My New Year’s resolution is to to appreciate. To appreciate the little things that may have eluded me, that I’ve been blind to. Like my amazing, beautiful, huge apartment that I have all to myself. My amazing boyfriend who is sweet and supportive and stays by me through my temper and my “feminist” outbreaks. My amazing job that is exactly what I was looking for when I first moved to New York. My health. My cooking ability. My intelligence and courage to keep pushing myself to look deeper into myself, to heal from past hurts, as difficult and painful as it may be. To appreciate all the people who love me, near and far. To love myself and be as gentle and patient as if I were still that two year-old. To 2011.
Well, there’s a blizzard today, or rather it was yesterday and has drifted into today. The perfect weather for baking. Last night I made two pies. Well, originally I was only going to make a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I’ve never made it before (only apple tart tatin twice), but somehow I pinned this romantic sentimentality onto it and I was dying to make it.
First of all, you need to understand why cooking has so much stigma for me and baking is so romanticized in my head. Growing up, I saw my mom slaving away all day at her job (she worked out of the house) and then she had to make dinner. My brother and I would sit at the table and look at our plates with a, “This again?” even though it was always yummy, homemade Chinese food. But I was 15 and spoiled. What did I know yet of weekly instant noodles and sighing while going up and down grocery store aisles because I couldn’t afford the price of good food or didn’t know how to cook it anyways. My point being, slaving away in the kitchen did not look like fun to me. My mom was exhausted and cooking dinner at the end of her work day to a couple of ungrateful wretches was probably not too appealing and certainly not easy.
Baking, on the other hand, well, I don’t have too many memories of that. My dad used to bake very healthy, very hard bread that I would pretend to like so as to protect his feelings. Though I believe he did make great lasagna. At the same time, I have a few great memories of baking with my best girlfriend in high school. We’d go over to her huge, high-ceilinged house in Cambridge, Massachusetts with their quaint kitchen with all the necessary baking needs and European bowls and silverware—baking was an escape. Baking was our own beautiful, happy creation. Finally, this was something we got to do as young people that was all our own, had nothing to do with school or our families, was not out of obligation–not homework or another chore. It was because we wanted to. And it was (usually) delicious.
I have made Apple Tarte Tatin twice–using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe– relatively successfully, if you disregard the fire-in-the-oven incident at my girlfriend’s house. (Always remember to put the pie pan on a baking tray so the juices do not splatter onto the bottom of the oven and potentially set it on fire.) And so the Strawberry Rhubarb creation was a logical next step. However, the savory meat pie was all because of the BF.
SB: I’m going to make strawberry rhubarb pie!
BF: Mmph, uh huh…
So due to the BF’s lack of excitement in hearing about my sweet pie I decided to make him a complimentary savory one. (He’s one of those rare humans born, sadly, without a sweet tooth.) I had no idea what I was doing, was not prepared and so gathered whatever ingredients was in the fridge (things for my sausage mushroom soup and hearty bread which were yet to be made) and decided to go for it. I used Smitten Kitchen’s Chicken Pot Pie recipe and simply modified it. That is, I wracked my brain and anxiously threw in whatever I saw fit or was about to rot. And so — da da– Sweet Potato Pot Pie with Chorizo Sausage! There really is a lot of butter in all of this, but I admit it tastes amazing.
This has been a long and wandering blog, but I just wanted to end it with saying how much I do miss being with family this time of year. Holidays are hard. Who knew? My counseling teacher kept having us work on it in our classes and I just didn’t understand why she kept bringing it up. But after the BF and I had one of our biggest fights ever (though he thought our first one was the worst) I admit I’m a bit drained and this is where the pies come in. One can’t create or control one’s own family or fighting with the boyfriend, for that matter. But with baking it’s such a great big experiment and in the end—when it’s even better than you ever thought it would be—there’s nothing else like it.
Meanwhile, happy holidays everyone. Hope you’re having a great one with family and food. And mom, dad, Daniel—I miss you guys.
Had an amazing women and physical power night yesterday. BF and I went to check out the amazing STREB Falling Sideways performance last night. The acrobatics group started by Elizabeth Streb is a dynamic combination of dance, gymnastics, trapeze and much more. She describes it this way:
“My dancers and I see the rehearsal as a laboratory for testing scientific principles on the body. The outcome is a mixture of slam dancing, exquisite and amazing human flight and a wild action sport which captures kids, older people and the general public’s hearts and minds and bodies.”
And best part of it was, yours truly finally got to try trapeze flying which I’d been wanting to for a while, but was too chicken to. The BF helped encourage me to stay in line when I initially was about to back out. Thanks BF!
First they tie a very heavy, very tight belt on you. Then I had to breathe in it as I nervously waited for 10 women to go ahead of me (yes, all women) for what looked to be their first times as well. Then I had to finally take off my glasses and start climbing up a very high, very narrow ladder slowly while blind. On the platform Ross, the moustached-gentleman, who quickly listed off a series of instructions that I tried to remember by anxiously repeating in my head: Lean over, grab the pole, don’t grab it with your other arm until I tell you to. When I tell you to, jump, keep your legs straight, then bend your legs over the bar when she tells you to. Umm, OK… I say. While I’m really thinking something completely different.
When I finally jumped, I screamed. It was thrilling, exciting, and a high I haven’t experienced since I last dropped on a wave. I swung a few times, bent my legs over the bar and dropped down. My heart was now beating like mad and I had a huge grin stuck on my face that I didn’t even realize. I thanked Kimmy, who was holding the security line, profusely. I told her my comparison to a surfing high. Turned out she surfed too. “See you next time!” she said as I climbed off the mat. I really wanted to say, “See ya soon!” But I knew I wouldn’t. It was amazing. I felt awesome. But it wasn’t surfing, not even close, and it just made me miss surfing even more.
Sometimes sexism is hard for even me—a self-declared feminist—to define. For example, where do I see sexism in my own life? In the media? Sure, the t-shirt with the image of the hand down her (?) pants seems pretty outright sexist. The Eddie Hardy perfume “Sexual-Sugar Daddy” seems pretty bad too. OK. So I know how to spot sexism in the media but how do I pinpoint it in my own life and in the larger society and in other industries?
Recently, I have come across a definition of sexism that has helped me clarify some things in my mind. The definition goes like this: Sexism is disrespecting someone simply because she is a woman. Male domination, on the other hand, inherently requires power to be in the equation when you’re disrespecting a woman. For example, sexism is when a boy consistently listens to his dad over and above his mom. Male domination, however, is the man who demands obedience in his family and abuses his wife because he feels like it and because he can.
I think people tend to be a bit shocked by the term “male domination.” I admit it’s quite a strong term, nothing like “sexism” at all. I was a bit taken aback when I first heard it as well. Sexism seems to imply some small, annoying injustice that is really not that big a deal alleged by a bunch of whiners. Really not an injustice at all, just a complaint really. And a stupid one at that. Whereas male domination is a serious injustice declaring oppression at its worst where the men are clearly the evil wrongdoers and the poor women–they’re just being abused. Obviously, neither of these connotations are completely accurate. My point being that sexism is a real oppression and male domination seems to highlight it for those who are less inclined to believe its existence.