The Social Inequity of Keurig and Other Cartridge Systems

I’ve been try­ing to decide what it is that so annoys me about the Keurig and oth­er Car­tridge Sys­tems.  At first, one could eas­i­ly decry the Keurig for envi­ron­men­tal waste.  Given their mar­ket, how­ev­er, it was inevitable that they would mit­i­gate this prob­lem.  Too many crunchy-gra­nola types like their fan­cy cof­fee or tea.

Social Coffee

Social Cof­fee

The prob­lem with Keurig has been hov­er­ing around the periph­ery of my  mind for ages… just out of reach.  I saw a car­tridge based bread mak­er for sale in a fly­er some time ago, and still draw upon it as an exam­ple of what is wrong with soci­ety.  I see restau­rants serv­ing Keurig and I fur­ther decry the demise of life as we know it.

But what is wrong here.  At first blush, it seems to be a solu­tion look­ing for a prob­lem.  It’s cer­tain­ly not dif­fi­cult to make cof­fee.  Even the dif­fer­ence between mak­ing bread, oper­at­ing a tra­di­tion­al bread-mak­er and using the car­tridge-based bread mak­er are not that large.

Car­tridge based cof­fee sys­tems were becom­ing pop­u­lar in offices more than 10 years ago.  If any­thing, Keurig took it’s sweet time to appear as a con­sumer pro­duct.  Even before that, cof­fee machi­nes man­u­fac­tured swill to order.  If any­thing, the car­tridge-based sys­tems should be hailed as a step up from those efforts.

If you haven’t yet guess from the title, my the­sis is that the real cost is social, not envi­ron­men­tal.  Cof­fee is a social bev­er­age.  If I put on a pot of cof­fee, I am pro­vid­ing a ser­vice to the rest of the office while ful­fill­ing my own need.  From the pot, I can pour sev­er­al cups of cof­fee and enjoy a moment with oth­er peo­ple shar­ing cof­fee.  Even those who drink tea are com­ing to the same area.  I don’t live in Eng­land, but I sus­pect some bet­ter work estab­lish­ments must have a com­mu­nal pot of tea around.

But the Keurig would have me self­ish­ly make my own cup of cof­fee — to not share with any­one.  The time it takes the Keurig to brew, while short, pre­cludes the inter­ac­tion over the fresh hot bev­er­age as I will move on after get­ting my cup of joe — not want­i­ng to appear lazy by wait­ing for a coworker’s cup to brew.  Most impor­tant­ly, Keurig denies me the sim­ple plea­sure of mak­ing a pot of cof­fee for oth­er peo­ple.

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Seats, Feet and Righteous Indignation — Judgemental Treatment of Others is Unjust

I haven’t been com­pelled to write some­thing in awhile, but this pic­ture and the accom­pa­ny­ing sto­ry at the star moti­vat­ed me. From the arti­cle, it seems it’s gone quite viral.  It seems top­i­cal in ref­er­ence to my last arti­cle “Life is not Fair.”  Here we have a wom­an (the arti­cle fur­ther points out a “white” wom­an) impos­ing her views on shared eti­quet­te on a man (the arti­cle points out a man of non-white skin) with right­eous indig­na­tion.  This is ever-so-exact­ly the type of Fair­ness Nazi that I was annoyed with.

Feet On Her Seat, Righteous Indignation

Feet On Her Seat, Right­eous Indig­na­tion

To both inform and save you from the details, the arti­cle and atten­dant viral video, so a young man with his feet on the seat of a appar­ent­ly most­ly emp­ty sub­way car in Toron­to.  Enter a wom­an who sees this and decides to “teach him a lesson” by sit­ting on his feet.  Then this all esca­lates.  He push­es, she press­es the pan­ic stop for the train, secu­ri­ty comes.  Enter­tain­ment for the mass­es and appar­ent­ly val­i­da­tion of right­eous indig­na­tion and judge­ment for some who view it.

It’s not that she may not have a point (she may).  It’s also not that the pow­er dynam­ic may­be skewed (it may).  There’s a prin­ci­ple here.  Tak­ing from my Chris­tian back­ground (and I“m not well versed enough to know how ubiq­ui­tous this con­cept is, but I choose to believe that it is shared), Jesus teach­es that it is not our place to judge.

Why do I feel that this should be a shared belief?  Cer­tain­ly there are judges in soci­ety.  Even among Ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty, old men in robes hold judge­ment over oth­ers (although I must say, the cur­rent Pope is refresh­ing­ly, bless­ed­ly, and ven­er­a­bly restrained in his judge­ment).  I hold that this should be a shared belief because the aver­age per­son exer­cis­ing “com­mon” sense is sore­ly lack­ing in con­text to make most judge­ments.

Per­son­al­ly, I can think of at least one good rea­son why some­one might put their feet up that we should all tol­er­ate.  I suf­fer from a fun­gus that occa­sion­al­ly allows oppor­tunis­tic bac­te­ria to infect my legs.  Espe­cial­ly when things are not well and espe­cial­ly after walk­ing some dis­tance, ele­vat­ing my legs can both bring relief and halt fur­ther dam­age that I will pay for some­what lat­er.  Pres­sure in the legs isn’t uncom­mon.  Seems like a design flaw in humans, if you ask me.  This is just one rea­son that it might be accept­able, how­ev­er, to be used as an illus­tra­tive exam­ple.

I’m not imply­ing that every­one should put their feet on the seat or that oth­er peo­ple should be denied a seat due to someone’s (then) impo­lite footrest.  Our abil­i­ty to func­tion in pub­lic isn’t due to a rigid set of rules but rather a flu­id set of accom­mo­da­tions and con­ven­tions that we all stretch and test in one way or anoth­er.  Like any “law” the­se change over time and have vary­ing degrees of com­pli­ance.

Do you occa­sion­al­ly talk too loud?  Do you attempt to change people’s behav­ior by mak­ing them uncom­fort­able?  Do you have a pet that isn’t prop­er­ly trained?  Do you have an irri­ta­ble bow­el?  All the­se things and hun­dreds more can be con­sid­ered out of con­text to be fail­ures to accept and assim­i­late to the implied social con­tract.

Con­sid­er: We all judge.  From a Chris­tian per­spec­tive, even those qui­et thoughts are a sin.  Act­ing on judge­ments out of con­text goes from being a tech­ni­cal sin to a very real sin.  Act­ing out a judge­ment with right­eous indig­na­tion is a sin of pride on top.  There are sev­er­al ways this could have played out.  With­out know­ing, I’m will­ing to assume that this wom­an had, in the passed, asked peo­ple to be more polite and had this more polite (and more with­in the social con­tact) rebuffed.  May­be not every time.  many peo­ple can react in kind when called out, but often enough that she (pos­si­bly) felt that esca­la­tion was nec­es­sary.

But even that is a judg­ment.  I can’t know what was in her head.  In effect, I can’t know her con­text.  I can only mar­vel at the con­se­quences of her actions and point out to any­one who would hold this as an exam­ple of jus­tice… that no appar­ent jus­tice was obtained.

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Life is not Fair

Life is Not Fair

Life is Not Fair

Humans have a strong sense of fair­ness. To be fair is to be in bal­ance with one’s fel­low humans. Like any met­ric involv­ing humans, how­ev­er, fair­ness suf­fers from hav­ing too much just as much as hav­ing too lit­tle.

To lit­tle real fair­ness exists in the world at large. Protests, vio­lence, injury and death mark the chasm between black and white, rich and poor, man and wom­an, priv­i­leged and com­mon. It can accu­rate­ly be said that life, tak­en in aggre­gate, is more unfair now than at any time in human his­to­ry.

But this arti­cle aims to talk about the issue of too much fair­ness or being fair when it is uncalled-for.  This is the point where peo­ple look at their fel­low human and want to take an action to make things incre­men­tal­ly more fair between them.  Said this way, it seems like med­dling.

In defense of my the­sis, I’m not writ­ing about a protest to change a company’s poli­cies towards groups of peo­ple.  We must protest for fair­ness among large groups of peo­ple.  It is fun­da­men­tal to our health as a soci­ety that we con­tin­ue to cor­rect the­se issues.  Rather I’m con­sid­er­ing the urge, in humans, to change sin­gu­lar oth­er humans’ behav­ior.

All Men are not Equal

Are all humans cre­at­ed equal?  In respon­se to that ques­tion, I’d say it’s too broad and in fair­ness, too vague.  One could affirm that peo­ple are “equal” when one is talk­ing about oppor­tu­ni­ty or fran­chise or basic rights; but “equal­ly” one could reject “equal” on the grounds that peo­ple are not intrin­si­cal­ly the same.  This is not the place to argue nur­ture ver­sus nature, but regard­less of the source I posit that peo­ple begin life equal in some basic and fun­da­men­tal areas, dif­fer­ent in oth­ers and are only like­ly to grow more dif­fer­ent over time.

If the read­er is still hold­ing onto a mis­guid­ed notion, con­sid­er how utter­ly mun­dane and bor­ing a world com­posed of one per­son copy-past­ed how­ev­er many bil­lion times across the globe; nei­ther would they be hap­py nor would they be hap­py with each oth­er.  The joy in the world  is the pro­duct of the opti­mistic sum of our dif­fer­ences.

Cer­tain types of peo­ple can live with them­selves as spous­es and part­ners, but more often then not, the fabled “oppo­sites attract.”  While from out­side,  large groups orga­nize on sim­i­lar traits (skin colour, occu­pa­tion, the­o­ry of life or hap­pi­ness); from with­in, the­se groups tend to bond and peo­ple spe­cial­ize with their dif­fer­ences.  In terms of part­ners (life, busi­ness, or oth­er­wise), the trope “oppo­sites attract” exists because com­ple­men­tary pair­ings are stronger than sim­i­lar pair­ing.

The truth of the mat­ter is that peo­ple don’t wish to be equal.  In so far as 50% of peo­ple live below the mean (for what­ev­er mean you choose), 50% of them can espouse the idea that fair­ness would be bet­ter for them and the oth­er 50% of them can agree that, while their priv­i­lege would be reduced, 50% would be bet­ter off.  This is to mis­con­strue the goal of either group.  Indi­vid­u­al­ly, peo­ple want to bet­ter them­selves.  As a group, they can bor­row from many philoso­phies only some of which will bet­ter any of the group.  By def­i­n­i­tion, then, some can achieve “bet­ter” by equal­i­ty, but nev­er all.  By reduc­tion, equal­i­ty is a sta­sis where peo­ple are unhap­py.

My Brush with Equality and Fairness

This post was spurred on by two things hap­pen­ing: one to me and one in the news.  My own per­son­al brush with equal­i­ty serves to intro­duce the prob­lem: Some­one com­plain­ing about my roof.

Re-shin­gling your roof is expen­sive.  Not buy­ing a new car expen­sive, but con­sid­er­ing what I dri­ve, the roof is eas­i­ly worth two cars that are “new to me.”  I have known for some time that the roof is need­ing doing and the prob­lem has become increas­ing­ly more dire.  This is a prob­lem I share with my wife and we wor­ry about it.

How­ev­er, some time ear­ly this spring, a neigh­bour choose to com­plain about my roof to the city.  It turns out that, just like my lawn, the city has an inter­est in my roof — if only some­one would com­plain.  If nobody com­plains, as far as I can tell, things could go to heck in a hand bas­ket and only I (and my wife) are poten­tial­ly sad.

This, I believe, is the result of a mis­guid­ed attempt at fair­ness.  Ours is a new sub­di­vi­sion, so everyone’s roof has required new shin­gles at rough­ly the same time.  I frankly assume that it is as oner­ous a propo­si­tion to most of my neigh­bours as it is to me.  Just as frankly, and for rea­sons I won’t describe here, I haven’t yet been able to find the mon­ey to re-shin­gle my roof.

But since every­one has had this expense, one could con­strue it was unfair that I haven’t yet re-shin­gled my roof.  One could; but unfair to whom?  The city only seems to care that shin­gles are not loose (if hous­es were two or three times closer togeth­er, I could buy this argu­ment, but with at least 10 yards between my house and the near­est any­one but the paper­boy should come to my house, I reject it.

Sophie Trudeau

Sophie Trudeau and Michelle Obama at Canadian State Dinner

Sophie Trudeau and Michelle Oba­ma at a Cana­di­an State Din­ner

My own brush with fair­ness is some­what weak and I would not have writ­ten this arti­cle on the basis of it alone.  Indeed, that was over a mon­th ago.  How­ev­er, an arti­cle popped up in the news this week regard­ing cloth­ing worn by Sophie Trudeau to pub­lic func­tions.

First­ly, both wom­en look gor­geous and both are wear­ing dress­es that hon­our design­ers with links to Canada.  I’m not “in” fash­ion, but my own read­ing of the press gives kudos for both choic­es.

The “com­plaint” from some quar­ters is that Sophie should have to pay for her haute cou­ture.  When count­ed with the fact that some dress­es and gowns have only been worn once, have pub­licly shown the Cana­di­an designer’s work, and have been returned, the com­plaint is then that she should have paid some rental fee.

I get that there are rules for this sort of thing and I get why there are rules, but in this case, all the rules are fol­lowed.  I would say plain­ly that Sophie Trudeau is not equal to those who com­plain and, indeed, as the Prime Minister’s wife gets spe­cial treat­ment.  Her actions also con­fer spe­cial treat­ment back to those Cana­di­an design­ers.  I could con­sid­er a com­plaint by which some design­ers feel neglect­ed, but this has not been voiced.

It strikes me that it is hard enough find­ing peo­ple will­ing to be Prime Min­is­ter.  Even if the rules we have for this sort of thing are imper­fect, it is unrea­son­able to expect peo­ple in this posi­tion to not derive and plea­sure or perk from it, when offered gen­uine­ly.

Being Fair

It is human nature to appre­ci­ate being fair.  It is also human nature to appre­ci­ate being spe­cial.  Note that the nat­u­ral way to describe this sit­u­a­tion is that fair­ness is some­thing that applies to some­one else while spe­cial applies to one­self.  This is just one of the inher­ent stress­es of being human.  It is like­ly one of the rea­sons pol­i­tics is so dif­fi­cult.

The sin­cere truth of the mat­ter is that everyone’s sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent.  The cost of wear­ing clothes rep­re­sent­ing Canada’s fash­ion indus­try is like­ly beyond a Prime Minister’s salary.  Con­sid­er that a CEO of a cor­po­ra­tion of this size would make many, many times what we pay our Prime Min­is­ter.  Sim­i­lar­ly, my own sit­u­a­tion with regard to my roof is my own.  If you stopped to talk with me, I might bend your ear about it, but I might just as well talk about some­thing more inter­est­ing.

Being fair is not always (often?) right.

 

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Day Break Mill: Searching for Red Fife Wheat…

Day Break Mill

Day Break Mill

I’ve been search­ing online for places to buy Red Fife flour and my search lead me to the page of Day Break Mill.  I imme­di­ate­ly hit the “con­tact us” but­ton so that I could deter­mine where they were.  While I get the pic­ture: it’s in Saskatchewan, still.. did some­one think this was a good con­fig­u­ra­tion for the google wid­get?

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SlowCooker: Pulled Pork: Sauce Made of Sauces.

Pulled Pork Almost Done

Pulled Pork Almost Done

I was leaf­ing through recipe ideas the oth­er day and came across Pulled Pork for the Slow­Cook­er.  The slow­cook­er is great for soups and stews and I always enjoy find­ing anoth­er recipe for it.  Pulled pork is tra­di­tion­al­ly a south­ern bar­be­que dish where an oth­er­wise tough cut of pork is slow­ly cooked in var­i­ous juices until ten­der and then ripped apart or “pulled.”

In our case, we had a pork loin (not nor­mal­ly a can­di­date) that was mod­er­ate­ly freez­er burnt (per­fect).  The long cook­ing and hydra­tion of the sauce com­pen­sat­ed per­fect­ly for the freez­er burn.

This prob­a­bly isn’t the cheap­est way to make pulled pork.  It is a sauce of sauces — also dif­fi­cult to dis­sect or mod­i­fy.  I end­ed up here with too much liq­uid … prob­a­bly due to adding more V8 to cov­er the meat.  I prob­a­bly should have cut up the meat and stuffed it in tighter.  I’m also using our small­er Slow­Cook­er here in an attempt to cov­er the meat more eas­i­ly and with less sauce.

Even with those caveats, the result was tasty.  I added two table­spoons of flour to the pot after one din­ner to stiff­en it up — which appears to have worked.

Slow­Cook­er: Pulled Pork: Sauce Made of Sauces.
Print Recipe
Serv­ings Prep Time
4 peo­ple 15 min­utes
Cook Time
7 hours
Serv­ings Prep Time
4 peo­ple 15 min­utes
Cook Time
7 hours
Slow­Cook­er: Pulled Pork: Sauce Made of Sauces.
Print Recipe
Serv­ings Prep Time
4 peo­ple 15 min­utes
Cook Time
7 hours
Serv­ings Prep Time
4 peo­ple 15 min­utes
Cook Time
7 hours
Ingre­di­ents
Serv­ings: peo­ple
Instruc­tions
  1. Dump every­thing in your slow cook­er and switch it on low. It’s prob­a­bly a good thing to make sure the pork is cov­ered with liq­uid. Do some­thing else for 7 hours. Or sit an stare at it (your choice).
  2. Pull pork apart using two forks and a tear­ing motion.
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Truthiness: of Rights and Wrongs

Truthiness feels good

Truthi­ness feels good!

Truthi­ness.  I love this word.  It encap­su­lates all that is wrong with the Amer­i­can Reli­gious Right.  I’ve been think­ing around how to talk about this scourge and received insight from a com­mon (for me) source: The Econ­o­mist has a book review of “The Bat­tle for Yel­low­stone” by Justin Far­rell. The essence of this book, accord­ing to the review (I real­ly need to read the book), is to talk about the prob­lems with pol­i­tics in Amer­i­ca with­out actu­al­ly talk­ing about pol­i­tics in Amer­i­ca.

It is absolute­ly true that the best ways to talk about a dif­fi­cult top­ic is by talk­ing about some­thing else entire­ly.  I’m not just talk­ing about avoid­ance (a viable strat­e­gy — a head in the sand is worth two in the bush), but about the sub­sti­tu­tion inher­ent in most good fic­tion and espe­cial­ly sci­ence fic­tion.

The book, accord­ing to the econ­o­mist, dis­cuss­es how each group in the vari­ety of dis­putes sur­round­ing Yel­low­stone frame their argu­ment as truth again­st false­hoods while they are real­ly argu­ing moral right ver­sus moral wrong.  The Wikipedia arti­cle on Truthi­ness echos this point where Col­bert (wide­ly con­sid­ered to have coined the term in com­mon usage) dis­cuss­es the way each fac­tion desires to bring it’s own facts to the polit­i­cal debate, rather than all fac­tions argu­ing the cor­rect action again­st an accept­ed set of facts.

I had actu­al­ly cho­sen the word Truthi­ness before I had read the Col­bert quotes and cog­i­tat­ed on how they meshed with the the­me.  I’ve been cog­i­tat­ing for some time on the inap­pro­pri­ate­ness of Truthi­ness.  I see the prob­lems: that things have become com­plex enough; so far beyond most people’s edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence that they are eas­i­ly duped by those who would manip­u­late their views.  The prob­lem is not that some peo­ple will attempt to manip­u­late oth­er peo­ple — that will always be true.  The prob­lem is that so few peo­ple in soci­ety as a whole have any qual­i­ty of horse­hock­ey fil­ter.

The stat­ed goal of pub­lic edu­ca­tion is to pre­pare each child for the life of a cit­i­zen.  In gen­er­al­ly avoid­ing class­es in civics, they have failed this task. The Huff­in­g­ton Post has a good primer on the sub­ject of pub­lic school pol­i­cy.

How did we get here, or more per­ti­nent­ly, how do we get out.  For good or for ill, large groups of politi­cians and vot­ers dis­trust sci­en­tists.  Has the dai­ly bar­rage of issues become to fierce for san­er heads pre­vail­ing in inves­ti­ga­tion and debate?  How did it come that argu­ing about right and wrong was not enough for some to invent new “facts” so as to be able to argue about what is truth?

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Rack of Lamb: Moroccan Spice

Moroccan Rack of Lamb on Plate

Moroc­can Rack of Lamb on Plate

A lit­tle cook­ing diver­sion: A Moroc­can Spiced Rack of Lamb.  I have some more stand-mix­er bak­ing to do, but my most recent attempt was lack-lus­ter.  More about that when I get it right.  This arti­cle is about our new year’s eve meal.  I want­ed to do some­thing fair­ly spe­cial withtout being too expen­sive.  As the­se “french cut” rack-of-lambs were on spe­cial, they fit the bill.

A stock attempt at lamb … rose­mary, may­be some dill, olive oil … it seemed below the­se won­der­ful cuts.  I spent some time talk­ing with my sis­ter about this and she google-texted me a recipe from some­where — I can’t exact­ly tell, but it sound­ed won­der­ful.  How­ev­er, it was new years eve and it want­ed pome­gran­ate juice.  I don’t keep that around.  Look­ing at the recipe, I decid­ed that the juice was used for it’s sweet­ness.  I decid­ed to sub­sti­tute “Water­loo Dark” … which is a Cana­di­an beer with a sweet almost can­dy-like taste.  I also had some “Mad Tom IPA” that I’ve been try­ing to find recipes to get rid of it in — but it has a decid­ed­ly bit­ter fin­ish, so I expect­ed it wouldn’t be appro­pri­ate here.  While I don’t like Mad Tom, Muskoka Cream Ale is the defin­i­tive Cream Ale for me.

The recipe also called for a shal­lot.  I used a reg­u­lar yel­low onion … although in hind­sight, I could have used a small­er one or half of one.  Depends on how you like onion.  I diced the onion the Ram­sey way… go look that up … he’s an excel­lent teacher when he isn’t rant­i­ng and rav­ing at some­one.  This recipe also reflects the gar­lic I used.  We love gar­lic here … might not be to other’s taste.

The sides here were sim­ple steamed fresh broc­coli and a baked pota­to.  We do the pota­toes in the microwave first and then put them in the oven.  The rack of lamb only requires 30 min­utes in the oven … and this is not near­ly enough time for a good baked pota­to.

Rack of Lamb: Moroc­can Spice
Print Recipe
Here we add a heavy cov­er­ing of Moroc­can spices to a rack of lamb, which is then baked. Strong meat, strong spices. Very Pun­gent.
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 large racks of lamb 30 min­utes
Cook Time
30 min­utes
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 large racks of lamb 30 min­utes
Cook Time
30 min­utes
Rack of Lamb: Moroc­can Spice
Print Recipe
Here we add a heavy cov­er­ing of Moroc­can spices to a rack of lamb, which is then baked. Strong meat, strong spices. Very Pun­gent.
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 large racks of lamb 30 min­utes
Cook Time
30 min­utes
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 large racks of lamb 30 min­utes
Cook Time
30 min­utes
Ingre­di­ents
The Sauce
The Moroc­can Spice
The Meat
Serv­ings: large racks of lamb
Instruc­tions
Start the Sauce
  1. Start the sauce by com­bin­ing the beer, chick­en broth, onion and gar­lic in a small saucepan.
    The Sauce in the Sauce Pan
  2. Reduce the sauce on medi­um high heat for about 20 min­utes. You want to end up with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sauce.
Mak­ing the Moroc­can Spice
  1. Prea­heat your oven to 425F.
  2. Toast the cumin seads, car­roway seeds and cin­na­mon in a small fry­pan on medi­um heat. You may or may not have the seads and sticks. You can’t fry the spice pow­der (well… of course you can, but the result is not good). If you just have the pow­dered spices, skip this.
  3. Put seeds (if you have them) and sticks (if you have them) into a spice or cof­fee grinder. Zap them a bunch to make spice pow­der. See… you just made toast­ed spice pow­der. Go you.
    Coffee-Grind Spices
  4. Com­bine all the spices in a bowl and mix.
    Moroccan Spice Bowl
The Meat: Rack of Lamb
  1. Get out a shal­low oven tray. You’re going to coat the lamb with olive oil and then spices, so sides on the tray will help (at bit) keep­ing the oven clean. Then again, may­be you like the heady aro­ma when you fire up the self-clean­ing oven. Just make sure you’re doing that at non-peak pow­er times.
  2. So… yeah… too much com­men­tary in that note. Coat the lamb with olive oil (makes spices stick) and sea­son with salt and pep­per.
  3. shake and sprin­kle spices onto the lamb. I end­ed up with quite a bit extra. Put it in a bag­gy for some­thing else. Labelled “Moroc­can Spice” for lack of any­thing I’ll actu­al­ly remem­ber. Pret­ty much my mother’s influ­ence here: can’t throw away any­thing good. I’m still eat­ing the last batch of bread that we’re not talk­ing about — it’s way too thick and dry (even stalled the stand-mix­er), but I can’t bring myself to throw it out.
    Roast Moroccan Rack of Lamb
  4. Notes here say to roast the lamb until the inte­ri­or is 135F. We took a chance and just did it for 30 min­utes.
    Perfect Lamb
Fin­ish the Sauce
  1. Bring the sauce back to a sim­mer if you turned it off at some point. Melt in the but­ter. Add more but­ter if you like (I did). This is basi­cal­ly a sweet-but­ter-beer sauce. What a nice bunch of words to string togeth­er sweet-but­ter-beer sauce.
  2. Spoon the sauce over the Racks of Lamb.
    Moroccan Rack of Lamb on Plate
Recipe Notes

The notes on the source recipe say to get a “french” cut of lamb.  This is sim­ply remov­ing the fat from the bones so they are bare at the one end (see the pic­tures in the oven above).  We like or lamb and had a whole rack each.  I didn’t sep­a­rate the roast into chops, but that seems to be one rec­om­men­da­tion.  Might also make the lamb go fur­ther to more peo­ple.

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Stand-Mixer #2 White Bread

Stand-Mixer White Bread

Stand-Mix­er White Bread

Since the stand-mix­er cheese bis­cuits were such an unqual­i­fied suc­cess, we man­aged to pick up some yeast to facil­i­tate some bread mak­ing.  First up is some “plain old” white bread.  Besides the fact that I am actu­al­ly white, ango-sax­on and (some­what) protes­tant (depend­ing on who you ask), I real­ly enjoy fresh white bread.  It’s like sug­ar or a good light beer; melt but­ter on hot fresh white bread and it’s an expe­ri­ence.

Right after I removed the bread from the oven, I cut off the crust, but­tered it and cut it in half to share with my wife.  In part, this cements the use­ful­ness of the stand-mix­er in the kitchen; and it part it also cements it use­ful that I use it to make yum­my things.  The crust on a fresh­ly hot loaf is crunchy and won­der­ful.  You should try it when you make it!

I must say that my first effort expos­es my green­ness. When I was younger, my fam­i­ly baked bread for sale by the side of the road as one of our more suc­cess­ful cre­ative ven­tures.  We sold bread and pies (along with some oth­er baked goods) to cot­tagers trav­el­ing from the city to (rel­a­tive­ly) near­by lake-front cot­tages.  My moth­ers bread mak­ing quick­ly well known among those that trav­eled the route.

This was not our only for­ay into fresh baked bread.  It is cheap­er by a fair mar­gin to bake bread than to buy it.  I’m not clear on why this is — but the eco­nom­ics were con­sis­tent.  As kids, my sis­ters and I often board­ed the school bus with oven fresh piz­zas cool­ing in paper bags (this would occur when bread was not made the pre­vi­ous day and this was a cre­ative way for our moth­er to provide us with a nutri­tious (if jeal­ousy induc­ing) lunch.  I sup­pose we’re not shy because we know how to defend our lunch­es?  To be fair, I wouldn’t have wished it any oth­er way.

I will say here that I only put a total of 5 cups of white flour into the bowl … and it seems the result is a bit frag­ile — it could use more struc­tural integri­ty.

Stand-Mix­er White Bread
Print Recipe
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 Loaves 30 min­utes
Cook Time Pas­sive Time
30 min­utes 2 hours ris­ing
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 Loaves 30 min­utes
Cook Time Pas­sive Time
30 min­utes 2 hours ris­ing
Stand-Mix­er White Bread
Print Recipe
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 Loaves 30 min­utes
Cook Time Pas­sive Time
30 min­utes 2 hours ris­ing
Serv­ings Prep Time
2 Loaves 30 min­utes
Cook Time Pas­sive Time
30 min­utes 2 hours ris­ing
Ingre­di­ents
Serv­ings: Loaves
Instruc­tions
  1. Heat water in your microwave. If you have a glass mea­sur­ing cup, you can heat the water in the mea­sur­ing cup. In my 1200 watt microwave, I used 60 sec­onds.
  2. While the water is warm­ing, heat the milk, sug­ar, salt and but­ter in a small sauce pan. Low is suf­fi­cient. You want the but­ter to melt and the sug­ar to dis­solve.
  3. Pour water into mix­er bowl, dis­solve yeast into water. This should foam a small amount. If it doesn’t your yeast is dead (get new yeast, or give up: your choice).
  4. pour con­tents of the sauce pan into the mix­er bowl. Add 4 1/2 cups flour, attach your dough hook and use speed two. Appar­ent­ly, for the dough hook, the speed shall be two. Thou shalt not set the speed to three as the cor­rect speed is two. It may be per­mis­si­ble to use speed 1 for a very short time (espe­cial­ly since it is between “off” and “2”), but the cor­rect speed is two. I have not ver­i­fied if the uni­verse comes apart at the seams, but accord­ing to many sources, the speed of the dough hook is two. Use speed two, or give up: your choice. Real­ly.
  5. After about 1 min­ute, the dough will “start to clean the sides” … at this point you add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and elas­tic. I know this is vague. It should also be “slight­ly” sticky to the touch (although not “very” sticky, I gath­er). So… but be clear (and thus, less yoda) I added one of the pos­si­ble 3 half-cups of flour here. I think should have added two of the three. Too much makes the bread “dry” and “heavy” … too lit­tle makes it light, tasty, gives it the struc­tural integri­ty of wet paper. Your choice though: it tast­ed good.
  6. After reach­ing this mag­ic point of flour con­tent, you need anoth­er 2 min­utes of knead­ing with the dough hook. Remem­ber that the speed of the dough hook shall be two. This should be some­what easy, because if you didn’t quit in the last step, the speed should already be two.
  7. Grease a bowl. I think you could use spray stuff here, but here at Dav­eG, we like but­ter. Stick your fin­gers in some but­ter and rub down a bowl. Get into your cook­ing like a man. A weird greasy man… but… eh. next?
  8. Low­er your bowl from the mix­er, extract your dough hook. Remove the dough. You can use the dough to “attract” oth­er dough… kin­da like a sticky mag­net. Place dough in greased bowl and then flip it over — facil­i­tat­ing a coat­ing of grease on the top of the dough.
  9. Cov­er your bowl with plas­tic wrap. Some peo­ple use a wet tow­el. Tow­els are for peo­ple, sil­ly, but I sup­pose this is yet anoth­er rea­son to have one around. I prefer to reserve my tow­el and use plas­tic wrap. Don’t make it too tight. Your bowl needs room for the dough to dou­ble in size and some of this can be facil­i­tat­ed by the dough crown­ing over the bowl (rais­ing the plas­tic wrap). It’s hard to see in this pic, but the dough occu­pies the bot­tom of the bowl.
    Stand-Mixer Dough UnRisen
  10. Let it rise for 1 hour. It need to be warm for the yeasty-beast­ies to be hap­py. Some say 35 C to 45 C. So uncom­fort­ably warm for humans. Too cool and it will either a) take a long time to rise, or b) fail. One sug­ges­tion that worked for me was to turn on your oven for about 1 to 1.5 min­utes, then turn off. Leave the oven light on, and put the dough in there to rise. Means you can’t be bak­ing any­thing else, but it’s nice and warm. Else­wise? Be cre­ative. May­be you have Gro-lamps from one of your oth­er projects? I cer­tain­ly don’t.
  11. After your risen dough looks like this next pic­ture, you punch it. It’s fun. Real­ly, you punch it. It deflates. It’s sat­is­fy­ing.
    The Stand-Mixer Bread has Risen
  12. Grease two bak­ing pans. We used 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch pans. Strange sizes. Met­ric doesn’t make it bet­ter. Since some­one ran­dom­ly decid­ed to buy me some many years ago, I’m going to assume it’s com­mon. Again… put your fin­gers in some but­ter … spread it around. It won’t threat­en your gen­der iden­ti­ty. Hrm… can I say that? May­be greas­ing things with but­ter is erotic for some peo­ple. Hrnh. Do it any­way.
  13. Divide the dough in two. I’m not com­plete­ly neu­rotic, but I used a scale. In my case it was about 645g per piece.
  14. Pound the dough flat. Again, rolling pins could have been use to hit the bread, but we have none. You want the dough to be about as wide as the pans you’re using… and may­be 1 1/2 times as long. Roll the dough like a car­pet and deposit in the pan. Repeat for the oth­er piece.
  15. Cov­er with plas­tic wrap again and put some­where warm to rise. Same as before.
  16. If you used your oven, pull your bread out when it’s dou­ble the size. Remove the plas­tic wrap (unless you con­sid­er plas­tic one of the four food groups (Ref: Night Court). If you put your dough to rise some­where else, you don’t need to move it, but I’d still remove the plas­tic (unless you con­sid­er it a food group).
  17. Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Bake bread (or bread and plas­tic, should you be so inclined) for around 30 min­utes. Baked bread sounds hol­low when you knock on it is is gold­en-brown.
  18. Dump bread out of bread-pan onto a cool­ing rack. Fail­ure to do so makes sog­gy bread … so your choice.
    Stand-Mixer White Bread
Recipe Notes

On plas­tic as a food-group and Night Court:  Night court is worth watch­ing.  Go. The inter­tubes will still be here when you’re fin­ished.  Regard­less, at some point, Har­ry (the judge) has a cir­cus of defen­dants.  I’m being lit­er­al here.  The Geek (as in eats every­thing rather than Geek as in fix­es-your-com­put­er) of the cir­cus eats Harry’s gavel.  Har­ry says, “Why did you eat my gavel.”  The Geek replies, “Wood is one of the four food groups.”  Har­rry dou­ble-takes and asks, “And the oth­ers are?” To which the Geek replies “Met­al, plas­tic, and the white stuff you find in twinkies.”  Real­ly… if you haven’t seen it, binge watch it some­where.

Note that I’m not in any way respon­si­ble for what you eat.  You are respon­si­ble for what you put in your mouth.  In fact, I’m nei­ther rec­om­mend­ing you do or don’t eat any­thing.  I’m on the inter­tubes, for gosh’s sake.  You’re pret­ty much off your rock­er if you’re lis­ten­ing to any­thing I say…  But, then, if you do some­thing tru­ly dumb, you might as well make a video to edi­fy oth­ers.  Link it up!  I must be amused!

On dou­bling the recipe: Accord­ing to the doc­u­men­ta­tion with my large Stand-Mix­er, which is the 475W mod­el, it can han­dle a recipe with 14 cups of flour.  using the low­er of the 5–6 cups of flour recomen­da­tion, you can make 5 loaves or 12.5 to 14 cups of flour.  Note that this would be 12.5 to 15 cups of flour, but 15 cups is aparent­ly too much for the motor.  The man­u­al also notes that you require the 6 qt bowl (and dough hook) to make a recipe with more than 12 cups of flour, which would lim­it you to dou­bling the recipe.

Those of you with large biceps that want to try this by hand (or those of you with a large com­mer­cial mix­er) can do as you please.  I sup­pose one of those cement mix­ers from the rent-all might do a big load.  Or we could graft a much big­ger motor onto one of the­se things.  But in all Tim Tay­lor tra­di­tion, you’re respon­si­ble for your own actions.  Don’t blame me if some­thing lit­er­al­ly blows up.  Just make sure you make a video for you-tube for me.  I’m bored.

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Stand-Mixer #1 Cheese Biscuits

Stand-Mixer Made Cheese Biscuits Cooling

Stand-Mix­er Made Cheese Bis­cuits Cool­ing

I will write a sep­a­rate arti­cle with my thoughts on my Stand-Mix­er and Stand-Mix­ers in gen­er­al, but right now I’m quite excit­ed to write a few short arti­cles about the won­der­ful things I’ve made with the Stand-Mix­er; the very first of which are Cheese Bis­cuits.

I got my Stand-Mix­er for Christ­mas and we cel­e­brat­ed Christ­mas on Christ­mas Eve (due to sched­ul­ing con­flicts of the fam­i­ly). This meant I was at home on Christ­mas Day with my new Stand-Mix­er and I had no yeast (why would I have yeast — it’s per­ish­able and I had not here-to-fore been bak­ing). I choose bis­cuits as my first project because I had all the ingre­di­ents (and the stores were most def­i­nite­ly closed).

Cheese Buscuits with Sausage Provincial

Cheese Bus­cuits with Sausage Provin­cial

In fact, you’ll note that the bis­cuits are dis­tinct­ly star-shaped. This is due to the only “bis­cuit cut­ter” that I had on hand was a star-shaped cook­ie cut­ter; but it worked. The­se bis­cuits are pret­ty hard to resist. Just between my wife and I, six-odd were gone before din­ner. We ate this with a 3rd revi­sion of a provin­cial dish that start­ed with chick­en, but had added sausage by this incar­na­tion. Sop­ping up gravy with cheese bis­cuits is divine. I’m not going to dis­cuss the provin­cial dish here — it was a slow cook­er exper­i­ment that wasn’t right at first, but the 3rd incar­na­tion of left­overs was the charm — so pret­ty much unre­peat­able. Also sur­pris­ing to me is that the bis­cuits have sur­vived sev­er­al days in a plas­tic bag — they’re still bet­ter heat­ed up or light­ly toast­ed in the toast­er-oven, but good nonethe­less.

 

Stand-Mix­er Cheese Bis­cuits
Print Recipe
The­se are basic bak­ing pow­der bis­cuits to be made with your Stand-Mix­er. With my cook­ie cut­ter, this made about 20 bis­cuits, but bis­cuit size will deter­mine the yield.
Serv­ings Prep Time
20 bis­cuits 20 min­utes
Cook Time
15 min­utes
Serv­ings Prep Time
20 bis­cuits 20 min­utes
Cook Time
15 min­utes
Stand-Mix­er Cheese Bis­cuits
Print Recipe
The­se are basic bak­ing pow­der bis­cuits to be made with your Stand-Mix­er. With my cook­ie cut­ter, this made about 20 bis­cuits, but bis­cuit size will deter­mine the yield.
Serv­ings Prep Time
20 bis­cuits 20 min­utes
Cook Time
15 min­utes
Serv­ings Prep Time
20 bis­cuits 20 min­utes
Cook Time
15 min­utes
Ingre­di­ents
Serv­ings: bis­cuits
Instruc­tions
Make the Dough:
  1. Dump flour, bak­ing pow­der, salt (if any) and but­ter in your stand-mix­er bowl. Attach the bowl and the flat beat­er to your stand-mix­er. Start with STIR speed and mix for about one min­ute.
  2. Scrape the bowl and the beat­er (prob­a­bly best if you stopped the stand-mix­er here — but it’s your adven­ture), Add the milk. Return or con­tin­ue STIR speed as you see fit.
  3. Do the Tim Tay­lor Grunt as the machine works to do your bid­ding. Also, add your cheese in near the end of this part. Mix until the dough starts to cling to the beat­er. If you over-mix here, you’re using up your bak­ing pow­der and you’ll get flat bis­cuits (if that hap­pens — now you know why). With great pow­er comes great respon­si­bil­i­ty — you only real­ly get to use speed STIR (1) here.
  4. (note to self: find a rea­son for speed 10)
  5. Spread some flour some­where. Pro tip: coun­ter near the sink is a good choice if you have to clean the mess up your­self. Dump the dough onto your “poof” of flour.
  6. Grease a bak­ing sheet (or two, as need­ed).
Make lit­tle bits out fo the big bit:
  1. Do while (dough larg­er than cut­ter):
  2. Flat­ten dough with your hands. Some peo­ple use a rolling pin here, but we don’t have a rolling pin and there’s some­thing so vis­cer­al about pound­ing dough.
  3. Cut as many bis­cuits as you can. Extra points for cre­ative geom­e­try.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Flat­ten last bit as “chef’s dibs”
Bake!
  1. Arrange all your pro­to-bis­cuits onto your greased bak­ing tray(s). They don’t grow lat­er­al­ly hard­ly at all, so you can put a fair­ly large num­ber of them on a try — cer­tain­ly more that the accom­pa­ny­ing pic­tures. Option­al­ly (I didn’t) brush with but­ter. It’s pret­ty easy to but­ter them lat­er. May­be this is com­pen­sa­tion for those that use short­en­ing? We don’t like com­pen­sa­tion; we like the real thing.
  2. Bake! 450F for 12 to 15 min­utes. For max­i­mum enjoy­ment, serve and eat imme­di­ate­ly!
    Fresh Cheese Biscuits
Recipe Notes

On the choice of cheese and salt: There is salt in most cheese.  With­out any cheese, you might add as much as 1/2 tsp of salt.  With ched­dar, I found 1/4 tsp to be tasty.  If your cheese is saltier than ched­dar, you might not add salt.  You can also add more (or less) cheese.  Less cheese seems almost point­less.  I would assume that at some point, the bis­cuit fails struc­tural integri­ty due to cheese, but it still might be tasty.

What do you do if you don’t pos­sess a stand-mix­er?  I don’t know exact­ly.  I’m work­ing on how to use my fan­cy new stand-mix­er.  I gath­er you work much hard­er com­bin­ing the ingre­di­ents… but it’s not rock­et sci­ence.

Stand-Mixer Cheese Biscuits Cooling

Stand-Mix­er Cheese Bis­cuits Cool­ing

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32 Bit Counters: Fail

This post is large­ly a reac­tion to this piece of news: that YouTube/Google nev­er expect­ed the num­ber of views of a YouTube video to exceed the capac­i­ty of a 32 bit coun­ter or 2147483648 views.  This is very Bill Gates 2.0.  I sup­pose the news item is most sur­pris­ing for the who, not the what, but I still find the use of a 32 bit inte­ger by any­one sur­pris­ing.

32 bit coun­ters rep­re­sent rough­ly four bil­lion val­ues.  In the YouTube case, the 32 bit inte­ger was obvi­ous­ly signed — one bit rep­re­sents the neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive sign and the oth­er 31 bits rep­re­sent the val­ue.  It’s sil­ly to think a video could have neg­a­tive views, but there are cas­es where unsigned 32 bit inte­gers can cause prob­lems (most­ly … when some­where in the mix there’s a signed inte­ger).  But two or four bil­lion isn’t that large.  Cer­tain­ly there are more peo­ple on the inter­net.  Cer­tain­ly one per­son can watch a video more than once.  While it took Gang­nam Style to exceed this num­ber of views, it was inevitable that some­thing would.

In my own pro­gram­ming, I shy away from 32 bit inte­gers unless the class of items is well-defined to be small.  The cost of 8-byte inte­gers (64 bits) vs. 4-byte inte­gers (32 bits) is rea­son­ably triv­ial and the cost of fix­ing some­thing lat­er is com­pa­ra­bly large.

You might ask the ques­tion: Is 64 bits enough?  64 bits rep­re­sent 18446744073709551616 val­ues or up to 9223372036854775808 with one bit for the sign.  It’s hard to wrap your mind around the­se num­bers.  Wikipedia’s page on the Order of Mag­ni­tude of Num­bers has this val­ue some­where between the total num­ber of insects on earth and the num­ber of grains of sand on all the beach­es in the world.  So if we’re count­ing things that numer­ous, we need big­ger num­bers.

Con­verse­ly, the num­ber of peo­ple in the world has grown from 32 bites to 33 bits (4 to 7 bil­lion) from about 1970 to the present.  There are still many things that fit in 64 bits.  At this point, almost any coun­ter you cre­ate in a soft­ware pro­gram should be 64 bits wide.

 

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