My alma mater (yes, I've got one of those!) was kind enough of remember me with an invite to one of their alumni events. You know, to pose around in the distinguished company of fellow graduates, engage in deep and meaningful discussions on the role of the university as the beacon of civilization and nod knowledgeably when the moment called for it.
I was kind enough to wait a whole 2 minutes before discarding the invitation. Oh Alma. Where to begin?
Yes, for seven years I loitered around your hallways and believed how Arts and Humanities produces deeply cultured professionals with wide range of expertise with all the reason in the world to feel great professional pride (I might have wanted to pay more attention to the words of my first lecturer as he laughed declaring how we'd never find work...)
Little did I know: the list of requirements for successful candidates in the jobs in my field tend to be longer than the Great Wall of China, yet the money wouldn't get an Economics graduate out of the bed.
Yes, I am academically trained. But can't even remember the last time I said those world out loud without them being followed by the word "unemployed". Which kind of erodes the shine of the first two words. I know I'm not alone: university graduates make up the fastest growing bunch in the unemployment statistics. Not a great party to be in. I bet even Saddam Hussein threw better ones.
In those seven years I learnt a lot. Like, to read hieroglyphs. And the fact that due to the economizing tendency of the spoken language interdentals tend to evolve into sibilants in proto-Semitic languages.
In the seven years since the graduation I've learnt even more. Like the fact that the languages that had been dead for a good 4000 years by then, were still dead. Which doesn't make brushing up on one's Aramaic terribly easy (once, at a party I slipped into a conversation details on the etymology of the word for sun in ancient Babylonia. Never saw that guy again...) I also learnt that it's probably not a good idea to include Middle Kingdom hieroglyphs in the languages section of one's resumé. Unless I want to come across as a lunatic, of course.
So, were I to make educational choices now, the results of which I'd live with for the rest of my life, I'd probably choose something a bit more rational. Like business administration. Or lion taming.
So, I didn't go (they would have had some dried up store-bought biscuits anyway). Instead I stayed home. And baked. Nothing dried up about my night - not the bake or the company!
Strawberry and rhubarb bake:
200 g butter
2 dl sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract / vanilla sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4-4,5 dl gluten-free flour mixture or all purpose flour
150 g rhubarb, 250 g strawberries
40 g butter
3/4 dl sugar
3/4 dl gluten-free flour mixture/ all-purpose flour
1/ 4 dl almond flakes
Cream sugar and butter, then add eggs and vanilla essence. Combine dry ingredients in and add into the mix. Pour the mixture into a (parchment-lined) oven-proof dish.
Using your fingers, rub the ingredients for the crumble mixture together.
Spread cubed up rhubarb and strawberries (or what ever fruit or berries you prefer) onto bake and top with the crumble mixture. Bake at 200º for half an hour (cover with foil for the last 10 minutes if it seems to be getting too much colour).
Let cool and serve.