still toeing around for that niche…

thanksgiving was successful. I got much of dinner prepped the night before (as a sidenote: if you make stuffing and refrigerate it the night before, it is going to take more than 15 minutes to get crunchy, or for that matter, heated through.), so it was fairly easy.
I was disappointed, as I am every thanksgiving, to discover, I’m really not a big fan of turkey.
in other news…

I know I really am domestic in my soul. creating anything with my hands makes me excited, and feeding my family a meal which is kick-ass, healthy, and tasty fills me with pride. a clean house is honestly somewhat thrilling to me. but at the moment, without a car, I am dealing with some serious lack of stimulus. my interests run quite a gamut, from physics to anthropology, and where is it I’m supposed to get an outlet for these interests?

granted, there’s nothing to prevent me from researching of my own accord, but I crave debate and meaningful discussion, and not just within my own mind. I need to be able to be happy without being dependent, and be happy with the things I do for their own basis, and just because they please me but… I want to share the things I’m interested in with other people. life just feels very very hollow right now. maybe Ethan and I have too much in common and it robs us of the possibility of debate. …that seems like an asinine excuse.

I don’t want other people to define me. I define myself. I define myself daily, but. more and more lately, things seem hollow, and it makes me struggle with wanting to do the things I enjoy doing. I find myself wondering who I’m trying to be. I’m afraid that I’ve finally joined Thoreau’s throngs, leading a life of quiet desperation.

-Domestic Anarchist

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Thanksgiving!

so, after a blur of shopping and cleaning, tomorrow is thanksgiving!  morally, I must admit, I have some issues with the “origins” of thanksgiving, and the annual time for our government to lie to us about the origins of our country.  however, the real basis, is, of course, an opportunity to appreciate the things and people in our lives that we’re thankful for, eat alot of food, and watch nifty parades.

my plans for dinner?  of course, we’ve got a 15lb turkey, and I’m making apple-cranberry-onion stuffing on the side, to shave a few hours off of the roasting time.  I’m going to pack some potatoes and sweet potatoes around it, and also make mashed sweet potatoes.  then we shall have roasted lemon-garlic broccoli and brussel sprouts, nice and crispy and awesome.  I was going to do green beans, but… meh.  they’re not in season, and all the ones I could find are brown and shriveled or shipped from.  I don’t know.  cuba or something.

then, being a citrus-oriented anarchist, I have orange-cranberry sauce, with fresh cranberries.  biiiiiiiiiiitchin’.

here’s a secret.  making cranberry sauce is a pain in the ass.  however, if you heat the canned sauce, the gelatinous quality kind of breaks down, and you can add orange slices and fresh cranberries and simmer it for about 15 minutes and then chill it, and it’ll reset smoother, sweeter, and more interesting.  better flavor, better texture, and way prettier.

-Domestic Anarchist

holidays = consumerism? or, how to track down thanksgiving dinner without caving to “the man”.

holidays in this culture, it seems, are all based on some form of consumerism.  when I first moved out on my own, I was strongly of the opinion that I was no longer going to celebrate holidays.  thinking that all they were was a chance for big businesses to cash in on the emotions and programming of the masses.

and then The Wizard came along.  who was I to deprive my son of holiday memories?

I was distraught and confused.  floundering in poverty and political ideals, I didn’t want to go out and throw down a fuckton of money on gifts and meals and decorations.  what to do?

Dr. Seuss to the rescue!  honestly, one of my favorite people of all time (busted out with the amazing quote of “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”).  unwilling to deprive my son of the awesomeness of The Grinch, we watched the original movie on cartoon network.  (the one based off the Seuss illustrations, not the one with Jim Carrey, who admittedly did a wicked rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.)

to make a long story short, I am a sap.  when it comes down to it, I love holidays, conceptually.  I just needed a friendly reminder that “stuff” is not required to make a good holiday.  the answer of course, lies in my answer to almost every life struggle: D.I.Y.

I was nervous that I’d get sucked back in to the drama and commercialism, but I kept the idea of majick, and making a bright center in a cold and dark time.  we potted a little tree and brought it indoors, bought a box of hooks for 97 cents, and then had a blast turning random little items about the house into ornaments (my favorites: a condom {in wrapper, of course} and a little orange plastic army man), and discovered almost everyone who came over wanted to contribute to the tree.  that was when I realized that ghetto-rigged holidays have more power and memories to them than anything that we buy.  and I’ve tried to keep that feeling and spirit for each holiday which has followed.

halloween, we can make our costumes, and make our treats, like people have done for decades, christmas we can make presents and decorations… but what of thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving consumerism is of course, Food Consumerism.  the meal is the focus, and we stress about the cost, the time, and the effort.  …however, when you think about it, most traditional Thanksgiving foods, are tradition simply because they were accessible, cheaply, in November.

the basic spread:

Turkey: how to acquire a turkey without buying it from the grocery store?  easy as pie (HA!).  while turkey hunting isn’t that common anymore (and lends the mental image of guys with muskets and buckle-hats running through the woods), there are quite a few people who still raise them.  craigslist, around thankgsgiving, starts getting alot of posts from farmers who raise turkeys, offering them for sale or barter.  most people sell them pre-butched, plucked and cleaned, and if you offer to help with this lovely process, you can probably get a significant discount.  if you still can’t afford it, or if you can’t find farm-raised turkeys in your areas, don’t fret!  people give out turkeys like crazy around thanksgiving.  lots of employers give turkeys to their employees, and if yours doesn’t, odds are you know someone who does.  there are also lots of agencies that will give you a turkey if you qualify.  there’s also churches that hand out turkeys, often without prying into your private life.  ask around.

stuffing: okay, bread is THE EASIEST food to acquire, period.  grocery stores and bakeries both get rid of day-old bread.  you can check dumpsters if you want to go the punkrock route, and otherwise, just check or ask around to see where it gets donated to.  senior centers are a good resource here, my father-in-law is always bringing us free bread he got from the senior center.  leave it sitting out on a plate overnight to get good and stale, and thereyougo!  now all you need is some onions and celery.  …speaking of which:

veggies: you can check craigslist for local farmers, cruise your area, or talk to family members who garden.  posting something on an actual bulletin board “seeking local produce”, is also a pretty good idea, and brings people to you.  you can always offer to trade labor for food.  alot of the traditional thanksgiving veggies are roots (sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.), which are infamous for storing well.  green beans are one of the easiest foods to can ever.  in other good news, fruits and veggies are THE foods to dumpster dive.  they get thrown out well before they ever get moldy, and cutting off some brown spots never hurt anyone.  if you see an over-ripe banana, grab it, and mash it into your sweet potatoes, the consistencies are similar, and rather than making your sweet potatoes taste like banana, it’ll bring out the flavor of the sweet potatoes.

Apples: apple pie and stuffed apples are a staple.  fortunately, autumn apples are plentiful.  dumpsters are, again, a good resource, and there are lots of orchards that let you go and pick your own, sometimes for free, sometimes for a minimal fee.

Pumpkins: there’s a reason thanksgiving falls right after halloween, and many pumpkin farms grow pie pumpkins as well as carving pumpkins, and if you don’t have any left over from halloween decorations, post-halloween they usually come dirt-cheap anyway.

if you want further tips for dumpster diving, or just acquiring free food, freegan.info is pretty much the place to go for advice, as well as just being an awesome website for anyone who wants to duck out of the economy and consumer culture, or just save some money.

-Domestic Anarchist

Oh, the joys of moving!

holy shit, it’s been almost two months!  …my old laptop came out of storage barely functioning, and when we acquired a new one we discovered that we cannot get wireless at our new house.  so, we brought back the new laptop to get one with a phone jack so we can use dialup, and then ended up getting another new laptop, also with an Ethernet jack and no phone jack, but we got an external modem to go with it.  which is what I’m on now.  so, hurrah!  finally, internet access.  thank god for financial aid.  The Husband gets his computer for school, I get blogging ability back.

so yes, we’re in our house.  our very own house, after all this time of searching.   3 bedroom, with front and back yard, carport, nearby lake and woods, and fairly laid back community.  The Wizard had to change schools, but he’s adapting well, and actually doing better at his new school than his old one.  (though I have already called and talked to his teacher about how he reacts, and how best to encourage him.  …if you critisize him in any way, he’ll balk, freeze, and do nothing.)

The Squid is doing quite well, growing like a… squid.  we’ve dedicated this weekend to trying to get her days and nights straightened out, since she was sleeping the majority of the day, and then being up til 4:30 in the morning, which was fucking.  blaaaaagh.  I turned into a zombie, and have developed a gnarly caffeine addiction.  …the good news is, yesterday we got her to sleep around 11, and she didn’t wake up til about 7!  I mean, she woke up twice inbetween but just wanted to eat and go back to sleep.  at seven, she awoke, was up for about an hour, and then went back to sleep til about 11 again.

…at the moment, The Husband is trying to get her to sleep, but judging by the frantic whining and patting noises issuing from the game room (yes, it’s a 3 bedroom, but why in the hell would a squid need her own room?  so, the nice thing is we have a game room, which gets the TV out of the livingroom.), I may have to step in shortly.

…speaking of The Husband.  it seems like since we’ve moved, we’ve done nothing but fight.  one conflict will FINALLY get resolved, we’ll have a day or two of bliss, and then something else happens and everything goes to shit again.  he doesn’t seem to have any concept of when I’m still… tender from previous arguments, and not really in the mood for his “ha-ha, that was funny because it’s something a complete asshole would say” jabs.  I understand that he’s not being serious, but sometimes his sense of humor is completely unnecessary.  …as well as tactless and mean.

stuff that would normally be kind of funny is alot harder to have a sense of humor about when I’m struggling trying to get along after our last argument.  I don’t feel like I trust him, and I’m irritated by the amount of time I try to put into trying to get along with him, when it seems like mainly what he does is “aw, shit, pissed her off again somehow.  AVOID!”

blagh.  anyhow.  aside from my marital struggles, functioning as a Domestic Anarchist is much more interesting in a house!  much more room to take care of, but also much more to be creative with.

so, I’m realizing how much more there is to being domestic, other than just parenting, so this blog is going to expand a bit from just anarchist parenting philosophy, to recipes and household tricks… I have this vague little fantasy drifting about of being the punkrock martha stewart, but I’m not sure how well I’d pull that off.  maybe I’ll at least get a video of my safety-pinning my turkey closed up on youTube come thanksgiving!

speaking of holidays, the one that occurred between internet connections went well!  The Wizard was with his dad for Halloween this year, so we threw him a Harvest Party the week before, and it was a success!  the kids painted pumpkins, bobbed for apples (in green jello instead of water… trying to cut down on germ exchanges and avoid piggy sniffles.), dipped those apples in caramel and hunted for ghosts.  at the end of the night he had another friend come over to eat dinner and watch The Nightmare Before Christmas (which resulted in a slight altercation: Ry-Ry declared the movie “Just rediculous!” and The Wizard declared that “Zombies are just awesome!” and they had to be redirected into a game of Hide-and-Ghost-Seek.  ain’t I clever?  they didn’t even notice their pillowcases were stripey and ruffled @ the bottom.).

then, on All Hallows Eve itself, I intended to have a Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) Marathon, accompanied w/ homemade mac and cheese, but unfortunately, all I had was whole wheat flour, and I didn’t think about the consistency difference, and made my cheese sauce w/ it anyway, which failed utterly.  …the cheese sauce was salvagable as chip dip after I added some salsa though, and I’d gotten blue tortilla chips, which was an awesome combo.  however, by the time dinner was salvaged and trick-or-treaters were dispersed, we were all exhausted and passed out before the first movie was over.

anyhow, here, to start off the recipes, is our dinner from last night, and I believe, a fitting first recipe, because I have yet to meet a punk rocker (who was not either a vegetarian or a vegan), who is not a fan of bacon.

BACON PASTA

1.  take one package of good, flavorful, (but not maple.  I used smoked pepper bacon) thick cut bacon, and slice into about 1 or 2 inch pieces.  it doesn’t need to be separated, it’ll separate as it cooks.  you can put a little oil in the pan, as you’ll be draining the grease off anyway.  put it in a high-sided skillet on about medium-high heat, and chop a fair amount of garlic and onion, at least a few cloves, or else the flavor will be completely drowned out by the bacon.  drain most of the bacon grease and add your garlic and onion, and cover the pan.  stir it ocassionally, to prevent sticking.  at some point, things will pretty much be deep-frying.  don’t worry about it, it’ll get your bacon nice and crispy.  (if you’re not a huge garlic fan, you can saute your garlic and onion in some oil first, and then add your bacon once they’re starting to carmelize.)

2.  once your bacon is crispy and cooked, drain off ALL the grease, turn down the burner to medium and add your tomatoes!  you can use fresh tomatoes in the summer, but I used two cans of fire-roasted tomatoes, which was awesome.  this is also the time for seasoning.  chilli powder adds a bit of spice, and chipotle chilli powder compliments the smokiness of the bacon.  don’t use any salt or pepper (unless your bacon was not peppered), as the bacon is salty enough.  oregano and basil are of course welcome in any pasta sauce.  cover and let simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 min.  in the meantime, cook your pasta.

3.  this is not a meal for boring semolina.  whole wheat pasta will have alot more flavor,  and will be able to hold it’s own against the bacon.  if you used a whole package of bacon, you’ll want 10-12 oz’s of pasta.  put a little olive oil in your water (don’t worry about salting it, or else it’ll be too salty), bring to a boil, add pasta and let it boil for 7-10 minutes depending on how thick your noodles are.  check them after about 7.  whole wheat pasta will taste kind of nutty even when cooked, but you don’t want any crunch to it.  once it’s al dente (firm but not crunchy), rinse it to get it to stop cooking and wash the starch off.  then voila, mix in your sauce!

if you do garlic bread to go along with it, you’ll probably want to roast actual garlic cloves and apply them to your bread, or else, again, it won’t stand up to the bacon.  cucumbers could make a nice, cooling, complimentary salad, but put some vinegar with them, to give them some kick, and avoid salt, unless you’re really craving a coronary.

beverage wise, a nice red wine would be awesome, as would a potential bloody mary, esp. if you tossed in some of that chipotle chilli powder.  or a dark beer.  something with a flavor that won’t be too easily overwhelmed.

so, yeah, bacon ain’t just for breakfast anymore!

-The Domestic Anarchist