Skilling Up: Cooking From Scratch

9 thoughts on “Skilling Up: Cooking From Scratch”

  1. Johnny,
    Long time reader of James Howard K, & John Michael G, the late Richard Rusell NL, and my personal mentor, geologist Walter Youngquist, (wrote pretty much everything that Richard Heinberg has covered only 20 years earlier) & others.
    In that context I find your blog exceptionally inciteful, informative, and practical. Yes we (USA) are in rapid decline but what ya going to do about it? You answer calmly with
    every installment.
    James Skudlarick

    1. You know… I expect the future to be a mixed bag. If you live in some places you really can inhabit the techno glorious futurama world we were promised in 1950s pulp fiction. If you live in other places it’s the zombie apocalypse with endless cycles of poverty, famine, and war. Syria and Dubai. Vancouver and Caracas. And as events unfold over the next century the tables could easily turn in unexpected ways. My plan is to stay alert and be prepared. You never know.

  2. Our parish also has a meal after Liturgy with silverware and coffee mugs the most prominent clean-up items afterwards. I usually try to help with getting things cleaned up and in the dishwasher (everyone is expected to help). The meal itself, a potluck, is always a good social time with others.

    I’ve rarely had anyone over to my house, outside of family, for a meal. It’s kind of odd to me but I think it’s an aspect of our society now; we have lost communion with one another and it shows in many ways. I know some folks are far more communal in that regard and I very much admire that. Of course, one issue for me is that I am a meat and potatoes eater. I don’t like vegetables and I’m lukewarm concerning most fruits.

  3. Your story resonates with me because, when I was a little girl, I always enjoyed being in the church kitchen after a special event and helping (not very much!) the women clean up. I marveled at how they worked like a well-oiled machine, getting everything in order and chattering away all the while. This was in the 1960s when real dishes and silverwear were the standard at church suppers. I could hardly wait until I was one of the capable women of the church who did all this important work behind the scenes to make such events enjoyable for everyone.

    Fast-forward 30 years, and I was sharing this story with my mother. She laughed because the women I had so admired had thought the kitchen work was drudgery left to the women because the work was deemed unimportant. While the men got to sit around and chat afterwards and the kids were playing, the women were in there cleaning up.

    Now, of course, disposables have replaced most of the dishes in my church, but we still use real silverwear, which we rinse but then clean in the church dishwasher. I do enjoy the camaraderie and the community among the women (and a few men, too!) just as I hoped I would as a child. Many hands make light the work.

  4. mouth-watering! I love dolmades. Doing this sort of stuff with others is important. Learning with and from others—yes.

    On the other hand, your getting ready for sounds hollow like UK civil preparations for nuclear war but transformed into a version of the tale of Squirrel Nutkin.

    The most important prepping is the social one so making dolmades with neighbours is more important, imho, than the dolmades themselves.

    If the fragile system you often reference disintegrates, recovery depends on organisational capacities not dolmades in jars.

    Meantime, maintaining a flow of argumentation against the unnecessary & corrupted rigidities and malinvestment supported by current arrangements is far, far more important.

    As Richard Sennett said in a recent lecture
    …in my experience in planning, those developers in London as in NYC who complain most loudly about zoning restrictions are all too adept in using these rules at the expense of communities…

    …may I say here that the cunning of neo-liberalism in general … is to speak the language of freedom whilst manipulating closed bureaucratic systems for private gain by an elite: you talk about openness but it’s a smokescreen for an elite manipulating and indeed rigidifying certain rules…
    (Richard Sennett, CRASSH, Cambridge University, 2013)

    1. Everyone has a favorite evil-doer to blame for our current difficulties. There are plenty of shadowy figures that make for great cartoon villains. But I suspect it’s more of an all-of-the-above situation where each of us are culpable for our own small slice of the bitter pie. It’s been a long slow slippery slope for decades. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. Yes, there are people in positions of power and authority who have their thumbs on the scales and hands in the cookie jar. But sooner or later failure fixes itself. Institutions don’t self correct. They can’t really be reformed from the outside either. Instead they fail and are replaced by new institutions. What does that look like? Well… The First World War and the Second World War reset things in a big way. Not much fun though…

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