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Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM PST

What’s For Dinner? v6.32: Corny Meat

by tvb

St. Patrick’s Day will be here in one week. In America, it's nearly a national holiday right up there with um, Halloween. The notion of dressing up in kelly green clothes to march down the road on the way to drinking way too much green beer, and turning our rivers green is truly an American way of recognizing the saint who, ironically, wasn’t even Irish. St. Patrick was actually born in Britain but was taken to Ireland as a captive slave in his teens. He later returned there as a bishop.

According to the National Geographic, St. Patrick’s Day was considered a minor holiday in Ireland for most of the last century until the 1970s. Our love of green beer has since worn off on those who used to mark the day in a low key way.

Even the food we celebrate with - corned beef - is an American notion. While the history of corning, or pickling, meat dates back to the 18th century, it was mostly to accommodate the long-term storage of meat on trans-Atlantic trade routes, particularly on slave-trading routes. As a result, it was looked down upon as food only fit for slaves and the impoverished.

The growth of St. Patrick’s Day in America changed all that. We can thank the early Irish immigrants who wanted a day to remember their homeland. They may not eat it in Ireland but here in the US, we consider corned beef to be the national food of March 17th. The sales start up in the supermarket the week prior and for just a few dollars, you can buy a chunk of industrial cured beef and throw it in a pot of simmering water for several hours and pretend to be Irish, if only for a day.

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Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 04:38 PM PST

Finding My Way Here, Again

by tvb

I used to hang out here a lot. I joined DailyKos around the time Katrina was preparing to devastate the great city of New Orleans. At the time, it was mostly because I was eager for information and not having cable teevee, I found it was a great source of knowledge regarding the impending disaster.

Little did I know it would become a place I loved to read about the world around me, and participate in discussing it. My knowledge of the world around me increased, and I felt better about. I wrote diaries, I educated about intersex issues, and I had a ton of fun. I learned how to be a better gardener, and I learned how to do minor repairs around my home. I even started a franchise diary series that I am pleased to see still exists today - What's For Dinner. When I dreamed that up, I enlisted the eager participation of a couple of other Kossacks and it took off from there. I can't tell you how happy I am to see it still flourishing.

Then I fell out of touch. Life, as it often does, interrupted. I took a new job that has me commuting 60 miles each way into NYC five days a week, I married (okay - not really marriage but the consolation prize NJ offers up called a civil union) the woman of my dreams and she came as a package deal with two wonderful children. I began the learning process of figuring out how to be a mom in my mid-forties. I kind of forgot all about this place swathed in orange.

In December, I checked an email address I rarely use and saw the great push for lifetime memberships. I checked back in and quickly decided I would sign up for one. At the time, I figured I would never have the time to participate like I used to, but what the hell, I signed up anyways figuring it was a good investment of $100 that would last a lifetime.

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Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:15 AM PDT

My Healthcare Horror Story: Bankruptcy

by tvb

This is a diary I posted in September, 2005; it was the evening after I filed bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills, including a judgment for thousands of dollars.

Four years later, I still hold no regrets for doing so. It was still the days of easy credit so I was able to rebuild a credit history rather quickly and move on.  Today, I am thankful that I am one of the lucky ones with excellent health insurance.  Of course, the memory of what I went through is never far from my mind knowing that situations can change in a heartbeat.

I've got a full plate of chores and errands to accomplish today but will try to spend some time commenting as the day progresses.  

What did you do today?

I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy today.  

I had been trying to avoid it but I knew there was a deadline coming.  Things would be changing soon.  

It was one of the biggest, saddest things I did today, this month, this year, this lifetime.  When I left my attorney's office today, it felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

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Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 11:23 AM PST

My Day at the Inauguration

by tvb

My inaugural experience - one giant clusterfuck.

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Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 02:03 PM PDT

Dammit - I wanted to get 250K

by tvb

A short time ago I lifted my jaw off the floor after being informed that my car needs $2300 in repairs. Given my continuing gasping and silence, I suspect parts of my jaw have gone missing from the impact of it dropping.

And damn, I just put new tires on her not 2500 miles ago which begs the question - why didn't they notice I needed new four new struts and springs? (Pulls out tinfoil cranium adornment and impishly wonders if they sabotaged them hoping for the repair job!)

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Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 08:52 AM PDT

Tony Snow gives notice

by tvb

The AP is reporting that Tnoy Snow has given his two weeks notice.  His last day is September 14.

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This is almost a GBCW diary but it isn't. Instead, it's a diary about life aka that little annoyance that keeps TU status at bay. Like it or not, I'm not going anywhere - at least not tonight.

Oh sure, you can surmise I'm just whining about TUs and trolls and TU abuse and earned vs. unearned TRs.  But nooooooo, I'm whining about how TU status is definitely and inherently tied to the quality of your life.

Follow me for a tale that will have absolutely no impact on the quality of your life - real or imagined.  

Poll

I have ...

20%28 votes
9%13 votes
32%44 votes
13%19 votes
10%14 votes
11%15 votes
2%3 votes

| 136 votes | Vote | Results

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Just a few minutes ago the phone rang and woke me from a deep slumber upon the couch. Upon the first twinkle of light hitting my sleepy eyes, I realized the light at 6pm ET is precisely like the light at 620am ET.  That detail is important because while I searched out my phone from a pocket hidden in an unseen denim jacket, I thought I had slept through the night and overslept my insanely evil 5am shift start time at a fancy television network 60 miles away in NYC. I did that a few weeks ago in the middle of the move and since no one staffs my little part of the world overnights on weekend, there were many people very unhappy with me. So, while I frantically searched for the tolling phone and I thought I had done it again, I was also trying to think how I would explain getting fired from my job just a week after moving into a new home and signing a mortgage. But hey, at least a lot of shit is still packed up.

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Sure I can pinch hit What's for Dinner, I told Kate and Runs With Scissors (formerly known as someone else). I've certainly bailed a bunch of times and they've filled in for me so yes, I would be honored, I said.

And that was the last I thought about it for the week until about 10 minutes ago it seems like. No problem I thought, most of them are spontaneous for me and put together the afternoon they are published when it's my turn. I suspect that deadline flirtation is the result of working in the television news business for 15 years - the one thing I can say with certainty after all those years is that 6pm comes at the same time every day. So here I am facing that 6pm deadline without a damn idea what to write about. My stomach is growling; I keep looking in the pantry to see if anything palatable has moved in since the last time I looked about 15 minutes ago, ditto for opening the refrigerator. Nothing it seems is going to satiate my need for food or my need for a topic this evening for dinner.

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(author's note: It's an early dinner tonight. Pull up a seat, grab a beer and make yourself right at home.)

I have a confession to make.

In my pantry are spices that are 6 years old.  I know this because the package is dated and I know exactly where I purchased them - The Dekalb Farmers Market in Decatur, GA. I still lived there when I bought that curry powder and other flavor enhancers and when I moved, the plastic containers came along with me.

I'm currently packing up again and in doing so, took a good look at the contents of my pantry. Some of the stuff hasn't been opened for years. Curry powder? I can't stand the stuff and for the life of me have no clue why I would have purchased it in the first place. Dried spearmint?  Why o' why did I buy that? Maybe it was for tabouli. Ground nutmeg? Maybe I was planning to smoke it because nutmeg loses it's flavor approximately 3.9 seconds after being ground up. Other spices should generally be replaced after no more than a year. They do lose their taste and pungency after a while. By coincidence, that became clear the other day when I made my favorite spicy shrimp and it seemed to be lacking in something taste wise.

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You aren't really going to eat that, are you?

Come'on, admit it - in the secret recesses of your life you indulge in something that the vast majority of the free world would be generally grossed out upon. A few months ago, I stumbled upon some program airing in the middle of the night where they were eating rotten salmon. It's an Eskimo delicacy I learned. By the time they were savoring a repast of crunchy fried eyeballs, I had seen enough. Now, there is what I think is a new series featuring some guy travelling around and eating foods that most of us would declare gross. I've only seen it once and don't recall that he was eating anything all that gross, but that's probably because I have probably enjoyed it myself at some point.

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Tools, tools, and more tools.  

No matter what you are making in your kitchen, you need the proper tools to get it done. Without them, the fun of cheffing becomes a tiresome chore.

So, what are your must-haves in your kitchen? What can't you live without?

Over the course of my foodie lifetime, I’ve picked up all sorts of tools and gadgets for my kitchen. Some of them I can’t live without and others I forget I own them until the time comes to pack them up and move them into a new kitchen. I’ll be doing that again soon into a kitchen I suspect was designed by a fellow foodie. It’s not the biggest kitchen in the world but the layout and design is superb and it was one of the selling points for us (well, me anyways as I do most of the cooking).  With a new kitchen, it is likely I’ll want to get some new things to outfit it with to supplement the things I currently can’t live without.

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