Listen to Alien Invasion by Geist 171 #np on #SoundCloud
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What’s Wrong With Cultural Appropriation? Unpacking The Recent SFSU Incident – http://thoughtcatalog.com/garrett-l-grainger/2016/04/whats-wrong-with-cultural-appropriation-unpacking-the-recent-sfsu-incident/
So I’ll be honest: I’ve always had an issue with the universal nature with which the term “cultural appropriation” is (seemingly in my experience) applied and wielded without consideration for the potential of the “appropriator” (or perpetrator of appropriative behavior if you prefer) to have legitimate cause or justifiable explanation for their choice.
Much in the way that a man attempting to engage in a conversation about gender/sexuality issues might be told he ‘can’t have an opinion because [he] is male,’ this approach seems (to me) to alienate and isolate members of the privilege population (whose systemic conditioned behaviors are recognized as needing to change) instead of providing the opportunity for all parties involved to become part of an inclusive dialogue on the issue at hand. This second approach seems more likely on paper to achieve any result at all, let alone the desired result of changed systemic behavior patterns.
The way this article approaches the issue of appropriation is fantastic. It treats it as the undeniably important issue that it is, and explains incredibly well the importance of dialogue for social understanding and change. It allows for the possibility that whites do sometimes appropriate external influences out of respect for that culture or for similar, thought-out reasons, but (and to me this is vital) warns that anyone who does so should expect and prepare for scrutiny and some level of suspicion. If you don’t have a good reason to appropriate from another culture, you probably shouldn’t do it.
And while the argument of ‘freedom of expression/choice’ is one of my favorites, I can also recognize the elephant in the room:
200+ years of culture theft, misrepresentation, bigotry, and white-washing every goddamn thing that’s crossed our path as a society (pretty much every style of music since…oh let’s call it 1920 just to play it safe on either end) has earned us the distrust of pretty much any representative of any other culture. Period.
The only thing at which white people have ever truly excelled has been…well, we’ll call it taking everything that isn’t nailed the fuck down, by any means necessary.
There’s a word for that: Robbery. The taking of property by force or intimidation is called robbery. If we consider the intangible aspects of existence and culture as personal or cultural ‘property’ this becomes a horrifying rendition of our history, even if you blur out the really heinous parts. And when systemic social inequality can be recognized as ‘force’ or ‘intimidation’ it gets even worse.
So yes, like it or not, the fact remains. If you’re going to appropriate from another culture, you had better be ready to defend your reasons and do it well. Or you’re kind of a part of the problem.
We did it to ourselves through a history of exploitation. And the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can start taking steps together as a larger, unified society.
One of the things that has prevented me from more actively attempting to revive this blog in recent months has been purely technical: My computer died pretty much as soon as I retrieved it from my friend’s house and as odd as it sounds, finding a single blank DVD to fix the problem and reinstall my OS has been a surprisingly daunting task.
I’m not a fan of crafting expansive text-work on a phone. I miss my keyboard and I miss the multi-functionality of the software environment on my Ubuntu box, even if it’s a Frankenfossil. One positive aspect, however, is that I have a much easier time taking and applying pictures without unnecessary steps.
Which means this particular installment is going to hurt your feelings.
Because this is what we’re making today…
I’m sure this dish has some kind of technical culinary name, but I don’t have the faintest clue what it is. So I’m calling it Drunken Chicken. With garlic parmesan mashed potatoes.
Those of you who are familiar with the old Cook’s Couch segments may have already figured out I’m a fan of single-dish mixture meals; fried rices and pastas and such. Part of that is pure laziness or ease of process. This is a pretty distinct departure from that style of cooking.
For this, you will need:
1 Big-Ass Pot (1gal+ stockpot)
1 Big-Ass Skillet (12″-14″)
1 Little Saucepan (1-2qt)
1 chicken breast
2 Tbsp.* Alcohol**
2 Tbsp.* soy sauce(low sodium)
2 small yellow onions
12-15 baby carrots
2 stalks celery
1/2 lb. mushrooms
5-7 spears asparagus
10-12 fresh green beans
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 bulb garlic (3-5 Tbsp minced)*
Milk or heavy cream (maybe 1/2 cup)*
Butter (1/2 stick)*
*A note on measurements: I don’t really measure things. These measurements are used to give an idea of relative amounts. Maybe a shot of alcohol and an equal amount soy sauce, basically.
**For this dish, I strongly recommend Triple Sec. Tequila or Rum are both excellent for this, but Triple Sec adds the hint of citrus this dish needs without requiring the addition of fresh lime/orange juice and zest.
***I use a fairly consistent collection of ingredients to season almost all of my food.
-chinese five spice powder*
Okay, so now we get into the process. One reason I like this dish is that the cooking of the different parts stagger easily with each other.
First, dice the carrots, celery, and onions. One onion goes with the celery and carrots, the other goes on a separate plate (we’ll come back to that)
Now, cut off the bottoms from the asparagus spears. Cut the asparagus into three evenly sized lengths. Cut the tips off the green beans and cut them about the same size as the asparagus. Trim the stalks off the broccoli and cut the crowns into smaller pieces (refer to picture above)
Cut the mushrooms (I prefer quartered to sliced but whatever.) Half the mushrooms go with the brocolli, the other half go with that lonely diced onion.
If you’re starting with fresh garlic, mince your garlic now. Set aside about a third of the garlic, you’ll use that for the mashed potatoes later. The rest of the garlic will get spread around. Take about half of your remaining garlic and split it between the carrots/celery/onion mixture (called mirepoix) and the sort of random mushroom/onion setup. Start heating up the water for the potatoes.
Now, dice the chicken (1-inch pieces are good) and put it in a plastic container. Add alcohol, soy sauce, and the leftover garlic with reasonable dashes of all the seasonings (EXCEPT the basil.) Mix together by hand and set aside. Wash off your knife and cutting board.
Cut the potatoes. These are skin-on mashed potatoes so don’t bother peeling them. Just cut them in half and cut the halves into 4-6 pieces. When your water is boiling, add the potatoes and stir.
Start heating up the skillet for the main dish. Once its hot, add a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil (just enough for the bottom of the pan) and then add the mirepoix.
Once the onions start to turn translucent, push everything to the sides of the skillet. Let the center heat up fir 20-30 seconds and add the chicken. You’ll need to pull the chicken from the container instead of dumping it, you’ll need the remaining liquid in the container in just a minute.
Let it cook like that for a minute or two then mix it all together.
Once most of the pink has cooked out of the chicken, add the green beans and asparagus and the liquid from the chicken container (shouldn’t be too much) and then mix it together. Add some basil and another round of light seasoning and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring it regularly so nothing sticks.
Once the beans and asparagus start to soften a little, put the mushrooms and brocolli on top of everything. Don’t mix it in yet, it’s about to get tricky. Grab a lid (it only NEEDS to be big enough to cover the mushrooms and brocolli but as close to the size of the skillet you can manage) and pour about two tablespoons of cold water right over the top and cover it with the lid.
This technique will steam the brocolli and mushrooms. Put the saucepan on the stove and turn it on medium or medium-low. Put about half your butter in the saucepan with the mushrooms/onion/garlic, add a little salt and black pepper, and stir. Once the butter is mostly melted, it’s time to return your attention to the skillet.
Remove the lid and stir. Add a splash of soy sauce and alcohol, keep stirring it, you may even want to turn the heat down to keep it from burning or sticking.
Check your potatoes now, they should be pretty close to if not done. Grab a big potato chunk with a fork. If it falls apart pretty easily, they’re done. Turn them off and transfer the potatoes into a strainer and then into a big bowl.
Turn off the heat under the skillet but stir it again and leave it on the stove. The mushrooms and onions probably aren’t QUITE done yet but don’t worry. Add garlic, milk, butter, salt, seasonings (no five spice, no curry powder) and parmesan to the potatoes and mash/stir until the desired consistency. Turn off the heat under the mushroom/onion saucepan. And bam.
This makes about 3-5 servings, but it’s super easy to just add another piece of chicken and stretch it to 4-6 or even 8 servings if you make small additions to each of the vegetables, or add a few extra ones in.
Now, it wouldn’t be the Cook’s Couch without an entertainment pairing. Unlike previous installments, however, I’m attempting to improve accessibility for you, the reader, by finding something on Netflix.
Since Netflix has recently added it, our selection will be taken from Season 5 of Bob’s Burgers. Tonight’s episode is “The Gayle Tales.”
This is one of the anthology episodes, where the kids are grounded and must write essays in order to win the opportunity for a night out at Yarnival (“It’s like Cirque du Soleil, but with cats…”) with Aunt Gayle, who has been stood up.
One catch, the essays must contain Scott Bakula.
So go. Eat, drink, and be meow-y.
It’s November 12th, right? I’m not making it up?
That’s what I thought.
Tomorrow is Friday the 13th, which I’m actually pretty happy about. It would have been cooler last month, but I love it whenever it happens.
What I am not happy about…is the fact that [insert name of syndicated female DJ on the station we play in our dining room] decided that today was a good day to begin playing Christmas music.
This is why I carry the ‘Halloween is all of October’ torch with such fervor.
Nevermind the fact that the vast majority of Christmas music was written in the 1950s and just regurgitated every generation. Forget the atmosphere of aggressive corporate consumerism, the chaos of the Holiday shopping season, and the seasonal increase in gas costs.
It’s two fucking weeks before Thanksgiving. Two. Fucking. Weeks. Exactly two weeks from now motherfuckers will be fully glutted and sleeping in preparation for what Christmas is really about: Black Friday.
I sincerely doubt that the faithful are lined up 8000 deep at 5am on Black Friday professing their jubilation for the coming of Christ their savior, but motherfuckers will be trampling each other for TVs and cell phones and shit.
I guess that’s what Christmas is really about…
Can we at least get through Gluttony before we progress to Greed and Envy?
I’m just sayin…
Come on, don’t hit the back button. I promise that’s the only Vanilla Ice pun that’s going to happen today…probably.
I apologize to all of my readers for the incredibly long absence, but by the time winter went away, I got a job and started working 6 days a week in a hot-ass kitchen, even by kitchen standards. Summer is the super-duper busy season for us, so I’ve been in ‘working my ass off’ mode since Memorial Day. I’ve been in the “mulling it over in my head stage” of resuming the Passion for a month or two now, and with the added motivation of my recent Facebook pact with PerpetualPlotHole it’s time to get on my ass and get a post done. By the way, if you still haven’t checked out her blog, you should. It will brighten your day.
It’s nice to be making pizzas again, and I’ve been learning some pastas and generally improving my kitchen skillset, which has been stunted in a couple of key areas by the nature of the places I’ve worked. I had to have a very awkward conversation with my manager early on about the fact that it’s been ten years since the last time I had to actually prep anything, you know, with a knife, or cook fish on an actual char-grill, or fish at all really. He’s a great big bear of a hippie, and he’s one of the coolest bosses I’ve ever had. We went with another of the guys from work to a Love Canon show in Bristol back in July and had a great time.
I do miss my old job, I’ll be honest. I miss having interactions with the customers who were demographically close-enough to me most of the time that I could easily find common ground. I miss people actually recognizing the reference of my “I am the kwisatz haderach” t-shirt. On the upside, there are hot servers. Many of whom are also pretty rockin’ people separate from their eye-candy value which, bless them for being such good sports about the raucous kitchen harassment all the time. And before you get offended, please try to understand that it’s one of the few perks of being a cook to be able to harass servers, and there exists a very clear element of consent. The first time a person communicates discomfort with it, it stops and it stays stopped, and 99% of the time the touch barrier isn’t broken. We’re all fairly close just from working so damn much together, and there’s a certain level of what we will call respect (comprised at least 15% of desire to maintain employment in many cases) towards one another so it’s all just a way to help everyone stay positive and happy.
And now, I have to go to bed. Because I still live in the land of the doubles.