Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Simple Chef: Ben's foray into the world of culinary arts

Some people are mistakenly under the impression that I cannot cook, this is simply not the case. I say simply because the simple truth is that I can simply cook, that is I can cook simply. And I for one believe that there is a lot of value in being able to quickly make food that can fill you up, fortunately I have a wife who can do much more than simply cook, but there are times when I do cook and I thought you might all like in on a few of my secrets. Yesterday I cooked for both breakfast and dinner and they highlight my two, sometimes opposing, culinary secrets.

#1: If you have a box and on the box is a recipe, follow it, follow it as exactly as possible, do exactly what it says and then it will probably come out ok. This is the first secret to being a simple a chef, be able to take directions from others. Pictured below is me making dinner: Hamburger Helper. Which if I were writing a blog on money saving I would let you know how we got a great deal on a large quantity, but I'm not, so I'll just say that pasta in all its forms is the friend of the simple chef and Hamburger Helper is one of those forms. I made the stroganoff kind and the most important thing to keep in mind, should I inspire to put on your own simple chef's hat, is this particular concoction needs to sit for several minutes to let the sauce properly thicken before serving. So don't make it when you are starving because you won't want to wait the proper amount of time and the sauce will be to runny. Fortunately I did not know I was starving until we started eating last night so I was able to let it sit and it was just about at perfection.

#2: Should you not have a box of pre-preped food use whatever you want and just go to town. Let yourself experiment a little, generally if you have good raw ingredients you can't go to wrong (I love farmer's markets for this very reason). For breakfast yesterday I made O'brian potatoes, which I love, they are fairly simple and you can really go wherever you want with them. I prefer to fry the diced potatoes with peppers and onions, salt and pepper them. Because I don't have a recipe for them I can just do whatever I want. Sometimes I add more vegetables, sometimes less, sometimes cheese, or hot sauce or salsa. Thats the secret, just go where your heart leads you, and you can be a simple chef too.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thoughts of a Sixteenth Grade Something: an introduction

So I've decided that once in a while, whenever it might strike my fancy, I will give a little insight on the blog into the way that I think, not necessarily what I am thinking about, but the way that I am thinking about it. Why would I do this you ask? Because I have come to realize, or at least think that I realize, that I do not think in the way most people do. I am not talking about what I think, like about politics or something else (although that is different than most people as well I am sure), no I am talking about the way that I think. The way that my mind interacts with the information it encounters and from there builds arguments, evaluations, insights, opinions, and understanding.

You may now want to ask, "Ben, why are you thinking about what you are thinking about?" and that is exactly my point. I think about what I think about, I have come to this realization because Dr. Isachson who is my reading teacher has a favorite word, this word is the beacon of our souls in that class and all we do must connect to it. That word is: Metacognative-awareness. Essentially it means: thinking about what you are thinking about, consciously realizing that you are conscious. If this sounds like circles within circles to you, you are probably right, and it could be taken to far, but something about it has resonated with me because it put down in words something of the way that I myself think. Metacognative-awareness is highlighted by a drive to know and understand deeper than just the surface of a text or situation, it is the act of bringing all you know and you can predict to bear against a scenario or problem.

This is the way my brain has been doing things forever. All of my experiences, all the things I've learned or heard are cached inside a complex web in my mind. When a new concept or situation arises strands of mental spider silk connect that new piece of information to anything that might have some relation to it and then I must run all the way down that thread to its logical conclusion, the fact that this all happens very fast is what causes what to others may seem at times to be harsh and hasty reactions, or bizarre questions. And there you have it, the thoughts of a sixteenth grade something.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Of Marriage and blogs

Hey all my faithful followers (of which there are thousands I am sure) I was married (insert cheers) two weeks ago and I have a blog with my wife here. Where we will be posting things that will be similar to the weekly postings from Washington DC, I will still try to post my thought posts to this blog every so often, but I have seen from my elder sister's example that maintaining two blogs is sometimes not easy, so I make no promises about that, but I still do have views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of academic overachievement so I will try to keep letting the world know about them.
thanks all,