Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Best Things about America

Whenever you go abroad you learn to appreciated the things you love about America. When we visited Italy we had such wonderful food, but I craved American dishes as soon as we entered the terminal. The funny thing Cali and I noticed was that what we missed about American food was all the Mexican and Southwest influences. Italy doesn't use chiles or salsa in their cooking and it made me realize that one of the great things about America in general is the amazing cultural influences that come from such a diversity of cultures. I notice this every day in school as I teach kids from Pakistan, India, Mexico, Brazil, ect. Because of this I have been irritated with some of the recent bills and legislation targeting both legal and illegal immigrants.

Kansas and Missouri are now both working on passing bills that focus on immigrant rights. Both bills seem pointless and maybe a little vindictive. I wonder if some lawmakers are upset with the way the economy is going and blaming it on recent immigrants. The Kansas law is one that is similar to the Arizona law being held up in court right now. This is such strange timing to try to pass this law in Kansas and no one seems to be able to figure it out. Arizona is in the midst of getting sued over virtually the same law and it makes no sense to pass a law in Kansas before a court ruling on the Arizona law. I thought this was very puzzling.

The Missouri law seems just as puzzling. They are seeking to up the standards for getting a drivers license in Missouri. The bill that has been proposed makes it a requirement for citizens to be able to pass the drivers license test without the use of an interpreter. Since it is already a requirement to be a legal immigrant in order to get a Missouri driver's license this bill only targets legal immigrants who are still mastering English.

Hopefully people will begin to realize that America is great because of our diversity and learn to appreciate it, even in the midst of difficult economic times.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Cooking and Cats

We have had a lot of time at home this last month. Right now we are in the midst of our 6th snow day, which is maybe a little excessive. During that time we have had lots of time for cooking and we feel lazy if we don't cook. I have been working my way through the Dunham family cookbook while Cali has been moving along through a cookie cookbook (which is a great combination). I have made everything from Coffee Cake to Beef Con Queso. Cashew Chicken, submitted by Leah was one of our favorites. It was a big mess and not particularly healthy, but a fun meal. The sauce especially was good and not too sweet, which is a necessity in our house. We also had a good time with the Beef Burgundy (pictured left). This I have been wanting to try ever since we got our new dutch oven. This was a great way to use some round steak if you have three hours to kill. Many of these recipes were ones that Cali grew up with so they reminded her of being a kid. Some of them she wasn't even sure if she would like if she met them as an adult, but memories of food can change the way we feel about it. We both enjoyed the Hungarian kraut although like many of these recipes we had to freeze 2/3 of it.

While waiting for food to heat up, we have enjoyed sitting in the living room with our fireplace and cats watching a BBC show called Doc Martin. I have been using up some of the wood sitting in our back yard that looks like it has been there for years. A lot of it burns quickly, but every couple hours or so I throw in one of the huge logs that seems to burn for hours. Worf is fascinated with the fire which makes us a little nervous, but he looks pretty cute when he is lounging on the rug in front of it. I couldn't get a good picture of it, but I did catch him hanging out on the footstool. Mali didn't get quite as close and mostly hung out on the futon.