Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another world

After reading a post on a feminist blog about the Biblical womanhood movement, I had to learn more about it. I've spent the last few days immersed.

There are several main components. There's the modesty piece, about how you should dress, sit, and stand. There's the work piece, about how you should work at home or in a family business because no human but your husband or father should be your boss. There's the courtship piece, about why dating will ruin you for marriage. There's the fertility piece, about why you should have as many babies as possible. And there's the stay-at-home daughter phenomenon, which holds that home and not college is the right place for young women until marriage.

There's backlash, obviously. Commenters on said things like, "Disgusting . . . I’m beginning to think I ought to go vandalize a church." Within Christianity, there are some more thoughtful and compassionate responses.

But I was surprised at how much I found to like. While I'm not a fan of the denim jumper look, I share the distaste for skanky clothes. I don't want men or women relegated to anyplace based on their gender, but I cheer the revival of homemaking and homesteading. This family's 1200-square-foot house with twelve residents? Awesome. And I have to admire the courage of people who live a profoundly counter-cultural lifestyle.

The movement is all about the family. This article on how daughters can treat their fathers better made me do a double-take - don't we normally advise parents on how to treat their children? Filial piety is totally out of style. And while a lot of the writing around daughters makes me want to gag, these people are on to something. Look for the good in each other. Communicate. Try to function as a unit instead of everyone striking out on their own. Give more than you take, and don't be "thing-hungry". (I can imagine that would be very important to men who are the sole wage-earners in large families).

Despite the stereotype of evangelical Christians as ignorant hicks, it's such a text-based culture. Take this argument by an eighteen-year-old homeschooled blogger. She goes through several texts, analyzes them and their historical contexts, finds flaws in her prior beliefs, and comes to a new conclusion. How many teenagers do that kind of thing without any arm-twisting?

Granted, sometimes the textual analysis goes horribly wrong. Please, please, do not use The Taming of the Shrew as your model for marriage.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Liberty and justice at age seven

In the school where I intern, there’s a bulletin board where a teacher has posted second graders’ writings about freedom, having rights, laws, trust, fairness, and equality. I found it really interesting what the students said about these topics.

Young kids have quite a sketchy understanding of what any of these are. A lot of them just spewed a list of “things we’re supposed to do”, interspersed with bits of the Pledge of Allegiance:

Justice for all. Be someoen’s friend if they have none it dosen’t matter what coler you are. Be respectful. Have freedom. Care for others. Keep your hands to yourself.

Laws is for try your best and foloing laws is aluled like if someone is copeeying you you say stop.


laws is to respect people and be kind. and laws is to try your best. and also when you make a mistake don,t erase cross it or line it. and also you can’t alwy always say the bad word.

Some of them had a pretty good operational understanding:

Trust is when you keep a seekret for someone. If you don’t keep a seekret, thats no good.

laws are rules if you brack brak bracke brack them, the police will come, and arrest ou and that is bad, and you will go to jail.

There was only one that seemed to actually have an understanding of how any of these concepts intersected:

freedom means to be free and do what ever you wat but you can’t do stuff bad that’s why there is laws.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Two recipies for fall

Midterms are over. I have time for baking again!

Tarte tatin is French for caramelized upside-down apple pie. Essentially, you melt butter and sugar in a skillet, then cook your fruit in that. You put a piecrust on top and bake the whole thing in the oven. Then you flip it. Ta da!

- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Take a heavy-bottomed skillet. It must be able to go in the oven, so be sure it doesn't have parts that will melt. Turn the heat to medium high and add:
a chunk of butter (2-4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup sugar
Stir it around and let it melt. Meanwhile, cut in slices:
3-4 apples or pears
- Lay all the slices into the bubbling liquid. Mmm. You could sprinkle on some cinnamon at this point.
- Let it cook 10 minutes or so, while you make a piecrust. (Piecrust: mix 1 1/4 cups flour, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of sugar. Cut in 1/2 cup of cold shortening or butter. Stir in 1/4 cup cold water, adding more if needed. Keep everything cold and handle it as little as possible.)
- Roll out the crust and lay it on top of the fruit. Tuck it down around the edges a little. Put the whole thing in the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until the crust looks reasonably done.
- When you take it out, flip the tart onto a plate. Flip it now, not later, or it won't want to come out.

Project two was breakfast rather than dessert. I recently ate a cinnamon bun with cheddar cheese, and I was trying to recreate the experience.

- Make a sweet bread dough. I made a basic dough with white flour, milk, an egg, butter, sugar, salt, and yeast. Let rise.
- When dough has risen, shape it into a rectangle. Sprinkle with grated cheddar, chopped apple, cinnamon, and sugar.
- Roll up the rectangle and slice it into buns. Lay the slices on a greased baking pan. Let rise again for an hour or so.
- Bake at 350 - not too long! Check after 10 or 15 minutes.