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How To: Be a Domestic Goddess (Britt Style)

April 15, 2008

Firewalls: 1
Spyware/Adware/Malware: 97
Britt: -473

It seems that in my attempt to overcome the firewalls I opened up my computer to a particularly nasty bunch of spyware/adware/malware. It started with some harmless ads for Belgian Texas Hold ‘Em and something involving Dutch cartoon monkeys and bananas and then morphed into a ‘System 32 DNS error’ and no internet access. Booo.

Fortunately, among my many, many skills is a certain amount of computer literacy. Or, to be more precise, the ability to be friends with people who have a certain amount of computer literacy. BF took a look at the Brick (the name I’ve not-so-lovingly given to the piece of crap that is my IBM Thinkpad T60) and now it works in the office (still struggles on the wireless at home).

Speaking of wireless at home. Wow is that nice. After nearly 3 months of going sans internet out of the office, it’s like reuniting with a long lost friend. I can check email, look up directions, read the news, watch videos AND, most importantly, video chat with the family (including the newest, most beautiful blue-eyed addition!!). Incredible. Just incredible.

In addition to all of that incredible-ness is the ability to access cooking sites. See, much to my surprise, BF does not appreciate pasta with butter and parmesan cheese every single night. He says he needs ‘variety.’ And perhaps some meat. I offered to compromise by using different pasta shapes – Farfalle, tagliatelle, vermicelli, Kluski – and adding in a meat sauce here and there but that didn’t fly. So. I turned to my Christmas presents from Kelsey (who knows my culinary limitations all too well) – ‘Cooking for Dummies’ and ‘The Joy of Cooking.’ They turned out to be a fantastic resources and were used extensively in the preparation of homemade Pad Thai, Stir Fry, French Toast, Chicken & Broccoli soup, etc. However, for someone as challenged as myself, more than just ‘Cooking for Dummies’ was needed. Enter the internet. In the middle of chopping vegetables and stumped as to how to prepare leeks? I don’t even have to leave the kitchen. I just grab BF’s iTouch, check about.com and follow the picture instructions for cooking leeks. Want to do some advance planning? http://www.FoodNetwork.com and I are now best friends. Such good friends that I have even become acquainted with their friends. For example, http://www.Nigella.com. Known for her best-selling book, ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess,’ Nigella Lawson’s site has lots of handy tips for the domestically disabled. I’ve found some of her advice quite useful (ex: To clean a granite pestle and morter leave half a lemon and boiling water in it overnight. Good to know should I ever have a granite pestle and mortar or know what one is or what they are used for… ha).

However. Based on my experiences over the last few months, I think Ms. Lawson has left out a few SUPER handy tips. So that you may be a Domestic Goddess of the Brittany caliber, I’m going to let you in on a few of my own tips:

 

 How to be a Domestic Goddess (Britt style):

Tip #1: Upon completion of water boiling, it is essential that you remove the pot from the stove and turn off the heating element. The copper lining of pots left on a stove set at ‘Max’ for over 12 hours will come off in flakes.
       Tip #1a. Burnt copper is not a pleasant smell.
       Tip #1b. You will feel very badly if the pot was given to you by your Great-Aunt.

Tip #2: Be aware of conversions and equivalents.
     Ex. 1: If a recipe calls for 10 grams of sugar, this is NOT equal to 10 tsps of sugar.
  – Unless you think extra sweet chocolate mousse is wonderful. Which I do.
  Ex.2:. Ovens take longer to heat than toaster ovens. However, under no circumstances will a piece of bread in the toaster for 2 minutes cook equivalent to a piece of bread in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes.                    
  -Under certain circumstances, bread WILL catch on fire if burnt to a crisp

Tip #3: If you open a milk container and are unhappy with the temperature, do NOT put it in the freezer sideways unless it is fully sealed.
        – Removal of frozen milk puddles requires a chisel.

Tip #4:Do NOT try to sew buttons on a jacket while in a moving car without a scissor.
  Tip #4a. Most certainly do NOT try to be the navigator in a strange city (like Paris) while sewing buttons on a jacket in a moving car without a scissor. You’ll end up lost. And sloppy.

Tip #5: If you do not have a garbage disposal and your garbage bags are completely full, it is considered poor taste to throw food out the window.
        Tip #5a: Birds don’t always eat moldy bread.
        Tip #5b: Neighbors do not appreciate moldy bread on their back porch.

This may or may not be me throwing bread out the window. Whoever it is, do not judge their form. Their motion was constricted by the space.

(If you must violate Tip #5, do so at night so the neighbors don’t see you.)

Tip #6: Be aware that Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner with Bleach contains bleach.
       – When purple dish towels are used to wipe a counter sprayed with Clorox Clean-Up, purple towels will turn green. This is not necessarily mold.

Tip #7: No matter how expensive the coffee is, grounds left in a French press for 36 hours straight will grow mold.

Tip #8: When cooking vegetables for a stir fry, chop vegetables PRIOR to placement in pan. Cutting vegetables while they are actively cooking will result in burnt fingers and scratched pans.

Tip #9: A hair straightener should not be used as an iron.

Tip #10: When faced with a dirty kitchen floor, using a broom and dustpan is an excellent method for dust removal. Spraying windex on the floor and then taking a dirty broom, dipping it in water and using it as a mop is NOT quite as good.

 

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