Friday, May 01, 2015

Things I Learned in March and April

HOW is it that time again already?

I missed March, so here's a roundup of two months' worth of random things I learned. (Thanks as always for the inspiration, Emily!)

1. Steve doesn't really like the Psalms.
What in the actual what? This earth-shattering information came to my attention in a discussion around the table with our small group. One of the other guys said he doesn't like them either. They were lamenting being in Psalms for their daily eyes about fell out of my head. How can you "not care for" PSALMS?!?! Does. Not. Compute. This did, at least, lead to an edifying conversation in which we rejoiced that God gave us a wide variety of Scripture to enjoy, knowing that some parts would speak best to some personalities and other parts would speak more loudly to others. (But seriously. How can you not like Psalms?)

2. I can buy my own birthday flowers. 
Once upon a time I believed the entire world should revolve around me on March 18 each year. Turns out I am growing up. I have learned to lower my birthday expectations and embrace what comes, rather than getting worked up about what *doesn't* come. Flowers just aren't a thing Steve does. He's got a million other strengths; bouquets aren't one of them. I went to Kroger a few days after my birthday and realized, you know what? There is nothing stopping me from spending ten bucks and treating myself to birthday flowers. Plus, then I can get exactly what I like. (If only I knew how to arrange them...)

3. Daffodil is the common name for all flowers in the Narcissus genus. 
All jonquils are daffodils. But not all daffodils are jonquils. And buttercups have nothing to do with any of these. OK, so I didn't actually *learn* this--I'm sure I won't remember any of it--but it was interesting nonetheless. Bottom line: daffodil =/= buttercup, and those yellow and white flowers along the side of the road in early spring are NOT buttercups.

4. I, the champion speller, was misspelling two words. 
I probably would have sworn to you it was "miniscule" until I saw this tweet:
Somehow around that same time I discovered that "benefited" does not have two Ts. What?! I would have also fought you over insisting it was "benefitted." The single T actually *still* looks wrong to me.

5. The first major genocide of the 20th century was 25 years before the Holocaust. 
April 24 is known as Armenian Remembrance Day, because on April 24, 1915, Ottoman Turks killed more than 200 Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. More than a million were killed in 1915-16. It seems that pretty much all unbiased scholars confirm this was indeed genocide, but the Turkish government rejects the term and has scathing denouncements for anyone else who attempts to use it (which has caused some controversy as President Obama apparently called it genocide years ago and promised to do as president, but has not actually lived up to that declaration).

In fact, "the man who coined the word genocide, Raphael Lemkin, was thinking of the killings of Armenians in what is now Turkey when he created it." Alarmingly, there's also an infamous Hitler quote regarding this: In 1939, defending his decision to invade Poland and describing his genocidal intentions, Hitler said, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

As a direct result of the 1915 genocide, Armenians are one of the world's most dispersed peoples. I had never before heard of any of this until now, the 100th anniversary. More information can be found here: Q&A: Armenian Genocide Dispute

6. If you rearrange the letters in "Presbyterians" you get "Britney Spears."
This little tidbit came from my favorite writing professor, who retired this month--she posted a photo on Facebook of a note she'd gotten from former students long ago, "Things We Learned from Mary Brown," and this was on the list. Ha!

7. Two words: Roasted Broccoli. 
As Jude's adorable little friend would say, "Oh My M. G." I could polish off an entire pound of broccoli cooked this way, all by myself. I first got the recipe here, where it's referred to as Crack Broccoli (it really is that good). My favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, also posted a recipe for "crispy broccoli" just this week. But I think that it can be simpler than either of these recipes.

Contrary to the Crack Broccoli recipe's insistence, the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar is *totally* unnecessary and should be omitted. The salt called for is also way too high (and that's coming from someone who LOVES salty things) and you really don't need to go up to 500 degrees (I'm feeling a little sensitive about super-high oven heat since cracking my favorite stoneware last who wants a 500 degree oven in the summer?). Smitten Kitchen uses a lower temp, but all kinds of unnecessary ingredients. All you really need is a pound of broccoli, 3 T melted butter (I don't think EVOO is  advisable at high temps) and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Toss and roast at 425-450 for about 10-15 minutes or until nice and brown. Devour.

A related sub-lesson: You're supposed to peel broccoli. Who knew? I never did it before. But the outer layer of the stem really is woody and tough, and the broccoli gets much more tender (tenderer?) if you peel it off. Doesn't matter much when you're eating it raw or steaming it to death, but for this you'll want to take the extra step.

Head over to Chatting at the Sky for more fun and fascinating randomness!


Tondra Denise said...

What in the actual what? HA! Loved reading your March and April lessons, and even learned a few things myself. Now I'll probably dream tonight about broccoli, Britany Spears, and Psalm 91!

Tondra Denise said...

...or is it Britney? (my spelling bee days were long ago)