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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election 2012 Dinner

Like most people, by the time Tuesday rolled around, I was sooooooooo sick and tired of hearing about the election.

Four years ago I went to an election night party with some friends.  We watched the tallies and projections in real time by watching the news, ate yummy food, chatted, and poured champagne when Obama won.  Almost immediately after, we all set our bubbly down in disgust (and astonishment) when Proposition 8 passed.

This year, I just didn't have the energy to watch the election news in real time.  I was recovering (still am) from a nasty cold and the anticipation would have depleted my energy stores too much.  So I decided to find something else to do after work to distract myself.  I settled on cooking a new meal, which always takes more concentration than whipping up a usual (in which case I often have the news on while I cook).

Just for fun, I decided to make two dishes, one each for the two presidential candidates.  Focusing on their stereotyped/non-political features I decided on a Kenyan stew for Obama and Mormon Funeral Potatoes for Romney.
The perspective is weird in this picture because I rotated it to get the right dishes on the appropriate sides: Mormon funeral potatoes on the right and Kenyan stew on the left.
I'd never cooked with cardamom in a savory dish before (unless it was in a masala), so the Kenyan stew intrigued me.  The potatoes honestly sounded kind of dull, like scalloped potatoes.  But I figured they must be good since they are served to loads of people at so many church social functions (I've read about them on many of my LDS friends' blogs).

The Kenyan stew was scrumptious--the cardamom and coconut milk were fantastic together.  I used fresh shelled beans from my dad's garden that I'd put up in the freezer a couple of months ago along with some green peppers from his garden that my mom brought me last week--emphasizing these "Grandpa" ingredients to Eddie made him immediately decide the stew was his favorite.  And he ate his whole portion!

My favorite was the funeral potato dish.  I was surprised at the tart "kick" it had from the yogurt and sharp cheddar cheese--I love a sourness to my foods.  It was so good I had an extra serving that night for "dessert."  Mmmmmm.

So we were a split household.  But we still love each other.  =)

Here are the recipes in case you'd like to try them.

Kenyan Stew
  • 2 cups cooked beans (I used black and fresh shelled pole beans)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2-1 can of  coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 24 cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
In a pot, fry the onions in olive oil until lightly browned. Add garlic, green pepper and fry for another few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (EXCEPT KALE), to the pot and simmer until everything is tender and the flavors have come together. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt accordingly. Stir in kale and cook about 2-3 minutes, until kale is slightly wilted. Serve with rice.

Mormon Funeral Potatoes
  • 3 cups diced potatoes (that have been baked and cooled)
  • 1/2 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 cup grated onion (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup crushed cornflakes, Panko flakes, or crushed corn chips
Combine soup, butter, sour cream or yogurt, milk, cheese, onion, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Add the diced potatoes and stir gently until combined.

Place potato mixture in a 2-3 quart casserole dish or 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle crumb or crushed chips over potato mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.




And what would a political post be without spouting my OWN political views or opinion about the outcome of the presidential election?  

For me, this presidential election was really a single-issue one.  Since the economy is going to suck no matter WHO was elected (Rosanne Barr, Romney, or Obama), I wasn't to concerned with that.  Our taxes are going to increase no matter what.  I'm fine with some increases because we cannot have social services/infrastructure/technological advances/etc. without paying for them.  Why more people don't understand that reality is beyond me.  

I also wasn't concerned with foreign policy because frankly, I just don't know that much about it.  And for things like that, I just have to trust that people who are MUCH more educated on the topic than me will make the right choice for a given time and situation.  Sometimes I just have to accept my ignorance for something and defer to professionals.  

So.  That left the issue of equality.  In this race that encompassed equality of medical care, equality of all genders to decide what's best for their bodies, and equality in marriage/benefits.  Simple.  I feel that unless all of our citizens are treated equally, then we cannot move forward on anything else.  That made my decision for president simple.  

However, I was completely prepared for the "other" side to win the presidential election.  And if that had happened, I would have accepted it and marched forward living my life as the citizen any president would want me to be: a financially/medically/socially/resource responsible one.  That means I will:
  • not conceive babies I cannot afford (no federal/state funded family planning for me)
  • feed my family sustainably-grown and healthy foods (foods that are good for our bodies and our nation are expensive--if everyone were to pay the "real" cost for their food our population would stabilize and our medical costs would decrease)
  • live within my means
  • maintain and improve my and my family's health with preventative medical care, good food, exercise, and intellectual stimulation (let's not forget that our brains are part of our bodies, too) so we don't put undue pressure on the country's medical insurance program
  • adjust my lifestyle to accommodate resource pressures that will soon affect all of us (fossil fuels, fertilizers, chemical boosters to grow crops, metals used in electronics, potable water).  It's coming, baby.
  • make more of an effort to keep up with current foreign events
Congratulations, best wishes, and good luck to our 44th President, Mr. Barack Obama.  Don't let us down, okay?

3 comments:

Leah Roy said...

Great post, Julie! Those potatoes look AMAZING. But, then again, I have yet to meet a spud that I don't like, even scalloped potatoes do it for me.

I have to say, this is the first political post that I have felt comfortable enough to respond to. You were honest about your reasons for voting the way you did, you are realistic about the state our country is in and you have a plan to be the best dang American citizen you can be. I wish all the people in this country had your attitude and outlook.

Bottom line, no matter who anyone voted for, I like to believe that we all want the best for our country, for its people and for the future. And I pray that the one leading the pack will do a good job.

steph.kelley said...

Thank you for sharing the recipes; I have my eye on the spuds. Or the stew. Okay both. :P I wish more people in the country set a practical lifestyle like yours! For me the foreign policy aspect was important — only insofar as I am much more comfortable abroad when most of the rest of the world is happy about who the US president is! When Bush was in charge, traveling resulted in a lot of broken-English commiseration; with Obama, it's been nothing but thumbs-up. Something to be said for that, however minor. xoxoxoxoxo

Kaitlin said...

I had never had funeral potatoes until I moved to Utah- and I LOVE them. Now we always have them on Thanksgiving and Christmas. :)

And I totally second Leah's comment..."Bottom line, no matter who anyone voted for, I like to believe that we all want the best for our country, for its people and for the future. And I pray that the one leading the pack will do a good job."