Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Still Slow, But Passable

In the NYT: House Panel Authorizes Subpoenas for Top Bush Aides

As the war of words escalated, people on both sides acknowledged a legal fight carried political risks. Beth Nolan, who was counsel to President Bill Clinton and twice testified to Congress under subpoena, said she suspected the clash would lead to more negotiations, and not a court fight. “There’s the legal path to the fight and the political path,” she said. “It’s much more likely that you’ll see a political path.”

One would hope. There’s way too much on both parties’ plates—real, serious business, such as getting the supplemental DoD appropriation passed, minus the vote-soliciting pork—than to be mucking around in the political mud. But, just to mix my metaphors, the Dems smell blood in the water. I don’t think they’re gonna back down. So, folks, we appear to be heading towards a side-show of spectacular proportions. {sigh}

News you can use… It Boils Down to This: Cheap Wine Works Fine

And so we came to a new gospel: Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink.

For my generation of home cooks, this line now has the unshakable ring of a commandment. It was the first thing out of the mouth of every expert I interviewed on the subject.

But it is not always helpful in the kitchen. For one thing, short of a wine that is spoiled by age, heat or a compromised cork, there are few that I categorically would not drink. (Although a cooking wine, which is spiked with salt and sometimes preservatives, has never touched my braising pot.)

I’ve been a subscriber to that ol’ saw for years and years and years, having learned it at my Daddy’s knee (Mom, too). And I’ve never purchased anything labeled as “cooking wine.” I don’t know if my parents got it from Julia Child (who is credited by the NYT as establishing the meme), but they probably did. Ms. Child was one of my parents’ minor heroes, and for good reason. I cook with wine a lot, when I cook. And one of the greatest pleasures in so doing is having a glass of the wine I’m using…most often a cheap(er) but pleasing burgundy. So…bottles of cooking wine don’t last long around El Casa Móvil De Pennington.

The linked article is a little too much “inside tee-ball” for my tastes, to wit:

I made the dish three times in one morning: first with a 2000 Barolo ($69.95), next with a 2005 dolcetto d’Alba ($22.95), and finally with a jack-of-all-wines, a Charles Shaw cabernet sauvignon affectionately known to Trader Joe’s shoppers as Two-Buck Chuck. (Introduced at $1.99, the price is up to $2.99 at the Manhattan store.)

I’ve never bought a $70.00 bottle of wine. Ever. (I have bought $50.00+ bottles of single-malt, however.) Still and even, the article is an interesting, if somewhat “out there,” sort of read.

Makes me wonder, though. Would my guests be offended if they knew they were drinking my cooking wine?

More PC excess: Huffing and Puffing - Is smoking a cigarette now enough to give a movie an R rating?

That's only the tip of the Marlboro, though. If every piece of filmed entertainment featuring tobacco usage is to be slapped with an R, the ratings board might want to borrow a trick from the kids and call in a few pizzas and some kegs of Red Bull. They'll have to either airbrush or give the scarlet R letter to the entire Marx Brothers oeuvre and the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby pictures. Also out will be "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Lady and the Tramp," "E.T.," Bugs Bunny cartoons, "The Parent Trap," "Chariots of Fire," "Superman," "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Elf" and the World Series (which should be banned for its tediousness, not its players' incessant tobacco chewing).

Christmas won't be the same without you, Frosty--unless you replace your corn-cob pipe with a stick of Dentyne. And some Grinch had better get to work ridding every children's library of its copy of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" ("The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth/And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.")

Good Lord. Has it come to this? Really? Just in case you choose not to follow the link, the proposal to ban smoking in movies was voted down by the MPAA. This time. The prudes are persistent, if not exactly smart, though. Just like Ahnold, “they’ll be baaaack.”

Today’s Pic(s): El Palacio Real, Santa Fe. As the sign says, “…the oldest public building in the United States.” And the haunt of many, many craft vendors. I’ve literally spent hours in the vicinity waiting for my women friends to finish shopping this long, long line…

Santa Fe. June, 2004.
(click for larger. I posted "small" photos coz I wasn't quite sure how long they'd take to upload. If ever.)


  1. Funny how they want to crack down on smoking, but foul language and sexuality are given more and more leniencey. Personally, I'd rather be surprised by someone smoking a pipe--or even a cigarette or cigar--than a naked woman or explicit sex scene in a movie I was watching with my child.

  2. I agree, Becky.

    About the cooking wine, Emeril says the same thing.

  3. I agree with Becky. We are more careful about watching a PG-13 movie than an R. The PG-13 movies often have lots of sexual jokes, and bad language. Lindsay is on a kick right now to stop violent TV shows on regular channels during prime-time. We watched two episodes of "The Black Donnlleys" - both were quite violent with a pretty sexually explicit scene for a prime time TV show. Smoking seems like nothing in comparison.

  4. Hmmm. The Moms of America have weighed in, I see! :->

    In all serious, now...gratuitous violence offends the Hell out of me, but nekkid women? Not so much. Lascivious hip-hop lyrics offend me when sung by ten year old boys. Or girls. But sexual situations, sexual innuendo, banter, etc. in movies--when clearly rated as containing such--not so much. The key is the "clearly rated" part. No one wants to be surprised.

    My $0.02.

  5. I find that I do not notice the sexual inuendos when I am watching something by myself or with Toby, but with Jesse or Bo watching with me - big difference. There is also a big difference in going to a movie which is rated and watching an episode of something like "Friends" or most any sitcom with all of the bed-hopping and sexual jokes.

  6. Buck, I'm sure that doesn't offend you, but the issue is what are they censoring for the "sake of the children". The rating system sucks. I always would prefer letting my kid watch a rated R action movie such as an Arnold movie with violence instead of a PG 13 comedy that is full of sex jokes.

  7. I'm such a redneck cook. I've never used any wine in any cooking, but I have used beer. LOL! Cooking wine is for religious folks who can't be seen in the liquor aisle, but still need to buy wine just for cooking. LOL! Wonder what Paula Deen would say (I've really taken to watching her the past week or so. Love her! I'm going to fry up some chicken next week!).

    When my oldest was 2, she used to go around with a crayon in her mouth. We finally figured out she was pretending to smoke after watching too many movies with cigarettes. I found it funny and didn't ban them (the movies) from my home. I agree with Laurie. I've let my kids watch more violent movies than lesser rated ones with more sex jokes. I try to use everything as a teaching opportunity, though.

  8. Uncle Buck,

    I really must weigh in here. Due to your comment on "The Sweet Tea Rant"


    I am in FULL agreement (since i cook A LOT) that if you can't drink it WHILE your cooking with it, don't have it in your kitchen! I cook with wine, beer, AND single malt. Much respect to you for never bowing to the god Winesnob and buying a $70+ bottle of vino (you can't just call it wine at that point). Man, there's some HEAVY name throwin' going on here...Emeril, MamaPaula...i guess i'll throw one in the bloghat too. If you really wanna get into the science of cooking, watch Good Eats, with my fraternal culinary brother Alton Brown, the man is a virutoso of food and its humorous to boot.

    "if it ain't sweet tea, it ain't tea."

  9. Lou sez: There is also a big difference in going to a movie which is rated and watching an episode of something like "Friends" or most any sitcom with all of the bed-hopping and sexual jokes.

    Then Laurie said: ...the issue is what are they censoring for the "sake of the children". The rating system sucks.

    And then Jenny said: I try to use everything as a teaching opportunity, though.

    Valid points, all. I wondered who was going to raise the "TV vs. movies" thing, as they are apples and oranges. I'm out of touch with what's in TV shows (other than say The History Channel, Discovery, et al) simply because I don't watch them. I'll take all y'all's word that it can be bad out there.

    The only example of just HOW bad it can be that comes immediately to my little mind is "South Park." I love that show, but hated it when it frst came out because of the explicit language (aka "filth") that came out of cartoon kid characters' mouths. For some reason unknown to me I got over that feeling and am now a fan. Perhaps it's because I made the move from viewing the show as a "cartoon" (as in Saturday morning kids cartoons) and began viewing it as ADULT satire. I'd be pretty danged upset if South Park were to fall victim to the censors.

    I like Jenny's approach...everything can be a "teachable moment," if one chooses to teach. (Did I really just use that term? The horror!) Of course, there are vast differences in opinion of what could or should be taught, and the age at which one begins to teach one's children. The last point being the most controversial, I suppose.

    Anyway. In a perfect world adult things would be limited to adults; children wouldn't be exposed. The world ain't perfect, but that's no reason to make everything "child-friendly."

  10. TFNP sez: If you really wanna get into the science of cooking, watch Good Eats, with my fraternal culinary brother Alton Brown, the man is a virutoso of food and its humorous to boot.

    I sorta ignored the foodie thing here, what with the give-n-take on sex and ratings! It looks like I've gotta go back to watching The Food Channel once in a while. Haven't been there much since the maid quit...she was addicted to several TFC shows, most memorably the Two Fat Ladies. I liked 'em for the motorcycle... :-)

  11. I said: I liked 'em for the motorcycle... :-)

    I SHOULD have added "and their 'damn the torpedos' attitude toward food." Even if it killed Paterson...

  12. LOL! I think I cook more like Jennye. I have occasionally used wine, but more than likely I will use beer. When the biscochitos call for brandy, I use whatever is handy - whiskey, amaretto, etc.

    I am glad Jennye did not ban crayolas or the movies. Movies can be teaching tools, but sometimes I would rather not explain a sexual joke or inuendo until later in life.

  13. I personally would rather my kids watch a show, movie or TV, that had sexual content (not porn) than one that has violence and/or horror. I can explain sex but I cannot explain violence. Chances are the kids already have an idea of what was just said or seen and they want to put the parents in the hot seat. IMO sex should be freely discussed in the home (when the questions are asked)rather than on the "net" or in the street. However again, IMO, most Americans are too sexually uptight to discuss sex with their children. God forbid that they find out we "Do It". And Jennye, I like to use a strong beer when I make my chili, along with dark chocolate and cinnamon.

  14. A good documentary about the film ratings system that I just recently watched is, "This Film Is Not Yet Rated." Y'all might want to rent and watch it.


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