Friday, April 03, 2009

Fortune Cookie # 637

A bargain is not a bargain
unless you can use the product.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Anagama Moon

Arriving for my shift I had to take a moment to marvel...

Originally uploaded by william_meloney

Monday, March 30, 2009

Religion: A Convenient Belief

H.L.Mencken once said “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.”
...and he wants his beliefs to be safe as well.

I won't stop climbing mountains...

...but I have little desire to climb the same ones twice.

I am not my work...

...any more than a potter is one of her pots or a psychologist is one of his patients.

Sadly men and I now assume a goodly number of women attempt to classify each other with the off-hand question, "So, what do you do?"

From personal experience this is a form of the age old Alpha-(fe)male-posturing behavior. Lacking, as I am, the social graces to make pleasant conversational small talk I simply fall back on to the convenience of finding my place by asking the newcomer what he or she does. I can then quickly assess how low I must bow or what subtle level of contempt I may allow myself to have for this person.


Unfortunately we have given the convenience such simple social posturing the upper hand in our lives. Now we allow ourselves to "be" what we do. Some even go so far as to obscure our real lives behind the facade of our "doing".

Breaking out of this circumstance is very difficult. I know full well the discomfort that I felt (feel) when an acquaintance that I am on comfortable speaking terms with has repeatedly refused to define himself by what he does.

The Painted Bird is a controversial 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosiński which describes the world as seen by a young boy, "considered a Gypsy or Jewish stray," who wanders about small towns scattered around Central or Eastern Europe (presumably Poland) during World War II.

Kosiński, when asked how he could speak so distantly and unaffectionately about such a intimate and seemingly autobiographical work stated simply, "It no longer belongs to me."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Zen of ... the Biscuit

“Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.”
~ Carl Sandburg
I have recently taken up the quintessential meditation - trancendental biscuitry. Requiring the clearing of one's mind. Necessary is mise en place - the gathering and placement of the ingredients. Then comes the ritual. Turn off the monkey-mind, clear away the baggage of the day. Unfocus, so as to see clearly.

Let the hands work without condition. Allow the biscuit to be - in its before form. Embrace the inner biscuit. Do not clutch at it or insist that it conform. Ask it to manifest its biscuitness. Go along with the biscuit for its journey not yours. Then surrender the biscuit to the mother oven. Leave it there to become. The biscuit will tell you when you both have arrived.

Always remember that it is not a light flakey morsel but the biscuit becoming that we seek.

Today's meditation was gracious and forgiving. Having misread the recipe (yes, I am still bound by the written word - it is only my third time after all) I tripled the salt but then removed half. Instead of using my trusty wooden spoon I opted for an industrial spatula. With it I applied the very minimum number of folds to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients which included a table spoon of chrisp (real) bacon bits and a 1/4 cup of chedar cheese.

Turned out on the lightly dusted counter I applied only 8 kneads and then patted the dough to the desired thickness. I have opted for the 1/2 pint mason jar as my cutter - the only drawback is the vaccuum that prevents the newly cut biscuit from plopping back out. Perhaps a bit more flouring is in order.

Each biscuit then went "face" down on the baking sheet. 10 minutes at 420-something (really do need to acquire a proper oven thermometer). Then an extra 1 minute. I assume that the cheese made for the slight sticking to the sheet pan but they came up cleanly with a serving spatula. Then on to a cooling rack so their bottoms wouldn't steam into paste.

Pork fat rulez! Everything is better with bacon.

. . .