13 June 2006

Windows, Baking, and other miscellany

[before I get started, I'd like to mention that 'miscellany' is one of my favorite words. Really. Along with 'marginalia' -- both for its meaning and for the way something so innocent can sound so dirty -- and chaos. I have recently added, by suggestion, eleemosynary to this list. Now that's a kick-ass word. Is it weird that I have a list of favorite words? I didn't think so. Anyway...]

What was I thinking when I decided tonight that I wanted to bake not one but two different deserts, both for no reason. Under normal circumstances, this would be no big deal. I like to bake. I do it frequently. Despite the fact that I'm not big on sweets, I enjoy baking sweet things for others, especially for no reason. But today... today was a lethal combination.

I spent the better part of my day in Whitesburg learning how to restore early 20th century steel sashed windows [photos to come]. There are no words for how much fun manual labor is when you've been in graduate school for what seems like an eternity. Not to mention the fact that I love to restore things and have a great amount of respect for history (this is the only thing that can explain why I argued to save from destruction a set of painted-over windows -- not original windows, I might add, but ones that were probably put in sometime in the last thirty years that would have cost us only $2 or so to replace -- with the cry "But what price do you pay for the patina of history?" Yep. I love old things. And I don't think that there is an age at which something isn't worth preserving. Well... ok, maybe some of that energy-crisis, 1970s architecture. And some of the fugly stuff from the '60s. But still, that's a time in our history we don't want to lose, and some of it is valuable for kitsch factor alone... but I digress). I returned to Virginia around 6:00, happy and exhausted, with a dead right arm and a fine dusting of caulk-dust and glass from head to foot. After a shower, dinner, work, and finishing my book (Unquiet Earth, but Denise Giardina. Sequel to Storming Heaven, a must read), it was still light out and I had nothing to do. I was bored. So I decided to bake cookies. Drei Augen cookies (you know, those double layer cookies with the raspberry jam in the middle). I've never made them before, but new recipies have never stopped me. I like an adventure in the kitchen. After setting the (what seemed like suspiciously crumbly) dough in the fridge to cool, I made the fatal decision to make a cake, on top of the high maintenance cookies. The recipie for honey cake appealed to me -- what with the entrance of bees onto my radar, I think a lot more about honey these days. Just in case any of you were wondering, it's incredibly messy to bake with honey. And this cake calls for about 2 cups of it. After spilling honey everywhere (and I mean everywhere) I finally got the cake into the oven. The dough tastes a little bit like graham crackers, but really, really, really good graham crakers.

2 hours later, the cookie dough is ready and I'm regretting the decision to bake in the first place. I'm tired. My arms hurt. All I want to do is get in bed, work on T-SALP and go to sleep so I can get up early and sand, paint, and glaze steel sashed windows. But no -- I have the dough for 36 cookies waiting in the fridge. Grudgingly, I pull it out and am greeted with a cold, crumbling, buttery mess. The cookies won't cut. They fall apart all over the counter, the floor the cookie sheet. What few I manage to cut won't take holes for the jam. The whole thing is a disaster. Now what?

Well, I just decided. Oven off. Crumbly buttery dough in trash. Jennie with glass of wine.


As for knitting related things, I covet this sweater.

I bought the pattern. But it seems silly to get wool yarn to make it in June. I won't be able to knit it until October. Not to mention the fact that I think I have enough projects on my plate right now. But... I think I like it so much because it reminds me of this sweater:

My grandmother made this sweater too. I would wear it every day if I could. I was thinking the other day that I might try and duplicate it, just to see how she made it. The seaming on it is almost completely invisible. It's amazing. Some more photos, because I have them:

Sock progress and Amazing Lace posts are coming soon, I promise. Just as soon as I get my right arm back in working condition!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Bummer about the frustrating baking exerience... That is a great sweater and I totally see how it reminds you of the one your grandmother made!