Let’s Do The Twist!

The Whole Twist

The Whole Twist

Of all the quirks (or charms if you’re so inclined) of our new town, one of the more reliably unique is the local radio station based out of the college up on the hill.  The DJS are a mix of personas from the idealistic-world-conscious college student to the cannabis-imbibing deadheads arguing over tapes to the “ambient earth sounds show” (whatever that is).  You truly never know what you’re going to get when you turn it on — which makes the station both a source of entertainment and consternation.

The other night we tuned in and discovered a new program:  the youngster whose taste runs from way back to the days of poodle skirts and soda fountains. This whole program is devoted to 50’s pop like Little Richard and Chuck Berry.   Surprising, yes, but everyone has their own thing they’re into and this kid just gets to share his with the entire Four Corners world.  And, as a former kiddo who enjoyed choreographing dance routines with her girlfriends to Beach Boys songs, I get it.  I do.  I like the idea of drive-ups and malteds and cars with fins.

All of this does lead me to the picture above — the Twist quilt.  Every time I worked on the quilt, I had Chubby Checker in my head urging me to “Come on baby, let’s do the twist”.  Every single time.  Now, as I spent a lot of time on this project hand-quilting the top with hand-dyed cotton, this nearly singular mantra coursed through my head like a, yep, broken record.  This was my first experience getting a song, er line,  stuck in my head because of a craft project.

Twist and Hand Stitching Up Close

Twist and Hand Stitching Up Close

The Twist quilt is pretty fun to make.  First, you take a mix of 5-inch squares and lay all of them out in a pattern you like, then sew them together.  Next, you take your nice checkerboard quilt, place the Twist tool at the axis of four corners and start cutting around the tool.  Yes, you cut up a perfectly nice squared quilt to obtain another.  After all of the cutting comes the reconfiguring, which gives you the pinwheel shapes. This is a different way to make pinwheels, and good for an imperfectionist such as myself whose points never match up. This is a fun project, song repetition and all.

I will do the twist again, like I did this summer.

Substitution Revelation

No chip! These are good.

No chip! These are good.

Sunday night we had a hankering for some homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Never mind that it was warm outside and I’d be in front of the oven instead of outside watching people flip their rafts in the Animas River — a spectator sport.  Never mind that my one hour of kayaking would surely not negate the caloric intake of the cookies.  And, never mind that I had no high altitude baking directions or brown sugar in the house.  Never minds be damned — we wanted some cookies!

As our bevy of kitchen wares still remain cupboard-less, I am quite familiar with all of the contents laying around, especially all the pickles and random rices.  Having a missing ingredient requires some innovation, so I thought hard about what I could use to make some sort of brown sugar substitute without actually having to go to the store; nothing ruins a craving faster than having to go shopping.  I remembered seeing molasses around, so I thought, heck I’ll just add that to the white sugar and make it brown.  This tactic could either be a waste of a stick of butter, or at the very least, create something that could satisfy a momentary craving.

Holy (chocolate) chip did I discover the secret to amazing cookies!  It is molasses, my friends.  No chip, I had no idea what the cookies were going to taste like, and after I threw away the dough and popped them into the oven, I actually tasted the mixture and was happily surprised.  (I so often get wrapped up in the process of making and baking that I forget to taste my food until it is done.)  Once out of the oven, I was again very pleased that the good flavor was still there.  There is just something different about them and they are sweet, but not overly so.

Sometimes you have just got to try it out and see what happens — in life, and in cooking.  I have made some strange concoctions while experimenting, but I’ve also made some incredible discoveries — molasses in cookies and chipotles with corn or squash being two of the more useful.  For those creations that turned out strange, I’ve found that sour cream and hot sauce can make almost anything palatable.  Lesson revisited: you never know if something will work or not unless you try; you just have to try.