Thursday, March 22, 2012

Looking for Comfort Recipes and a Return to the Past

Tuesday was Primary Day in Illinois and this year, people were trying to shape the future by returning to the past. I am referring to two issues: contraception and school desegregation.

First contraception: What are they thinking? That women are having sex by themselves? Why aren’t men being held partly responsible? In other posts, I’ve decried a nostalgia for the ‘50’s. The thinking here goes far past that to 1916 when Margaret Sanger organized the first birth control clinic.

In 1960, the birth control pill was first approved by the FDA making it possible for many people to decide how many children they would have and when they would have them. At this point, women (but why not say couples? Is there a political plan in talking about women’s contraceptives) were, able to actually plan their lives. Now many powers that be want to take that empowerment away. In 36 states, laws are being discussed that would curtail couples’ rights to use contraceptives. Republicans, who talk of limiting the role of government in controlling our lives, are often spearheading this return to the bad old days when contraceptives were illegal and back alley abortions were one of the few family planning alternatives available.

Now school desegregation: In the Skokie-Evanston School District #65, we voted on a school funding referendum to build a new elementary school in a low-income mostly minority neighborhood. Since we did not live in the district when our children were school age, we aren’t as familiar with all the history behind this, but for the past 40 years, busing has been used in this district to achieve racial balance in the schools. The referendum was for building a neighborhood school that would have essentially resegregated the children in this neighborhood. It felt wrong to vote against a referendum for school funding but it felt even more wrong to vote for school resegregation. It didn’t work before 1954 and I see no reason why it would be successful now. With a sad heart, I had to vote NO. Hopefully, a better plan will be devised for next year to educate all the district’s children in a way that will promote maximum academic achievement and good citizenship in our multi-ethnic world.

There are many aspects of modern life that are frightening and perhaps that’s why many long for a return to a simplistic past – which I believe is for the most part over-idealized. Maybe you have some thoughts about it readers. I’d love to hear them.

At any rate, yesterday was an upsetting Election Day. At times like these, many reach for comfort foods. This is a family recipe for meatloaf. It’s simple food both to eat and to cook and feels really good. Prep time is 10 minutes. Serves four.


1 ½ pounds ground beef
¼ pound bread crumbs
catsup, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley to taste
¼ pound mushrooms sliced
½ package of onion soup mix

Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
Mix the ground beef with the breadcrumbs, catsup, and seasoning in a big mixing bowl.
Put in a baking pan and shape into a loaf. Put mushrooms and onion soup mix on top of the meatloaf. Add water to bottom of the pan. Cook for about 45 minutes.


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