Friday, March 13, 2009

The Joy of Conquest: Thoughts for the Future

Tonight I’m thinking of the future. Plans are forming in my head for upcoming posts. Obviously, I’m still new to this blogging thing, so I hope you’ll bear with occasional or even constant lameness on my part.

For one thing, I want to make a special point of writing about our various hiking adventures here in Central Missouri. Since the first of the year, we’ve been going out nearly each weekend, using the Missouri Department of Conservation’s “Conservation Atlas” as our guide to public lands within a few hours’ drive.

You’d think that as a native of this area, I’d know all these spots already. But I don’t. I’m the kind of person who picks an area, and then visits and revisits. But I’m trying to stretch myself, expand my vistas a little bit. So I look forward to sharing some of our discoveries with you.

For that matter, regarding outings in general: Whether we’re out morel hunting or buying saltwater taffy at “Th’ Lake,” I’d like to tell you about it.

Other conquests I look forward to writing about include the culinary kind. I’ve never cooked Ethiopian food before, but I’m itchin’ to do so. (I’m sure that my first attempts at making injera will be hilarious to read about.) Another thing I want to learn how to make is rouladen, which apparently is a popular German dish, but one that my family never seemed to make. With mustard, bacon, and pickle, it sounds funky and fun. I’ll bet I have no trouble finding dinner guests to volunteer for “taste tests.”

And I’m forever interested in cooking Indian food, which always tastes “just right” to me—like the way food is “supposed” to taste. (If the Hindus are right, and there’s such a thing as reincarnation, then I suspect there’s a good chance I was an Indian in a recent past life.)

Of course, if you have tips for me on making any of these kinds of recipes, contact me. God knows I need the help.

Another kind of culinary conquest is the restaurant kind. I know that it would be easy to complain about Midwestern, small-town cuisine, but there are actually a lot of good places to eat. And I’d like to trumpet about these. I might surprise you. And good local restaurants deserve and need the business.

And then there’s the off-the-wall stuff. For instance, here’s an idea worthy of a little sidebar in a Martha Stewart mag: Presentation is part of what makes dining nice, right? When you’re serving your dinner guests, and you’re making it kind of nice, think about using a used (perfectly clean) wine bottle or two—you know, pretty blue or green—as your water bottles for the table. You can fill them ahead of time and store them in the fridge so they’re nice and chilled. (Well, it’s prettier than that plastic Brita thing, right? Right. And it goes better with your attractive glassware.) (There: I offered a beverage idea that is stridently nonalcoholic, didn’t I. Pure, clear water.)

Or, here’s another kind of thing I look forward to sharing once in a while—file it under “handy tips”: Do you know how to put on your shoes? Do you really think you do? Guess what. I got a lesson from my orthotics guy recently, who smilingly corrected my bad technique. He was gentle about it: “Um, don’t put your shoe flat on the floor when you lace it up and tie it.” Instead, put just your heel on the floor, with your toes well off the ground, so that your heel fits snugly down into the heel of the shoe. Tighten it up and lace it in that position. It will help the shoe to fit better, it helps your arch placement, and everything. Who knew? (I had to break my foot in order to learn this!)

. . . Okay, so I guess this is one of those more “lame” posts, but, well, they aren’t all going to be worthy of the Pulitzer Prize. . . . Sometimes, it’s just gonna be me.

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