Sunday, December 1, 2013

What-What?! Week of December 1st

It's already December!  When on Earth did that happen?  I had this past week off from work (school's out on holiday), which was quite a nice break.

If you haven't noticed, I am now posting on Thursdays with one piece of my daughter's artwork.  I thought this would be great to both preserve memories and to encourage Saffron's creativity.

Food:  German Spaetzle via

On Monday, the husband and I made a German dinner, with schnitzel and spaetzle.  Spaetzle is a German noodle/dumpling hybrid, made out of a simple egg dough.  The spaetzle I made was "vom brett", which translates roughly as "off the board"; made without a spaetzle maker, just a wooden cutting board and a knife.  Here's a great (and impressive) video showing the technique for spaetzle vom brett, and while I didn't do nearly as well as that lady, it still came out well enough:

Rather than making plain spaetzle, I actually made kassespaetzle, which is a bit like the German version of macaroni and cheese; I layered my spaetzle with butter and shredded cheese, which melted and became absolutely delicious.  The spaetzle itself has a rustic, egg-y taste, and a soft, slightly-doughy texture.  If you haven't had it yet, then you need to try it; my children loved it, and it was a quick and easy side to make, taking no longer than regular noodles.
(A word from the wise on cleaning up after making spaetzle:  Whatever touches the dough needs to get rinsed off immediately.  I didn't do this, and had to spend a while scrubbing the bowl, board, knife, pot, and so on.)

Film:  Disney's Frozen Review and a Discussion of the PG Rating via Forbes

I read one article about Frozen before we went to see the movie, and while it didn't discuss the content of the film specifically, it did discuss the PG rating it had received... along with nearly every other children's movie in recent history.  In the films I grew up watching, characters were thrown off buildings, trampled to death, and so on.  These films were rating G.  Recent films have been rated PG for mild action and peril, which would obviously be in a movie, because what else is going to happen?  Beyond the ridiculousness of this, it makes it difficult for parents to decide which films to allow children to watch.  Some PG films are perfectly okay for my children, but many are not appropriate for young children at all.  At that point, why bother having ratings?


My daughter really enjoyed Frozen, which I guess is what counts in the end.  However, I have to admit to liking things as a child that, now as an adult, I can see are just terrible.  This wasn't terrible, but it had the potential to be a lot better than it was.  I went to this movie hoping for something similar to Sleeping Beauty, or Beauty and the Beast.  Instead, Frozen was more like Tangled, where the original story has been somewhat bungled in the effort to make it funny ("entertaining"?).  The comic relief character in this film, the snowman, did have some jokes that were genuinely clever, but it still didn't save him from being annoying.  Even my daughter didn't really care for him much (!!!).  There were two mild villains in the film, which confused the storyline a bit, and really they were all secondary to the main plot, the sisters' relationship struggles and the fallout from that.  While Hans was needed to move the story, the Duke of Weselton was completely superfluous; I think he was there only because someone became attached to the gags that could be played at his expense.  If they had removed those bits, then there could have been more time spent filling out the real villain -- maybe even make him actually frightening.

The other thing that bothered me about this film, is that when Elsa becomes the snow queen, she magically gains a slit on her skirt, high heels, and a hip-swaying gait.  While watching the film, I was honestly surprised.  Why does this character gaining her freedom have to be translated into looking sexy?  The point would still have been well made without those elements.  I think the best single indicator of the change was in her hair style.  Just that would have been fine.

Beyond that, I did very much like the scene in the lodge, because it was an actual dose of Scandinavian cultures -- a lutefisk joke(Norway), and the sauna (Finland).  But overall, I was disappointed.

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