February 2009

DIY Bread

Bread prices have really gone through the roof lately. And as a home office worker, I eat at home for every meal. And as a bad cook, many of those meals are sandwiches. Furthermore, I am picky about bread, and usually buy the more expensive loaves. (My current favorite is the line of local Franz breads which do not use high fructose corn syrup.) I decided that it was time to invest in a breadmaker. I had tried making loaves of bread by hand in the past, but these efforts were… less than successful. (See note about bad cook above.) Since breadmakers are expensive, and I was not sure if I would like the results or keep at it, I decided to hit the local thrift store first. I scored a perfectly good breadmaker for only $7 at the Goodwill. Yay! If you go thrifting for a breadmaker, be sure that it has all its parts. It should have a removable bread dough pan, and a little paddle. Be sure that the bread pan fits in correctly, and that it isn't badly scratched.

Doughnuts. And Coffee

It's after ten at night. I've been writing pretty much all day. It snowed earlier, and it's still trying hard to do it some more. I've been out for short walks twice, in the trying-to-decide-if-it's going to snow or not weather. I want doughnuts. I want fresh, hot, crispy dense-crusted slightly-sweet buttermilk bars, and bismarks filled with bavarian cream.

Reimagining a Classic

Recently, the Mars Corporation decided to unleash a new version of its top-selling Snickers bar, the unwieldly-named Rockin' Nut Road. This is nothing new. After all, there are several varieties of Snickers already. Aside from the classic, there's a version that replaces the peanuts with almonds, another that uses dark instead of milk chocolate, a refreshing ice cream bar, and even a sorry excuse for an energy bar. Maybe Mars figured out that people like Snickers because it's candy. This after years of marketing it as the ideal snack between meals. The Rockin' Nut Road (I want to punch myself in the face every time I write that) is actually a pretty good candy bar. Maybe I'm just a purist, but I still prefer the original. All the same, the new flavor is a welcome addition to the candy aisle at the convenience store. It starts with a dark chocolate shell and gives way to a slightly softer, sweeter inside.