Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Factory Work

The American factory may not be completely a thing of the past. I've been working in my own version of it on two fronts.

I've been in a marathon of paper grading over the past couple of weeks, and yesterday I finished the last batch of ten-page term papers and turned in grades. (Hallelujah!)

I can do some fairly plain knitting while I read, and so my pile of fingerless mitts for Christmas gifts has grown while I've graded. Multi-tasking isn't part of factory work, but it's more an adaptation to my life as a contemporary woman.

Between undergraduate and graduate school I worked in the plant at General Mills, where my mom worked in the office for many years. Those months on the graveyard shift, dropping coupons into the bottoms of empty cereal boxes as they came down the conveyor belt, kept me motivated in my studies.

One of upshots of all those years of school is that, even though I do an occasional graveyard shift, there's no more single-tasking for me. Plus my work environment is a lot quieter.

Here's the recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto for Allie, adapted from one in Oprah magazine. I hope it helps you eat up all the squash you harvested this year.

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I use the veggie broth that comes in the cartons)
2 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 med butternut squash (about 1.5 lbs), peeled, seeded, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (you can also use acorn and other winter squashes)
8 large sage leaves, chopped (omit or substitute dried if you don't have it)
2 T butter
2 t salt
freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (I use walnuts)

In a large heavy-bottomed pan, over a medium-high flame, heat the olive oil. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic and squash, and cook for a minute. Lower the heat to medium and add 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed, but the rice isn't sticking to the pot. Continue adding 1/2 cup broth and stirring until the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, the squash is tender, and you've used all the broth.

Remove from the heat. Add sage, butter, salt. Season with pepper and stir. Add the Gorgonzola and nuts. Serves 4.


Debra said...

One summer early in my college career I decided to pick tobacco. I lasted 2 days but the impression lasted a lifetime. I made a committment that I would use my brain and not my body to make a living.

Happy Holidays! I hope you can enjoy them now that your grading is done.

Judy S. said...

Have a wonderful Christmas, Barbara. That sounds like a really tasty recipe! Looks like you have quite a lot of mitts finished; they're kind of addicting, I think. Susan sent me your adaptation, and I changed it a bit more....fun!

Allison Ann Aller said...

Yum and thank you!!!!

That's a fantastic array of gloves there. Interesting story about the General Mills plant, too....

Plays with Needles said...

Wow! Am I impressed with your fingerless factory!! And your double-tasking...

My most boring job ever that I did while in high school that made me WANT to do well in college was feeding punch cards through a machine in a mortgage department at a bank. I got in trouble because I could read a novel and do it at the same time. Because I was still the fastest at it even WHILE reading a book, the supervisor let me keep on reading... I'd forgotten about that until just now... but dropping coupons into cereal boxes... that's gotta be worse...

sticker said...
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