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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me, Too

The #MeToo hastag/post is circulating on the interwebs now to show how common sexual assault and harrassment is.  I haven't posted yet, mostly due to my own baggage, and also because I've been very lucky and have not experienced anything serious or particularly traumatic, and don't want clueless people to ask me about it and say "Oh, that's not so bad" and then use that to minimize others' experiences.
However, the fact remains that many men do not experience the same incidents, however minor, or they think they're harmless.  So, without further ado, here is my list, or at least the parts that were noteworthy enough that I remember them.
#MeToo because of two flashers, one funny (age 13) and one scary (age 24 or so)
#MeToo because of random gropers, frotteurs, and wolfwhistlers
#MeToo  because a random guy in a car grabbed my ass when I was riding my bike in a lot of traffic, age 13 or 14
#MeToo because one of the older neighbor kids used to tickle torture me at age 3 or 4 and his dad laughed about it and never intervened (Serious question - do people tickle torture little boys, or is it mostly little girls because we're socialized not to attack and bite someone if they do something like that?)
#MeToo because in my freshman dorm one of the guys entered the womens' bathroom to borrow soap one time when I was showering and then looked into the shower to see who was in there
#MeToo because I had to share an office with a creeper for a few months until I asked my boss for an office transfer.  (Side note - I did not tell my boss he was a creeper, and instead emphasized that he was impacting my productivity by talking on the phone all the time.  Bonus points for my boss for realizing the guy was a creeper and pulling some strings to let me move ASAP, and negative points for the creeper's boss for knowing he was a creeper and putting him in my office anyway, despite the fact that there were only a few women at the company at the time.)
#MeToo because a few creepy guys tried to get my to get in their cars and go for a ride with them when I was out running in high school.  I was 14 at the time.
#MeToo because the lab asshole during my postdoc kept putting bikini babe screensavers up on the lab's computers and then threw a hissy fit when we finally got fed up and replaced it with some good old fashioned beefcake pictures

See - as I said it's pretty minor compared to what a lot of people have been though.  THIS IS BECAUSE I AM FORTUNATE* and not because of anything else.  Not because of what I was wearing, not because of how I looked*, not because of what I did, not because of my perma resting bitch face and not because of how I was raised. 

As an extra aside, a quadruple kick in the nuts to all the guys who harassed 13-14 year old me, since that was the majority of my "stranger danger" harassment.  Kudos to my mom for telling me that creepers are out there and that many of them target young teens since young teens are less experienced in avoiding them or shutting them down.  Double kudos to her for never saying anything about what I wore or doing any victim blaming.  (Sadly, she has since become judgemental in her old age)

* Seriously, fuck you, Mayim Bialek, for your editorial in the New York Times and for starring in the Big Bang Theory, which trivializes/humorizes a lot of creepy nerd behavior.  You didn't have to deal with the "casting couch" because you were fortunate and also because you took a hiatus from the film industry while you were in your late teens and 20's.  It has nothing to do with how you look.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cook's Illustrated Boston Baked Beans (and Old Biddy's Maple Syrup Beans)

I was very excited when Cook's Illustrated, the Boston based purveyors of cooking geekery, published a recipe for a faster cooking version of the beans with no hipster ingredients, as well as a recipe for brown bread.  I'm gluten free again since my knee has been bothering me, so I did not make the bread.
As with most Cook's Illustrated recipes, there are a few tricks and secret ingredients.  The trick here is to soak the beans in salt water for at least 8 hrs, and then do a combination of cooking it in the oven and on the stove.  This reduces the cooking time to appx. 3.5 hours instead of all day.  You're still fighting with acidic ingredients (brown sugar and molasses) but the salted soak brings a lot of bean softening firepower.  The secret ingredient is a little bit of soy sauce for umani notes and depth.  Other than that, there are no hard to find ingredients, no wasted beer, minimal active time and no time consuming hacks.  There is even a discussion of bean blowout, which isn't nearly as funny as it should be. When I take over Cook's Illustrated I will be sure to include a lot more fart jokes.

Cook's Illustrated Boston Baked Beans, now with more fart jokes

1 lb navy beans, picked over and rinsed
1 1/2 tbsp salt

6 oz salt pork, sliced into 3 pieces
1 onion, halved
1/2 cup molasses*
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf

*use maple syrup instead of molasses for a different flavor

Combined dried beans with 2 qt water and 1.5 tbsp salt.  Let it sit at least 8 hours or overnight

Preheat oven to 300F.  Rinse and drain beans and transfer to large dutch oven (because of course you need a dutch oven for this...).  Add salt pork, molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce, dried mustard, pepper, and bay leaf.  Add 1 quart water.  It should cover the beans by appx 1/2 inch.  Add more if needed.  Bring mix to a boil.  Cover and put it in the oven for 2 hours.  After 1 hour, stir it around and add enough water to cover beans, if necessary.  After 2 hours, remove cover and cook for another hour.  Scrape down sides and remove onion, bay leaf, and salt pork.  Give them to the person in your household who wants to eat them.

The beans came out pretty well, and I really liked how hands off the recipe is. They reminded me of the baked beans they served at brunch at an Irish pub in Boston, so I even ate some for breakfast. They were sweet and had good flavor.  They retained their shape almost too well - no bean blowout. Due to the lack of bean blowout, the Dutch oven was easy to clean.... All fart jokes aside, I miss the slight thickening effect from some blowout. 

We really liked them, so in the interest of science I made another batch two days later.  This time I substituted dark maple syrup for the molassses.  They were much mellower and less Beano was needed.  I will probably use bacon for the maple syrup ones next time.

Dutch Oven Bean Blowout Report: low in the recipe, high in the Old Biddy household. Get your Beano for these bad boys!