Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Now That Is Love

As you know, I ride my bicycle to work everyday. I believe you are also aware that I am not a parent nor do I purport to be an expert on parenting advice. Although I am pretty sure that today, I witnessed an incident that, much like me award winning pies, would rank me heads and shoulders above my so-called parenting competition.

Waiting for the light to change at Islington and Lake shore, I saw a boy (6 at the outside) riding his bike through the intersection against a yellow at the behest of his father. I will admit that I only got two lines of the conversation, and this is how it went:

Boy - "But what if I get hit by a car?"

Father - "I don't care. Just peddle."

No matter how I framed this in my mind, it just seems wrong. Was the boys first question "what if I get attacked by a dinosaur?" Or was it the hundredth "why is the sky blue" pestering question of the day that provoked this response?

I wonder what other fatherly 'advice' this poor lad have to endure? When he has his first crush, will he be told he is too 'unfortunate looking' for such a pretty girl to like him back?

If he seeks career guidance from his none-helmet-wearing-degenerate papa will his dreams be snuffed out like the cigarette he crushes under his Giant Tiger sneakers? When you're 6 you should be encouraged to be a cowboy, astronaut or fireman and not told "your dreams are too big."

Truth be told, we all have bad days, but to tell your kid you don't care if they get hit by a car is like me telling Johnny Walker he can't be used in my boot flask. It just ain't fittin'.

"Daddy, what if the boogie man comes to get me?"

"I don't care. Just don't scream and wake me up."


Friday, September 16, 2011

Holy Peach!

All I have to say is that it is a good thing, nay, a fantastic thing, that the Beeton Fall Fair is held in a community centre with a barn sized door. Otherwise, I don't know how on earth I would get my huge, first place prize winning, head outside!

That's correct, you read right, I won my FIRST blue ribbon at a county fair! YAY for me!

The Beach Bake Off of last weekend was nothing like Beeton. There were hundreds of entries in the baking section - cookies, cakes, pies, breads....you name it, it was there. I won, not only in category 27, peach pie, but the overall pie prize.

It was also much more official. You had to deliver your wrapped pie to the judging area by 11:30, and following my one hour to make, one hour to bake and two hour to cool rule I made it with 23 minutes to spare, and then it was placed in a glass case, as pie should be, until the judging began.

The fair is on all weekend and the baked goods will be there until Saturday afternoon, so if you fancy a trip to the country and a look at a champion pie, you know where to go.

My Beeton address lending friend, Dever, had bad cell reception so I am not quite sure if there was an overall baked goods winner, so I am still waiting to hear. I will keep you posted as I am sure you are all waiting on pins and needles.

Once I have my summer house Picton better watch out! I am on a roll.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Golden Beater

A slightly less blue movie title would be ‘The Golden Whisk’ I suppose. But, call it what you will, I won it! It is not the best picture, but that is me in the middle, flanked by the managing director of Dufflets and someone from CityTVs breakfast television.

Their names are not important, although Daniele from Dufflets was charming. What matters is what is in my hand and that my gingery pear pie won the 2011 Beach Bake Off! And I don’t mean in just the pie category either. My perfectly flaky, still warm, amazingly browned crusted treasure walked all over the cakes, cookies and loaves!

While I will need to have my own plaque made to attach to the base, the golden whisk of happiness is mine! Encouragement from IronMan saw me rise at 7:00 to enter my first baking competition. An hour to make, an hour to bake, two hours to cool, one quick trip up the street to the Corpus Christi Church and it was game on.

Admittedly I was nervous. I envisioned an army of Stepford Wives arriving in hummers and high-end SUVs with goods baked by their live in Mary Poppins’. Oh how I sighed when I saw a ragtag band of mothers, each with at least two, remora like parasitic children sucking the life out of them.

My panic then became one of the pinched nose variety, what if pear and ginger was too much for this crowd? Had I gone too far? Luckily I had vetoed the green tomato pie and opted for what I thought was a beach area appropriate entry.

Dufflet Daniele said she was concerned that the ginger would overpower the pears but that I had achieved “the perfect balance”. BAM! That was all I needed. When Jonathan reached for the trophy, my nails dug into the arm of IronMan, my pulse quickened and then I heard my name, announced by the Triangle Area’s event MC, MadDog from Virgin Radio!

Snaps for me! The rest of the pie was sliced up and sold to raise money for the crohn’s foundation. For a little taste test of my own, I bought an oatmeal raisin cookie (great taste, still soft ~ my biggest competition), a slice of vanilla (from a box) cake and a piece of banana loaf (a stitch too dry).

Like ‘The Event’ from earlier in the summer, I mustn’t let this go to my head and I won’t be speaking of it again for one needs to keep an eye on the real prize. The Beach Bake Off was just a precursor, a warm-up if you will, to next weekend’s Beeton Fall Fair.

If all goes well, the Fall Fair circuit will fill my retirement days when they arrive ~ come on lotto 6/49! I will start slowly over the next few years and, hopefully, build a ‘best in show’ reputation for my blue ribbon creations. Look out Beeton, here I come!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Peeves of the Week

Apes, chocolate cake and Rob Ford, I am sure you can mix ‘n match these to come up with a variety of reasons why these things go together. But for me, they compile my week’s list of pet peeves.

Apes, as in The Rise of the Plant of them. IronGirl and I went to see this movie that I have heard surprisingly good things about. I must concur with the 3 out of 4 star ratings that I have read. Good story, casting in some cases better than the acting and spectacular special effects.

The AMC audience however gets a 1 star. A mostly empty theatre raised expectations of an enjoyable movie going experience, not so. Two young brutes parked themselves behind us and yip-yapped during the previews. Feigning fear during the Paranormal 3 preview, they screamed like wee girls.

Such Tom foolery continued once Apes started to roll and I asked them to “please be quiet” and to give them credit, they zipped it. Who I assumed was their father, delayed at the concession stand, came in a few minutes later with a girl about 6 years old in tow.

During the movie, she treated us by reading the subtitles (when Caesar used sign language) and mimicking the grunting of the apes. Twice, her father said “cover your eyes for this part”. Really? Isn’t that an indicator that maybe you should have picked another movie?

Not to spoil it, but there was scene on the bridge where she started to cry. Again, really? Pretty sure Toy Story 12 is playing just down the hall. Not proud of it, but she too was asked to zip it. And, melting into her seat, she did. I hope she enjoyed her nightmares though and blue ribbon to her dad for “Parent of the Year”.

Chocolate cake, specifically chocolate stout Bundt cake. I know, sounds good right? Real Simple reeled me in with their combination of chocolate and Guinness, my typical breakfast. Despite eggs, sour cream, stout and chocolate it was disappointingly dry. Not that it stopped me from licking the pan clean like a dog.

The folks at work raved about it and while I did not deem it card worthy, I will make one more attempt at it while upping the sour cream to ¾ c. and adding a stitch more stout and a splash of milk. Stay tuned for review 2.

Rob Ford, our genius mayor. I am all for ‘cutting out the fat’, ‘stopping the gravy train’ or, insert your favourite cost saving expression here. I will also preface this peeve by acknowledging the fact that the “war on the car is over” and, as far as I can tell, has shifted to the bike.

Not sure what he can ‘cut’ or ‘stop’ in Toronto’s Recreation and Parks department but perhaps an upgrade is needed. For those familiar with Toronto’s New Blue Edge bike path, you might recall that just west of Ontario Place, it forks to the north or to the south.

With the CNE in full swing, they use the surrounding park for air show seating, parking and other sundry activities. Heading west the other day, the route to the south was fenced off with a detour sign pointing north. At the west end of the path however, it was gated and closed.

Heading east, you were forced to take the southerly route, closed at the other end. Again, truly genius. If Rob Ford and his team find any more gravy to get rid of, perhaps they will move the bike path into the lake. A tough slug to be sure but I guess you would at least stay cool.