Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Domestic Affairs

So I left you with a bit of a rant against Taylor the Girl Scout last time, and a brief explanation of what a transgender child suffers socially, aside from the horrible myriad medical complications their "childhood" will comprise.  It's really no different for any kid who's gay, any kid who's just "different".
I linked to the Honest Girl Scout site she affiliates herself with, the one whose members believe Girl Scouts USA are raising Pro-Abortion Lesbians.  Today will not be a long-winded rant. I am, with permission, presenting the post of a dear friend about the difference between Domestic Partnership and Marriage.  Her Wife (capitalized, words matter here), the Fabulous Madame Lisbèth, was a Girl Scout, and I hope to soon feature her words on Scouting, Womanhood and Equality.
My final point being: Any legal body which holds another human being's rights in judgement, as though they had committed a crime, and tells them "Separate But Equal" has torn the blindfold from Lady Justice's eyes, dashed her scales to the rubbish heap of minority morality and whipped her into political submission.
From a  Cancer-Beatin' Bad-Ass Mamma and Wife:
"4 years ago today my wife and I signed our domestic partnership paperwork.  I was on the couch in my PJs and my wife (we got gay married in the open window in CA) was besides me, while our friend (who had driven in from out of town) was acting as our notary.  It was simple and required no state official, license, or witness (other then a notary).  In other words it was second class.  
Why did we do it?  I had just been released from my 2nd
hospital stint.  I couldn’t walk 5 ft unassisted, and I had cancer.  I needed the woman I loved to take care of me, and the only way to do that was to sign a piece of paper on my couch.  The problem here is that folks that object to gay marriage say domestic partnerships are okay, but they’re not.  There was no fan fare, we signed a form, wrote a check and mailed it in to be processed.  The state then acknowledged it and that was it.  
When you get married, you have an official or a priest, you have witnesses, and fan fare, but most important it’s a big fuckin’ deal even to strangers.  Plus, you're not left with the term partner.  What the hell does domestic partner mean?  Do we have a domestic cleaning business now?  But wife and husband they mean something.  
Today is the 4 yr anniversary of my domestic partnership.  I love my partner so much so that I married her, but this day fills me with anger and sadness on the behalf of all those that are just left with domestic partnership - a second class no fanfare needed not good enough to be called a marriage  marriage." 
--SPP, 25 January 2012
A BIG, FAT PS:  GIRL SCOUT COOKIES WILL BE COMING ONLINE SOONISH!  Check online at: Girl Scout Cookie Finder !  ZOMG THERE'S EVEN AN APP!  You don't even have to take the suckers home, many will allow you to sign a form stating you have paid for the cookies and donated them to the local food bank or troops or whatnot.  DO IT! DO IT NOW!!! SPREAD THE LOVE!!!
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tough Cookies Won't Crumble

I see from your video you wish me to boycott Girl Scout Cookies this year.  Your video was very well made, and your speech was succinct.  As an American who believes in the strictest letter of Constitutional Freedom of Speech, I fully support your right to voice your opinion on this matter.  
Now I am voicing mine
And I might not be nice.  Because you seem to be a young woman, not a child, and appear to be indignant to point of excluding several important factors when considering your opinion, chief among them reason, humanity and compassion.
You are a terrible Girl Scout.  I know girls your age are very concerned about Rules and Fairness.  What the hell else do your parents hear about day and night?  “It’s not FAIR!!!”  
What is really not fair is to be born a person whose genetics placed them in a corporal body drastically out of step with their mind and spirit.  I have seen interviews with transgender individuals from ages 6 and up and not one of them casually or cavalierly gazed into the camera and stated they just did it for kicks.  They were born that way and get nothing but kicked.  Often.  Usually by people like you or the people incited to do so by your words of condemnation.
Even in the blessed instance where their transgender nature is obvious from an early age and a supportive family recognizes and celebrates them for who they are, these individuals have a long and rocky road before them until gender reassignment surgeries can be undertaken.  The first step is legal and social recognition
This means the parents have to subject their beloved child to a battery of psychological testing and petition to have the birth certificate changed to reflect their offspring’s true inner gender.  By this time the child has already dressed and presented socially as that other gender.  Sometimes it means simply changing the way they dress and coming up with a new name if they’re young enough, but mostly it means a painful and awkward series of changes-- at the least a new school, but sometimes moving the family to make a clean break.
Yah, this is sooo easy.  And to support their daughter--yes, their daughter-- as a girl, to affirm her nature and place her in a nurturing and educative environment with other girls, they sign her up with Girl Scouts.
OOOPS!  Sorry, I have it all wrong.  They just did it so their 7-year-old could jeopardize your safety.  So in ten years, when she is 17, and has already taken all the abuse you could not possibly imagine in your righteous little ivory tower, some other girl just like you could discover all this and raise the alarm because obviously the other poor kid’s lifelong plan was to take a kicking just long enough to sleep in the same tent with her.

Safety?  Safety????  I have also visited The Honest Girl Scout site you have affiliated with, where Girl Scouts are lambasted as Pro-Lesbian, Pro-Abortion, and, for some reason, Evil-y Pro-United Nations, among other things.  There are so many breathless hyper-link screeds on the front page alone, I cannot fathom what deeper danger lies beneath while the presenters still claim to be Girl Scouts.
The atmosphere this site seeks to create encroaches on the safety of those who are different from you.  It’s that simple. You have aligned yourself with misogynists and bigots.  It’s not FAIR.
As a Human, as an American, when that transgender child enters the world, they are one of Us.  Deserving of compassion, respect and equality under the law and as part of the social contract that binds us as a human society. As a Girl Scout, when that little transgender girl joins your troop, she is LEGALLY a female, and she becomes your sister. You should be standing up for each other.  When the rest of the school, the rest of the town, the rest of the world come to knock her down for being different in a way that is deeply painful, personal and was in no way her choice, your job is close ranks and defend her.
Instead you want her outed. Purged and smacked with the label “OUTCAST” so everyone knows she doesn’t belong on either side.  You poor, sad girl.  To defend your right to speak your mind I will stand up to anyone who says you should stay silent.  But when you come to knock that little girl down, you just watch.
I will stand in your way, I will take the kicks, I will give just as good.  You will see what a real woman does for her sisters, her daughters, her fellow humans.  I was never a Girl Scout but I can eat a cookie like a mofo.  I will buy every box I see and order more.  I have already spread the word to my friends on FaceBook, Google+ and Twitter.  You just watch.
That little girl is one sweet little cookie, but we are one bunch of tough cookies, and we will NOT crumble.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Danger IS Her Middle Name

So my newest niece, daughter of my dearest friend, Jedi Jasmin, has made her debut.  

In accordance with the First Universal Law of Babies, we were five days out from Sharkbean Shower (which had just topped 40 attendees, lest she think she was not highly anticipated), and 3.5 weeks out from Release Date, when I read on Facebook yesterday morning J had heartburn.  Mhmmmm....

I still planned to go sort the cake.  I texted her about a detail.  She texted back "Busy, talk to you soon."

And so, with the greatest tearful squelchiness,  we welcome Little Miz Danger Knitmore to our family.  Here is her birthday cake:


It's literally the only birthday candle we have in our house.  Notice she only gets the good china. 

Also the much-tagged and annotated JOC in the background, cuz it's time to cook and box and fill the family fridge with easy-to-heat dinners. The menu:

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Meatloaf (Veal, Pork and Beef, Bacon on top)
Risotto (Mushroom and Pea with Tarragon)
Mac N Cheese

The delightful Madame Lisbèth, herself a new-ish Yummy Mummy is pitching in with her deeeelishus Pot Roast, cuz going to college and having a 9-month-old just ain't enough for her.  Like ever.  I never know how she does it, but she does it with artistry and style that goggles my brain.

So our Dr Seuss-ical Shower will rain another day-- the time for Snuggling and Squealing is Nigh.

To my dearly beloved friends, J & A, there are no words to express how happy we are that your hopes and dreams are made real in this tiny squiggly little person.

To Miz D:  Live up to your name.  Resist the Dark side.  Mostly.  Call me when you can't and I'll drive.  Then I'll never tell unless we get caught, and at my age I totally have plausible deniability so we're golden.  I cannot tell you in words how much your parents hoped and dreamed to have you, and how very much they love you more than anything in the universe. No matter where you are, no matter what you do, nothing will change that.  Ever.

Now go cause some Trouble.

Love, Auntie Laura
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Okay, people. As has been my only firm assertion of certainty in life, formulated a little over 10 years ago, the one thing I have come to rely on is the fact that whatsoever I may decree to be so, or possible, or myself capable or incapable of accomplishing; the Universal Force will nearly immediately, and with due prejudice, slap me in the face with it and prove me wrong.  Or foolishly over assertive, under-considered and, perhaps, lacking finesse and tact.
But it is grossly unfair to employ GingerMan in it’s disapprobation.  Yet equally heartwarming the number of persons engaged to steer me toward my first ever Statement of Resolution which, you may recall from the other day, I said I never do. Smack!
First, My Transgression: 
In the course of beginning this blog, I may have, at the expense of other perfectly fine and useful cookbooks, extolled the heavenly virtues of my beloved Joy of Cooking 2006 Anniversary Edition.  I might have snooted, just a bit, at the lovely Marion Cunningham and the equally beloved Fanny Farmer cookbook.  The fact is, I snoot and snark quite a bit about, well...
Too many things to account for.  My inner Old Man, Bern, grows crustier by the year and I fear I may do less to mask his bilious outpourings at times.  In the Interwebic Universe, however, I am often both a Refined Genius and Gentle Angel of Compassion. Step into’s giddily adolescent chat rooms, anywhere on or Ars Technica, even lovely crafty communities which shall remain nameless but whose boards contain the same veiled snipes, condescension, and haughtiness.
Thus, I had to laugh till I wet my ducky pajama pants when GM sent me this link, a pastiche of what would surely be the role-playing game community’s ‘expertly’ affected examination of a JOC-type cookbook: “Killjoy Cooking With the Dungeons and Dragons Crowd” . ‘Scuze me, hafta go dry the tears, I may have just cracked a rib laughing.
Where’s the Joy??
As discussed last time, it’s time to grab it like a bad-ass and run with it, SOOOOOOOO, LADIES AND JELLYSPOONS, I PRESENT YOU WITH, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME EVER ON STAGE, SCREEN OR INTERWEBS......


From Joy Of Cooking, you will need TWO (2) Recipes of COCOA DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE, pg 718.  

NOTE:  This recipe brings up an interesting lesson about cocoa powders.  You may have noted, when shopping, that there is often a choice of “Cocoa Powder” and “Dutch(ed) Cocoa Powder”.  From JOC pp. 969-970 (in the section “Know Your Ingredients”), we learn Cocoa Powder is chocolate “...pulverized and partially defatted...”, processed to it’s dry state.  

Harold McGee, in On Food and Cooking (pg. 557, pg.705) describes the journey of solid cacao bean to powder to arrive at this, the most concentrated essence of chocolate flavor, then the further processing required to achieve Dutch(ed) cocoa by neutralizing the acidity.  Due to this alkalinization, Dutched will react differently in baking recipes where Chemistry Matters.  

This recipe calls for “Non-Alkalized Cocoa Powder”, so what you are shopping for is “Regular”, “Natural” or just plain “Cocoa” powder.  No “Dutch(ed)”, and of course, ensure it’s not sweetened drinking cocoa of any sort.

Make one recipe, using two (2) 9-inch round layers.  I used buttermilk and used the 1 tsp vanilla as well as 1tsp almond extract. Yummy. I used no other additions in this recipe, instead treating it as a chocolatey version of a Victoria Sponge, a British classic involving two layers of cake with jam in the middle and whipped cream on top.  For the jam I used my own CRANBERRY-GINGER JAM.  Cranberries are very special fruits which contain enough pectin, a natural gelling agent, to create their own jam with very little prodding!  Prod them a bit anyway, they're really fun when they start to pop...
1- 16-oz bag Fresh Cranberries- Can be frozen, does not matter in the least, will merely take slightly longer on the stove.

1/2 Cup Candied or Preserved Ginger (not plain dried, this stuff is soft and so chewable you can snack on it.  Whole Foods has it bagged as well as bulk, Trader Joe’s often has it in bags with the dried fruits and nuts, or it’s available from Penzeys Spices 

3 Tbs Orange Juice
1 Tbs Orange Zest
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 Tbs Lemon Zest
1 tsp Kosher Salt
2/3 Cup White Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey
1 tsp Cinnamon
.5 tsp Ground Star Anise (optional)

1. Toss everything into a large saucepot.  You want plenty of head-room as this basically becomes Culinary Napalm.  

2. Cook over Medium Heat. Stir gently and thoroughly every 4-5 minutes, JUST UNTIL it resembles slightly runny jam.  
3. TASTE IT after the first five minutes and see where the sweetness is going.  At this point the cranberries are bursting and the sour factor is coming into play.  What you thought was an out-RAAAAGE-yus amount of sugar is, in fact, barely enough to counteract the berries.  Taste again at ten minutes.
4. It should coat the spoon very well and feel quite thick as you stir but in no way be stiff or pasty, it WILL tighten up as it cools and you need to spread this on the cake.
5. Place bottom cake layer on a nice plate, spread jam liberally and thickly over top of layer, leaving 1/4-inch margin all round the edge.
6. Apply second layer of cake and allow it to settle.  Do not press down or squash, just let the layers get their Snuggle on.
7. Just before serving you may spread whipped cream evenly over the top layer or serve it on the side if you wish.  Ice creams of every description are also divine and leaving it plain is the very definition of Simplicity as Elegance.

1- Chocolate cake recipe batter in bowl
1 Cup Chopped Nuts-Walnuts or Pecans are best, no need to toast beforehand.
1- Bag Fresh Cranberries
1 tsp Orange Extract *in addition to vanilla called for in recipe
1/8 tsp Ground Cardamom
1 Tbs Dry Minced Orange Peel
Several shaves of Fresh Nutmeg, OR
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Star Anise (optional, some people don't like the licorice-ness)
1/2 Cup Chopped Candied/Preserved Ginger
1- to 1.5 Cups Semi-Sweet to Dark Chocolate Chips or Chunks of your choice.
*Again, prepare one recipe COCOA DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE, JOC pg. 718.  Use Tube Pan instructions. LEAVE BATTER IN BOWL

1. Add Nuts through Dry Minced Orange Peel and/or Optional Stuff into Batter and mix gently with rubber spatula.  
2. Pour into Tube/Bundt Pan and bake according to instructions.
3. Serves best with a simple glaze (see pg. 796) if ya wanna, or just lots and lots of whipped cream and ice cream.
SOOOOOO... Here’s to 2012, to health and happiness, and, come to think of it, don’t stop at the spoon--
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