Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My own personality indicator

Many of you know how much I love to bake. Homemade baked goods are about the best thing going in my book - cookies, muffins, breads, scones - you name it, I love to make it. I have a recipe book of dessert recipes that I've collected over the years, and I do my best not to make the same thing twice in too short of time. But I definitely have my favorites, one of which is a recipe for Butterscotch Scones. These things are insano -I'm telling you - they're just the perfect amount of sweetness, never come out too doughy, and bake up perfectly. So that's at least one recipe I go back to time and again.

I just made them this past week for our house guest (our beloved Tripp from PA), and I enjoyed the process thoroughly. There is one part of the recipe that gives me a bit of trouble - and that's the fact that you have to cut in chilled butter with your fingertips until a coarse meal is formed. There's no way around this step (believe me, I've tried); it seems foregoing a spoon/mixer/fork combination is the key. The fingertips give it just the right touch and the scones turn out perfect every time. But that massaging motion required by my fingers! Oh man - do my hands start to ache after about 30 seconds. Of course, it takes closer to 2-3 minutes to really work in the butter properly (although it may not be that long...it could just feel like it's that long!), so by the end, my hands are throbbing. There's nothing permanent about the ache, and it's not because my fingers are sore or hurting to begin with. My theory is that I'm simply prone to arthritis (via lupus), and this motion seems to just set it off (temporarily, of course.) The moment I stop, the pain goes away. Because of this, and because this recipe is so stinkin' good (when you make it just so), I put up with the 2-3 minutes of pain.

Here's the personality part - I could, theoretically, take breaks every 30-45 seconds to give my hands a rest, allowing them to stop, recoup, and then start again. But you know what? I don't. I'm just too stubborn/determined/driven/stubborn/task oriented to stop in the middle. (Happened to have read chapter 3 of Despite Lupus? If so, you probably already knew the answer to that question).

I just want to power through - getting it done as quickly as possible - and then be done with it. Sometimes I think that the faster I do it, the less it will hurt. Like the pain will just fall away due to my lightening fast speed - but it never does.

And so goes my own little personality indicator. My sister's knee deep in Myers-Briggs personality testing, and I've been her willing guinea pig thus far. I've mentioned this in the past, but it turns out I'm an ESTJ. I'm sure if ESTJ's around the world took my scone test, they'd fall in line. At least they better.

(Ooops - did I just say that?)

Of course, when it comes to lupus - and managing my life with the disease, I've worked very hard to temper my driven, determined, stubborn nature. I've had to - otherwise, living well would have been very hard to achieve. And you better believe I tried every way around that little dilemma before giving in.

Because I realized that giving in ISN'T giving up. In fact, it's the exact opposite. It's about working with the disease rather than against it, about dealing with it rather than just barreling through and trying to force it out of your life. There are more civilized, painless, mature ways to handle it...and if I really thought long and hard about it, I bet I look pretty uncivilized, pained, and immature thrashing around trying to rush through my scone making process.

That does it. Next time the recipe comes out - I'm going to take my time cutting in the butter. I'm going to take a break, at least every minute - and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted. I have a feeling it's going to turn out just fine.

5 comments:

  1. So do we get the scone recipe? I'm always up for a new tasty treat! Or you could just make some and send them to me! ha ha

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  2. I was diagnosed last summer with lupus. Baking, along with scrapbooking are some of my favorite at home hobbies. Things have gotten so bad, I can do neither, A few months ago I wanted homade chocolate chop cookies SOOOO bad....and I paid for it! I couldn't use my hands for days. But I am learning. Thanks for your posts and your book, they are a true inspiration as I try to adjust my life!

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  3. Anonymous, I understand your frustrations. I too am a huge scrapbooker!!!! I've had my own designated room for years but when I was diagnosed 2 years ago, the scrapping took a back seat! I just recently told my husband that I was taking the day off to scrapbook. Even if I only got one layout done I knew it was something that would make me "feel" better. You know what, it did! Try to find time to do something small with your hobby, it really helps "me" feel normal! Good luck!

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  4. I'm happy to share my scone recipe! Just beware of the butter step...you know where I stand on it!

    here's the link:
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Butterscotch-Drop-Scones-230911

    I think you can cut and paste this into your browser. If you have trouble, email me and I'll send it directly. Enjoy and thanks so much for asking!

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  5. And great advice, Marilyn, on the scrapbooking!

    Re: the cookies, Anonymous: I, too, had to forgo many rounds of baking...and how I craved those cookies! (Not so much eating them, although that was nice, too - but mostly just the thought of doing something a) I loved, b) I could create with my hands from scratch, and c) where I could share the fruits of my labor with others. I found a couple of stand in's - nothing that hit the spot perfectly, but as Marilyn said, at least I felt a little better. For one, I tried using pre-made cookie dough - you still feel like your doing something and the house will smell good, right? (You can also use the packaged cookie dough mix -I think you just add butter and eggs - if you're feeling a little more adventurous.) I also employed my sister to make cookies - and I was there while she made them. Just being part of making something "Homemade" helped. And lastly, I would shop around for the best chocolate chip cookie in town. I wouldn't go out of my way, and I definitely didn't run myself ragged, but I did explore the bakeries around town when it was convenient. I found some good ones...but I'll tell you - being able to make cookies again is one of the sweetest rewards to taking good care of myself and adjusting my life. Good luck and thanks for your kind, complimentary words!

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