“She’s not really the cooking type.” (Also: A simple recipe for baked chicken thighs and rice.)

Note: This is a repost of something I published elsewhere last spring. I’m in the midst of preparing for a party we’re having on Christmas Eve Eve (i.e. December 23), so I don’t have time to write a proper post, but this is relevant to a discussion about women and caring for one’s family that is ongoing in the King Midas thread.

Yesterday I was chatting with a boy, aged 11, and I asked him, “What is your favorite meal that your mom cooks?”

With a wry laugh that surprised me, given his young age, he said, “Weellll…my mom is, uh, not really the cooking type.”  He laughed again.

I pressed him; who cooked dinner in his house?  His father?  No, he said.  Did his mother never cook?  At all?  Surely he could think of one thing she cooked!  No, he could not.

“Well, what do you eat for dinner?  Tell me what your favorite thing to eat for dinner is,” I encouraged him.  He named his favorite fast food item.  I tried again, “But at home.  What is prepared at home that you like to eat?” He named his favorite brand of frozen pizza.

He wasn’t kidding.  So far as I can tell, he has no memory in 11 years of ever having eaten a home-cooked meal.  I was astounded, though I hid my shock from him.  I know his mother slightly, and I know that she works, but she is not in a high-stress, long-hours field.  They aren’t poor, so I know that a crockpot could be purchased if desired.  Apparently his mother just was “not really the cooking type,” as he had said.

Needless to say, I don’t think much of a woman (or a man) shirking her duty to feed her children with an excuse like “I’m not really the cooking type.”  You can purchase bags of pre-made salad, bags of fresh prepared green beans that all you have to do is pierce and toss in the microwave, and simple cuts of meat to stick in the crockpot or roast in the oven.  Relying on fast food or pre-prepared processed food every single night is extremely unhealthy and does not train your children’s taste buds to accept fresh, natural foods.  Children become acclimated to the taste of salt, sugar, and low-quality fats, and then healthy, home-cooked food tastes weird to them, and they reject it.

Even if you were raised by a not-the-cooking-type mother, it is never too late to learn.  To that end, here is a very simple dish requiring the most basic ingredients.  This is nothing special or gourmet, just regular, inexpensive, wholesome food that is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner en famille. It takes about ten minutes to assemble and an hour to bake.

Simple Baked Chicken Thighs and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken stock (homemade or canned broth from the store)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-6 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
  • 8-10 boneless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt, ground black pepper, dried parsley, dried thyme, paprika if desired

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Pour 2 cups uncooked white rice into a 9X13 glass baking dish.

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Note: I buy large, glass jars of pickles at Walmart or Costco; because I prefer glass containers to plastic, when we finish the pickles I run these big jars through the dishwasher several times and use them for storing bulk ingredients like rice, flour, and beans.

3. Peel and chop onion and sprinkle over rice.

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4. Peel and mince garlic, then sprinkle over rice and onions.

Here is an easy way to peel garlic without needing a garlic peeler.  Remove a layer of the outer papery peel from the head of garlic, then pop off a clove:

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Slice off the end that was attached to the root:

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Place the flat side of your knife on the clove and press down gently just until you hear a pop:

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You should then be able to slip the clove easily out of its papery jacket:

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And then chop or mince:

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5. Pour 4 cups chicken stock/broth over the rice; slice butter into pats and place evenly around the baking dish.

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6. Mix in a small bowl: 1 t. kosher salt, 1 t. black pepper, 1 t. dried parsley, and 1 t. thyme.
7. Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1 T. lemon juice, then rub with herb mixture.
8. Place chicken thighs on rice.  Dust with paprika for color.

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9. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes; remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.

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This dish is nice served with steamed peapods and fresh red pepper slices.

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Christmas cookie recipe: Buckeyes

One time when it is particularly nice to live within walking distance of a working farm is when you run out of eggs midway through a Christmas-cookie baking marathon.  Mrs. L. just keeps the eggs on the porch, no need to knock dear, just drop your cash in the box and take however many you need…

My mother and grandmother, and who knows, probably even many of my great grandmothers before them, were avid Christmas cookie bakers. My mother and grandmother always made candy cane cookies, Russian tea cakes, gingerbread men, press cookies, goodie bars, and some Polish cookie whose name I can’t remember made with nuts and a honey syrup.

Of course, nearly everyone else’s mother and grandmother made lots of Christmas cookies too back when I was a young girl, and one of my favorite things about Christmas was exchanging plates of homemade treats with friends and neighbors and seeing what other kids’ moms made for Christmas. Our neighbors from the time we moved to Caledonia when I was 13 were the Prices, and Mrs. Price introduced us to a new Christmas cookie, Church Windows, which are made with colored mini marshmallows that are supposed to resemble church stained glass windows. I made these for the first time last year, but my family didn’t much like them.

A few years ago, one of my co-workers gave me a plate of cookies that included a heavenly little cookie she called “buckeyes” because they look like the nuts dropped from the Buckeye tree. I’d never heard of them or tried them, but it turns out they are not uncommon at Christmas. I tried making them the next year, and my family loved them, so they’ve become a staple at our house at the holidays. Here is my recipe to make the ones you see below beside the mini pumpkin-cranberry loaves, but if you don’t like mine, there are lots of other versions of this same recipe available online:

Buckeyes and Pumpkin Bread

My buckeyes and pumpkin-cranberry bread.

Sunshine’s Christmas Buckeyes

  • 3 c crunchy peanut butter (I use the natural kind without hydrogenated oils but any kind will work)
  • 2 c unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 12 c powdered sugar
  • 8 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a very large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and peanut butter. Beat in the vanilla, then the powdered sugar one cup at a time.

2. Roll into one-inch balls and place on waxed paper to chill. This recipe makes a LOT of cookies, so what I do is use a plastic storage bin and layer the cookie balls in it between layers of waxed paper, snap the lid on tight, then put it in our unheated garage to chill overnight. If you cut this recipe in half, you could probably just layer the cookies on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and put them in the refrigerator. But trust me, you’re going to want the full recipe.

3. When chilled, melt 2-4 cups of the chocolate chips in a class bowl on medium power in 45 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. You’ll melt more as you need it.

4. Stick a toothpick into each chilled cookie ball and dip into melted chocolate, coating the bottom and sides. Place on waxed paper on cookie sheets to cool. When the chocolate has hardened, layer the buckeyes between sheets of waxed paper in a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

While you are busy in the kitchen, have a listen to one of my favorite versions of “What Child is This?”

 

“Women’s issues” are embarrassing.

Bonald recently brought up a point that I, too, have noticed: The women’s issues that feminists are always yammering on about are always and solely about women screeching for the right to act uber slutty and then offload the costs for said sluttery onto someone else. He writes:

“In the enlightened West, we have decided that women’s priority is for adult sexual hedonism at the expense of children and public morals. …Just consider what are called “women’s issues”:  legal and subsidized abortion overriding conscientious objections by anyone involved, free contraception subsidized even by those with conscientious objections, normalization of female promiscuity (they can’t even have a movement against sexual assault without it turning into a celebration of sluthood), easy divorce despite the harm to children, and lowered labor investment in the raising of children…The presumption always is that when a conflict arises between children and adult selfishness, women will side with the latter.  Even objecting to the outright murder of children in the interest of adult hedonism is associated with organizations run by old, celibate men.  If I were a woman, I would be offended by this, but I’d mostly be embarrassed for my sex because the Democrats have actually succeeded in getting an edge with women in this way.

And yet, for all of this, today’s politically active women are as nagging and shrewish as their prohibitionist grandmothers.  This is not how women who just want consequence-free sex act in my fantasies at all.”

Well, it is embarrassing, Bonald. Feminism and its “women’s issues” mantra make women look like a one-act show, essentially just walking vaginas. I have always thought feminism sexually objectifies women far worse than anything the patriarchy could ever dish up. Under the supposed “bad old patriarchy” at least women had some dignity and intrinsic worth beyond the hole between their legs.

Now?  Eh, not so much:

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The feminist version of King Midas: everything they touch turns ugly.

Recall that in a recent post, I explained that I was working full-time for pay not as a way to serve my own ego – not so that I could “have the chance” to be a speech pathologist – but rather to provide financial resources to my family that my husband and I agree are needed at present in order to achieve a long-term family goal. I encouraged other women to view paid work not as a selfish means of self-gratification but rather as a selfless way of serving their families.

This clearly rubbed a feminist reader named Linda the wrong way. She can’t criticize me for working, since according to feminists that is the ideal state for women, but she could and did criticize me for not being selfish enough about my work and not engendered a self-centered Me first! attitude in our daughters regarding their future paid employment. Linda writes not as a serious point of discussion but rather as snarky sarcasm, which seems to be the most common form of feminist discourse:

Sunshine’s daughters can help out their husbands financially by working at jobs that don’t require a college degree.

Sunshine’s daughters cannot become speech therapists, since that requires a college degree and she’d like them to marry in their teens and begin having children.

Only Sunshine can be a speech therapist, because she got to delay marriage and childbearing till she had a marketable degree.

However, there are lots of jobs out there that are easy to get and don’t require college degrees. Sunshine’s daughters will get those instead.

Sunshine’s daughters will be OK with all this and won’t call their mom a hypocrite. They will never ask why she had the chance to become a speech pathologist and they did not.

Of course, I’ve never said my girls cannot attend college, only that they must live at home if they are unmarried while they attend school. I’ve also noted that college degrees probably are not worth the money for most people, not just women, and that our daughters will only attend college if they have a clear plan in mind for what they want to do with that degree; otherwise it just isn’t worth the expense.

Nevertheless, in the ugly feminist mindset it is not even conceivable that a woman would make choices based on what would best serve her family. Notice that in Linda’s comment, what really sticks in her craw is that I am getting chances to do something and my daughters might not get those chances…as if it were all about me rather than all about serving my family.

Why is it that whether a woman works or stays home, feminists are obsessed with making sure that she keep the focus firmly on herself? Although he was speaking only of home-keeping, Dalrock really hit the nail on the head about feminist ugliness when it comes to serving husbands and children:

Serving others in the mind of a feminist is an indignity, so cooking, cleaning, or any other act of service and love is the object of revulsion.  Women now actually compete to show off their miserliness in caring for others, each trying to outdo the rest in proving they are the greatest scrooge with love.  It has gone so far that large numbers of women are quite proud of the fact that they have never learned to cook or otherwise care for others.   Their miserliness is a badge of honor.  Not all women have adopted this extremely ugly worldview, but the ones who are going against the grain of the culture here understand better than anyone how uncommon their loving and caring attitudes really are today.

The ugliness of the feminist mind-frame towards cooking, cleaning, and caring for others is so profound that it is difficult to process.  These women are so obsessed with not showing Christian love that they make it a priority not to serve their own families.  Cooking, cleaning, and caring for their own husbands and children is a concept which is repulsive to them.  Acts of service to others are in their twisted minds traps to be avoided, and many go so far as to order their entire lives around avoiding showing love to others, especially their families.  These women are so gripped by miserliness they have made it a priority not to show love to their own children.  When they find themselves unable to avoid an act of service and love to their families altogether, they first steel their hearts with resentment, turning their hearts to stone to avoid the feelings of selfless love they live in constant terror of developing.

I work full time at present because that is how I can best serve my family. That doesn’t mean I don’t like my work – I do like it, in fact, and strive to do it well – but the response of a feminist like Linda to the idea that I might do this for my family regardless of my own preferences (and that I am training our daughters to view work in the same way) demonstrates that feminists turn everything they touch – be it paid work or home-keeping – into miserly ugliness.

My favorite version of the Little Drummer Boy.

GOC Angels

2013 Glory of Christmas

 

Alas, still no time to write…

One the reasons I’ve been so busy the past several weeks is because of The Glory of Christmas, our church’s annual Christmas concert and play. The rehearsals start in the beginning of November and by December, we’re ready to do ten performances.  If you live in this area and you’ve never been to GOC, I advise you to check it out next year, as it is a beautiful telling of the Christmas story.

GOC Choir

From Glory of Christmas 2013

This year I had children in the choir and in the drama, so I was driving from our home all the way to Plymouth and spending hours and hours at church. GOC is a huge time commitment but is a major outreach that our church does, and given the number of people who come in lost and go out pursuing God, it’s worth it.

Usually our church keeps tight control over allowing any video to be posted on YouTube, but they did allow my absolute favorite rendition of The Little Drummer Boy from Glory of Christmas 2010 to be posted there. This is an a capella version and the video of the drummer boy, who is actually a boy in our congregation and which I believe was filmed at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in northern Michigan, was shown on screens while the song was performed.

To help get you in the Christmas spirit, enjoy…

Got a favorite Christmas song to share? Leave it in the comments!

The purpose of paid work for women.

As I mentioned, I accepted a full-time job this fall, or at least “full time” during the academic year; I won’t work in the summer even though my employer is already saying things like, “Just making sure you know that you can work over the summer, too, if you want!”  This is one reason why my ability to write more detailed essays on my new blog has been curtailed: between work, commuting, housekeeping, and shuttling our children around to the myriad activities they are involved in, I’ve barely even been home, let alone had time to write.

What’s the point of this? Am I doing this because I just love being a speech language pathologist so much? Well, sort of: I’m doing speech therapy for pay, as opposed to say being an auto mechanic for pay, because I like and am good at teaching communication. And I’ve done volunteer work in this area in the past, but the reason I am doing this job full time for pay as opposed to part time as a volunteer is for one reason and one reason only: to earn money for my family.

Feminists with their bloated egos tell women that their paid work is their path to personal fulfillment. This is a lie. Personal fulfillment is found in God and family – nothing more and nothing less. Chasing the elusive and incredibly selfish dream of “personal fulfillment” will leave you empty for the simple reason that – unlike God and your family – your job does not love you.

You may, of course, have some very kind co-workers who will help you out in times of trouble; recently one of the other women in my department was in a serious car accident and I was impressed by how quickly everyone at work rallied to bring flowers and gift cards to the hospital and arrange to bring meals to her husband and children. This type of personal charity is kind and thoughtful but is not sustainable among non-kin in the long run because it is not based on familial love.

My husband had misgivings about me working full time but agreed to let me try it because we want to save money for a very specific purpose: purchasing another ten acres of land across the road. We believe this will be a good investment and inheritance for our children. And as much as I like my job and strive to do excellent work for my employer, my goal in performing work for money is the same as the Proverbs 31 woman’s was: to serve my family, not my ego.

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[c]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

My advice to young women: prioritize family formation over education and career. Prepare yourself to earn money as a means of serving your family but don’t get wrapped up in worrying about your personal fulfillment at work because that isn’t why you are there.

Responsibility without authority.

Here is a story that nicely demonstrates the madness of modernity:

21-Year-Old Sues Parents for College Tuition — and Wins

Two parents battling over college tuition for their estranged daughter were back in court this week.

A judge reaffirmed his order on Monday that Maura McGarvey and Michael Ricci pay 21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci’s community college tuition.

 

Caitlyn Ricci brought the suit against her parents in August 2013, suing them for $906 in tuition to Rowan College in Pennsylvania…A few months later, a judge ruled in her favor. On Monday, he upheld his decision, ordering the parents to pay by the end of the year.

 

But all is not settled: In October, Caitlyn Ricci also sued her parents for another $16,000 in tuition from Philadelphia’s Temple University, where she is currently a student. In October, a judge ruled in her favor…

 

The young woman’s mother wrote a blog post about the situation that you simply must read to believe; here is an excerpt from The Age of Entitlement:

We came up with a plan for Caitlyn when she came home.  This plan included a full-time job, household chores, a curfew, and for her to register for 3 summer classes to make up for the wasted semester. The only part of our plan that she had a problem with was the 3 summer classes. She chose to move out of my house instead of following the rules we established. She packed her things, and moved into her paternal grandparent’s house.

 

I was very clear with Caitlyn about what this would mean for her – her father would no longer be required to pay child support, I would no longer have the money to help her pay for college, etc. More than once, I told her that she could come home.  She didn’t want to.  She wanted to live without any rules, with basically no contact with either of her parents or their families, and she wanted her father and I to pay for it. Within a few months of living at her grandparents, Caitlyn retained a lawyer and sued her father and me for college contribution (and a new car.)

 

After over a year of court appearances, certifications, and family mediation, the Family Court in New Jersey found in her favor.  We have been ordered to pay the balance of her tuition at Temple – approximately $16,000 per year. The court did not seem to care that she applied to only one school, or that she left community college without finishing her Associates Degree, or that we told her repeatedly that we simply cannot afford out-of-state tuition…

 

Caitlyn has not been to my home since the day she left (in February 2013) despite the fact that I have continued to invite her to family functions, send her cards, gifts, poems, pictures, etc. She doesn’t want a family; she wants money. And the courts have told her that this is completely acceptable.

 

I have been following Caitlyn’s activity for the past year and a half via Twitter and Instagram, as that is the only way I can be apprised of what she is doing.  I am worried that she still has not learned her lesson about alcohol consumption, as prior to turning 21 last week, she often posted about tailgating at concerts and college parties, and once again I find myself fearful for her future.

 

While suing me to pay for her tuition, she purchased a brand new car. She posts pictures of her manicures and new outfits from high-end retail shops. She got a tattoo. She complains about her professors. She complains about her job. She has learned that there are no consequences for her actions.

This is not, as the mother believes, simply a matter of entitlement, though it certainly is that too. What this exemplifies is a key aspect of modernism: responsibility without authority for some and authority without responsibility for others.

Prior to our modern age, those who had heavy responsibilities – husbands, parents, teachers, law enforcement – also had the authority to make decisions and mete out consequences to those for whom they were responsible. Now those same husbands, parents, police officers, and teachers must still bear the full weight of responsibility for their charges but they no longer have any authority to guide, correct, or discipline.

Wives, children, students, and citizens have meanwhile been freed from taking any responsibility for their own actions and have instead been granted unprecedented levels of authority which they are poorly prepared to handle. The result is the epidemic of wife-initiated divorce, adult children behaving like entitled brats, looting and riots in places like Ferguson, and general lawlessness in many schools.

Caitlyn Ricci. Photo via Facebook.