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February 19, 2021: Szechuan peppercorns y’all

 

Have you ever tried a Szechuan peppercorn? They’re the seeds of the prickly ash tree, and a mainstay in Szechuan cooking. They’re not spicy. They have a wonderful, peppery, citrusy flavor. They also have another, very strange characteristic: they cause paresthesia, a numbing, prickly sensation in the mouth. It does this by getting tiny receptors in your tongue vibrating at 50 hertz. This is fun, and weird, and very handy if you’re eating spicy Szechuan food, because the numbing sensation allows you to eat more spicy chilis without overheating your mouth. Excellent! New employees of Geer Street Garden were always given one to try at the beginning of their employment  as a sort of “cool” test and to see if they were the right kind of “wrong” to fit in with our crew. (Ah, the good old days, when we actually needed to hire people on occasion!)

Anyhoo – this weekend we’re serving the classic Szechuan dish, Kung Pao Chicken. This poor dish has been degraded for our dull American mouths over the years, so much so that at a lot of places now it’s just a standard meat & veggie stir-fry with a few peanuts sprinkled over the top. We make no claims at authenticity (there’s no such thing for us 21st century Americans, is there?), but we’ve found that in this case the old, traditional recipes are better than what we’re used to. So, it’s small chunks of chicken stir-fried with peppers, garlic, ginger, whole chili peppers, Szechuan peppercorns, scallions, and peanuts in a sauce perfectly balanced between sweet, sour, and salty. We’re serving it with steamed rice and a daikon radish cake (fluffy, mild, savory, and delicious). C’mon get you some.

 

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January 7, 2021

You know that this is only going to get worse until you get off your ass and get organized, right? You understand that.

And you know that society is literally falling apart because money is the only organizing principle at work in our society, right? You understand that, I know you do.

And you realize that you can’t post your way out of this mess, right? You understand that Facebook and Twitter & even my glorious posting is just a distraction from the reality work that needs to be done. The work of organizing ourselves into some kind of strength that can oppose the mass-suicidal money power that controls everything in your life. You understand this, I know you do.

So stop looking at this picture of a roasted chicken with potato gratin, green beans & red wine jus (looks delicious doesn’t it?) and get to work- either organizing or letting yourself BE organized. The Poor People’s Campaign needs you. The Sunrise Movement needs you.

The Democrats aren’t going to fix this, there’s no manager you can complain to. There’s just power operating baldly and openly to wreck your climate, impoverish your family and destroy our country so that it can stay rich. And that Power only respects power- it’s not going to change because it would be nice. But you understand this, don’t you?

 

 

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