RE: Narrative Technical Writing

Subject: RE: Narrative Technical Writing
From: <Brian -dot- Henderson -at- mitchell1 -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 08:31:58 -0800

This reminds me of the famous (or infamous):

"How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-By-Step Procedures
for the Complete Idiot"

Originally self-published by the author, John Muir. With lines like, "go
smoke a joint while the glue dries", it was quite interesting. I now
wish I hadn't sent it off with the new owner of my 1967 Bus.

Here's a short bio on the man and his book (now in its 19th edition):


-----Original Message----- From: Chris Despopoulos

Here's a totally (way totally) narrative recipe. Have fun...

Hippie Kitchen: A Measurefree Vegetarian Cookbook
by Jean Johnson
196 pages, 40 recipes, 83 recipe notations, 59 color photos, index,
four-color interior -- $18.00
ISBN: 978-0-9815271-1-6
Publication date: October 2009

Recipe Note
Whisk an egg, milk, shot of oil, and polite slug of vinegar together.
Stir in blue corn flour leavened with soda and seasoned with salt and
red chili flakes. Bake in an oiled waffle iron.

Vinegar fizzes with the soda to lighten these waffles, and the red chile
gives them serious la-la. Make your batter thick enough to spoon into
the waffle iron since it's mainly batters that are too thin that tend to

If you aren't into making waffles, do feel free to turn these into
pancakes or cornbread. They're all family. Or you can make blue corn
flour crepes. I tries these too, and they smelled like the Southwest
after a thunderstorm.

On Avoiding Sticky Wicket Waffles
I've dug my share of failed waffles out of the little square
indentations. That was back when I didn't oil the iron nicely with a
pastry brush, and more critically, when I used too much liquid in the
batter. It's true that I sometimes get by with a thin batter that
results in the cracker-like, crispy waffles, but the safest bet until
you get your sea legs is to go with a thicker than thinner batter,
something akin to thinned mashed potatoes. At one point in my waffle
making I thought milk products made things stick, but I never got very
scientific about it and can't really say it wasn't because the batter
was simply too thin.

The main thing is that making waffles isn't as much of a trip as I used
to think. Plus, they're better than pancakes because there's no
possibility of doughy middles. Sort of like the difference between
baking a cake in a regular pan and a Bundt pan -- the indentation in the
center helps the cake cook through.

Finally, on the horror of lifting the lid and finding your lovely waffle
pulled apart and clinging to the top and bottom. Never fear. All it
takes -- given that your batter was thick enough -- is closing the iron
and letting the heat finish doing its thing. In another minute or two,
the miraculous will have happened. The waffle will be waiting under the
lid in one dazzlingly fabulous piece.

On a Roll with Blue & Yellow Corn
It goes without saying that you can substitute yellow for blue cornmeal
and still rock. You can also easily turn waffle batter into pancakes or
cornbread. The gist here is to make pancake batter thinner than waffle
batters so they pour onto a griddle easily and aren't too thick to cook
through. On the cornbread route, follow the lead of your waffle batter,
augmenting it with whole wheat pastry flour, a little honey, and another
egg or two. That way you'll get a moist cornbread plus leftovers to
toast into croutons.

Most recipes that use cornmeal -- whether for waffles, pancakes, or
bread -- call for at least part wheat flour and sometimes I go that
route. Mainly, though, I like to explore what happens with 100 percent
cornmeal and have found I can control how well what I'm making holds
together with the amount of oil and eggs I use.



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Re: Narrative Technical Writing: From: Chris Despopoulos

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