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Edible Antics

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Tag: calendars

Gift Giving

Gift Giving: The Good, The Bad, and the Goat.

Gift giving this holiday can be easier than gift giving last holiday. If the folks you gave to last year enjoyed their gift, and your gift was food, then you’re all set. Just give the same food gift again.

Why food gifts? Because…

  1. Even fruitcake spoils and you can be certain that last year’s gift no longer resides in the closet/cupboard.
  2. Many people entertain during the holidays and appreciate having specialty foods and desserts on hand to share.
  3. Food gifts save people grocery money.
  4. People who have everything still need food.
  5. People give themselves a reprieve on their diets and enjoy indulging in holiday foods.
  6. Gift giving of particular foods can become happy, family traditions.

For years my mother ordered a particular company’s plum pudding for our Christmas Eve dessert. She’d set it on fire and carry it flaming to the table while we all sang. When the party moved to my house, she had the pudding delivered to me. And we continued to ignite it and feast. Christmas wasn’t Christmas without that plum pudding. In our family, giving the same food gift as last year has been a winning strategy. So that’s the good story of gift giving.

And here’s the bad, – when giving the same gift as last year goes wrong. If you’re thinking of repeating last year’s gift of flowers, keep reading.

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Leap Year – Making and Fixing Mistakes in Calendars, Cooking, and Marriage

I mistakenly thought that leap year existed because ancient Romans couldn’t figure out how to make an accurate calendar, and that they inserted February 29th to fix their mistake. But a quick look on Wikipedia told me that our wobbling planet spinning through its elliptical orbit cannot be pinned down to an immutable measure of a day or a year by anyone. A year is only approximately 365.24219 days. The influence of these last decimal points compounds like interest. Thus, throughout time, expert astronomers of many cultures have contrived fudge factors to deal with it.

In a way, this news is heartening. As all recipes say, ‘cooking time may vary’. The test of a good cook is not that h/she never errs in the kitchen, but that any error can be remedied. In other words, you make lemonade out of lemons, and your guests never know unless you tell them. For advice on fixing some common cooking mistakes, check out Michael Pollick’s cooking tips. 

I make lots of cooking mistakes, and they usually have to do with proportions. For instance, when I bought the round steak last week to make sauerbraten, I asked the butcher for a 1 1/2 pound piece sliced 3 1/4″ thick when I should have asked for a 3 1/4″ pound piece sliced 1 1/2″ thick. He told me he couldn’t give me a piece that thick and that light, so I said “do what you can” and I went home with 7 1/2 pounds of round steak cut 3 1/4″ thick. So what? I cut it in half and froze the rest. But this was one of my minor mistakes. Want to read more? Check out my posts on cooking game and turkey.

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