Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crumpetty Pancakes

Five quarts of sour milk? When Maggie was sick and banned from milk, we ended up with a lot that soured before we drank it. (That showed us who's our milk-guzzler!) Raw milk doesn't go rancid when it sours as does pasteurized milk. Still, five quarts will make a LOT of pancakes and muffins.

When I finally was ready to use the last of the milk (five weeks after it had gone sour), I was in a hurry to throw some pancakes onto plates before we left for morning chapel. I didn't want to spend the time to combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. I took a shortcut. I added the baking soda, sugar, baking powder, and salt directly to the milk/egg/oil mixture. After beating that together well, I began to measure the flour. Oh my goodness -- in that brief amount of time, the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the sour milk caused the whole thing to grow and foam and expand. (It was pretty cool!) I stirred in the flour and began to fry the pancakes, wondering how badly I might have ruined them.

But they weren't ruined. They had this wonderful texture that made us think of crumpets, kind of light and spongy with some crispness on the outside. I might try this again ... on purpose this time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

John 3:16

Begotten of the Father from eternity,
God of God,
Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made. (Nicene Creed)

Pastor Bender comments
(in Lutheran Catechesis -- Catechist Edition)

on John 3:16 --

Since God the Father so loved the world,
then the only begotten Son so loved the world
because the Son is one with the Father
in His nature
and will to save.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hypo-Allergenic Baby Powder

I read the label on that bottle. I did. Really.

Not carefully enough, though. I saw the words "pure cornstarch" on the label. But it wasn't 100% pure cornstarch. The baby powder had a small amount of perfume and aloe. I figured that out after I developed the rash and the itch.

So back to the old-fashioned way that I remember my mom using when she was diapering my baby sister.

One thin cotton hankie. One box of cornstarch from the kitchen cupboard. Lay the handkerchief flat on the table. Dump a small pile of cornstarch in the middle -- maybe 1/3 cup. Pull together the corners and edges of the hankie, wrapping them tightly with a rubber band so that there are no leaks, so that the cornstarch can escape the pouch only by sifting through the cloth. This handy-dandy little pouch of cornstarch can be patted onto the places where you'd like to sprinkle "baby powder."

1. Cheaper than normal baby powder. Even cheaper than generic.
2. "Greener" because you're not buying those plastic bottles that the powder comes in.
3. Hypo-allergenic (for virtually everyone).
4. Less messy because there's not so much powder going into the air or spilling on the floor.
5. Did I mention cheaper?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011



We think of giving up chocolate for Lent. We think of denying ourselves what the flesh craves: a nice vacation on a beach, new clothes, steak and lobster. We think of monks who take vows of poverty. We usually think of self-denial in terms of abstaining from things that affect our senses.

Commenting on Luke 9:23, "If anyone desire to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me," Pastor Bender writes,

Self-denial is central to faith in Christ, and such self-denial is the denial that a person's own good works can in any way save him.
From Lutheran Catechesis -- Catechist (2nd edition)

Self-denial. I deny that I can save myself.
Self-denial. I deny that the reason God prefers me is because I'm such a good little Christian.
Self-denial. I deny that my faith and piety are of myself.

Nothing about chocolate....

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Burying the Alleluias

Apparently, a formal "farewell to alleluia" has been gaining popularity for Transfiguration Sunday. There are a few things I don't understand about this.

1. "Say the black; do the red." Normally, we do the things in the liturgy (such as foregoing alleluias during Lent) without a ceremony to focus on them. It seems to me that "burying the alleluias" is saying the red.

2. Why is this done on Sunday? If it is to be done, oughtn't the farewell be at vespers on Tuesday? We sang our alleluias during the prayer offices between Sunday morning's service and Wednesday morning matins. Doesn't it seem odd to bury alleluias that still have a few days' worth of use left in 'em?

How Do You Pronounce That Name??

My friend Sandy tells about a recent meeting when the Kenyans and a few Americans were working on their new hymnal --

The first part of our meeting with the Tanzanians was spent in casual conversation, getting to know each other a bit. I was puzzled by one of their pronunciations, so tried to ask about it. The conversation went something like this:

Let me ask you about the pronunciation of the word "Tanzania." In Swahili the second-last syllable typically receives the accent, so I would have expected you to say TanzaNIa, but you are saying TanZAnia. Why is that?

Both Tanzanians and the Kenyan all jumped to say, "Of course we say TanzaNIa! It is TanzaNIa!!! When someone says TanZAnia, it is the quickest way to see he is a foreigner. He doesn't know the correct pronunciation."

I was truly dumbfounded, having heard them say TanZAnia at least a dozen times. All I could think was, "Then you are foreigners, because that's how you're saying it." But how could I say that? I'd be accusing them either of not knowing how to pronounce the name of their own country, or of not hearing what was coming out of their mouths. So I just kept quiet.

A short time later, one of them used "TanZAnian" in a sentence. Kantor Resch, who had been sitting quietly beside me and listening to the whole conversation, smiled and said quietly to me, "He said TanZAnian, didn't he?"

To which Masuki replied: "Of course I did. I'm speaking in English."

Monday, March 07, 2011

As Good as Home-Made

It used to be that food manufacturers advertised their products "as good as home-made" or "tastes as great as Mom used to make."

When I was talking with an acquaintance recently, she commented on her chicken pot pie. She doesn't cook a lot, but this is one recipe she makes that turns out fabulous. "You know what? It's as good as what you can buy at the store!" The other participants in the conversation were impressed.

So now we at home have reached the goal when we make food that tastes as good as what's mass-manufactured? Something has changed!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Jesus, Priceless Treasure

In Thine arms I rest me;
foes who would molest me
cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash.
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Earthquake? Lightning and thunder? Sin and hell making their attacks?

You'd almost be tempted to think that this is about Good Friday.

Your Signature

A customer was really upset with me the other day. He was making a substantial withdrawal from his savings account, and I asked for ID. He's been banking with our bank for over 50 years, and he thought we should know him.

Now, maybe the long-term tellers really do know this customer I waited on. I'm a newbie; at this point there are only a few customers I recognize without checking their ID. But (here's the thing!) most of the customers don't know I'm using my computer to check their ID. So if I hit a computer glitch and cannot look up signatures and photo-IDs, then I have to ask to see your driver's license.

Wouldn't you rather the teller ask than to hand your hard-earned money to a stranger who's claiming to be you? I love it when I ask a customer for ID and the person thanks me for making them go to the trouble of digging out their wallet!