Monday, July 6, 2015

Deep Musings on the Fragility of the Internet, and Also a Recipe for Bran Muffins

One of the more terrifying parts of David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks (which I just finished last month) is his predictions of how civilization will collapse in a few decades.

For some background, the book has an interesting narrative structure with time. It begins in 1984 and each section jumps a decade or so into the future. There are tons of cultural references, which are all completely accurate until the book veers ahead into the year 2017 and then beyond. Mitchell still uses cultural references, but at that point they become pure speculation (my favorite was the reference to Justin Bieber's fifth divorce). While it was extremely fun to read this book now, less than a year after it was released, I'm afraid it will become dated quickly as anyone who reads this book decades from now will not understand how Mitchell was playing with time.

Sorry, that was a tangent. Back to the point. In the book, Mitchell outlines an apocalyptic-type collapse of civilization (at least, Western civilization) that includes the complete annihilation of the internet. Just poof. The internet disappears. No servers, no infrastructure, no internet.

Um, I cannot express how deeply this scenario terrifies me.

Yes, I was born before the internet existed. We didn't have the internet in our home until I was in middle school (which I'd like to point out, was less than half my life ago), and at first I hated it and never wanted to use it (dial up, *shudder*).

But now? Now my entire life is on the internet. I don't even know how to function without the internet. If the threat ever becomes real, I will support all the tax dollars and military force necessary to protect Google servers and whatever infrastructure is necessary to keep me online. That might be a slight exaggeration (you know, people's lives first, of course), but really. This should be a matter of national security. I hope somebody in power is thinking about this now.

I realized how fragile my online reality was a few months ago when I went to check the recipe for my favorite bran muffins, only to find that the website I'd pinned that recipe from was now defunct. No longer on the web. Not accessible to me.

This unsettled me a little, because over the past few years I've been transitioning from using real cookbooks to just pinning all my recipes online. I even threw most of my cookbooks out in my latest book purge. I never once thought that these websites might not last forever and some day my recipes might disappear into a void.

How will I make dinner?

Okay, so maybe this issue isn't quite life-or-death, but it certainly got me rethinking all my recent attempts to go paperless and move our lives online (including all our bank statements, family videos and pictures). What will I do if these websites disappear? Gah!

Luckily for me, I happen to have the bran muffin recipe memorized. However, my memory is as fragile as the internet from whence it came, so I want it written down somewhere. But have I learned my lesson? Am I going to write it on paper and stick it in a file folder to have and hold as long as the paper shall last?

Of course not. I'm enjoying a life without paper clutter too much.

Also, I love having all my recipes on Pinterest. It totally makes my meal planning/grocery-list-making system work. So, I want this recipe back online, pinned to my Pinterest Breakfast Board. Which means I'm posting it here, solely so I can re-pin it there.

Here you go, dear readers. My favorite bran muffins (sorry I can't link to the original source, as it no longer exists).

I don't consider myself a food stylist or photographer whatsoever, but you've got to have a picture if you want to pin something.

Bran Muffins

4 Cups Bran Flakes (slightly crushed)
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 T. Baking Powder
1 t. Salt
2 Eggs (slightly beaten)
1/2 Cup Oil
1 Cup Milk

-Combine dry ingredients (bran flakes, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) in a bowl.
-Combine wet ingredients (eggs, oil, milk) in a bowl.
-Combine wet and dry ingredients.
-Grease a 12 well muffin pan.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Divide batter evenly among the 12 cups.
-Bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown.


*Obviously, these are best fresh out of the oven, but I think they last very well for a day or two in the fridge. I will also eat them a week old, but they are pretty dry by that point.
*I do not claim this is the best bran muffin recipe out there, but it is easy, and I could eat these muffins every day for breakfast. In fact, I do eat these muffins every day for breakfast. Two of them, usually.
*My 3 year-old loves these muffins as well, so I would claim they are child-friendly, but I tried serving them as a snack at our preschool coop and none of the other kids would eat them. In fact, one kid even told me it was nasty. So they may not be everyone's thing.
*These muffins are not gluten free, and despite being bran muffins, are full of carbs and sugars and oils and dairy and all that good stuff people seem to be down on these days. So, not a health food. Whatever.
*I promise this will not become a food blog.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. I can totally relate as I also enjoy not having to physically store all the music, pictures,and documents we own. And, like you, I love being able to save and organize ideas on Pinterest (but I have also seen websites tragically disappear).

    (I am cracking up about your bran muffin story--both about the recipe disappearing into the great internet void AND about the child who called them nasty. Oh kids! Sounds like they'd get along with the kids who come to my house for preschool. ;-)).

    Oh, and if the internet dies, what am I supposed to do about my virtual friendships (like this one)?!