I am the shortest person in my family. And by family, I mean the extended one of parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. Heck, even my grandparents were taller than me. One by one, the younger generations of Nyes have taken considerable pleasure in looking down on their little auntie. Truth be told, I’m not all that little; a mere inch and a half shy of average. Anyway, who in their right mind would want to be average? So let them chortle. From my vantage point, my nieces and nephews could easily be mistaken for lean and lanky giants.
That said, below average stature does have its challenges. Okay, a much-too-cheery short person might turn any shortcoming around and insist it’s all sunshine and rosy. I’m not sure I would go that far.
We vertically challenged end up with an inordinate number of stepstools. I personally own four. First, I have one for the kitchen. Without it, I’d lose at least a third of my cupboard space. That said; I have been known to climb on the counters to grab a dish off a top shelf. The second is in the bedroom closet and used to reach the shelves over the hangers. Without it, I’d be tossing stuff up onto those shelves, which, we all know, invariably leads to an avalanche of sweaters tumbling to the floor. The third stepstool lives in the garage to access the floor to ceiling shelves that are filled with everything from Christmas decorations to almost empty paint cans, window fans and duct tape. The fourth showed up during the renovations I had done on my house a few years ago. It’s in the garage too.
Short girls are handy with a needle. We have no choice because we never met a pair of pants or shorts or a skirt that didn’t need to be shortened. Although, I confess in a pinch, packing tape has worked wonders on more than one occasion. With summer approaching, I can avoid playing tailor and wear capris. Of course, fashionistas debate the wisdom of these cropped pants and, on me, they look more like high-waters. You might remember that unfortunate kid in high school; the one who outgrew his jeans in mid-February and didn’t bother replace them until the following September. Admit it, you probably sniggered and snickered, at least a bit. Well, now I’m that kid but I didn’t outgrow anything. I’m hoping to grow into the darn things.
Our feet don’t always reach the floor. There is nothing more Alice in Wonderland-ish than nestling deep into a chair and having your feet dangle in the air. On top of that indignity, my friends invariably notice and comment on my little feet. No worries about the feet part; any razzing is nothing more than envy of my dainty toes.
It doesn’t take much to block our view. Shorties quickly learn to lean left or right to catch the show or parade. This leaning can lead to an embarrassing misunderstanding with the stranger in the next seat. I’m sure you are very nice but I don’t want to snuggle. On the other hand, no one in the movie theater minds sitting behind us (as long as we don’t chatter through the film or play with our smart phones).
We’re pretty good jumpers and climbers. If you’ve ever been to a supermarket, you know why. We have no choice. Our arms aren’t long enough to reach everything on the top shelf. Yes, I suppose we could stand around in the aisle patiently waiting for a gracious tall person to come to our rescue. But who has that kind of time? Better to scale the shelves and hope they don’t topple over. Perhaps, I should just bring that fourth stepstool with me.
Stand tall and bon appétit!
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
About 1/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
About 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups plus 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided
Rhubarb Compote (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
Put the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, crystallized ginger, zest, baking powder and spices in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter, pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal and transfer to a large bowl.
Put the sour cream, 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a bowl and whisk until smooth Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, the dough will be sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, pat into a ball and knead a few times. Divide and pat the dough into 8 equal rounds. Place the rounds on the baking sheet and brush the tops with 1-2 tablespoons cream. Bake the shortcakes in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, turn the pan and continue baking until golden, about 10 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.
With an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup heavy cream with 1-2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Slice the each shortcake in half horizontally, top the bottom halves with Rhubarb Compote and dollops of whipped cream. Add the top halves, more compote and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup or to taste brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 tablespoons minced gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Put the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a saucepan. Stirring frequently, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is just tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove the compote from the pan, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve cold.
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One Year Ago – Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
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Four Years Ago – Wheat Berry Salad
Five Years Ago – Not Your Ordinary Burger
Six Years Ago – Strawberry Rhubarb Soup
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
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Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015