Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holiday in Iraq

Mom and I were chatting over the cooking dishes prior to Thanksgiving dinner. The discussion began with a discussion of the Lafayette Iraq War Memorial hissy fit (see previous post)and moved on to a discussion of the war itself.

The first thing she said, which I don’t actually recall anyone putting quite so well, was this:

“Imagine if we had a leader in the U.S. that had become an intolerable despot who committed all manner of human atrocities and completely trashed our basic rights. And imagine if another country, like China or some such entity, said to us, “let us rescue you” and they proceeded to come occupy our country – which involved them completely ignoring American culture, values or traditions, our monuments, our museums – everything they touched for our so-called betterment ruined before our eyes – it would be seen as an invasion and not something that we as a country should tolerate. The despot leader might be a lousy leader, but he’s our leader and we take care of our problems internally, no matter how bad they are. If that happened here?" she said, "I would fight to the death the occupation of these people. No one comes into my country and tells me they are going to rescue me because they decided among themselves we needed saving.”

Interesting thought, no?

The conversation went further. My mom had siphoned off the grease from the Turkey and commented on how many meat coupons it would have gotten during WWII RATIONING . I asked her to explain. She said that the family saved every drop of cooking grease – because the more you saved, the more meat coupons a family would earn. She said they did that with everything; used rubber, you name it. All was used for something that ultimately was made into something usable in the war, whether it was the grease to lubricate weapon machinery or something else. Everyone recycled because they had to – and the environment was not even a consideration at that time. Families got coupons for items that included everything from clothing and shoes, to food, cigarettes, coffee or chocolate, to gasoline and new tires for your car. Even if one could afford to pay more for goods, they were only allowed the allotment provided in their coupon book.

Our current administration has asked us to do nothing. Not to conserve, not to have the wealthiest among us pay taxes proportional to the middle and low income classes (thereby reducing the amount of debt to our financial sponsors in China), not to conserve gasoline, not to recycle (since that’s just for tree huggers) and for God’s sake, not to give up any earthly material comfort that might assist in getting our boys and girls more body armor or reinforced tanks. That’d just be silly.

I wonder how long we would stay in Iraq if we had THESE restrictions? And would people really get all that hot and bothered about a war memorial going up, if daily rationing was in effect as a constant reminder that our country is, in reality, at war?

With that thought - let’s take a look at how the White House will be rationing this holiday season, by perusing their holiday menu, as printed this morning in Tim Grieve’s column in

“What we'll be missing:

Display of Specialty Cheeses and Winter Fruits (Served with a Bountiful Display of Lavish Specialty Crackers and Spiced Pecans).

Colossal Shrimp Cocktail and Jonah Crab Claws (Served with Ramsey’s Cocktail Sauce and Spiced Remoulade).

Stuffed Turkey Breasts with Winter Mushrooms, Cheese and Brandied Cranberries.

Sugar Cured Virginia Ham with Hot Pepper Mustard (Served with Warm Blue Corn Muffins).

Chicken Fried Beef Tenderloin with White Onion Gravy (Served with Tiny Icebox Rolls).

Herb Roasted Lollipop Lamb Chops served with Warm Yeast Rolls.

Honey Cup Mustard Sauce.

Fresh Tamales with Tomatillo Sauce and Black Beans.

Baked White Cheddar Farfalle.

Sweet Potato Soufflé.

Asparagus Tier with Lemon-Garlic Aioli.

Golden and Crimson Beet Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Feta.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies with Peppermint Crunch.

Pecan Sandie Tree (Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes) with Layers of Cookies.

Holiday Ornamental Cookies: Barney, Miss Beazley, Christmas Trees, Snowflakes, Candy Canes.

Red Hat Box Mascarpone Cake.

White Pound Cake with Mascarpone Cream Filling, Red Marzipan Frosting and Red Ribbon Bow Decoration.

Coconut Cake.

Coconut Chiffon Cake, Coconut Pastry Cream Filling and 7 Minute Meringue Frosting.

Chocolate Roulade (Christmas Log): Soft Ganache Frosting with a Chocolate Sponge, Meringue
Mushrooms, Magnolia Leaves in White Chocolate, Raspberries.

Mini Tartlettes.
Pecan Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Orange Chiffon and Chocolate Boston Cream Pie.

Chocolate Truffles.

Homemade, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache.

Long Stem Strawberries with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce.

Warm Macintosh Apple Cobbler With Oatmeal Crumble.

Pumpkin Trifle.

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse with Whipped Cream and Shaved Dark Chocolate.

. . . It's like the president says: "The time of war is a time of sacrifice."”

Monday, November 27, 2006

War Memorial or Anti War Protest?

I went home to my parents for Thanksgiving this year. Home is a little town in the San Francisco Bay area called Lafayette. Lafayette usually makes the news when a teenager kills someone and the story is later made into a movie with Tori Spelling or a Law and Order episode. Other than that, it is pretty quiet.

So imagine the uproar when someone took their pricey piece of undeveloped land and turned it into a memorial for the soldiers lost in our current Iraq war.

Now, keep in mind that we have honored our fallen soldiers in every war that this country has fought in - In my family we have newspaper photos from every war going back to WWI, because family members have fought in every single one of them - Our country honored our soldiers with newspaper photographs, footage of flag-draped coffins, memorials at places like Arlington, later televised funerals when the teeVee entered the living room - that is every war except this one. It is part of our culture to acknowledge and mourn the dead. In this war, however, we are apparently to close our eyes and do like the president does. If we don't see it, does that mean our dead aren't really dead? This is not really happening? Our kids aren't really in danger?

One angry motorist got out of her car and knocked the sign down. Turns out that motorist was a retired Marine Sergeant. Okay, so a military officer takes an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. That doesn't mean supporting and defending only those portions of the U.S. Constitution that they agree with, and whatever the intention the message might be by the person or persons responsible for erecting the memorial, anti-war or not, it IS what every city in this nation needs. A memorial; a symbol of sadness and respect for those lost and who continue to be lost and a reminder of the high cost of war.

I went to see for myself. And I cried. There are more crosses now than when the newspaper photo was taken that I have posted above. In addition to 350 white crosses, there are Stars of David, a Muslim Crescent and a cross painted in the rainbow colors of the Gay flag. One cross was plain, unpainted wood. The sign was updated to read the most recently reported number of soldiers killed. People have placed flowers and flags at the base of many of the crosses. I guess they saw it the same way I did, which sure as hell is not political and is about as patriotic as anything I can think of.

There is apparently a public hearing tonight about the memorial. Some want it torn down. My question is - why aren't MORE towns erecting memorials?