Monday, May 6, 2013

A lupus personality test: diced butter and a cell phone

I’ve written before about the rich, buttery butterscotch scones that have become one of my favorite recipes to make. They’re relatively easy, turn out great each time, and freeze well. AND there are butterscotch chips involved. What’s not to like?

The only hitch is that they require that a stick of diced, chilled butter be worked into the dough. That’s always been tricky with my arthritic-prone hands, and until lately, I used to attempt the three-minute endeavor in one straight shot, rendering my fingers and hands useless because of the pain inflicted. But over time. I’ve realized that taking a break every 30 or 45 seconds isn’t a bad thing. If I break up the task, my hands hurt very little, if at all. Imagine that - taking something slow and steady has its benefits. Who would have thought?
I recently related this story to a chef-friend of mine, and she gave me an even greater tip to help with the chilled-butter process. She says that if you grate the chilled butter with a cheese grater, it will be that much easier to work into the dough than the larger diced pieces. Brilliant, huh? So glad she passed on the advice, and I will definitely try it the next time I make my scones. Between that and my self-imposed time outs, I’ll be set!

My compulsion to move at lightening-speed has been put to the test many times since I was diagnosed with lupus. Beyond my hobby of baking, I’ve had to temper my personality in all aspects of my life, in order to keep lupus symptoms at bay. My instinct is to pack in as much as I can in the least amount of time possible. But that M.O. can induce stress, limit sleep, and ignite disease activity. So over time, I’ve learned to dial back that efficiency mode, but it is a constant challenge.
Most recently, my cell phone has served as a temptation for “immediacy”, just as it does for most people. If the phone rings, dings, vibrates, or lights up, the need to check it is overwhelming, right? But I have to remind myself that during my sacred naptime, from 2-4pm, my phone (and the desire to tend to my affairs as quickly as possible) has to be put on hold. I try to make a habit of keeping my phone in another room during nap time, so that I can’t even hear it vibrate or see it light up. But lately, my phone has found its way onto my bedside table during nap time – for whatever reason – and it takes more willpower than I can muster to resist checking my phone when I hear that vibration sound. I can turn the phone off, of course, but it’s been an interesting experiment in self-control to resist the urge to check it. I'm improving, in fact...and a short visit back to Indiana where I spent a couple of days with my technophobe, almost 74-year-old father was enough to remind me that the phone and its messages really can wait. What a treat to look someone in the eye and actually converse. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

So here's hoping I can continue to use a little self-control where my phone is involved. I can't promise, however, that the same rule applies when it comes to helping myself to a second scone. Here's a link to the scone recipe. Grab your grater and start baking!

4 comments:

Eileen said...

I have a food processor and for some things it works very well to make the rubbed-in part of a recipe (even better than grated butter and fingers ;-) ). I also use chilled butter but chopped into 1cm cubes mixed into the dry ingredients so they are coated first and then pulse for very short bursts until the breadcrumb-like consistency is achieved. It is definitely worth trying to see if this is a suitable recipe. It certainly works for shortcrust pasty and shortbread. If you pulse enough times the mix will start to form clumps on its own - and that is the stage I stop for both pastry and shortbread. Usually I then need no water for the pastry and it is mega-short and crumbly to eat. The shortbread gets tipped into an oblong 1 1/2 in deep baking tray and the mix is then pressed down firmly using a potato masher before baking and cutting into fingers whilst still hot. I line the baking tray with greaseproof paper - making it easy to remove the fingers AFTER they have cooled.

Very hand-joint friendly and fast so little standing either! And very yum, especially at New Year!

Eileen

Mary Ellen said...

I always turn my phone off at nap time. I have Voice Mail so I do get my messages even tho the phone does not ring. This way, I do not feel guilty at all.

Mary Ellen

Sara Gorman said...

Eliminating the feeling of guilt is essential, i agree!! Thanks for commenting!

Sara Gorman said...

Oh my--my mouth is watering! i can practically taste that flaky perfect pastry! thanks for sharing your tips. they're good ones!! (i always forget about my food processor...)