Derek Johnson Muses

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Coffee (without a maker), Cookies (barely), and Omelets

Makeshift filter

Makeshift filter

During the time that I was snowed in, I faced the dilemma of how to make coffee without my coffee maker. I racked my brain and remembered how certain coffee shops like Blue Bottle in San Francisco and Intelligentsia in Chicago would brew a single cup by drip. So I found a video on YouTube and figured it out. I had to get an ordinary funnel and filter and set them over a cup. I wet the filter with 400 ml of water first, then discarded that water. Then I put the beans in the filter, heat the water in the microwave. I had to pour the water slowly, but it worked as well as I could have hoped for.

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Sloppy gingersnap dough

I also made some gingersnaps while I was snowed in, but somehow they turned out sloppy. I wasn’t able to roll the balls in sugar and had to drizzle the sugar on instead. They eat just as well.

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Cutting the slog

If there is one habit of cooking that I love, it’s making a lot of one thing and eating for several meals. Thursday, I cooked a third of a pound of pork sausage (for those of you who live in Seward, Pac-N-Save makes great pork sausage). One of my meals with the sausage was a pasta dish, the other two were egg dishes, one of which included relish cooked right into the omelet. And this is how I get through my snowed in time, by taking care of myself with wooden cooking spoons.

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Putting together lunch

The Starbucks List, Part 1

About two years ago, I had a double-Starbucks day, the first that I could remember. It began in Ames, Iowa where I left that day to go to Hastings, Nebraska with an emergency load of seed for our grower. I got up at six, and I first hit the Starbucks in Des Moines for my morning coffee. Off Exit 129, this particular Starbucks, is crammed into the end of a strip mall and really need about another 10-20 square feet. The second Starbucks of the day came after 320 miles, stops at the farmer’s market in Omaha and a rest and recharge at home in Seward, and after dropping the seed off in Hastings. Like the one in Des Moines, this Starbucks is at the end of a strip mall, but there’s enough room in it. As I sipped my green tea latte and pondered my double Starbucks day, I decided that I should make a list of every Starbucks I had ever been to. Embarrassingly, it took up most of an entire page in my journal.

It’s an odd thing for me. While I do try to patronize the local coffeehouses when I see them, I have thing for Starbucks. There are many Starbucks locations that have been logged into my mind, and I always search for Starbucks on my GPS and even check for them online before I go to certain cities. It’s an indulgence, I know, but Starbucks keeps me going mile marker to mile marker. Each one is it’s own little home, and I’m grateful for it.

So, from that journal, here is the first installment in the list of Starbucks I’ve patronized over the years:

Rosecrans Street, San Diego, California.

My Dad and I were staying at a local hotel near Point Loma for the Holiday Bowl in 2009. This Starbucks was right down the street from us, and, even though the neighborhood was obviously safe in retrospect, I was still worried about leaving my room. But the morning of the game, just after it became light, I ventured down the street to this Starbucks to have my morning coffee and devotions. There was an older black man reading the paper there, and while there, I made some calls to sell our extra tickets to the game, as the sun began to enliven San Diego’s obvious yellows and dull greens.

Shelbyville, Indiana

It was an off-and-on rainy Sunday afternoon in September of 2009, and I was driving from my sister’s house in northwest Indiana to some  fields of ours east of Cincinnati. Having just passed Indianapolis, I saw this Starbucks off the interstate, next to an eatery named Half Pints Bistro (which looked more like a family restaurant. It was also the reason I remembered where this Starbucks was to begin with.) and figured, hey, last chance for a latte for ninety minutes. I pulled off and hit the line inside. This Starbucks got the low-lighting perfect and had some nice local photographs. I ordered my fall seasonal latte, and got back on the road.

Peru, Illinois

I’ve made multiple stops at this Starbucks, including the return from the aforementioned trip (pounded another pumpkin latte that day). It’s conveniently located in a strip mall, and is almost identical to the one in Grand Island. although the rest of the exit metropolis is falling apart, including an abandoned hotel and restaurant. Wish Starbucks could have taken an abandoned building but no luck.

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