Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yes, Margaret, There Is . . .

a need to adjust for altitude when cooking here. The sad part is that it has taken me about 10 months and quite a few ruined dishes to realise this. I already got the point about noodles taking longer to cook because the boiling point is lower here at 5200 feet--about 202 degrees vs. 212. Cooler water equals longer cooking time.

What I didn't get was why my muffins kept burning on the outside while being raw in the middle or why my cupcakes had a vast crater in the middle instead of a nice gentle heap on top. Or why the rice in my casseroles kept turning out raw . . . . I kept blaming it on my oven--despite the fact that my oven thermometer assured me that my temp was right. Exactly WHAT did I think my oven was doing wrong? I don't know. I guess it was the only thing I could think of to explain it!

I was asking my mom today (who lives at 8200 ft.) if she thought the altitude was the result of my recent crunchy rice casseroles. It finally occurred to me that if noodles took longer to cook on the stove top, rice would take longer in the oven--duh! Just a different boiling location! So I googled "high altitude cooking adjustments." The friendly people at www.highaltitudecooking.com told me that, yes indeedy, I needed to make adjustments for cooking above 5000 ft. They reminded me that, besides dealing with a lower boiling point, there is also the issue of lower air pressure. So foods with leavening agents in them rise "too" quickly and lose all those fluffy air bubbles before the cooking finishes. Hence my concave cupcake tops.

Now I have to figure out exactly how long it is going to take to roast that chicken.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Didn't Do It

"Mom, that door down there is making a weird noise."

"What door?"

"The one downstairs. Come look. It's scaring me."

I had no idea what he was talking about. So I went downstairs to find this scene on the left. Oh, THAT door.

Hmmm, yes, that strange noise of glass cracking that just keeps going on and on and on . . .

You can guess what stupidly parental question I asked next.

"What happened?"

And the stupidly kid answer. "I don't know." Hmmmm.

Finally says that he "accidentally" kicked a rock while walking across the living room. But it still didn't make sense to me--even if he did kick a rock, he wasn't wearing shoes and he couldn't have possibly kicked it hard enough to do that much damage.

I pondered and pondered and surveyed the scene again. Viola! I believed I had found new evidence at the crime scene:

"Oliver, did you use the slingshot?"



The next morning.

Me: "Oliver, when you used the slingshot, did you shoot a rock or one of those little metal balls?"

LONG pause with the deer-in-the-headlights look. I was sure I had him.

Oliver: "No."

Damn. At this point, it was just puzzling to me. I already knew he'd done it (he and I were the only ones at home at the time and I'm sure the dog, kittens or guinea pigs weren't responsible.)

Finally I said, "Look, I already know you did it and I already know it's broken. Just tell me how it happened."

"Okaaay, okaaay! I used the slingshot. But Mom, I was aiming for the wall but you know how bad my aim is!" Ah, 6-year old logic.

Who is the idiot that thought a sling shot was a good idea? We'll leave that for another day.