Friday, January 8, 2016


My happy visitor yesterday

Ask most people and they would say they prefer gas stoves to electric ones. However, most of my life I have using electric stoves and the adjustment to gas has not been easy. Usually I err on overheating. Yesterday I was preparing caramel for the bottom of the flan (or the top once it gets inverted). I've made caramel lots of times. One must watch it like a hawk as it takes just seconds to go from the desired amber color to a burnt  bitter mess. I managed to convert a 10 minute task into an hour one. I underheated the syrup such that the water evaporated leaving a white rock. Bits of it would fly off and catch on fire (which would never happen on an electric stove) After redissolving the mess several times, I finally was able to get to a very pale yellow (not caramelly enough!) syrup. But my stove is covered with sugar crystals that I haven't gotten around to cleaning. The flan itself was a cream cheese one. Hard to mess that up. It quickly vanished at the Mom's. I filled a few ramekins with some of the excess batter. Josh and Allie shared one. She cried when it was gone. I didn't use my farm eggs though tonight I did make an especially tasty roasted pepper and onion omelet from some of them. 
Making the caramel reminded me of reducing a nitrobenzene to an aniline, a task that just a second's inattention can turn into a disaster. Nitrocompounds are generally orange; anilines should be colorless but anilines can quickly be oxidized to bright red turning into black compounds so one would have to stop the reaction the second one sees no more orange. No time to assay what is going on (which takes a minimum of 5 minutes), one just has to watch like a hawk and be ready to step in to cool the reaction down.
When do children develop empathy? Allie likes to hit and pinch, not out of anger but because it amuses her. She pinched Josh for the umpteenth time and he finally pinched her back (not hard). She was outraged and announced
That is not Nice!!!
On to the Moms' even though it was not a weekend. A nice salmon dinner, lots of wine per usual and fun.
Today I visited my friend with the stem cell transplant. She was in a much better place emotionally as her physician gave her some hope: people in her exact position are still alive 5 years later so now she does not feel so doomed to an early death. They stopped most of the rejection drugs thinking that they were suppressing her new immune system (her brother's) They are hoping that her brother's cells attack her faulty potentially leukemic cells. If that doesn't work, they will harvest more of his lymphocytes to infuse into to fight her  cells. The cost of this is that she has to endure host versus graft disease.
Our local ice sculpture festival will be ruined by warmth and rain. I was able to bicycle yesterday though to day, it drizzled most of the day.
Steve and I will go shortly to hear the Detroit Symphony perform Vivaldi. Thank-you Shanna.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

The Vivaldi performance sounds like a real treat.
Re the empathy question: I don't know. Some people never do develop it. It really is a tricky one.


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