Friday, November 27, 2015

Peanut Brittle Inspired by Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I have found the answer to all of your problems. Do you want to hear what it is? Are you ready? Are you sure? Alright then. The answer is....

42

Allow me to introduce you to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the most brilliant sci-fi comedy every written on any planet at any time. Don't panic, grab your towel, your Babel fish, and hitch along for the ride.

If you've ever landed on this blog before, you've probably recognized that I'm a slightly sarcastic person. Slightly. If you haven't noticed that, then I'll just have to assume that you're from Betelgeuse or a relative of Drax the Destroyer.

That being said, rarely do I find another writer who's use of sarcasm and cynicism is far beyond my own. Douglas Adams is one of these rare specimens. He has a beyond-hilarious, zany, off-beat kind of writing style that would come across as completely stupid if anyone but himself attempted it. 
He will poke fun at anything and everything: people, space-travel, creationists, atheists, love, insanity, depression, bravery, tea, money. Nothing is off-limits to him and it's brilliant. When you read Douglas Adams you know that you're not going to get politically-correct writing or a heartrending story. You're in for break-neck sarcasm, ridiculous plots, and an unequivocally unique experience: 

Arthur Dent is just an ordinary earthling who is having a very, very bad Thursday. He knew there was something wrong when he woke up in the morning with an awful hangover and several yellow bulldozers lumbering about in his front yard. As it turns out, the city wants to build a bypass, which is helpful to every except for Arthur, since his house happens to be standing exactly where the bypass needs to go. This fact bothers Arthur immensely.

Ford Prefect knows how silly it is to be worried about such mundane matters, since he has been informed that an alien race, the Vogons, wish to build a bypass themselves. Unfortunately, earth is rather in the way of their project, so the only logical course of action is to blow it up.

Of course nobody believes Ford Prefect when he tries to tell them this. But, being a researcher for the newest edition of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Ford always knows where his towel is. In other words, Ford has his act together and is not about to be obliterated by Vogon’s. Armed with his towel, some peanuts, and a Babel fish, Ford grabs his friend Arthur and hitches a ride on the Vogon’s ship, thus beginning one of the most interesting and improbable journeys of his life.

DON’T PANIC. Those are the words written across The Guide’s cover, and Arthur’s going to need to learn how to implement this advice in order to survive his crazy flight through the galaxy.

Sure, this book is a bit goofy. But it is also strangely thought-provoking at points, as well as being flat-out hysterical. There is no real character-arc, but the characters are amazing. The plot is ridiculous, but the plot is also brilliant. As far as comedy goes, it is a crazy kind of entertaining. Douglas Adams has my undying respect for his genius use of sarcasm, as well of his creation of a maniacally depressed robot with a brain the size of a planet. Who even thinks of things like that?

Anyway, it's on my bucket list to go flying around the galaxy with Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent. Now, I understand that that is not at all probable, but maybe the Infinite Improbability Drive from the Heart of Gold will find a way to pick me up. Maybe. 

Until then, I'm keeping my space travel survival kit at my side. As everyone knows, in order to survive in space, a person needs a towel (for reasons explained in the below picture), peanuts (for the loss of salt and protein that space travel causes, beer (a muscle relaxant), and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 
I, however, don't like eating peanuts plain, so I've cooked myself up some peanut brittle instead. Here, let me show you:
Ingredients - 
  • 2 cups of roughly chopped, roasted, salted peanuts. That's about 42 peanuts times 10.6. Yeah. I did the math. 42. 42. For those of you who don't know what this means, just start laughing. It's funny, I promise. 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of cane sugar. I usually use coconut sugar, but that would have given the caramel a weird brown sugar flavor, so cane sugar is the way to go this time
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Of course. Where cinnamon goes, vanilla must always follow. 
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda  
Directions - 

1. In a bowl, mix together peanuts, cinnamon, and baking soda. 
Then set out a baking sheet, cover with buttered wax paper. Yes, buttered wax paper. This stuff can get seriously sticky. 
2. In a saucepan, put sugar and water on medium heat. Allow sugar to dissolve, stirring constantly. Keep a close eye on this mixture, Allow to heat for about 10 minutes, maybe shorter or longer, depending on your heat source. I'd recommend pulling out a candy thermometer and waiting for the temperature to hit about 295 degrees, which lands in the hard crack candy stage. You could also just wait for the sugar to turn a golden brown, caramel color. When this happens, pull off of the heat immediately. Because of how time-sensitive this caramel maneuver is, I wasn't able to take a picture for you. Sorry.
3. Add peanut mixture and vanilla, stirring vigorously. Dump onto your baking sheet. You can spread it about with a buttered spatula or use two forks to stretch it out. 
4. Allow to cool for an hour and then break into pieces. Store somewhere you can grab quickly in the event of a Vogon attack. 

So now I have everything I need to survive space travel. I'll just be waiting here, trying to hitch a ride across the galaxy. It should be fun, just as long as I don't have to listen to any Vogon poetry.
I'm thinking I should add some tea to this kit. Apparently they don't have tea in space, just a Nutri-Matic  that "invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea." I think I'll pass on that one. 

If you've never read The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy or experienced Douglas Adam's writing style, then you clearly don't know where your towel is. Go find yourself a copy. It's the kind of book that you either hate or are an unabashed fan of. Most slightly-off people will discover themselves to be unabashed fans, and, because you're actually reading my blog, I'm going to have to assume that you're slightly-off and would thus enjoy this novel.

Why do you have to be slightly-off? Just check out some of these quotes pulled from The Guide:

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.”

Did Douglas Adams just laugh at metaphors? I think he did. Then there's this quote: After man has found a way to disprove God's existence, he: "goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing."

“[Earth] has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” 

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

“This must be Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. 'I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

And there you have it. Lets hear a round of applause for Douglas Adam's undying wit and sarcasm.  

Have you ever read this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts! We can talk about our love for nerd novels like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and hash out the question to the answer of life, the universe, and everything.

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4 comments:

  1. I think my favorite part of the book was the sperm whale.

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    1. Ha! I loved that part! "I wonder if it will be friends with me?" And I also liked finding out who the pot of petunias were in the later books. =)

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  2. This is one of my favourite books. XD
    I loved his amazing plot twists and how he threw in so much random stuff and then made it somehow pivotally important later in the story. And then there's the towel... and 42... and Marvin...

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    1. So cool! I'm excited that you're a fellow Hitchhiker fan. Marvin is the best. =)

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