What They Tell You

Most amazing corn on the cob recipe ever: Elotes

You will need:
Lots of shucked corn, or unshucked if you want to heat it right on the grill
Queso Oaxaca (smells like a farm tastes like paradise)
Mayonnaise
Or Butter
Cayenne pepper (ground. Look for the bright red color- that means its fresher.)

Boil or cook the elotes.
Grate some Oaxaca cheese in the meantime.
When the elotes are done, sprinkle queso all over the corn and add squirt able butter. Top with cayenne pepper for some oomph.

Or

When the elotes are done, slather in mayo, sprinkle the queso, and add whatever you like on top, or nothing more.

I used to think the Japanese had the best recipe for corn on the cob ever. Then I met my husband. Mexico wins!

On to my post! Continue reading

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So I broke up with my parents

First, a recipe!

Tacos from the Heart

Needed:
1 dead cow
Skills in butchering animals for food (serial killers need not apply)
1 cow heart from said dead cow.

Boil the heart slowly over a few hours, in water and salt. Beef heart is big, so you might need to cut it to fit in the pan. Let it cool, make sure it’s tender, and cut off the excess fat. Then cut it into long, thin strips.

Heat up some oil in a pan and throw in onion and garlic to taste. Then throw in some cut hot chiles. And salt. Salt is good. Throw in more onions if you love them like I do. Let it all simmer.

Serve with your favorite non store bought salsa, beans, and tortillas. (Corn tortillas, or even flour ones but avoid the nasty wheat tortillas. Them’s nasty.)

Now, on to the break up. I find it highly ironic that my first big break up was with my parents. My only boyfriend is now married to me, and by the grace of God our marriage is doing well so far. So my first big break up is not a boyfriend, or even a fiancé, but my parents.

Oh sure, I’ve told old “friends” to hit the road before. But that is less a break up and more because of our ages and maturity levels. It was mostly mutual, except in the case of a genuine stalker I had that took YEARS to remove from my life.

In any case, this is awkward. Who breaks up with their parents? I might even try writing a book about it, because it feels that weird.

So a few nights ago, after taking a long break from the crazy people I call my parents, we met at a local restaurant. My husband went with me for support. Right away, as soon as I let them know what was up, they tried to attack me by getting through to my husband. Classy.

There was a lot of gas lighting. Gas lighting is when one person flat out denies, minimizes, or ignores the experience of another for the purposes of getting the other under control and questioning their own memories, experiences, or even sanity. In their case, my parents claimed not to remember anything that I said. When I pressed, they said I must have an incorrect memory. Because I am a human blood hound for lies and half truths, I kept pressing relentlessly until my mom blamed her conveniently faulty memory in anti-depressants.

I looked at my father, and asked him “So what is YOUR excuse?”

“Stress”, he replied. He didn’t even acknowledge that I called my mother out on her excuse, and his.

What followed was nothing that interesting, just lots of implying that I was the crazy one, conveniently recovered memories that were very sharp concerning my perceived faults, and finally dwindled down into telling me that I was a terrible person, wrong, that this was all “bullshit”, and that I was being “vindictive”.

In short it went about as crappy as I thought it would. I did come into the break up meeting offering an olive branch. What it boiled down to was either they acknowledge the past, take responsibility, and apologize, or I no longer have contact with them. What was more important- their pride and emotional self preservation or their relationship with their daughter?

As always, the former won over the latter. The closest I got was a “sorry for whatever the hell we did, but we don’t remember”.

Here is the reason apologies are important. Many people would say I should just accept that my parents are who they are and that I should lie flatter so they can happily keep walking over me. I would say those people are ignorant. An apology doesn’t fix hurt feelings, or heal broken pasts. What it does, is show that the person making the apology is aware of how they have failed. If you can see where you have failed, you can avoid doing the same failure again. It also shows that if you don’t avoid that failure, then you are responsible enough to continue taking responsibility. An apology is humility which is a necessary ingredient for friendship.

That is why apologies are important, especially in cases of abuse.

I’ve already forgiven my parents, but reconciliation is not possible. In their minds I’m “vindictive”, crazy, and “punishing” them. They aren’t mature enough to examine the reasons why their daughter is so ready to leave them in the past. Forgiving them I can do, but the power of reconciliation is out of my hands. I can be willing (reluctantly, but I could try) except that it isn’t possible on their end.

If I were to try reconciliation with these people who still see me as their bad little scapegoat, reconciliation would not happen. Instead, I’d be volunteering for abuse, sadness, anger, frustration all on my part. Instead of being a victim I’d be volunteering.

Their pride and egos are far more important to them than making a real, healthy relationship with me. I am not willing to teach my own daughter that that sort of unhealthy dynamic is acceptable.

They want me to come back and be a better doormat. I want them to be the parents they never were.

So I broke up with them.

Canning and Government

Here’s a favorite recipe of mine. It’s not so much a recipe as its a process.

It’s called Canning and with our craptastic economy and irresponsible voters you should know how to do it.

Canning:
Step 1: acquire tomatoes. Lots of them.
Step 2: acquire Ball canning jars. Ball is a good brand- I don’t trust any other.
Step 3: have a knife, water, stove, and tall cooking pots handy.
Step 4: clean the tomatoes, cut them in half or quarters depending on size. start cooking them. If they’re red tomatoes they shouldn’t need extra water. If they’re tomatillos add a cup or two of water depending on how many you have cooking.
Step 5: put the other pot to boil, and set as many jars and lids as can fit without bumping together. This I to sterilize and to prevent rot.
Step 6: when the tomatoes are well cooked, start scooping them into jars (one jar at a time). Make sure the lip of the jar is perfectly clean, screw on the top, and store upside down over night.

Congrats, you now have a way to have fresh salsa and sauce and whatever you like, and can save then for when you can’t buy fresh.

There are also recipes to do this with meat.

Other things you can do to reduce the food budget:

Sow a small garden. If you live in the city this can be difficult, but try to at least have a window for herbs like cilantro or rosemary.

Cook your food from scratch. Beans, lentils, and rice are easy to make from scratch and can be very nutritious.

Buy in bulk- rice can be bought very inexpensively at Sam’s Club, and frozen food can be stored for a long time. Wait for a sale and buy meat then, or try to buy a cow directly from a farm.

Hunt! Venison is a very healthy alternative to beef. It is very low fat and full of protein. Even rabbit and squirrel are good. (Rabbit meat has no fat though, so don’t make this a staple).

Grind your own meat! Ground beef is ridiculously expensive. Invest in a decent meat grinder (avoid the made in china plastic ones that break if you look at then wrong) and you can have meatballs and hamburgers.

Plan! Plan for what you will need, make recipes, and stick to them. Buy seasonally- often times things are on sale at different times.

Expand your idea of “edible”. If you’re like the typical picky American who only wants to buy highly processed foods an won’t try anything new, kiss your money goodbye. Look up ethnic recipes- Mexican food is very economical.

Re-use your food. Onions can be saved and grown to make new onions. So can potatoes and many forms of squash. Save those seeds!

Talk to your grandparents and great grandparents! Chances are many of them survived the Great Depression. They likely remember all sorts of ways to save money.

Most of all, never rely on a government that on both sides does not care if you live or die. Sure it’s nice if they help, but never assume that it’s a given they will, or that their help will be sufficient.

Support yourself, and your neighbors.

Salsa Musings

Want a super quick and easy recipe for salsa? My husband taught me this one, in fact he’s pretty much taught me how to cook! (Yep my husband rocks)

All you need is:
2 or 3 large tomatoes
Three or five hot peppers (jalapeños, or serranos which are spicier) make sure to remove stems
A garlic clove, medium size to large
Salt to taste

Heat up a saucepan of water with the tomatoes and chiles until the skins are peeling off the tomatoes and the peppers are soft.

Peel the garlic, pop it in the blender, and in this order add chiles and then tomatoes. Blend until everything is liquidy. Add salt.

If you want you can then heat the salsa with already fried onions to give it more flavor. Serve with beans or eggs and tortillas- makes a healthy dinner! Also a Lent friendly meal!

Now for the musing… I gave it my best shot, but I can’t find the article I read that cast a gloom on my day some weeks back. I was heavily pregnant, so I spent the majority of my time reading. To give the gist, it was yet another article bemoaning supposed “Hispanic” resistance to assimilation. What was probably meant was “The Mexicans”, since I have never heard any moaning about Guatemalans or Bolivians.

What hurt is that it came from a Catholic, spoke directly about Catholics themselves, and then referenced the apparent success of German Catholics in assimilating to American culture.

For one thing, I am not so sure that assimilating to American culture is so good for Catholics in general. As a group we are basically distinguishable from other Americans, with all the resistance to legitimate authority and love of immorality that entails. For another, I am, for what little it is worth, a German American Catholic. I am also the mother to a little girl who is Mexican-German American with other added bits of Europe.

Assimilation. It frustrates me to no end that I have basically very little to no culture of my own that hasn’t been swallowed up in the bland Protestant/secular culture. I don’t speak German, except for a couple of phrases I didn’t know were German until high school. German food? Saur kraut and brats. That’s it. I only make it store bought too. Music? Do norteños count, since they’ve often got a polka beat? Oops, that’s not American, right?

A lot of the sins mentioned in the article had to do with language and how people relate to one another. There was a definite sense of disgust at the idea of Spanish language Masses. While I am in agreement that some level of assimilation is necessary to help people get along and understand one another, I do not believe that comes at the expense of language and culture. Don’t use the Spanish Mass to separate people, as has happened in some churches, but don’t go rating it all a big success when you make an entire group of people feel so ashamed that they forget their language.

My grandpa was shamed into not speaking the German he knew. He was told it was low class, and borderline traitorous, even though just a generation before him there were German bilingual schools that were not discouraged. And there was pressure even from the Church for him to forget his culture. Guess what? He did, and it probably helped him to become a very racist old man. After all, he had to be forced to forget his culture- why should a bunch of Spanish speaking brown people get away with keeping theirs?

The article I read bemoaned that Bishops are supporting Hispanic culture and communities. I celebrate it, as long as unity as Catholics above all is maintained. By the way, I find it funny that the article slams Spanish Masses in the United States but makes no mention of the Polish Masses. Too white, perhaps? What about Vietnamese Masses? Too little of a minority to be a threat to the perfectly Protestantized white male?

I wouldn’t want to meet that writer in real life. It was very pretty racism that he wrote, and as eloquent as it was it was still racism. Other than the parts of American culture that I dislike (the push to have sex, defy legitimate authority, above all to conform to every damned new fad) I want my daughter to be able to have all of her culture.

That means her cumbias, the 3 Kings, La Virgen, quinceañera, and yes her SPANISH language as well as her Santa, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, meat loaf, rock music. That means she gets Shakespeare and La Celestina, her playdoh and her tortillerita, her chiquihuite and her breadbox.

When I see assimilate, all I can think of is “conform conform conform”. My German American family did that and we lost ourselves. We are just like all the rest of America- we all divorce, we all have similar levels of employment, underage pregnancy, multiple marriages, political views, abortion, contraceptive use, an inability to give the slightest care to anything our Holy Father teaches, rudeness, consumerism, and on and on.

All I can think is that’s what I should want for my daughter? That’s what I should push for in my Church?

No wonder so many Hispanic Catholics are leaving the Church in the US. Not only do we have terrible catechesis, but despite the efforts of Bishops and other clergy the common Catholic is still running around screaming “assimilate! Conform! Assimilate to Americanism or leave the Church!”

And then we are all surprised when Hispanic/Latino people actually start doing all of that.

I have seen ugliness from Catholics on both sides. I go to some Spanish Masses or some English Masses and from both I have gotten the impression that people equate their nationality or race with their religion. I get glared at or stared at for being a white lady at a Spanish Mass (and some o the glares deepen when I know my prayers in Spanish). My husband gets glared at and hears comments about illegals for being a very brown, very Spanish speaking Mexican. That’s not acceptable. The answer is not to make us all the same culture. We already have a shared culture- Catholicism, and it very much hated by the surrounding culture.

The next decade is going to be difficult for us. So please let’s not harp on the evils of speaking a different language and living the culture that made us who we are.