More Cooking: Frybread

This NYT article is on frybread, a kind of bread that is made by Native Americans. The central dynamic of the article is that it is both a deeply meaningful cuisine embraced by many because of the beloved family members who made it a particular way; and also because it comes out of their traditions of shared suffering; but also that it is often rejected by activists because it is not in fact a traditional Native American food at all. It is a food that was developed after the United States government removed many of them from their lands and traditional foodways, one that they had to figure out from whatever dry good supplies the government put in their box.

Southerners will notice many parallels with our own cornbread debate. Also a few with our debate about biscuits, e.g., everyone's grandmother made the best ones and no one else does it quite right. Mine made them with bacon grease from yesterday's bacon, and served them with today's bacon, from which she reserved the grease for tomorrow's biscuits. She had a little tin she'd pour the hot grease into as she served the bacon, and tomorrow if you got up to watch her cook she'd scoop grease right back out of it to mix with the flour, baking powder, salt, and milk.

Cornbread, though, is where the big regional issue arises. Ask a Southerner if cornbread should be sweet, for example. There are passionate differences, but they really come down to questions about what kinds of materials were available in the very hard times either on the frontier or, later for the Deep South, after the Civil War. Appalachian Southerners deny that sweetness is at all appropriate, because sugar was not to be had in the hard times. Deep South Southerners, especially Black Southerners, insist that it is only proper if it is a bit sweet -- because sugar cane was relatively easy to come by in the wetter, hotter regions further South. Cotton grew better there also, which is why the black population came to know that particular kind of cornbread rather than the dry sort served in the mountains.

But of course this kind of hardship is where what I was just calling an essential cultural food develops. It is, I gather, why the Jews still eat certain foods at certain holidays -- in memory of hard times, some of them thousands of years ago. 

There's a place over on the Cherokee reservation that serves frybread with chili, chili being another food whose proper composition is hotly debated. The Eastern Band of Cherokee will have learned this frybread some other way, since they were never removed (in spite of significant efforts by the Federal government). I haven't had the stuff, so I don't know how either their frybread or their chili will sort along the debatable lines, but I will have to ride over and try it sometime. 

$449K per illegal immigrant, tops

The WH handlers clarify the President's meaning when he said the WSJ story about paying illegal immigrants $450K apiece for pain and suffering was "garbage." I consider this a $1 billion contribution in kind to the GOP 2022 campaign fund.

Cooking, High and Low

My wife and I were having a conversation yesterday about food, and how there is a strange disconnect between Americans and the French about which French dishes associated with country folk and common folk are a kind of 'high cuisine.' This is of course an accident of history, associated with the mid-century popularity of noted early special operator and famous cook Julia Child. Child was of course capable of cooking the 'highest' French dishes, having fallen in love with French cuisine after the war and arranging to become fully trained in the best schools. But she taught Americans a lot of common dishes as well, blurring the lines between the stuff that the French thought of as 'high' and 'low' so that the Americans came to see French cooking as a kind of high cooking per se

However, it occurs to me that it is often the country folk dishes -- the lowest of the low cuisine -- that ends up being recognized as the essential dish of that nationality. For Scots it is of course the Haggis; the Mexican national dish is mole that is made of various chilis and seeds, particularly served over turkey, and originally concoctions as much designed to try to preserve meats as to flavor them. You can all doubtless think of your own favorite examples of this. 

Yet then I thought of my time in China, where the 'essential' dish is surely Peking Duck -- a 'high' cuisine if ever there was one. The rural dishes sometimes make the running, like Sichuan cookery (my personal favorite of Chinese regional cuisines) or Hunan. The class hierarchy is better preserved there, though, even in spite of decades of Maoist leveling aimed at culture and class. 

Is this a feature of democratic revolutions in the West (certainly including Mexico and the United States, but also France and the United Kingdom)? Or is something else at work, do you think? 

Good excuse for an exit ramp from a policy that's killing them at the ballot box

And good news anyway, even if it is cynically appropriated: Pfizer seeks FDA approval for a COVID treatment pill that's even more effective, and a lot cheaper and easier, than monoclonal antibodies. Now if they can just resist the temptation to lie about the treatment's pros and cons and to make the treatment mandatory.

We'll do better next time

"Bottom line is, we simply came up short. The votes in the key 3 a.m. demographic just weren’t there.” Also, I can't get over the NJ trucker who upset the state senate president with a shoestring campaign. Not that anything untoward would ever happen in a state like NJ, but you have to think that if anyone had noticed what was going on they might have prepared a little package of extra ballots. As the joke goes, though, they probably were printed in China and got hung up on a container ship.

It's not vulgar, but it COULD have been

Lovely embedded cartoon about people borrowing trouble melting down over an inoffensive word that reminds them of something else that they'd like to be offended by, if only they could catch someone saying it out loud instead of simply understanding that they're probably thinking it really, really hard.

"I can't keep up with you kids and your crazy vulgarity."

“Lost,” You Say?

The FBI claims it lost high quality video of the Rittenhouse shootings. 
[Defense attorney] Richards reportedly said it is “preposterous” that the FBI allegedly lost the footage. Thomas Binger, the lead prosecutor, then told [Judge] Schroeder in regard to the FBI’s plane footage, that “the federal government is not under our control.”

Boy, that’s the truth.  

The Brandon Administration

This is such a strange time to be alive.

Regiment of Foot

"White women voters are footsoldiers of white supremacist patriarchy."

At this point we've traveled so far that the insults are farcical.

UPDATE: Even more than I realized: apparently Virginia elected a female former Marine who happens to be black to the lieutenant governor's position, a first ever for a black woman in Virginia, or even just a woman. There have probably been Marines before. 

For once, the media is helpful

Normally having an unprincipled media on your side is the wind at your back in an election, but it can backfire if the candidate smokes his own product. Timothy Carney argues that Terry McAuliffe listened to the WaPo's theory that parental concern about education was code for white supremacy and assumed that anything WaPo spouted was bound to work like a charm on undecided independent Virginia voters.
Having the news media as a yes man is dangerous.
* * *
Having the whole news media on your side is often helpful — such as when Joe Biden enjoyed a media blackout on his son’s influence-peddling. But when it convinces you that issues matter that don’t, or that issues don’t matter that do, it’s a handicap.
As Ben Shapiro put it the other day when Juan Williams floated this same theory, "Please, Democrats, make this your platform for 2022. I'm begging you." As a winning campaign message, it's right up there with "CRT doesn't exist--and it's awesome."

I realize McAuliffe hasn't conceded yet, but with so few votes uncounted this morning, I have my fingers crossed that even he and the national machine will judge this one a bridge too far.  if 138,000 D votes suddenly appear from someone's car trunk, another election contest may do them more harm than good nationally, no matter what it gets them in Virginia, especially if the message is "We had to contest this election, because Virginia parents are racist." 

Market fail

 I regret that this t-shirt does not yet appear to be offered for sale.

Elon Hits One Out of the Park

The UN should probably not play with this guy.

Saving America

The real issue here isn't that 30% of Republicans think that violence may be necessary, but that people still believe that America can be saved.
The finding is part of PRRI’s 12th annual American Values Survey released Monday which, among other things, highlights the continued impact of the same falsehoods and conspiracy theories...

If that's where you're starting from, of course you can't see the truth. At this point it's obvious that election laws were widely violated, and the Constitution ignored. What remains to be decided is whether a legitimate election can ever be held again; or, if not, what that means. 

The Most Important Matter

Keeping these people from being in charge matters more than anything else, except for metaphysical matters like salvation of our souls.

One More


The rift by Dillsboro. 

It’s going to be in the 20s this coming week. Fall is suddenly over.