Oy With the Nonsense Again

I wrote this post, like, forever ago and forgot to post it. Here it is:


a) I’m moving to Thursdays! Hi, guys!

b) If you are reading my blog and you see something interesting or want to respond to me, please do so! I would very much welcome comments and interactions!

b1) My post A Story My Grandmother Once Told Me continues to get tons of hits, and tons of Google searches. Who is looking at it? Why? Is it what you’re searching for? Please tell me!

Okay, enough of my desperate writer-pleas. On to the post.

You know that dude who wants fetuses (feti? Jason, help me out here!) to have guns to prevent abortion?

I wasn’t going to talk about that dude, honestly. Because what are you supposed to say when certain members of certain political parties make their positions so ridiculous as to be un-parody-able?

But I just want to say this one thing – I don’t think that Congressman Stockman intends that the fetus should shoot its mother. And not because that would be counter-productive to the fetus itself. I don’t think Stockman and his ilk know enough about biology to understand that. I mean, this is coming from the same brain trust as those guys who think women can shut down an unwanted pregnancy, right? Which . . . then why are there ever abortions? Or morning after pills? Or, hell, pills at all? I mean, if I could just block sperm from meeting egg with the power of my mind, why would I have ever fucked with my hormones by taking birth control pills?

No, I think the Steve Stockmans of the world are thinking that the fetus will take aim at the abortion doctor. Do you remember some years ago there was that video flying around wherein the filmmakers were asking a bunch of people at a pro-life rally what they thought ought to happen, legally, to a woman who chose to abort her child if such an act were illegal. Would it be tried the same as murder? Would there be some other punishment? Most of the participants said something along the lines of “Well, that’s between her and God,” or whatever, leading the rhetoric around the video in pro-choice circles to be very, “See? They believe in choice even when they don’t believe in choice! They believe it should be a private decision just like we do?”

But that left out the part of the video where participants were very clear on the idea that the DOCTORS who performed abortions ought to be tried for murder.

Because remember, in the deep, deep bowels of the anti-choice movement, women are agency-free. They can’t make decisions about their bodies, whether it’s to have sex or not (because rape is like the weather! It just happens!), to be pregnant or not (our bodies decide if it’s “legitimate” rape, not us!), or to have an abortion or not (we were tricked by the snake-in-the-garden doctors!).

So anyway. For what it’s worth. I think that dude was targeting doctors in his ridiculous statement, not mothers.

Ricki Cooks the Book – Tender

IMG_1930So I got Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch, by Nigel Slater, last year, and it is lovely. It’s divided into chapters by vegetable and has beautiful pictures of vegetables in and out of the dirt and in and out of their dishes. Each chapter opens with a little dissertation on the vegetable, and then there is a section on growing that vegetable, “A (vegetable) in the garden,” with helpful hints and annotated list of favored varieties, and a section on cooking that vegetable, “A (vegetable) in the kitchen,” with a few paragraphs on what to do with the vegetable, followed by a list of its best pairings, and then a list of helpful hints and suggestions. Then each vegetable gets a few recipes, and then on to the next.

But the best part about Nigel Slater is his prose. He’s so evocative, so delightfully descriptive, and so poetic, that it elevates even the concept of cooking and gardening, not to the latest third-wave feminist, privileged white girl trend (and look, I know, I AM  third-wave feminist privileged white girl), nor to some sort of quasi-libertarian hipster-mustache-tattoo-post-90s-masculinity thing (and I say this having eaten at Blokes and Birds on Friday), but to high art. Like, for instance, I have no love of the celery root, but here’s what he says:  “Knobbly, whiskery, and impenetrable, its roots curled around its feet like a viper’s nest . . .” Like, hot damn.

What about this comment on health-food stores?

To this day I wouldn’t go anywhere else for my lentils and beans, though I can live without the crystals and self-help manuals. There is something endlessly reassuring about their rows of cell0phane-encased dates and haricot beans, their dried nuggets of cranberry, and jars of organic peanut butter. And where else can you get a incense stick when you need one?”

Love, is what I’m saying. Love this man.

So what I ended up making, from this 600+ page tome, is:

A light touch for meatballs

That’s not a typo; all the recipe titles are like that.

Here’s how he starts:

Late spring, 2007. Six small beets, round as golf balls and not much bigger, arrive in a thick brown paper bag, its edges sewn together with string. The air of moist Riverford soil and sweet roots wafts up as the bag is torn open, but the day is leaden with damp and cold and I have rarely felt less like eating a beet salad.

Good lord, y’all.

So these are meatballs made of lamb, beets, and cracked wheat. Weird. And delicious. As usual, I offer the recipe, with my changes/commentary.


fine or medium cracked wheat – 1/2 cup (75 g) (Available from bulk bins at Whole Foods as well as health food stores, I imagine.)

raw beets – 9 oz (250 g) (Don’t bother paying more for the pretty ones for this recipe. It’s all being grated up.)

a small to medium onion (I didn’t realize I didn’t have any, so I used some shallots.)

ground lamb – 14 oz (I might have gotten a whole pound; I can’t remember saying “14 oz” to the butcher, as that would have made me feel like an idiot.) (Oh, and don’t get to the store and be like, “That’s how much lamb costs?! Never mind, I’ll just make it with beef.” The lamb flavor is important here.)

garlic – 2 large cloves, or even 3, crushed (Seriously. 2-3 cloves? I put in a whole head. Maybe, like, 2/3 of head. Probably a whole one.)

chopped dill – 2 heaping tablespoons (Okay, so here’s what happened. I bought fresh dill from Whole Foods. Even though I don’t like dill. Because Nigel Slater said dill and I wanted to trust him. But I seriously hate dill. By the time I got it home, it had stunk up everything in my grocery bag. Then everything in my fridge. The smell was making me nauseated. So I tossed the dill. I feel terribly wasteful but I really couldn’t take it. So no dill in my recipe.)

parsley – a small handful, chopped (I always use flat-leaf. You can do as you see fit.)

a little peanut oil

For the dressing:

cucumber – about 1/3 of a medium one

mint – the leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs, chopped

capers – a tablespoon (He didn’t say to, but I chopped these, too. I thought that would be better.)

yogurt – 1/2 cup (200 g) (I hope I don’t need to explain, but this means plain yogurt. Greek or Finnish if you like. But no, like strawberry or banana.)


1. Put cracked wheat in a boil, pour over enough boiling water to cover, then set aside to swell. (Okay, so, typing this, I see now that he did say “boiling”. My water was not boiling. Which is perhaps why my cracked wheat didn’t swell as prettily as it did in his picture. Maybe it would have tasted lighter if it had.)

2. Peel beets and onions and grate them coarsely into a large bowl. (So, a) You need to know that peeling your standard red beets is a messy business. Don’t wear white. Don’t smear your hands on your clothes. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. b) “Coarse grating” = “the large holes on the box grater”. c) I didn’t use onion, so I just chopped my shallots. But I like in general the practice of grating onions.)

3. Add ground lamb, dill (if using), parsley, and “a generous grinding” of s&p.

4. Squeeze water from cracked wheat with your hands (Yes, kind of gross) and add to meat. Mix everything thoroughly and then form into patties about the size of a flattened golf ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 350F. Make dressing by grating the cucumber coarsely (big holes on the box grater). Leave in a colander for a half-hour, sprinkled with salt. Squeeze dry, then mix with mint, capers, and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. (I’d totally add lemon to this next time. Just saying.)

6. Lightly brown the patties in peanut oil in a skillet on each side. (I may have over-browned some of them.) Lift into baking dish and finish in the oven for 15-20 minutes. (Mine took 20.) Note: The red of the beets will make it tough to tell if the meatballs are done by look. You’ll have to taste. Which will be such torture.

So then you serve the patties with the cucumber yogurt dip and it’s super-delicious. It’s a light meal or a heavy snack. I would totally make them again. And Jason loved them.

Boys Will Be Donald Trump



So in news the irony of which is dulled by the lack of surprise, the guy in the Air Force who was in charge of sexual assault prevention and response sexually assaulted some chick at a bar. Hey, it wasn’t one of his own female underlings, so, you know, that’s something. I mean, he’s in charge of preventing sexual assault IN THE AIR FORCE, not just any old place, right?


Anyway, this has led to media discussion of sexual assault in the military in general, and the low rate of both reports and convictions.

Donald Trump’s take?

He tweeted (and I wanted to post an image of his tweet but . . . that seemed like more work than I was willing to do), “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

I don’t know if Donald Trump knows this, but MEN AND WOMEN ARE TOGETHER ALL THE TIME. We share the fucking planet. We live in homes, in apartments, in dorms, and in condo complexes together. We ride the same public transportation together and work in office buildings, factories, schools, etc., together. And many, many, many men DO NOT RAPE WOMEN.

I’m not saying all men do not rape women. Many do, obviously. But many more men don’t rape women than do rape women. I swear.

And the thing is, if your premise is, “Men cannot be in close quarters with women without raping and/or sexually assaulting them,” my only answer continues to be, then we need to lock men up. We do not let lions roam the streets of our cities freely because lions will eat people if they do. It’s not their fault. It’s in their nature. I mean, the lions who live on the savannah in Africa, well, that’s their territory, and it’s a human’s responsibility to tread cautiously there, I guess. But men don’t get to declare the whole world their territory. So there you go, Donald Trump. If, as you say, it is in men’s nature to rape and sexually assault women, then we will clear off some land for you in, say, Montana – I hear there’s a lot of it there – and you can all run wild there. Women will just know to only travel to Montana in specially arranged Jeeps with tour guides who can get them away from you quickly if you look ready to pounce. And who could shoot you, if worse comes to worse. (I’ve never been on safari. The guides carry guns, right? Just in case? Maybe just a tranq gun? I don’t know.)

Now, if I were dictator of the USA, as I wish to be, I would not immediately clear out land in Montana and put all the men there. Because I, man-hating feminist that I am, do not believe that all men have it indelibly in their natures to rape and sexually assault women.

However, I will reserve a small plot of land for any man that says anything like, “Rape? Sexual assault? Well, what did you expect when you put the men and the women right there together?” Because if YOU think men cannot be around women without raping them, and YOU are a man . . . well, you don’t need an advanced class in Logic to figure out what the “then” to this statement is.