Upon the scaffold, Louis says he'll pray,
then: nothing much. A drumroll please. A bird
that's passing overhead the human herd
dips its head; disgusted, looks away;
pities creatures cursed to sing with words.
A latch released, a whir, a thump, the gray
stones of the plaza stained, a single ray
of sunlight hits the surging crowd, the murd-
ered body twitches one last time, then rests;
a pundit goes on CNN and claims
to have seen it coming months before it came,
although, he says, he's not sure of its aims,
and thinks the movement needs a better name,
a list, at least, from which to choose the best.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Upon the scaffold, Louis says he'll pray,
So, most Americans are introduced to offal through liver, and while I do love liver in its many origins, forms, and preparations, I also find it to be the most difficult of organ meats--very assertive in flavor, very organ-y, a very thick, alien texture. Sweetbreads, on the other hand, are unassuming and straightforward, although still considered somehow more exotic. They are the neck glands of a cow, usually a calf, and usually the thymus. In their raw form, they have a loose and slightly gelatinous texture; when cooked properly, they firm up and develop a texture somewhere between pork tenderloin and chicken breast: lighter than the former; a bit meatier than the latter; with a mild and, yes, slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of well-prepared veal. This preparation is what the Italians would call an agrodolce, which is to say, a sweet and sour dish. The sweetbreads themselves are twice-cooked. Although you can certainly toss them right into a pan, you will always improve flavor and texture (as well as getting rid of any unpleasant organ smells) by parboiling them in water or something acidic like vinegar.
1 lb. or so sweetbreads
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 medium potato, peeled, rinsed, and diced
fresh, sweet herbs such as tarragon and marjoram, chopped
a couple of chili peppers, chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bottle (250ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tspn honey
extra virgin olive oil
Pour the vinegar into a saucepan and mix with an equal part of water, the honey, and some fresh herbs. Place over high heat. While it comes up to boil, cut your sweetbreads into bite-sized pieces (let's say 1/2"), carefully removing any knobby bits or silver connective tissue. Add to the boiling vinegar solution and parboil until firm and springy to the touch (5-10 minutes).
Remove them from the vinegar and pat dry. Beat an egg in a shallow bowl. Mix the corn flour with generous salt and black pepper in another bowl. Roll the sweetbreads first in egg, then in the flour mixture. Heat a quarter inch of olive oil in a heavy frying pan or skillet and pan-fry the sweetbreads until golden and crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined dish and let drain and dry.
In a large saute pan, heat more oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and potato along with a pinch of salt. Toss together. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the chili and toss together for another minute or two. Add the wine, lemon juice, some herbs, and more salt to taste and allow to cook down together until the liquid is mostly reduced. At the last minute, add the sweetbreads, toss together, and cook just long enough to warm them through again.
I serve this over polenta.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Fellow blurgher Montag gazes into the middle distance, a few reluctant tears welling into his eyes, because the Occupy Wall Streeters appear to be generally fumbling their way toward some crackpot collegiate model of participatory self-government, having, in other words, a This-Is-What-Democracy-Looks-Like moment. Probably worth more a rueful giggle than a manly, reluctant cry, but I am sympathetic. A lot of fine radical sentiment gets bogged down in the Organizing-Group mentality, and a lot of protestivists erroneously view the current state of representative government as debased and corrupt rather than as an apotheoisis.
However I see no reason to be too concerned. Occupy Wall Street is no revolution, and we are in no danger of replacing democracy with democracy. The protests are symptomatic of something else; they do signify change, even though they are neither the cause nor the ultimate result of it. These sorts of things are like melting glaciers and long tomato seasons: phenomenal indicators of a self-catlyizing reaction across a whole vast and complex system of systems.
If that sounds optimistic to you, or somehow out of keeping with the habitually noncomittal sentiments of this doggler, rest assured that I'm not making the positivist error; I am no progressive; change and flux do not operate in the service of some universal movement in the direction of materialist human betterment as conceived and propogated by the present-obsessed prognosticators of the current moment. It's a mistake to ascribe moral precepts to evolutionary processes. The crises of democracy are in turn mere side effects, minor mutations. But I am, by the way, serious about the evolutionary metaphor, which is cautionary as well. Speciation is not something that either the prior or latter species self-observes.
So the Iranians were going to use an American to hire a Mexican to assassinate a Saudi in Washington. Oh, ok. Let me just read from last night's NPR transcript for you. I have excerpted all you need to know:
SIEGEL: Now, the Iranians have called this a fabrication, someone called it a distraction to keep Americans from thinking about our domestic problems. How convincing is the evidence of Iran's involvement here?Obviously this is going to turn into another case where the FBI tells some half-homeless loser that they're going to set him up with his own moon base and spacekreig Nazi saucer command; dude goes down to the public libarary, poops and shaves in the bathroom, gets online and tells facebook that he is going to launch an interstellar invasion of all the capitals of the planet earth; the Feds pinch the guy; and Eric Holder goes before the American People to cry Klatuu Barada Nikto until the terror cows come home. Robert Meuller says it sounds like a Hollywood script. Like the one that your waiter "accidentally" left at your table, maybe.
GJELTEN: We really don't know.