Thursday, October 13, 2016

On Language Learning (and Cookies)

Forever my love
For those of you that don't know, in addition to my psychology degree (and 85% of a biochemistry, I'm working on a Spanish minor. Learning a language, especially in school, especially as an introvert who doesn't like talking in big groups, especially classes, is weird. There are moments every day where I feel pretty fluent. Moments when my Hispanic residents are on the phone with their parents and I actually comprehend the conversation. Moments when I'm writing an essay and thinking in Spanish and it just flows.

But. There are also moments where I just feel (for lack of a better term) like such a freaking white girl. Which I am (mostly Swedish and German. that's about as white as it gets.). Moments where mi profesor asks me a question and all I can do is blush and mumble "qué?" Moments when I'm lost in class, or one of my group mates (who are all Hispanic and actually bilingual) speaks so fast that it just sounds like a blur to me. Or sometimes I fumble the present tense. It's great. My pronunciation gets weird sometimes, and as someone who has spent my entire life in the south, the fast, staccato rhythm is hard for me.

Language learning is weird, and it gets weirder when you transition into classes that trust that you're competent in the language, and focus on just teaching you literatura y cultura. Your ideas and thoughts actually matter more than the proficiency with which you communicate them. This is intimidating. Learning how to BS an essay about literature in a second language is weird and funny and makes me feel a lot more fluent than I probably am.

So why learn Spanish? It started because I was dead set on med school at U of Miami, and in Miami, you'd better be able to habla. At some point, I actually did fall in love with the language, and more than anything, I'm honestly in love with the idea of being bilingual. The idea of being able to communicate effectively and relate with more than one group of people is so appealing to me, which is why I love culture classes so much. Maybe that's and idealized version of things, but I like it, so I'm sticking with it.

También: I thought about writing this post in Spanish, but I have a little bit (okay a lot) of fear of judgment when it comes to my proficiency. So instead you get a post in English with awkward uses of Spanish vocab. Sorry.

S'more Stuffed Giant Cookie
2 sticks of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
3 milk chocolate bars
3 graham crackers
1/4 cup mini marshmallows

  1. Stir together the butter and sugars.
  2. Add in the eggs, vanilla, soda, and salt. Mix until smooth.
  3. Stir in flour.
  4. Gently fold in the chips.
  5. Press about half the dough into a 9-inch round pan.
  6. Add a layer of graham crackers, then another layer of chocolate bars. Top with the marshmallows.
  7. Carefully spread the rest of the dough on top.
  8. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Top will be dark golden, middle will be gooey. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Things I'm Loving Lately

College got me like
Things I'm Loving Right Now

  1. Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea
  2. Community
  3. Andie Mitchell's cook book, Eating in the Middle. The recipes are as amazing as the philosophy behind them.
  4. Twistee Treat. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I drove there Sunday night to try it.
  5. La Tienda. It has my heart forever.
  6. Bagels. Yes, I work in a bagel shop, but they're suddenly extra appealing.
  7. Rent
  8. Baking. I can't stop.
  9. Roasted veggies
  10. Julia Child
  11. This pasta. I made it last week and then ate it forever (seriously, I made way too much).
  12. Urban Decay liquid liner (in RED!)

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Birthday Cake for Mom

Hi Mom.

I know you'd probably prefer I celebrate your birthday with fewer carbs and a little less sugar. I could've made a nice salad with steak and quinoa, topped with some strawberries (good idea, we'll revisit that one). If you were going to eat a cake, you would've preferred carrot. But I thought something new could be fun.

Dusted with cocoa powder
So instead, we have a perfectly moist chocolate cake topped with peanut butter frosting, not too sweet, but salty, with crunchy little granules of sugar. And I drove it down to Tarpon to surprise you and eat dinner by the sponge docks. Happy birthday, Mom.

This makes me weirdly aware of how rarely I take horizontal pictures
Fun fact: I'm a terrible example as a baker, which means I don't actually measure ANYTHING. Unless I'm making something really finicky, I kind of just eyeball everything. Oops. It's worked out so far.

Chocolate Cake and Peanut Butter Frosting
I used this recipe

1 stick salted butter
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Microwave the butter and peanut butter for 45 seconds. The butter will be pretty much all melted, and the peanut butter will be stir-able.
  2. Stir in both sugars and the salt until smooth.
  3. Spread on cooled cake or eat with a spoon. Enjoy.