Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Add 'Here' to 'Places I Don't Belong'

You know what, I kind of give up trying to be a New Englander. Not that I was trying all that hard in the first place, but now I’m going to stop all efforts completely. I want to go back to the Midwest where people are normal and don’t make fun of me when I talk.

I knew when I moved here I would have to prepare myself for some adjusted vocabulary. I knew, for example, that I would have to train myself to say ‘soda’ in public instead of ‘pop’ because New Englanders have apparently never heard the term before in their lives and have no idea that it refers to a delicious carbonated, caffeinated beverage. I was also aware that the word ‘wicked’ would creep into my vocabulary with increasing regularity and it would not refer to the musical.

But enough is enough. I do not enjoy being looked at like I am completely insane if I mention a word or phrase in all innocence believing all people here can’t be morons, they must at least get the gist of what I’m speaking of even if they don’t use the language themselves, and then being proved horribly wrong. Everyone here apparently is a moron and my faith in humanity is shattered.

New Englanders think they are so progressive and open minded, also that they are better than everyone else because they live on the East Coast which is the only civilized land in the world. I’m serious, if it is west of Worcester, Mass, it becomes the Great Beyond. A land of mystery and danger and people who should be pitied.

They take vacations to other places in New England. They go to New York if they’re feeling particularly charitable toward the rest of the world. They cannot comprehend someone living happily somewhere else. If the rest of the country fell off in some sort of cataclysmic earthquake, or were attacked by North Korea, it would take them over a month to notice.

It is like they are stuck in colonial America and do not recognize that we have added some territory since 1781. Well, this is my open letter to New Englanders: The map above does not include the entire country. There is more out there. Deal with it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Fall is my favorite season. The weather is beautiful and it is the perfect season for baking! Autumn has fantastic recipes with seasonal ingredients like pumpkin and apple. My most recent recipe I found on, a great site that includes recipe ratings, and notes from people who have used the recipes including adjustments and substitutions.

AllRecipes is where I found the recipe for Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread. It's really simple and turns out some great pumpkin bread!

Prep time: 15 minutes          Cook time: 50 minutes

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree                                     2 tsp baking soda
4 eggs                                                                              1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil                                                         1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup water                                                                 1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups sugar                                                                    1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 1/2  cups all-purpose flour                                        1/4 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x3" loaf pans.
2. In large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
5. Bake for about 50 minutes. Loaves are ready when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

To change up the recipe, add chocolate chips or nuts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Dynamic Biblio!

Ok, so maybe I need to work on my superhero name.

In my internet travels, I recently came across this short article.

Now I will be the first to say that I have absolutely no idea what this book is actually about, and from trying to do some more internet research, no one else knows either. It is apparently going to be a fantasy, but apart from the epic tagline, there isn’t much more to go on.

But let us look at that tagline: “What if being a librarian was the most dangerous job in the world?”

Just based on that, as soon as I’m done here, I’m going to see if I can pre-order on Amazon yet. I mean if you want a great hook, look no further. Some ad rep just earned their paycheck. The fact that librarianship has become a pop culture meme is fantastic and more than a little hilarious.

Librarians are already every-day superheroes in real life, it is only fitting that we become so in print. Be nice to your local librarian, you can’t be sure what their super power is.

I think the Librarian Avengers put it best:
Ok, sure. We’ve all got our little preconceived notions about who librarians are and what they do. Many people think of librarians as diminutive civil servants, scuttling about “Sssh-ing” people and stamping things. Well, think again buster.

Librarians have degrees. They go to graduate school for Information Science and become masters of data systems and human/computer interaction. Librarians can catalog anything from an onion to a dog’s ear. They could catalog you.

Librarians wield unfathomable power. With a flip of the wrist they can hide your dissertation behind piles of old Field and Stream magazines. They can find data for your term paper that you never knew existed. They may even point you toward new and appropriate subject headings.

People become librarians because they know too much. Their knowledge extends beyond mere categories. They cannot be confined to disciplines. Librarians are all-knowing and all-seeing. They bring order to chaos. They bring wisdom and culture to the masses. They preserve every aspect of human knowledge. Librarians rule. And they will kick the crap out of anyone who says otherwise.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fair to Middling

Being a good Midwestern girl, I love the county fair. I look forward to it every year, mostly for the deliciously awful food, but also to see animals and crafts and displays of how hick people become during that one magical week a year when it is completely socially acceptable. Granted, many of them are that hick year-round, but let’s move on…

Naturally, when I moved to New England, I believed the glory days of fried food and barns were behind me, happily I discovered this was not the case. The hillbilly-repressed Bay-Staters also take one week a year to embrace their unpolished side and revel in products of the great outdoors. They too highlight livestock, produce, and continue the fight for a high national weight average. It is very comforting to know they are not so different from their Midwestern cousins.

So it was on Sunday last, I drove my little car to meet friends at the Topsfield Fair: America’s Oldest Established 1818. And so it was the East Coast fair culture shock began.

In all fairness, the general principles remain the same: eat a lot, look at animals, look at produce, eat some more. It’s the general feel and attitude that is really different. For one thing, the Topsfield Fair is generally held at the beginning of October as opposed to the Midwest where fairs usually take place in July/August. Topsfield also resembles more of the state fair feel rather than your typical county fair. It’s much bigger (though not as big as a state fair) and many more people attend because this is one of the only fairs in the state. People come from all over New England and even Canada making the midway much more crowded and the atmosphere less happy and jovial and more…well…more East Coast-y.

The names for some things are different of course (elephant ears = fried dough) and they have never even heard of Lemon Shake-Ups (travesty, I know). It is more just a week of play then of actually showing what agricultural strides have been made in the previous year. The whole ambience is just off.

I still had a good time with the friends I went with and I got my funnel cake, which is all I really needed to achieve. I also got to see a pumpkin that weighed over 1,600 pounds, which in itself was worth the price of admission. It was not the county fair of my childhood, but as long as I can get my once a year funnel cake, I think I can deal with it.