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- Soft Spot in My Heart for the Trickster Gods
- Once More, Unto the Breach
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- Monday at the Movies
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- Take The Credit
Tag Archives: Food
I spent all of yesterday and most of today editing a brief. We’re down, now, to debating whether this citation takes a “See” or a “See, e.g.,” signal and whether we’ve sufficiently conformed all of the references to the other side’s witnesses, just before re-running the Table of Authorities.
But in my mind, I wasn’t at the office editing a brief. In my mind, I was at Burns’ Night. “Great chieftan o’ the puddin’ race” is a line that I’d pretty much kill to have written.
Coming, as it does, just before Imbolc, Burns’ Night is a lovely celebration of poetry, and culture, and history, and, well, of course, food. Imagine if all of our meals were so well-acknowledged.
Plants may lack brains and neural tissues but they do possess a sophisticated calcium-based signally network in their cells similar to animals’ memory processes, they write.
The researchers concede that they do not yet understand the biological basis for this learning mechanism, nevertheless their set of experiments has major implications – not least, it radically changes the way we perceive plants and the boundaries between plants and animals, including our definition of learning (and hence memory) as a property special to organisms with a nervous system function of a nervous system.
When we finally grock that everything is sentinent, everything is alive, everything is divine, we’re going to have to rethink how we harvest, slaughter, and eat everything.
[Children may need to escape mentally and emotionally from situations they cannot master.] But the person who would be killed, the “I” in the “pain is big and I am small” belief, is an idea, a memory, an image of yourself left over from childhood. You already felt destroyed. That was then. You will never be that small again. You are not dependent on someone else to hold you, to love you so that you can continue breathing.
Staying [present in the moment] requires awareness of the desire to bolt. Of the stories [that] you are telling yourself about the need to bolt. Staying means recognizing that when you want to bolt you are living in the past. You are taking yourself to be someone who no longer exits. Staying [present in the moment] requires being curious about who you actually are when you don’t take yourself to be a collection of memories. When you don’t infer your existence from replaying what happened to you, when you don’t take yourself to be the girl [whom] your mother/father/brother/teacher/lover didn’t see or adore. When you sense yourself directly, immediately, right now, without preconception, who are you?
When you stay [present in the moment], you question what you’ve never questioned: the you [that] you take yourself to be. The you who is not your past, not your habits, not your compulsions. Anything becomes possible.
~ Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth
Picture by the blogger; if you copy, please link back
I find quite a bit of the new research coming about about how plants communicate, act upon their environment, and sense what’s going on to be simply fascinating. As an animist, I’ve always understood that everything — plants, rocks, animals, clouds, stars, trees, fungi, houses, ideas, cars, computers, clothing, tea cups, tea, tea cozies, letters — is alive. But it’s nice to have scientific confirmation.
I found myself meditating today about what it might mean for Witches to truly understand that everything is, indeed, sentient, alive, connected. I imagine that our elders who wrote, “An’ it harm none, do as thou wilt,” meant “no other human beings,” when they said “none.” But what if, as is beginning to happen, we have to expand our definitions to include octopi, crows, elephants? And trees. And beans. And fungi. Before you denounce the actions of those plants and animals as mere “instinct” or “chemical reactions,” stop and consider that so are the actions of your hormones on your sexual desires.
With apologies to Adrienne Rich, we can’t live like the Jains, and I’ve always suspected that those brooms do almost as much harm as good. Liere Keith grocked some time ago (and continues to take shit for having done so) that simply becoming vegetarian couldn’t save us from one of the basic truths of the universe: in order to survive, we must consume the life of other beings.
So how does that require us to live? How should we raise and ritually slaughter the animals that will become our meat? How shall we care for the watersheds that engender and nourish the fish that we eat? How shall we grow and harvest the fruits and vegetables that will become our salad? The trees that will become our furniture, paper, housing? How shall we treat the underground water that will mix with our food and become our blood?
What if every bite that you took came at the expense of another being? How would you eat? What would you do with the energy you obtained? What would it begin to mean to pour a blot or to offer the first fruits of the harvest in sacrifice? How will you offer yourself to be consumed, when the time comes?
Picture found here.
As we head into the secular holiday of Thanksgiving, it’s a good time to think about how food carries culture. The presence of some items on our Thanksgiving tables invokes family, regional, and national history in a way that ties us to our ancestors, our culture, and our landbase.
Here, in the American South, food is sometimes a fraught issue. You really, really owe it to yourself to listen to Michael Twitty’s short but magical talk about culinary justice. Just click the link below:
Picture found here.
PS: For some reason, Vimeo videos have stopped embedding correctly. Does anyone know what’s up?
Two of my dearest friends came over to my house today, at different times. Neither of them went to the front door. Each came around to the back yard, knowing that I’d be out on the porch this time of year. It’s nice to be understood!
I made some cold summer soups. This one turned out better than I thought it would and benefited quite a bit from spending the night in the fridge so the flavors could marry:
Four cups of honeydew melon chunks
About a cup of basil leaves, picked from pots on the deck
About a half a cup of lime juice
A tablespoon or so of dry sherry
Blend until smooth.
Next time, I may use parsley or rosemary instead of basil.
What are you making to eat this Summer?
*Here’s a fascinating post about a new set of doors being made for the Library of Congress. The design is based upon the original doors, designed by artist Lee Lawrie. Just to tweek those who love to insist that “America is a Christian nation,” it’s fun to note the list of deities who adorn the original doors:
Hermes, the messenger of the gods
Odin, the Viking-Germanic creator of the runic alphabet
Ogma, the Irish god who invented the Gaelic alphabet
Itzamna, the Mayan god
Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god
Sequoyah, a Native American
Thoth, an Egyptian god
Ts’ang Chieh, the Chinese patron of writing
Nabu, an Akkadian god
Brahma, an Indian god
Cadmus, the Greek sower of dragon’s teeth
Tahmurath, a Persian hero
Pagan art is all over D.C.’s most important civic buildings, not the least of which is The Apotheosis of Washington, which shows our first president becoming a God:
flanked by the goddess Victoria (draped in green, using a horn) to his left and the goddess Liberty to his right. Liberty wears a red Phrygian cap, symbolizing emancipation, from a Roman tradition where sons leaving the home and/or slaves being emancipated would be given a red cap. She holds a fasces in her right hand and an open book in the other.
A veritable pantheon of Goddess and Gods surround Washington: Columbia, Minerva, Neptue, Mercury, Vulcan, Flora, Venus, and Ceres (sitting on a McCormick reaper).
The Library of Congress isn’t the Library at Alexandria, but it’s still a pretty good idea.
*Peonies are in bloom all over my neighborhood. When a friend posted a picture of an absolutely gorgeous peony the other day, I was reminded of this wonderful poem by Mary Oliver:
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open–
pools of lace,
white and pink–
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities–
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again–
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
Oliver does a lot of things well, but, IMHO, she’s the master of hitting you in the gut with her final few lines. She’s setting you up for it the whole time, although you never (this is her genius) see it coming until it gets you and then, of course, it’s as obvious as the nose on your face. “Eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever” is pure genius and, if you just took off the word “forever” it wouldn’t be nearly, nearly as good.
*And, just because I spent most of the day in a meeting that involved a whole lot of testosterone (and not in a nice way):
Arms and the girl I sing – O rare
arms that are braceleted and white and bare
arms that were lovely Helen’s, in whose name
Greek slaughtered Trojan. Helen was to blame.
Scape-nanny call her; wars for turf
and profit don’t sound glamorous enough.
Mythologize your women! None escape.
Europe was named from an act of bestial rape:
Eponymous girl on bull-back, he intent
on scattering sperm across a continent.
Old Zeus refused to take the rap.
It’s not his name in big print on the map.
But let’s go back to the beginning
when sinners didn’t know that they were sinning.
He, one rib short: she lived to rue it
when Adam said to God, “She made me do it.”
Eve learned that learning was a dangerous thing
for her: no end of trouble would it bring.
An educated woman is a danger.
Lock up your mate! Keep a submissive stranger
like Darby’s Joan, content with church and Kinder,
not like that sainted Joan, burnt to a cinder.
Whether we wield a scepter or a mop
It’s clear you fear that we may get on top.
And if we do -I say it without animus-
It’s not from you we learned to be magnaminous.
by Carolyn Kizer
*Here is a recipe for the best dish I’ve had in ages. It’s Cherry Tomato Soup, but there’s a surprise.
Cold cherry and tomato soup
1⁄2 lbs. plum tomatoes (about 6 tomatoes)
1 small green bell pepper 2 cups cherry purée 1 garlic clove
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar 3 cups extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons salt Fresh cherries, pitted and halved
Cut out and discard the core at the top of the tomatoes. Chop tomatoes roughly into quarters. Cut bell pepper in half, removing core and seeds, and chop into large pieces. Put the tomatoes and peppers into a blender.
Add the cherry purée, garlic, and sherry vinegar to the vegetables and blend the mixture into a thick liquid. The mixture will turn a wonderful pink color. Taste for acidity. This will vary according to the sweetness of the tomatoes and cherries. If the flavor is not balanced enough, add a little more vinegar. Add the olive oil and salt to taste. Re-blend, then pour the gazpacho through a strainer into a pitcher. Place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled, garnished with fresh cherry halves.
Recipe by Chef José Andrés
Like buying a ticket inland
to barely understandable provinces
with no language at all I bargain and pay
for this warm planet
tipping the scales of wrist and elbow
spreading my fingers with its weight to read
my life-line my heart-line
my seams and mounds of fortune.
into the sun on smoggy evenings
the throat of an old street oven
that seems to expand as I anticipate
its glow engulfing my solar system.
I open my mouth
and China fills it sliding into tartness
forcing my lips
to begin its name
over and over then finger-painting my chin
with the gel of ripeness.
I swallow the pabulum of infancy
the sweet mucilage of age.
There seems to be no core
the few black seeds hardly noticed
in its one undifferentiated cell
that makes mine lazy the flavour . . .
the flavour is . . .
my hand moves like an incantation
through an alley of blunt flames
that can be eaten with a spoon.
on a people’s staple
fat Buddha squat Amida
repeat three times
persimmon persimmon persimmon
and go to heaven.