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A Note From Marcy

Welcome to BB's Signs of Wheatland Issue, August 2006
Complete Recipe Selection at www.BetterBaking.com

 

Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,

Please note that our new subscription format is now up and running. Check out To Subscribe to see how it all works. In a nutshell, we offer Quarterly Issues of(3-months segments) of BB, which include the Complete Recipe Archives (due to the overwhelming demand). As a launch special, we are offering an introductory 4-month Quarterly Subscription that includes (free bonus) August, September, October and November . If you are with us until September 30th on your old subscription, we will have a special sign-on to renew that covers the gap of October and November that will appear on October lst).
For more, just check out the details on the To Subscribe page.

Note that regardless of when you signed up on the old system or whatever date of expiration your account may indicate, any subscribers that signed up after September 30, 2005, will have their subscription auto expire on September 30 2006. This is due to the phasing out the old system and something we have advised all subscribers about on this page since August 2005. We thank you for your understanding, support and patience as we have sorted out the dynamics of our new format. As always, due to copyright and other considerations such as the new print cookbook (2007), we reserve to right to offer some recipes permanently but on occasion, some recipes enjoy only a brief sojourn - so do remember to file special recipes on your end. 
 
Welcome to the Signs of Wheatland (Sourdough) Issue of BB!
 
The crop circle cover is an idea that is a natural: it features wheat art, wheat lore and mystery nature or the universe - all in one golden image. Crop Circles have been around since the mid 1900’s and have appeared mostly in the UK, Europe and now there are some in Canada. Some have proven hoaxes but many more, like Stonehenge, remain a riveting mystery. If you check out the crop circle websites noted on this month’s front page, you would be amazed at the complexity of the designs. They are not child’s play –that’s for sure - and they are notably symbolic, many times spiritual, as well as wonderfully, artistically mathematical.
 
What is amazing about the crop circles is that you cannot really replicate them exactly (people have tried a ton of times) and the astonishing amount of recordable science they leave in their wake defies skeptics and inspires others like me, who just enjoy the show. Why wouldn’t a baker who is drawn to mystic things think something good is behind the powers that fiddle in the wheat fields? It is a bit unsettling but it seems thus far, to be benign. In fact, the wheat is not even damaged, despite the detailed handiwork.

In salute to mystery and magic inherent in crop circles, BB offers you a full gamut of another mystery: sourdough baking! It is a magic of a different sort. Not only is baking with sourdough beguiling – it just tastes simply amazing! 
 
The Curse of Kaspersky…

Crop circles fill some people with awe and others get a bit fearful. Sometimes what we don’t know looms so big and in the end, it is fear and fearful thoughts that are the real threats. Here’s an anecdote to prove my point.
 
A few weeks ago a terrible virus sabotaged my email. I called my computer consultant John who rescued the computer and installed a trial virus scanner program called Kaspersky. “This virus program is like no other, said John, it will scan, launder and defend against all threats’. Too right.  Kaspersky went to work right away. What John neglected to tell me (since he had never ‘heard’ Kaspersky’s peculiar audio component, i.e. when it finds a virus) is that once Kaspersky finds a virus or suspect email attachment or whatever, it lets out a sound that is unholy. There is no other word. The first time I heard it, I was sleeping and the computer was nearby. I startled awake, my heart in my mouth, as a sound reminiscent of a poltergeist being flushed down the toilet woke me up. Geez! Then I realized, oh-my-goodness, it must be that damned Kaspersky thingie. Honestly – it sounded like Ghostbusters in my room or a swarm of locusts being electrocuted. My hair literally stood on end and I felt my blood freeze. It took me 7 long seconds to figure out what the sound was and 3 hours more to get back to sleep (3 hours plus 2 cups of warm milk, chamomile tea, and 5 sticks of vanilla incense)

I mentioned this to my sons the next day in the car in a by-the-by, drive-thru chat at Wendy’s and of course, no one paid much attention. Three sons, one mom –I tend to get tuned out as a matter of habit. But a day or so after that – while biking in the park near our house with my middle son, my youngest called me, hysterical.

”Mom, come quick!!! Now!!! There is something in the house or attic or a neighbor being assaulted. I heard a scream or a cry or something. Come quick or I am calling 911’. 

The boy could barely talk. I raced home with his brother and  found him cowering in his bed under the covers. It was daylight on a Friday and 14 yr old boys don’t usually cringe like that over nothing. We could find nothing out of the ordinary, so we comforted him and let it go. Man, I thought – teenagers! One minute they are men and the next –they are just like toddlers scared of the tooth fairy. Sheesh. It took an hour to settle him and he still wouldn't elaborate on what had terrified him.
 
But two days later, while I was out in the pumpkin patch (check out Big World, Little People on the Life Network; it is about an amazing family of the most functional people I have seen in ages. But what I seemed to have retained most from this show is: grow pumpkins), both my middle son and youngest called me into the house. They were white-faced, close to ashen. They heard ‘the sound’ again.

”It’s a choked skunk in the attic, said one.
“No –you idiot, it is a rabid, giant cat-snake that is stuck’, said his brother.
“No – it is a bat…maybe two bats with a snake head that is hissing. A giant snake or a flying bat-cat, maddened, trapped rabbit”
"I think it is a squealing pig, stuck in the rafters'.
 
The truth was, it did sound like a squealing pig-snake, maddened bat. I kid you not. But I didn't share my thoughts with the boys. A stiff upper lip is part of my new incarnation in My Life as a Man (a story for another day).
 
The two of them could barely talk and were literally shaking in fear. They wouldn’t go into the house – and sat on the lawn, refusing to go inside, vowing not to sleep one more night until I found the source of the alarm.  I figured it is one thing for one 14 yr old boy to create a story; it is quite another for two young men to create tales of nonsense. Something was definitely not right. We were being haunted or stalked.

I called three exterminators; I emailed two others; I went to the attic with a rolling pin and knocked around. I grumbled at the new threat to the Goldman compound, wondering why I have to be the mouse hunter, breadwinner, and dragon slayer all the time. Within 30 minutes, I decided we had a mad cat/snake/squirrel, crazed bat ‘thing’ and I would, until the exterminators came, nail shut every crevice and crack to keep the family safe over the weekend. I was cursing  and grumbling for an hour until I decided to meditate it all away. I turned up my computer speakers and turned on my digitalized Wayne Dyer Getting the Gap ‘Ahhhhh’ meditation session. Ahhhh, intoned Wayne, Ummmm…..went the meditation as I sought inner peace. I began to relax. And then, zap! That sound! The poltergeist, maddened rabid, cat-snake, locust sound! I jumped and then I knew. I knew that sound! It was the Kaspersky virus scanner doing its thing! (In-between Wayne Dyer ahhing and chanting no less – which only served to make it all that much more bizarre sounding).
 
‘Boys, I exulted, ‘I found our 'monster'. It is the Curse of Kaspersky!”

I showed the boys the scan, and we waited for it to find another email virus and low and behold, that horrid, inhuman, unnatural sound hissed out of the speakers of my computers. We had been tortured and living in fear –all because of a fabricated, digitalized, computer virus checker! Images of the crazy cat-snake vanished. Notions of the trials of my life as a single parent cum Goldman family knight-ess melted away. It was nothing. We had been scared of nothing  but our own runaway thoughts.
 
Of course, explaining to the exterminators that did call or email back was another matter.

”What was it?” asked caring exterminator, apologizing for calling back so after the fact.
“Well – let’s just say –it was ugly and big and we took care of it ourselves’.
“Cool’.
“Yeah. Sure is.” I said.
 
Of course, albeit fictional, the Curse or Kaspersky Monster was ugly. Fearful thoughts are just that – yucky stuff, compared to real mystery that can be beautiful as a crop circle or as scary as a full moon on a chilly Halloween. You don’t always know. But the real curse if letting negative imagination play havoc with your serenity and letting imagination go wild. Who was it that said (Churchill or an American president?) that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? Whoever said it was no doubt quite wise but had no inkling of what digital horrors lay ahead in man's future.
 
In the meanwhile, John has since dismantled the audio part of Kaspersky Virus scanner, which I admit, is an amazing virus scanner. If you want to try it out, John of www.palmesis.com is the place to go. His company is introducing this special virus scanner to clients. It is amazing – I have to admit. Kasperksy beats Norton and McCaffrey hands down for effectiveness – just remember to turn off the sound. But nothing launders viruses so well and thoroughly as this amazing software. It is also, with sound on and a word to the wise, hugely entertaining.
 
On that happy note of a solved mystery but leaving you with the tangy aftertaste of sourdough delights and other mysterious recipes to enjoy, I wish you happy August and happy baking. 
 
Warm wishes from Wheatland where no crop circle has yet to appear but we’re always hoping…..
  
Marcy Goldman
Editor, Host, and Baker
www.BetterBaking.Com
Established 1997


Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, Ive know the feeling; I know the place. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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