Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We just finished our leftovers and with the last serving we swore; never again to turkey. I don't care how good you are at cooking turkey the fact is, if you weren't hyped to death to eat or serve this bird to fill out the Norman Rockwell "way it's supposed to be" image of Thanksgiving, you would never eat it. When was the last time you ate turkey other than a holiday? The sides are fabulous. Serve them around a great pic of a turkey that you can stand up as a centerpiece and let that satisfy the photo op.

Below are two leftovers, a food thought and a re-post of a current outrage. I include the latter as food for thought. Mine was not the only table around which political discussions got heated. In tens of thousands of households around the country, newly matriculated freshmen were home from their first semester of, say, social studies 101. Heretofore in these families the opinions of the "heads" of the table were for the most part the orientation of the family. In this particularly heady times, hot on the heels of an election, one can imagine that some opinion was served with the slice of turkey. You can also assume that it was met with a disagreement. Headstrong in their new found contrary perspective, the recent initiate into the "liberalizing" experience of higher ed shot back his/her countervailing point of view. See this summary of research that supports the proposition that attending college has the effect of increasing; tolerance of diversity, the desire to do public service, and identifying oneself as "liberal". The impact of this interruption of the tradition of "father knows best" is only getting larger as more and more students join the ranks. Despite the pundits' acceptance of the lie that we are a center right nation, the trend seems to be in place for a meaningful shift to the left. It will require lots of truth telling. Some of which got left on the table.

Carrie posted a pic of a rye bread I baked for Thanksgiving. Her readers wanted the recipe.

The preamble to making this bread the proper way is to be acquainted with Jim Lahey's method of making yeast breads. It is a no knead bread, with an overnight fermentation(24 hr) and the bread, when baked is placed in a cast iron dutch oven (your crueset will work fine) which has been preheated in a very hot (500degree) oven.

The size of the dutch oven determines the size of the loaf. I use a very large Staub.You will more likely have a Lodge or Crueset or lookalike. If yours is 6 quart stick with the following proportions. If you have a larger dutch oven, 9+ quarts, you can double the recipe. The water ratio is key. It is not fixed. Start with the following amounts and if you have loose flour add another 1/2 cup. What you want is a moist dough. Incorporate the caraway with the other dry ingredients and use another tablespoon to sprinkle over the loaf after it lands in the dutch oven. I don't double the yeast and don't quite double the salt. After your initial rising you are going to turn out a really moist dough. Use a dough scrapper to fold it over on itself, cover and allow a second rising ( an hour). I do this on a pizza peal, or use a cookie sheet, so that I can transfer it to my now very hot dutch oven without burning myself. It will flop. It will look wrong. It is ok. The loaf will form out to fit the oven. Sprinkle the surface with the rest of the caraway seeds. bake for 1/2 hour then remove the lid and reduce the heat to 400 for another 20-40 minutes. Don't burn the bread but don't remove too soon. This is a judgment call. The loaf is easy to remove from the oven using tongs. Hold the loaf in a tea towel, thunk the bottom listening for that hollow sound that says all is well. It usually requires more time or there will be moist spots in the center. You can slide the bread directly back into the oven for another 10 mins to finish. I often turn off heat and let it the bread cool therein. Pumpernickel raisin is next. Lehey goes nuts in his book knocking off amy's semolina raisin bread. I have a better recipe I will share with you later.

2 1/4 c Bread Fl
3/4 c rye fl
1 1/4 t salt
1/2 t yeast
1 1/3 c warm water
2 T caraway seeds
Rye for dusting

(The bread pictured was double the above recipe)
This is the link to see the original posting which changed so many peoples minds about kneading. I kneaded for YEARS and was known for the second best bread around in my territory. All those wasted hours!! This is BETTER.

If you need any further encouragement Google Jim Lahey no knead bread and read some of the entries. End of Carrie's e-mail

In the spirit of calling out the liars the following is an excerpt from the blog Lynnrockets' Blast-Off
I would have posted the whole entry but the use of a cartoon of Newt in Nazi gear is a practice I don't support. The posting however goes into detail re. the German health care system and is worth reading.

"Gingrich vomited a diatribe on what a truly great nation Germany is and why the United States should emulate its policies. How’s that for “American exceptionalism” and patriotism? What would Gingrich and the Republicans have to say if a Democrat expressed that opinion? When one of the show’s hosts agreed with him and then questioned if whether Germany’s universal health care system should also be applauded, Gingrich started with the lies and misinformation.
To begin, he claimed that Germany has a private health care system which is run by over 350 private insurance companies with minimal government funding, supervision or regulatory authority. He then lied by saying that German citizens privately purchase their own health care insurance policies from these private insurers and that they can change their plans and providers whenever they choose. In essence, Gingrich stated that Germany’s health care system is even more privatized than the American system was prior to this year’s health care reform legislation. In the words of Stephen Colbert, Gingrich’s characterization of Germany’s health care system was devoid of “truthiness”.
The truth is, that Germany has Europe’s oldest universal health care system which dates back to 1883 with changes made thereafter. Currently 85% of the population is covered by a basic health insurance plan provided by statute, which provides a standard level of coverage. The remainder opt for private health insurance, which frequently offers additional benefits. According to the World Health Organization, Germany’s health care system is 77% government-funded and 23% privately funded. Additionally, the government partially reimburses the costs for low-wage workers, whose premiums are capped at a predetermined value. Higher wage earners pay a premium based on their salary. Those higher earners may also opt for private insurance, which is generally more expensive, but whose price may vary based on the individual’s health status.
Germany has a universal multi-payer system with two main types of health insurance, public and private."

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Call To, if not arms, Voices

As an unreconstructed lefty, it is humiliating to see the inability of liberals to push back against the outrages of the right. The ease with which the inflamed right can push, denigrate, abuse, excoriate, and feign insult when anyone even gently pushes back reveals their knowledge of what it means to have a street fight with a "civil", over-educated, opponent, who can't and won't fight back. You can get away with anything.

The so-called left, intent on maintaining the appearance of dignity, taking the beating, and applying the balm of the moral high ground, pretends it doesn't hear the clarion call of its followers to get tough. It doesn't know how to get tough. It is what is implied when the right accuses the left of being timid regarding the conduct of war. The bully knows how to punch and run, to use the power of the mob, to resort to arms when reason fails them. The liberal response; become more like them. Fight a bigger war, wage war against your constituency. It wasn't long after Hillary accused the right of a giant conspiracy that President Clinton threw single moms off the welfare rolls. Obama escalates the war in Afghanistan and extends the time line. This administration pays off wall street, the insurance companies, and the banks. This administration refuses to fight for the rights of gays in the military, the office of consumer protection, or victims of foreclosure fraud.

We now have a president who invites the opposition to a "summit" and they refuse to attend. We have a president who apparently doesn't believe Sen. McConnell when the senator declares he is going after him. Rep. Paul Ryan, sent up as the Republican author of an economic alternative, recoils from Charlie Rose's attempt to forge a spirit of compromise by suggesting the Obama can't be worked with, he referred to Republicans as "the enemy" during the run up to the last election. This after The President of the United States is called a liar on the floor of the house, and a Nazi, communist, and traitor, in the streets and on the air. The President is looking for ways to work with them.

We have a press that reports the blather of the big lie; Soros was a Nazi, liberals run the media, the poor caused the financial crisis. The response? Jon Stewart hauls a million people to the mall for a be in and doesn't ask them to do anything.

Republicans, to the person voted against gender equity in pay yesterday. No one called them out. Nor do they get called out on their anti-unemployment insurance votes, their calls to repeal "Obamacare", or their threat to shut down the government if tax breaks for the rich aren't extended.

The problem was personified this morning when on c-span, Sarah Wartell, Center for American Progress, Executive Vice President, had to listen to a call-in calling her "a communist, a socialist, a person who doesn't get it." The caller then described seeing people rioting to get subsidized housing, and food stamps, while the rest of us work. They don't take care of their children, they should be made to work for their money...she went on. Ms Wartell's response, framed like a deer in the headlights, "we have to work harder to see to it that government programs are run more effectively". She can't and won't call this woman out as a racist for that would be playing the race card. She can't point out to this woman that the greatest welfare theft in the history of mankind happened to the benefit of the super rich, for that would be engaging in class warfare. She sits, mum. The caller wins the round.

Gingrich says he wants to roll the country back to 1932 and no one calls him out on it. The so-called strict constitutionalists argue against any program not specified in the document, and no one calls them out on it. Sarah Palin suggests that the ideology of the Obamas was forged when listening to anti-white harangues from the pulpit and no one calls her out on it.

The left may not want to get their hands dirty in the midst of this. What they are really missing is the affinity they would enjoy with those millions who don't like liars and bullies and would love to see someone knock them on their asses. That's what leadership is, taking on the fight that the average citizen watches from the sideline.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Election Day Lessons

Moms can't catch a break. The following is an excerpt: From Erica Jong, WSJ Saturday Essay
"Our obsession with parenting is an avoidance strategy. It allows us to substitute our own small world for the world as a whole. But the entire planet is a child's home, and other adults are also mothers and fathers. We cannot separate our children from the ills that affect everyone, however hard we try. Aspiring to be perfect parents seems like a pathetic attempt to control what we can while ignoring problems that seem beyond our reach.

As we give up on ideals of community, we focus more and more on our individual children, perhaps not realizing that the community and the child cannot be separated."

The NYT blog response, if read by moms will drive them to distraction. Time better spent focusing on the job at hand. The facts, as witnessed in one tiny village on the Hudson, belie all of the summary statements made by those who write about parenting.

It happened that our kids' schedule conflict allowed us the privilege of child caring. It was election day. The prospect of a long day in a small hurricane was eased when Evelyn invited us to her home where moms were going to gather to staff the phones in a get out the vote pitch. Their children would play together as another coincidence had it that the schools were closed for a work day. No "avoidance" here.

Carrie and I are no strangers to phone banks and so we did our share. The attic was commandeered by the kids and one of us would drift up to check out the scene from time to time. The kids got on well. As moms came and went the conversation ebbed and flowed around the political issues of the day. I shared the perspective that it seemed moms were comfortable in their roles as moms. We had noted that all of the moms in this house had been seen picking up their children from school the day before, and that there was a great turnout and crazy fun had in the previous weekend halloween activities. (Cold Spring, NY is a mecca for over the top halloween celebration). Years earlier a new mom friend of ours howled with frustration; "I am tired of being the only mom in the tot lot!"

These moms are in the process. I heard all manner of civic, and social engagement. No "ignoring problems beyond their reach." They are bonding as a community. This scene was repeated around the country as new energy electrified the electorate. Moms are widely disparate and being manipulated in opposition to each other but that cynical strategy is not going to work. When the pols and the pundits fail to deliver a safe and secure future for their children, the moms are going to unite and create their own. They are going to clear the decks of people who presume to tell them there is A way. The truth is that nothing dramatic happened that day, And that is as it should be.