It’s 25 degrees here on the north shore of Long Island today, Thanksgiving. The cats are staying close, what with a turkey cooking in the oven that might need taste-testing.
Coco, my 18-year old cat who lives upstairs, has started sleeping in her litter box. I have tried to coax her back into one of her three fluffy beds but, no, she would not budge from her cruddy litter box. So I had to put her heating pad in one of her litter boxes and she seems to be happy, but it still bugs me:
In my house on Thanksgiving, Top Cat is in charge of everything that goes on the dinner table and I am in charge of hors d’ouvres. I suck at hors d’louvres. Our guests usually have to make do with a bowl of potato chips and a cheese platter. But this year, having watched many episodes of The Great British Bake Off, I got the ridiculous idea that I have learned to cook like an English person with a charming accent. So I looked around the inter webs for savory hors d’ouvres, and I found this:
It’s a cheese cracker from Charlestown, South Carolina. The legend goes, people in Charlestown like to eat home made cheese crackers with cocktails. I like cocktails. And if it’s a cocktail thing in the gracious South, it should be a thing in my house!
I read the recipe and mistook reading a recipe for being as easy as baking a recipe.
“Beat 12 tablespoons of butter until light and fluffy” it said.
After an hour of trying to make my butter go all light and fluffy I just dumped a wedge of congealed dairy product into a cup and a half of flour and a whole mess of parmesan and cheddar cheese with a little too much cayenne pepper and cut the resulting bolus into quarters and let it “rest” in the fridge.
This is what one of the quarters looks like before I began to do the second round of my impersonation of a Great British Bake Off Baker:
” Roll out 1 piece of dough on a floured surface to 1⁄16” thickness” it said. “Using a 1 1⁄2” round cookie cutter, cut out about 30 rounds ” it said.
The dough mostly wanted to wrap itself around the rolling pin, and does anyone in the world have a 1 1/2-ich cookie cutter?? I had to use the only thing in my house that is 1 1/2-iches in diameter. It’s a bottle cap from my old prescription for sleeping pills:
Forget the forget the 30 rounds cut from 1/16-inch dough. I was lucky to get 22 hand-patted crackers:
The recipe said I’d get 10 dozen. After four hours of real work, I got 86 little cocktail crackers and I am never making these crackers again, except if guests from South Carolina show up at my door and they have brought a vat of gin for martini cocktails and I happen to be very *thirsty*, then I will be a good hostess and make them these shitty little crackers.
P.S. The Thanksgiving guests liked the crackers but between you and me, I think butter and flour are not materials that I can handle with any fluency. I’m better with paper and glue than I am with ingredients.
Which brings me to the reason I have gathered you here today. Last week I
threatened promised to show you how to build a better paper snowflake tree. Dear Readers, even if this is not the least bit interesting to you, maybe it will be soothing to watch me fiddle with little bits of paper while awe all hide out from Black Friday.
To start, cut out at least five snowflakes in various sizes from ordinary bond — typewriter — paper (Does anyone still call it typewriter paper? Should I call it “printer” paper?):
Then cut out little circles from heavier drawing paper, for reasons that will become evident shortly:
Glue the little circles into the center of the bond paper snowflakes for reasons that will become evident shortly:
Use hole punch thusly:
Then, remember that you forgot to leave one of those bond paper snowflakes intact, so go and make another bond paper snowflake, glue a little circle of drawing paper into its center, and leave it alone:
While the glue dried on the bond paper snowflakes, lay down glue onto a rectangle of paper — leave the bottom part of the rectangle without glue — and take your lollipop stick like this:
Roll it until you have gotten the right amount of paper rolled onto it, which is a thing you develop a knack for after you’ve done this five or ten times:
Now you can slide your lollipop stick out and let the glue dry:
Here’s what you do with that intact bond paper snowflake that you had to cut out at the last minute (a few pix back):
When all the glue dries, you will have a very sturdy stick-on-a-snowflake thing:
Now, here is where that knack you have about rolling just the right amount of paper onto your lollipop stick pays off. You are going to slide your hole-punched board paper snowflakes, one by one, onto the stick, which has to be a very teeny fraction smaller than the width of the hole punch:
You can drop a glob of glue onto the bottom of each band paper snowflake if you want, to hold it firmly in place:
When you put the final (and smallest) bond paper snowflake onto the end of your stick, your tree is finished and the only way to handle it is with tweezers:
I also make this kind of band paper snowflake tree. . .
. . . for a project that is still in progress:
More about this (see above) next week.
I hope all you Dear Readers had a delightful Thanksgiving and for the Dear Readers from far away lands, I hope your Thursday was feastful and joyous and that you spent a few happy hours with friends and kitties and felt unreasonably blessed by a benevolent universe.
See you next Friday.