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Monday, August 27, 2012

OK Corn and other basic things I have screwed up

I was watching "Beloved" the other day, remember that one? I loved that movie, although it was a box office flop. It's based on the brilliant book by Toni Morrison. I recommend it highly. Anyway, in one part of the movie Oprah offers to "fry a little corn" for the character played by Danny Glover. And I thought "mmmmm, corn", instead of focusing on the subtlety of the performances and all that other stuff that intelligent people do.

As a child, my parents always insisted that I was smart. They would tell me so all the time. They would point out stupid things I would do and say "is that something a smart little girl should do?" No. Pretty sure not.

But here's something I don't have the heart to tell either of my parents: I'm dumb. Oh sure, I have a fairly decent vocabulary and I have a degree and all that shit, but I'm the worst kind of dumb: I'm the kind of dumb broad that thinks she's a smart broad. To wit: OK Corn.

If you are from BC, and you have spent any time driving through our broad province, you will have undoubtedly see many home-made, spray-painted signs that advertise "OK CORN" for sale on the side of the road. I've seen these signs all my life. And it took me until I was 22 years old to figure out that the "OK" stood for Okanagan, which boasts some of the most beautiful and delicious produce in the world. No. I thought it meant exactly what it said: Ok corn. And every single time for roughly 18 years I would mumble to myself "why would someone stop for Ok corn? Where is the excellent corn? The delicious corn?". I would shake my head.

The day it hit me I was driving with my boyfriend back to Vancouver from a vacation in Kelowna. And as befits someone that stupid, I hung my head in shame for about an hour.

That's not all that screws me up. You know this sign?

Me too. And I thought it was a giant N, with a curlicue on the front of it. For years. This is particularly shameful as both my dad and grandfather worked for the Canadian National Railroad.


I thought this was either a) a piece of abstract art, or b) a W. It never occurred to me that this was a B until I was EASILY in my 30s. I still read this as the "ay". The "b" has just never really entered into it for me.

So you see, I am dumb. I'm pretty much okay with it. I'm comfortable now with the fact that my initial interpretation of signage is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of How Things Work.

Anyway, corn:

Fried corn

4 cobs of corn, peeled and kernels cut off
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp chile powder
1 pinch smoked paprika
lime and microgreens for garnish

Grill corn kernels in oil over medium heat until just tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add lemon juice and chile, stir together and transfer to bowl. Top with microgreens, paprika and a squeeze of lime. Serve hot.

Fortunately being able to taste good food doesn't require brain cells.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We don't have Chick-Fil-A in Canada, but I understand it's pretty popular in the US. Recently its president Dan Cathy announced that he supports traditional marriage, and as such does not support same-sex marriage. This comes on the heels of two other gay rights issues in the media recently: the Oreo cookie controversy, wherein a posted photo of a rainbow-hued cookie supporting gay pride was derided by thousands of anti-gay comments on Facebook; and JC Penney having to defend it's right to choose a gay spokesperson, Ellen Degeneres in the face of a vicious anti-gay backlash.

There is nothing to really argue about when it comes to the existence of homosexuality: it is as old as recorded time. It is part of nature and part of several species. It has been continuously proven again and again by scientists that it is nature, not nurture, that makes a person homosexual. I for one can't believe we are still talking about this. It's not something you can say is right or wrong, it simply is, just like heterosexuality.

When my grandparents were my age, there was also a hot-button marriage issue that polarized the US: Interracial marriage. Those who opposed interracial marriage cited the same reasons for their opposition that present-day gay marriage opponents cite: It is forbidden in the bible, and it will ruin the sanctity of marriage. Interracial marriage became legal all over the United States in 1967, which is a shamefully short amount of time ago.

Before that, it was bible-sanctioned slavery. Marginalization of women. Mistreatment of different ethnic groups. The list goes on.

The Bible has been used in defense of amazingly bigoted and self-serving behavior. You can find anything to oppose if you pick and choose literal passages from the Bible. Regardless of your stance on Christianity, the Holy Bible must be considered from the perspective of the time and culture in which it was written.  As Louis Theroux points out, anti-homosexuality isn't even one of the Ten Commandments. If you're going to be anti-gay, you need to also be anti-shrimp, anti-linen-cotton blends, and give all your money to the poor. Picking and choosing? It doesn't work, let alone make any sense.

But let's remove the religious aspect of this particular brand of bigotry for a moment: We have something called free will. We generally should be self-aware enough by the time we are 25 to realize that we have a choice where/what/who we choose to worship. Is there not something wrong with an interpretation of a religious document that makes people hate other people for what they do in the privacy of their own home? For the way they are born? Are we not evolved enough to be able to walk away from and reject hatred, no matter how it appears?

I for one believe that anything that promotes hatred is foul to the core. I believe that Jesus would be offended at what is being done in his name. I believe that ALL loving relationships are sanctioned by God.

I wonder when our entitlement became so severe that we actually thing we can walk out our front door and never see or hear anything that challenges us, makes us uncomfortable, or bothers us. We could simply walk the other way. Especially in a large city, where we are on top of each other and are forced whether we like it or not to watch and deal with other people. The solution to the problem is to mind our own business. Who I fuck and who fucks me is none of your business. And who fucks you, or how many 11-ways you have? None of my business. Not now, not ever.

So if you want to be involved in preventing something that hurts no one, celebrates diversity and occurs in nature all over, that kills LGBT teens and adults just because the idea of it makes you uncomfortable, then we will observe your choice by being a gorgeous, flagrant example of who we are, who we love, and who we support. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present, the Super-Gay-Chick-Fil-A-Style-Homemade-Southern-Chicken-Sandwich:

2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 whole chicken, or 6 chicken breasts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
5 cups vegetable oil for frying
Cold dill pickles, sliced
Portuguese buns

Combine buttermilk, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl and drop in the chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-8 hours.

Combine flour, baking powder, garlic and onion powder and remove chicken from the fridge. Coat chicken in flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the flour again until a thick coating forms. Heat vegetable oil to medium-high and drop pieces in 2 at a time, fry until deep golden brown on both sides, turning a few times. Slice open a fresh bun and place a little mayo, sliced dill pickles, and hot chicken. Consume immediately.

WARNING: Consumption of this sandwich might make you love gay people. And fatty food.

Love thy neighbour, bitches

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Great or Gross? Skinny Cow Vanilla Cookie Sandwich

People have been RAVING about this Skinny Cow stuff to me, and since it's trendy, I thought I would check it out.

Available in the frozen desserts section of most grocery stores, Skinny Cow products promise tasty ice cream treats with a fraction of the calories. Their tagline is "Sweet surrender, no regrets". The ones I tried said they were 97% fat free and 130 calories each. Which is pretty good, I think.

1-1 tie PRO AND CON: Checking the nutritional information, it looks like they're telling the truth on the front of the box, there is only 1.5g of fat but quite a few carbs and quite a bit of sodium. So there's a bit of good with the bad, see for yourself:

+1 PRO for a pretty decent ingredient list. Yes, there's some diglycerides, but ultimately this is not any more offensive than a typical dessert ingredient list.

-1 CON for confusing marketing:

I get it, the product uses skim milk so it's a skinny cow hence the brand. I'm wondering if it's absolutely necessary for the cow to be seductively draped over the logo like it's on bovine Chatroulette? Is this cow an extension of me? Is that why it's wearing red lipstick, like I do almost every day? So many questions.

+ PRO for cute copy and a wide range of products on their website. See for yourself:

+++ PRO for the fact that Skinny Cow is sponsoring the 25th anniversary of Dirty Dancing, a movie I have seen no less than 144 times. Nobody puts that oddly anthropomorphized cow in the corner.

+ PRO for taste. The cookie tastes EXACTLY like its regular, high-fat counterparts. You can taste that it is a lower fat ice cream, but it doesn't take away from the taste, just a bit on texture (not as rich). The cookie holds together well and is crumbly and soft as it should be. Delicious overall. If I was blindfolded I'm not convinced I could identify this product as low-fat. And that's a good thing.

RESULT: GREAT! Totally worth checking out this summer while its still hot. Buy some!