FORWARD BASE B

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Tag Archives: food

An Aesthetic Declaration of Independence?

Rebel against an established order all you like, but it’s all for naught if you have wallpaper, music, and food characteristic of your people.
Archaeologists characterize ancient peoples by their dwellings, pottery, decorations, and trash piles.  Why doesn’t anyone think to analyze modern peoples in a similar way?  Perhaps the absence of contemperologists is just another blind spot in our established world view.
If we were to make stone spearheads in a particular way, we would be Clovis people, regardless of what we thought about the local chief.
If you like the same top 25 songs everyone else likes, you declare allegiance to your people, no matter if you dislike some politicians.
We’ve established that governments are just outgrowths of the people, therefore it is futile to change a government unless the people change first.  Or rather, if we changed the people, government changes naturally.

There never was a very rebellious soul who had Jif or Skippy peanut butter and Campbell’s soup in their pantry. Brand-name comfort foods connect people to childhood memories of nurture and care, allowing people to feel like warm fuzzy parts of a meaningful tribe even as mass society parasitizes them.
By the same token it is extremely powerful to dismantle these visceral attachments and replace them. To do this is to truly rebel and turn one’s back on a corrupt culture that feeds on its own.
To follow a culture’s aesthetic is an act of powerful ritual significance that ties one to it on a subconscious level. No matter how people might hate their lives within a society, they are trapped so long as peform the rituals of obeisance.
Confucius got it right. He understood the importance of ritual in everything we do—its connection to the movement of societies as gravity shapes the course of celestial bodies.
So by deliberately engineering the rituals on which we base our lives, we shape ourselves.
From the carpets in your dwelling, the architecture of all the buildings around you, the flavorings in your food, the most frequently occurring colors, the shows on tv, the advertisements, the holidays. All these together create an attitude and way of perceiving the world. It’s all around us and influences every thought we think. For example, how does the architecture of a big box strip mall identical to dozens of others make us feel? What more powerful ritual could there be to bolster a philosophy of every place being identical with people plugged into one mass culture and people themselves interchangeable economic units?

So when someone begins to change the cultural environment and how it influences them, they move towards an aesthetic declaration of independence, a sort of hellish, Luciferian defiance magnitudes greater than defying mere governments.

Why Haven’t Americans Figured Out How to Serve Hot Food?

In the time I lived in Korea I noticed a fantastic innovation at their restaurants.  Food was brought to the table simmering in these big steel cookers for everyone to browse from.
I was amazed how these not only kept the food hot, they even had an adjustable heat dial anyone at the table could use.

Such a marvellous invention would be unthinkable, revolutionary in stodgy, joyless American culture that takes greatest pride in its prolish junk food.

When it comes to American food, a piping hot meal is one of life’s challenges.
Everything gets served in complete portions on individual plates made of thick, cold ceramic, completely open to the air.  Everyone takes great care to eat as isolated individuals, avoiding any appearance of sharing from the same source.(that would be disgusting)  Browsing from a collective pot is taboo.  Just watching a people at meal time offers great insight into how they see the world on the most visceral level!
By the time people begin to eat, especially if there’s prayer before eating, even the mashed potatoes are starting to get cold.
I never really understood what a truly hot meal was until I went to some other countries where thick sauces, flaky crusts were common, served in the same container it was baked in hot from the oven, served in cast iron cookware or thick pots with small openings or lids to hold in the heat.  It was never the same again to just eat off of a cold plate that hadn’t even been warmed up.  It’s barbaric, really.  Cold food would offend even cave people cooking over their fires.  Actually, cooking over with a fire in the remote woods is far superior to eating off a cold plate.  There’s a radiant glow of heat that warms your face when you take those foil wrapped baked potatoes and pork loin from the embers of the fire.  Something about really hot food revives the spirit even as cold, soggy food chills the mood, even down to the tips of the toes.
In the States, I still often eat out of the hot pan I cooked in instead of serving onto a plate when making food for myself.  I’ll bring a chair right up to the stove and keep the heat on low as I eat.  If I take it into another room, I keep a lid on until the moment I’m about to eat and enjoy the ebullient rush of hot, delicious-smelling steam rising into my face before I dig in.  But even this is often difficult in America since almost all cookware I encounter is designed to get damaged if it’s so much as touched with silverware.  What backwards and alien customs!

I guess I feel that one of the main reasons to even bother to have a society is to make life pleasant for people.  It’s part of the implicit Contract that motivates us to cooperate with a social order at all.
First a people figures out how to invent a perfectly piping hot meal and then worry about surplus activities like missions into space.
It’s perverse in a way that the most wealthy populations on earth haven’t figured out how to apply sustained heat to their food or contain heat with insulation.
Perhaps it’s the Calvinist, Puritanical disdain for joy in this life that leads to such apathy.
Or is it misguided “enlightenment” empiricism? It has the same calories or nutrients served hot or ice cold after all.
Or is it simply a secular religion of competition and money-making that leaves no place for enjoying the smaller things that make life worth living to begin with?

I suspect it is a combination of all these that impede a culture known for innovation from serving food in containers that have a heat source and adjustable dial.  These are after all the same people who take toasters for granted.

Lard Is Good For You

“Lard, although commonly misidentified as a saturated fat, should really be classified as a monounsaturated fat…lard is about 40 percent saturated, 50 percent monounsaturated, and contains 10 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is also one of our richest dietary sources of vitamin D…

lard is making a comeback from its nadir after years of vilification by big food corporations eager to push their plastic substitutes (see “The Rise and Fall of Crisco

lard sold in grocery stores (if you are lucky enough to find it at all) contains preservatives like BHT added to prolong its shelf life, I look for farmers who sell what they can’t use. Sometimes local butchers carry additive-free lard, or can order it for you.”

I personally have managed to find good quality lard at farmer’s markets, though even there it’s often scarce or out of stock.

I’m actually using some right now to fry up some collard greens until they get crispy and crunchy, a real treat.

Another of my favorite uses: fry up corn tortillas in lard until they’re crispy. As appetizers, can top with guacamole, salsa, or hot sauce. For dessert, great with Mexican cane sugar and cinnamon on top.

Also unbeatable for frying eggs and portabella mushrooms.

Vegetarians swear by plant foods,

Paleo types believe in animal foods.

I, however, am convinced the key lies in which fats you use.

piece of lard

This is what lard looks like when not processed into a uniform white odorless substance with preservatives. Not only is the flavor better, the pieces leave behind crispy golden cracklings at the bottom of the skillet.

Drought-stricken American corn should feed people, not cars

Flavor in Ancient Rome

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