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March 28, 2010

The Agony and the Irony

In hatred as in love, we grow like the thing we brood upon. What we loathe, we graft into our very soul.

- Mary Renault

Posted by Cassandra at March 28, 2010 07:37 AM

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Note to King; Get over it! Your whining entitlement mentality is as toxic as the racism you cite from decades ago. Conflating the anger the American people feel toward larger and more intrusive government misses the point entirely. The Tea Party movement resists the bureaucratizing of HopeandChange, entitlement and other programs that are little more than an endless demand for reparations and hush money.

The melancholy brooding of those who perpetually feel sorry for themselves goes against the "Melting Pot" basis for our country. Currently manifest in the census form seeking to break us down into discreet groups, it belies the fact that we are all Americans clumsily reinforced by the beer summit between Gates, Crowley and Obama last year. POTUS claiming the police acted "stupidly" before the facts were in speaks volumes about how far we have to go.

The Tea Party propounds a philosophy of KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid! The progressives want to drown us in complexity reminiscent of a Gordian Knot. It doesn't matter who is in the fox hole with you as long as they stay awake on watch and can shoot straight.

Posted by: vet66 at March 28, 2010 09:08 AM

Some of us are stuck in a time warp. Today, I heard on NPR (I do listen; they have a bias and occasionally have balance...not often but it is there) about the Tea Party in Nevada. That nasty shrew and her uterus fired (the cheek) Reid and Pelosi. The commenter: "The tea party attendees were mostly white and older."

Reid snarked that he was glad so many out of state people spent money in his district and that
his constituents would vote, not the out of staters.

He was right on both counts, but I know people in his district who are across the board, minorities and conservative who do not want him.

Another statistician asked 1,000 people (Considering the budget, that was all he could afford) about the HCR bill, and 49% were in favor of it...and 40% were not, so that gave a 9% spread in favor.


The results are more accurate if the sample is larger, rather than smaller.

Bank of America had a 95% confidence level that 59% of their customers surveyed were happy with BofA. Their sample size? 356.


Posted by: Cricket at March 28, 2010 10:40 AM

What we loathe, we graft into our very soul.

Great. Will Woolite get creamed parsnips off of soul?

Posted by: BillT at March 28, 2010 12:42 PM

Not to mention lima beans...

Posted by: Cassandra at March 28, 2010 12:58 PM

You and BCR need to talk about your mutual dislike of that estimable legume...

Posted by: BillT at March 28, 2010 02:52 PM

What a jackass that guy writing the post you linked to is.

Posted by: retriever at March 28, 2010 03:17 PM

If he wasn't, retriever, WaPo wouldn't continue to employ him.

Lefties have been outraged, nay, outraged and in high dudgeon over the *looks* on the faces of people in Tea Party protests.

But when Leftys protesting outside the 2008 Republican Convention were throwing bricks through bus windows at elderly delegates and dropping sandbags off bridges onto the cars driving below, the reaction from King and *every* Lib writer in the US was -- *nothing*.

Not a peep.

Hypocrites and sanctimonious twerps, the lot of them.

Posted by: BillT at March 28, 2010 04:05 PM

I read that post yesterday when it went up. I started off thinking, "Well, naturally he has to be reminded of these things, given his memories and childhood conflicts. But at some point he'll write about how he realizes that these are just normal people... sooner or later... I'm sure it will happen... hm."

Well, maybe next time.

The memories are strong, and obviously they are riding him hard. We should have a certain sympathy for the man, because that must be a terrible thing to bear.

Posted by: Grim at March 28, 2010 08:01 PM

We should have a certain sympathy for the man, because that must be a terrible thing to bear.

Yup, King must have terrible memories of his experiences in "growing up black."

From his bio:

"King was born ... in Washington, D.C. ... attended Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School, Francis Junior High School, and graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 1957, where he was a member of the ROTC and Dunbar's championship drill team ... earned a B.A. in government from Howard University in 1961 ... wrote a critique of Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Bill of 1957 ... and heard lectures by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Patrice Lumumba and Walter White.

"King served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army's Adjutant General's Corps from 1961 to 1963 ... with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, ... served as a special agent for the U.S. State Department ... [had a fellowship at] Health Education and Welfare [in 1970] ... [f]rom 1971 to 1972 ... worked for VISTA ... drafted the Washington D.C. Home Rule Bill in 1974 and the Conflict of Interests Bill ... [served] as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department ... [i]n 1979 ... an executive of the World Bank ... [i]n 1980 ... became vice president of the Middle East and Africa at Riggs National Bank .... King accepted an offer to join the editorial board of the Washington Post [in 1990] ... started writing a weekly column in 1995 and in 2000 ... was appointed deputy editor of the editorial page.

"In 2003, King received the Pulitzer Prize, as the committee put it, 'for his against the grain columns that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom'. King is a critic of the criminal justice system, religious fundamentalism and the exploitation of the poor. King lives in North West Washington ... "

Yup. That's the quintessential "black experience" right there, ain't it?

Posted by: BillT at March 29, 2010 02:50 AM

IOW, we see what we wish to see. Some of us, anyway... :-~

Posted by: camojack at March 29, 2010 03:40 AM

'...lives in NW Washington..."

I tell ya - if you ain't from the 'hood, you don't know jack...

*rolling eyes*

Posted by: Cassandra at March 29, 2010 07:16 AM

Ew. He is a Seattle-ite. One of the Lefist Luminaries of the Northwet. I tell ya, they don't get enough sun or dry days.

Posted by: Cricket at March 29, 2010 09:02 AM

BillT, them's fightin words about parsnips. Whatever can you have against them? -- Now, lima beans are among the very, very few vegetables I'm not enthusiastic about. Butter beans are the thinking man's lima bean.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 29, 2010 12:21 PM

"the thinking man's lima bean????"

I lost it when I read that :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 29, 2010 12:27 PM

I don't think I've ever even eaten a parsnip. What do they taste like?

Posted by: Cassandra at March 29, 2010 12:27 PM

T99, have you ever eaten *creamed* parsnips?

What do they taste like?

Parsnips really aren't all that bad. They taste a bit like a palmetto root with carrots on great-grandma's side of the family.

Posted by: BillT at March 29, 2010 01:48 PM

And the reason most people don't like lima beans is because they overcook 'em to mush.

Lima beans should be prepared al dente and then served with *real* butter and a spritz of salt.

With a medium-rare filet and baked potato as side dishes...

Posted by: BillT at March 29, 2010 01:54 PM

So many people exhibit a low prejudice against the harmless parsnip. It's just a turnip with a pars in place of the tur. Actually, it's not much different from a carrot, minus the orange pigment and a bit of the sugar. BillT, if someone has served you bad creamed parsnips, perhaps nothing can be done to correct the psychic damage. You probably would not appreciate the fine turnip gratin I'm eating at this moment. Tomorrow I'll go to work on a turnip soup. The turnip harvest has been a little overwhelming this year. I urgently solicit turnip recipes. But no parsnips, as I've never yet been successful in growing them; too hot here, maybe.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 29, 2010 01:57 PM

In passing I must also wonder whether BillT's brooding on the unjustly reviled parsnip is not causing him to grow rather long, pointed, and grayish-white?

Posted by: Texan99 at March 29, 2010 01:58 PM

I freely admit I am not good about eating vegetables and fruits... Turnips & parsnips? Ain't gonna eat 'em... Definitely won't bother with soliciting recipes for them, either....

On the other hand, I have a new toy at home, courtesy of attending the SpouseBuzz Live event in Killeen on the 20th. I won an ice cream maker in the raffle... I've found some gelato and other recipes online. I've made Italian Strawberry Ice for mom and Banana Gelato for my brother's "partner" (they're not married, but they are expecting their second child), and also some very delicious vanilla gelato that is yummy with or without a little bit of chocolate syrup. Still to be tried out are a recipe for chocolate gelato, grape gelato and Italian Lemon Ice. For anyone who has never had gelato (Italian ice cream), you just don't know what kind of heaven you are missing... I am willing to try other recipes, and also look forward to experimenting (like how to make a gelato version of my favorite flavor: chocolate almond marshmallow....).

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at March 29, 2010 03:01 PM

Parsnips are fantastic in my family's secret goulash recipe! Also, when I make prime rib, they make a good mix of roasted vegetables on the side, along with potatoes, carrots, and onions.

As to this post, I must disagree with the underlying premise. I despise the French, and yet I am not, nor ever will become, French.

Posted by: a former european at March 29, 2010 03:32 PM

afe, that is the quintessentially French existential angstisme.

T99, turnips are just rutabagas that grew up in soil with a deficiency of purple. Give me mashed rutabagas with turkey giblet gravy and I'll be too busy eating to add anything meaningful to the dinner conversation.

"And that's different -- how?"

(Cass, I knew you were too busy to snark, so I did it for you)

Posted by: BillT at March 29, 2010 03:46 PM

While this conversation is in the cellar, has anyone here seen small sweet potatoes in your local grocery store? I had one with my steak last week at the local beef palace, and the 'tater was only the size of my hand - not the 6"-8" beast I'm used to getting at the grocery store. I'd love to get some and bake them at home, but I've not seen any around these parts.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at March 29, 2010 04:09 PM

...the 'tater was only the size of my hand - not the 6"-8" beast I'm used to getting at the grocery store.

Cognitive disconnect.

One of those 6"-8" beasts *is* the size of my hand.

Posted by: BillT at March 29, 2010 05:33 PM

LR, how far north do you live? Around here, if you plant sweet potatoes they grow like weeds. One of the easiest crops, and you can dig them up as small as you like. (On the other hand, I never noticed a difference in taste between the big ones and the small ones.) The sweet potato greens are quite good, too, and they grow in hot weather when all the other greens have given up the ghost.

AFE -- we like roasted root vegetables, too, and parsnips are a fine addition to the mix. I'm trying to learn to eat more obscure roots. I discovered this year for the first time that, while I can take radishes or leave them alone when they're raw in a salad, they're terrific sauteed with their greens. I used to plant radishes more because they're so ridiculously easy to grow than because I really planned to eat them, but now I don't give them away any more. We fry 'em up by the panful. They also turn out to be quite good tossed into a soup. Tell me more about your family's goulash?

Cassandra, I hope you don't mind our hijacking your thread to go all Martha Stewart while you're off doing productive work.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 29, 2010 06:28 PM

OK Texan99, I like a real hearty, Hungarian-style goulash, which means heavy on the paprika. It has onions, garlic, potatoes, beef stew meat, carrots, and parsnips as the main elements. You also include quartered tomatoes, green peppers, and celery, but these are removed later. It simmers all afternoon, so these veggies are there to flavor the stock. Flat parsley, marjoram, paprika, salt, pepper, and a little bit of oregano are the seasonings. Near the end you thicken with some rou, and some worcestershire or (my preference) soy sauce for added flavor, and a deep, rich coloring.

I serve it with some sliced, crusty bread, and its a meal by itself. Perfect for warming your innards during cooler weather. I have a big stock pot which lasts several days, so I don't have to cook every day either.

Posted by: a former european at March 29, 2010 07:54 PM

Parships and carrots roasted together.

Limas and corn as succotash served as a side with ham.

Home cured ham bone seasoning a pot of yellow split peas....

Summer is my time. We have lots of vegetables. After successfully growing eggplant, I will never, ever, eat the bitter, old, nasty, old, slimy, old store bought stuff again.

Fresh eggplant that you have grown yourself is a revelation in savory sweet, grassy and floral notes. Even in baba ganoush and loaded with garlic.

Squash and other fruit, as well as salad greens that you grow yourself are a taste sensation.

Last night was the last of the cold weather dishes. We had chicken and dumplings, a green salad with pecans, dried cranberries and parmesan cheese with a homemade dressing.

From now on, it will be soups or a composed salad with fish, beef or chicken as the protein element. Hm...lentil soup, zucchini, onion and carrot fritters and pineapple for dessert.
Yep, that will be on the menu tomorrow.

Posted by: Cricket at March 29, 2010 11:36 PM

Ah-HAH! Sex and relationships -- with culinary sidebars replacing relationships in midstream!

Cassie -- your magic formula is actually sex and food!

Posted by: BillT at March 30, 2010 02:44 AM

Texan99 - I'm as far north as Oklahoma City, but a lot drier. And I have no yard. The landlord would get a bit irked if I dug up the boxwoods and replaced them with sweet potatoes, tomatoes and pole-beans. :)

Posted by: LittleRed1 at March 30, 2010 02:10 PM

LR, I'll bet you could grow sweet potatoes in pots. They look like a pretty ivy plant.

Cricket, you're talking my language. (BillT, you just hush up now.) We've made two hams in the last couple of weeks. The bone from one already has gone into a lentil soup, into which I also threw turnip greens and some radishes and everything else that was handy.

Until this winter, we'd had such mild ones that the eggplants didn't die and got to be over two years old, with trunks at least four inches across. After eating about 10,000 eggplants in 35 different recipes, we were nearly eggplanted out for a long time. Still, we've got some eggplant seedlings going and will be planting them soon. My husband makes an pureed eggplant soup with roasted red bell peppers that's converted many a guest to the humble eggplant.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 30, 2010 02:33 PM

Well, by all means, share the recipe! It is such a versatile fruit that it doesn't deserve the bad rap it has gotten over the years.

We stir-fried our eggplant, and it didn't seem to absorb as much oil. I am thinking that the fresher they are, the less likely they will be to absorb oil.

Do you ever make a vegetable broth? If so, what do you use?

Posted by: Cricket at March 30, 2010 03:00 PM

Definitely share the recipe!! We make vegetable broth from time to time. We use:


bell peppers
tomato (not often)
a potato or potato peels

And then anything else that we happen to have around the house in the way of veggies. I usually make this around Thanksgiving and again around Easter and I usually make enough to freeze several batches.

Sex and food...heh.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at March 30, 2010 05:06 PM

for the turnips recipe, try this typical poor Russian student fare:
take 1:1:1 turnips, potatoes and carrots. Put the turnips in the pot first as they take longer to cook, then potatoes and carrots. Do not skin them. When they become ready, take them out of the pot finally leaving the turnips there alone to get ready. Once turnips are ready, take them out of the hot water and put into a cold one for several minutes. Once cool enough to handle, skin everything. Cube everything including onions and pickles (picked kirbies/cucumbers). Mix. Salt and pepper to taste, olive oil to taste. Tastes divine when still warm, tastes great when cold. For Dutch flavor add marinated herring. Some add souerkraut (I do not, I love souerkraut but I hate it in this dish). Can make a lot (stores well in a fridge) and use it as a main or a side dish.

Posted by: olga at March 30, 2010 08:36 PM

Would these pickled cucumbers also be similary to the German dill pickles? A slightly sweet, but dilled pickle?

This does sound good. Almost like a salad. Do you use the broth for barley soup?

I can taste rye bread right now; with a little sweet butter as an accompaniment.

Posted by: Cricket at March 30, 2010 09:43 PM

Olga, thanks for the turnip recipe!

While my husband is scaring up the soup recipe, here's another eggplant favorite that sounds unlikely but has to be tasted to be believed:


2 T butter, plus more for buttering
Cheesy Bread Crumb Topping (see below)
1 pint shucked oysters with liquor
2 T flour
1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
salt & pepper
Hot sauce
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 C olive oil
2 C peeled, diced eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T finely chopped tasso (see below)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t chopped sage (less if dried)
1 t chopped rosemary (less if dried)

Cheesy bread crumbs:

1/2 C dry bread crumbs
2 T chopped parsley
1 T butter, melted
2 T olive oil
1/4 C grated Parmesan

The recipe will suffer if you substitute bread crumbs from a box or Parmesan from a green can, or margarine for butter, or canned chicken stock for homemade, but it will survive all that as long as you use real tasso. This highly spiced Cajun ham can be mail-ordered online, and though it's pricey per pound, it lasts indefinitely in the fridge and is used in extremely small quantities as a vivid flavoring. If you substituted ordinary ham, you'd find that this was a mildly appealing dish of no particular flavor, and you'd wonder why I raved about it.

Preheat oven to 400. Butter a 2-qt baking dish. Make the crumb topping and set aside. Drain the oysters and reserve the liquor after straining it through a fine sieve. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, whisk in the flour, and add the oyster liquor and broth, then bring to a boil while whisking briskly. Whisk in the cream, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and a pinch of nutmeg, then remove it from heat and cover.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring as needed, until lightly browned. Add the onion, tasso, and garlic and stir in the herbs. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the eggplant is tender and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and transfer it to a colander for 5 minutes to drain the excess oil.

Spread the eggplant mixture into the baking dish. Place the oysters in one layer on top. Drizzle evenly with the sauce and sprinkle on the topping. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 31, 2010 09:58 AM

Garlicky Eggplant & Pepper Soup with Mint

2 T olive oil
3 or 4 lbs. peeled, sliced eggplants
6 red bell peppers
2 medium onions, finely chopped
5 C chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup mayo
2 t lemon juice
2 T mint, minced (optional but good)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly brush a large, rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange the eggplants on the baking sheet and bake until just tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then chop the eggplant into 1/2-inch pieces.

Preheat the broiler. Lightly brush the red peppers with olive oil and set on a heavy baking sheet. Lightly char the peppers all over then transfer to a bag or covered bowl to steam for 10 minutes. Peel, core and seed the peppers then dice into 1/4-inch pieces.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Gently stir the eggplants and peppers and season with salt and cayenne. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

In a mortar or blender, process the garlic cloves with 1/2 t of salt until smooth. Blend in the mayo, lemon juice, and a pinch of cayenne.

Puree the soup in batches. Stir the mint into the soup and ladle into shallow bowls. Top with a dollop of garlic mayo and a sprinkling of mint.

If you don't like the idea of adding mayo, you may need to adjust the flavors with a little more lemon juice and maybe a little milk or cream. Or a bit of buttermilk or yoghurt or sour cream.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 31, 2010 10:18 AM