Iowans are good people…

…and I mean that with the utmost sincerity.  As you’ve probably already gathered, this is not going to be a grump post, this is going to be a “happy happy joy joy” post.  I have something good to say about my fellow people, important enough that I feel it needs to be said publicly.  Iowans are good people.  I honor you.  I respect you.  I am proud to call you my friends.

Having said that, and it’s all absolutely true, there are a couple qualifiers.  This  is not to mean that Iowans are perfect.  I’m sorry, Iowans, y’all still can’t drive a lick, to the point that I have special categories just for you, and you have no culinary sophistication whatsoever.  I mean, if you brag about tenderloins and loose meat sandwiches, as if they’re sent from Heaven, I rest my case.  But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, you don’t get out much and you just don’t know better.  That’s ok.  Iowans are good people overall, and I’ll give a couple personal examples that I have experienced…

The Cell Phone:  I inadvertently left my cell phone in a shopping cart at Walmart one day.  Drive home, couldn’t find it.  Looked all over.  Decided to drive back and look around the parking lot.  It was on top of a cart in a cart corral.  Someone had moved it to that location, but otherwise left it alone.  They did not steal it, or toss it, or anything unethical.  They left it there for me to come find.  And about a 1/2 hour had passed, so surely others had seen it as well, and had the same opportunity to take it, but they didn’t.

The Wallet:  I use a locker at cardiac rehab for my stuff.  This past Wednesday I got everything out at the end, but missed my wallet.  It’s dark, and the inside of the locker is dark.  I just missed it.  Didn’t realize until I stopped on the way home for a refreshing beverage.  I was quite beside myself, more because these incidents keep happening with increasing frequency, and I’m not happy about that.  Anyway, I wasn’t sure if I left it there or on my desk at work.  Go into work the next morning and it’s not there.  So I call rehab, and it is there.  Patiently waiting for me to come reclaim it.  Everything still inside.  And we had a good joke about me not being able to prove I’m me because I don’t have any ID on me… it’s in the wallet.

So, yeah, I honestly do not feel these wonderful outcomes would happen just anywhere.  With as much frequency, I mean.  There are indeed honest people all over the world, but I believe not with the same populational proportion everywhere.  Some places are better than others, and Iowa is at or near the top.

I will offer some chastisement, though.  With said honesty and impressive integrity, which is an admirable trait that more people could and should emulate, also comes some naivete.  When I moved here 13 years ago I witnessed things that I have never witnessed anywhere else.  One, people stand at the ATM and openly count their money.  (This drives my sister nuts, and I agree with her.)  Any time of the day or night.  No forethought regarding personal safety.

Two, people will leave their vehicles running and unoccupied when at a convenience store.  In the summer to keep the AC on, or in the winter to keep the heat on.  😐  This is so… dumb.  Every other place I’ve been in the world your vehicle would be gone in a heartbeat.  And it even happens here from time to time, as I mentioned in a previous post about an online acquaintance, but people still don’t get it.  That guy even said afterward that he had no intention of stopping, he would continue to leave his vehicle unattended.  *sigh*  Ok, dude, just don’t whine when it happens again.

Be the downsides as they may, I salute you Iowans.  Keep being good people!  🙂

Happy Happy Joy Joy: Things I Learned from My Mother (in the Kitchen)

A new feature here at kurmudgeon.net, something positive and happy. Contrarian? Yeah, that’s me. Granted, it seems like the life of a grump is nothing but sorrow and disappointment… at my fellow humans, just to be clear… it is not. We do have our moments of happiness. So here we go, things I learned from my Mother in the kitchen…

Toast Your Buns: That’s right, whenever you are eating a hot dog or a hamburger, or something else similar, toasting of the buns is mandatory. It makes all the difference in the world, really it does. An untoasted bun is a drag on the otherwise goodness of your lovingly prepared meal. It’s like putting cold syrup on pancakes (we’ll get to that in a minute)… why would any sane person do that? Do you not love your spouse and kids and friends?

Now, I *can* eat a burger or a hot dog on an untoasted bun, and I will when visiting others, and I will be polite and smile and not say a word, but I will also consider you to be an unwashed heathen for being so gauche. And to subject your guests to that level of atrocity?!? You might as well have horns and hooves, you have slighted my existence that much.

Which brings us to…

Heat Your Syrup: Putting cold (room temperature equals cold in this situation) on pancakes or waffles or french toast is simply an abomination. As with toasted buns, warm syrup makes all the difference. The two go together like, well, peas and carrots.

Think about this. You cook waffles. Cooked, they’re hot. Duh! They’re intended to be hot. Hot is good. Then you slather it in a cold sticky substance that brings the hot food down to some middling barely warm room temperature that is now unappealing and unsatisfying. Congratulations, you have now created a sweet semi-solid version of gruel. (Or grits, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.)

The importance of both of these were taught to me by my mother, and has been reinforced by experiencing the dreary and unappetizing versions of people who are too lazy to do these added little, yet tremendously significant, “extras”.

A third thing taught to me by my step-mother when I was a teen…

An appreciation for mushrooms: I never had a mushroom until I was 14 years old. They simply were not served in our home. Never experienced garlic, either, my Mother would simply leave them out of a recipe if she did not like them. Anyways, a mushroom is a wonderful thing, to be sauteed, or roasted, with some garlic and butter, or whatever. Truly a food from the Heavens.

Some people don’t like mushrooms, though. I often ask people why. If your answer is that you don’t like the consistency and or taste, that’s cool, I can accept that. But some people respond with, “It’s a fungus!”, to which my response is: 😐

Yes, it’s a fungus. Sooooooooo?

As we conclude, let’s reiterate that shortcuts in food preparation is for the uncouth. Be couth.