Wednesday, January 6, 2010


In Led Zeppelin's song Over the Hills and Far Away, Robert Plant muses, "Many times I've wondered how much there is to know." I can relate to this. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by how much there is to know, and just how little of it I do know. Further, I get frustrated by my limited capacity, time-wise, resource-wise and ability-wise to learn (and do) more. For instance, tonight on Fresh Air, George Lucas was being interviewed and he was asked about the mythology behind his films. He explained how he was an anthropology major in college and became interested in the psychology supporting the myths and when creating films he was exploring whether that psychology still resonates in current culture. He was also discussing that mythology is really storytelling. I'm probably misrepresenting precisely what he was saying, but the point is that while listening, what was going through my head was: I would love to be able to study anthropology and know more about various cultures; I would like to read mythology and be familiar with more of the classic myths. I remember being really interested in the little mythology I studied in grade school; I would like to pursue storytelling as an art form. I took a workshop a few years ago, but never did anything with it. Then, in this typical line of my thinking comes the part where I get frustrated thinking that at my job, while I learn knew information, it's nothing terribly interesting and I feel like I'm getting dumber by the day, rather than smarter and wiser.
The next step in this thought progression is usually my getting down on myself for not being disciplined in using my free time more productively - studying and researching (formally or informally) the litany of topics I'd like to explore. On the contrary, I end up being less scheduled than I could be and just falling back on the usual suspects to fill my time: biking, running, cooking and reading fiction (with the smattering of non-fiction mixed in). It's not like I'm spending hours wasting time in front of the t.v. or anything, so I suppose I could be far less productive,but I have do my time wasters: flitting about the Internet and playing my favorite iPhone app of the day (i.e. Boggle). I guess I long to possess a little more Type A personality, and be a morning person, as I've mentioned before (I think they probably go hand in hand), but I'll have to work with what I've got and make the best of it.
When I do make a meal that is spontaneous, creative, tasty and efficient all at the same time, I must admit, I do feel a good sense of accomplishment. This very thing happened the other day when I made potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes, applesauce from the softening apples that were no longer good to eat on their own, and a tasty side salad to use up the greens in the fridge. I was just about to throw away half a bag of McIntosh apples when it dawned on me that applesauce would be a good accompaniment to the pancakes. It cooked so quickly and did work well with the meal.

3 to 4 lbs peeled, cored and quartered apples (not all apples are good for cooking, but McIntosh, Fuji, Granny Smith and some others work well.)
4 strips of lemon peel
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
up to 1/4 cup white sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 cup of water
1/2 tspn salt

1. Put all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, take out lemon peel, and mash with a potato masher or a couple of whirls of an immersion blender.

Would be good warm over vanilla ice cream or put it in fridge for a snack all on its own!

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