Saturday, January 17, 2009

RQ Cooks: Traditional(ish) Hungarian Goulash

It's freezing. We're broke. It turns out the Kid is allergic to wheat (do you know how many cheap foods contain wheat? Or how difficult it is when you rely on free school meals that are made of wheat covered wheat with a side of fricken wheat?)

So what's a person to cook? I found a giant lump of top round roast for a mere $5.50 at the store. A couple of onions and some other stuff later and you got goulash.

Contrary to popular belief, goulash is not whatever you scrape out of the bottom of your fridge, cover in tomato sauce and sour cream and call a meal. Mine is traditional(ish) because i throw some Worcestershire sauce in (all beef tastes better with Worcestershire sauce- it's the fish sauce of Europeans)and I cook it in a crock pot (thanks Tobes!) instead of a dutch oven.

You need:

A good sized roast. (2 pounds or more) I usually don't care so much what the cut is as long as it's reasonably priced and has some good fat on it.

A can of tomato paste

a quarter cup of paprika (ish)

3 sliced onions

Worcestershire sauce

beef or veggie stock*****

3 or 4 heads of chopped garlic

salt and pepper

Throw sliced onions into bottom of crock pot. Place roast on top of onions. In a bowl mix tomato paste, paprika, garlic, Worcestershire sauce (I put in a lot, probably a quarter cup or more) and enough stock to make it easy to stir but not liquidy. Also generous sprinkles of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and pour over the roast.

******Edited after making this like a thousand times. Skip the the stock. All you need is a tablespoon or so of water. The roast will release so much liquid that every drop of extra liquid you put in just makes for runny sauce. Really. I know it looks like a pile of dry stuff with red paste on top at first. That is OK. It won't when it's done.

Set crock pot to low, cover and leave for about 8 hours.

Some people use stew meat or cut the meat up before cooking. I prefer to cook it whole and then I know it's done when it starts to fall apart with a fork.

I serve it over garlic and dill mashed potatoes and skip the sour cream on top (cause it's in the potatoes). You can also serve it over noodles and rice, but I really like the potatoes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For the record

I am allergic to lavender. It gives me migraines and makes me want to vomit. You were the one that liked it, not me. They way that long red nails creep you out is what the smell of lavender does to me, only with vomit. (For the readers- I may be the first person in history to have become nauseous in sight of the legendary lavender fields of Provence. Thank god that french pharmacists understand the word "migraine")

The books- one I already own and the other is written by a hack. But Ruth said she'd see if she could sell them since what we really need is grocery money.

We are fiercely agnostic. And I mean fierce. Every time you send the Kid some ridiculous religious piece of jewelry I get the desire to burn down St. James. But then we just make fun of how hideously ugly the religious tokens you send are and the problems with crazy religious freaks and their belief in the magic sky fairy who try to push their beliefs onto rational people.

And the idea you have of who the Kid is and what he likes is off. Stop trying to push your fantasy onto him. He's his own person, more so because I don't let people like you push him into being what you need him to be. That's why you don't get to come withing a thousand yards of him. You're a fucking grown up, leave the Kid alone.

Presents, when obviously chosen because you 1) don't know shit about us and 2) think you know shit because you've been creepily stalking my blog are creepy! Way to make someone feel uncomfortable about having to accept a gift they don't want and don't like. And did I mention creepy.

And creepy. Has anyone ever told you that you have serious boundary issues? Cause you do. Stop trying to cross mine. You do not get to be part of our lives. Not now, not ever. We've made peace with that. You need to make peace with that too. Hold a mock funeral for us if you like and if it will make you feel some closure. You have one child now, I suggest you focus on him.

PS- the spoon rest, in all it's hideous tackiness, was crushed "accidentally" several times by a hammer on the back deck last night. So was the cd. It's tragic really.

(for the regular readers, this post goes out to someone else, obvs.)

This horrible animal is proof that there is no god!

Sent to me by the awesome Sylvia, who I love.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I think I've groused up some peeps before with my belief that charity bites. I think we use charity to make the government less responsible to the people. Feel good altruism replaces real progression to a a more just society.

Now this doesn't mean I think people should stop being kind to each other or helping each other out when situations arise. Lord knows I've benefited greatly from the kindness of friends and strangers alike. Those acts have literally kept me and the Kid afloat. But wouldn't it be better if our government did it's job of ensuring domestic tranquility by making sure everyone has a safe home and enough food than by relying on the arbitrary nature of good deeds?

Professor What If has a fabulous series on "What if you could buy social justice?" and her latest piece is on Oprah's Big Give. Oprah may be the best example of how charity is just not enough to make for social justice.

In addition to the celebrified glitz of the show and the emphasis that money can fix all problems, there was a marked lack of social critique. As argued in “The dark underside of Oprah’s Big Give, “by Linda Diebel, “when competitors tried to buy away the problems of two schools in Houston, Texas, “not one contestant turned to another and asked how such bleak Dickensian conditions could exist in American schools in the first place.”

Similarly, the systematic, institutionalized conditions of poverty, homelessness, lack of healthcare, etc, were not examined on OBG. Rather, the show relied on a Horatio Alger model, trying to save the world by pulling up one individual bootstrap at a time.

Those damn bootstraps. You know, if you have over 17 million (and climbing, I think my numbers come from the 2000 census) people in poverty and millions of working families who have to rely on food banks and charities just to make sure their kids can eat, then it is not a problem that can be solved one bootstrap at a time. It is not a matter of massive individual failings but a systemic problem that can only be fixed by changing the system. Currently the system is made up of a patchwork of government programs and private charities. This is not working. And we've already tried the all charity route (see anything before 1929) and that didn't work either.

So you can't get social justice by giving away a bunch of money. Honestly, I would prefer if Oprah just paid the highest tax bracket she could with no deductions and then lobbied congress for more aid to the poor. That might actually accomplish what charities can't.

Never ending war doesn't make anyone safe

Just one quote- but go read the whole thing.

A lot of the far-right Jewish activity here is the direct consequence of having a state created out of war and sustained only at the cost of nearly constant war. I don’t think the influence of those right wingers has been good for the United States or the world in general.


So after a fairly miserable Christmas break with the Puppy, last week started out good. I thought we had worked some stuff out and i could now resume my normal life and deal with some huge issues that have been put on the back burner while we "worked on our relationship".

And just when I was feeling ok and getting shit done, the Puppy had another bout of stewing over something stupid (I think he was hurt cause i made fun of him for being a 27 year old who has his mommy do his laundry). Anyways, I ended things. It turns out I was exhausted and boring and bored because he's a giant time sucking hole of neediness. Every time I spent my time and attention on something that wasn't him (like my Kid) he felt hurt by me in some new way.

So Friday night I ended things. And I just had the most restful weekend in months.

Besides, he hates that I am sarcastic. That's a fundamental part of my personality and one that ain't ever gonna change. One ex boyfriend said I'm Dorothy Parker and i like it that way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How are they a threat to you?

The pictures below are triggering. But we must see the damage we do. This is a post about Israel, but as Americans we are complicit in the damage. Just like in Rwanda, where the Chinese and British supplied the machetes that led to mass murder, we have supplied Israel with the weapons they use to kill children.

January 7, 2009: 40 Palestinians sheltering at a UN school are killed by an Israeli bomb. What threat was this little girl to Israel?

February 28, 2008: Four Palestinian boys playing soccer are killed by Israeli bombs. How are they a threat to Israel?

What about her? Is she a threat? Israel has cut off Palestinians from the ability to work, then cut off food aid. The children are starving. But are they threat? Would they be more of a threat if they were well fed and safe from war, or less of a threat? I wonder if we have to push our minds very hard to think of another time when one race of people was kept at starvation levels in camps to make them less of a threat.

Israel is becoming the thing they are most afraid of. And we help them do it. It is in our best interest that Arabs have Israel to focus on as an enemy and that we have a testing ground for weapons without getting any actual blood on our hands.

And how can any country that bombs schools and starves enemy children really want peace? How does an eye for an eye (or eyelash) ever lead to anything but mass blindness?