Thursday, January 21 2021

my famous biscuits, new emails, and stress



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Thursday. The sun is out. The weekend is getting closer. The United States has a President that doesn't tweet in all caps. I can't help but feel like something more hopeful is waiting for us just around the corner.

On top of it all, our house smells like a French bakery. The aroma of freshly baked buttery biscuits lingers so strongly that it's practically formed a cloud in our bedroom. In a few minutes, Marissa and Rodney will notice, following the scent downstairs in the kitchen where a tray of biscuits will be waiting for them. They'll be excited at first, then a little surprised at how small and flat they are. They'll each try one, and wince through the discomfort while they choke down the chalky and briny abomination. Out of the seven biscuits I left, they'll each eat one, and the other five will sit there until they are finally put out to pasture in the nearby garage can.

Sip. What a disappointment. Last night after I finished cleaning up, I spent the rest of my free time trolling around on King Arthur's website for some morning recipes to try. Each morning when I feed my sourdough culture, most of it just gets washed down the sink with hot water. On the days that I don't make any bread, that's a whopping 226 grams of premium KRANG. The thought of re-purposing the wasted material to make breakfast appealed to my thrifty nature. In addition to the discard, these biscuits only needed a cup of flour, some salt, some baking powder, and whole stick of butter.

Still wearing a bathrobe, I fumbled over the plastic and shiny metal to assemble my new food processor. I cut up a cold stick of butter into chunks and pulsed it with a cup of flour. I folded in the sourdough and added a splash of cream to loosen it up. Channeling my inner Bruno Albouze, I gently patted the dough into a rectangle and folded it over itself to create layers. I thought I was home free.

I watched them for a few minutes, squatting in front of the oven window. Surely they would rise. They would be light and airy. My grateful family would devour them and ask for more.

They didn't puff up very much. They were brown and craggily. They looked meek, like something you would eat while fasting. But appearances only tell you so much about food - maybe these biscuits are a sleeper. Maybe the tiny brown discs hide a decadent secret.

I picked up a biscuit and moved it to a plate. It wasn't light and airy. It was heavy, like a hockey puck. I bit down, and it crunched like a power bar. It tasted like a buttered salt block. Combined with the complex, sour stank of my good friend KRANG, the flavors melded like a jazz band and a fourth grader playing the recorder.

Another one bites the dust. The search continues. After I had guzzled a glass of water at the sink to offset the sodium poisoning from my breakfast, I thought about how funny it would be if I committed to these dense salty biscuits. What if I made batch after batch every day and handed them out to everyone I know? What if I flooded Instagram with pictures of these craggily Civil War hockey pucks, using hashtags like #NothingBeatsHomemade and #AlexsFamousBiscuits. I'd make them with red and green sprinkles for Christmas time and bring a platter to every birthday party. And then after I'd spend my whole love pushing them on people, I'd leave a written confession on my deathbed admitting that I knew they were terrible.

The hunt continues. There are plenty of other recipes to try - even a few more variations on biscuits.

Sip. How are you feeling today? Have any good baking fails? Have you already maxed out on daily recommended sodium just with breakfast? And how was your Wednesday?

We had a rough one yesterday. Miles ushered in a new tooth with all-day ritualistic screaming. Rodney was bored with TV and bouncing off the walls. Remember our bank account got hacked? We thought yesterday we'd finally get the keys to the kingdom back. The bank asked Marissa to create a new account with a new email, promising that everything would look back to normal once she logged in again.

As a side note, can we stop acting like email addresses are disposable? It really got on my nerves that the banker at BMO acted like supplying a totally new email address wasn't a big deal. "Just make another one," she said. First off, no. Having a whole second email address just for one login is dumb. It wouldn't be so bad after setting up automatic mail forwarding, but it's not 2001 anymore - google and yahoo don't want people making more than one email address anymore, so as a result it's kind of a pain in the ass. You need to give them your birthday and your phone number. They text a code to you to make sure you're really a person. They'll bother you to use the email for hangouts and youtube and rotate the password sometimes. It's a new email that you own and need to keep access to forever until you're dead.

Luckily, I had a back up email. I reluctantly gave Marissa my doomsday email - the one I have set aside just in case Google unleashed gmail account hunting robots to usher in the man-machine war.

Wouldn't you know it? Things did not look normal in our account. We had eight different checkings and savings accounts shown, and exactly half of them were still frozen. Marissa's business account was missing, so she still doesn't have access to her art money. The banker left us with an insincere I'll see what I can do. I'm getting to the point where I would have rather just paid the scammer to not have to work with BMO to get this done - at least he knew what he was doing.

Meanwhile, I spent the whole work day working on the same code bug. Red and orange error messages filled my computer screen as I meticulously sifted through a 500MB log file on my desktop. The stress culminated in the afternoon just after Marissa put Rodney and Miles away for quiet time when we spontaneously decided to flop the bed next to each other.

"Hey buddy," I said tiredly. Marissa laughed. We chatted for a few minutes like kids at a sleep over. "I think this was the best part of my day," said Marissa, and I agreed.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a good one, everyone.