I was just about to write a blog praising the miracle of Betty Crocker’s dry cookie ingredients, having made some oatmeal cookies with just an egg and a stick of butter and a bag of Betty’s best until I discovered that I could not remove them from the cookie sheet … even though they were on tinfoil (I believe it is called aluminum foil, sorry) and the tinfoil had been sprayed with THE ORIGINAL PAM. They were irretrievably stuck.
You would not believe how many errant pieces of cookie I had to eat before I figured out that none of them would come off the foil, crispy little critters that they were.
Baking is a big deal at Christmas time, and I always recall the story about how the cake mix in a box redefined baking. I checked online and a story in Bon Appetit tells the tale of John D. Duff and the abundance of molasses that caused him to file a patent for a dried mix that would combine with water to make a cake (or a muffin, or a nut bread). This happened in the 1930′s, and not in the 1950s as the advertising world would have you believe.
A psychologist, Ernest Dichter (the man who coined the term “focus group”), was the one that figured out that women would prefer to use fresh eggs and be “closer” to their baking experience. The advertising lore says this is how the cake mix became a big success. But Bon Appetit goes on to say that it was the frosting that made cake mixes a big success.
Cake mixes are a big deal to me, because I bake cakes with any little kid that comes around our house and then I throw them away after they leave (the cakes, not the kids). A while ago I got into a grandmother skirmish with my grandchildren’s other grandmother who decided she would bake cakes from scratch with them. So, basically, I started making brownies. She has since moved to the mainland so she can’t bake anything with them. nnbb.
When we lived in Denver, my mother used to order cartons of popover mix. We loved popovers at our house. It was only when I got married that I found out that popover mix is basically salt and flour. I doubt my mother knew that, but maybe she did. The cooks we had never made popovers, but Mom could! We were impressed.
Here’s one of the best things about buying the dry ingredients in a box. You can’t really screw up two eggs and a half cup of water. Ian, chef de cuisine and criticism at our house, tells me that baking is about details and following the recipe exactly. Unfortunately, that does not fall within my pay grade. So I am waiting for three D printers to start putting out food.
P.S. I do not bake Christmas cookies with my grandchildren, mostly because the competition has left town.
Yesterday I saw a news piece on the way Amazon is pounding the big retailers the way the big retailers pounded small business. They spoke specifically about bookstores going out of business, but they also pointed out that small independent bookstores are springing up again.
This prompts me to comment on BookEnds, the small independent bookstore that is the pride of Kailua. Owned and operated by Pat Banning, BookEnds rose out of the ashes of Honolulu Bookstore. Remember it? Borders and Barnes and Noble made them think twice about selling books in Honolulu. Now Borders is gone and Barnes and Noble is giving way to Ross Dress for Less. I am not kidding.
BookEnds is celebrating 15+ years in business and is a perfect example of what the news piece was talking about.
I am a book reader. I confess to being a techno-doofus and can’t imagine clicking the pages of a tablet device. If that doesn’t put me in the minority, it will in the not-too- distant future. Soon enough, you will be able to read books on the back of your eyelids.
My four faves, Pat, Ann, Megan and Carol can find you (literally) any book you want because they have new and used books. They’ve been recycling longer than most of us have thought about it.
BookEnds was, in fact, one of the main reasons we opened Lanikai Bath and Body. We had several semi-heated arguments with Kaneohe Ranch about not turning Kailua into Westport, Connecticut or Carmel. BookEnds was one of the places we used as an example of businesses a small town needs.
Having tired of arguing we decided then that we had to get into the game to have a voice. We spent a considerable amount of time to make sure we offered something locally made that women “of a certain age” would love. Then we put our considerable branding expertise to work and open the wonderful brand Lanikai Bath and Body. (We’re very proud of it!)
But I digress. I buy every book I want to read at BookEnds. If I want a book they don’t have, they’ll order it for me and I’ll get it in a week. I know Amazon could get it to me in three days, but if I buy from Amazon, then maybe BookEnds won’t be around when I want to browse a cool place with a stocking-stuffer book by a cat called “I Could Pee on This.”
I can look around at BookEnds and find things I never dreamed of. That’s shopping. What you do on Amazon is ordering. Pat, Ann and Megan and Carol always know when a book arrives that I have to have. On Sundays, I peruse the New York Times Book Review and call BookEnds to reserve at least one title every week.
Like Pat Banning, Brook and I know that running a small business is no picnic. But our small town is full of them. For the people who sneer and call it Kaikiki, you are wrong. The people who own businesses here mostly live here and spend their money here. The visitors help us keep our small businesses open so local people can shop in Kailua. If you have a small business you love, shop there. Please. And not just on Small Business Saturday.
BookEnds’ is one of the only phone numbers I know by heart : 261-1996. You should give them a call and congratulate them on their 15 years in business.
To the Jerks with a capital “J” who robbed our house between midnight on Nov 19 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 20, Auwe!
It is creepy to think that you came in while we were sleeping, and swept your way through the kitchen, living room and tv room, picking off anything that you could carry that looked to be of value. My purse, Mark’s wallet and phone, my laptop, Ian’s hard drive, binoculars …and more. Even three pair of expensive sunglasses and two pairs of Diesel jeans that Ian had out to pack for his trip. I guess you must be kids.
It’s not the stuff you stole, which can be replaced, but the fact that you were there while we slept, and that we lost a bunch of pictures, music and other data that can’t be recovered. The credit cards can be replaced and we cancelled them before you could even swipe one at a gas station. It’s my Prius key that makes me think you might come and steal my car while Toyota is ordering the parts to rekey it for $900, not covered by my house insurance because its a car thing.
Ironically, it’s also the little things like my 10% discounts at Safeway and my 5% discount at Foodland. I was saving them for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. Silly, I know. You couldn’t possibly understand.
It’s the hassle of replacing everything. But mostly it’s knowing that you were in my house, uninvited, and that you will probably be in someone else’s house tonight.
Bandler and Grinder introduced the world to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) in the 1970s and Tony Robbins has made a spectacular living using NLP, beginning in the 1980s when he launched his “Fear Into Power” (firewalk) seminars.
Basically, NLP says that all emotional experiences have physical anchors that can trigger a similar emotional response (without the same experience) at a later time. Thus, the aroma of petite madelines in the bakery inspired Proust to write the seven volume Remembrances of Things Past.
When I did the “firewalk experience” in 1984, a young (28 year old) Robbins gave the following example. Someone experiencing deep sadness at a funeral might received pats on the back from other mourners. At a later time, a friend can clap them on the back in exactly the same way, causing them to experience a bit of sadness, but not understanding why. I believe that pretty much everyone agrees that there are cues in our environment that elicit specific responses based on past experiences. Our conscious mind may not even know it is happening. Those cues are tangible “anchors.”
I have written before about my history of depression. Having lived in Hawai`i for the past 40+ years, there are many places that remind me of being depressed, although I have not had serious depression for the past 20 years. Yesterday, as I was driving down King Street, I passed the Baskin Robbins in the 1600 block and was reminded immediately of the only time I was ever there and it was not because I was in a great mood.
That one time I was there with my mother and I was in a deep depression. I had a pralines and cream waffle cone. Although I am not in town often, and hardly ever near the Baskin Robbins in the 1600 block of King Street, I am always instantly (although briefly) reminded of that single experience with my mother. That Baskin and Robbins is one of my anchors. Just that one.
I assume that by now everyone has seen the commercials from Microsoft/Bing about being “Scroogled” —their phrase for Google’s intrusion on our lives. I don’t know if Bing has the same information if you use it regularly, but I have to hand it to Google for knowing all.
On my birthday, my Google page had Google characters that were birthday-related: cakes, candles, party hats, etc. When I clicked on it, it said “Happy Birthday, Gloria.” Although when I was little and school was closed on Columbus Day I used to tell people that it was because of my birthday, I figured everyone on Google must not be getting the birthday Google message. This stunned me. I checked with Mark, Brook and Ian — none of whom had birthdays and none of whose Google characters were anything but the straightforward “Google.”
I decided to check with my friend Barbara Mak Dyer who shares my birthday, but she also had only regular Google characters.
Birthday messages generally bring you cheer — especially one so well-drawn as the one I received from Google. Frankly, it really freaked me out. It appears that I have given Google too much information.
P.S. I did a screen capture but it didn’t copy into wordpress — so you will have to take my word for it. It was gone one minute after midnight on October 13.
Gloria. Circa 1955.
Gloria. Circa 2012.
Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.