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November 30, 2005

Missed Connections

D and I spent a few minutes looking through Missed Connections on Craigslist (Brooklyn) tonight for kicks. Every once in a while I can't resist clicking on it -- and it's clear that some people are addicts.

There were the usual entries, starting with "you were wearing [describe outfit] and I thought you smiled at me as I held the door open for you at [location]" or "we sat together on the F train from [stop] to [stop] and I was too shy to say hello." We also found lots of bad poetry, a few not-possibly-real entries, and some long, extremely personal rants about life and relationships in general. MC is a little like blogging -- it's a public outlet for small private thoughts, disappointments, longings. It's also a warped social history of the city (see this entry about a fake blind man -- real or no?). Some people are exploiting the service to practice their creative writing exercises, though, which is annoying. Still, the variety is entertaining. And I'm glad it exists.

Sappy quote of the day: "check your heart mail, there should be a message there from mine...xxx".

Question of the day: Does anyone "missed" every catch up with anyone who has posted? Is anyone tracking successes?

Note: More Disney photos are on Flickr (Disney set is here).

Posted by csageday at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2005

"Fossil Foods"

A friend asked me a while back why it was important to buy locally-grown food. I stumbled through the answer (more fresh, in season, less fuel used in transport), but just came across an article that explains it much better. Also, the overwhelming reason would be to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to produce what you eat. According to this article, we use as much fuel to grow and transport food now as we do to heat our homes and fill our gas tanks. Here's an excerpt on how to reduce this amount a bit:

First, eat lower on the food chain. That means more fruits and vegetables, and fewer meats and fish. Meats, poultry and fish contain necessary proteins, but most American diets contain too much protein - about twice the recommended amount. Since 80% of the grains go to feeding livestock, the amount of energy used indirectly to support our diet of double bacon cheeseburgers is staggering. And, if you do eat meat, then try to avoid animals grown in feedlots or factory pens. They take far more energy calories to raise than free-range, grassfed critters, which have only about a third of the embedded energy.

Second, eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods. Fruits and vegetables again, but also whole grains, legumes and other less-processed foods, have much less embedded energy. In general, the more packaging, the more processing - and the more energy associated with its production.

Third, buy local. Incredibly, the food items on U.S. grocery store shelves have traveled an average of 1,500 miles. And some foods are much worse. Table grapes grown in Chile, transported by ship to California and shipped by truck to Iowa have traveled over 4,200 miles. In response, some agricultural scientists have proposed ecolabeling programs based on CO2 rankings or broader lifecycle assessments.

Posted by csageday at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2005

Gnocchi

Gnocchi in Tukey SoupLidia said it was possible (she makes things look so easy on TV). From the pictures in the book, it didn't actually look terrifying. Aside from the "potato ricer" reference (what's that?), the ingredient list was short, and the instructions pretty straightforward. I've always wanted to make it. So, tonight I decided to make gnocchi so we could throw into the aforementioned turkey soup.

I rediscovered the recipe while reading Lidia's Italian Table in the bookstore and picked up some potatoes at a deli on the way home. I also asked for a potato ricer at Tarzian's. They had some midieval looking contraption, but given the abundance of contraptions in our kitchen already I decided to go with Lidia's alternate suggestion of forcing the cooked potato through a sieve with a wooden spoon (bad idea). I got home, boiled and peeled the potatoes and got to work. Turns out the sieve method is nearly impossible with a fine-wire-mesh sieve (especially when you haven't cooked the potatoes enough, ahem) -- I think my arm's going to be sore tomorrow. After about 20 minutes of sieve-ricing I resorted to the food processor, which worked fine. Then I had fun making a complete mess all of the counter and the floor while trying to mix the dough together. Gnocchi dough sticks to EVERYTHING. It sticks, dries out, and refuses to be washed off easily, which complicated the mid-gnocchi-making picture taking.

The whole experience took up most of the evening (a good portion of that was cleaning) Also, the recipe I was using in the Italian-American Kitchen didn't call for grated cheese, but I think it's necessary. The resulting gnocci were very good, but a tiny bit bland. I also remembered that I don't really like potatoes (oops). But at least I finally gave it a try, and I have a bunch of frozen gnocci in the freezer to play around with now. Wish I could give them away as Christmas presents.

Posted by csageday at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

Turkey Tip

turkey.jpgEvery year, I look at the post-Thanksgiving-dinner turkey and think that someone, somewhere knows how to make great soup out of all of the bones and little turkey bits that never get eaten. Finally, this year, after a traumatic incident where the turkey carcass and a bunch of other turkey goodness was nearly tossed in the trash, I took matters into my own hands. I found this recipe and it turned out great. If you have a turkey sitting in your fridge that's destined for the trash, try this.

It's so easy. I threw all of the bones and carcass, along with some carrots, celery, and onion and salt and pepper into a big pot and left it simmering for a few hours. Then I strained it, tossed the veggies and bones (I saved some, thinking it was a shame to toss them, but they're pretty spent and don't have much flavor) and refrigerated the broth. The next day, I heated up some broth, added shredded leftover turkey (dark meat works well), carrots, celery, and pasta, and had a very comforting bowl of soup. D and I are thinking of adding barley or rice to the next batch instead of pasta.

Posted by csageday at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2005

Russia! and MoMA

highlights_3.jpgYesterday, along with half of the European tourists and art fans in the city, Mom and I visited the "Russia!" exhibit at the Guggenheim. I know nothing about Russian art (and my art critiquing skills are pathetic) but I do have a minor Russia fetish, and the portraits in the ads looked fascinating. Despite the crowds and a little post-Thanksgiving exhaustion, I enjoyed what we saw, and I also got reacquainted with the great upward spiraling exhibit space in the Guggenheim building.

The 18th century portraits were vivid and complex. In some ways they capture the subject's character more than modern day photography does. The play of light, the facial expression and pose, and the exquisite detail convey both the sitter's personality and the moment the artist is trying to capture. They're wonderful to look at. The detail in the fabric of a sitter's dress or shawl can be mesmerizing.

A few of the portraits we liked: Tropinin's portrait of his son (great light, evocative of a certain part of childhood), a profile of Catherine II and one of her in "traveling clothes" (she looks benevolent, proud, and resolute in each, like a proper empress), Briullov's Portrait of Countess Julia Samoilova (great dress, great scene), Nikitin's Portrait of a Field Hetman, and Rubens' Head of a Franciscan Monk. The portrait that has been on the cover of most ads -- Kramskoy's Unknown Woman is also fantastic.

One thing that was missing from the exhibit is a collection of communist party propaganda. True, it's political and not the expression of one artist, but the clear message and high contrast and drama of it is a huge part of Russia's pop culture of the last century. Many modern Russian artists worked on those posters, too. It would have been interesting to see some of the more interesting pieces, but then again it might have been out of place.

Since I'm on the subject of museums, I should mention that museum memberships make fantastic holiday gifts. I got one for Mom last year and we used it to spend the day at MoMA last month. It was great -- while she was waiting for me she picked up a gift membership for me (thanks Mom!) and we were able to visit the "SAFE: Design Takes On Risk" exhibit before it opened to the public. MoMA also put me in a really great mood. The Design and Architecture wing was full of modern design innovations -- there were Eames chairs and Apple products and a chandelier made out of broken dishes. The photography wing is too small for my taste (too much of the good stuff stays in storage), but it's full of fantastic classic photos.

Overall, MoMA left me with a desire to talk about what I saw and to be more creative. It wasn't overwhelming or overly exhausting. The exhibits of recent art were also impressive -- there was a room full of TVs (~120 of them) functioning as a huge self-portait of an artist. They had been positioned throughout the artist's house to tape every part of his daily routine -- from making toast to working on a project to sleeping. It was an introspective, intimate display of the the artist's private life -- the quiet and solitude of living alone was very familiar. There was also a collection of portraits of four sisters over a thirty year period. As you approach it, you're not aware that all of the photos are of the same women -- they change so much. All of the portraits are so well done that it's kind of a tour de force -- you see dramatic changes and a collective aging, but not at the expense of the individual personality of each woman, if that makes any sense.

At both MoMA and the Guggenheim, we had very pleasant lunches at the museum cafes -- cucumber soup at MoMA and mortadella sandwiches at the Guggenheim. Both cafes seem to have "ladies' lunch" fare -- wine, soup, sophisticated sandwiches, so we always feel quite civilized and satisfied and refreshed, like proper museum-going cosmopolitan ladies.

Posted by csageday at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2005

Disney Detox

Doesn't this sort of make it look like an evil empire?

The Magic Kingdom

I'm very happy with that photo. I reached my Disney point-of-saturation less than an hour after entering "Disney property," but I stuck it out. I tried to be amused. I supplemented the theme park madness with meals at other resorts (lunch at the Grand Floridian was nice) and a late night swim. I weathered "Cinderella's Coronation" by taking pictures of the gaping, camera wielding crowd. I knit through endless switch-backs in holding pens while waiting in line. We ordered a flight of wine with dinner.

Bamboo LizardThe worst part of the trip turned out to be the lunch food in the parks. Deep fried, uber-processed, completely unappetizing fast food. Why can't Disney partner with Whole Foods or Trader Joe's and offer edamame or anything organic? There are enough well-heeled parents walking around with money to spend on that kind of thing. Also, the rides we went on weren't that great because they were the classic older ones -- the dioramas of fairy tale stories that you wait 45 minutes to see seemed anticlimactic and low-tech. There's very little true interactivity (unless you count getting wet or being tossed around a bit), and Disney technology seems to have stalled with the invention of animatronics and 3D movies. Some of the rides seemed frozen in time. To be fair, I'm biased and there are newer ones to balance it out (the "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" one sounded great -- it works just like the show), but I didn't make it to those.

Disney's strength lies in the ability to attract and manage huge amounts of people without pissing them off. The things that turn me off -- like musical extravaganzas, an entire landscape of pastel colors, and constant "Disney magic" -- are the opiate of the masses. People are happy at Disney. The hyper-stylized landscapes are massive, and every detail contributes to the theme of the park or resort it belongs to. The parks offer a variation of the media-saturation and over-the-top experience that people seek at Las Vegas. Americans, born and bred on excess, love it.

It's impressive, but since it's all fake (concrete painted to look like castle walls, a chimney painted to look like a slice of grand canyon), it all seems the same and gets annoying. The sheer scale is overwhelming. The enthusiasm of the "cast" is unnatural. After a while you feel a desperate need for something authentic. Like, say, alcohol. Oh, but there's no alcohol inside the most Disneyified park of all: the Magic Kingdom. Mickey doesn't drink. He's just on speed.

Animal Kingdom was the best of the lot. It incorporates a real, living landscape of trees and plants (and animals) into the mix, which is nice. It throws the fake trees into relief and makes them look sort of ridiculous, but at least it feels less like you're trapped in Walt Disney's mind.

XanderThe "cast members" lived up to their reputation. While I was trying to take pictures of mole rats (reminded me of people in apartments), a peppy "cast member" asked if I was over 18. How do you answer that so you don't get a reply? I tried shrugging, looking annoyed, and saying "Does it matter?" which did NOT work. "Well I hope you are, because those mole rats are naked!! They're not wearing any clothes!! HAHAHAHA!" Elsewhere, enthusiastic "cast members" called someone in our party "princess" (no sarcasm) and reminded us to "say goodbye to Mickey" upon leaving the park. Mickey himself repeatedly sang "Have a real fun day!" and "See ya real soon!" and I can't believe Disney workers aren't all suicidal after hearing that all the time.

Photos of the trip, along with more snide, snobbish commentary, are on Flickr. Oh, and we had a great time with Derek's nephew Xander and his cousin Marie (for the under-8 set, Disney makes perfect sense) and the rest of the family. And I'll admit that I enjoyed the Muppet 3D show. I love muppets. And the Monsters Inc. monsters were cute in the parade.

Posted by csageday at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2005

WDW

mickey_150.jpgAlright. I've been silent on the subject long enough. Here's a warning to Disney fans: This is a mildly anti-Disney post by a Disney snob. I don't want your Disney sensibilities to be offended, so please don't read this if it's going to upset you.

This weekend, I am going to DisneyWorld. For three days, I will subject myself to a landscape composed entirely by the Disney company. All transportation, accommodation, and every restaurant or food stand will be entirely owned and operated by Disney®. It'll be like SuperSize Me, but for three days instead of a month, and for every part of my life instead of just meals. If I want to sit down in an un-Disneyified location and knit quietly, out of bounds of some form of Micky Mouse ears or a parade of dancing 22-year-olds in costume, I will be unable to do so. If I want to escape the onslaught of enormous and grotesque walking stuffed animals, I will have to take Disney-sponsored transportation and most likely pass several hundred Disney-obsessed children and Disney gift stores along the way. Last time I went to Disney, my favorite part was finding a very normal-looking pool in an upscale hotel with no Ears in sight and swimming in it for an hour. At Derek's insistent prodding (we're going with his family), I'm trying to be open-minded about it, but it's like PAYING to enter the largest advertisement in the world. It's like a little corporation-country. Commercialism is king and watered-down "real-world adventures" that appeal to the masses abound.

Derek emailed me a link to some Disney fan message boards a while back and we found some disturbing posts. First, the posters were Disney addicts. The focus of their lives was visiting Disney, and each person had a blurb listing how many times they'd been, where they'd stayed, and a countdown to the next visit. Crazy people. Then, we found this:

Plus, my wife said that Epcot had changed her. She had always disliked people from Japan after all the WWII stories and movies she saw. After visiting the countries (she walked us 3 times around World Showcase) she said she now liked the people and had a new respect for them. She got to see how the cultures really are and she really enjoyed speaking with everyone...

My God. First, this prejudiced woman "disliked people from Japan after all the WWII stories and movies she saw." Then, after "visiting the countries" (???!?!!) and getting to "see how the cultures really are" (!?!), she got over it! Wow! I think they should visit The Holy Land Experience next.

Disney can be fun -- I'm not suggesting that I'm going to walk around with a scowl on my face and an anti-Disney pin on my shirt. But the enormity of the place, and the sameness of it all, and the way people just drink it in without an ounce of irony, is going to put me off a little.

Posted by csageday at 07:51 PM | Comments (4)

November 15, 2005

Domesticity

I just came across this set of photos on Flickr: a devil's occupation. Several household items -- my favorite is the dustpan called "don't waste your time" -- have fitted, knitted covers. They're completely encased in knitted, hand-painted yarn. It speaks to the mudane nature of household tasks and the obsessive creativity of knitters, I think. The chair -- "she was allergic to inactivity" -- is just amazing. I wonder if these were all encased in yarn using double-pointed needles? Or maybe the chair was taken apart? It's something else.

Update: The knitter/artist has a blog and did these as part of "a series of knitted sculptures [she's] working on that focus on the mania of being idle." She also makes awesome Monsters.

Posted by csageday at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

Whole Clothing

I meant to post this a while ago but forgot. A little eco-friendly clothing section is now open inside the Time Warner Center Whole Foods (where the wine used to be). A lot of smaller organic or eco-friendly brands that I recognize from the web are there (Blue Canoe, Green Babies). I'm usually too cheap to buy anything from those vendors, but I always follow the shopping links from Treehugger just in case I'll find an alternative to H&M and The Gap. Now I can browse through everything at once AND try it on. It's still pretty expensive, but I might buy some of the baby stuff (I love the "Give Peas a Chance" onesie) or find Christmas presents there.

Posted by csageday at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2005

Baby Blanket #1

Snoozing (Dad in the background)I finished knitting squares for baby blanket #1 the day after the adorable baby Keith --intended recipient of baby blanket #1 -- was born. I seem to have a knack for finishing up blankets just as babies decide to be born. I'm very grateful that Keith decided to postpone things an extra week so I could finish up.

This new blanket is the first pattern I designed and used successfully, so I might write it up and post it here. Each larger square has 16 squares with alternating squares, diamonds, and triangles inside. I experimented with shapes while stuck upstate with no knitting patterns, and the result is really cute. If I made the squares bigger, I could probably come up with a bunch of other shapes. I like the idea that the small and large squares remind me of a quilt, and the shapes are a good kid theme. I wasn't planning on using the colors I ended up with (it was what was available from kyarns.com that didn't clash with my original light blue), but contrast is good for newborns, and it's more playful and fun than your average baby pastels. I used Rowan Calmer, a lovely yarn but not one suited to babies, really, since it can't be machine washed. You can barely handwash it -- the brown bled a tiny bit into the ivory when I was wringing the water out. I know it says on the label not to do that, but who pays attention to instructions like that? As it was, it took two days to dry, WITH help from a hair dryer because I was getting impatient. Here's a shot of the finished blanket (here's a close-up):

Squares Blanket

For baby blanket #2, I'm using a slightly more machine-washing-friendly Cashsoft Baby DK and I'm doing stripes (same pattern, but without the sewing together at the end, which drives me crazy) -- it probably won't be as interesting, but it'll be very "baby".

We delivered baby blanket #1 to baby Keith today and had a great time snuggling with him and talking to his very happy parents and grandparents. Some photos are up on Flickr. Here's a quick video of Keith hicupping, too (beware, it's a big file: 7.3 MB).

The upside of all this is that we have another completely adorable baby to play with. The downside is that about 5 minutes after entering our friends' house, Derek mouthed, with a pout, "I WANT ONE". Yeah, I want one too, but gimme a break! I'm so not ready for that. Why is it that everyone we know is conspiring to have children all at the same time? Why??? I love kids, but the peer pressure is getting hard to ignore. I found myself at a stoop sale yesterday buying up really nice baby clothes for obscenely cheap prices (I won't have trouble getting rid of it all), and I couldn't help wondering if I should pick some up for us, since, you know, everyone else is doing it... But then I figured that was bad luck. Living in Park Slope is like asking for it, though. I pass two nursery schools and a Kids Kutz salon on my way to the train every morning.

Posted by csageday at 11:20 PM | Comments (2)

November 12, 2005

Soup for the New Yorker

I was in the mood for soup all day long yesterday, but too busy to go and get any. It was uncomfortably cold on the way to work. I should switch to my winter outfit of long johns, a heavy coat and heavy scarf, but I'm defiantly still wearing corduroy. Soup just seemed like the right thing to eat. I wasn't craving thick soup, though -- I wanted broth with noodles -- there's a Japanese noodle place on 56th and 6th Ave that would have been perfect. Matzoh ball soup also would have sufficed. Maybe I was dehydrated.

At some point during the day, while trying to strike a healthy balance between stressful work email and blog-reading procrastination, I read about the ramen noodle place Rai Rai Ken on Gothamist. Later, after watching Capote at Angelika (good movie, go see it), we went in search of it. Neither of us could remember the name or location (I had IM'd the URL to Derek but neither of us wrote anything down). We wandered all around Japanese row (9th St. btw 2nd and 3rd) and eventually visited the St. Mark's bookstore to find it in a book.

The search was worth it. It's on 10th street off of 1st Ave, and it's a tiny place with one long counter -- the kitchen's on one side, and a low counter for customers is on the other. There is only room to walk single-file to a counter stool. The place feels like it has been there for a while and it has a very comforting, cozy feel. Derek says it reminded him of Bladerunner, if that means anything to anyone (I haven't seen the movie). It feels like some friendly chefs have gotten together to cook you a warm, restorative meal. It also reminded me of a short (Japanese?) movie I saw once about a man trying to develop the perfect broth for noodle soup so he could open a lunch place. The movie ends up with a shot of business men all lined up at a similar counter eating soup with chopsticks and tipping their bowls up to finish the soup (a sign of really good broth). Anyone know what I'm talking about?

The menu at Rai Rai Ken is simple: there are three types of ramen noodle soup -- Shoyu (soy broth), Shio (seafood broth), and Miso. The menu also offers dumplings and a few other choices. Derek ordered the miso-based bowl of ramen with chicken, and I had the seafood-based broth with a boiled egg, seaweed, scallions, bamboo shoots, ramen, pork, and spinach (Shio). We shared some vegetable dumplings. The noodles were wonderful -- more chewy and tasty than the supermarket variety -- and my pork was really tender. I noticed some special prep work happening on our way out that seemed to involve meat and wool and wrapping -- perhaps a method of cooking the pork and retaining flavor?

We felt very pleased with ourselves when we finished (and grateful to Gothamist and the blogging world in general, the source of many good food experiences lately).

Posted by csageday at 06:46 PM | Comments (4)

Cars in the City

D will probably be thrilled about this plan to charge drivers for driving in Manhattan. He has been talking about a car-free city for years. And as much as I get a rush from driving in New York (I like the no-rules, anything-goes, agressive driving, but don't worry Mom, I participate in SAFE ways, really), there are too many cars in the city. There's just no room. And the air quality is bad enough. If we could improve the bus system and get rid of some cars, we'd have a plan worth considering. Oh, and let's introduce Smart Cars! Please? I love those things. Mom and I came across one in the SAFE: Design Takes On Risk exhibit at MoMA and it was adorable. In Rome, we found whole blocks of Smart Cars parked vertically (as in, not bumper-to-bumper, but side to side since they're short enough to do that).

One more thing while we're on the subject of cars in the city -- there's a new car service that uses hybrids only: OZOcar. Seems a little high-end for us, but maybe there will be a lower-end spin-off. We've seen a few VW car services around -- so there's definitely interested in our neighborhood in non-Lincoln Town Car options.

Posted by csageday at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2005

Meet the Arepa

On my way home from an Oktoberfest outing with coworkers at Zum Schneider tonight, I passed the Caracas Arepa Bar. It looked packed, I was a little hungry, and I was intrigued by the description of the Venezuela "arepa": It's a dense corn tortilla that sounded like it had more flavor than your average Mexican corn tortilla, and can be stuffed with a variety of fillings: cheese, black beans, plantains, etc. I read a bunch of favorable reviews posted in the window, eyed the scene, walked away, thought about the arepas, decided to live dangerously (I had already eaten), and came back. I went in and ordered one called "La del Gato" to go. It came with avocado, plantains, and a kind of cheese I've since forgotten the name of. It's round -- about the size of a hamburger bun. It was excellent after-drinking comfort food. There's something about it that makes you crave another one. I can't wait to try the cheddar version and the one with black beans. It's somewhat of a staple in Venezuela, and I can see why -- it's basic, filling, and can be made a thousand different ways. It's a nice variation on a sandwich, and it's also fresh and warm.

Posted by csageday at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

Butter Sage Sauce, The NYC Marathon

One of the trademark flavors of Al Di La is the butter sage sauce. Tonight, I followed Lidia's simple recipe and wound up with nearly the same dish we've had in the restaurant. You melt half a stick of butter with 8 sage leaves until it's just melted and bubbling, then you add cooked ravioli with 1/4 cup of the ravioli water, and cook that down until it's creamy. Finish it with salt, pepper, and asiago and it's perfect. We had that with a side of Italian salami, bread, feta (mainly because I went a little nuts buying things at the newly expanded D'Vine Taste today), and white wine. Try it. You'll thank me.

In other news, we fit two movies, Marathon spectatorship, Prospect Park picnicking, minor bar hopping, and grilling on the roof (in November!) into the weekend. The movies were good: we watched a "special" edition of "Star Wars: Episode I" -- the one that was edited to cut out the annoying Jar Jar hijinks -- and "Supersize Me" (great concept). Wish I had the energy to go into some sort of detail about everything, but I'll stick to the Marathon. It's always incredibly uplifting to watch thousands of people in various states of agony running down Fourth Avenue. We were right next to some live music, which cheers up all the runners, and lots of them are clearly emotionally affected by the cheering crowds. It's such a leap of faith to enter the marathon, and such a courageous thing to actually run one, no matter what kind of shape you're in. And the sheer volume of people running in it -- in all sorts of costumes, of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and from all over the world -- is so encouraging. All of these people have made a bet with themselves that they can maintain a positive enough attitude to run 26.2 miles without having a complete physical and mental breakdown. It takes a good deal of optimism to do that, so when I see so many sweaty, confident runners go by I always feel emotional. Given my running talent, I probably won't ever run a full marathon, but just watching it gave me a little mini runner's high.

Posted by csageday at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2005

If there were a 50s-style bake-off going on somewhere I'd probably have an entry...

I should rename this blog Blue Domestic Goddess Sage. I'm currently wearing a dish towel on my head (can't find an elastic), pumpkin bread is baking in the oven, and I am finishing a (somewhat eclectic) baby blanket. I'm also a cranky mess, so Domestic Goddess isn't really appropriate, but there's definitely some sort of 50s homemaking madness going on. Work is stressful and I somehow haven't managed to fit graduate school into my schedule, so I seem to have given myself over to cooking and knitting and working-on-the-apartment. Maureen Dowd says this is the trend of 20-somethings. I disagree with some of her points, but the subtle backtracking of feminism has troubled me. I wonder if I've somehow been influenced by the trend as I've seen it cropping up elsewhere. There has been a half-ironic return of gentlemanly seniority and 50s fashions in pop culture. Dowd's article mentions the vintage-styles aprons for sale at Anthropologie. I've actually been thinking about sewing a retro one with some vintage pink fabric and old lace. The slow food trend and Martha Stewart are encouraging tedious, detail-oriented domestic tasks that require hours of free time and no career other than homemaking. To some extent, playing hostess is appealing to me and I want to be a good cook, but I don't want to have anything to do with a trend that suggests in the general popular consciousness that women are better suited to managing households than managing companies. There's a delicate balance to be maintained here, and I hope the generation to which Dowd refers comes to their senses in this respect. Since D and I share household task pretty much 50-50 (with D picking up more than his fair share when I have bouts of addiction with blogs and blogging) and have similar jobs, we're not exactly working toward the 50s model, but Dowd seemed to suggest an opposite trend. I wonder what the long-term implications are ... a more casual feminism that is palatable to a larger crowd? Perpetuation of the same old stereotypes that keep women from succeeding in the workplace? Younger women seem to be both more liberated (they feel entitled to respect and equality) and less so at the same time (they're less likely to stand up to mild sexism). How exactly are the 50s clothing and cooking trends related to this, if they are at all?

Posted by csageday at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)