Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Strawberry Statement by James Kunen

I have been reading a book written in 1968 by a nineteen year old student at Columbia University. He was involved with the takeover of administration buildings to protest University involvement in military research among other things. It is an interesting read, more than anything because it is the product of a funny, smart kid. Some choice quotes:

“In the summer following high school I made the ‘let’s-see-how-tough-you-are-kid’ scene at a place called Outward Bound in Oregon.

Tuesday, August 16, 1966: Up at 5:30am to climb mountain on a breakfast of tea and honey. No exultation at reaching peak; if you decide to turn around ten yards short of the top I’d consider it a twenty-yard shortcut and fine with me.”


“No, I have no statement to make at this time, except I’m still on the waiting list in a lot of ways.”


“My friends and I became preoccupied with the common nostalgic assertion that ‘these are the best years of your lives’. We could accept the fact that the college years are exhausting, confusing, boring, troubles, frustrating and meaningless – that we could take in stride; we’d seen hard times before. But that everything subsequent would be worse was a concept difficult to grasp and, once grasped, impossible to accept.”


“I went home to my apartment and my roaches. The roaches are a bit of a problem. We each have our areas. I have my corner, and they have the rest of the apartment. Except they always come into my corner.”


“A university is not a democratic institution,’ Professor Deane began, ‘When decisions begin to be made democratically around here, I will not be here any longer.

Commenting on the importance of student opinion to the administration, Professor Deane declared, ‘Whether students vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an issue is like telling me they like strawberries.’

I like strawberries”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cooking it up Tajine Style

My Mother recently surprised me with an early Birthday present - a fire engine red Tajine by Emile Henry. This is a great gift and was quite a surprise. Last year I had dinner in a Morrocan restaurant after touring the cathedral in Chartres, France. The restaurant served these large savory dishes cooked in a Tajine. The food arrived at your table in large, deep ceramic platters that were scalding hot. It was delicious and fun.
A Tajine is a heavy glazed ceramic cooking vessel that originates in Morraco. It consists of two pieces. The bottom is a round, deep dish that resembles an oversize apple pie dish. The top is shaped like a tall cone that perfectly fits over the bottom dish. It can be placed in the oven, but usually is meant for the stove top or traditionally over a fire. The tajine is meant for slow cooking. A little liquid is added to each recipe which when heated turns to steam that circulates around the food in the ample room created by the cone. It is a combination of steaming and sauteing. Cooking time varies but is generally several hours. The long cooking time allows the food to be fully infused with the herbs and spices used in this type of cooking.
Last weekend I tried out a Berber Tajine Vegetable Dish. It consisted of layers of onion, potatoes, turnips, zucchini, tomoto, and carrots with lots of spices. After two hours of cooking, the vegetables were soft and very flavorful. The ginger, pepper, cumin, rosemary, and thyme (from Elly's garden!) really came through. Elly gave two thumbs up. Fresh baked bread serves as a good side.