There’s two things that I’ve been thinking about for the past little while. The Odyssey and winter cold. The reason for the latter should be pretty obvious at this point. But the reason for the former — not so much.
For the past little while, I’ve been teaching The Odyssey in one of my classes. We’ve gone through the crazy islands. We’ve talked about gender dynamics, gift economies, and the importance of hospitality in a culture that predates hotels by several millenia. And on that last point — on hospitality — I’ve told my students that the dude to look out for is Eumaeus.
Gluten-free cooking is a particularly interesting challenge for me. I don’t know how far you all have read back in Twice Cooked, but if you know anything about me and my relationship to food, you’ll know that I’m a little like bread flour: I form strong gluten bonds. I can be pretty judgmental toward folks for whom gluten-free eating is a diet fad. And I am given to rant, if folks will let me, about the con-artist industry that has grown up around selling vulnerable people expensive bread substitutes by playing on their fears about industrial agriculture’s handling of wheat.
Bread, it seems to me, is one of our oldest, most enduring signifiers of civilization. And there is a way in which gluten-free diets are about undermining bread not just as a food, but as a thing that encapsulates the bonds of community that hold us together in relative peace.
Last year around this time, I made a post about how Green Mountain Coffee — the folks who make those wasteful Keurig single-cup coffee brewers — would be adding a digital rights management (DRM) scheme to their product to keep consumers from using third-party, unauthorized pods. They claimed that it was all about quality control and safety. And that, as TechDirt reported at the time, it would add interactive-enabled benefits (whatever that means).
In reality, the issue seems to have been that their overpriced pods weren’t selling as well as those of competitors, and they wanted a way to keep other companies from stealing the goodies from their playground.
Root vegetable pancakes are a great tool to have in your arsenal of winter cooking tricks. If you’re like me and you try to eat seasonally, there will undoubtedly come a point where you’ll look at box after box of turnips and parsnips and yams, and you’ll be all like: what on Earth am I going to do with these that I didn’t do last night, or last week, or last year?!
Don’t get me wrong. I like winter vegetables. But especially when we’re crunched for time, there’s a kind of monotony to the root vegetable rigmarole: roasted, or pureed, or turned into soup. Again and again and again.
Today, to mark Martin Luther King Day, I participated in the MLK Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment. It was a rally in which several thousand of us congregated outside of the Philadelphia School District headquarters and marched down Broad St. and Market St. to the park across the way from the building that houses the Liberty Bell.
The march was a continuation of the protests stemming from the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. But it was also more than that. The triple objective — according to the leaflet Sarah brought home last week — was to end the Philadelphia police department’s stop and frisk policy, to call for better union laws and a city-wide $15/hour minimum wage, and to seek reform in a school district that is one of the worst performing, worst funded in the country.
I like most pickles. Obviously. But if I had to compile a list of four or five favorites — of the sorts of pickles I couldn’t do without — kkakdugi kimchi, or kimchi made from big honking radishes, would definitely rank. I’ve talked about them here before. In this other post about pickled daikons, I believe I said that because my preparation owes so much to Lauryn Chun and to Maangchi’s fabulous Korean food blog, I probably wouldn’t be posting a version of it here.
But that was then, and this is now. And in the meantime, I’ve changed my mind.
I found myself in the produce aisle at the grocery yesterday, staring at some very pretty, very large daikon radishes. And I thought to myself: I want kkakdugi! And then I thought to myself: since I’m going to make it anyway, I might as well make enough to share.
Wow. It’s 2015. Happy belated New Year, everybody. It seems — somewhat unintentionally — that I have taken a hiatus from making posts here. I must have needed a break I guess. Which is odd because I certainly didn’t take a break from cooking. The end of 2015 saw a flurry of cooking for Chanukkah — soul-food Chanukkah dinner for 22 — and then a flurry of soups — squash and chicken all around — and then yet another flurry for New Year’s Eve.
But regardless: I’m back. And I’m ready to cook. And I’m ready to write. And though I don’t really — as a rule — make New Years resolutions, I’m back with a couple of New Years resolutions for the blog.
What kind of Christmas cookies am I making this year? Lots of them. That’s what kind. Thirteen dozen cookies so far, and six dozen left to make.
There aren’t any recipes here. But this year’s baking bounty includes gingersnaps and orange cardamom shortbread. The gingersnaps are from Chez Panisse, via David Lebovitz, and are my most favorite gingersnaps in the world. And the orange-cardamom shortbread is homegrown, available here, and may be my very favorite winter cookies hands down.
Bake and enjoy! I can’t send you all cookies, alas. But by making them yourselves, you all get the added bonus of rescenting your house with the not-too-saccharine smell of holiday cheer!
Up until now, I’ve been silent here at Twice Cooked about the Michael Brown shooting, Eric Garner, and the two shameful grand jury decisions that have allowed their killings to go unexamined because the perpetrators wear blue and the victims are brown. In part, that silence is a practical matter: the same confluence of life stuff that has reduced my posting frequency about food has eradicated my ability to post about politics. And in part, that silence is because I don’t feel I have anything new to add to the conversation: police violence is well inside my sphere of horror, but far outside the sphere of issues to which I can claim any kind of knowledge, firsthand, scholarly, or otherwise.
But this morning, I think that may have changed. I think that I can indeed add something useful. Last week, the United Nations Committee Against Torture released a report about abuse in the United States. It covers many of the usual suspects for this sort of report: Guantanamo, prisoners’ rights, and the death penalty. But there is also a section about police brutality that is specific and relevant here.