What’s Been Cooking at Our House – Charles Hugh Smith

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of oftwominds-Charles Hugh Smith. To view original, click here.

A healthy homecooked family meal and a home garden are revolutionary acts.

Longtime readers know that my political, financial and spiritual philosophy starts here: “A healthy homecooked family meal and a home garden are revolutionary acts.” If this sounds preposterous, then it’s time for an analysis of our politics of experience and an examination of how derealized our culture and economy have become.

Though all my books address the politics of experience and derealizationSurvival+and Resistance, Revolution, Liberation develop the analysis most fully.

I recently read an explanation of convenience: why go to the trouble of cleaning and preparing vegetables and then having to do dishes, when you can buy a fast-food cheeseburger, crumple up the wrapper and toss it in the trash?

Why, indeed. The cheeseburger is hands-down more convenient. But if your diet revolves around this sort of convenience, you quickly become overweight and chronically ill because you’re starving yourself even as you fill yourself up.

This is an excellent metaphor for the entirety of derealized American life. Stop engaging in real life and what are you left with?

Growing food and preparing food are two anchors to the real world. Each is an act of caring and an engagement with the pleasures of living.

Over the years I have heard many excuses why nobody has time or energy to prepare real food at home. Since I typically work 12-hour days, I find the usual excuses rather thin. Americans are “too busy” to cook (or learn how to cook) yet they magically find 4 to 6 hours a day to watch TV, surf the web, text, etc.

Yes, everyone who works long hours feels whipped at the end of the day. The trick is to prepare main dishes on the weekend that last several meals, and to perfect some quick cooking techniques for vegetables such as stir-frying. (A pressure cooker speeds up cooking rice and beans wonderfully.)

Here’s a recent weekend meal at our house: Korean-style chicken BBQ (enough to last a few main meals on weekdays), steamed asparagus, stir-fried pea sprouts (Chinese style), kimchee (store-bought), Hawaii-style white rice and a bit of white wine.

Another meal: grilled pork in a Vietnamese marinade, stir-fried green beans (from a Fuchsia Dunlop recipe, as I recall), a dollop of zinfandel red wine and white rice. (We eat both brown and white rice; those of you from Hawaii will understand why we can’t switch completely to brown rice.)

Here’s a closeup of the black-bean flavored green beans:

I recently picked the last of our winter beets and prepared the beets and beet tops in a vinaigrette:

My wife learned how to make potstickers (Jiaozuo in Mandarin Chinese) some years ago; here’s a recently prepared pan. (No, these are not machine-made; they are made by hand.) We freeze them in bags for easy preparation when we’re trashed at day’s end. They can be either vegetarian or with pork.

I recently rediscovered how easy it is to make brownies from scratch. I decorated this batch with walnuts and macadamia nuts. Ridiculously addictive.

Other than the Jiaozuo, nothing presented here is elaborate or takes a lot of time to prepare. It’s possible to make these dishes in an elaborate fashion, but it isn’t necessary. A cheap little Weber grill or hibachi and a quickly assembled marinade are all that’s needed for a great little BBQ.

As Aristotle observed, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Combine that with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s admonition, “Do the thing and you shall have the power,” and you have a pretty good philosophy of cooking and life.

This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at oftwominds-Charles Hugh Smith.View original post.


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Things are falling apart–that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:

go to print edition1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability
3. Diminishing returns
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5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy
Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).

We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.

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