Friday, December 12, 2008

We hope for better things--like bargins on designer handbags!

Has anyone noticed the recent spate of recession-themed articles in the "lifestyle" sections of the New York Times? I can't stop reading them--they're so adorably out of touch!

A story from the Home and Garden section covers (in great detail) the impact of rich New Yorkers firing their domestic help. On the global economy, that is. One employer expressed concern about her housekeeper's financial obligations, and said that she felt guilty for firing her: "It was really hard."

An article entitled "The Great Sale of ’08," simply gushes over the bargains that local department stores are putting up to entice shoppers. And who could resist such deals--$275 for a pair of Prada shoes! (My heart goes pitta pat!)

And then there are those poor people who can't shop the way they'd like, because they feel like it might be in bad taste. Good thing they've found a way to get around that problem--designer parties!

But my favorite are the "belt tightening" stories. The titles say it all.

Great Meals for Two, Under $100 (It’s Possible!)

Time to Tighten Things Up: Energy Saving Tips for Your Second Home

This is obviously hilarious, but also a little bizarre. The front section of the New York Times is full of news about the recession. Over half a million people lost their jobs in November--the largest job loss since 1974--and though it doesn't seem possible, the actual impact is probably much greater. Meanwhile, the "lifestyle" sections are whinging about the price of bluefin tuna and airline tickets.

(It's especially weird when veiwed from the perspective of suburban Detroit. Detroit used to rank 4th in population, but now hovers around 11th, having lost half of it's population since 1950. It is a city so utterly destroyed, that large parts of it are returning to the prairie* and the half mile area between the Detroit Institute of Art and downtown is known as a "Dead Zone". I mean, Detroit's city motto is "Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus," which is Latin for (I shit you not) "We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes.")

On a more personal level, it would be nice to read a "lifestyle" column and find some advice that I could actually use this year. Maybe an article about handmade Christmas gifts? Or kitchen gardens? Or the reuse/renew movement? Or...something?

*If you like the blog entry I linked to, you should click here to see more of Sweet Juniper's lovely photos of Detroit. He's one of my favorite photographers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Creeping Terror Part 1--Pumpkin Pie

My good friend paisana posted a request for holiday recipes. So here's my pumpkin pie.

Warning: if you usually double the spices in baking, DON'T DO IT HERE. I already doubled the spices, and I can't be held responsible.

Ginger Pumpkin Pie
(makes one 9" pie)

  • 3 small pie pumpkins
  • 1-1/4 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 pint cream (or half and half if you're a pansy)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (or fresh, if you roll that way...our local meijer didn't have it the last time I tried)
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • pinch of black or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • candied ginger

  • Cut the pie pumpkins in half, and place face down on a baking sheet covered in foil. Bake in a 400 degree oven until a knife slides in easily
  • Mash the pumpkin using a potato masher, and measure out 3 cups of the mixture. Save the rest for pumpkin bread/muffins/cupcakes.
  • Combine all of the ingredients except for the candied ginger
  • Lay a pie crust in a 9" pie pan (I won't give you a crust recipe. I find that most people either have a recipe of their own, or wouldn't dream of making a pie crust)
  • Slice the candied ginger and cover the bottom of the pan with ginger (don't skimp!)
  • Pour the pie filling on top of the ginger
  • Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 275 and bake until the center is firm
Remember--pumpkin is a vegetable, so it is perfectly acceptable to eat leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast. Mmmmm...

PS: the title of this blog post is thanks to my roommate, Matt. If you don't understand it, bother him.