MAY 11, 2003

The Mother of all Mother's Days


"My karma ran over my dogma."

Friends, Romans and Mother-lovers, Lend Me Your Ears!

You might notice a bit longer recipe section. (By request.) Must be a lot of cooks out there. You wouldn't think so many people would eat, what with skinny in, and all. But just remember the adage: ' Skinny and the Great Cuisines of the World Do Not Mix.' One has to choose. You cannot have your cheesecake and wear jewellery in your naval, too - well, ok . . belly dancers can! (Once again, we must look to the Middle East for guidance.)

Latin: ' Balnea, vina, Venus corrumpunt corpora nostra, sed vitam faciunt balnea, vina, Venus." (Baths, wine, sex, harm our bodies, but baths, wine, sex make life worthwhile.)

So some little known and quirky secrets of Italian cooking in this one.

Have a nice meal, laugh a little and self-educate, but not too much or you'll go blind.



Librarians as Fiesty Fighters for Freedom

You might remember that it was the actions, of a group of librarians, protesting and writing letters, that were responsible for Michael Moore's breakthrough best-seller, 'Stupid White Males' from being released at all, after the Sept 11th crisis had effectively banned it to a dusty warehouse. (This was also during that freedom-loving time that 'Imagine' by John Lennon, was banned from airplay on many US radio stations.) Well, the librarians are at it again. I always knew librarians looked sexy in those strange little glasses for a reason:

" . . . the freedom-busting legislation that Ashcroft cynically titled the "USA Patriot Act." This thing is a Little Shop of Totalitarian Horrors, including provisions that compel librarians to turn over to the FBI the reading, research and internet records of any and all library users, prohibiting librarians from even telling you that your records have been seized by government agents. This is no theoretical threat, for librarians report that Ashcroft's agents are making hundreds of these demands." (more)


Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, and Gary Schmidt, executive director of the Project for a New American Century

" But it is Kristol's Weekly Standard, bankrolled by conservative media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, that has popularised these viewpoints. The Standard may have a circulation of just 55,000, but it has aimed successfully at policy-makers rather than average readers, making it "one of the most influential publications in Washington," a story by The New York Times concluded. Hulsman calls the Standard the "house newspaper" of the Bush administration. " (more)

American philosopher Ken Wilbur has a unique and 'colourful' perspective on current world events:

Deconstructing the World Trade Center

" . . . just remember: if you are Green, you are against the war. But if you are against the war, you are not necessarily Green. There are second-tier reasons not to go to war. But there are also second-tier reasons to go to war. Green doesn't have a choice--it won't go. Second tier has a choice, so weigh the evidence carefully. Second tier might indeed recommend war, it might not. But you can check and see if you are "merely" Green by asking under what conditions you would recommend war. If you can't think of any, ahem, welcome to Green. Still, the issue is enormously complicated, even through integral lens, so again, weigh the evidence carefully.

The problem with this discussion at large is that it is entirely first-tier. Blue says bomb the hell out of the evil ones; Orange says, okay, but hurry, because it's hurting the stock market; Green says, no way, let's be loving. First tier has such a hard time seeing big pictures, so it moves around within the partial value structures that define it. This is a discussion that I have stayed out of since doing WTC essay. It's just a big first-tier food fight.I am going to make a few more statements now, not because I believe saner voices can be heard, and not because I believe I have a saner voice, but simply because the insane voices are so shrill, a few more worthless words can't hurt anything now.

Unfortunately, the world needs integral action. unfortunately, it will not get it, whether we go to war or not. still, better to light one candle than curse the darkness. So we work on ourselves and attempt to increase our own integral consciousness to some degree each day, so that in the end we leave the world just a little bit more whole than we found it............. " (more)


From my soon-to-been written, and put in a dusty warehouse, social culinary treatise: 'Mein Recipes'

'The Art of Pasta'

A very simple way to always make a brilliantly flavoured, never-fail tomato sauce for pasta is:
Add one or two chicken carcasses (bones) to about a litre or two of tomato passata - (passata: "sieved red tomatoes." Depending on the degree of sieving, the pulp can be perfectly smooth (polpa di pomodoro) or slightly chunky (passata rustica) - and simmer until the meat falls off the bones. Strain. (You can get chicken bones from any butcher - just ask. They usually are under a dollar for a whole bunch.)
As far as what kind of tomatoes to use, you can, of course, use fresh chopped tomatoes to make the passata first, but my grandmother used to grow her tomatoes in the back garden, make the passata, and then bottle it in clear glass bottles in the cellar, to use when she needed. So she was using a puree from a glass bottle basically. You can find plenty of excellent plain tomato passatas, or purees, in glass bottles. Just make sure the only ingredients are: tomatoes, water, and maybe some salt. Stay away from the ones where they add oregano or basil, onions or any of those other dried ingredients. Just tomatoes and water is what you want. In glass.

Simply simmering the chicken bones in the passata for an hour or so makes a great sauce foundation.

Of course you can always do all the usual creative things afterwards: chopped onions sautéed in olive oil, some garlic, basil, bay leaf, red or white wine, red chilli, pancetta, any variations you choose - but the sauce will have more depth with the infused chicken flavour.

Sometimes grandma would just simmer whole chickens in the sauce, and serve the pieces in a separate bowl. Or small squid. (This method would also work for Spaghetti Marinara - just substitute fish bones, for the chicken bones.) My mother make this with fresh rabbits that my dad would shoot in the fields behind our Ohio house.

Michelle Pfeiffer's Sauce Accelerator - Vodka, Cream and Chilli

This simple idea comes from Michelle Pfeiffer, believe it or not. I found it in one of those dog-eared, out-of-date magazines you read while you're in the dentist's waiting room. It looked good, I clipped it when no one was watching, went home and tried it and fell in love.

All you have to do is think in thirds: one third sauce of your choice, one third cream, one third vodka.

Method: A couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the saucepan and toss in some chopped red chilli. Add the tomato sauce, the vodka and the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with parmesan and finely chopped parsley. If you like your alcohol strong (like I do), don't simmer it very long - just heat it up and stir. If you want to get rid of the alcohol flavour, simmer until it evaporates. Either way, it's delish.

Jewish-Italian Chicken Meatballs, with a Touch of Cinnamon

This idea comes from Antonio Carluccio, which he learned from an old Jewish-Italian grandmother. I found the sauce too plain the way Carluccio prepares it so I just use the sauce above instead.

Ingredients: Minced chicken, ground cinnamon, one egg, finely chopped onion, finely chopped celery, olive oil , tomato sauce.

Method: Minced chicken, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, beaten egg in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Heat some oil in the pan. Sauté onions until soft. Add celery. Cook for a few minutes. Add sauce. Bring to simmer. Form small meatballs from the chicken mixture and just place in the sauce. (This is what gives it a unique and delicate flavour and a texture like a large dumpling -DO NOT fry the meatballs first.) Just simmer until cooked through. Turn occasionally. Cover if you wish. It won't take long to cook the meatballs as they very light.
Eat these just as they are, with the sauce spooned over. Or else serve with pasta or polenta. Add parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley if you wish.

Remember to Fight the Good Fight, but also to Laugh the Good Laugh


A preacher was winding up his temperance sermon with great fervour.
"If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into
the river." The congregation cried, "Amen!"
"And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it
in the river." The congregation cried, "Amen!"
"And if I had all the whiskey and demon rum in the world, I'd take
it all and throw it in the river." And the congregation cried, "Amen!"

The preacher sat down. The deacon stood up. "For our closing hymn,"
he announced, "let us turn to page 126 and sing that old Negro spiritual:
'We shall gather at the river'."


An elderly Irishman lay dying in his bed. While suffering the
agonies of impending death, he suddenly smelled the aroma of
his favourite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered
his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed.

Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the
bedroom, and with even greater effort, gripping the railing with
both hands, he crawled downstairs. With laboured breath, he leaned
against the door-frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death's
agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven, for there,
spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of
his favourite chocolate chip cookies. Was it heaven? Or was it one
final act of heroic love from his devoted Irish wife of sixty years, seeing
to it that he left this world a happy man? Mustering one great final
effort, he threw himself towards the table, landing on his knees in
a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted, the wondrous taste of
the cookie was already in his mouth, seemingly bringing him back to

The aged and withered hand trembled on its way to a cookie at
the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife......

"Fuck off" she said, "they're for the funeral."

Sex With a Nun

A hippie gets onto a bus and sits next to a nun in the front seat. The hippie looks over and asks the nun if she would have sex with him. The nun, surprised by the question, politely declines and gets off the at the next stop.

When the bus starts on it's way the driver says to the hippie, "I can tell you how you can get that nun to have sex with you." The hippie says that he'd love to know, so the bus driver tells him that every Tuesday evening at midnight the nun goes to the cemetery and prays to God. "If you went dressed in a robe and glow in the dark paint mask she would think you are God and you could command her to have sex with you."

The hippie decides this is a great idea, so that Tuesday he goes to the cemetery and waits for the nun to show up. Sure enough, at midnight the nun shows up and begins praying. The hippie jumped out from hiding and says, "I AM GOD! I have heard your prayers and I will answer them, but first you must have sex with me."

The nun agrees but asks for anal sex so she might keep her virginity because she is married to the church. The hippie agrees to this and has his way with the nun.

After the hippie finishes he stands up and rips off the mask and shouts, "Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm the hippie!!"

Then the nun jumps up and shouts, "Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm the bus driver!"