Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Twenty Things

I remembered/managed to bring lots of good stuff with me from home. Among them: maple syrup, contact lens solution (which is 20 bucks a bottle here and which you can only buy from eyeglass shops), measuring cups and spoons, black cotton "Ramones" knickers, and an assortment of Aveda potions and lotions. But I invariably forget some stuff, or at the last minute deem some things too unwieldy to carry across the ocean with me. Here are twenty things I wish that I had here in Budapest:

1. Scrabble -- though Scrabble seems to be a worldwide phenomenon, so maybe I can get it when I go to London next (though I wonder if a Hungarian Scrabble version, which would require 44 different letters, is available)
2. Uno—I wish I had gotten that special Muppets edition.
3. poker chips
4. marshmallows (for hot chocolate)
5. Bisquick
6. Prescriptives foundation
7. another yoga mat (for visitors)
8. a couple of bottles of decent California wine—to give as a gift or to open at a dinner party—like the Rodney Strong merlot
9. Krispy Kreme t-shirt
10. Dixie Lily hominy grits
11. Italian-English language study books/CD's
12. bagels-- I think I could freeze them and they would make it OK
13. Einstein’s double-whipped cream cheese
14. more Victoria’s Secret faux-fishnets in beige
15. matzah meal for making matzah ball soup (though maybe I can find this in a store near the big synagogue)
16. electric socks
17. a fleece vest
18. Jetstream lipgloss (drugstore brand) in Strawberry Daiquiri
19. potato ricer for making gnocchi
20. Moon Pies (my dear friend SVM once sent me some Moon Pies when I was working at the Guggenheim in Venice. I had a Swedish and a Chinese roommate at the time who were very appreciative of sampling this truly Southern treat.)

Post Script: I know that I must come off as a real ass pining for donut merchandise when perhaps 100,000 people, largely children, have been swallowed up by the earth. But I am not an ass, not most of the time. I am just trying to get by, like any poor slob, and maybe thinking about frivolous things helps a bit. Because I am sad, like anyone who has caught a glimpse of this utterly incomprehensible tragedy.


At 7:42 PM, Blogger svm said...

i loved your list. here are a few comments about it:
1. i know an italian scrabeo (i think thats the spelling) exists so maybe there is a hungarian one
2. i got the muppets uno for xmas--ill bring it whenever i get to come visit you!
4. what about fresh whipped cream as a substitute?
5. do you want my 'so you don't have any bisquick but want to make biscuits from stratch but not spend hours doing it' recipe? also have similar one for pancakes...
10. i will have to look for these at kroger. i picked up some yellow grits at sevananda but ultimately found them quite lacking.
i think youd have an easier time transporting 12. over 13.!
16. i am really curious about this one--enlighten me!
19. ah...gnocchi! i almost made it nye but got lazy so now its been well over a year since ive riced taters...
20. thanks for the blog shout-out ;) ill send you some more if you think packages will reach your doorstep. did you get the one i sent last fall?

i sympathize with your post-script, too. i was whiling away hours at phantom phan sites when one ran a large banner asking for tsunami recovery donations and since my bank account was in a decent state post-xmas, i pledged away. it was a drop in the bucket but 1000 drops fills one so...

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

1. Yes, there are other language Scrabbles I have recently discovered. Was sitting in Demel (a kaffeehaus) in Vienna a couple days ago with a couple next to me playing a German version-- but alas, there seems to be no Hungarian version. Too wacky a language I suppose. But an Italian version would be great.

2. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU HAVE THE MUPPETS UNO!!! or I guess I can believe it, but am Kermit-green with envy!

4. Yes, I like fresh whipped cream with hot chocolate. Had this a lot in Roma, and in Vienna, there is the Einspanner, which is a coffee with whipped cream (god bless the Viennese) Suppose the
mallows are just a comfort-familiarity thing. It didn't even occur to me that marshmallows were American.

5. Yes, please give me your 'so you don't have any bisquick but want to make biscuits from stratch but not spend hours doing it' recipe!! I LOVE BISCUITS!! I even made up a song once about my love for biscuits!!!

10. Yup. They're good grits, those. And you're right about 12 over 13. But boy is that cream cheese fluffy and light.

16. I don't think I can enlighten you. I just heard someone talking about electric socks, and at the time I was having quite a difficult time adjusting from South Florida winter weather to Eastern Europe winter weather. And my toes seemed to feel cold, or not to feel at all, all the time. Apparently they've made electric socks for years and they still make them. But 16. could have been any mechanism for keeping me warmer. I feel a bit of a fool trying to dress for the cold. My technique is sort of to heap things on, but this doesn't exactly result in a streamlined silhouette.

19. Yes, gnocchi. Little fluffy tubers of joy.

20. NO!!! Don't send packages here! I get my letters but I do not get my packages-- this is a sore subject. I never got the one you sent last fall! Please don't send anything else, and please don't tell me what you sent so I don't have to think about someone else enjoying it. I am trying to work something out so that Zsolti will receive packages for me, so I will let you know if that works. But thanks for the offer. You're a gem. And do you remember those little supermarket mini-books you sent me too? Those were so great because when I was "guarding" the art works, I could surreptitiously read them. One was about speaking cat-language and one was a wonderfully disgusting romance. Good stuff.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger svm said...

i thought id post these recipes on the blog so if others are feeling the deprivation of bisquick they too can stir some up relatively easily...

i got this somewhere off the net, some argue that lard is necessary for truly fantastic biscuits but being a veggie, i think this recipe makes yumminess w/o death!
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. tartar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter (i.e. 1 stick)
2/3 c. milk
mix tog. 1st 5 ingredients; cut in butter; make a well for milk; stir until just combined; knead 10-12 times; roll to 1/2"; bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes!

im not sure how easy it is to find tartar in budapest and im not sure what it does to the biscuits but hopefully they will be ok if you cant locate some...
im also prone to laziness and often after kneading, just form my own biscuits by hand w/o rolling them out!
this recipe is also easy to split in half if you just want 5-6 biscuits as opposed to 10-12. enjoy dem vittles!

1 c. flour
1 t. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 large egg
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. oil to start...
butter, syrup, etc.
combine 1st 4 in large bowl; add milk, egg, & melted butter and mix til combined; heat oil in pan over med-high heat; use about 1/4 c. per pancake... i figure you know what to do from here on out!

on the non-food front, i made a pair of thrum-filled socks for my mummys chilled toes. thrum or roving is what eventually becomes yarn if spun. it sort of looks like gloppy felt. to make the socks, every few stitches, you insert a 4" piece of thrum and when finished the socks look like they have all these tentacles on the inside. over time as you wear them, the wormy bits will fuse together creating a fleece-lined sock!

im sad about that package not reaching you... keep me posted (no pun intended) should prospects improve and i will send along more cat horoscope lit and the like!

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

Thanks! "Yumminess without Death!" That's going straight into the Punk Rock Band Names List!

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

I don't have my bagel recipe here at work but I'll send it to you tonight. Bagels were virtually unknown in Germany until a few years ago. I had to learn to make all the things I missed: pancakes (the discounter Aldi sometimes has real mapel syrup for around 4 euro per (tiny) bottle. But it's real. I'll never touch 2% syrup again. I made strawberry pies and cup cakes. Had to make my own crusts and icings as well. None of it in Germany.

I couldn't have gotten through the 90's without my recipes.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger svm said...

my current favorite band name is 'the love drunks'. they are local and i know nothing about them beyond their name but i do adore it. im afraid to investigate them further as i fear that their sound will not live up to the beauty of their name. 'yumminess w/o death' seems a bit long... how about just 'yummy death'? that has more of a punk-ness to it, no?

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

Indeterminacy, PLEASE oh PLEASE send me your bagel recipe! I am begging you I am on bended knee writing this oh please a nice wannabe Jewish gal like myself needs bagels or she will wither slowly into an iredeemable shiksa,...need bagels must have bagels help please send bagels,.

At 12:22 AM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

I've seen more complex recipes but I like this one because it was simple and I still say my bagels taste better than the ones you can buy here in Germany. (It was from a collection of personal recipes people had sent in somewhere in a chapter "Quick/Yeast/Breads". Here's the recipe word for word:

4 pkgs. dry yeast (I used the German package sizes)
3 1/2 cups flour (take the baking flour, in Germany Number 550)
3 cups lukewarm water
3-6 Tbsb sugar
4 tsb salt
5 1/2 cups flour

Beat first five ingredients with mixer for 3 minutes. Add 5 1/2 cups flour to make stiff dough. Knead; cover; let rise for 20 minutes. Shape into 16 bagels. Cover to let rest for 20 minutes. Drop into boiling water for 4 minutes on each side. Drain. Bake on greased baking sheet.

Yield: 16 bagels
Pan: Baking sheet
Oven: 375°F (190°C)
Bake 30-35 minutes
Note: A very low-calorie breakfast treat!

Editor's note: For variety, add seeds (poppy and sesame), onion and herbs to some.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

P.S. I read your list again and saw the California wine. I was back in the states in 1992 and went to a wine store to buy some wines to bring back. Since I knew nothing about wines I asked someone to help me. When he found out I wanted to take them back to Germany he couldn't figure understand why I would want them with all the great German wines available.

So maybe you can substitute a German wine for CA? Have fun at your next wine and bagel brunch!

At 10:38 PM, Blogger svm said...

ok, i really enjoy baking but 9 cups of flour?!
am i reading this recipe wrong?
this just seems like a great deal of flour
to turn out 16 bagels but then
i dont have any bagel-making experience...

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

It is a lot. I always did a half recipe. Then it's not so much.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

Thank you for the recipes yall. I will post a report on how they turn out.

Wine: We have LOVELY WONDERFUL Hungarian wine. The thing is, Hungarians don't promote their wine abroad (though this changing as of very recently). I'm not kidding. Some of it as smooth as many Italian/French/CA wines I've had. I just wanted some CA wine because I thought it might be special for my foreign friends here.

At 5:09 AM, Blogger jon said...

yahoo daily horoscope info is so cheesy but we were looking at it anyway...why i dont know. I guess it is fun to play around online. Anyway, I saw your yahoo daily horoscope posts and though it was cool...Alright, well...have a great night, I am back to yahoo daily horoscope surfing LOL : )



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