Saturday, January 26

Dark Days Challenge - eating unusual meat affordably

Hooooooooly gamole.

If you do your unusual meat shopping in the Twin Cities, ummmmm...I hate to put the nice people at Shepherd Song Farm over in Wisconsin (or Hill & Vale or any of the other co-op suppliers) out of business, but it turns out that the lamb & goat at Holy Land is local, too. It's from Iowa. And while ground lamb costs $6.60/lb-$7/lb and ground goat costs $8.50/lb at the co-ops, they both run $5/lb at Holy Land.

Let's see...Holy Land requires my car...whereas certain co-ops don't...though buses cost $2 and it's a little dangerous to bike on all this ice in cold weather when all my protective gear is sweaty and dirty...

Eh. I'll just have to make a shopping list and shop at Holy Land next time I'm near the store or already in a warm car with free time. I don't think I'll come up with an excuse or the energy to put on warm clothes, start a cold car, drive to Holy Land, drive back, unpack, and cook.

Too bad. I would've liked to make that goat meat glop again. I'll just have to put all the ingredients on a list and get the energy to make it after I've bought them all.

(By the way, I don't think Holy Land is buying unethical meat or anything--one co-op's meat manager simply told me that whenever you don't have a lot of customers for a type of meat, you have to mark it up to make any profit. I imagine that that Iowa farm can sell meat cheaply not because they're a factory farm but because they have a contract to sell to a retail store that can quickly sell as much meat as they can raise to half the goat & lamb eaters in a major metropolitan area.)

Unscientific science & PMS

Oh my goodness, I love my Anne Fausto-Sterling.

You just make so much sense, Dr. F-S!

On unscientific "science" & PMS:

"The tip-off to the medical viewpoint [that being a woman is biologically abnormal for a human animal] lies in its choice of language. What does it mean to say '70 to 90% of the female population will admit to recurrent premenstrual symptoms'? The word symptom carries two rather different meanings. The first suggests a disease or an abnormality, a condition to be cured or rendered normal. Applying this connotation to a statistic suggesting 70 to 90 percent symptom formation leads one to conclude that the large majority of women are by their very nature diseased. The second meaning of symptom is a sign or signal. If the figure of 70 to 90 percent means nothing more than that most women recognize signs in their own bodies of an oncoming menstrual flow, the statisics are unremarkable."

"That so many scientists have been able for so long to do such poor research attests to both the unconscious social agendas of many of the researchers and to the theoretical inadequacy of the research framework used in the field as a whole."

"...the crying need for some scientifically acceptable research stands out above all. If we continue to assume that menstruation is itself pathological, we cannot establish a baseline of health against which to define disease. ... Only when we have some feeling for [what forms healthy female reproductive cycles take] can we begin to help women who suffer from diseases of menstruation."

(Boldface mine; italics hers.)

Coolest. Science. Book. Ev-eeeeeeer!
Especially her 1.5-page table on pp. 106-107. I just found scribbled in the margins, "WOW. Great table. Give as an example to every middle-school science teacher (teaching the scientific method) I know! Give to every OB/Gyn/M.D. I know who probably assumes his/her field's research is done according to the scientific method!"

Thursday, January 24

Fuel & Gaza

Okay, here's something I'm interested in keeping an eye on:

A commenter on BrownFemiPower's blog made it sound like oil piped out of Palestinian oil fields (not sure if they're in Gaza or the West Bank) physically goes off to American & British companies but is paid for by Israel as food & stuff.

Now Israel doesn't want to have to supply Gaza with food & stuff.

How is all this going to play out?

Are they just going to say that they're paying for the oil by sending the West Bank food & stuff?

Very confusing.

Fall of a Gaza wall

Gazan militants took their bombs & used them to blow up miles of the wall separating Palestine from Egypt. Tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were able to get out of Gaza and buy food & other supplies yesterday.

How fricking cool.

I wonder if any West Bank militants will turn their bombs to walls soon. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Of course, there isn't a source of food that hundreds of thousands are being held from at any one point where one could breach a wall in the West Bank, but still...walls coming down all over within hours of each other would be pretty neat.

Tuesday, January 22

Budgeting Time As a Feminist, part 2

I just linked to an excellent and common example by BrownFemiPower of white women getting credit for helping women at large when they've actually done a lot of harm to women.

How did they do this harm?

By forgetting to ask themselves whether women in a population group would be disproportionately hurt (compared to men in the same population group) by whatever actions they're advocating (be they immigration actions, medical funding actions, military funding and policy actions, etc.)

Today BrownFemiPower saw another instance of white women getting credit for helping women at large when they have, by forgetting to apply their feminist knowledge to all their advocacy of various policy positions, done a lot of harm to many, many women.

Short summary:

  • White feminists were getting mocked by conservatives for not criticizing misogyny conducted by non-whites against non-whites strongly enough.

  • White feminists wrote a nationally publicized letter saying, "We do too! Hell, we FOUND that misogyny and were the first to tell the non-white perpetrators that they should stop it!"

  • BrownFemiPower retorted (unfortunately, in a venue that isn't nearly as highly publicized) that
    1. they shouldn't even worry about whether they're criticizing misogyny conducted by non-whites against non-whites until they've spent a heck of a lot more time criticizing misogyny conducted by whites against non-whites (usually through foreign policy) and
    2. they did NOT find the non-white-on-non-white misogyny mentioned by conservatives and they were NOT the first to tell the perpetrators of that misogyny to stop it--the VICTIMS did both.
Quotes from BFP's post:
her little list of wrongs that “American feminists” stand against was the most irritating...

Hm. Who could Ms. Pollitt *possibily* be talking about here?...

Do you think it’s the U.S. government that is currently enforcing horrific immigration laws that are degrading and violating women and their families–-IN KATHA’S OWN DAMN COUNTRY?...

Why the particular emphasis on "Muslim countries?" Does Ms. Pollitt think that "Muslim countries" are particularly hostile to women’s rights for some reason?

Even as her own country imprisons 8 year old girls and deports their mothers?
Fact: it’s feminists who first identified atrocities against women around the world–female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child marriage, spousal violence, rape– as violations of human rights, not family matters or customs of no state importance.

Actually, Ms. Pollitt–it was the women who *experienced* those actions that first identified the violence being committed against them.

Please, please, please, please, please--if you're a white feminist, consider my suggestion for action instead of signing Ms. Pollitt's letter:
Next time you're around white feminists who are upset that the right wing is saying, "You don't do enough to stop non-white violence against non-white women!" STOP them from retorting with a, "Look at all we're doing!" and, worse yet, a resurgence of interest in doing so.

Tell your white feminist peers only to tell the right wing commentators, if they must retort at all:
"I'm sorry, but you're wrong to assume that that is our job. Our job is to stop white violence against white women and white violence against non-white women. And we will work on those issues in the proportion that they exist today. Though we may lend a hand when it is asked, we refuse to claim that it is our job to 'stop' non-white violence against non-white women. Thank you for listening, and please follow our bulletin for the amazing work we are doing stopping white violence against white women and white violence against non-white women in the coming months!"

Monday, January 21

No Fruits Or Veggies On Food Stamps

Holy gamole!

I had no idea that federal WIC food stamps couldn't be used on either fruits or vegetables (except carrots and round beans).

We've gotta change this!

Especially since canned veggies (which I think might be okay to buy w/ WIC food stamps) don't offer much nutritional value. Haven't found out if it's okay to buy frozen veggies with WIC food stamps. If so, then this isn't quite as awful as I thought, but it's still not acceptable. Y'know, looking at this chart, though, it seems as if even canned & frozen might not be allowed.

The "you get $X a month" should be the only limit. If someone wants to blow through it quickly on fruits and veggies instead of on cereal, for heaven's sake, LET HER!

Why on EARTH should the government mandate that entire food groups be excluded from the use of a fixed amount of money?

Wednesday, January 16

Budgeting Time as a Feminist

Blogger BrownFemiPower used Sen. Hillary Clinton today to illustrate how much harm a white woman can help do to women of color and still get credit as someone who helps "women," period, rather than as someone who helps "white women."

One of her commenters, Radfem, summarized this idea well:

she’s marketed both through her self, campaign and others as being like has been said for *all* women, which is contradictory because she’s made decisions, done things that are very harmful even deadly to many women.

One of the best things white feminists can do is to work hard to look out for instances in which we don't think we're even looking at a "gender-related" issue. Because if we don't look at it that way while deciding how we're going to act about it, we'll end up hurting many women.

So, for example,
if you really want Mexican women's lives to be as good as Mexican men's lives, on account of, as a feminist, wanting women's lives to be as good as men's lives, then you've got to dedicate some hours of your activist & intellectual time to fighting & persuading to make sure that women don't get arrested by lone men with guns & state-given authority in the middle of the desert.

Listen--you can't keep lone men who would like a gun & state-given authority from deciding to do women more forms of harm than they decide to do to men.
Maybe Men Can Stop Rape will be able to in 100 years, but you can't.
But you know what you can do right away? You know what fight your help can win within a year or five or ten?

You can make sure your state doesn't give guns and authority over Mexicans to lone men.

Example #2:
You already know from mainstream feminist stories that violence in general plays out as beatings on both men and women but as beatings and sexual violence on women.

Now it's important, as a white feminist, to apply that knowledge to any instances of violence you hear about--such as this statement:
beefed-up border security has funneled migrants through one of the world's most forbidding deserts, and...smugglers adopt increasingly violent tactics.

It's important to think to yourself, "What correlation between the violence and the nouns mentioned in that sentence should I notice and consider throwing my hand into activism and blogging about?"

More generally,
you can dedicate a significant percentage of your activist organizing, letters to Congress, letters to your church, blog posts, school papers, and thoughts to shaping the rules of what we will consider acceptable border policy in ways that make life at the border the same quality for Mexican men and Mexican women.

I'll avoid telling you what those shapes of policy should be--largely because I don't even know, myself.
What I'm saying is that you need to do these things even if, for example, you are largely against immigrants coming to our country at more than X% of our current population per year.

If you're a feminist, to really be true to your feminist ideals, you need to use your thinking-and-blogging time to make a list of all the immigration control policies that you previously thought useful and, for each of them, brainstorm the ways in which they would, in practice, turn out to harm women more than they harm men.
  • If it seems that they don't, then keep them on the list of immigration control policies you support for now.

  • If you see that there are many, many ways that a policy would hurt Mexican women more than it would hurt Mexican men, then take it off the list of ideas you support.

    • If your list now seems too short to achieve another goal you believe in--for example, keeping immigration levels at X% of the current population--and, upon thinking about it, you still feel committed to reaching that goal, brainstorm again.

      You probably won't come up with any great ideas right away, but don't go back to any of the items you crossed off your list. YOU ARE A FEMINIST. You now know that those old ideas play out unfairly between the genders. Keep them off your list. Do not ever advocate them again.

      Don't worry--you're human and therefore creative. If feminism and that "X%" population level both matter to you equally, you'll get there. You'll network--you'll keep brainstorming. And slowly but surely, you'll find beliefs about immigration that you do feel comfortable pushing with activism, organizing, letters, and blog posts.
      (Of course, subject these to this same process once in a while--perhaps once per year!)

Remedies for zinc poisoning

For a while, I was in too much pain and nausea to try to eat, even though web sites said I would've felt better if I'd had the zinc in my stomach with some food.

Once I got up to walk to a meeting during a moment of relief, though, I felt even better. Interesting. Walking around seems to help--which would be why I felt better walking from the train to the office this morning.

The meeting was coming over a computer as a voice and a PowerPoint presentation. I ran downstairs to get myself lots of Saltines to add to my breakfast cereal I'd brought and dug in while I was feeling good.

Soon the cold temperature in the room got to me. I ran back to my desk to get my ugly coat, thinking, "I hope bringing this thing in doesn't make me look unprofessional."

Not 1/5 as unprofessional as falling asleep in the meeting.

Thank goodness it was only my immediate manager and a bunch of entry-level workers in the room with us. If any of the people I actually work for had been there, it might have gone onto my performance review in a week or two.

I think my apology to my immediate manager worked. By the time I was saying, "That was very unprofessional, and..." she was laughing.


Oh! Right! The zinc poisioning part! Other than a few waves of, "Oh, is this going to come back? Nope--nope--it went away," I feel MUCH better.

I wonder how long I was out.

Zinc poisoning

If I had one of those "eating healthy while budgeting tightly" categories, I think I'd put this there:

If your zinc pills are marked "333% of recommended daily value," DO NOT TAKE MORE THAN ONE OF THEM.

Zinc ain't vitamin C. You can't go way above the RDV.

Background: I thought I might be getting sick. Zinc is one of the "after you get sick" vitamins that helps (whereas C & echinacea extract are only good for prevention).

Other days, I'd popped 2 zinc and taken a tincture of echinacea extract and noticed that I felt miserably nauseated.
This morning, I thought, "Okay, no drug interactions, but I'll up the zinc and put up with the 30 minutes of nausea."


1.5x the zinc (which, in retrospect, I'm realizing caused the nausea all by its pretty little self) caused 5x the misery for who knows how many times as long.

Shoot me now!
(Or, more reasonably, God, bring me vomiting. Why am I so afraid of vomiting? I know that as soon as my body gets rid of a poison, I feel better. I know it! In fact, my body just reacted that way to something 3 weeks ago. It's fresh in my memory. Why am I still consciously praying, "Don't let me vomit, don't let me vomit, don't let me vomit, don't let me vomit...?")

Sunday, January 13

Presidential Campaign 2008 & Katie

Well, the Edwards supporters shook me up.

They finally did it. I was convinced for over 12 months that policies that Barack Obama would and could get through (as a whole) would be the best of anybody's.

Sure, Edwards had a better health care plan. And sure, he was pushing the populism speeches harder right now.

But in just about every other domain, I liked Obama's policies better. They seemed both progressive and likely to pass.

But this just goes through the roof. I think it's because I'm a numbers person and I react so much to this kind of thing.

Edwards urged Congress to act immediately to pass at least a $25 billion jobs plan in early 2008 and be ready to pass $75 billion more if there is more evidence that we are entering a recession. Edwards believes that every American should have access to a good job and the chance to build a better life. To provide a much-needed boost to a weakening economy, Edwards' economic stimulus plan calls for investing in clean energy infrastructure, increasing federal aid to help states avoid cutting programs that help families through hard times, reforming unemployment insurance and tackling the housing crisis.

Now, I haven't added up the Obama numbers--I think it's time I did--but I keep seeing things like $1 billion here, $10 billion there, $2 billion there, $7 billion there...and Edwards just coming out and saying, "Look, we could need $100 billion, so pass it. Period." makes me so happy!

Because we DO!

And things like aid to states for public services, reforming government insurance so it works best, getting renewable energy jobs going...those are things I'm down with. I'm not too against the government pouring billions into those kinds of things (though preferably not ethanol).

So now what?

Edwards, because he is starting to say, with his mainstream voice, things that I only dream of and smile when I hear Russ Feingold, Keith Ellison, and Dennis Kucinich say but don't bother to vote over because they seem too far-fetched to enter the mainstream?

Or Obama, because although he might be promising less money on programs I like, he'll have to do less to get Republicans to pass the expenditures?

I mean, this money dump of Edwards's sounds like New Deal programs. And a lot of those were damn good ideas.

On the other hand, FDR had to do all sorts of unconstitutional things to get those programs passed. And Edwards is no more liked by Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress than FDR was. Would the claims he'd have to make about the Executive Branch's power set us up for people who never liked Edwards's policies in the first place to have the power to undo them even farther once he's gone? (After all, LBJ's "Great Society" programs had a huge backlash, and although a lot of it happened through Congress, a lot also happened through the Executive Branch.)

Plus, when you're bludgeoning through big programs, there's less opportunity to make sure they get distributed justly.
For example, to get support for the programs from fiscally conservative racists, you have to appeal to their racism and avoid putting in mechanisms that would prevent them from having it spent disproportionately on white people. You have to say, "Oh, sure! I believe that it'll trickle down in your hands! And since you're helping me pass spending so much, I'm sure they'll get a good chunk of change!"

There's this part of me that feels like Obama could get $20 billion spent and make sure it's spent far more fairly on Native Americans, blacks, Latinos, Arabs, Asians, transpeople, the disabled, etc. etc. etc. than white culture has ever done at the national level.

But geez louise...$100 billion is a lot of money.

Friday, January 11

More Dark Days Food

I've been bad about blogging this. Bad about keeping up with it, too, but even worse about blogging what I have done.

The pictures are Googled, not the food I made--I'm out a camera.

Back in December, I made a birthday cake with almost all its main ingredients made out of local stuff. I'm lucky to be in a place that had apples in early & mid-December this year. I'm also lucky to be in dairy country, where I had buttermilk & cream cheese available for decent prices (local, unbranded cream cheese from the co-op: 2x the price of Philly on sale; half the price of the local branded cream cheese).

Essentially, you take a carrot cake recipe, replace the crushed pineapples with baked & mushed-up apples (I added a wee bit of honey while baking, hoping it would make them cook faster & mush more easily), replace granulated sugar with honey, and, if you're making it as late in the year as I did, once carrots have gone out of season and you don't have a root cellar, replace shredded carrots with shredded parsnips.

Parsnips don't shred as easily as carrots, but they do shred with work.

I combined the principles above, this recipe (which gives you the solids & liquids based on working with honey instead of sugar, and this one.

I did cheat on the icing. I tried flavoring it with honey instead of sugar, but it tasted so weird. I wanted people to eat the cake--how else would I convince them that local food was great? Having spent the better part of 2 days on parts of this cake, I was too exasperated to meditate upon a great solution, so I threw tons of sugar & vanilla extract into the icing. :-\

A few weeks later, I made a stew that's to die for. I'm heartbroken because there's only 1 serving left. I keep wanting to try it on injeera (sour sponge bread), because it reminds me of Ethiopian glops, but I keep forgetting to pick up a sheet or two. So there it sits in my freezer, and I try to discipline myself not to eat it until I am in the Ethiopian neighborhood again and can get some injeera.

This stew is the perfection of my practice based on the observation that many foreign foods I love start as onion reductions.

It took 2 days and all my patience, but I did it! (I think my boyfriend did the dishes, though.)

Day 1: chopped a gazillion onions (can't remember if I found local ones left or not) and left them in a crock pot overnight.

Day 2: added tomato sauce, tomato paste, "Maggi" brand chicken broth seasoning (which I might not buy anymore, but I bought about a 10-year supply in 2005 after a Mandingan (sp?) friend told me it's what he uses), and, I think, some salt. Later added a bit of water? Not sure. Then ground goat--the last of my supplies from a co-op that had just branched out into carrying locally raised goat and then shut down. Peeled & chopped some local potatoes pretty small. Found that my local carrots from the first week of November had stayed all right in "green bags" in the fridge (not surprised--the farmer told me his carrots would last a long time). It was early in the day yet, so I had the energy to dice them. I definitely like that. Also diced the parsnip cores I couldn't manage to shred for that birthday cake. I'd saved them in a Tupperware, thanks to Pam Anderson's advice not to throw leftover fish & chicken away, in case you want it shredded on a salad.

Boy, oh boy, what else went in there...

Well...cloves galore. (Which is funny, because I thought I hated cloves. Turns out they're fine in slow-cooker stew with lots of far eastern spices. It took forever to crush them with the back of a spoon instead of a mortal & pestle (I didn't have one!). Crushed cumin seeds & crushed cilantro seeds (also w/ the back of a spoon), curry powder, pepper...I don't remember what else. Things that weren't spicy and were listed on the back of my roommate's "Indian" spice mixes. Plus perhaps a few random Euro stew things. Oregano? Maybe a pinch of herbes de provence, but not enough to make the dish taste like them? Cinnamon, I'm sure. Parsley, maybe? (It's in Lebanese sausage, I found out the other day.) Oh, a bit of allspice, but I tried not to overdo that. I don't know...stuff. And same with what went into it...did I have more veggies around? Can't remember.

It cooked forever because that water at the beginning was a mistake--it ended up with plenty--and now I needed to reduce it to "glop." I also wanted to make sure I didn't eat raw ground goat meat.

Oh, I remember! I used a potato masher to crush a huge can of chick peas and threw that in as thickener, too! I would've loved to have lentils in it, but I don't think I ever found any. I also put in lots of pressed garlic--probably the very last locally grown garlic available in town (I hope what I have left lasts, since I don't have a root cellar!)

At the very end, I put in collards I'd treated myself to (yeah, they were out of season here and had been for at least a month).

Since the ingredients were only sort of local, I tried to eat it over large portions of wild-harvested, MN wild rice (I mixed a little white rice in).

I thought maybe my boyfriend was sick of stew on rice, and I wanted to save some stew for injeera, anyway. I rummaged through the freezer and found out I'd bought frozen walleye! Score! I botched cooking it (thought I could saute it w/o breading it), but I did get the remains of the butter & skin off the frying pan with farmer's market apple cider and local butter. Plus, the "pan sauce" that that resulted in even tasted good--though it didn't go with fish at all. As a side dish, I lucked out--frozen vegetables are available locally grown & packed around here.


This one was a good budget item: I got a bag of apples, only half of which I've had the patience to peel so far, for $5.

There were probably 30+ apples, averaging medium size, in that bag.

Step 1: peel apples & pick out bad parts after neglecting them for weeks after buying in December. Step 2: chop 'em. Step 3: Leave 'em in a crock pot. Step 4: Mash 'em with a potato masher. Step 5: Leave 'em in a crock pot. Step 6: Refrigerate (can last about 3 weeks, the farmer told me). Step 7: Freeze (can last till next apple season, though don't be surprised when it thaws runny--freezing broke most of the water-retaining cell walls).

I wonder what the nutritional value of applesauce is compared to apples. It didn't take up that much space--the apples reduced to at least half their size. Plus, one apple's worth of applesauce just doesn't seem as filling as an apple. Some of what's filling is water that's in an apple but evaporated out of applesauce. the air between "apple" molecules filling, too? How much applesauce should I be eating to have "an apple a day," and how much is letting the non-fillingness fool me into gluttony?

Mashed celeriac/potato/sunchokes (w/ salt/pepper/milk & some pressed garlic I've been hoarding) & lasagna.

Holy crap. An image linked in this blog is #2 on a "Google Images" search for "mashed celeriac." What the...?

Note: potatoes are ready to mash in 5-10 minutes. Celeriac & sunchokes, more like 20-30 or more. Do NOT "test" the potatoes for doneness by squeezing them with the tongs to see if they break apart. They will. And you'll still need your hot water for your other root veggies, meaning you can't strain for the potato crumbs you just made.

(How do I know this? *whistles innocently*)

I'm glad I finally made myself get ground beef. I kept ending up using deer, lamb, elk, pork...where I should've been using burger meat. What a way to run through money! (Yet probably less expensive than making a special run for beef or eating out because I couldn't make anything.)

Anyway, with ground beef bought while I was already out shopping and nicely tucked in the freezer, I was able to make lasagna! (On the beef trip, I bought a block of mozzarella for an eventual lasagna pan.)

Had trouble finding cheap ricotta that was mere ingredients I could pronounce, then finally remembered I'd found the local, real, & cheap cheese I'd found was at a mainstream grocery store. Didn't feel like running to one and bought the overpriced organic, local, real-ingredients ricotta.

I think I'm supposed to mix the shredded mozzarella into the ricotta or something, but I forgot & just put it on top. Along w/ shredded parmesan that's been in our fridge forever yet only had one small spot of mold to cut off (weird).

Just realizing I forgot to put any vegetables in it (I have frozen spinach, I think, but didn't use it). No wonder it tastes so rich.

I was exhausted by the time the meat should've gone in and didn't want another dish, so I threw it in raw. Don't know if it cooked fully while in the oven. I'll just microwave every piece I eat.

Still haven't done the dishes.

Will I use the last of the fresh food?
Last week, I found burdock (finally in tiny enough slices to make it worth tasting something I might not like!), celeriac, jerusalem artichokes, watermelon radishes, and spanish radishes still available locally grown. I was surprised about everything but the burdock. I thought those other 4 were "December-only" foods.

And perhaps they might be, some years--by this week, at a different store, the radishes seemed to be from California.

Too bad I let my burdock, watermelon radishes, and spanish radishes go soft. (They shriveled in 4 or 5 days in the fridge, then even more once I took them out of the fridge. Way to go, Katie.) I took a bite out of the center of the watermelon radish, and thought, "Yup, tastes like a radish." The main value in those things, I think, is having them firm all the way to the edge so you can actually slice them up & show them off. Still haven't tasted a black Spanish radish, since I let one shrivel last year, too, then wouldn't buy a California one to replace it. The sunchokes I'd left out, but they were shriveled by the time I got around to using them (6 or 7 days).

Not much left--just sunchokes (probably only a week or two longer), burdock, some root veggies I'm really not looking forward to eating (maybe I can stand them in goat stew)...

Even the potatoes that were around at the end of December (after the onions stopped being local) are gone. (Note: fancy potatoes finish here around the end of November--that's when my roommate could get red, but no longer blue, potatoes.)

(Awful, icky confession in the "

I need to get serious about washing my old Tupperware. Over the past few years, I've accumulated many while thrift storing, and I'm sure I have plenty of freezer-burn-resistant Tupperware. But, you see, I'm...I'm one of those people who doesn't wash Tupperware the night it came home from work and, as the stuff gets more and more caked on, hides it...and becomes less and less likely to unearth it once I know it's got mold, too.

I salvaged my moldy Tupperware in the summer of 2006, when I could do it outside with a hose and let all the mold sit on the grass, but I didn't bother in 2007. Actually, I didn't find the bag of collected dirty Tupperware my boyfriend put together in the dead of winter of 2007 until the end of September, 2007, and then I made lots of excuses to ignore it.

Anyway, NO BUYING. I just have to have the self-discipline to get that bag to my boyfriend's house, remember to take it out of the trunk of my car, and run everything that's only lightly crusted through his dishwasher so I can handle a round of hand-scrubbing. (I think if I do that, I can get through my freezer-safe crunch until summer, when I'll do the ones that are half-full of mold.)

It's strange to think that the "easy" solution for someone with my cleaning problems in my culture is to throw the things away and start over. That costs are so externalized that prices are actually low enough to do that.
Anyway, I refuse. I refuse to take advantage of that cost externalization.

Cash Crops as American food, clothing, & other items

Today my newspaper reported that one out of every three kids born in an urban/suburban area will be born in a slum this year.

*heart seizes*

I did this. Not as much as some people, I know, but then...what I didn't people did.

We buy those damned cash crops. We buy them and buy them and buy them and just won't make ourselves stop. cartels...expropriate the best land in these countries for cash-crop exports, usually monoculture crops requiring large amounts of pesticides, leaving less and less acreage for the hundreds of varieties of organically grown foods that feed the local populations.
-Michael Parenti, "Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty In The World," April 24, 2007.

"Expropriate the best land."
"Expropriate the best land."
"Expropriate the best land."

How can we handle buying anything made out of cash crops from other parts of the world?

*face in hands*

Why have my people insisted on eating things made out of coffee beans, cocoa beans, tea leaves, black pepper, coconut parts, lemon parts, and tropical plant oil for so many centuries? (We got widely literate off land-expropriatingly-grown coffee & tea in 17th/18th-century salons, but for God's sake, why won't we stop???)

I know it's not a complete answer, but I keep feeling like it would do a lot of good within 20 years--and on a longer term perhaps help problems, say, 50%--if we stopped buying things made from "cash crops" of other parts of the world and refused to start up again, no matter what messages marketers put out.

Recent headlines from the blog "Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:"