The thing is, a Ph.D. program is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. The reason they call it “training” is that grad students fall on their faces every now and then. It can happen for lots of reasons: your research starts to tank, you get scooped by someone else, your boss takes a job in Europe without consulting you first, your paper spends a year in review purgatory. Not that I would know anything about that last one personally…or maybe I do! When my paper was in review purgatory, I sank deep into the mud of depression. It was ugly. I realize now, with the benefit of hindsight, that I did the best thing I could possibly do: I waited. I didn’t quit grad school, even though I was very tempted. I avoided any truly self-destructive behavior, opting for kitchen therapy instead. I wrote a lot on this blog. And I tried to keep up my energy by eating a lot of almonds.
Almonds are the most sophisticated nut. Even the name is a little chic, with that “l” silently forming your mouth into a half-yawn. Almonds are delicate in flavor, big on crunch, and utterly delicious in my book. I owe them a debt of gratitude; they feed me so well and so happily. Yasmin tagged me to talk about seven random things today. Instead, I’m going to bend the rules here and share seven random things about almonds. It’s only slightly nuts to love almonds as much as I do.
1) Like Nick, the friendly Peanut Butter Boy, I love almonds but don’t care for almond butter. I have not, however, tried the almond butter from Barney Butter, which practically has food bloggers shouting from the rooftops about how good it is. Nick, good guy that he is, has promised to share his thoughts with me about Barney Butter after he tries it, even if it sucks. This is one of the perks of being part of a foodie community.
A post-script about Barney Butter, added on January 9, 2009: Barney Butter has a free shipping code, ship4free, which worked for me in December 2008 when I was ordering Christmas presents. I'm grateful to Kath of Kath Eats Real Food for providing the code to her readers; many other bloggers are also giving out the code and now, so am I! Hurray for almond butter!
2) I want to play around more with almond parfaits. I remember a tasty one I made during my first year of grad school in which layers of plain yogurt, honey, bananas, and almonds are spooned into a glass. I stole the recipe from Self magazine. It is time to dust off the parfait glasses again!
3) My friend Shawn Marie cannot STAND almonds. She swears they taste like cyanide. Did you know that we can’t eat wild almonds because they really do contain cyanide? How lucky are we that a mutant almond tree happened to lose its ability to synthesize cyanide? I’d say we are very lucky.
4) My favorite almond granola is Molly’s French Chocolate Granola, which might be the very best recipe I’ve found on the internet. I pour milk over my granola and gobble it down in greedy spoonfuls. Daphna would want me to add that she likes this granola without the chocolate.
5) In order to make French Chocolate Granola whenever the mood strikes, I now keep a big bag of almonds and a two-pound jug of honey in the kitchen. I like to be prepared.
6) Matt does not like nuts in things. This is one of the few things about him that I do not love. It makes my baking life difficult if he is around. But I love him so much that I left the almonds out of half a batch of Sweet Maple-Glazed Almond Drop Scones, the recipe for which I found in The Cornbread Gospels. That was such a lovely morning: I baked scones and trashed the kitchen while Matt worked, then we had this stew and fresh-baked scones for lunch. We learned that the huge, shiny, rimmed roasting pan he gave me for Christmas works beautifully for baking scones. I love that pan.
7) My bag of almond flour is so underused that it makes me sad. I’ve made three different things with it. My suggestion box is open for new recipes that call for almond flour.
Want to play along at home? In order to not lose any friends, I’m not going to tag anyone directly, but I will provide the official meme rules. And if you are inspired to play, leave me a message and I'll stop by to say hi!
1) Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog. (Check!)
2) Share seven random or weird things about yourself. (Check!)
3) Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links. (Forgive me, Yasmin!)
4) Let each person know she’s been tagged by leaving a comment on her blog. (Does it count that I left Yasmin a comment?)