Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How I know you're an all-star

All-star is the derogatory name my friends and I used for the annoying kid in every class who thinks he knows everything. "Swot" is the British term, "suck-up show-off jackass" is a good alternative. These are the clues I used to identify the all-star in my Latin class this summer.

1. You have hipster glasses. Not a smoking gun, but definitely suspicious. Especially when combined with your perpetually unkempt hair and stained white T-shirt.

2. On the first day of translation, you asked whether you could rephrase something because "I'm an English major and it really bothers me." An English major? Really? Good work. You're one in a thousand, literally, at U of I. Shut up.

3. You laugh at your own (unfunny) jokes.

4. You said "shit" in class when called on to conjugate a verb. While I agree that it's a rather casual environment, that's still annoying and offensive in a semi-professional setting where you don't know your classmates. You know, swearing is a sign of a limited vocabulary. Some English major.

5. Today you asked, in all seriousness, if it was bothering anybody else that a lot of the source material was about serving the state and having leisure time, because you are a Marxist and it just doesn't sit right with you. A Marxist, really? How...sophomore year of you. Can I interest you in a beret and an all-black wardrobe? Come to me after your first year of graduate school and we'll chat about theories that people actually take seriously. Marxism. Good grief.

6. You asked the instructor if she wanted to get a drink. During class you asked this! Seriously!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Erin's Recipes for People Who Can't Cook: Aunt Jessie's Psuedo-Healthy Bran Muffins

When we were in Washington last month, my Aunt Kathie made these for us, and gave me the recipe, which came to her from her husband's aunt Jessie. It is what Kathie calls a KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie [Kathie is a nice person and doesn't like to call others stupid]) recipe.

1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. oil
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. bran cereal (the flakey kind, and without yogurt clusters or dehydrated whatever fruit)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. buttermilk
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. raisins*

Pour boiling water over the raisins and let them sit while you dump the rest of the ingredients in your mixing bowl. Drain the raisins, add to the rest of the ingredients, and mix well. "Put in refrigerator," Jessie's recipe reads, without reference to how long or why. Just do it; I'd keep it in there for a couple of hours, at least, to let it work its magic. Overnight is not out of the question. Get out your dinosaur muffin cups and put them in the muffin pan. Do NOT stir the dough after you take it out of the refrigerator; just put it directly in the dinosaur muffin cups. Tip: just use an ice cream scoop with a spring handle for dumping it in; it's about the right size and it will keep you from consuming a muffin's worth of dough when you lick your fingers. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. "Keeps 7 weeks," Jessie says, but if it takes you 7 weeks to eat two dozen muffins, you're not trying hard enough.

*I like more raisins than that, so I use 3/4 or 1 c. You could also substitute Craisins, I've heard, but that has not been tested by this cook.