Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pancake Day


IHOP says it's pancake day. I sorta failed to take in the IHOP part and just fixated on the pancake part, so I made a mess o' flapjacks for breakfast.

1 1/2 cup AP flour
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup dry milk
about a teaspoon salt
about a tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
2 tablespoons veggie oil

Mix everything together vigorously until there are no bumps, or at least, no big ones.

Heat a large, lightly oiled skillet, or 2, to medium high. Drop the batter about 1/3 cup at a time, and fry both sides until they're brown. Decorate them to suit yourself. I like some of everything, obviously.

There isn't much to know about making pancakes, but:

- make sure the skillet is hot enough that the batter sizzles a bit when you put it in, and
- don't flip them until they're nearly cooked through, then
- just brown the other side lightly, or they will go dry.

Dad could not make good pancakes. They were always heavy, dense, greasy, hard, rubbery, and burnt in places. They usually tasted like too much baking powder, and were a bit sulphurous from too much egg. In his culture-bound mindset, to make something 'good' you should pack as many rich ingredients into it as possible. Which meant using lots of oil and eggs in the batter, and practically deepfrying them in animal fat. Unfortunately lots of egg and oil makes a very solid pancake, which means you need lots of leavening to lighten it up, which means all you can taste is baking powder and egg white. And whatever animal contributed the fat. Sometimes that was a pig, but frequently it was a duck. Or a chicken.

Naturally, I was convinced for decades that pancakes were gross. I don't know exactly when that changed. Trader Joe's pancake mix might have helped. That was the first step on my road to pancake recovery. I used to have a box of the multigrain mix around all the time, but then 2 things happened: I moved out here and ate Pete's pancakes that he makes from scratch, and I realized that it didn't make sense to keep what is essentially a box of flour that I can only use for 2 things along with all my normal flour. I mean, even if you get a box of mix, you still have to add eggs, and oil, and milk, so at that point why not add the flour and leavening too, right?

Pete makes great pancakes. This isn't his recipe, his are fluffier, and I think he uses yogurt in them so they have an extra yummy flavor, a bit like a yeast batter but not near as fiddly. I saw him making them one morning and sort of went 'Huh. So that's how you're supposed to do it.'

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tarzan is a complete moron

What the hell is a badass chick like Jane doing with that special ed. monkey-wannabee jerk? In Beasts of Tarzan the evil nemesis plots this stupid scheme to abduct Tarzan, who totally falls for it. Walks right onto the boat, doesn't even notice that the damn thing is running full steam ready to weigh anchor at any second. Mind you, Jane figures it out in like 30 seconds, and runs off after her mentally challenged spouse to warn him. It takes a knockout blow to the head to get Jane on board.

So then they're kidnapped. Jane spends the time being polite to the only crewmember she ever sees, who turns out to be a decentish sort of fella after all, and since she's been so polite, he helps her escape once they get to Africa. Meanwhile, Tarzan seems to have spent the entire voyage in a sulk.

Once they're both off the boat, what do they do? Well Tarzan spends some time being morose and thinking that he'll just resign himself to his fate for  a while, and then he postures around for a bunch of gorillas. On the other hand, Jane and the crewman hack their way through the jungle trying to escape the villain. When it's obvious that they're going to get caught, the crewman goes all noble and says he'll go back and tell the villain that Jane died. Jane knows he'll get slaughtered and is apalled. But she picks her ass up and forges ahead by herself. Meanwhile, Tarzan is flexing his naked thews for the gorillas and killing a lion for the hell of it.

When Jane gets caught by the villain, rather than weep and despond, she fakes out her nemesis, disarms him, pistol whips him into unconsciouness with his own weapon, and has the sense to realize that shooting him will make a ruckus. So she claws her way out into the jungle with her bare hands, remembers where her hapless would-be rescuer left a rifle and some ammo, picks the stuff up and runs off to steal a canoe. Tarzan gets to the enemy camp right after she and the villain have skeedaddled, and immediately comes to the conclusion that both of them have gone off to hang out with this other villain. So he doesn't even bother to look for his wife, he just toddles on back to the place he just escaped from. Did I mention that he keeps getting captured by cannibals? By falling asleep in hostile villages? Knowingly? When he could just as easily sleep in a tree?

By the time Tarzan figures out that oops, yup, he should have actually looked around first before charging about in circles, Jane has piloted her stolen war canoe all the way back to the kidnappers ship, sneaked aboard carrying an elephant gun and a bandolier, hijacked and incarcerated the crew all by herself, and started shooting down some bad guys attempting to board and re-take the boat.

eeek! my thews, my mighty thews!
Oh, and Tarzan went skinnydipping and got his mighty thews nibbled on by a crocodile. The whole book is like that, swear to god. Tarzan blunders into a mess, Jane gets caught up in it, saves herself, then waits around for her dumbass ape man to catch up. I would never in a million years have thought that Edgar Rice Burroughs could be read as a proto-feminist.

I would never in slightly less than a million years have read a Tarzan book in the first place, except that I got a knock-off Nook for christmas as my corporate gift this past year. It's pretty good for downloading ridiculous crap that you wouldn't bother to read unless it was a) free, and b) able to be acquired without getting off the couch. Other than that, it's a little slow and clunky. If I'd paid money for it, I'd be pissed. The thing is nowhere near as cool as an ipad or even a kindle, but hey, it was free! Definitely lower on the utility scale than my last company christmas present, but rather higher in terms of instant gratification.

But really, is Jane cock-whipped or what? Fucking Christ.