux), do NOT hold your breath! You have about 14 seconds until you pass out; use them well.

I don't make up recipes very often, but the other day Buffy and I came up with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Bread. It's fabulous, but it needed a shorter name. We settled on "Bob," though "Ed" was a close contender. Here it is, with optional *decadence upgrades.

4 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
4 bananas, mashed
1 cup peanut butter
6 tbsp. butter, melted, divided use
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
*1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1/4 cup cocoa

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease two 9" loaf pans. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat bananas, peanut butter, 4 tablespoons butter, and sugars until creamy—about 2 minutes; beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture and milk. *Decadence upgrade #1: stir in chocolate chips. Pour half the batter into the 2 pans. Stir cocoa into remaining batter. Pour over batter in pans. Swirl chocolate batter into plain batter. Bake 40 minutes, brush with remaining butter. Bake 5 more minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center (try to avoid the optional choc. chips) comes out clean.
Decadence upgrade #2: Serve with Nutella. Be careful here. I'm not responsible if you die of bliss and/or sugar overload.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Random research: gossip

Before we start, look! This blog now has a "subscribe" button! If you like to stop in once in a while, please join this blog's three intrepid followers. I'd also love your comments.

Now, the Random Research Word of the Day:

The word "gossip" comes the late Old English godsibb, from god 'God' + sibb 'a relative', or "a person related to one in God."* 

When a woman had a baby, her husband fetched the midwife ("with the woman"), who helped deliver the baby,  and the gossips—female neighbors who cooked, cleaned, took care of the other children...and sat around knitting, waiting, and talking. And old usage of the word "gossip" is a friend or confidant.

Seems like there ought to be a moral to this etymology beyond, wow, words sure change over time.

Possibly even beyond, careful about what you speak about, who you speak about, and how you speak about them, even with your close friends.

OK, how about this:
The word "gossip" originally referred to women as sisters, related to us in God. The word as presently constituted implies conversations that draw boundaries between "us" and "them," often in a malicious way. But, who isn't a brother or sister, from God's point of view? If we relate to each person as a brother or sister in God, we won't ever feel inclined to indulge in conversations that hurt others or that cast anyone as an outsider.

Or something! Happy Random Research day!

* Dictionary v. 2.1.3, Apple, Inc.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New! Random Research Day

I'm forever running into little oddments of information during writing research, usually on the way to something else. The opportunity to share them in conversation just never comes up, so I've decided to make Wednesday on this blog Random Research Day (you may not want to set your clock by that).

Words that mean "green"*:

Through the Middle Ages, men wrote books about childbirth (or inscribed them on papyri), but it was considered improper for them to watch babies be born. "In 1522, Dr. Wert, a  German doctor, was sentenced to death when he was caught dressing like a woman and sneaking into a delivery room."**

* Dictionary v. 2.1.3, Apple Inc.
** Randi Hutter Epstein, Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth (2010), p. 5.
    A lively and interesting, if not always fastidiously documented, account of birth through the ages. Makes one very glad to be bearing children in the 20th-21st century!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I am grateful for...

Between the front door and the mailbox, here's what I found to be grateful for this morning:
Four-o'clocks, still "awake" at 8 a.m.
A bumper crop of basil, enough for pesto once a week!

Desert four-o'clocks, a little drowsy at 8 a.m.
Morning-glory* covered mailbox

*NOT to be confused with field bindweed, sometimes referred to as "morning glory." Lyrics to field-bindweed-hating song available upon request.

Bumper crop of elderberries, to become jam within the next 48 hours.

Bluebeard bottlebrush

Butterfly bush

Wild sunflowers 

Coming attractions: sedum blooming in the next couple of weeks. It likes to prolong the anticipation.
Lee Ann Setzer's blog about books, writing, and life in general.