Minnesota HouseFrau

Not much of anything to report. I always say or think that, but then in some devilishly curious way I manage to write five hundred words about, well, nothing. Funny isn’t it.  (I almost wrote ironic, but it wasn’t ironic. That’s one of my many New Year’s resolutions, to not say ironic when it isn’t ironic. The ironic part is I keep discovering all these resolutions that I don’t remember making. I wonder if I’ll still keep making these things up in April.)

I’ve finished one of the side saddles on the Hybrid sweater. This sweater is like a hybrid (hence the name) between a raglan and a saddle shoulder. It’s a saddle on top of a raglan. You decrease at the raglan rate till you have a number of stitches then you make saddles on top of them. The saddles are a little broader than on the regular saddle shoulder. And it’s got a much larger back saddle. Let me tell you, I will think long and hard about knitting anything at six stitches to the inch. Maybe five and a half, maybe. I enjoy the process, but still, this is just ridiculous. It just takes forever to do anything. I started this sweater on November second, and here I am, still plodding away on it. Granted I knit tons of other stuff in the process (Fishtrap Aran, Inner-directed shawl, countless Christmas presents). Still though, it is taking a while. I mean it’s fun to work on, and I am getting a great sense of accomplishment because I deserve every single row on it. It’s satisfying the way that baking bread is (and I’m a no-mixer-roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-kneading person) you feel the tactile feel of it, which is highly underrated . You lower yourself to the common denominator by kneading the bread, and I’m sort of doing that with this sweater. And the bread always tastes better without a mixer, I can’t explain this but it does, it really does.

While I’m on the subject of baking, take a look at this


Sorry for the bad picture, it was kind of dark out and I assure you that it had less powdered sugar on it than this picture would suggest.

This is a Linzer Torte. I didn’t know what that was until yesterday either. I thought, “It’s mostly sugar, butter and Almonds, what could go wrong.” A torte is like a cross between a cake and a pie. I think that they are really popular in Vienna. I am not sure what a Linzer is, and I’m still not 100% sure what a torte is.

I didn’t make it quite as written, which is probably not a good idea when you have no idea what you are making. It said to cut the butter in, and I melted it. It also called for grated almonds, but all I had were sliced almonds, and there is no way in hell that I am going to stand there and grate almonds. I chopped them up finely and figured that it would be good enough. I bake the same way I knit, (I’ll do whatever I want) it usually ends well, and often interesting, not unlike my knitting. I also think that in the end it’ll all work out. Of course if in knitting I can pull out bad knitting, and I can’t pull out a runny cake, conversely though, I can bake a cake a lot faster than I can knit a sweater.

I didn’t really care for it. It was too rich. Maybe less butter, more flour, less sugar. Or maybe I’m just bitter than it’s all already gone. I guess it went over well, though I don’t think that I’ll be making it again any time soon. It was more trouble than it was worth, like a lot of things in life.

But I learned stuff and I sort of had fun along the road. ( I love being up to my elbows in flour and shouting curse words because something went wrong. I realize how wrong this is.)

It was in The New York Times Cookbook in case you were wondering.

I’m thinking about gingerbread now. Yes, I am a Minnesota Housewife trapped in the body of a young man. I’ve got to go to the Lutheran Church now and make Lutefisk. And then throw up. Then make dinner.

And finish my sweater.



  1. Oh yum linzer! My mom makes that (she’s Swiss in case you want to change the Minnesota haufrau a bit). Gets better with age in case it didn’t all disappear at the first go. Of course my mom uses the old country methods (a food processor – she’s no dummy). And to add to this I just learned on The Great British Bake Off (shut up it’s strangely compelling) that a torte has little or no flour, but uses something else – almonds in this case. My mom’s old school recipe has flour so it’s no surprise I use the KitchenAid to knead my bread dough…

    Happy hybriding!

  2. Hi Garret — Long time, no see. I finally picked up my needles again, popped on Ravelry and there you were. You’ve been knitting up a storm! Love Linzer torte! Don’t give up on making it. Try using almond flour next time, available at any store that carries Bob’s Red Mill products. It’s basically a big sack of pre-ground almonds. We use Martha’s recipe. Everyone loves to hate her, but she does make a good torte. Stay well!

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