Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutions and Fritters

At what point does an apple turn dangerous? We all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what about an apple fritter? The cinnamon is fine, even a little flour is okay, but how much oil and sugar does it take to turn the nutritious into a dieter’s nightmare? 

I’m thinking about fritters, because I’m thinking of how easily something that seems like a productive use of my time can turn into frittering. One of my New Year’s resolutions is different from years past. I want to work the same hours as my husband, not because he is such a paragon of virtue, mind you, but because we’re yoked together and quite honestly, often I feel I’m not pulling my weight. I know that in our long marriage there have been  years of diaper changing, vomit cleaning, and peanut butter sandwiches that beat out his power lunches, golf boondoggles, and hotel stays, but now that my children are mostly grown I’m faced with the question—what do I do all day?

I have been given this one life and I want it to be meaningfully spent. My husband often spends twelve (or more) hours a day working—but I can’t spend 12 hours a day writing. It’s physically exhausting (although that should be mitigated by my brand new chair—thank you, Santa) and way too much in my head. I’m excited to start this year with my writer’s widget (see an earlier post) where I track my tries and hours spent with my stories. But my work is more than story telling…

Laundry definitely counts as work, but what about looking on Pinterest for ways to organize my laundry room? How about ironing while watching the news? And reading—is that research? Is Facebook marketing? How about the kindleboards? And what about church service? When does visiting teaching turn into lunch with friends? If I laugh too much at my writers’ group have I tipped the scale from writing to wastefulness?

In our ancestors days if you didn’t work you didn’t eat, if you didn’t scrounge for fuel and strike a spark you might freeze, and if you didn’t build a roof you would get wet. Those days are gone. If I don’t work, no one really cares. In fact, if I don’t eat I’m confident that a large group of angry, noisy people would yell at me and hook me up to tubes to keep me alive--not that I'm willing to try it--remember the people who surround me can be angry and loud. I am loved and incredibly spoiled.

Meaning that if I want be the apple and not the apple fritter, it’s up to me—and no one else—to cut out the fat and sugar…making this year’s resolution not so different, after all.

Apple Fritters
1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying
 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 tablespoon white sugar
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 2/3 cup milk
 2 eggs, beaten
 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
 3 cups apples - peeled, cored and chopped
 1 cup cinnamon sugar
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in the milk, eggs and oil and stir until well blended. Mix in apples until they are evenly distributed.
Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Fry in smaller batches so they are not crowded. Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon sugar while still warm.

The Law of the Harvest: As a Man Sows, So Shall He Reap

…Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty…
Every act rewards itself, or in other words inte­grates itself, in a twofold manner, first in the thing, or in real nature; and secondly in the circumstance, or in apparent nature. Man calls the circumstance, the retribution. The casual retribution is in the thing and is seen by the soul. The retribution in the circumstance is seen by the understanding; it is inseparable from the thing, but is often spread over a long time and so does not become distinct until after many years. The specific stripes may follow late after the offence, but they follow because they accompany it….
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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