Saturday, January 09, 2010

2741 Idiots United

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It is better to be wanted by the police than not wanted at all.


I am beginning to find out why so many Meetup organizers burn out after a while.

I'm getting emails that have me beating my head against the wall. I think it's them, not me. For example, the indy theater we go to has a tiny lobby. My event description for the next movie says:
How to find us
"I'll be in the lobby at 2:55 pm, taking our seats at 3:05 for the 3:15 showing. I am under 5' tall, with glasses and shoulder-length almost-white hair. I'll be next to the hot cider - follow your nose."
So, today I got an email from some woman asking where we meet, and at what time.

Duh? She has RSVP'd for the movie, so I know she saw the event description - it's the only way to RSVP.

Then there was the woman who got all pissed off because she was put on a wait list for the singles' dinner. I had limited the dinner to 12, because more than that at dinner is awkward. At the time she RSVP'd, there were 2 Yes, and 10 Maybe. Meetup considers a Maybe to be a potential Yes, so when the limit is reached, new hopefuls are put on a wait list, and Meetup explains to them at that time that as soon as a Maybe changes to a No, they'll be moved to a Yes, starting from the top of the wait list. That's clear, right?

Not to that woman. She fired off a nasty email to me demanding that I explain why I had limited the reservations to 2 (that's TWO), "... I'm sure [name of restaurant] can handle more than TWO people!" She was not nice about it.

What the hell did she think I was doing?

And more. Between the two groups, I have a total of 45 members, and I'm getting emails like those every other day. I can't imagine what it's like for the organizers of groups with 200-300 members.

Meetup sends out reminders a day or two before an event, reminding you to change your Maybe to a Yes or No, so that the organizer has an accurate count, and so that people on the wait list can go if you can't. I've heard over and over from other organizers that most Maybes don't change their RSVP to Yes or No - they seem to think that Maybe means that they can wander in, or not, whatever they feel like - and the no-show rate even on Yes is about one in three or four.

My 50's singles group description says "Open to the 50-and-over crowd, and anyone else who admires mature minds." I got an email today from a new member who says she's actually 49, and asks if that's ok. She was very polite about it, at least. I told her it's more about interests than about years, so welcome to the group.

So far I've politely answered stupid questions. I am going to have to get tougher. I don't need people around me with empty heads and no consideration for others. Three no-shows, and I'll kick you out. One unchanged Maybe will get from me an explanation of what Meetup means. Another unchanged Maybe after that gets you kicked out. And if anyone else sends me questions to which the answer is in the writeup that they apparently didn't read, I'll just send them the link to the writeup and suggest they read it. If that irks them, fine. I don't need them as much as they might need me.

Please, spare me the idiots. Let them start their own group.

Friday, January 08, 2010

2739 Can you spell "overreaction"?

Friday, January 8, 2010

To know and not to do
is not to know.
-- Wang Yang Ming --


I found two stories from Wednesday's newspaper amusing.

The Bakersfield airport in California was closed Tuesday when a passenger's suitcase showed traces of TNT during a routine exterior swabbing, and when TSA officials opened the bag, they found five Gatorade bottles filled with an amber fluid. The contents of a bottle were tested, and the resulting fumes nauseated the two TSA agents, sending them to a hospital for treatment.

The contents of the bottles was honey, and nothing but honey.

Can you spell "hysteria"?

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, a bomb sniffer dog indicated a problem with a suitcase, and parts of the airport were shut down for over an hour while a bomb squad investigated.

The amusing part is that the bag didn't belong to a passenger. Baggage handlers use an old, empty, beat-up suitcase, called a "last bag", to indicate to other handlers that all luggage has been unloaded from a flight - hence, "the last bag". It's just a marker. There was nothing suspicious about it, and no explanation for the dog's reaction.

Can you say "lack of communication"?

In other news, Joan Rivers, of red carpet fame, was denied boarding on the last Continental flight out of Costa Rica last Sunday, because officials found her passport "fishy", because it had two names on it: "Joan Rosenberg AKA Joan Rivers". Rosenberg is her married name. Her daughter had flown out on an earlier flight, and Ms. Rivers was left with only $100, no credit cards or ATM card, and no place to stay. A friendly airport employee drove her 6.5 hours to another airport where she was able to catch a later flight.

Can we talk?

Journalist Michael Yon was handcuffed and arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to answer questions having nothing to do with security, like how much money he makes. The authorities say he was not "arrested", but, uh, sorry guys, the legal definition of arrested is that you cannot leave when you want to. Some people (including commenters on his post) seem to think that arrest requires charges, but nope. Arrest is when you lose your freedom. Period.**

Can you spell "storm trooper"?

At dinner last evening, we all pretty much agreed that all these stupid, intrusive, sometimes embarrassing security procedures do not make us any safer. They are not designed to catch or deter terrorists - they are designed to make the sheeple THINK they're doing some good. The sole purpose is to make us think somebody is trying.

Michael Totten and I agree that the Israeli methods are the best ( It involves some degree of profiling, very little searching, and a lot of interviewing. And you can keep your shoes on, and nobody will be looking inside your underwear. I have flown El Al, I was interviewed, and it was not nearly as uncomfortable as the American methods, and much more effective. There has never been any kind of terrorist attempt on an Israeli plane, and you've got to admit they've been the biggest target for five decades, at least.

But, as the health care fiasco has proven, Americans aren't interested in real efficiency or effectiveness. They want superficial appearance.

Can you spell "nation of assholes"?



"An arrest may occur (1) by the touching or putting hands on the arrestee; (2) by any act that indicates an intention to take the arrestee into custody and that subjects the arrestee to the actual control and will of the person making the arrest; or (3) by the consent of the person to be arrested. There is no arrest where there is no restraint, and the restraint must be under real or pretended legal authority. However, the detention of a person need not be accompanied by formal words of arrest or a station house booking to constitute an arrest.

The test used to determine whether an arrest took place in a particular case is objective, and it turns on whether a reasonable person under these circumstances would believe he or she was restrained or free to go."

I figure handcuffs equals arrest, unless they don't mind if I leave and wear the handcuffs home.


Update on the honey scare. There's a good article at The last paragraph, however, tickled me:
"Ramirez told investigators he didn’t know why his bag reacted positively to the swab. He is a gardener by trade, and one inspector speculated fertilizer chemicals might have some of the same components as explosives."
Uh, yeah. No shit, Sherlock. Isn't that what McVeigh used in Oklahoma? Aren't fertilizers full of nitrates/nitrites, and isn't that a major component of TNT? Isn't that what the "N" stands for? Duh?

2738 Movies

Friday, January 8, 2010

One of the saddest things to happen was the optioning of morality by religion.



Another blogger mentioned today having recently rewatched Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" (, and I realized I had never watched it all the way through. At the time it was first released, 1971, I had serious emotional reactions to even the fictional depiction of mindless or unpredictable violence (much like Alex's reactions during his conditioning), and I didn't make it past the first 20 minutes before I had to leave the theater.

I found it online at and watched it this morning. (That site, although Firefox says it's safe, allows you to watch only 60 minutes before it wants registration and who knows what else, but I discovered that if you reload, it restarts the timer, and it's easy to move the marker up to where you left off.)

I was mildly amused that the story was supposed to take place in the future (2001, I believe), but the bad-taste decor, clothing, hairstyles, and the females' air of deference were all rather clearly 1970. (Loved the father's houndschecked polyester wide-lapeled suit.) Of course, back then, that was real hot stuff, best ever, and obviously the direction of the future.

In other movie news, my Meetup group saw "The Road" ( Wednesday evening. One of the attendees (R.) was a fan of Cormac McCarthy, the author of the novel, had read the novel, and was able to explain some of the symbolism and meaning that otherwise might have escaped us. Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry on the movie skims over the meaning, too.

I did notice that even though the father keeps saying that they are "the good guys", he is descending into immorality himself, and that the son was of an age when he would not only learn from the actions of his father, but would strive to take those teachings to a greater level to impress the father - and yet the kid remains good and pulls the father back from depravity. I noticed that, but I didn't know why, and R. explained it.

I intend to read the book.

Last night I had dinner with the Southern Orange Mensa subgroup at a German restaurant. We had ten at the table. I don't usually care for German food, so I had the pork chops with applesauce, but the vegetables were served family style, and I was surprised at how good the potato salad, pickles, red cabbage, and creamed spinach were.

I don't know what's different about that particular bunch of people, but the conversation is always much better than the usual Mensa natter. Like, nobody is competing.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2737 My memories are older than I am.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A man's perception is his reality.



A cringing confession: I have fallen in love with the TV show "My name is Earl". It's a wonderful ensemble cast with tangled relationships and an interesting concept. Not to mention lifestyle.


I seem to recall that in the past, the temperature rose just before a snowstorm and stayed higher during and for a while after. Doesn't seem to do that any more. Now it drops and stays very low. What changed?


How old am I exactly?
  • I remember not having hair conditioner. When you washed your hair, it was tangled and took a lot of time to carefully and painfully comb the tangles out. The first "detangling rinse" was Tame (if you wanted "conditioning", you used eggs and/or olive oil, or ideally real mayonnaise), and I was in the 8th grade when I first used Tame.
  • Also, back then, it was customary to take a shower or bath and wash your hair twice a week if you had indoor plumbing, once a week otherwise. In between, you washed anywhere that needed it at the sink or basin.
  • I remember when antiperspirant was suspiciously newfangled.
  • I was in the ninth grade when the first credit cards came out. Before then, you used cash and checks, which also meant no telemarketing.
  • I remember almost all adults smoked, and there were ashtrays on buses, in waiting rooms, and next to hospital beds, removed only if oxygen was in use.
  • I remember when most of the kids I went to school with had outhouses. My father's sister had one, too, and they were solidly middle class. I was in my teens before my aunt installed a bathroom.
  • I owned and wore a felt poodle skirt.
  • I remember when young'uns didn't date unchaperoned until 11th grade. Before then, you might have a girlfriend or boyfriend, but you got together in groups. The b/g-friend was just the favorite in those groups.
  • I remember when most drugstores would not sell you contraceptives unless you were married.
  • I remember when if you bought a dozen of any baked goods, there were always at least 13 in the box.
  • I remember when women were expected to wear a hat and gloves for all social occasions before evening, and for shopping beyond the grocery store.
  • I remember when clothing purchases from a department store were always wrapped in tissue, and carried home in a box tied with a ribbon.
  • I remember when no one we knew had a television set.
  • I remember when kids were pushed out the door to play outside, and the entire neighborhood was safe because everyone watched out for and disciplined everyone else's kids, and if you screwed up, or got in trouble, there'd be a phone call to your mother before you got home.
  • I remember when kids were expected to break a few bones along the way, and nobody'd get sued.
  • I remember party lines, with coded rings, so your neighbors knew when you got a call, and snoopy neighbors would listen in on those calls, and it was impolite to talk very long, because while you were on the phone, no one else on your line could use the phone, unless they interrupted and yelled "Emergency! Get off the phone!" Of course, then you'd listen in to their call, to make sure it was an emergency, and yell at them if it wasn't.
  • I remember (and loved) electric trolleys.
  • I remember when the city bus was a perfectly acceptable way to get around town, even on dates.
  • I remember trains with white linens, silver utensils, crystal goblets, and live flowers on the tables in the dining car, and good food cooked to order in the kitchen car, served by polite and attentive waiters in white shirts and black vests. Grampa was an engineer, so Gramma had a free pass, and she and I used to take all-day trips just for the food, lunch on the way out and dinner on the way back.
  • I remember handkerchiefs, edged with handmade lace.
  • I remember when portable hair dryers were the size of an overnight case, and had a soft plastic hood for over the rollers on your head, connected by hose to the blower in the case. It could take a half hour or more to dry your hair. (I still had that hair dryer until the Highland house flooded in 1999, and until then it still worked.) The advantage of that style dryer was that it didn't fuzz up the hair on the rollers, and you could do your nails while your hair dried, and dry your nails at the exhaust.
  • I remember when men were not just allowed, but expected, to beat disobedient wives and children. It was almost a social duty to keep them in line. The term "domestic violence" didn't exist, even as a concept. "Spare the rod, spoil the child" was a warning then. (Now it seems to be a command, and has proven the warning true.)
  • I remember when unwed mothers secretly went to "homes" for their pregnancies, and the babies were put up for adoption, often to married family members.
  • I remember girdles. (They seem to be making a comeback.)
  • I remember stockings that required garters. Pantyhose didn't come along until the '70s.
  • I remember butcher shops, where you could get special cuts, and all kinds of things like beef hearts and pints of fresh blood.
  • I remember when young women were expected to cut their long hair short upon marriage. Long hair on a married woman was considered low class.
  • For all the prudishness, cocktail parties were all the rage, and the games played by our parents and their friends at those parties would make me blush now.
  • I remember when even in a city the size of St. Louis in the '70s, it was difficult to find a female OB/GYN.
  • I remember when long-distance phone calls were a BIG DEAL, pretty much reserved for Christmas and deaths. We communicated by hand-written letters.
  • I remember when there were no copiers. Copies were made by carbon paper on typewriters, or by stencils on mimeograph machines.
  • I remember 5-cent coffee, and 15-cent packs of cigarettes. When the first fast-food outlets opened, a hamburger was 15 cents, I think, and a hot dog was 5 cents. Of course, starting salary for a teacher then was around $4,000, a new car was well under $2,000, and a three-bedroom house was perhaps $15,000.
  • I remember using a cranked wringer on the washing machine to squeeze out the water.
  • I remember hanging clothes on the line, even in bitter winter, when the wet sheets would freeze as you were hanging them, and your fingers would turn white from the cold, then flame red when they warmed up. But it had to be done, because there were no home clothes dryers.
  • I remember having to iron sheets. And bras. And everything else made of cotton or linen.
  • Women did not wear slacks to school, the office, or socially beyond an intimate circle of friends. (Well, some did, but they were considered "loose".) I'd been out of college three years before it was acceptable for women to wear slacks in the office, and even then they had to be part of a matched suit with a hip-length jacket.
  • I remember the pre-Eisenhower highway-building days, when all roads were back roads, and trips took twice as long as now, even if you didn't get stuck behind a military convoy. But they weren't boring, because we had the Burma-Shave signs.
  • The odor of fresh cow manure was everywhere in the spring, and a man whose boots smelled of it was respected as a hard-working fellow.
  • Scranton had huge burning culm dumps (tailings from the coal mines) that burned day and night for decades. They were beautiful at night.
There are times when I feel much younger than my years, and times when I feel older. There are some items on the list I'd like to go back to, but I guess we'll never go back.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2736 Real Good Chair

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-- Ghandi --


This is Kim Komando's video of the day. A NYC furniture store wondered what kind of people will take home furniture they find abandoned on the curb. So they set out 25 chairs as bait, videoed people checking out the GPS-equipped chairs, and then tracked them to their lairs. It's pretty cool. (8 min 25 sec)

If I ever need a private detective, I'm hiring these guys!

Blu Dot Real Good Experiment from Real Good Chair on Vimeo.

P.S. So much for GPS not working in NYC....

2735 Ice Sculpture

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When the elephants dance, the mice get trampled.


The carrot cracks me up.

------------------------------'s offering this week is the 26th annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in the city of Harbin, in frigid northeastern China. The following video is a taste. The photos are at (You might want to skip very quickly past the photos of people swimming. Yikes!)


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2734 Sleeping with a little boy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Denis Johnson, "The Small Boy's Unit", Harper's, Oct. 2000, on the meaning of "everything is arranged" in Africa: "Everything is arranged doesn't mean you should expect to get anywhere or accomplish anything. In fact for sanity's sake these two ideas have to be banished. Everything is arranged means that all is complete, the great plan of the universe is unfolding before our eyes. So eat, drink, sleep. Everything is arranged."


I've been working today trying to get control of paper. I haven't made it to the recycle center in literally two months, and it's getting hard to move in the kitchen for bags of paper, plastic, and piles of cardboard. I've got to find a better way to store this stuff. It would be even better to find some way to keep all this paper from entering the house in the first place.


Miss Thunderfoot has been gone about six weeks, but her influence lingers. Jasper is still nervous in the den, Thunder's territory. On Sunday he explored the room past my chair a little bit, but he's still timid, and turned and ran when I moved the chair.

Also, when Miss Thunderfoot was alive, he wouldn't get on the bed at night until he was sure she was solidly asleep, about an hour after I went to bed, stayed diagonally opposite her, and would leave if she moved, and definitely was gone before morning. The past few days he's gotten on the bed when I settled in, but he still won't go near the upper right side, where Thunder slept.

I sleep on my stomach or side, and he will get on top of the back of my legs and knead, knead, knead, a long time, until I bend my knee enough that he has created a well between my legs. He'll curl up in there until I have to move my legs and he gets pushed out. The past few days I've found him tight against my knees when I wake.

He has also started purring. Never used to purr. And he "talks" to me more now. I've noticed before that when I had two or more animals, dog or cat, they'd relate to each other more than to me, even when they didn't get along, didn't socialize, like Jasper and Thunder. Then when I got down to one animal, I'd suddenly discover aspects of the remaining beastie's personality that they'd never shown me before.


Monday, January 04, 2010

2733 Recipe (sort of) 3 - Mug houses

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.
-- Javier Pascual Salcedo --


These ( are so cute. If you entertain a lot, check it out. And do follow her link to the update, where she has a better idea for getting the "snow" to stick to the roof, and tries them in sugar cookie dough rather than gingerbread.

[Snagged from Roba, at]

2732 Don't believe ANYTHING you hear. Ever.

Monday, January 4, 2009

Jean-Pierre Deriaud, on circumventing French laws: "It is forbidden, but possible."


I spent some time yesterday reading the forum posts of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas bomber (links at What was going on in his mind, like the reasons for his trip to Yemen, is so different from what we're hearing on the news about his reasons and experiences. I wonder what the truth is. People too often tell tales for their own reasons, to achieve their own ends, without regard to the truth. I don't know who to believe.

I have plenty of experience with that. Many times in my past I have been seen in places I'd never been, in the company of people I'd never met, and ascribed motives I never had. I've had people stand right in front of me and tell me they saw me do things I never did. But they KNOW I did it, because they SAW me.

How do you answer that? How do you deny it? What's even stranger is that I have always been rather unique in appearance, very short, with distinct facial and physical features, so it's not likely they mistook someone else for me.

It's one of the things that made me not very social. The less contact I had with people, the fewer stories there were about me.

One time that it happened, I at least got the full story much later.

I was 21, teaching in a small town in Pennsylvania, and married to Ex#1, who was in the Army, and stationed in Germany. It was the beginning of summer school break. There was a pool hall next to my apartment, and one evening my friend Ruby called and asked me to join her and her brother Joe and another guy for some billiards. So I did.

After a while, Ruby and the other guy decided to go next door to another bar. It was raining, and Joe wanted to go home to his wife Donna, so Ruby asked me if I would give Joe a ride to his home. I shrugged and said ok, I'd help her out with the new guy. I dropped Joe off at his front door, without incident.

(I think I'll give you my viewpoint first, and fill in what was going on behind the scenes later.)

About a week or two week later, Joe's wife Donna called me, and said she wanted to talk to me, and I should come to their apartment immediately. She sounded angry and wouldn't explain why, so I called Ruby. Ruby said not to go, that Donna was flat-out crazy. However, Donna happened to be my landlord's only child, so I figured it would be better to go. I called my other friend Jean, and she went with me.

Donna and Joe's apartment was what they call a railroad flat - the second story of a house, with a stairwell and hallway open to the stairwell, a kitchen across the back of the house, and then a series of rooms opening onto the stairwell hallway and also opening to each other.

The evening ended with Donna chasing me with a knife from room to hall to room in big circles, me trying to get to the stairs and her trying to trap me, and she, I, and Jean screaming our heads off, while Joe sat unhappily at the kitchen table drinking beer, and the town police, whom Jean had called, standing on the porch at the open front door with their arms crossed, watching us run in circles, and laughing at us.

Donna had accused me of messing around with her husband, of having been out with him here and there and wherever, and Joe sat there and confirmed it!, right in front of me, and when I denied it, said that the only time I'd been anywhere with him was that evening with Ruby, and that had been the first and last time I'd ever been in his presence, with his sister Ruby!, that's when Donna attacked me. Because she KNEW it was true that he and I had been messing around for months!

I finally made it down the stairs. The police said they couldn't go into the house because they had not been called by the resident. If they saw her stab me, then they could go in. Donna screamed down the stairs that if she ever saw me on the sidewalk when she was in her car, she'd run me down. I wanted the police to arrest her for threatening to, and trying to, kill me, but they wouldn't because they said it would just make her madder.

I was afraid to go home for several weeks, until the real story came out, because Donna, being my landlord's daughter, worked in his stationary store under my apartment. During that time, I slept on the floor in a friend's car lot office.

This was one of the few times that I found out what had happened.

Donna had seen me drop off her husband that evening a few weeks before. She was angry because he was late. He said nothing was going on. She didn't believe him, and started asking her friends what they knew.

Well, coincidence reared its ugly head.

Joe's ex-wife's first name happened to be the same as mine. Donna had made a bunch of calls to her female friends, several of whom told her that they had seen Joe cuddling with [my first name] here and there and everywhere over the past few months. I guess nobody clarified with last names. Now, Donna was crazy jealous of Joe's ex-wife, so confronted with the "evidence", Joe chickened out and went along with Donna's assumption that it was me he'd been with. I guess he figured that was a safer option for his own skin.

I don't know if he really was fooling around with the ex, or if it was just chance friendly and platonic encounters in public, but anyway, by the time of the knife chase the entire town KNEW that Joe and I were having an affair. Even the cops knew all about it, and that's why they were so amused. I was probably the only person who didn't know.

What really kills me is that even Ruby believed it! Sheesh. Joe was a rather stupid, thick, sloppy drunk hick with greasy hair. I was insulted that anyone who knew me would seriously think I'd be involved with him.


Stuff like that happened to me all the time. Stories like that about me. It seemed sometimes like everyone, even my best friends, were ready and willing to believe the worst about me. I never did figure out why.

And when Donna finally found out the truth, when Ruby told her she should apologize to me, Donna's response was that she hated me anyway, and she'd still kill me if she saw me. Why? I'd never said anything bad to or about her. I didn't understand at all. (Actually, I guess it should have been Joe who apologized and corrected the rumors.)

Of course, Donna didn't correct the stories she had spread about me, which just made it easier for the town to believe I was sleeping with one of my high school students (a kid not in my classes, and whom I didn't know) when that story started up (started by the kid himself).

I hate small town gossip as much as I hate winter. You can't fix either of them. All you can do is move away.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2731 Recipe 2 - Spinach and Tuna

Sunday, January 3, 2009

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
[I have no attribution for this, but the application is so broad that it must be Chinese.]


I like this one.

Ingredients: (for two people, increase as necessary.)
  • Two 5-oz cans of white tuna
  • One box of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • mounded tablespoon of brown or yellow prepared mustard
  • plain bread crumbs, potato chip crumbs, or grated hard cheese to sprinkle on top

  • Drain tuna, break up, and spread in bottom of a 1-qt casserole, or in individual ramekins.
  • Mix the mayo and mustard together.
  • Squeeze spinach dry, mix with the mayo, and spread over the tuna.
  • Sprinkle crumbs or cheese on top.
  • 350 oven until center is very hot.

Back when mayonnaise wasn't a bad word, I used to use a lot more of it in this recipe.

2730 Recipe 1, Using up dead veggies

Sunday, January 3, 2010

If you want to be seen, stand up.
If you want to be heard, speak up.
If you want to be appreciated, shut up.


Vegetables die in the refrigerator. This easy recipe uses up all that no-longer-presentable stuff languishing in the crisper. Use what you've got. Limp carrots, wilting iceberg lettuce, floppy celery, no-longer fresh spinach, spotted sweet peppers, it's all good. You'll want at least five different vegetables, preferably in different colors. (The first two should be carrots and onions.) Vegetables that work also include yams, cabbage, onions, jimaca, turnip, celery root, string beans, broccoli stems, etc. Even mescalin salad and a bit of olives works. A bit of apple is ok, too. About the only things that don't work are white potato, beans, and peas.

This was one of Jay's favorites. I invented it in the mid-'90s, and was surprised to recently find a similar dish at Casa Maya.

"Use It Up" Chicken

  • A least five vegetables, enough for a serving for each person (more of the mild, less of the strong-tasting). They'll cook down, so be generous.
  • Carrots and onion are a must, to sweeten the mix.
  • Boneless chicken breast or thigh, one serving for each person.
  • Thick slices of tomato, enough to cover the chicken pieces.
  • Cheese: mild cheddar, Jack, Swiss, any that you might use for a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic (preferably roasted)
  • Salt
  • An oven-proof dish for each serving.

  • Chop or shred the veggies (except the tomato), small, no larger than 1/2 inch. Smaller is better.
  • Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high, and saute the veggies and garlic (to taste), starting with the harder veggies and then adding the tenderer ones, until all are soft and slightly browned.
  • Salt the mixture to taste, then mound each serving on the plates.
  • In the same pan, add more oil if necessary, lower the heat, and saute the chicken pieces 'til done but still moist, pressing or cutting to keep them flat.
  • Put one serving of chicken on top of the veggie mound on each plate.
  • Cover the chicken with tomato slices.
  • Cover the tomato slices with sliced cheese.
  • Broil close to the element until the cheese melts and begins to brown.
  • Serve.

It'll taste different every time, depending on what vegetables and cheese you use. Experiment. You can also layer differently, with the chicken on the bottom, topped with veggies, tomatoes, then cheese. You can layer in some white sauce or mole or peanut sauce if you happen to have some lying around. Make extra servings and freeze if you have a lot of end-of-life vegetables, thaw and reheat in slow oven.