magid: (Default)
2017-09-17 10:29 am
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This week I finished two books, John Allen Paulos' A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper and James Hamblin's If Our Bodies Could Talk.

Paulos' book was printed over two decades ago, so some of the examples given felt dated. Overall, however, despite the potential paradigm shift of the availability of the news on the Internet, not just paper, it felt rather timely. People still do not think critically about the news they read, from whatever sources. Paulos looks at all sorts of ways the news can be inaccurate, through all the sections of a traditional newspaper, but even more importantly in some ways, how it can be completely true, yet leave wrong impressions. One example was about voting procedures, and the various schemes that could be used for making sure an election ends up reflecting the will of the people; I was not surprised to see a variety of different possibilities mentioned, with the strengths and weaknesses of each. That and other essays pointed out some of the problems with how our government is set up. I was also interested to see the references to Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, having read The Undoing Project back in January (this year has included a much higher percentage than my usual for nonfiction).

Hamblin's book is also set up as a set of connected short essays grouped by theme, this time based on human body systems (not the usual ones, but perceiving, eating, drinking, relating, and enduring). I learned some biology, and how there are today many things still to learn (that we may be in the process of learning, even), and there are awful ways in which the body can go wrong that I hadn't known of before. What I particularly appreciated was how the author pointed out that many health issues are not solvable in a hospital, but are about social and economic disparity (which reminded me of a book I read two weeks ago, White Trash, a history of class in the US, which reviewed all the ways in which the playing field is not, in fact, equal, even now) that need to be addressed. He also pointed out how in many ways, the US healthcare system is not actually about health, but about delivery of billable stuff, which is not needed when *actually* healthy. Prevention is what people might want, but the companies don't have nearly as much to bill then.... It was a bit depressing, realizing that, again, there are huge, complicated systems embedded in how our society works that are so extremely flawed. The one thing I really was not pleased with was how there was passing reference to 'just' losing weight, as if that were a trivial thing. If it were, there would not be so much failure at that all around.
magid: (Default)
2017-09-14 06:22 pm
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farm share, week 15

  • a pound of carrots
  • a pound of yellow onions (= 1 large)
  • two delicata squash (plus an extra for late bonus)
  • two pounds of green bell peppers (plus an extra for late bonus)
  • four Hungarian wax (hot) peppers
  • two pounds of field tomatoes
  • half a pound of salad mix
  • a bunch of curly green kale
  • a bok choy (one of the all light green kinds)
  • six ounces of shiitake mushrooms

First thoughts: another batch of white bean and kale soup with carrots (need to get some white beans, maybe some potatoes). roasted peppers and tomatoes, perhaps to put in a lasagna. delicata squash baked with maple and cranberries. some kind of green salad, of course.
magid: (Default)
2017-09-08 12:38 pm
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Farm share, week 14

  • a bunch of lacinato kale
  • a head of lettuce (I chose red leaf)
  • two pounds of white onions
  • a pound and a quarter of rainbow carrots (I chose purple and orange ones; I like the intensity of color)
  • a pound and a half pounds of mixed beets (plus some extras for being later in the pickup; I chose red over yellow or Chioggia)
  • a smallish head of cabbage (plus another for later pickup)
  • two pounds = three green peppers (plus another for later pickup)
  • two pounds of field tomatoes
  • six ounces of oyster mushrooms
magid: (Default)
2017-09-04 12:34 pm
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Torah thought: Ki Teitzei

The part that caught my attention during the kriah* this Shabbat (parshat Ki Teitzei) was about yibum (aka levirate marriage) (Devarim/Deuteronomy 25:5-25:10). These days, it's definitely possible for there not to be a relevant brother, which would mean the situation would be irrelevant. And now that I reread the verses, technically it only applies if the brothers live together (though that part seems not to be much paid attention to, I guess 'just to be on the safe side').

Anyway. The real part that hit me is that it's about making sure there's a child so the dead husband's name is not lost in Israel. There is nothing about the wife's name possibly being lost. There is no parallel gender-reversed situation. Women aren't part of history in that way, or not quite independent adults. Yet another place where I'm now thrown out of the (not-really-narrative) text, one that hadn't struck me before.

I wish there were more places I felt included in the text, instead of excluded.

* Happy to translate anything someone wants more information about, just let me know.

ETA: no clue why paragraphing is failing on this post, even after having added paragraph breaks in html. ::sigh:: I don't have the energy to figure out another possible solution. ::double sigh::
Oh, it was about a missing close quotes in an a href tag. Fixed.
magid: (Default)
2017-08-31 08:22 pm
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Farm share, week 13

  • two pounds of white onions
  • a pound and a half of carrots a few of the last carrots there, plus four extra onions to make up for it
  • a large-ish Napa cabbage
  • a bunch of green curly kale
  • three large green peppers
  • three pounds of field tomatoes
  • two three pounds of heirloom and roma tomatoes
  • four ears of corn
  • two small eggplants
  • a bunch of basil
  • six ounces of oyster king oyster mushrooms (which is three)

Two weeks ago, the site coordinator changed, and I'm unimpressed with the new person: in two weeks, I've missed out on three things because they were gone, and there wasn't a swap box this week either. I know that theoretically the former is about what the farm sends, but it hadn't happened to this extent before.

First thoughts: puree the basil and freeze; corn and tomato salad; sauteed onions and mushrooms; something kimchee-ish or peanut-dressing salad-ish for the Napa and some carrots. Maybe dry some of the tomatoes.
magid: (Default)
2017-08-24 06:44 pm
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farm share, week 12

  • three pounds of small red-skinned potatoes
  • three medium zucchini
  • three pounds of field tomatoes
  • two pounds of heirloom tomatoes
  • one and a half pounds of beets (a mix of small to medium red or gold ones)
  • two pounds of yellow onions
  • a bunch of rainbow Swiss chard
  • a pound and a half of green peppers (which turned out to be three)
  • a head of lettuce (I got green leaf)
  • a bunch of edamame
  • a head of red cabbage they ran out, so offered an extra bunch of chard and another pepper; I would rather have had the red cabbage
  • six ounces of oyster mushrooms

The big CSA news this week for me was that the person running the distribution, who I've known casually for years, has dropped out for the rest of the season (apparently due to pregnancy and construction dust/fumes not being a good combination). The replacement is nice enough, but not as organized, and there was almost nothing in the swap box (ie I kept the chard I don't care for, because all there was in it was a cantaloupe from the fruit share, and I don't care for cantaloupe either).

First thoughts: saute onions and mushrooms, maybe eat with boiled potatoes/potato salad. sauteed chard with... lemon and pine nuts/walnuts? (could freeze, if not interesting now). steamed edamame. green salad with tomatoes, cukes (from last week), leftover chicken. not sure what to do with the peppers, maybe roasted with some tomato and zucchini. the beets will keep.
magid: (Default)
2017-08-18 02:49 pm
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Farm share, week 11

  • 10 ears of corn
  • two pounds of summer squash
  • two and a half pounds of pickling cukes
  • half a pound of carrots
  • a pound of tiny red onions
  • four Asian eggplants
  • two bunches of flat leaf green kale (traded for more eggplant, since I had another bunch still at home)
  • three pounds of heirloom tomatoes
  • three pounds of field tomatoes
  • five large green peppers
  • six ounces of oyster mushrooms
magid: (Default)
2017-08-10 06:09 pm
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farm share, week 10

(What happened to week 9? I was away, and a friend picked up, so I have less complete info than usual:
carrots (lots!)
swiss chard (yellow and red stem choices)
1 onion (white, like a giant enormous boiling onion)
tomatoes (having those with lunch today)
a ginormous head of lettuce, which I actually gave to $Person for her use
cucumbers (itty bitty ones)

This week's share:
  • 8 ears of corn
  • a pound (= 1, as it turned out) of heirloom tomatoes
  • two pounds of field tomatoes
  • two pounds of summer squash
  • two pounds of cucumber
  • a bunch of curly green kale
  • a pound and a half (= 2) yellow onions
  • 4 green peppers (and 4 more, because there were extras)
  • a head of lettuce (I chose Boston, and got another because extras)
  • 12 ounces of carrots
  • a good sized head of green cabbage
  • one regular or two small eggplants (I chose violet Asian ones, since I'd bought regular ones just this morning at the supermarket)
  • a third of a pound of shiitakes

First thoughts: green salad with corn, tomatoes, and cuke, plus some tuna. Possibly roast All The Things for a roasted ratatouille (eggplant, pepper, onion, tomato). Maybe a cabbage-carrot slaw (Asian? mayo? some other style? not sure).
magid: (Default)
2017-07-27 06:27 pm

farm share, week 8

  • two pounds of mixed summer squash
  • one pound four ounces of cucumbers
  • two pounds of carrots (plus a couple extra as a late-bonus)
  • a bunch of herbs (I chose savory, and got a dill as a late-bonus; there was also basil)
  • two green peppers
  • a bunch of lacinato kale
  • two Ailsa Craig onions (and a few extra as a late-bonus)
  • a head of garlic with its stalk (and an extra as a late-bonus)
  • two hot house tomatoes (and two more as a late-bonus)
  • six ounces of shiitake mushrooms

Of note: no lettuce! All salad will be without greens!

First thoughts: tomato-cucumber-pepper salad with dill, maybe some roasted summer squash and dill; sauteed onions and mushrooms with....?; pickled carrots, onions.
magid: (Default)
2017-07-20 06:38 pm
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farm share, week 7

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 2 pounds of yellow summer squash (medium large, so 3 pieces)
  • 6 ounces of basil (which is a lot!)
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1.5 pounds of carrots (plus some extra)
  • as much lettuce as wanted (which was three small heads, one Boston, one red Boston, one green leaf)
  • 9 ounces of cucumber (which was two cukes)
  • a big bunch of parsley (which tastes of Passover garnish and tabouli; suggestions for use welcome, or let me know if you have a use for it)
  • a bunch of green kale
  • two orange tomatoes (plus 2 extra for being towards the end of the distribution)
  • a bunch of beets with their greens (I chose golden, for that one and the end-of-distribution bonus bunch)
  • a bunch of red onions (and a second for end-of-distribution bonus)
  • a third of a pound of oyster mushrooms

First thoughts: tomato-corn salad with basil, and chives from the porch, possibly with some lime juice.
kale and beet greens sauted with onion, potato, egg, and some interesting spices.
star anise pickled carrots, or perhaps some with the last of the garlic scapes and dill.
sauted onions and mushrooms with roasted summer squash (and feta if I had any, or can face the walk to Trader Joe's in this punishing head + humidity).
not sure yet what to do with the golden beets; I like their color better raw, but flavor and texture are better when cooked.
magid: (Default)
2017-07-13 07:01 pm
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farm share, week 6

  • three pounds of regular cucumbers (which is a lot of cucumbers, as it turns out, and these are the regular ones I don't love, so (a) suggestions for unusual salads or (b) locals who'd be willing to pick up some cucumbers are welcome)
  • four very small summer squash (I chose green and gold zucchini, plus 7 extras because I was at the tail end of the pickup)
  • a bunch of Ailsa Craig onions with some green stem (plus an extra from the 'free' box)
  • two bunches of dill or cilantro (obviously, I chose dill, and the coordinator gave me another two bunches)
  • a head of lettuce (I chose red leaf)
  • six ounces of basil
  • one bunch of red beets with greens
  • two heads of garlic on the stalk
  • two stalks of broccoli
  • one bunch of purple kale
  • six ounces = two king oyster mushrooms

This week's newsletter from the farm featured the fennel we'd be getting. Notice what's not on the list above? Yup, fennel. It happened last year, too, so I've sent an email to the farm asking that they either (a) get us some fennel, or (b) not strongly feature things that they're not going to send to every distribution site. I'd been planning to make lemony fennel relish. Which is not to say that the rest of this week's share is awful or anything (though I could've done with a lot less cucumber, unless they were pickling cukes).

Anyway (oops, the rest got cut off somehow), I'm not feeling super inspired for particular recipes, just 'saute veg + eggs' or some salad variants. ::sigh::
magid: (Default)
2017-07-06 06:33 pm

farm share, week 5

  • a bunch of rainbow chard
  • six pickling cukes
  • five summer squashes
  • a bunch of "pearl" onions (more like golf-ball-sized...)
  • a small head of Savoy cabbage
  • six ounces of garlic scapes
  • a small bag of mixed salad greens (three ounces? four?)
  • two heads of lettuce (I chose one red Boston, and traded a green leaf for more scapes, since I have a bunch of lettuce left from last week)
  • a bunch of basil or dill (I chose basil, the last one there... but I was planning on using basil for dinner tomorrow anyway)
  • six ounces of mushrooms, a mix of yellow oyster mushrooms and shiitake
    bonus (ie I came later and there was tons available): two bunches of starting-to-flower dill, another Savoy cabbage, and a couple of extra summer squashes

First thoughts: jasmine rice cooked in scape stock, then sauteed chard and fresh dill added; some cabbage and cuke to go into spring rolls; a big green salad with basil, tomato, mango, and chicken poached in salsa; dilly pickled garlic scapes; roasted summer squash and/or squash relish (something like this).
magid: (Default)
2017-06-29 06:15 pm
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farm share, week 4

  • 4 pickling cukes
  • 4 summer squash (I chose zucchini, one of them golden)
  • a bunch of carrots (plus some extra)
  • a Napa cabbage
  • a bunch of little red onions with their scallions on
  • two heads of lettuce (I chose red leaf)
  • a bunch of lacinato kale
  • a pound of garlic scapes (plus as much as I wanted extra, which was... a not inconsiderable quantity)
  • 6 ounces of mixed interesting mushrooms

First thoughts: roasted summer squash; slaw of Napa + shredded carrot + sauteed bits of garlic scape + peanut dressing; pickled garlic scapes and carrots.
magid: (Default)
2017-06-22 05:04 pm
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Farm share, week 3

  • a bunch of purple kohlrabi with greens
  • a bunch of kale (I was lucky and got one of the few lacinato ones)
  • two heads of lettuce (I chose a red leaf and a Boston, and was given a third, another Boston)
  • a bunch of scallions
  • 5 ounces of garlic scapes
  • a bunch of cilantro (traded for more scapes)
  • two pickling cucumbers
  • two small summer squashes (and was given a third)
  • six ounces of yellow oyster mushrooms

First thoughts: green salad, of course (I'm bringing one to Shabbat dinner tomorrow night). Cook the kohlrabi greens and kale with sweet potato, maybe some soy sausage. Sauteed summer squash with mozzarella, maybe a bit of tomato sauce. Kohlrabi-carrot slaw with mustard dressing, also scallions.
magid: (Default)
2017-06-15 06:34 pm
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Farm share week 2

  • 5 ears of popcorn
  • 6 oz. garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch pea tendrils
  • 11 oz mixed salad greens
  • 1 head of lettuce (I chose a red leaf variety)
  • a bunch of winter savory (I have not used this before; suggestions/recipes welcome)
  • 6? oz. oyster mushrooms
magid: (Default)
2017-06-08 05:02 pm

CSA, week 1

Another year with Red Fire Farm, with an add-on I'm very excited about: a mushroom share!

    a pound (= 1 large) beet
  • a bunch of red radishes or small hakeurei turnips, either with greens (I chose the turnips)
  • two heads of lettuce (I chose Boston; they're gorgeous, plus a bonus head because they had too many)
  • a bunch of green garlic
  • a bunch of cilantro (traded for another bunch of green garlic)
  • 0.8 pounds of spinach
  • a third of a pound of tiny shiitake mushrooms (in a paper bag closed with a "Fungi Ally" sticker on it)

Lots of salad to come, clearly. Also maybe some congee with jasmine rice, turnip greens and green garlic, possibly also the spinach, and mushrooms.
magid: (Default)
2016-03-03 02:30 pm

Preserved in 2015

I know, I've been AWOL. Life has been happening. More on that as I can face making posts. Hopefully this will jumpstart me....

(For comparison, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.)

  • 3/31/15 5 pints of boozy orange marmalade (with boozy ginger and coffee cherries)
  • 4/11/15 6 pints of Passover beet pickles
  • 4/11/15 1 pint of Passover carrot pickles (sweet with a hint of spicy, also a few chunks of beet in)
  • 7/3/15 6 pints of garlic scape pickles
  • 7/3/15 6 pints of dilly garlic scape pickles
  • 7/23/15 2 pints, 5 half-pints, and 3 minis of plum butter
  • 7/23/15 3 pints, 1 pint-and-a-half of pickled basil beans
  • 7/31/15 4 pints spicy fennel relish (a few changes: no parsley, cayenne for hot pepper flakes, more lemon)
  • 7/31/15 2 pints of pickled fennel and lemon
  • 7/31/15 2 pints of spiced pickled pineapple
  • 7/31/15 4 pints of pickled eggplant (subbing in a little minced onion for garlic I didn't have)
  • 8/13/15 4 pints and 2 half-pints of peach-tomato salsa
  • 8/30/15 10 pints of halved damsons in extra light syrup
  • 9/7/15 5 pints and 3 minis of damson-peach mostarda
  • 9/13/15 9 pints of cinnamon watermelon pickles
  • 9/13/15 5 pints of spicy green pepper relish (based on this recipe
  • 9/13/15 3 pints of spicy fennel relish
  • 11/28/15 8 pints of cranberry chutney
  • 11/29/15 10 pints of cranberry chutney with walnuts

Not as much as previous years, alas, but still tried some new things.
magid: (Default)
2015-06-11 05:18 pm

Farm share, week 1 (June 10)

With Red Fire again this year, though my *nutrition* class means that I have arranged for friends to pick up for me for the first three weeks...

  • 1 celeriac
  • 2 pounds mixed turnips (gilfeather and/or purple top; my friend chose purple tops for me, though I think I'd have chosen the other way)
  • 1 bunch (=3 medium) purple kohlrabi with leaves
  • 1 bunch tiny Hakurei turnips with leaves)
  • 1 bunch (=3 small) green garlic with leaves
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 2 heads of lettuce (not sure if there was a choice; I ended up with 2 heads of romaine)
  • 0.5 pound of spinach (large enough leaves to be more on the cooking end of things)
  • 0.5 pound mixed baby greens (tat soi, kale, mizuna, arugula; in looking at the contents, I'm guessing I ended up with mostly arugula, which is fine by me)

First thought: dang I'd been hoping for overwintered parsnips like last year.

So far: most of the purple-top turnips have been put to fridge pickles, with the rest and the celeriac roasted. The kohlrabi greens, spinach, and hakurei turnip greens were sauteed with onion, crimini mushroom, potato, lemon, and smoked mackerel.

Still to do: some salad, of course, possibly with the Hakurei turnips and/or kohlrabi. Also some kind of mustardy kohlrabi slaw.

Not sure what to do with all the oregano; ideas?
magid: (Default)
2015-01-13 06:59 pm

Measure for Measure

I ushered for ASP's Measure for Measure this Sunday at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center.

They've had shows there before, but each time they've chosen a different layout. This time, the audience was on opposite sides of the performance space, set up to give the vague impression of jury boxes, which worked. Otherwise, the set was a panel on the floor that included a round picture of Blind Justice (a blindfolded woman holding balance scales), and a contraption with spaced vertical ropes that could be raised/lowered by one of the doors to form the bars of a jail cell.

This production is set in the here-now, with the Duke taking his leave of absence because he's reached the end of his rope, heading for some kind of break-down (the implication of addiction, to pills, to booze, to whatever), and needs to step back for a while, which I liked better than the sometimes-used assumption that he was trying to be a puppet master for all his citizens. As the actor pointed out in the talk-back session afterward, this showed the period assumption of the state mirroring the condition of its head.

It's an intense time to see this play about law unequally applied, in the wake of the same USian problem (Ferguson, NY, so many other cases). One might have thought we'd have gotten just a little bit farther along the path towards true justice...

Oh, and the ending was interesting. The Duke has asked Isabella for her hand in marriage. The play has hinged about how this novitiate has rejected the amoral demand for carnal knowledge by Angelo, and it's unclear whether she is willing to give up her chosen path for a more legitimate offer. The play embraces that ambiguity by ending with her kneeling to pray about it, and him following suit, open to interpretation by the viewer rather than a definitive answer.

Not at all relevant to the production: ASP set up a concessions stand in the gallery opposite the main stage area, which is having an exhibit of work by Cynthia Brody, which I enjoyed seeing.
magid: (Default)
2015-01-13 06:46 pm
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Arabian Nights

I ushered for a stage performance of (selections from) Arabian Nights (Dominic Cooke), put on jointly by the Nora Theatre and Underground Railway Theater companies at the Central Square Theater. I enjoyed the performance; they did a great job with lovely costuming (it looked period, yet so comfortable; plus a ship hat that was particularly striking and gave me ideas of things to consider), some pillows, and an impressive variety of puppets that ranged from a small hand puppet to a huge, multi-person roc that flew the hand-puppet Sinbad away. The stories are enjoyable, as always, but the frame situation bothered me a lot more than it has in the past: all those girls dead, yet the sultan is redeemed by finally realizing his love for Shahrazad. Plus, one-night marriages are obviously only about sex/sex-appeal, not real marriages at all, so it's particularly icky, basically a loophole droit de seigneur to salve his conscience.

Tangential to the performance: I was the only one of three ushers to show up at the stated time, one hour before curtain. I stuffed programs, scanned tickets, handed out programs, directed people to their seats. Luckily it was not a full house. Then another usher showed up five minutes before curtain, doing almost nothing (handing out programs), sleeping through the first act, then leaving without cleaning up after either. I was not impressed.