Friday, November 16, 2007

Unintended consequences...

One thing that is so upsetting about our son and his companion is their inability to evaluate the decisions they make in terms of consequences down the road. They have gotten themselves into a couple of financial messes by doing some really dumb things. Maybe we’re just offended that they don’t ask our advice first so we can point out the pitfalls that seem so obvious. Naturally, we are not prophets and can’t be expected to discern the future, but in many cases it isn’t too hard to figure out what is likely to happen. Which is why the mess I created for myself was all the more exasperating: I realized I had plowed ahead to do something without thinking it through. We eat a lot of flax seed because it has a lot of health benefits. Flax seed needs to be ground up, otherwise all the health benefits in those smooth, shiny brown seeds pass through without being used. It didn’t take us too long to find out that ground flax turns mucilaginous—a fancy word for “thick gluey slime”—when it is mixed with liquid. So, one needs to eat it really fast if it is stirred into something runny, otherwise the texture is just plain nasty. The last time I stirred flax into my oatmeal was the last time I will ever stir flax into my oatmeal. Because we eat a lot of flax seed, we buy it in bulk from the natural food store. I grind it myself in a coffee grinder and then put in the freezer. Most of the bulk food we buy eventually grows pantry moths or weevils, or both, if it isn’t kept frozen until we use it. I deal with these insects by washing them out of the grains (I keep flour frozen). Well, pantry moths began developing in the large glass container filled with about 2 pounds worth of seed, and I just charged ahead and dumped it all into a large bowl and began washing out the clumped flax seed and worms. I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of putting water to flax seed, but it didn’t take long for the consequences to become obvious. Almost instantly the flax seed became slimy. Seriously slimy. I immediately stopped and spread it out to dry on a cookie sheet, but the glue didn’t go away. It was just an awful mess. I tried to salvage it – I broke up the chunks of stuck-together seeds and froze them and then tried grinding them, but that didn’t work. It took me awhile to finally throw it all away. Ah well, another life lesson.

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