Sunday, September 26, 2010

Buttermilk Economics

This morning was my soon-to-be aunt-in-law's bridal shower. Her name is Marie and she is from France, which is funny because I already have an Aunt Marie from France. Anyway, showers aren't common in Europe--showers as in baby showers or bridal showers--parties, I mean, not showers as in a place where one bathes beneath falling water. They have plenty of those in Europe and Marie is quite comfortable with those, I am sure, though she wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea of a bridal shower. She was a good sport though, and opened her presents in front of everybody even though she was a little appalled by the idea.

"I will do this," she said, "But you must let me thank you in the French way, with a kiss!"

Sarah, Emily, and I all pooled with Karen to get a gift card for Rod and Marie. After opening our gift she went around to give us all kisses. Sarah got a little flustered when it was her turn and turned her face the same way that Marie was turning and nearly ended up planting her on the lips. It was a near miss and Sarah was thoroughly embarrassed; everyone else thought it was hilarious.

We had waffles at the bridal shower and they were so good. Tali made an awesome syrup and--I'm not even kidding--it was to die for. Aunt Becky gave me the recipe because tomorrow is National Pancake Day and we're so totally going to have pancakes with Tali's buttermilk syrup. I'm sure she got the recipe from somewhere else but I can't find where--but here it is so that you have it, too.
In a saucepan, mix together:
2 c. white sugar
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. butter

Bring to boil, let boil for 3 minutes. Take off heat.

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla flavouring
1 tsp. maple flavouring

Stir. En-happily-joy!
Reid and Karen went grocery shopping on the way home from the football game this evening but they forgot buttermilk so Andrew and I went out to get some. It's so nice having extra adults in the house because it means we're free to run to the grocery store--together--after the girls go to bed without having to worry about getting a sitter or burdening Andrew's parents with having to actively watch children.

Stores here still seem huge to me--that's because I rarely go shopping--and the asile of milk seemed to go on forever. Not knowing where to find the buttermilk I scanned the aisle for anything not-normal looking. The first thing I saw was goat's milk, which was in a purple carton with a large image of a nanny goat dancing on the front.

"Goat's milk!" I said and walked toward it.

"No, we're looking for buttermmmm...oh! Here it is!" exclaimed Andrew.

The buttermilk was right beside the goat's milk. I knew it would be with the weird stuff. Now we just had to decide which size to buy. They had little half-pint-sized cartons for 35¢ and a larger carton for something like $1.95. We only needed a cup of buttermilk for the recipe but we had no idea how pints and cups measured against each other. Andrew's solution was to just grab the big carton until I pointed out that the cost per fluid ounce was much cheaper with the half-pint-sized ones and we could always just buy more than one of those. I'm so economical.


We were up talking way too late a few nights ago and Andrew was telling me about his classes, which brought us onto the topic of NGOs or Non-Governmental Organizations. Am I the only one out there who didn't know it was "governmental?" I always thought it was Non-Government Organization. Same thing, right? Well, Andrew and I said it at the same time, for some reason, and because I dropped the -al I was a syllable ahead of Andrew. He noticed my mistake and tried to correct me while he was still saying the phrase and ended up saying "orgalization."

So we joked about him accidentally saying that in one of his management classes. We sometimes say silly things at our house--for example, we use "fat" for the past tense form of "fit." It's kind of a long-standing inside joke so, while we think it's hilarious, no one else really gets it. Andrew almost used it in class the other day when he was answering a question.

I think it would have been awesome if he did. I can almost hear it now...

"It fat the model of the orgalization."

"Uh...remind me why we let you into this program?"

Anyway, since we were obviously getting beyond the ability to talk I told Andrew it was his turn to say the prayer.

"What is this?" he asked, sillily, "You think you can just start issuing commands? Help Rachel get into her pyjamas. Finish your homework. Pass me the Chapstick. Say the prayer. Blah, blah, blah..."

"Hey," I countered with mock sincerity, "I made three times more than you made this month so I'm the breadwinner, therefore I get to call the shots. Isn't that how economics works?"

Only instead of stressing the third syllable, I moved the stress to the second syllable so it came out "e-CON-omics" and we started laughing hysterically again. I'm not really sure what happened but I was probably going to say something like, "Isn't that how the economy works?" but changed my mind halfway through, so although I dropped "the" and finished with "-omics" I kept the stress pattern of "economics."

And now you know that we may very well be the nerdiest couple on the planet because we lay awake at night discussing public management and proper pronunciation.

***End side-story***

So, there we were, standing in the refrigerated milk aisle, reveling in my economy but completely dumbfounded about how to calculate how much milk we need to buy. By this point I was also sorely missing my sweater, which I had left in the car. We used Andrew's cellphone to text questions to Google to find out how many cups were in a pint or pints were in a cup.

Our answer came back in ounces.

"How am I supposed to know how many ounces are in a cup or cups or in a pint?!" I said in frigid frustration, "I don't even know what a pint is!"

"First of all," instructed Andrew calmly, "It's not [pɪnt], it's [paɪ̯nt]. Second of all, they say it that way in British English as well as American it's not even like you have that excuse."

"We don't have pints in Canada!" I declared.*

Now that I think about it I do say pint correctly when I say "pint-sized" but I never really use the word pint in real life (because we don't have pints in Canada). It's kind of like "lbs." What kind of a measurement is that? I always say "libs," as in "MadLibs." It wasn't until I was 10 or so when I remember my mom telling me it was "pounds," not "libs." I still say "libs."

We solved our problem by texting Google yet again. As it turns out, a half pint = 8 ounces = one cup, so one carton would have done for the recipe. We bought two. That way we can make the recipe twice. The syrup is just that good.
*Okay, so we kind of do but I don't drink so I wouldn't know.


  1. Just wanted to add that in our house the past tense of "to freak" is "froke", as in ' he totally froke out".

  2. That is a beautiful word. I think I'm going to adopt it.