D’OH: a doughnut, a female with a doughnut, RAY: the guy who buys me doughnuts?

I MADE DOUGHNUTS.

I’ve had a mild obsession with doughnuts all my life. Which intensified after I started watching Dexter. There’s just something about those adorable pink boxes filled with DELICIOUS yeasty rings of glory. So I went to Tim Horton’s more often in an attempt to satisfy my cravings. But it just wasn’t doing it for me. Then the season ended and my needs waned. Years later, and a mere month ago, I went to New York with the wonderful boyfriend, and I remembered that Americans love their doughnuts, and what better place to find a delicious doughnut than New York?

Through a series of fun friend-fueled happenstances I ended up at a vegan BBQ on a rooftop in Brooklyn asking a friend of a friend where to find good doughnuts, and she recommended this place called Dough. It’s on the corner of Layfayette and Franklin in Brooklyn, and about a 30 minute walk from my friend’s place. That night I dreamt that I didn’t get to go to the doughnut store before we left Brooklyn. It was pretty much the WORST DREAM OF MY LIFE. It needed to not come true, because I WAS GOING TO EAT ME SOME DOUGHNUTS.

So I dragged my gracious friend and my tired and sweaty WB on a pilgrimage in the 30+ heat for these doughnuts. And I’d do it again. Oh I’d do it again if it was a billionty degrees and I had no shoes and had to piggyback everyone and they were both crying and throwing pebbles at me. At $2 a doughnut some may balk at the price point, but not only are these babies gargantuan, but I’d happily pay $5 for the pleasure of shoving them in my face-hole.

THESE DOUGHNUTS ARE MY MECCA.

I have never tasted a better doughnut in my life. It was like eating a cloud. A delicious, sweet, beautiful baby cloud.

These doughnuts were the closest thing to perfection I have ever encountered. A simple, beautiful, fluffy, yeasty doughnut with glaze. My glaze was blood orange flavoured. The tartness of the blood orange melded beautifully with all the sugar required to actually make a glaze, and it just enveloped the giant, soft doughnut so perfectly.

THIS IS WHY PEOPLE WRITE GREAT LOVE SONGS.

I finally understand!

omg the best doughnuts i have ever ingested

So, as you can tell I became a woman obsessed, with doughnuts forever on my mind, waxing lyrical about my brief encounter with these supernaturally-delicious, fried circles of joy.

And as a side-effect I have ruined my pallet for all other inferior doughnuts. It’s like going back to Starbuck’s coffee after upgrading to, well, anything else. It’s just gross and disappointing. So the fate of my eternal happiness now falls in my own hands, I must make my own doughnuts. A daunting task for two reasons, the first being the last time I tried to fry anything I set my kitchen on fire, and the second being I have no idea what ingredients make for a good doughnut. There were so many different recipes out there I had no idea where to start, it confused me. Some called for potatoes, some for buttermilk, others for super simple dough ingredients. It took me a while before I went back to my favourite baking blog, remembering that she too had a doughnut quest, and I used her recipe that she found in Gourmet magazine.

And HOT DAMN are these some fine doughnuts. And totally fun to make! I didn’t burn down my kitchen at all. Though I’d recommend NOT frying anything minutes before 15 people show up to your non air-conditioned apartment in 30 degree weather… WOW was it ever steamy at my place.

Here I am wearing my fabulous present from Dave and Joanne with my doughnuts. How apropos.

 more doughnuts less libraries!

Some tweaks are needed here and there I think, but I’m super happy that I am on my way to finally finding the perfect doughnut.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm doughnuts.

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Happiness is a Cheap Drink (uh oh, she’s getting politically fiesty again!)

Dear Mayor Ford,

I am writing to request a repeal of the law against explicit “Happy Hours” in Toronto (Ye olde coverage from CBC).  I understand that this was a provincial ruling, but it would really be a boon if we could get this repealed on a municipal level.  This law was instated the year of my birth, 1984, and frankly due to it I feel I have been living nothing but a half life.  While I understand that drink deals do in fact exist, I think we really need to go whole hog again! Signs on blackboards advertising deals!  No minimum price for beverages!  Unadulterated Happy Hours for all (all that are 19+ of course)!  And frankly I can’t think of a better way to spend that $60/year you saved us all on that wacky VRT!

I recently came home from New York, the city where every hour is happy hour, and it makes me sad – not happy – that in the city I love to call home there is no such thing.  Surely we can spare one hour a day for happiness?  Especially in the current political climate, I’m fairly certain everyone legally entitled to a drink could use one: A celebratory bottle of Dom for those who support what’s happening, and several shots of tequila for those who recently lost their bike lane, or are about to lose their jobs with the city.  In fact, I think the handing out of pink slips, followed with a consolatory “it’s ok, at least it’s happy hour” would really gloss over the whole new found financial instability of those made redundant.

Come to think of it, reinstating Happy Hour will truly be needed if your proposed cuts to the Toronto Fire Department go through.  It will be more than necessary to up Toronto’s wetness factor if you do indeed pull the 22 trucks (300 firefighters) you propose.  Increased wetness means less fires right? I mean fires start due to excessive drought, right? Failing that logic, I know I’ll need a few cheap drinks after my apartment burns to the ground because there aren’t enough firemen in the city.  I’ll also need more cheap drinks purely because there will be less firemen in the city – amiright?

Speaking of 911, I’m impressed you urged the public to cry emergency when they see graffiti in action!  That is customer service for you!  I for one know that the system is often clogged, having been put on hold once after witnessing a shooting.  So it only makes sense to give the public something to do while waiting: Happy Hour.  See some graffiti, a robbery in progress, murder, maybe the corner store is out of ice cubes, no worries, have a sidecar while you wait to speak to a 911 agent.

My campaign for Happy Hour happily coincides with the release of your KPMG report on city services.  From what I read there’s tonnes of savings to be had, that will be made all the better with the reimplementation of Happy Hour.  Lack of fluoride making people ugly due to bad teeth?  Have another drink and look again!  Unruly city parks due to cuts in upkeep?  Have another drink and the brambles won’t hurt so much, have two more drinks and you might see the flowers again!  Cuts to recycling programmes?  Great!  Because everyone will be drinking in bars again there will be no need to recycle clunky wine and vodka bottles at home.  Less street cleaners and snow plows?  I call the result “urban jungle”, kinda like that fun kid zone at Ontario Place, but with more garbage in the summer, and huge hurdles of snow in the winter.  It’ll be like being on Gladiators 24/7.

Basically, Mayor Ford, we all need more happiness in our lives, and I think the easiest way to get more of that in this city is to bring back Happy Hour.  Fascists and Pinkos alike can finally unite over a finely crafted, briefly discounted beer.  Further your legacy; swap out all that gravy for a little more hootch!

Sincerely yours with hopeful anticipation,

Maggie

I’m pretty excited to see what kind of canned response I get.

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Times they are a-changing!

So first off I’d like to say: I GOT HIT BY A CAR.  I make it sound much more dramatic than it actually is, but:

I GOT HIT BY A CAR

FROM BEHIND

AT A RED LIGHT

WHILE ON MY BIKE

Who does that?  Apparently people who drive ugly, old, light blue minivans at Yonge and Dundas, that’s who.  Even the dude in the Day-Glo (apparently a proper noun, thanks spell-check) yellow “FEAR GOD” T-shirt let out some gasps and expletives when the wing mirror smacked into my arm.  FROM BEHIND.  I was completely unscathed, just completely scathing. Especially cos the dude just drove off.  And did I mention buddy came FROM BEHIND, FROM A STOP, because it was a RED LIGHT? I wasn’t even moving yet.

So yeah, I got hit by a car.  I’m totally fine.

New thing number two:  Enter the Solo Living Project.

Come July, the fabulous Miss Brooks is flying the nest like all others before her (“farewell Derrick”, though you remain on my fridge, and “au revoir Dave”, large cans of ice tea will always remind me of you). It’s bittersweet.  Bitter because she was a good roomie, and I shall miss hearing snippets of Jersey Shore waft into my bedroom from her computer.  Sweet because we’ll both be embarking on living alone for the first time EVAH.  As in, clothes are now extra optional.  Also, WHY HELLO THERE EXTRA BEDROOM!

Another bittersweet point is that I will be TOTALLY BROKE.  Most would take that as just plain old bitter.  But not I, no, I’m looking at it as a opportunity to be financially savvy.  And by that I mean, SPEND NO MONEY.  Basically I’m making an exceptionally financially irresponsible decision (spending about 57% of my not particularly spectacular net income on rent) in an attempt to learn some financial responsibility, and well, live alone in my awesome apartment.  People, this place is a gem, and I’m clinging to it as long as I can.

Does this plan sound completely counter intuitive?  Hells yes it dos!  But since when have I ever made any sense?  Exactly.

(Side note and obvious plug:  Do you LOVE baked goods?  YOU DO?  Buy some from me!  Supplement my income!  It’s the most delicious act of charity!)

I have been in the lucky position of having exceptionally low fixed living costs ever since graduating from university and returning to Canada, leaving me with a large chunk of disposable income.  I’m also pretty good with money generally.  Even though I have never earned very much, I have spent it wisely and saved.  My biggest attempts at budgeting up until now have always been along the lines of “buy less dresses”, and not much else.  So now that I have very limited flexible costs, and very high fixed costs I actually have to budget and pay attention to where every single dollar is spent.  This will be exceptionally good for me.  And it will hopefully get me into frugal habits that will continue even when I’m not so broke, so that I can have mad saving skillz. Ah savings, you mythical creature you!

I’m pretty transparent when it comes to my income and expenses (I was not born with the income discretion gene most were), so I MIGHT end up posting my monthly budgets on to this ol’ blog here, because I always think it’s handy to see how people live the way they do.  Regardless of whether I do or don’t, www.mint.com is an exceptional financial tool, which I have started using properly finally, I highly recommend it.  Basically, I just really love pie charts.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited to start off my solo living project, especially as it will be summer.  I feel summer is probably the best season to start living alone.  More sunshine, more warm breezes, more basil plants I can in inevitably murder.  I have a few financially feasible redecorating projects to look forward to, and generally just blissful visions of a summer filled with catching up on all my reading, and napping.  Both free!

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A Very Blustery Day

Hey interwebs! It’s been a while. My apologies. I’ve been busy, or uh, something.

Anyhoo, it’s a crappy day out, and as it often happens the weather proved itself to be a bit of a prophetic fallacy. So to counter the malaise I decided to bake a ridiculous batch of cookies (heffalump and woozle free)!

DISCOUNT EASTER CHOCOLATE BONANZA COOKIES!

The goods:

The selection above comprises of a giant Hello Kitty chocolate given to me by my generous roomie, shredded coconut, caramel Hershey’s Kisses, and Easter theme M&Ms.

Hello Kitty needed some alterations before being added to the cookie dough, which luckily coincided with my need to smash something. Look at that shit disturber winking at me. I WILL SMASH YOUR FACE.

Before:

SMASHY SMASHY.

After:

Then voila! Happiest cookie dough EVAR:

Here’s the recipe for my world famous (Canada and England, that’s worldly famously enough, right?) and aptly named “Fuck You Cookies”:

In one bowl combine:

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1 lightly beaten egg

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

In a larger bowl combine:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Pour wet ingredients into dry, and combine. Add in whatever the hell you want and combine! Then refrigerate for at least an hour. You can also freeze this mofo for days/weeks/months and it’s still good. ALSO the dough, holy wow, just eat it.

Then after an hour (I wrote this while waiting, and made dinner like a bowss), preheat oven to 325. On a greased baking sheet, roll out cookies into whatever size you want. I believe the original recipe (from a book called “Kids Can Cook”) stated “walnut size balls” (tee-hee). But whatever floats your boat, these babies are versatile!

Bake for 7mins! Or rather, check in at 7mins… Take out, well, whenever you think they are done! I usually wait until just seconds before the edges go golden brown, cos I like my cookies gooey! These babies took close to 20min, cos well, they’re biggies.

COOL (totally optional), EAT (mandatory), ENJOY (unavoidable)!

MOAR PHOTOS BELOW:

My balls. Slightly larger than what I normally go with, which is usually the size of a very large red grape. But today: PLUM SIZED. Awwwyeah.

So the caramel Kisses exploded a bit, but guess who cares?

*crickets*

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I guess I’ll have to learn to read or something…

This morning, while I was walking to work, I was having one of my many internal monologue conversations. Today’s conversation was with a police officer with a sniffer dog, looking for “illicit substances”. (I’m not going to tell you how my mind came to that place, I’ll let you create a story for yourself.)

Anyway, I was discussing with him, after remarking on how adorable his dog was ( a basset hound, obviously), that my ex-roomie had a book of conspiracy theories, and I had read the entry on the illegalization of marijuana. According to this book, the reason that marijuana was criminalized was due to the paper industry. I can’t exactly remember all the details, but I’m sure the internet can. But from what I can recall the basic gist of the chapter was the paper industry became threatened by the versatility of hemp, and the fact that it could indeed become quite competitive with the paper industry. And an added bonus; it didn’t need all the extra chemical shit that paper needed. It was basically all the hippy woo woo stuff we associate with hemp products now: Natural and earthy and easy. The prospect of this was of course horrifying to the paper big wigs. For the first time they would actually need to compete to stay profitable. LAME. So instead of becoming a better business, or embracing and investing in this new material, and changing their technology they decided to use the political climate of drug fear, and excessive amounts of cash to get the governments at the time to make cannabis illegal!

HOORAY!

This, I’m sure is vaguely based on the truth of things, and therefore incredibly lame for so many reasons. But the particular reason I am most unimpressed with is that big businesses continue to fuck over good, nay better, ideas with the backing of governments in order to keep their dinosaurs alive. Hell I love dinosaurs as much, if not more, than the next gal, but they went extinct for a reason.

And once again the government is fucking us over for a huge payout (conjecture I know, but I’m pretty sure that is why the CRTC is stacked with Bell and Rogers suits). The old dinosaurs, Bellceratops and Rogersaurus Rex, have decided that instead of embracing and investing in the future, and new technology they are going to stifle the shit out of us with usage based internet fees. HOORAY! Listen guys, I’m sorry you are “losing” money because your cable packages suck compared to the internet, and TV ads are lame and boring and no one wants to pay to watch them, but come the fuck on. This is the future, you can’t hide from it. The nerds will inherit the earth, and they’re cheap motherfuckers, they’re gonna find a way around your bullshit. So instead of being ten-billion steps behind, why don’t you try to get ahead. Invest in the future, fucking shape it to your needs, instead of clinging to old forms of media which no one gives a shit about. And people I’m a  complete luddite, AND I work in the music industry, so if I’m thinking this, man, you know we are in a sorry state of affairs. People, I STILL BUY CDS. Yeah. That’s right. But even I can see this is completely counterproductive.

So this is what I beg of you, Canadian government, please for ONCE do what is best for the people, for digital technology, don’t stifle our future, don’t force Canada to be twenty years behind because two billion-dollar companies see no profit in digital innovation. Make the right choice and repeal one of the worst decisions you have ever made. Also, please fire everyone on the CRTC. And I’d like a pony.

If you haven’t already please sign:

http://openmedia.ca/meter

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Fucking paradoxes, how do they work?

Sometimes I forget my expensive and elite education. And other times it makes me feel like I’m party to the most awesome inside jokes ever (read: totally superior).

Today, it is most definitely the latter.

And with that in mind, I present to you (care of Mr David Sword) the best website on the interwebs:

Philosophy Bro

My personal favourites are Descartes’ “First Meditation”, Camus on Sisyphus, Plato’s theory of Forms (with the focus on The Cave) and last but certainly not least Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling”. I’m about to dive into his summary of “The Communist Manifesto” in mere moments.

But seriously, I want to marry this dude, and do Jager shots while arguing over Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” and Kant’s “Categorical Imperative”. Then eat poutine.

Sweet motherfucking bliss people.

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Hey BlogTO, this review kinda sucks!

So instead of leaving a trolling comment about this article beneath it, I have decided to create an entire blog post ranting about people’s perceptions of baked goods. This article, I think, extols everything wrong with how people often perceive baked goods.

Guess what kids? Your expectations are WAY TOO HIGH.

As a girl who often bakes, and often bakes well (though I of course have huge kitchen-based car crashes), I don’t know why you think that every cookie, cake, pie or cupcake should taste like an edible, chocolate-covered, gold-flecked version of Ryan Reynolds or Scarlet Johansson, but you do. In fact I am fairly certain that you have never actually tasted anything even remotely close to what you expect every time you take a bite out of something. You know why that is? Because your food expectations are false!

Remember that slice of pizza you had in Montreal after you went to karaoke? It was just plain cheese and is was $2. Your then-boyfriend paid for it cos you had no cash on you, and some dude started singing “Independent Woman” at you as a joke. Yeah that was a good night. And that pizza was the BEST SLICE EVER. You know why? It had nothing to do with the pizza, and everything to do with the moment in time. That pizza tasted so good, because the night was so amazing, and it will never ever be equaled, no matter how you try.

Eating, for most, is a communal and emotional experience. The tastes on your tongue are as important as the company you are sharing them with, and the mood and emotions filling your soul. A particular wine (J Lohr’s Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, mmmmm) has never managed to taste as wonderful as it did that first night I tried it. And it never will, and it has nothing to do with the wine’s quality. I mean it’s still delicious, and one of my favourites, and I’ll happily kill a bottle, but it lacks the magic of that night I discovered it.

Baked goods, I feel, suffer the most from this myth of perfection. It’s because warm, sugary, buttery baked things are intrinsically linked to our childhood. Every so often as adults we will indulge in something and it will bring us back to a moment in time. And it will be magical. But that fleeting memory has now become what is expected every time you cram a cupcake in your mouth, and it just doesn’t work that way. So instead of enjoying the splendor of a cookie, as it stands, we perhaps unknowingly, want to feel something; some emotional connection masked as an expectation of a “taste explosion”, and thus are left disappointed with a perfectly good treat.

This drives me nuts.

Now, I’m not saying a baked good can’t taste like crap, and be totally disappointing. Sadly, that happens more often than I’d like. And excuses do not need to be made for dry cake, bad icing, or any other disaster that happens. But people all too often expect to be completely blown away every single time they eat something. That just isn’t going to happen. It is impossible. Every time you up your standards unrealistically you are leaving yourself prone to more and more disappointment. Sometimes a chocolate chip cookie will inevitably just taste like a chocolate chip cookie, and it’s not something to be disappointed about. Sometimes a cupcake will just taste like a cupcake. But sometimes, sometimes you will come across something that brings you back to a moment in time, and if you are lucky, you will get to relive it, and revel in its glory. And it is then, and only then, that the average cookie will be elevated in status, and it probably has little to do with the greatness of the cookie itself, but more the memory the taste recalls.

I am also not trying to say that there is no such thing as a phenomenal baked good out there that is supremely excellent in its own right. Because there most certainly is. But these are few and far between. They are like great works of art, rare and wonderful, and a pleasure to be experienced. But it is when one is blind to the fact that this is the exception, rather than the norm. The majority of our lives will be spent eating average, good or even great baked treats. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And each treat deserves to be recognized as delicious in its own right, rather than being compared to something that so few can achieve, or a memory of something that is hard, if not impossible to recreate.

So, in conclusion “Guest Contributor”, I’m sorry your expectations were unrealistically high. I’m sorry that you placed too much weight in the fact that the displays were lack luster, and not up to par. And I’m sorry that none of these amateur cupcakes stood out for you. It must be a hard life tasting 14 different cupcakes for fun. A hard life indeed. How about, instead of coming out of this event so incredibly jaded and disappointed, you shift your way of thinking to something along the lines of: Isn’t life great that you live in a world that has an event where you get to eat 14 mini cupcakes.

Because, really, if you think about it for a second or two, that is mind-blowingly wonderful.

And while you are here, this should remind you how awesome shit is:

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