Thursday, September 23, 2010

Honoring An Old Recipe For Social Change In America

            While helping my mother to ready her apartment for sale, I saw a glint of a relic. “No!” I moaned. “Not that!”

Underneath the rubble of a half used bottle of vinegar, a quarter of a bottle of cooking oil, and various partially used spices on their way to 1-800-GOT JUNK were the vestiges of an old friend. Courageously, I dived into the rubble to rescue The Peace de Resistance, a cook book published by The Women’s Strike for Peace in the late 1960’s. Its cover was torn off and missing. Its pages were crinkled and stained, but it was still salvageable.
Feeling like I had just saved a long lost friend from an earthquake, I sat down to read it. It evoked nostalgia for a time lost when those of us who felt strongly mobilized for a greater good – to end the war in Vietnam. The recipes were ones we don’t often use now, but I relish the sentiment.

The introduction to the book recalls a time when women were just beginning to have an impact on the greater world:
            “…  We tried every which way to bring peace to our land. We protested; we marched; we wrote letters; we leafleted; we vigiled; we counseled on the Draft. We tried everything but inviting the President to dinner and cooking a meal out of the first Peace de Resistance cookbook…We’re impatient with the hash that has been made of things. We’re determined, by every means possible… stir things up, to stew about what matters, to go on serving Peace."

            The recipes, basic well-balanced meals, reveal an understanding that the women of that era had of an often forgotten truth: You can’t do it all, at least not all at once. There isn’t time to change the world and cook a gourmet meal every night as well. Most of the recipes have a really short preparation time.

           In the spirit of Peace de Resistance, I will try a different recipe from the book each week. If any of you have recipes to contribute, feel free to send them in. The one requirement is that the preparation time can be no more than 15 minutes. In the year ahead – It’s now 5771 on the Jewish calendar, I challenge myself and all of you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time making the world a better place. After all, hash is still being made of lots of things.
In that spirit, I tried a recipe that isn’t in the book but should be. It’s my mother’s June Rosenberg’s recipe for quiche. At age 88, she wrote and circulated petitions in her retirement home to get the health care bill passed. Thanks, Mom.
Quiche – preparation time 15 minutes tops
One ready made frozen pie crust
One heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise
½ cup of milk
Tablespoon of flour
2 eggs
4 ounces of combined Swiss cheese and cheddar cheese diced
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
1 6 oz. Can of tuna or cut veggies or slice of ham or whatever you feel like adding

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
      2) Beat the eggs
3) Dice the cheese – or cheat and buy it already shredded
4)  Mix all the ingredients (except for the piecrust and the tuna or whatever) in a mixing bowling
5)  Put the added ingredients that you choose on the bottom of the pie crust
6)  Pour in the rest of the ingredients into the pie crust
7)  Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes up clean.

 Preparation time 12 minutes. I put in broccoli and mushrooms this time. It was delicious.