1. out of the box, into the soup pot
Saturday we saw The Box, a strange, fascinating and confusing movie that I wish Hollywood would make more of. Since trying to decipher the mythology, ideology and/or plot of the movie kind of makes my head hurt (do aliens equal God? Is free will a lie? A curse? Would it help if I brushed up on my Sartre?), I will leave it at that.
Sunday I reprised two thirds of the meal we learned to make in our Hipcooks class. Since I couldn’t be bothered to hunt down saffron for the Portuguese seafood stew, it’s probably best that I didn’t even attempt the soufflé. Soufflées are not for the lazy.
But even sans saffron—and sans turmeric, which is what came up when I Googled “saffron substitutes,” but all that was in the T section of my spice shelf was thyme—the stew came out pretty good. It marked my first experience buying live seafood: clams and black mussels. Carrying them home from Fish King, feeling cool for having gone to a real fish market, I explained to them that I appreciated their contribution to my dinner.
Not that I can claim to have researched Native American practices or anything, but there’s something appealing about acknowledging that your food comes from sacrifice. A mussel’s life, a human’s labor. There’s something about being able to look your meal in the eye (although I was very grateful shellfish don’t have eyes), know the means of production and be okay with it.
I’m not okay with the means of production behind most of what I touch on any given day. There’s so much sweatshop labor, so much plastic packaging, so many over-fished waters. But I don’t see it, so I keep at it. If that plastic-barge-the-size-of-Texas was bumping up against my living room window, I might use a little less squeeze-bottled hair product.
2. confessions of a (non)recovering intellectual
AK and I have been going to a series of workshops at church titled “Engaging Evangelicalism” (partly group therapy for its now-Episcopalian refugees, partly an attempt by All Saints to be open-minded instead of just hating on the religious right). On Sunday, a discussion about biblical authority led to the question, “Have you ever questioned your own moral judgment?”
I thought, Have I ever NOT? Though I’m not an evangelical refugee, I have some Catholic and Jewish guilt in my DNA, and an MFA from a school that loves deconstruction. So instead of thinking, I don’t know what’s best, so I’ll look to the Bible, I usually think, I don’t know what’s best, and neither does anyone else, especially not this Western middle-class society that’s telling me it’s okay to love new shoes. Maybe not even my Western middle-class therapist who is telling me it’s okay to love new shoes.
The shoes I just ordered online arrived today and were too big, so I returned them to the nearest DSW, where I was dismayed to learn shipping and handling weren’t refundable. I left without a replacement pair, only because I didn’t find any I liked, not because I’m morally responsible.
Then I ate canned salmon salad for lunch. Free will is a bitch.