Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baking with Uncle Bob

I subscribe to the Baker's Banter blog from King Arthur Flour.  It is a never-ending source of baking deliciousness and many of our favorite recipes are from the blog or the KA baking books I own.  The King Arthur store in Norwich, Vermont is always our last stop on the way home whenever we are in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont.   The store is a baker's paradise with every kind of ingredient or piece of equipment a baker could ever need want.   They also have a bakery, so after we do our shopping for nonedibles, we load up with bread, sticky buns and cookies to take home and freeze.  (Much of this booty never makes it home, let alone into the freezer.)   We always say that if we lived nearby, we would each weigh considerably more than we do now!

The newest blog entry was a recipe for Fresh Appe Cinnamon Scones, and since our trip last week to an orchard to get apples (and apple cider donuts!) I have several quarts of homemade applesauce and a bin of apples.  This recipe arrived at the perfect time.  The scones were delicious and this recipe is certainly a keeper.

But a great recipe wasn't the only thing I learned from the author and KA Baker Par Excellence PJ Hamel.   Here's a quote:
 Make and shape them the night before, stick in the freezer, bake early the next morning, and Bob’s your uncle – by the time your house guests emerge from their respective beds, breakfast is ready.

Bob's your uncle?  I have never heard or read that expression before, but I love it!  It's clear from the context that it means "there you are" or even--en Francais--"voila"  but it is so much more colorful.  I went so far as to look it up on Michael Quinion's wonderful site World Wide Words where Mr. Quinion writes about the English language from a British perspective.  I won't recount his research into the origin of "Bob's your uncle"--you can read it here--except to say that it may have come from an expression "all is bob" that is documented in the Dicionary of the Vulgar Tongue of 1785.  What fun.

So forget "voila" and "there you have it," and all those other similar idioms.  From now on, for me, Bob's (my) uncle!

Thanks, PJ, for your recipes and for your colorful writing!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Country, 'tis of Thee

When I was in high school a friend's mother gave my friend and me each an embroidery kit.  The kit was a map of the United States and even though this was a few years after Alaska and Hawaii had been admitted to the Union, neither was on the stamped linen.  Anyway, my friend and I stitched away at home and on the beach in Avalon, NJ, but when we went off to college and our adult lives, the little project got packed away and forgotten.
I have been on a mission lately, to try and finish some projects that have languished in my (figurative) workbasket.  (I'm not organized enough to have a real workbasket, so UFO's are in my sewing area, in cabinets in the basement, really in nooks and crannies all over the house.  Don't tell Dave.)  So recently, I dug out the USA map kit and took it with me to my Guild's Quilt As You Like afternoons.

Reader, I finished it!  I was tempted to add Alaska and Hawaii in some way, but I decided to leave it just the way Bucilla manufactured it. (Whenever that was.  There was no copyright date on the direction sheet.)

This was before the US Postal Service instituted the two-letter abbreviations for the states, so they appear the old fashioned way with a period.  And each state has a little symbol of its industry or history, too: the Liberty Bell for my home state of Pennsylvania and Edison's light bulb for my adopted state of New Jersey.  (Today, we'd call them icons!)

I'm going to get another embroidery project out and put it with my hand sewing.  Who knows what other UFOs are just waiting for a few more stitches?