Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are We Still Running On Empty? Again? And Another Recipe

When Running On Empty was released in 1988, I avoided going to see it. It was too soon after the Vietnam War so I was afraid viewing it would be pouring salt on barely scabbed wounds. After seeing it yesterday, I realized that it was still too soon. The story focuses on the Pope family living with the consequences of actions the parents had taken in 1971 and the resulting family dynamics between the parents and their teenage and preteen sons. Almost 25 years later, it is possible to focus on this family living underground on the run rather than on the larger political situation of the 1960’s and ‘70’s.

Nevertheless, Running On Empty directed by Sidney Lumet made enough reference to the War in Vietnam to bring all the memories of the war returning in a torrent. I felt the fury all over again that I felt as we protested again and again and again with no tangible results. I reflected on that as I compared this period to our current public reaction to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya which have provoked a mere ripple of questioning. Where is the outrage? Am I still running on empty that I’m not feeling it?

The War in Afghanistan has been going on for 10 years and now, after Osama Bin Laden has been killed, the question of US troops remaining there is being debated. Yes, I feel terrible for the women who live there, but there are countries all over the world that are Hell on Earth for women to live in. We aren’t sending American troops to all of them and indeed, we can’t. There are countless countries with oppressive governments that we choose not to invade for practical and political reasons. Have we not learned the lesson of Vietnam – that we can’t be the world’s policemen imposing democracy, however noble an ideal it is, on people who don’t want it?

When running on empty, people often turn inward. A good distraction when we feel we're unable to change the world is to cook a healthy meal. And so I did. This is my recipe for turkey meatballs. It serves 4 and preparation time is about 20 minutes.

                                                     Lisa’s Turkey Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey meat
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ red pepper and ¼ green pepper diced
garlic powder, parsley to taste
3 tablespoons of olive oil
½ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon capers
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon minced garlic

Mix the turkey meat and the next 4 ingredients. Shape into one inch balls. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan. Sear the turkey meatballs on all sides for about two minutes. Remove from pan. Remove any remaining oil from the pan.

Replace the meatballs in the pan. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes.
      It’s good served on couscous with grilled asparagus on the side.



    Lisa (Ravenswood) said...

    I totally agree with your comment but simply could not express my feelings as eloquently in such a straight-forward manner. It's time for the US to get out of Afghanistan. It's breaks my heart to read the "Names of the Dead" in the NY Times. And, to think what this has done to our economy. I fail to understand why we are shoring up a corrupt regime with a leader who strikes me as being quite crazy and possibly drugged. I've read countless stories of brutality and oppression of women all over the world, especially in the book "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and his wife Cheryl Wu Dunn. The US is totally ignoring the continued horrific violence against women in much of Africa as well as other parts of the world. I voted for Obama, the first candidate I actually really wanted to vote for in my entire adult life. From his announcement to election night I volunteered tirelessly on his campaign in a number of ways...voter protection, working on the issues hotline, phone banking. I'm just disgusted with our government & the Obama administration - Afghanistan, our involvement in Libya, the do nothing attitude about jobs at the Departments of Labor and Commerce (What do they do anyway?) and the ineptitude of the Departments of Housing and Treasury in dealing with the corrupt mortgageindustry and foreclosure issues. US involvement in Mideast peace - Forget it - It's not going to happen. I love your blog.

    Lisa (Ravenswood) via

    Lisa Sachs said...

    Thank you Lisa for your comments. It always feels good to be agreed with although it has the feel of preaching to the choir. I hope that someone who disagrees with me would place an intelligent rebuttal so we could dialogue. This does not seem to happen, however. Maybe someday it will.