Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Feminist Angst, Pink Soup and Crappy Crab Rangoon

I was innocently working out at the Y, listening to my Indigo Girls mix on the iPod, when I caught a glimpse of "Toddlers and Tiaras" on the TV in front of me. Usually, I get stuck watching damn Fox News, while I'm sweating on the elliptical. This was worse, if that's even possible.

I can't believe these kid pageants are allowed to not only occur in real life, but be broadcast on television. In one scene, one of the mothers wanted to apply fake eyelashes to her three-year-old daughter to prepare her for the pageant, but the child ran away in tears. She didn't want stuff glued to her eyelids.

There was a swimsuit category. Toddlers, with faces caked with makeup and hair shellacked into place, were forced taught to strut on a stage to prove that they are worthy of a prize (parental acceptance) if they look cute enough in their frilly bikinis.

One child was told she needed to wear sunscreen before going outside, otherwise she would freckle. The kid refused, probably because she's tired of having gook lathered on her face. "Fine, you'll get freckles!" This is, apparently, a worse fate than skin cancer. There was a lot of crying and yelling and it made me judgy, as well as stabby. These feelings seldom happen to me, much less the combination of both.

I strive to be open minded and not judge others for their choices in life, but this, frankly, left me without a choice. WTF? Ophelia was drowning and the beauty myth was alive and well. This went beyond the realm of crushed feminist ideals. It was bordering on abuse.

Then, "Pendulum Swinger" started playing in my ears and I walked away. (Actually, I staggered, because I'd just spent 50 minutes on the torture machine.) But I was still pissed and felt a burning desire to somehow save those baby girls from their mothers.

I moved my workout to the track, where there were no televised distractions and I thought about beauty and what we teach our children. Why was I here, burning calories? To lose a few extra pounds. To lead a healthier lifestyle. To listen to music without interruption. But mainly, it's because I feel fat most of the time. I have ever since I was a 90 pound teenager in high school. Who am I to judge those pageant mothers? What am I teaching my girls? I do my best to teach them kindness and compassion and to not worry too much about what people think. The whole "it's what's on the inside that counts" bit. Of course, I believe it wholeheartedly, but I often regress into insecurity and self doubt. We're all in the same boat.
That night I decided to make what the kids like to call "Pink Princess Soup." Granted, I'm not big on the whole princess phenomenon, but if it gets them to eat their veggies, I'm good with it. It's my own variation of Borscht, with beets as the primary ingredient. (My vague recipe is available upon request.)
We decided this looked like a juggling ghost:

After soup, we played Twister, which is a difficult game to play when you're an adult. But if you're a kid or a cat, it's a blast and a half!

Sammie really liked to spin the spinner.

On Sunday, I made crab rangoon, from a Pinterest recipe, which I (of course) did not follow. It called for a cup of crab, but I just threw in the entire container because, there's no such thing as too much crab. In reality, there is such a thing. It was too fishy and lacked the creamy goodness of crab rangoon that is properly prepared. I'm still posting photos because they're pretty:

Oh, and I finally upgraded and got the iPhone 4S, with which I am passionately and incorrigibly obsessed. Instagram has changed my life. I'm sure I'm annoying the hell out of my Facebook and Twitter friends with the constant posting of filtered photos. (Sorry.)
Peace out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why We Aren't Vegetarians Even Though We're Lesbians With Kids Who Refuse to Eat Meat

So, I was enjoying a very delicious piece of chicken from the Three Rivers Co-Op hot bar yesterday, and I thought, "Damn, this is the best chicken I've ever had." Followed by, "It's kind of gross that I'm eating animal flesh." Followed by, "But this herb roasted chicken is very well seasoned, plus it's organic, and we really should eat more meat."

Here's the thing: we hardly ever eat meat. Sure, we'll eat bacon every now and then, but I consider bacon more of a topping or flavoring, rather than actual food. We have also been known to roast some kosher hot dogs by the bonfire. Oh, and how much do I love to make Boeuf Bourguinon for special occasions? A lot. So, yes, we eat meat and we enjoy it, but it's not a huge part of our everyday diet.

In the grand scheme of things, we could be meat-free and feel very little pain. Our meals consist primarily of vegetables, eggs, legumes and starches. We also enjoy our fish friends, especially salmon, shrimp and crab and let us not forget about our sushi addiction.

Here's a sampling of some meals we've had this past year:
Fettuccine with Bacon and Hollandaise



Hearts of Palm and Asparagus Salad

Artichoke and Caramelized Onion Tart

Fresh Garden Vegetables
Salad with a Bunch of Stuff in it

Potato-Crusted Goat Cheese Tarts

Tomato and Yellow Pepper Soup

Focaccia with Spring Vegetables
Fiona will eat most veggies, but refuses to eat chicken, pork, fish or beef  unless it is in the form of bacon or hot dogs. She also likes those weird "chicken rings" from White Castle, which shouldn't really be considered a meat product. Cyd is less picky but is starting to mimic her sister.

They do both enjoy Borscht, otherwise known as "Pink Princess Soup":

We might as well be vegetarians, since we already fit the psychographic profile in many ways: 1. We are lesbians. 2. We make our own granola. 3. We strive to eat organic. 4. We have a vegetable garden in the spring and summer months, which we supplement with locally grown foods from farmers' markets. 5. We compost. 6. We make our own damn yogurt. 7. The list goes on.

We are the poster children for vegetarianism, right?

But then I think about labels and how restrictive they are. I think of how nice it is to enjoy a well cooked filet mignon in a fancy restaurant and not feel like I'm betraying my animal friends.  I don't feel ethically obligated to restrict my diet to plant-based food. I sometimes feel that I should, but I don't. I want to be responsible in my food choices, but let's face it, I'm not that morally conscious. Case in point: foie gras. It's only available to me when I visit my Gochtovtt family during the holidays. I wouldn't go out and buy it, but when it's served, I will eat it because it's ridiculously delicious. I feel guilty about the life of those poor geese, but still, I don't have the will power to boycott the stuff when it's taunting me on Christmas eve.

In a nutshell, I'm over-thinking my eating habits, mainly because a large part of my life revolves around food. I will work on this and I'm sorry for bothering you, if you've taken the time to read this. And if anyone reading this is a full-fledged vegetarian, please don't disown me because of my weakness for bacon. I am fully prepared to be shamed, however, for the foie gras issue.