Saturday, May 14, 2011

Four Strings And Double The Ginger

Double Ginger Cookies
My house is a mess, my children are dirty, and my husband is feeling neglected. I'm only kidding about the second thing; but if I had any, they would be. You see, I got an inexpensive second-hand ukulele the other day and...

I can't put it down.

What does this have to do with food? Not much really, except that I haven't been thinking a lot about food since I got the uke. I haven't been thinking a lot about much of anything that's not uke related. So why fight it, let's cruise with it a while.

Like little wooden anti-depressants 
It's impossible to be sad or unhappy around a ukulele. I think that's why I've been wanting one for so long. Well that's one of the reasons anyway. I actually have several. Here then, is the real honest-to-goodness actual list I made in my journal over the last few months... (and some cookies)...

  1. It will be good brain exercise. Use it or lose it fellow-babies! Learning new and different things is the way to keep those gray cells in shape.*
  2. They're fun at parties. (and if I go to any, I'll let you know just how much funner they are with a uke).
  3. I could play it on long road trips in the car. Assuming I'm not driving at the same time. Natch.
  4. Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot. Yowza, need I say more?
  5. I could play old songs... like Blitzkreig Bop ...or... Ain't She Sweet.
  6. They're cute, friendly, and kinda funny. Frankly that's enough reason right there!
  7. They have a Vintage-Island-Retro-Jazz-Swing thing going on that I just really dig the most.
  8. It would be good for retaining manual dexterity and developing ambidexterity. Always handy (see #1 above).
  9. I have the perfect dress to go with it. It's true.
  10. I already know the tuning. Don't ask me how I know this, it's osmosis or something.
  11. Ukueles make people happy. They're a bit like banjos in that way, but they're easier to play.
  12. Our wiggly dashboard hula girl plays one. She doesn't actually live on our dashboard though. She's an indoor dashboard hula girl.
  13. My mom and her friends used to play ukuleles in high school, sitting on the grass together at lunchtime... I never knew that before! What else is she not telling me?
  14. The ukulele evokes Hawaii without even trying. Sweet fresh pineapple, wild orchids, black sand beaches, and palm trees swaying in soft ocean breezes... these things just tumble out of it's little self with every plink of the strings. 
  15. They are acoustic (ie. lo-tech). In a power outage, when the stereo (or iPod speakers don't work), we can still have music.
I thought this was supposed to be a food blog?
Yep, o.k.... let's bring it back around. Let's talk about ginger. To me, ginger is one of those warm and heady tropical herbs/spices, like cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla, that seem to adapt so easily to different seasons they can be used year-round. I don't know about you, but here at the last stretch of this cold and clingy spring, I found myself in the mood to make a big batch of ginger cookies and dream about a warm and endless summer... plink, plink, sigh.

Ginger Cookies at 3191 miles apart 
(from the book: Good To The Grain by Kim Boyce)
Notes: These cookies are half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour. A great way to sneak some healthiness into a tasty treat. They feature a double dose of ginger: ground and fresh. Next time I'm going to add some candied ginger for a Triple-Ginger cookie. I wrapped up and froze half of the dough (it makes a lot). Used my mini cookie scoop for the initial shaping so they would be uniform. Made one batch of smaller cookies by pulling the scooped balls in half before the final rolling. These made a nice snack-sized cookie. Mine baked 15 minutes (rotating halfway) and were slightly crispy on the edges, which is how I like them. After storing in an airtight container they will soften up a bit but still taste utterly fantastic. 

*...and if you don't think you need to exercise your brain as well as your bod, tell me what good buns of steel will be when you hit the "autumn years" and your brain starts slipping sideways out your left ear. Go do a few brain stretches.

More fun links featuring the ukulele... Check out this, and this, and this... I could go on and on.

Incidentally... if anyone still has any of my Christmas Morning Tea Blend left — these cookies went GREAT with it! 
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  1. Incidentally speaking...of course, I got the hint. But you need to come down and make the cookies for me (I'm not the family baker, I just cook stuff).

  2. These cookies are so easy, anybody can make them! Seriously... look around, I don't do complicated food. :)


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