Thursday, April 16, 2009

One-Pot Wife

Having just sent off the final (we hope) revisions of my article, "Novel Conceptualizations of the Modern Housewife in Colonial North India," to South Asian Review, I find myself with a little free time on my hands. What else can I do but build the sort of one-pot meal that magically multiplies into dinners for several people for several days in a row? Apparently there's a long tradition of one-pot cooking in the domiciles of the unmarried. But one-pot cooking has also begun to take off in the artsy-fartsy foodie world. Here in Seattle we are lucky (*raising dubious eyebrow at self*) to have the naughty Michael Hebberoy to inspire us to gastronomical flights of fancy with his One Pot collaborations. I've met Michael, though he won't remember me, and I dutifully report that he is indeed nearly as charming as the newspapers make him out to be. I ate with him at Bumpershoot 2008 and came away aspiring to one-pottiness.

SO. Here's a little vegan one-pot number that I like to call "STEW OF IMPERIAL CONQUEST in one pot."*

*n.b. the recipe is a loosey goosey adaptation of Claire Criscuolo's "New England Boiled Dinner." I find my one-pot stew title more exotic and thus more appetizing.

Saute 1 small head of savoy cabbage, chopped, in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While you wait for the cabbage to cook down, chop the following into bite-size pieces: 3 peeled carrots, 3 peeled parsnips, 3 rutabagas, 6 small red-skinned potatoes, 1 large yam, 3 celery stalks. If this sounds like a lot of vegetable intimacy (i.e. knife labor), this might not be the recipe for you. I love cleaning and chopping vegetables. It's Zen meditation with a steel blade.

Add carrots, parsnips, celery and 2 quarts of water to pot. Add 1 whole cup of chopped parsley, too.

Put lid on pot, raise the heat, and bring it to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer on medium-low.

After a while, add 1/2 teaspoon each of dried sage and dried thyme. Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the yam, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon fennel seeds. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue cooking, covered, until potatoes are soft.

Add 1/2 cup frozen corn, 1 package of veggie hot dogs (chopped), 1/2 package of veggie bacon (sliced thin), and 2 pounds of sauerkraut. Don't skimp on the kraut--find the good stuff in the deli section of your local grocery. Ah, here's an interesting factoid about sauerkraut: it's the perfect food for long voyages of imperial exploration and conquest because it keeps without refrigeration, and, as a good source of Vitamin C, it prevents scurvy. HENCE THE NAME OF THE STEW.

Cook a few more minutes until everything is heated through.

Serve with rye bread toasts and beer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Apron Mania: a German disease?

I just found out I'm not the first person to use the title "I am my own wife." According to her autobiography, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf shares my mania for aprons. There's even been a Pulitzer Prize-winning play written about her. The Tony Award-winning play was performed in New York in 2004 and in Seattle in 2008.

If it seems like I am link happy right now it's because I googled my own blog and came up with all these goodies. Golly I wish I wasn't supposed to be writing a conference paper on the Deceased Wife's Sister Marriage Act. I'd much rather be ironing my aprons right now!