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Waits and measures

Post Independent/Gabrielle Devenish
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They say patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, it’s one I don’t possess.Yes, I know my lack of patience is not a good thing, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I’m the kind of person who keeps constant guard over the microwave, willing that cup of water to boil. Thirty more seconds? I want my tea now!When I make plans to meet a friend for lunch or coffee, I’m the one who shows up 15 minutes early. If I’m watching TV and a commercial comes on, I get up and do something else until the show comes back on, instead of waiting through the break. I hate driving during rush hour because I turn into an ugly road rage ogre when I get stuck in a line of cars.I’m a fiddler, a toe-tapper, and a compulsive watch-checker. I let out tiny exasperated sighs and chew my gum faster. I can become very annoying if I don’t keep myself in check; or so my friend Sean says.I even have to consciously exercise patience when I’m at work. Despite what many people think, the news business isn’t always fast-paced. There is a lot of waiting involved – waiting through long, boring meetings until City Council gets to the issue you’re interested in, waiting for sports games to be over so you can get the final score in. Waiting for reporters to finish late stories. Waiting for the stupid printer to warm up and spit out that page … (OK, that’s not such a long wait). Worst of all is waiting for that colored wheel to stop spinning while I’m saving a page on my computer (we’ve nicknamed it the ‘spinning pizza of death’ for its propensity to suddenly appear while you’re in the middle of working on a page and make your computer crash).The one area of my life where I’m never in a rush, however, is cooking. I’ve learned the hard way that haste makes waste when dealing with food. No, the rolls will not bake in half the time if you double the oven temperature – they will turn into smoldering meteors. Pre-made cookie dough in the little tubes will not come out tasting homemade; you have to actually mix up the batter yourself to get that flavor (what a concept). If you open the door too soon on a souffle or angel food cake, it will end up with a sunken crater. And if you don’t let your chicken cook fully, well, you will be sorry.Cooking takes time if you want to do it right. I guess it could be a metaphor for everything else we do in life. Deep …I’m working on my patience in other areas. I let people with less items go ahead of me in the checkout lane. I’ve stopped sighing and drumming my fingers when I’m waiting on stories or pages (most of the time). I even went without a watch for a whole two weeks (OK, so maybe it was because I needed a new battery, but still …).I’ve also decided to practice being patient by cooking more things from scratch. Forget that boxed angel food cake mix; I’m going to start with the raw ingredients, even though it will be much more time-consuming. And I’m not going to open the oven door too soon.Now, has my water boiled yet?Gabrielle Devenish is the food editor at the Post Independent. She has nightmares about the spinning pizza of death. Contact her at 945-8515, ext. 535, or gdevenish@postindependent.com.

Chocolate angel food cake11/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large)11/2 cups sifted powdered sugar1 cup sifted flour11/2 teaspoons cream of tartar1 teaspoon vanilla1 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup cocoa powderIn an extra-large mixing bowl, allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar, cocoa and flour together 3 times; set aside.Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.Sift about one-fourth of the dry mixture over the beaten egg whites; fold in gently. Repeat, folding in remaining dry mixture by fourths. Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Gently cut through batter to remove any large air pockets.Bake on lowest rake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake (leave in pan); cool thoroughly (at least one hour). Loosen sides of cake from pan and remove cake.Serves 12.Note: It sounds odd, but inverting the pan on a long-necked beer bottle or soda bottle is the best way to let it cool.- Better Homes and Gardens New CookbookChocolate icingThis icing is the perfect complement to chocolate angel food cake. Pour the icing over the top and then smooth it down the sides; it will look smoother.2/3 cups sugar3 tablespoons milk3 tablespoons butter1/2 cup chocolate chips1 teaspoon vanillaCombine sugar, milk and butter in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling. Boil at rolling boil for 30 seconds.Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth. Add vanilla and stir well.


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