Musing on food and cooking ...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yes, All Politics Are Local

Little Merry Sunshine recently put up a post about how there is no escaping that fact that politics are local and that who you support might or might not impact your relationships with your neighbors. Now, her situation is a little funny. She has been blessed with a snow shoveling fairy throughout this horribly snowy winter. She also is likely the only progressive liberal Democrat in a neghborhood of true-blue Republicants. So, her wonder was if she put up a sign supporting her favorite candidate, if her neighborhods would take that as an affront to their conservative sentiments and perhaps cause her kind fairy to vanish into the ether.

Some dear readers might be going, "But, Goddess, it's just a stupid sign." But politics signs in the lawn or being held on the street corner are never just signs. I have seen them leading to yelling matches and, indeed, fisticuffs.

I have always believed that the politic lawn sign is incredibly passive aggressive. I find them lazy. Don't just throw a name at me, people. Why should I give a rat's ass that you support Joe Schomo? Come and talk to me! Tell me why! I might or might not agree with you, but hopefully, we will learn something from our interaction and go away better people. They are also incredibly invasive. If my neighbor has a sign on their lawn, I can't ever not see it. There is no respite.

Which is why I was so incredibly annoyed on Monday morning to come out of my house to discover my lawn had been signed. And not just my lawn, but every single lawn within at least a two block radius.

Democrat Eddie Washington is seeking reelection as the state representative for my district (#60). And it appears that one of his campaign volunteers decided that the best way to get my vote was not to knock on my door and chat with me or give me literature. NO! They felt the best way to win my vote was to trespass on my property and vandalize it. With a frickin sign. That was really hard to pull out of the ground. Dammit.

This signing strikes me as indicative of really bad judgement. As a political figure, Washington should make it clear to his volunteers that this kind of behavior is unacceptable in his campaign. So I will be calling to complain. I will likely be told that it was the work of an over-zealous campaign volunteer. But I also feel it important for Washington to know that this action has had a very negative impact on my feelings about his as my representative.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Open Letter to the Makers of Blue Bunny Dairy Products

Dear Wells Dairy,

I cannot begin to tell you just how pleased I am to have discovered your line of Light (spelled correctly!) yoghurts at a nearby supermarket. I am especially fond of the Light Superfruits, with such strange fruit combinations as white cranberry strawberry and pomegrante acai. I have not yet found one that I did not find singularly delicious, and with such a rich and creamy texture! And I am most pleased about what you don't put into it! No corn syrup and none of that nasty inulin that has become so popular with yoghurt makers lately. I know that inulin is a good thing for most people, being a natural fiber that promotes the absorption of calcium, but, frankely, it gives me the shits. And until I saw your product on the shelf, I had resigned myself to a life of eating only whole milk cream top Brown Cow plain yoghurt, because it was the only stuff I could find without inulin.

Sadly, our country's diet industry might have suggested I stay with the inulin fortified products, as artificially induced diarrhea is supposed to help with weight loss and the whole milk cream top stuff is obviously OMG high in calories, but I just couldn't do it. I have suffered in many attempts to be thin, and I will not do it through laxative yoghurts.

So, Wells Dairy, please keep up the good work!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You're The Mists of Avalon!

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

You're obsessed with Camelot in all its forms, from Arthurian legend
to the Kennedy administration. Your favorite movie from childhood was "The Sword in
the Stone". But more than tales of wizardry and Cuban missiles, you've focused on
women. You know that they truly hold all the power. You always wished you could meet
Jackie Kennedy.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

with thanks to Jennjer!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A New Meme

I got tagged again - this time it is the 5 things that are in my life that I never would have expected when I was 25.

It will help if I frame this discussion by saying that I was 25 in 1999. It was a momentous year for me. I quit my job as a journalist in northern Wisconsin and moved to Cambridge, MA, to being grad school at Harvard. That being said, this was still very difficult for me, as I realize I didn't have many expectations for my life nine years ago. Not really anyway.

1. I never expected to be working in academia as an administrator, let alone as a fundraiser. In 1999, I still had visions of myself as the brilliant professor or as the superstar academic book editor.

2. I never expected that I would be sad to realize that I feel like I missed out on my real career path as chef. I never even knew it was a career option. When I was younger, there were no chefs. There were only short order cooks working for minimum wage. I am too old now to start at the bottom of a restaurant and work my way up, but perhaps another path will present itself.

3. I never even dreamed that I would move back to the Chicago area, let alone start work for my alma mater. But I am glad I did. Chicago has become very cool, and my alma mater is getting its act together.

4. I never expected that there would come a time when I loathed the deep winter cold with every aching joint in my body.

5. I never would have expected that I would become comfortable with realizing that my presence in the world doesn't really make much of a difference. I'm not superwoman. I am not some big hero. Grand events will not happen in my presence. And I am ok with that.

I am not officially tagging anyone, but if you read this feel free to play along.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Prudie, I Love You!

The following is from ... and, frankly, I could agree with Prudie more!

Dear Prudence,

I'm 24, and I've been with my boyfriend for about 18 months. We were friends in high school, then met again after college, and started living together almost immediately. We have been talking about marriage lately, which I am beyond excited about; however, my boyfriend has informed me that I need to lose 20 pounds before he will propose. He claims that's the only reason he hasn't asked me yet. In his words, he wants "a hot wife." Am I crazy to think that unconditional and true love still exists? Everything else in our relationship is great. I don't want to walk away from something so wonderful, but this just seems a little ridiculous. Help!

—In Love With Mr. Vain

Dear In Love,

I have a plan that will make both of you happy. It begins with you starting on a new exercise program. Get a comfortable outfit and a pair of excellent workout shoes. Then put all your worldly possession in a suitcase, pick it up, walk out the door, and keep on walking.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh My God, How Did They Know?

You Are Thai Food

Trendy yet complex.

People seek you out - though they're not sure why.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Yours Truly Really Is Going to Have a Stroke Now

So as some of you dear readers now, I have been having some health concerns lately, bad enough that I actually went to the doctor, something I almost never do. I was having numbess in my face and in my fingers and I was dizzy. I had also been battling a really awful probably sinus infection/sinus pain that I just couldn't shake off. I get to the doc's office and she is very concerned about the numbness and the dizziness, fearful that I have had a mini-stroke, not at all an unreasonable diagnoses considering my family history and the amount of professional stress I have been under lately. So she orders a gazillion blood tests, an echocardiogram, and a brain MRI, which - in her words - is the most conservative course of treatment. So she faxes off the referral form to the hospital, gives me a copy, and sends me off for a prescription for a major antibiotic and super hydrocortizone cream to deal with the hives the antibiotics are going to cause (I get hives from antibiotics). I call the hospital and get scheduled, thinking everything is just great.

Last week I got a notice from the hospital saying I was going to have to pay 20% of my MRI bill, or almost $800. I was freaked. But I can see finding a way to pay that off in a year.

Today, I got a notice from my health insurance that has me in a total panic. Someone somewhere did not tell the insurance company that they had referred me for an MRI and the insurance company is refusing to pay any of it. Not one dime of the $3500.

So I called my doctor to find out what the deal was, and I am waiting to hear back. Her MA had never heard of such a thing. Obviously, the hospital also did not contact the insurance company, although they had a copy of the referral form a week before the tests. And I am afeared I am about to get caught in between the evil medical red tape machines. I will, of course, file an appeal, but I hear from my coworkers that appealing to United Healthcare is like peeing into a wind storm. So I fully expect to be screwed. If so, please be prepared to attend at least one of Heather's Heinous Health benefits, donation in hand...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

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Update on Winter Holiday Insanity

So, for the gift, the gift that was driving me insane, I finally decided to to send two cookbooks - one on basic technique and another on the international slowcooker. I also threw in a couple of gingerbread men soaps, which I found adorable because they look like they are screaming in horror, summing up my feelings in generally about the holiday season. I just heard back that my next eldest cousin got the box, and was quite pleased and plans on enjoying the cookbooks. She also said that the gingerbread men caused some hilarity as no one knew if they were soap or chocolates and that, of course, no one was willing to take a bite of one and find out. I suppose, coming from me, that it would make sense that they were chocolate, but nope.

Anway, I won't see my holiday gifts until almost Chinese New Year, which is fine, as I much prefer to celebrate Chinese New Year. More fun, less stress, far better food, and spectacular entertainment all around.

I spent most of my holiday hermiting. I did work, and even worked on Christmas Day, but I also took several breaks, including trying to work only 8 hours a day instead of 10, and even - on a couple of days - coming home an hour or so early. See, I had a bad health scare and am under doctor's orders to rest.

About two weeks before Christmas, I had some numbness in my faec and my fingers, and I was also dizzy. Now, dizziness is a perennial state for me, but I thought nothing of it, but the numbness made me nervous, so I went to the doctor. She ordered an MRI and an echocardiogram for me, on the possibility that I might have had a mini stroke. She also gave me an antibiotic because I had horrific sinus pain and pressure. Anyway, it appears that the antibiotic did the trick, because the numbness is gone, although I am still congested. The other tests seem to be good. The echo showed I have the heart of a 20 year old (go fat chicks!), and I haven't heard back about the MRI, but I figure if something was really off, she would have clapped into hospital toot sweet. Unless, of course, they just can't find my brain.

Still, I now have some new worries, i.e., unpaid medical bills. Because, although I have ok insurance, I am still going to have over $1000 in bills to cover. Which is not anywhere in my budget, which is stretched to the max right now.

So, if you care to make a donation, let me know! Or, if you have a project I can help with that and are willing to pay me a small amount, or if you need a cooking lesson or your pantry reorganized, let me know. Cause I need the cash.