Baklava stresses me out.
As soon as I open the plastic packaging and roll out the cold sheets of phyllo dough, I feel like I’m in a race against time. I can picture the sand streaming down the hour glass, announcing the moment that the phyllo dough will become parched and unworkable, as if your potter’s wheel could only spin for so long. Time is of the essence, but working quickly is not necessarily the solution. Move too carelessly and too quickly, and the thin sheets will tear and break into equally unworkable pieces.
I’ve tried covering the sheets with cold towels, or keeping half the sheets in the refrigerator, but have not noticed any real difference. If I am going to work with phyllo dough, I am going to have to work quickly and carefully. And that stresses me out. Continue reading
Despite its relative utility, chemistry never held much sway. Instead of chemical compounds and balanced equations, I preferred studying the subjunctive tense for être and avoir, or drawing the shape of parabolic curves, or studying the machinations of medieval European princes. Even looking at plant cells seemed more interesting than mixing chemicals.
Admittedly, some of my classmates saw things differently. Walk into a French, Algebra, or History classroom, and the setting is sedate and similar: rows of desks, facing a blackboard. Walk into a chemistry classroom, and the mood is one of potential and excitement: Bunsen burners, microscopes, lab coats, test tubes, fire extinguishers, and an emergency chemical-bath. As one of the Chemistry teachers liked to boast, “You can’t die in English class.”
And yet, all I could muster up was a stifled yawn. Chemistry Continue reading