The wrong magics

May 31st, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food | Introspection | Soapbox | Social - (0 Comments)

In which I continue to try to figure out why I care so much about people being wrong.

today in the shower i gave an imaginary person a lecture about chiropractic:

“chiropractic doesn’t do anything but separate people who can afford it from their money

“there are one or two adjustments that actually do something, apparently, but you can get those, when indicated, from any physical therapist. if you get them from the chiropractor, you probably didn’t need them anyway

“when people leave the chiropractor feeling better, it’s placebo. because most of the time they don’t go for the two demonstrably effective adjustments in chiropractic’s arsenal

“chiropractic is a scam, probably not a deliberate one (i’m sure most of its practitioners are sincere, if deluded by their training), but a scam nonetheless because we know that ‘subluxated’ bones don’t cause disease, period, and interesting but ineffective cracking sounds don’t get muscles to move bones ‘back’ where they ‘belong’

“the whole concept is bunk; i mean, it was a cool concept in its time. but, alas, a totally and completely wrong one

“point being you should probably spend your relaxation money on a licensed massage therapist, a sex worker, or an hour in a hot tub.

“and definitely avoid neck adjustments. once in a huge great while, if certain things come together in a certain way, you can be dead of the stroke caused by that neck adjustment even before nightfall!”

NOW:

since chiropractic is almost entirely harmless placebo, why do i care about it?

I DON’T KNOW

i don’t know why i care about any of the rest of it, either, from raw milk to chemtrails to alkaline diets

none of it affects me directly! it doesn’t matter! i don’t know anybody who is refusing chemo for kale ‘n’ chlorophyll smoothies, and if i did i’d probably be like, fine, if that’s how you want to die, i respect that, but please get yourself set up with palliative care asap

last night i got drunk on pinot grigio and wrote a post about raw milk or some shit, and apparently posted it without a title or anything, because some roos on facebook were telling me things that are all absolutely untrue, and drunk me HAD TO WRITE A THING but didn’t want to get in yet another pointless comment war with people who want to be wrong

plus i know it doesn’t matter

if you’re healthy and hale and want to drink raw dairy, fine, whatever, you’ll probably live,

but OMFG WHY DO YOU HAVE TO ARGUE SO FIERCELY WHEN YOU ARE DEMONSTRABLY FACTUALLY INCORRECT

i can show you these claims have all been refuted by experts!

and you’ll do what people do, you’ll say dumb shit about ‘dairy shills‘ and trot out baby-tier conspiracy theories in which pasteurization was not, in fact, a scientific breakthrough that made a measurably vast improvement on the quality of human life, but is, in fact, just like vaccines, THE MAN tryna PUT US DOWN

another friend recently started posting about chemtrails, of all things. CHEMTRAILS. the first time she did it i responded with “lol” because that’s what you do when you’re not crazy, but she wasn’t kidding

and IT DOESN’T MATTER, it’s ultimately harmless, really, if people want to believe that water vapor is a vast government conspiracy of mind control/poison/weather manipulation/insert batshit insane crazy nonsense here, and i don’t know why i give a shit

BUT I DO

it drives me nuts that people want to be stupid

it drives me nuts that people get so violently angry when you show them that what they believe is incorrect

it drives me nuts that people want to base their very identities on shit that isn’t even true

somebody got super pissed when i said the ‘50% of marriages end in divorce trope’ was never true. i remember enjoying having learned something new, when i learned that stat was a lie, but other people do not enjoy learning something they’ve “always known” is wrong. it infuriates them and they attack you like their very lives are in danger, which, according to brain scientists, is how it feels, i guess

whenever i find myself repeating something ‘everyone knows’ i tend to go look it up now, because a bunch of it is wrong. the divorce rate peaked at 40% in the 80’s and has been in decline ever since. the average human utilizes about 64 ounces of water a day, but it comes from the food and drink we consume so there’s never been any need to pour an additional 8 glasses of water down your gullet. body heat radiates from everywhere equally, not mainly from one’s head. glass is not a liquid, it’s an amorphous solid. if you touch a baby bird to put it back in its nest, its mother will not reject it.

and so on.

i have given up “believing” anything at all about, for example, human diet. i was rabidly low-carb for awhile, but humans ate carbs for ten thousand years before the obesity epidemic started, so it’s not just carbs, or even refined carbs, because we were eating those for hundreds of years before we all got fat, so i just don’t know. and it’s okay for me not to know.

i used to believe that vegetarians were healthier and longer-lived because some diet book or another told me so when i was 20-something, but since then i’ve learned that those things are not true.

and in general i don’t care what you eat, unless it’s something stupid, like smoothies

other friends of mine post their morning beverages on instagram and they have an old-fashioned juicer that spits out the fiber pulp of the fruits and vegetables they’re juicing (so they’re basically drinking sugar) and they drink chlorophyll daily and “believe” it’s healthy

except it’s just another health food trend in an almost infinite line of them that does nothing measurable but get your cash out of your wallet rather neatly

but they’re very healthy people with low risk factors and they do use the fiber in their diets elsewhere so it probably doesn’t matter IN ANY SIGNIFICANT WAY if they feel their morning juicing ritual is good for them, but it just makes my fingers itch

because at best it does nothing, and at worst it gives one of them type 2 diabetes since taking the sugar out of whole fruits and vegetables and ingesting it all at once causes blood sugar spikes normally regulated by the fiber the juicer takes out and if you’re going to take risks shouldn’t they at least be in the form of wine or downhill skiing or something fun rather than a beverage ritual done because people think it’s “healthy”?

if i’m going to have that much sugar, it’s not going to be some fruit and vegetable combo that tastes like sweet dirt, it’s going to be a chocolate malt. at least the dairy fat may mitigate the sugar the tiniest bit, and i’m not going to delude myself into thinking it’s “healthy”

“healthy” is the opposite of diseased. it’s not something you can get better at. like, if you’re healthy, you’re not going to get somehow “healthier” if you do a few weird things to your diet

i take no supplements. zero. none. haven’t for a decade at least, because i learned that they do nothing at best, and poison you at worst, plus they’re expensive and i’d prefer to spend my money on pinot grigio and chrome baskets for my bicycle and vacations

DOES IT MATTER IF PEOPLE BUY SUPPLEMENTS THAT DON’T DO ANYTHING AND ARE GENERALLY HARMLESS?

um, no, i have to say, no, it doesn’t really matter

they can afford it, it makes them feel like they’re doing something, most supplements aren’t toxic or anything (although some are, and will fucking put you in organ failure)

it just BUGS THE SHIT OUT OF ME anyway

why is my species so gullible, so prone to magical thinking about the wrong magics, so fiercely violent when you tell them they’re incorrect?

and why do i care?

I DON’T KNOW!

i “believe” less and less as time goes by, but the world isn’t less magical. i don’t know much of anything about “being healthy” because NOBODY promulgating diet advice ACTUALLY DOES. i don’t take pills or drink smoothies or buy kale, because those are all dumb fads.

fermenting? well, i don’t know, and neither do you. the WHO says it’s linked to stomach cancer, so maybe ferment with restraint and very, very, very clean equipment. the discovery of a second ‘brain’ in the gut does not necessarily equate with anything going on in the fermenting movement. the bacteria that like to eat the sugars in your ferments are not necessarily the ones you want in your gut biome, plus a lot of the bacteria you eat don’t survive the acids in your stomach, plus some of your biome is yeasts, plus nobody knows yet, and probably won’t in this lifetime, so what you ‘believe’ about your ‘healthy’ ferments and your gut biome is mostly made-up nonsense and your results are more likely to be placebo than anything you’re actually doing

what i do is eat a varied diet of less-processed foods and monitor my caloric intake. brown rice, whole wheat flour, beans and legumes. lots of fat, because fat is delicious. i do not drink 64 oz. of water daily, but i do have at least a glass.

i’m overweight, which we know increases numerous risk factors, so i assume my diet and lifestyle are not ideal. but it’s also true that every female relative i have looked about like this at my age, so there’s definitely strong genetics here as well, and hey, most of them are very long-lived anyway. and i prefer moderated enjoyment of a variety of foods over fear and guilt and magic rituals involving blenders or fermenting jars.

so, most of what everybody ‘believes’ is harmless, even if it’s wrong, and i know that but it’s DRIVING ME NUTS to be constantly bombarded with bullshit. no, milk is not filled with pus. no, vaccines do not cause autism. no, kale isn’t a ‘superfood,’ because ‘superfood’ is a flawed concept to begin with (if you have scurvy, a lemon is a superfood; the rest of the time it’s just a lemon. kale has never cured anything, as far as we know, except hunger, temporarily). no, the alkaline diet does not cure cancer. no, chelation therapy is not effective ‘against’ autism. no, vegans aren’t healthier. no, no, no. i know it doesn’t matter that you’re wrong, but you are, and it drives me nuts that you WANT TO STAY THAT WAY.

your mind is the only tool you have. the only one. you cannot get enlightened without a mind. you NEED the fucking thing functioning properly, which means you need to be able to use it to discriminate between reality and unreality, truth and lie, fact and fiction. letting it fill up with shit is just a bad idea, i guess. clear it out, throw that shit away, just be with what is, rather that what you think you need in order to shore up your ego. get rid of beliefs rather than collect them.

be wrong.

let go.

listen.

I’ve invented Chipotle!

May 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Domestic Goddess | Food | Recipes - (0 Comments)

In which I cooked, like, all afternoon, basically.

Today, I made two salsas:

Salsas and an air plant!

A hot poblano-corn relish:

Poblano corn relish

Spicy black beans:

Black beans

Mexican brown rice. That weird cottage cheese guacamole I make. And shredded chicken, for him.

Cheddar, sour cream.

There’s leftover queso blanco dip, so I heated that up, too! What the hell!

Fuckin' yum!

Look at that. Fuckin’ delicious burrito bowl.

Dinner

And I didn’t even have to put on pants!

Blathering on about change

April 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Food | Introspection | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which I catalog not terribly relevant stuff!

Realizing that your youth is well and truly over is so fucking weird.

One, you now know that people don’t even know what youth is until they’ve left it. Two, now you’re a grown up, and you’ve finally gotten some wisdom and some work ethic, and now you do chores because you prefer to have a somewhat tidy apartment rather than out of childish resentment, but you can’t help mourning your lost measurements rather than being grateful you’ve lived long enough to even become middle-aged.

I have no idea what to do with this body. It’s fat. It’s low energy. It’s hard to dress because it’s basically square, and it’s even harder to lever up off the floor. I’ve been dieting for months, and after losing an initial 4″ off my waist: nothing. No change whatsoever that isn’t monthly cycle-related. I mean, I feel better, yeah, but I’m still fat.

Also, the diet’s morphed from a sincere LCHF attempt to just plain old calorie restriction, because I wanted to eat some motherfucking beans and bread already, but since I tend to end up gorging once a week my calorie restriction attempt isn’t all that legit. You’re eating a thousand calories a day for six days, then you have a 2,100 calorie day because you can order literally any meal you can think of to be delivered.

Doubtless our bodies evolved for frequent bouts of lack, but our brains engineered themselves into a future completely filled with food.

I mean, where, exactly, is the line between reasonable discipline and self-flagellation. Being on a diet can turn the normally pleasant act of eating into an unsatisfying chore. “Oh, well, I’m hungry, and I have 300 calories left for the day. Looks like I need more protein, but the idea of a cheese and olives and almonds again makes me just not want to eat.”

My hair. I don’t want to be vain and idiotic, but: my hair. It’s so fine, and thinning, it’s brittle and frizzy, and it looks like shit. I don’t want to be attached, I don’t want to resist what is just regular old change, but MY GODDAMNED HAIR. I’m trying not to be negative about what’s happening to my skin with the puffiness and the wrinkles and the sagging and the — based on what my relatives look like — unavoidable jowls, but MY HAIR.

I feel like my boobs are more or less normal, I guess, especially when I have them squished into a sports bra so they’re not getting in the way, until I see myself in the mirror and realize I now have Matron Bosom. What the actual fuck.

I watch a lot of period TV, espcially British period TV, and I feel like I should replace all my clothes with, like, whatever 48-year-old adult women should be wearing, but I have no idea what that is. Used to be a dress and sensible shoes, I guess, or a pantsuit? What do 48-year-old women wear now, leggings and tunics? And what do you even do about Matron Bosom?

I’ve spent the last week in a pair of boxy sweat pants and a tank top, with some long sleeved t-shirt or another. I never leave the building.

All those years I thought I was fat! All those years! Now that I actually am, I want to go back and smack myself upside the head for wasting energy on nonsense.

All those things older women wore and said that I thought were ironic but weren’t. All those things older women wore and said that I thought weren’t ironic but actually were.

I’m in a relationship that feels comfortable and easy, but I never could have been in it before. Part of it working as well as it does is that my body doesn’t want to go out and do stuff all the time, and he’s a homebody. If I were even ten years younger, we’d probably be, if not fighting, at least getting along less well, because instead of doing the dishes I’d be out at a my full-time job or with friends at the bar or at a gig or just somewhere he wasn’t.

These days I just don’t want to go do things very often. Couple times a month rather than couple times a week. I really can’t even imagine him with a woman his own age, to be honest, which is probably why he ended up with my old ass!

We get along so, so well, but as I am now and not as I used to be. When we met, I had a robust social life and a band. I was out all the time (even if I was getting sick of the band and beginning to realize that “going out” wasn’t any fun without the drinking; that it really wasn’t about the people as much as I’d thought).

These days, when I go out, he stays awake until I’m home, and usually texts me things like “???” if I close the bar. I feel conflicted about that; on the one hand, I’m fucking thirteen years older than he is, and I can stay at the VFW until it closes if I goddamned well feel like it. On the other, he actually gives so much of a shit about me that he stays awake and texts me when I’m out alone. And not because he’s a controlling fuck, because he’s not, but because he cares.

Right now, I have an embroidered pillowcase on my pillow. Last night as we were preparing to go to bed, he turned it over for me so the smooth side was up. He does shit like that every single day. Like I said before, relationships aren’t hard work at all when you’re not with an asshole.

Amma’s summer tour schedule has been announced and I’m obsessed with my job’s time off board. It currently ends June 30, and they should have posted the first week of July yesterday but didn’t. I want July 4 & 5 so we can go to the D.C. programs again, but might not get them if I don’t request the 4th the second it’s posted. Other option is Boston the 1st & 2nd, but it’s farther so the airfare would probably be more. I haven’t been to the Boston programs since Reni and I drove the East coast part of the tour probably fifteen years ago. Old me probably wouldn’t even consider driving the tour because it’s so exhausting. (I mean, if Mother herself told me to get on the tour bus, I would, but like that’s ever gonna happen.)

The best part of being shaped like a sailing frigate is that I still wake up with zits! Somebody once told me they’d go away when I grew up, but they never did!

The day before yesterday, it was 70F. Last night, it snowed. LOL Minnesota.

In which there’s a picture of food, because isn’t that what the internet’s for?

Look! It’s the spinach frittata from The Lowry.

Spinach Frittata

It was delivered, of course, because we never go out, especially not for brunch.

The love of my life is basically impossible to roist out of his home for trivial things like eating out or interacting with humanity. He’s great at errand-running, and typically does the grocery shopping, even, but I can only nag him into going out for brunch a couple of times per year.

Anyway, it’s a spinach and basil chiffonade frittata with brie and oven-roasted tomato, Parmesan, and herbs; sided with hashbrowns, rye toast, and a cup of Hollandaise.

The Hollandaise, shockingly, was real (and not the instant, lemon-flavored gravy you often get). The frittata was rubbery and overcooked, but the toppings were brilliant! Super-crispy browns, too!

This and a couple cups of coffee with heavy cream is all I’ll eat today, because whenever I have a high-carb day I keep my calorie intake really low.

Potatoes! Toast! Carb indulgence!

Dip

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food | Soapbox | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which I don’t understand.

Why do store-bought dips suck?

I bought a huge container of artichoke-jalapeno dip last weekend, and while it isn’t exactly inedible, it’s really not good.

You can safely buy salsa — well, many of them, at least — and those sort of 70’s-style chip dips (like French onion or whatever), and a few bean or cheese dips, from, like, Tostitos.

But guacamole? Awful. Creamy spinach or artichoke dips? Bad. I’ve never bought a hummus that wasn’t mediocre at best, and bitter at worst.

Which is so weird, because it seems like pre-made dips would be really easy to get right. Especially hummus! Or spinach and/or artichoke dip, or guacamole!

In which I’m dieting.

Tired (again) of being fat and miserable. Dieting (again) in an effort to be less fat and less miserable.

As a vegetarian, I find it very difficult to do really low-carb, so I’m doing a combination of “as few carbs as possible” and calorie restriction.

Eating a lot of eggs, tofu, Boca burgers, olives, and nuts.

Diet jello or Crystal Light when I’m desperate for a “treat.”

CURRENT STATUS: Desperate for a bowl of fettuccine Alfredo. Or mac ‘n’ cheese. Seriously. WANT. So, so bad.

I’m in my third week. I’ve lost a few inches off my waist, have more energy, and feel better overall. My nighttime teeth-grinding and snoring seem to be reducing. I’m meditating daily and ticking off the boxes on my housewifery list with much less struggle. My laundry is done. My mood is much improved (although being off the phones at work while I’m on the 90-day chat pilot also helps).

But I’m still fat. My current hip measurement is forty-three inches, which is insane for a person with a 30″ inseam.

Being fat is miserable. Fatigue, bloating, back pain, low energy, and a pervasive feeling of dis-ease and discomfort.

But beans are a huge part of my usual diet, and I’m missing them. (I had half a cup of refried beans yesterday, but they’re high in carbs, and so are rationed. I miss them.)

Tofu is so boring. OMFG. I fry it in ghee with spices, and put it in broth or eat it with sriracha mayo for dip, but it’s so boring.

Fried tofu

One gets bored of eggs. And you can only eat a single can of tuna per week if you don’t want to over-mercury yourself… so getting enough protein is hard when you’re a lacto-ovo pescatarian-who-is-really-mostly-vegetarian.

But seriously: a huge plate of creamy, gooey noooooodles, with garlic French bread?! And a lovely, light salad? Am I right?!

Or a broccoli-cheddar pot pie with lots of gravy, or a baguette with brie!

Gah!

Oh, well. No refined carbs for me. I guess it’s more omelets.

Feta omelet

Current status

February 5th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Domestic Goddess | Food - (0 Comments)

In which it’s Superb Owl Sunday, and I’m not even sure who’s playing!

It’s 1:24 in the afternoon and I’ve already downed this:

Bloody Mary

(It’s a brilliant bloody mary with lots of pickle juice.)

And this:

Tostada

(A mostly-homemade bean tostada of excellent excellence.)

Life is a wonderful — and delicious and tipsy — thing!

Force it through a sieve!

December 9th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Food | Recipes - (2 Comments)

In which I’m astonished at the texture!

I like to read recipes. I have liked to do so since they were in actual books rather than on the internet.

I especially like to read old recipes. The oldest through the newest, to see what’s changed and what’s the same. Ancient recipes, medieval recipes, 20’s recipes, 70’s recipes. War time recipes, Southern recipes, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean and Indian and Ethiopian, I like to read recipes.

Well, even in the first version of The Joy of Cooking I ever owned, which was an 80’s version, they sometimes directed you to “force it,” whatever it was, “through a sieve.”

In fact, a surprising number of older recipes direct the cook to force “it,” the soup or sauce or whatever, through a sieve, before adjusting the seasonings and serving.

I have never in my life forced anything through a sieve, because I assumed that modern blenders obviated the need.

I WAS INCORRECT AS FUCK.

Here’s the scenario:

Yesterday, I made broccoli cheddar soup in the electric pressure cooker. I used a bag of cheap, frozen broccoli, because it’s been so long since I’ve bought cheap, frozen broccoli that I’d forgotten why nobody ever buys cheap, frozen broccoli: the bags are always half-filled with stems rather than florets, and the stems are woody as fuck. Every. Single. Time.

Once cooking was done I opened the Instant Pot, removed the liner, and carried it over to the counter, where I proceeded to blend the soup with the immersion blender. Super excited to nom down a bowl of homemade soup! Ladled some into a bowl, toasted up some whole wheat homemade sourdough, and sat down at the table.

Delicious!

Except, um, a little fiber of stem. Kind of unpleasant, but not a big deal–

And another. And another.

And another!

Aaaaand basically this soup is inedible, because after every spoonful you’re taking bits of what basically amount to centimeter-long hairs out of your mouth.

UGH!

Later that evening, I blended it again, well past what your typical broccoli cheddar is like, far into cream soup territory.

Tasted it again.

Same fucking thing: tiny little hair-like fibers in every mouthful!

So there was only one thing left, before throwing out the whole pot: force it through a sieve.

sieve

Turns out something that thick will not go through a sieve on its own, hence the word “force.” Turns out you use the back of a big spoon (I used a small ladle) to push it through. Doesn’t take too long, once you find the right spoon.

And then, OH. MY. GOD. The texture! Not only is that stupid stem fiber gone, but they are not fucking kidding about this forcing-it-through-a-sieve bullshit. What comes out is silky smooth and luxurious and amazing.

How have I never done this before?!

Moral: If it says force it through a sieve, then fucking force it through a sieve.

Even if you’ve used modern blending equipment. Just do it. It’s so worth it!

In which there are a variety of reversible, seasonally appropriate motherfucking handmade placemats!!!

When your mom is psychic:

IMG_20160923_161114

You buy a table and you think, damn, some placemats sure would be great.

AND THEN YOUR MOM SENDS YOU A BOX OF THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE BLUE, AND THERE’S, LIKE, DIFFERENT ONES FOR MAJOR HOLIDAYS AND SEASONS AND STUFF, AND SHE MADE THEM HERSELF, AND NOW YOU’RE LIKE FUCK SEPTEMBER, IT NEEDS TO BE OCTOBER ALREADY SO I CAN USE THE HALLOWEEN ONES!

Place mats

They’re like little blankets for your table, really.

In which I wax enthusiastic about a very old product!

Even with shipping, I got a frying pan, a sauce pan, and two lids for $25. Which is a really decent price, considering you could easily pay almost that for a lidded 6″ non-stick that you’d have to throw out and replace in two years.

Well, I just bought these

Behold the P-81-B, which is the 1-pint covered sauce pan on the left, and the P-83-B, the 6-1/2 inch covered skillet you see on the right! The “P” series ran from 1958 to 1972, so these pans are 44 years old at the very youngest, and they could easily be older than I am by a decade.

These things are awesome! They heat up just as fast as cheap non-stick pans, and while they’re not non-stick per se, you can fry eggs and hamburgers in them with a little bit of butter and nothing sticks!

They’re also a pure and angelic white, so they look antiseptic as fuck. They scrub clean with remarkable ease.

Making dinner

They’re small and they have lids. I find that I’m cooking in them over much lower flame than I would with bigger pans, and of course lids keep the heat in too. Today I’ve fried a couple of eggs and a hamburger over very low flame in not much time at all. So they’re unexpectedly fuel-economical. Who knew!

And while you can’t buy either of these particular pieces new anymore, Corning Ware still offers some of the casseroles in this pattern. (I totally want them, and no doubt they’re worth every penny of the retail price, but if I do buy them I’ll probably buy them used because I’m cheap. You can almost see why so many companies went for planned obsolescence rather than quality when you contemplate that Corning Ware’s 50-year-old pieces are viably competing with their brand-new products.)

I love their sizes; great for cooking for one or two. (Not to mention great for not cooking far too much food every time you step up to the stove.) I’m not really sure why pan sizes have grown and grown when family sizes are smaller; I do know that when I was learning to cook I always made far too much food because the pots and pans were so big.

Knowing that the sauce pan holds exactly enough soup for two small bowlsful makes me happy.

I’m pretty sure there are a couple of these in my g’ma’s kitchen, but I didn’t cook with them much (beyond occasionally using one to put something in the toaster oven). I always used the small non-stick to fry or scramble eggs rather than the Corning Ware frying pan; habit, I suppose. Plus they look like they should stick, after years of using Teflon-coated pans, but they don’t.

I think between these and a decent cast iron pan or two, a person could easily give up cheap, disposable non-stick pans entirely! (I can’t speak for high-dollar non-stick cookware, because I’ve never had any.)

I love these pans!