Skillet-Broiler Pizza

Skillet-Broiler Pizza:

You probably saw this new pizza hack via InstaPundit. I gave their final version a try tonight:

1) Preheat the cast-iron skillet and turn the oven to highest broil,

2) Form the pizza in the hot skillet,

3) Place the skillet in the oven and broil until the top is browning and crispy,

4) Return to the hot eye and cook until the bottom is crispy.

The claim was that the pizza would not only be delicious, but that the dough would remain thin and crispy beneath, but with significant "spring" to the dough on the edges. This produces the puffy and light (but still strong) outer edge called the cornicione .

The problem is with oven spring (or a lack thereof). When a pizza (or any bread, for that matter) first gets blasted by the heat of an oven, the moist air pockets inside the dough rapidly heat and expand, causing the dough to puff out. If it expands rapidly enough, it's possible to get a serious amount of poofing before the proteins in the flour begin to set, locking those bubbles in place. So there are really three factors that affect it: the stretchiness of the gluten in the dough, the amount of air in the dough, and the efficiency of heat transfer in the oven.
So how did it turn out?

Note that this pizza was made with a whole wheat crust, which I made using King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour. Even with this denser crust, you get significant "pop" on the edges, and a thin inner crust that has the right mix of crunchy and chewy.

Serve with Guinness, of course.



I'm pretty sure this is how the game was meant to be played.

From D29

More on St. Paul and Homosexuality:

Dad29 had a reply that Echo doesn't seem to be handling properly. I'm going to post it here so that we can explore the issue further; you can find the thread he is responding to at the bottom of this discussion chain.

I should have been more precise. Apologies.

No one should condemn the PERSON who has such 'inclinations.' However, the Church has recently described such inclinations as a "grave disorder." IIRC, that was Ratzinger pre-Papacy.

Thus, Paul's teaching as you understand it has been re-affirmed.

The 'judge not' mandate follows the person, not the inclination.

As to the Paul/TA difference: I disagree that they differ in substance. Paul was highly educated in the Jewish tradition. What Paul recognized (without being explicit) was the fact of Original Sin. That means that Paul saw 'defects' here on Earth, particularly in men. TA teaches the same thing: that while all of creation is 'good,' man carries defects resulting from Original Sin. The defects do not obviate the good; they merely exist within the good.

Paul's discussion of punishment is an analogy to the Jewish Exile. They were punished for infidelity to God and His commands. He simply states that the same infidelity results in other 'punishments', IOW, Paul sees "punishment" in broader terms than we do. He sees it as God allowing us to "enjoy" that which is 'of earth' rather than that which is 'of God.'

This vision is similar to the Church's rule of excommunication: one excommunicates oneself. The Bishop's paperwork is merely a follow-on, formalizing the matter. Paul tells us that the wrong exercise of free will results in punishment. (This brings up 'conscience' and natural law, again.)

In that regard, it is useful to recall Christ's words: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life". "Way" (path) is critical to this discussion, but note well that Christ makes Truth, Life, and Way equivalent. (By the way, that makes the goodness-beauty-truth combination much more interesting, no? "Goodness" and "Beauty" are thus attributes of Christ/God, also.)

Vis-a-vis homosexual conduct: your understanding of TA's valuation of "life" is solid. But put "Life" (generation thereof, preservation thereof, etc.) into that saying of Christ and you have another dimension entirely. Thus the strictures on artificial birth control--which is sterile sex, just like homosexual conduct--and abortion, which is murder. Acts which are not, by nature or intent, 'for' life are 'against' it--and Christ is "Life."

Paul was blinded only to make the point that he did not 'see' correctly.
I have some further thoughts, but I will hold them for now in order to let D29 take and answer questions freely from you. The usual rules of the Hall apply, of course; I understand that this is a touchy subject for people these days, which is all the more reason to insist upon the courtesies.

UPDATE: D29 sends some additional material from St. John Chrysostom, including a military analogy. This is commentary on Romans 1, as you may know from reading the earlier thread.
Ver. 24. "Wherefore also God gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves."

Hence he shows, that even of the perversion of the laws it was ungodliness which was the cause, but He "gave them up," here is, let them alone. [1220] For as he that hath the command in an army, if upon the battle lying heavy upon him he retreat and go away, gives up his soldiers to the enemies not by thrusting them himself, but by stripping them of his own assistance; thus too did God leave those that were not minded to receive what cometh from Him, but were the first to bound off from Him, though Himself having wholly fulfilled His own part.

But consider; He set before them, for a form of doctrine, the world; He gave them reason, and an understanding capable of perceiving what was needful. None of these things did the men of that day use unto salvation, but they perverted to the opposite what they had received.

What was to be done then? to drag them by compulsion and force? But this were not to make them virtuous. It remained then, after that, for Him to leave them alone, and this He did too, that in this way, if by no other, having by trial come to know the things they lusted after, they might flee from what was so shameful (3 mss. add eikotos, and with reason).

For if any that was a king's son, dishonoring his father, should choose to be with robbers and murderers, and them that break up tombs, and prefer their doings to his father's house; the father leaves him, say, so that by actual trial, he may learn the extravagance of his own madness. But how comes he to mention no other sin, as murder, for instance, or covetousness, or other such besides, but only unchasteness? He seems to me to hint at his audience at the time, and those who were to receive the Epistle. "To uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves."

Note the emphasis here, as it is most severe. For they stood not in need of any others, it means, to do insolent violence to them, but the very treatment the enemies would have shown them, this they did to themselves. And then, taking up the charge again, he says, Ver. 25. "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."

Things which were matter for utter scorn, he puts down specially, but what seemed of a graver cast than the rest, in general terms; and by all he shows, that serving the creature is Grecian. And see how strong he makes his assertion, for he does not say, barely, "they served the creature," but "more than the Creator:" thus everywhere giving fresh force to the charge, and, by the comparison, taking from them all ground of mitigation. "Who is blessed forever. Amen." But by this, he means, He was not any whit injured. For Himself abideth "blessed for ever." Here he shows, that it was not in self-defence that He left them alone, inasmuch as He suffered nothing Himself. For even if these treated Him insolently, yet He was not insolently treated, neither was any scathe done to the bearings of His glory, but He abideth continually blessed. For if it often happen, that man through philosophy would not feel the insults men offered him, much less would God, the imperishable and unalterable Nature, the unchangeable and immovable Glory.
The analogy is interesting -- what should a general officer do if he finds a unit in mutiny, in clear defiance of commander's intent, and because of that loss of discipline now behind enemy lines? Is that a proper analogy to this case? Why or why not?

Gun Trusts

Gun Trusts

A friend has come to me for help setting up a gun trust. There are lawyers, I know, who specialize in this kind of thing. I wondered if anyone here had ever done one. As I understand it, the idea is that some kinds of weapons or associated paraphernalia (in this case, specifically, noise suppressors) are so restricted in their transfer that it can be a good idea to put title in a trust whose multiple trustees are the whole group of family or close friends that are likely to be using or even temporarily possessing the weapon. Use of a trust also makes some aspects of the initial licensing process more convenient.

This sounds like a skill I need to learn. Perhaps we all have someone special in our lives who would like to receive a gun trust for Valentine's Day.

Angels & Devils

Angels and Devils

From Neal Boortz via the always reliable Maggie's Farm, this clip from "Family Feud," where I guess the setup is that they ask 100 people in a shopping mall how they would complete a common phrase, and the contestants win money if they guess the most common answer. Here, they're asked for "something that you would be likely to pass around," and two contestants offer a suitable and an unsuitable answer. How do you stack up against mall-going America, readers?



The Maine Family Robinson site continues to serve as my own personal mouthpiece, in "10 Luxuries We Don't Do Without." Well, that is, except for the part about TV, which I still watch, so sue me. I'm really liking the new show "Justified," for instance. How can you go wrong with Timothy Olyphant and Elmore Leonard?

But about luxuries, Greg Sullivan recommends things like a real fire that doesn't use an on/off switch, sleeping according to one's need for rest, and actual food. His kids, he says, "aren't rousted like vagrants and put on buses before the sunrise because it suits the public school teachers." They wake up when they're rested, and then his wife starts to teach them.

You Just Maht Be a Historical Revisionist!

In the 1950s and '60s, there were still states that outlawed birth control, so I started funding court cases to challenge that. At the same time, I helped sponsor the lower-court cases that eventually led to Roe v. Wade. We were the amicus curiae in Roe v. Wade. I was a feminist before there was such a thing as feminism. That's a part of history very few people know.

- Hugh Marston Hefner

Or maybe it's just a part of history few people will admit.

Birth control, abortion, no fault divorce, the sexual revolution: these are the four horsemen of the American apocalypse. And we all know who is to blame for these blights on traditional morality: feminists. We know that because we see feminists blasted 24/7 on conservative blogs. So let me ask those of you who are so sure that all of society's ills can safely be laid at the door of women's liberation: when was the last time you saw a conservative blogger taking Hugh Hefner to task? Surely if we regret admitting these four horsemen into our midst, we ought to recognize that feminists were hardly the first - or the only - ones holding open that barn door? They were hardly the only ones to advocate free love at the expense of marriage and fidelity:
Hefner’s friend Burt Zollo wrote in one of the early issues:

Take a good look at the sorry, regimented husbands trudging down every woman dominated street in this woman-dominated land. Check what they’re doing when you’re out on the town with a different dish every night...Don’t bother asking their advice. Almost to a man, they’ll tell you marriage is the greatest. Naturally. Do you expect them to admit they made the biggest mistake of their lives?

This was strong stuff for the mid-fifties. The suburban migration was in full swing and Look had just coined the new noun “togetherness” to bless the isolated, exurban family. Yet here was Playboy exhorting its readers to resist marriage and “enjoy the pleasures the female has to offer without becoming emotionally involved”—or, of course, financially involved.

What fuels the selective outrage against feminism? Is it principle, or personal pique? Keep in mind that Playboy began bashing marriage in the 1950s - years before Betty Friedan wrote the book that launched second wave feminism. No fault divorce and Roe v. Wade were still decades away and birth control was still illegal in many states. Yet somehow, evil feminists found a way to go back in time and brainwash poor Hugh. Who knew they had such power? His Their message was a simple one: chumps settle down with one woman and raise families. Real men demonstrate their sophistication and manliness by ducking marriage and wallowing in commitment-free sex:
According to the writer, William Iversen, husbands were self-sacrificing romantics, toiling ceaselessly to provide their families with “bread, bacon, clothes, furniture, cars, appliances, entertainment, vacations and country-club memberships.” Nor was it enough to meet their daily needs; the heroic male must provide for them even after his own death by building up his savings and life insurance. “Day after day, and week after week the American hubby is thus invited to attend his own funeral.” Iversen acknowledged that there were some mutterings of discontent from the distaff side, but he saw no chance of a feminist revival: The role of the housewife “has become much too cushy to be abandoned, even in the teeth of the most crushing boredom.” Men, however, had had it with the breadwinner role, and the final paragraph was a stirring incitement to revolt:

The last straw has already been served, and a mere tendency to hemophilia cannot be counted upon to ensure that men will continue to bleed for the plight of the American woman. Neither double eyelashes nor the blindness of night or day can obscure the glaring fact that American marriage can no longer be accepted as an estate in which the sexes shall live half-slave and half-free.

The "slaves" in this utopian manifesto were married men and traditional family life was the enemy of happiness and fulfillment.

This is not to say that second wave feminism, which became prominent well over a decade after Playboy began touting its siren song of self uber alles, did not have its own part to play in the dissolute and rootless culture we live with today. But to blame feminism first and foremost is to put the cart before the horse. Looking back at the world Hugh Hefner and his cronies worked so assiduously to destroy (and conservatives praise so long as no one expects them to adhere to the "prudish" moral code that made it possible), one can't help but wonder at the blind folly of human nature:
It was a world largely constituted by what he calls “desire”—desire chastened by deliberation, restrained by prudence, constrained by self-respect and rendered noble by a concern for the welfare of others. Since the 1960s, thanks to “the democratic project”, we have lived to an ever increasing extent in a world constituted by what he calls “impulse”, passion liberated from restraints and constraints, unchastened and utterly irresponsible.

The founders we love to quote understood the difference between freedom and license. They also understood that without personal responsibility, freedom is short lived.

What if feminism were only one part of a sweeping shift in morality that was fed by many sources: the civil rights movement, activists like Hugh Hefner who funded landmark court cases and worked tirelessly against traditional morals and traditional marriage, progressives who sought to maximize individual freedom while transferring individual responsibility to the State? And yes - feminists?

What if life didn't lend itself to simple answers where the other guy (or gal) is always - and conveniently - at fault? There's no question about it: we live in Hef's world now. If only I could figure out how those durned feminists got him to do their bidding.

Free Space

Free Space:

Skip to about three minutes in -- past the familiar ranting about the problems of large government agencies, and to the part where he begins talking about what private actors are doing right now.

That's some good stuff.


Be Fair:

The man says, "I didn't raise taxes once." PolitiFact says that's false.

Be reasonable, now. There must have been once that he didn't raise taxes.

Park, Out of The

Park, Out of The:

Dr. Althouse puts one over the bleachers. She has a couple of other posts on the subject as well, but that one is a very strong point.



From the NYT:

It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal.
Well, no. "Impossible" is clearly right out. The point is that the... ah, discipline... that you participate in is untethered from reality. I believe that was T99's point from a day or two back.

That doesn't imply that nothing it says is ever of any use at all. It does suggest that we ought to be very careful in granting it standing -- only in special cases, or on especially good evidence in a particular case.


Sarah Palin & GOProud:

I don't care if anyone goes to CPAC, which garners no interest from me in the first place; but the question of how conservatives (in general) should relate to homosexual groups (in general) is a good one. Sarah Palin provides a fairly moderate suggestion.

[P]erhaps what it is that you’re suggesting in the question is should the GOP, should conservatives not reach out to others, not participate in events or forums that perhaps are rising within those forums are issues that maybe we don’t personally agree with? And I say no, it’s like you being on a panel shoot, with a bunch of the liberal folks whom you have been on and you provide good information and balance, and you allow for healthy debate, which is needed in order for people to gather information and make up their own minds about issues.

I look at participation in an event like CPAC or any other event, along, or kind of in that same vein as the more information that people have, the better.
That seems reasonable to me. You're all familiar with my own positions on the two largest "gay" issues, gays in the military and gay marriage; obviously I'm opposed to both. The reasons for being opposed are different in each case, but have to do in both cases with the bedrock status of the institution. There's a great deal of room for social experimentation in America, but that room lies within the walls guarded by the military, kept firm by the family. I must oppose anything that appears to weaken either institution.

That isn't a condemnation of homosexuality -- for example, there are probably a lot of extraordinary people who nevertheless have no business in the military. To say that they do not have any business in the military is not to condemn them as human beings. By the same token, to point out that their unions are not creating new kinship relationships across generations is merely to state fact, not to condemn what they are doing. It is a bedrock feature of my philosophy that there should be room for many different kinds of human beings.

One might argue that Christianity requires us to condemn homosexuality; I am not sure that I agree. There seem to be two approaches to this argument, both of which are doubtful. The first is the clear condemnation in the Old Testament; but it is not clear to me that the Old Testament's laws for the Jewish people are meant to apply broadly to all humanity, rather than being supplanted by the Great Commandment for Christians.

The second approach argues from St. Thomas Aquinas' three part test for sexuality: that there are three goods that God intended sexuality to fulfill, and therefore the moral kind of sex will be that which fills all three. These are: (1) generation, (2) a deepened union between the man and woman joined as 'one flesh,' and (3) mutual pleasure, which is a good of a lesser kind. Homosexuality clearly cannot fulfill the first two (being neither capable of generation, nor a tie across the sex divide that would allow deepened understanding between a unified man and woman), and the first of the three is given special importance by Aquinas.

The logical error here is this: if a thing is "good" in the eyes of God, then it is good. If mutual pleasure is the only good being achieved, still it is a good! Aquinas may be correct to say that the best kind of sexuality will achieve all three -- that seems correct to me. It does not follow that the only good kind of sexuality will do so. As long as greater goods are not being set aside in its favor, I'm not convinced that logic requires us to condemn it from these principles.

In any case, this is the long way around saying: by all means let us speak with people with whom we have some disagreements, and other agreements. In some sense that captures all of humanity, none of whom will agree with us about everything -- I suspect that several of you will disagree with me just over the material in this post! Yet I regard you still as my friends and companions, and think it is an excellent thing that we should debate and discuss both what we agree upon, and what we do not.

What Am I Missing Here?

This is a question for the men, but perhaps also for the women (because I'm inclusive and tolerant like that). What is the deal with men complaining that they don't get to have everything 100% their way anymore?
Once upon a time, the world belonged to men.


Because men had exclusive power in both private and public life, they controlled their surrounding environment and the way in which space was designed and decorated. Consequently, the world was once a very masculine place.

Fair enough. I'd say a world where women are actively excluded from most public spaces could fairly be called "a very masculine place". It's lines like this that send me scurrying for the nearest liquor cabinet:
... we’ve made progress in the area of gender equality and women have brought their influence to bear in both the home and the workplace. However, as with many other areas of modern life, the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other;...

Has it really? Funny - I would have sworn on a stack of Betty Friedan novels that the polar opposite of: "Once the world belonged to men" isn't "... but then we decided to share". I would have thought it was something more like, "Now the world belongs to women.

Except the world doesn't belong to women, does it? We don't control everything, or even most things. Come to think of it, I can't think of a time in history when women ever held "exclusive power". I can't think of a time when we could exclude men from the workplace, from commercial businesses, or from voting booths. The truth is that Mr. McKay has never actually experienced the 'opposite extreme' of this metaphorical pendulum. Things haven't moved to the other extreme at all, but rather to some middle ground between one pole that has persisted throughout most of human history and an opposing fantasy scenario none of us has ever witnessed.

That middle ground, apparently, can be a bleak place:
...instead of creating a world that’s friendly to both male and female space, we’ve created one that benefits female space at the expense of male space.

It seems remarkable to this wife and mother that men gave up absolute control over the world peacefully. This is a thing that hasn't happened often in our history - confronted with demands from women that men give up some of their power and share control over the world we both live in, men decided (for whatever reason) to do so voluntarily. I would hope that every man who loves his wife or mother or sister - every man who has young daughters - would rejoice at this miracle that was accomplished, not at the point of a sword but at the ballot box.

The truth is that no one is keeping men out of the workplace. No one is keeping them out of bars. As McKay admits, women were first accepted in bars during Prohibition. When it was over, no law forced bars to continue admitting women. For over 30 years my husband has had his hair cut at a barbershop. Never, even once - in any state we've lived in - has he elected to patronize a unisex salon. But more importantly, never once has he had the slightest trouble finding a barbershop. If there were sufficient demand - FROM MEN - for single sex hair establishments, there would be more barbershops.

Likewise, single sex gyms have largely given way to co-ed ones. The success of Curves (which, by the way, is nothing like a full service gym) is a testimony to the free market's ability to meet the demand for single sex workout emporiums... as is the rise of male-only gyms like Cuts and Blitz.

As a woman, I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to marinate in nostalgia for some magical time when the law of the land guaranteed me the "right" to exclude one half of humanity from places of employment. And while I don't much care for forcing legally mandated inclusiveness upon private organizations that accept no public funding, I can't help noticing that the bulk of McKay's examples involve neither force nor operation of law, but rather gradual shifts in public sensibilities: the inevitable changes in outward form that follow changes in the function of our social institutions.

No law today prevents men from negotiating private space in their own homes or spending their leisure time with male friends. Men (and now women, too) have full access to the courts and the voting booths. They have both the freedom and the ability to influence and even change the laws we live under. In today's world a man is even free to, as one of McKay's commenters so aptly phrased it, "act without consideration":

The decline in male space also correlates with a decline in male empowerment. I am 52 and my father did whatever he wanted without consideration of my mother. I get to do about half of what I want with my wife disallowing the other half. My sons will I am afraid get to do nothing they want, unless it includes and is approved by the wife.

Question for the day: are we talking about empowerment? Or entitlement?


A Martyr:

This is the kind of thing that might make you question the mission in Afghanistan; but the man himself should be seen for the inspiring figure he is, in spite of the circumstances.

National Debt

National Debt

Assistant Village Idiot's son's friend has produced a 90-second video about the national debt as part of a contest. You can watch all five of the videos that made the finals and vote for the one you like best. His son's friend's entry is winning so far.

Superbowl Ad

Superbowl Ad:

I imagine you've all seen this advertisement:

It reminds me of a story. Way back when my son was one year old, my parents bought him a toy remote control tractor. He was much too young to understand about remote controls, or to have operated it in any case, but he liked the tractor so they bought it for him. For about two years, he played with that tractor toy as you would play with an powerless toy car.

So one day, when he was about three, I got out the remote control and stood in the kitchen. I watched him play with it for a while, and then when he backed away to do something else, I had it follow him. As soon as he turned to look, I stopped it.

Then he started forward, and I had it back away. He said, "It did do it!" Then it followed him around the room for quite a while, before I showed him how it worked.

I suspect the rest of his life has been a disappointment after that. We live in a world where there isn't much magic left, and people seem resolutely determined to drive out what remains. These people are blind, and have missed the true story: everything we think we understand is really magic, and is hiding secrets we don't yet dream of behind its mask.

Catholics & Mormons in the Lead

Catholics & Mormons in the Lead:

That sounds like the introduction to a joke, but it's the thesis of an article by a jealous evangelical Protestant. He argues that there are two reasons: theology for Catholics, and culture for Mormons.

It's an interesting question.