Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recent (and not-so-recent) discoveries

-Although I am against bullying people to try new vegetables, I am in favor of trying new vegetables, and on that note, I'm pleased to say that leeks are one of my new favorite foods. Unfortunately the cookling method I've found that makes them most delicious (and that looks something like this), my default method for vegetables that involves pouring some olive oil on them, setting the oven to 350 degrees, and hoping for the best/not to forget I put them in, involves a) a lot of oil, and b) an hour and a half of waiting. I can imagine the leeks being good - better, even - with less oil, but I can also imagine them being better cooked for two and a half hours, or three... Which seems unreasonable. So, what does one do with leeks? A cursory look online suggests what one does with them, typically, is suspend them in an egg-and-cream mixture, or submerge them in a mushy-sounding potato soup. Blech. This, however, I could see being quite amazing.

-My longstanding dream of dropping everything and living in Tel Aviv - or better yet, not dropping everything but somehow living in Tel Aviv all the same - was reawakened when I learned that one of the participants at the NYU French grad conference was a student in Tel Aviv University's French department, but is not in fact Israeli. And while I should have realized such a thing was possible, I was all, OMG, this is possible? How do I sign up as a visiting student, trading the rain and the dysfunctional MTA for breakfast salads and platform sandals?

And then I remembered that I know how to say only a dozen things in Hebrew, half of which are offensive (thank you, Speaking Freely! I mean this unsarcastically. Stomach ailments, sexual kinks, excesses of piety, these things I can describe in the purported language of my ancestors. But, as Herzl feared, I'd have quite a bit of trouble asking for a train ticket in Hebrew.) and the other half of which are about preferences in cheese consumption. (Harbeh gvinah, bvakasha!) But now that I have some concrete evidence that my chosen profession exists in my favorite city, I have a new motivation to finally get to learning Hebrew's future tense, the most glaring gap in my knowledge of that language.

-Although the general trend of WWPD is to link to NYT articles when they're ridiculous, I've been meaning to link to one that was spot-on, a piece by Peggy Orenstein about how Facebook makes it impossible to reinvent yourself post-high-school. "It could be that my generation was the anomalous one, that Facebook marks a return to the time when people remained embedded in their communities for life, with connections that ran deep, peers who reined them in if they strayed too far from the norm, parents who expected them to live at home until marriage (adult children are already reclaiming their childhood rooms in droves)."

Orenstein predicts that "the very thing that attracts us oldsters to Facebook — the lure of auld lang syne — will be its undoing," but I think Facebook as she describes it is here to stay. Thanks to the site, I know more than I ever thought I would about the social and professional ups and downs of friends from as early as nursery school, of cousins so distant I'm not sure I could chart the connection, of friends of friends of those who are in fact my friends, and so on. Of course, they can keep posted on me as well, should they so choose.

Whereas the great fear with Facebook initially was that college grads would be unemployable thanks to photos of them passed out with their bongs, the real danger is clearly that information revealing legal but out-of-character behavior will reach parents, childhood friends, and so on. The threshold thus lowers from 'hmm, what's in that glass pipe?' to 'how unlike him to wear such tight pants/vote Republican.' And frankly, it is shocking to see evidence of people I think of as being frozen at age 8 in serious relationships, in understated formal attire, smoking cigarettes, attending law school, and otherwise acting in ways quite uncharacteristic of 8-year-olds. Things that would not be arrest-worthy or even gossip-worthy become reportable once a 'whatever came of him' context is added.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think potato-leek soup is swell (on the other hand, I'm the guy who tried to sell you on leek-and-kale soup) and there is a recipe at http://sarahscucinabella.com/2008/09/05/potato-leek-soup/. We use them instead of onions in spaghetti sauce, and think they improve things. dave.s.

Phoebe said...

I'm going to assume that we have different food preferences, because that soup does not appeal to me in the least.

Dana said...

I like making tarts or quiches with leeks. My boyfriend dislikes them though, so he'll tolerate at most 2 leeks chopped up and simmered away (they fall apart) in beef and barley soup. Which is super hearty for winter, although when the weather changes I'd much rather have a leek soup. You can try braising leeks, too.

Phoebe said...

Hmm, lots of possibilities for the leek I just bought. But I'm still not quite sure what braising is - something to do with broth?

Dana said...

Braised leeks! You can add anything to flavor: garlic, bacon, etc. You could also use vegetable broth You could use oil instead of butter.

Phoebe said...

Looks like I have the ingredients for this...

Paige Dansinger and The (future) Jewish Art Museum of Minnesota (JAMM) said...

Hi Phoebe- I also love cooking, but am connecting with you for another reason... I am just finishing my MA in art hist. my specialization is Judaica, I am writing my thesis on Orientalist Paintings of Jewish Women and thought I would say Shalom/Bonjour to you! :) I just started a blog recently and thought we could connect.

Happy Passover-
Paige