Disaster Averted

I got a family recipe from the wife of my German cousin Wilhelm. It is a traditional Christmas bread called Bremer Klaben. Petra speaks wonderful English, but her written recipe is, well, interesting.  It is ok that the ingredients like raisins and candied peel and flour are measured in grams. I have a scale that will do that for me. I really like cooking by weight, not volume.

The recipe calls for 60 grams of yeast.  I always assume a reference to yeast means granulated yeast. 60 grams of granulated yeast is about 1/3  of a cup. This only makes one medium-sized loaf of  bread, so I surmised that she was referring to cake yeast, not granulated yeast. The granulated equivalent of cake yeast is 4 1/2 teaspoons. Can you imagine what would have happened had I not made the proper conversion?  Disaster averted!

Tell about disasters you have averted (or not).

 

53 thoughts on “Disaster Averted”

  1. This isn’t a personal disaster aversion but it’s pretty close to home and it’s been on my mind quite a bit the last 10 days. A co-worker and friend’s cell phone exploded last week at the office; she was sitting at her desk, phone was sitting ON the desk. Although the resulting fire burnt up our building, I keep thinking how awful it would have been if she had been holding that phone to her ear when it exploded. It exploded away from her, the shrapnel hitting the fabric cube wall and the fire was almost instantaneous. We lost a bunch of things. I can live with that since she was unhurt.

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      1. Unfortunately, in the last 10 days, in doing some reading I have discovered that pretty much every company that makes cell phones has experienced an explosion of one of them. Although I will admit Samsung does seem to have a little higher percentage. And it was a Samsung that exploded.

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        1. The one that comes to mind (have probably told this here) is when I was driving somewhere with toddler Joel, early 80s here in Winona, and had to cross the highway. Stoplight turned green and I started to go, but slammed on the breaks as I realized the semi coming at us was not going to stop – he’d miscalculated how long the yellow would last, I guess. Heart was beating so fast I can still almost feel it. One more second, and we’d have been gone.

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      1. Well it’s probably an exaggeration to say it burn up the building. The building is still standing but I was in it yesterday and it is being got it basically. All new flooring, new walls, new ceilings, new electrical, new everything. They’re saying four to five months before we’re back in it.

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  2. I am burdened a potential catastrophe a week ago when I went over to pick up my grandson from my daughter on Friday morning

    we were walking out to the car and I was carrying his new toy that allows him to set up a play musical instruments rather being strapped into policy chair or a baby jail as my wife calls the chair in circle by toys that the kids can get stuck him for his entertainment with enough distractions to hopefully keep him from crying …. my house is now full of grandson stuff in the music room has turned into a baby stop Rome with playpen at the Pennsylvania toys that come out on him two or three day a week visit to our house , but I digress …
    I was walking out with my daughter who is carrying the grandpa and I had the toy out of the bag full of diapers and formula and stuff when I dissented the stairs hitting an ice patch on the first pair that took my feet out from under me sent me up in the air doing a circus clown fall that resulted in my back being used as the landing board for the fall
    One of those holy Cal moment where I felt the crack feel the pain and was on able to regain my breath for a couple minutes
    It was pretty scary but normally I carry the grandson and so today we avoid a catastrophe was that he wasn’t along with me to go flying through the air as I get the concrete
    my daughter wanted to call the ambulance and I told her I had to busy day
    as it turned out I called to make a doctors appointment and went in for five hours after the accident and was told nothing was broken and asked if I want drugs. I said no and went home to a weekend of not being able to sit stand play or roll over without excruciating pain so Monday I called back and got another appointment. the doctor this time ordered a bunch of stuff including a ct scan (like the mri in a tube) which found the fracture in my spine and the next day the neurologist he sent me to found 3 broken ribs in addition to the spine fracture
    one guy i ran into while sitting in the whirlpool commented how lucky i was it was my back and not my head… he is really right
    drugs are no longer needed as the pain mellowed out but i won’t be lifting boxes of any substantial weight in the near future
    ari is great…

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    1. Ouch, tim, that sounds painful and scary. These injuries are bad enough, sure glad it wasn’t any worse. Please take it easy. I know that’s not in your nature, but you don’t want to mess with a broken back.

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    2. Wow, tim! It sounds like you performed a spectacular maneuver. I think I understand that what I’ve been taking to be timisms are the function of a voice recognition technology that isn’t quite ready for prime time. I love the line about “dissenting the stairs” only to have a “holy Cal” moment. Please take good care of yourself! Tis the season . . . to trust in baby steps.

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        1. That’s one I still haven’t figured out. I keep thinking of a girl carrying a grandfather clock. But that makes no sense at all.

          Eons ago Red Skelton had a TV show. In one sequence that lingers in memory Red is rushing through a railway station when he crashes into a guy carrying a grandfather clock. The clock breaks in pieces when it hits the floor. Brushing himself off indignantly, Red says, “This wouldna happened if you carried a wristwatch like everybody else.”

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    3. tim- sorry for your injuries. And yes, glad baby is safe.

      There are so many ‘timisms in this one!
      The “policy chair”, and the “Rome with playpen at the Pennsylvania toys”.
      You take care of you’s tim!

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  3. 45 years ago, I diverted a disaster while carrying my then two year old down a flight of stairs. I slipped on the top step and instinctively held onto the baby who rode down the whole staircase on my stomach like a toboggan. When we reached the bottom, he jarred loose from my grip and hit his head on the doorframe.

    To be safe, I rushed him to ER. He was fine, but the next thing I knew was a doctor questioning me about “what really happened?” I realized that he suspected child abuse! I turned around and whipped my sweatshirt up to show him a bruise on several vertebrae going up my spinal cord.

    Being a single mother temporarily on welfare while going to college, I found myself suspect for child abuse more than once. My older son was singled out in school because he smelled “sweet”. His teacher thought this sweet smell meant that his mom was smoking pot. She actually asked him if his mommy smoked “funny-looking cigarettes”. Turned out that he’d tried using my hairspray because the kids were teasing him about his curly mop.

    The only time I was guilty, the school didn’t question me or do an impromptu home visit, was when a teacher noticed a small burn on my 7-year old’s arm. She asked him how he got it. His reply; “Oh – I got it when I reached my arm into the oven to get my TV dinner out”. Oye

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    1. I don’t think your status as “a single mother temporarily on welfare” had anything to do with them questioning you, Nancy. Doctors, ERs and Urgent Care facilities see abuse victims from all walks of life, and are becoming proactive in identifying them.

      When I fell in the bathroom in 2012, I was asked repeatedly if I felt safe at home, and they made sure to ask me when I was alone with a nurse or a doctor. Some years prior, when I had been attacked by a big dog, and my husband drove me to urgent care, I was asked the same question, again after they had made sure that husband wasn’t present.

      Husband reported when he returned home from his last routine visit to his doctors office, that he had been asked the same question.

      I suppose child and spousal abuse victims show up in urgent care and ER’s all the time, often with plausible but false explanations for how the “accident” happened. These health care professionals are trained to err on the side of caution, and I, for one, am grateful for it.

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        1. Yes, I think the medical community is really tuned into the fact that old people can be very vulnerable to abuse by caregivers.

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      1. Actually, PJ, it had everything to do with my status. I know this because before I needed assistance and after I didn’t, my parenting was never singled out even though bumps and bruises occurred over all of those years combined. I also knew many others in my position who had endured the same kind of thing. There was a prevailing assumption that “welfare moms” abused their kids. I believe it’s called profiling. Perhaps things have changed since the late 60s.

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      2. Yeah, those “do you feel safe at home” questions are standard procedure now, no matter what you’re seeing the doctor for…well, I don’t think the eye doctor asks me that, or when I go to the lab for a blood draw, but I get asked that at just about every other medical appointment or hospital stay.

        But – years ago, no, they didn’t ask that sort of question. And I bet that at least some doctors are more prone to suspect child abuse at the hands of low income parents than middle class/upper class parents.

        With my first baby, the doctor went crazy when she didn’t gain enough weight at one of her checkups. I had to write down everything she ate for two weeks and then bring her back. I fed her the exact same as I did before and lo and behold she had gained weight by the followup visit – since children tend to plateau and then have a growth spurt, that seemed logical to me. I found out later that this doctor dealt with crack babies and moms and I figured she thought that I was on drugs or something since I didn’t look like a beautiful, middle class mom.

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      3. Actually there are some ugly realities of being a single mom – one of them the assumption, subconscious for many, that you are not as trustworthy as a “regular mom”.

        My daughter was born with what is nastily referred to as a “mongolian mark” – many Asians are born with them and they fade with age. It was on the back of her leg and really looked like a huge bruise. At our very first doctor’s appointment, I had the doctor photograph it and note it in her file. Twice during her daycare years, I was asked about it by the daycare (different directors) – in a serious, “fact-finding” way. One of the directors went so far as to call the doctor to ask about it.

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  4. What immediately comes to mind is an incident I’ve written about before on the trail. I trust that it has been long enough since I wrote about it for most baboons to have forgotten. My apologies to those who haven’t.

    Wasband and I were on the final stretch of our journey from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Carbondale, IL in a U-Haul truck towing our VW bug. It was past midnight, and we were running low on gas. Poor as church mice, we were under the false impression that we’d save money by returning the U-Haul with an empty gas tank! We were also bone tired, but within twenty miles of our destination. I was driving. On a long, winding, fairly steep uphill curve the engine started sputtering. There happened to be a pull-off to a scenic lookout on the opposite side of the road, and I made a desperate attempt to reach it. Just as I was blocking both lanes of the road, the truck stalled; we were out of gas. We sat there debating what to do, as to our consternation, within minutes, traffic was backed up in both directions as far as we could see.

    We decided that our best bet was to unhitch the VW from the truck, thereby clearing one lane, so traffic could pass. The plan was for Tony to unhitch the car while I stood behind it to prevent it from rolling down the hill! Within seconds of the VW being unhitched, it became painfully obvious that I was not going to be able to stop it from rolling into the car parked behind us – pinning my legs between the two cars. Fortunately, the driver in that car had that same realization, and quickly scampered out of his car to come to my aid.

    We managed to push the VW to the pull-off, and within minutes all the waiting traffic cleared, except one pick-up truck that remained stopped at the top of the hill. After a while I walked up to the pick-up and asked him what he was waiting for. He was wondering, he said, if the $20 worth of gas he had in a can in the back of his pick-up would be helpful! That should certainly be sufficient gas to get the U-Haul off the road, I said. So with his help, we got the U-Haul moved. To this day I haven’t figured out why he just sat there instead of driving down to where we were to offer his help. But we were sure grateful for it. It was, however, not an auspicious introduction to Southern Illinois.

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  5. I have to be patient with my Klaben. The recipe says it could take several hours for the first rise. I am inclined to agree. It is a dense dough. I could have a disaster of a rock hard door stop if I don’t let it rise sufficiently.

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      1. I made it last year and it was a disaster because the candied peel I had was old and dry. it was all I could find. I also didn’t let the bread rise enough and it got too dark. This year I got the family recipe from Germany, and I have let it rise since 2:30. It is a really heavy dough and it doesn’t get very high, but i can tell that it is lightening up with all this rising. It is ore fruitcake than bread. It also has to sit for a week or two before we eat it, and I didn’t do that last year, either.

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  6. OT: One of my three cats was acting insane today. Now, I know why. It’s hours later and I saw my two Two Ragdolls fixated on something, I thought it was their toy mouse, but it turned out to be a real mouse. Assuming it was dead, I tossed it in the toilet. The little thing then just started swimming for its life! I scooped his tiny body up, then found a small plastic container. I put some cat kibbles, grated cheese, and a pill bottle cap with water in it and hid him in a cupboard. I even placed a tiny piece of fabric so he can dry off.

    What I’ll do next if he’s still alive tomorrow is another matter!

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    1. Bless your heart, Nancy. That poor little things has had a rough day already. But, you’re right, what you do tomorrow is another matter all together.

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  7. I took a photo of the klaben for Petra to evaluate. She said it looked good and that I should “wrap it in foil and don’t mind him for at least a week, better two”.

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