Family Recipes

My family’s family recipes tend toward the white trash side of the palate. Our potato salad leads the list (secret ingredients: mustard, onion flakes, and–depending on who’s making it–Miracle Whip). Then there’s our ice tea (secret ingredient: frozen lemonade mix). There’s our "recipe" for Thanksgiving turkey–which is no more complex than slapping a pound of bacon on top of the turkey and then picking the bacon off and eating it at about 4PM, just when you begin to get really hungry on Thanksgiving. And finally War Cake, which no one has made since Anastasia passed away. I guess mom’s refrigerator rolls have become a family recipe, too–gooey white rolls that seem perfectly designed as a vehicle for leftover turkey gravy (of course, the gravy always has a slight bacon flavor).

Then there are the recipes I’m famous for: peach, apple, or rhubarb pie, sourdough pancakes (though mr. emptywheel is now in charge of the pancakes), bread pudding. They may or may not be white trash recipes, but they’re damned good (if I do say so myself).

As I think about it, there are a whole slew of things my family might consider family recipes.

But none of them qualify mr. emptywheel to be President. Not least because one of the perks of being President is a full time White House cook–it’s not like I’d be baking my rhubarb pie for the Pope when he came didn’t come to dinner.

Which is why I’m fascinated by recipe-gate–the news that someone in the McCain campaign had borrowed a bunch of recipes from the Food Network and posted them as "McCain Family Recipes." Yeah, I think it telling that the McCain campaign has been circulating a bunch of recipes and pretending they’re Cindy McCain’s–yeah, that’s dishonest. Gotcha!

I’m more fascinated by the larger practice of collecting a bunch of recipes and submitting them as if they somehow make the potential first lady authentic and, by association, the presidential candidate as well. The McCain campaign is now claiming that an intern is to blame, some guy who surfed the web and then submitted these recipes to the campaign site as well as to the NY Sun. The campaign is apparently hard at work finding different recipes to post on the site, and has announced that Cindy "likes to cook beef stew."

By the end of the day, Mr. Bounds said that the McCain campaign was busy revising the recipe section of the Web site, and that Mrs. McCain liked to cook lemon chicken and beef stew.

The campaign apparently has no embarrassment about their efforts to construct this image of Cindy as a housewife in the first place.

The whole thing makes me kind of sad–sad that if they campaign felt it necessary, Cindy didn’t have a beef stew recipe ready at hand (secret ingredient, whatever vegetables are in the fridge). Sad about the possibility that Cindy is being made out to be this great housewife when that’s not who she is at all (are people as rich as Cindy is ever really housewives?) Sad that, after prior flaps over Hillary’s cookie recipes, and in the same year that Hillary is now a strong candidate for President, we’re still inventing these domestic fictions for the wives of presidential candidates.

Has anyone asked Bill if he’s got a good cookie recipe?

Yeah, I think it relevant that the Straight Talk Express campaign got caught plagiarizing Cindy McCain’s image as a domestic goddess.

But for me, it’s an opportunity for the whole presidential myth-making industry to take a step back and consider the stupidity of the myths they’re spinning. There are much more important issues to cover than whether Cindy can make passion fruit mousse or whether Obama can bowl. The fact that we’re getting the mousse and the bowling, still, is the real story.

142 replies
  1. azportsider says:

    Morning, EW. I’m holding out for the candidate who can make decent pozole. That’s peon food–hardly something you’d expect Cindy McSame to make.

  2. Rayne says:

    And Hillary knocking back a beer-anna-shot.
    And John Kerry suddenly going goose hunting.

    Or even in office after 7+ years, George Bush suddenly running out to the airport to meet the Pope.

    Anything truly genuine gets the snot knocked out of it, like Howard Dean’s so-called scream, because really authentic humanity scares the crap out of the machine.

    But fakery? They can sell fake, they can manipulate and control fake, and they can brand and sell fake.

  3. MarieRoget says:

    Someone pointed out, I think it was over @ HuffPo, that people who lie about trivial, easily debunked things turn out to be people who are habitual liars. Makes sense to me.

    Perhaps all to be gotten out of this incident is one more smallish chalk mark on the “Dishonest” side of McCain’s tallyboard.

  4. GeorgeSimian says:

    It’s disgusting that the McCains want to portray Cindy as a housewife, especially when it’s not true. It’s part of the Hillary bashing. Remember when Hillary first came on the scene with her health care assignment, part of the slur campaign was interviewing waitresses in Montana who said that Hillary should know her place. This is the same deal.

    When I first saw this, and not knowing anything about Cindy McCain, I thought she must be old, so maybe she missed the ERA 70’s. But she’s actually about seven years YOUNGER than Hillary! She should know better. And obviously, she should have a little more to say about what they put about her on her website.

    • SparklestheIguana says:

      When I first saw this, and not knowing anything about Cindy McCain, I thought she must be old, so maybe she missed the ERA 70’s. But she’s actually about seven years YOUNGER than Hillary!

      She’s just caught in a time warp. Rodeo queen, married at 25 or 26 (late for rodeo queens!). If anyone’s interested, there was a Chicago Trib article by Jill Zuckman about her yesterday. It didn’t cover family recipes.

  5. radiofreewill says:

    McSame’s 3-course Recipe for Cindy:

    Step 1 – “Do as I say, not as I do.”
    Step 2 – “What I say goes.”
    Step 3 – “No back-talk.”

    Wouldn’t it be Liberating if Cindy had a “Just Desserts” Recipe like this:

    Step 1 – Call Caterer
    Step 2 – Order Cream Throwing Pie
    Step 3 – Accent with personal touch – green sprinkled ‘V’

  6. klynn says:

    You know, they could have at least added the ingredient of beer and or ice to every recipe just to add that “family-ized” touch to them and make them relevant, original to Cindy and her family.

    But no, a straight cut and paste from the Food Network? Even if they do blame it on an intern here’s my take…The quality of the people you surround yourself with at the lowest levels are simply a smaller reflection of those at the top. Birds of a feather…IOW’s no “oops” just caught in the act…

    Act II should follow soon…

    • GeorgeSimian says:

      It’s kind of like the torture memo and blaming it on the little guys. Sure the intern screwed up by cutting and pasting the recipe, but he was just following orders to make Cindy look like a housewife. Those orders came from the top.

    • Rayne says:

      Or cream of mushroom soup.

      Or sour cream.

      Or grated cheese.

      Or Jello.

      Or Cool-Whip.

      Those are the family touches I expect to see in a real family recipe book. I’m no slouch at cooking, but even my cookbook has a couple of these. Like Cranberry-marshmallow fluff salad that my sister and I fought over for years at Thanksgiving. Might get served up with Chuck Williams’ (of Williams-Sonoma) Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing alongside a turkey seasoned with sea salt, fresh garlic and herbes de provence, but still…it’s all about those biting bits of chopped cranberry swimming between chunks of crisp apple and mounds of Cool-Whip and piles of Jet-Puffed marshmallows.

      Why are they trying so damned hard to sell us fakery? Are there no real people anymore who will run for office,= — or whom they will let assume office — and they just don’t want us to catch on to this truth?

  7. 4jkb4ia says:

    I have a recipe for beef stew, but it is Claudia Rodin’s. (It was very good) A subtext to this kind of thing is that you have family traditions where recipes are passed down. My Mom did not know how to cook when she got married so all our family traditions are borrowed.

  8. 4jkb4ia says:

    Claudia Rodin is responsible for most of our best “family traditions” including the chicken with dates.

  9. ekunin says:

    There’s a delusional aspect of presidential elections. We so want to believe the person who makes important decision on our behalf is somehow superior, we ignore substance. To get a job at Walmart there may be a physical examination and a personality test, but there’s nothing comparable when it comes to running for president. Congress should mandate a list of things candidates must disclose like tax returns, medical records, investments, perhaps a personality profile, and anythng else deemed relevant. We don’t do this because we want to see presidents as larger than life, not more or less like us. Cindy McCain’s recepies are a kind of noblesse oblige, an attempt at an equality we know (hope) does not exist. The press, reporting these things, feeds our fantasies, not the candidates.

  10. Phoenix Woman says:

    It’s all about desperately pretending that they have something in common with the people they’re screwing, so they can keep cadging votes from the people they’re screwing. Period.

  11. GregB says:

    Pickles Bush has a great plastic turkey recipe that is great for those Iraq photo ops too.


    • skdadl says:

      Doesn’t Prince Bandar take over the cooking for the Bush family when he visits? (For what I suspect are pretty good reasons.)

  12. scribe says:

    Lifting recipes from the Food Network and passing them off as Trollop Cindy’s own is not just silly, lazy and fraudulent on more levels than I can count this early.


    It’s also called “Copyright infringement”.

    And, as to radiofreewill at 7 and George at 8, if it was Viagra, the “V” would be in blue sprinkles, not green.

  13. Quzi says:

    Crazy McCain’s Good-Housekeeping Recipe for the Nation

    2 freshly ground Democrats
    4 tons of shredded Constitution with Amendments diced nicely
    2 cups of Congress divided
    3 Lobbyists campaign managers thawed
    1/2 cup of slimy Gonzo justice beans
    1 wealthy Stepford Wife First Lady with skeletons neatly tucked in closet deep pan
    1 large electorate beaten to blend

    Stir all ingredients in an extra large pot. Bring to a rolling boil. Now simmer for a hundred years in Iraq. Let stand for another year, and gather oil parsley garnish to complete platter. Can be frozen up to eight Bush years.

    Good morning all.

    • MarieRoget says:

      Forget all that foreign-sounding grub, Cindy, I’ve got a recipe passed down from my Gran for “Fresh Shot Stew” that’ll make your family recipe list really seem “down home”:

      Whatever the last hunting trip brought back in the way of meat
      Pile of potatoes & carrots
      One large onion
      Salt, pepper, Tabasco
      Simmer until the meat is less tough than when it was dropped on the kitchen table.
      (Yes, I grew up in the backwoods, why ever do you ask?)

  14. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    EW wrote:

    The fact that we’re getting the mousse and the bowling, still, is the real story.

    The press is serving up Political Cheez Whiz.
    That’s not going to fuel any meaningful political activity, but as Rayne points out it serves the needs of the ‘media handlers’. Too bad about the rest of us.

  15. GeorgeSimian says:

    McCain stole his recipe for the Economy from Bush, so I guess it’s a family tradition.

  16. Drumman says:

    EW Mr EW pancakes are to die for they are so awsome can’t wait for another chance to enjoy them

  17. cobernicus says:

    My wife’s “famous cheesecake recipe” came from McCall’s via a neighbor of ours in Philadelphia (home of the three packages of cream cheese in the recipe.) She calls it “hers” because she has been using it since 1974, but if someone asks for it, she gives McCall’s the credit.

    She does not grab recipes off the internet and foist them off as her own without ever making them first, as I suspect Mrs. McCain (or her webmistress)did.

    The crime is in the intent, rather than the details.

  18. MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel says:

    Absolutely, cobernicus, the crime is in the intent.

    Anyone else remember when a woman writing to the Reagan White House to complain about a cut in funding for children’s programs was sent the Reagans’ “favorite” recipe? It was a crabmeat and artichoke casserole that cost $20 to make in mid-’80s dollars. (It would cost twice as much now.)

    Big flap. Reagans’ “favorite” recipe was hurriedly changed to macaroni and cheese. Riiiiiight.

  19. DefendOurConstitution says:

    McCain’s Favorite Recipe:

    – 100 years of war
    – 1 reinstituted Draft
    – 1000’s more US soldiers killed
    – Tens of thousands more Iraqis killed
    – 1 dollar that’s too weak to buy anything
    – 1,000,000 flip flops
    – 1 wink at the torture issue
    – 4 more years of Bush/Cheney
    – 1 Liberman in his pocket
    – 1 destroyed Bill of Rights

    It’s a recipe I call “Disaster a la McDraft”

  20. chrisc says:

    My family’s least favorite recipes were served by candlelight. That way they couldn’t see which leftovers were in the burritos. For some reason, my adult children still do not like candlelight. But they are not bitter….as far as I know.

    • MarieRoget says:

      No kidding, lilysmom. Cindy McCain actually looks a lot like my ex sister-in-law, who once informed me while I was prepping for a family dinner, “I’d help you peel that stuff, Marie, but I just had my nails done.”

      Cindy McCain may occasionally scold the cook(s) or request certain dishes be made, but my guess is that’s about it for her input, kitchen-wise.

      Got to go in to work now. Read you all later.

  21. SparklestheIguana says:

    See, this is why no one in my family could ever be President. We’d have to explain my mother’s “Oriental Casserole” (ground beef, peas, chopped onion, crumbled potato chips).

    • maryo2 says:

      We use crumbled uncooked Ramen noodles instead of potato chips, and chicken instead of beef. It’s good. Really. The kids like it.

      • SparklestheIguana says:

        Oh, so the crumbled Ramen is what makes it “Oriental.” In our family recipe, there wasn’t really anything “Oriental” about it but we called it that anyway. Maybe at some point it had those crispy canned Lo Mein things on top instead of potato chips. We really should change the name to Occidental Casserole.

  22. Neil says:

    Yeah, I think it relevant that the Straight Talk Express campaign got caught plagiarizing Cindy McCain’s image as a domestic goddess.

    But for me, it’s an opportunity for the whole presidential myth-making industry to take a step back and consider the stupidity of the myths they’re spinning. There are much more important issues to cover than whether Cindy can make passion fruit mousse or whether Obama can bowl. The fact that we’re getting the mousse and the bowling, still, is the real story.

    Three cheers for Emptywheel for challenging the presidential myth-making industry… and yet, for some strange reason I wish that she and Obama could bowl better.

    I’m cooking a 50th birthday party dinner for my brother-in-law Sunday. If I were running for higher office, I’d have to conceal it or be revealed as a girly man to Americans who have not gotten passed their inherited thinking about gender roles. I would become a cowardly flip-flopping girly man who didn’t earn his service medals. The presidential myth-making industry cuts two ways.

  23. Loo Hoo. says:

    I’d like to see Cindy in a completely stocked kitchen make anything at all. I’d like to watch her dice the onion, peel the potato, or brown the meat. I’ll bet she would not know where to begin.

    Did anyone see McCain prepare his BBQ sauce?

  24. SparklestheIguana says:

    Cindy should’ve just gotten recipes from the first Mrs. McCain. I bet she knew her way around a crockpot.

  25. cynic says:

    I’m more fascinated by the practice of collecting a bunch of Adolph Hitlers ideas, stirring them together with George Orewell, (used as a text book) and calling it a Presidential Policy. The founders were wise to it to. McCaine has the Bush play book. And he’s itching to put it to use. If I were a wingnut, I’d be tracing back records to see if I could prove that he was never a prisoner in Vietnam (not that I don’t think he was) but it’s an idea.

  26. puravida says:

    Does this mean that Meghan’s “Blogette Playlists” are not her own and she’s really cribbing them from TBogg?

  27. beth meacham says:

    I doubt if Meadow Soprano ever cooked anything in her life. I think her “favorite recipes” means that those are the dishes she often asks her cook to make. It might well be that her cook uses the Food Network as a resource for Meadow’s favorite dishes.

  28. Rayne says:

    bmaz, bmaz…where are you? You must have something to say about the Mrs. and her cooking skills.

    Ah, it’s only coming up on 10:30 am MDT.

    • bmaz says:

      Yawn. Stretch. Ah, top of the morning to you. I don’t have any real knowledge on these aspects of Cindy. From what I do know, her childhood may not be quite as pretentious as everybody thinks. I didn’t know the Hensleys at the time, but I did know the North Central area where they lived (and continued to up until very recently when John and Cindy put the family house up for sale) and it is not a neighborhood of the Beverly Hills or Hampton’s variety. It is, and was, very well to do, but not like that. My further honest guess is that Cindy probably hasn’t done a bunch of the family cooking as a wife, but she is certainly not the pretentious gadabout dilettante some here are making her out to be. I really very seriously doubt she had anything whatsoever to do with this recipe flap; won’t say impossible, but very unlikely. Hate to say this, but i really doubt McCain did either; just not the kind of thing he would pay attention to. I doubt he has even visited his own website, much less been involved in it’s content. This is a campaign crew gaffe, it is stupid yes, but irrelevant to the campaign for the presidency. I wish Democrats would dispense with this crap by saying “yeah, that was dumb, but what is important is McCain’s disastrous policies on X,Y and Z…”.

      • TexBetsy says:

        I wish Democrats would dispense with this crap by saying “yeah, that was dumb, but what is important is McCain’s disastrous policies on X,Y and Z…”.

        A bit of passion fruit mousse fun will relieve the stress of the campaign enough to let us get back to the policies and the issues.

  29. Ishmael says:

    I think this campaign has already reached it’s “jumping the shark” moment, and it’s only April. But I think at least Hillary and Obama do cringe internally when their advisers convince them to do this crap – W actually seems to believe that cutting brush makes him a cowboy. Seeing Hillary reminisce about hunting was about as authentic as Lee Atwater convincing Bush 41 to pretend how much he loved pork rinds and country music. Same with Obama’s poor bowling – all he got for his trouble was mockery for his lack of prowess from former Olympians like Chris Matthews, who then commented on how it’s no surprise that Obama was good at basketball!! (Which he is, a member of a state championship team, but in a “black” sport so it doesn’t count.) I’m surprised he didn’t throw in a line about Hillary being on the field hockey team.

    If bowling ability were the criteria for a successful presidency, Richard Nixon would hand’s down be the most successful president ever.

  30. Quzi says:

    Robert Greenwald has a great new video he just posted on the NSA’s secret torture meetings. A must see and there’s a petition to sign also.

    I’m having problems with hyperlinks today, but the URL is

  31. marksb says:

    My mom used to make this killer “meal” with cheap hot dogs, sliced down the middle and stuffed with cheap yellow cheese, all wrapped up with cheap fatty bacon, a toothpick on either end, then thrown into the broiler until the bacon was just crispy. While directly contributing to youthful artery damage, those puppies were heaven. Hm. Wonder if I should run for office with that background…

    • masaccio says:

      I remember that one. Today most of my favorite recipes come from California Bistro, by Tony Dilembo, available at Amazon. I was sold on the book by the recipe for seafood ravioli with calimari butter sauce, which I have made several times. Whenever I post a recipe on Pull Up a Chair thread for example, I credit the book, usually with a link.

    • Neil says:

      about that Ruth Marcus live Q&A at WaPo:

      I certainly can think of con law professors I’d rather have my child take a class from, but on the other hand, law schools are generally such hotbeds of uniform liberal thinking that it is good to have professors who are challenging students from the opposite end of the political spectrum… maybe I would want her to hear from Yoo.

  32. maryo2 says:

    What is Cindy McCain’s pet policy issue? What is she bringing to the table, er uh I mean, what does she hope to contribute as First Lady?

    • bmaz says:

      She actually does have an honest interest, and legitimate background, in special needs education. Cindy Hensley is not the devil; she is simply married to him.

    • SparklestheIguana says:

      What is Cindy McCain’s pet policy issue? What is she bringing to the table, er uh I mean, what does she hope to contribute as First Lady?

      Landmines. And if she becomes First Trollope, sounds like she wants to make Darfur one of her issues.…..6410.story

  33. maryo2 says:

    Being a drug addict does not make someone a bad person either. I feel sorry for her a little. It does not seem like she has gotten his support as much as he has gotten her support.

    She may not have even known about the recipe page, but now she is the brunt of more jokes; and that trollop book is coming out soon, too.

  34. radiofreewill says:

    OT Beware of Gooper Magical Equivalency Logic!

    My concerns over the Tenure issue have more to do with the impact on the Gooper Mindset than the Altruistic Benefits of Academic Freedom.

    A Loyal Gooper is someone who can spout the High Moral Line, and yet is not able, in practice, to personally tell Right from Wrong.

    If a Loyal Gooper sees Yoo, sitting smugly untouchable behind his wall of Tenure, after Writing the Torture-enabling Legal Opinions – ‘getting away with it’ – Then the Loyal Goopers will think Bush should be entitled to ‘get away’ with his Torture, too.

    Right? Yoo can’t have a ‘greater’ power than Bush – that’s not allowed in BushWorld. Bush must have the ‘greatest’ Powers!

    So, the Loyal Goopers are likely to see Yoo’s Academic Freedom as Bush’s Free Pass on Torture.

    I’m not saying, I’m just saying…

    • PetePierce says:

      Yoo is one of many people in this administration that have had a direct part in condoning torture and policies just as egregious who now enjoy plush academic jobs at law schools and other academic institutions. There is a long list.

      One of the most destructive incompetent and arrogant women in the world, Condi Rice is rushing back to Stanford, where she can help teach students in California what best works to get the most people killed.

      Doug Kmetz and Ken Starr enjoy tenure and they did a great deal to contribute to destructive policies in this country.

      • Ishmael says:

        Good point about Ken Starr – his office systematically leaked grand jury information while he was Special Prosecutor, although a special master did ultimately conclude that it was not criminal. He is now ensconced as Dean at Pepperdine.

      • PetePierce says:

        Sorry–that should have been spelled Doug Kmieck Caruso (not David, Haratio Caine at CSI Miami) Family Chair and Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University’s School of Law,the ultraconservative former head of OLC following in the tradition of former OLC heads, Renquist (the most destructive S. Ct. justice in US history) and Scalia fast on his heels.

  35. PetePierce says:

    The pandering to recipes, bowling, Crown-Royal boilermakers, simply saying you know how to shoot a gun that your daddy taught you how to shoot when you told your family early on you hated going to the lake in Pennsylvania because it bored you to tears and pandering to gun and religion–btw what the hell is “faith” or religion doing on any candidate’s lips–so much for separation of church and state–is a reflection of the stupidity and poor criteria of the American voting public.

    If Cindy McCain cared about what recipes went onto her husband’s site, it seems that she would have supplied them instead of letting some campaign gofer google recipes and plaugeruize them onto her site.

    Glad to know millionaire Reupblican heirreses purportedly appreciate Democrat Rachel Ray’s recipees though since those were among the ones the McBush campaign represented as Cindy’s.

    So if I like the recipies that some campaign flunky googled and called Cindy McBush’s then I’ll vote for her husband if I’m dumb enough?

    I wonder what kind of pie you eat when you’re watching closed Dover coffins coming into Dover bringing blown up body parts?

  36. bmaz says:

    As it appeared would be the case yesterday, the court has indeed declared a second hung up mistrial for the Liberty City Seven boys that couldn’t afford tennis shoes, cell phones and a map in their “plot” to blow up the Sears Tower (they didn’t even know where it was).

    • PetePierce says:

      It amuses me that the actual trial record of Bush DOJ and Judge’s Chertoff’s rendition of Homeland (whatever the hell a homeland is) security’s terrorism trials has a lower percentage of successgul convictions than any major league pitcher’s batting average.

      The Republican mantra that there hasn’t been a terrorism incident since 911 (they mean on US soil) refers to a situation that has little to do with any security efforts of the Bush administration.

    • SparklestheIguana says:

      And with inflation, esp. the rising costs of cheap Chinese imports, the ability of would-be terrorists to afford sneakers and maps will become even more precarious. See, Bush’s plan to wreck the economy has a silver lining.

    • skdadl says:

      There’s a similar case slowly unravelling here: Toronto Star. The original 18 charged are now down to 11 (after almost two years), and it looks as though charges are just going to keep dropping off. There was something going on, but pretty obviously, whatever it was hardly justified the massive arrest operation that was choreographed so melodramatically in June 2006. All but maybe two of the suspects appear to have been totally clueless.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, I have been seeing bits and pieces of that and have been meaning to ask you and/or Ishmael if it was as bad as it looks. Apparently it is.

        • skdadl says:

          I don’t mean to discount the possibility that totally clueless young people could be roped into a genuine terror plot — see the muscle guys on 9/11, eg, or several incidents in Britain, one of which really did involve a Canadian techie.

          But given the numbers of serious suspects so far, the official response seems so wildly disproportionate. And it’s hard not to feel that somebody has some interest in keeping masses of us scared, not to mention inconvenienced, surveilled, etc.

      • Petrocelli says:

        I remember when this happened … my muslim friends said this was going nowhere; that the accused were less dangerous than the restaurants on Gerrard St. *g*

        • skdadl says:

          Oh, everyone was involved — RCMP, CSIS, the OPP, all the local police (several ex-urbs), the PM, the premier, even the mayor, who is supposed to be a semi-social democrat (well, he used to be), helicopters, SWAT teams, lights camera action. And the media lapped it all up for days, published reams of stuff off teenagers’ websites, many photos of veiled women coming to court to see their men. It was appalling.

          • Petrocelli says:

            That was the time when I thought Canada took an uncomfortable step towards the right, although our Courts and Supreme Court has restored my faith … the wingnuts up here must have been unhappy when ‘Steve’ Harper apologised to Arar.

            • skdadl says:

              Heh. Steve himself had to be squirming when he made that apology. Back in 2003, when he was in opposition and Chretien was working to get Arar out of Syria, Harper was denouncing Chretien in the Commons for that effort, for being soft on terrism, etc.

              • Ishmael says:

                “Steve” couldn’t have been very happy to see the RCMP raiding Conservative Party HQ at the request of Elections Canada – although I certainly was!!

                • Petrocelli says:

                  Me too … I hope there is enough of a scandal to toss these Neocons out of office, Dion & Co seem incapable of doing so …

                  • Ishmael says:

                    My dream scenario is that Schreiber gave money to the Conservative Party or its predecessors in the PCs or Canadian Alliance as well as Mulroney personally, and that this will come out in any inquiry into the Schreiber payments – and that this is the reason that the Conservative Party hasn’t thrown Muldoon under the bus yet and wants to keep the inquiry limited and private – because Brian knows as well as Steve that the party is as exposed as much as Brian – a boy can dream!

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      I’m sure Mulroney was not the only benefactor … and since Harper was tutored by The Chin (on how to grovel to Bush, no doubt) I do hope the Liberals and NDP have their own people inside the hearings …

                    • skdadl says:

                      I promise that this is my last bit of drift because I’m toddling off for the night, but just in case Ishmael and Petrocelli missed a maybe even better story from yesterday: Barry Cooper, one of Steve’s mentors and member of the so-called Calgary School, has run into a spot of bother with the auditors as well. Slush funds, trust funds, funding attack ads at election time … gosh. Who’d a thunk it?

              • klynn says:

                I was reading about this in the Toronto Star yesterday and thought about linking to the story… I knew our friends up north would not fail to bring us “US” neighbors up to date on the raid. I said, “Wow!” when I read the headline…

                And in terms of your question at 137… by law the position of First Lady is considered a part of the EO and is protected with Executive Privilege as such in the court’s eyes. I posted about this a while back when discussing the legal backing Cheney was using for his “Fourth Branch.”


                • skdadl says:

                  Great article, klynn. Thank you very much. So the court’s ruling didn’t come from custom or any sentimental context, which is what I was expecting. Fascinating. I wonder about the future, though.

                  PMs are not heads of state, so their wives are not First Ladies. (We have had one woman PM, briefly, but she was single at the time — divorced, actually.) The queen is head of state, and then there’s her rep in Canada, the governor general, also at the moment a woman (as was her predecessor), and in public, they walk first. So few of the PMs’ wives have tried the first-lady number; Mila Mulroney did, and Margaret Trudeau was more interesting than usual, but most have remained pretty private, including, also interestingly, Laureen Harper, who really seems to have a life of her own, and good for her.

  37. SparklestheIguana says:

    Oh dear God, vandals attacking the Wiki Popemobile entry! People, some respect for the Papamobil!

  38. CLSCA says:

    Perhaps the McCain campaign is trying to extricate Cindy from the T & C image John has bestowed on her.

    EW, this is definitely not meant as a criticism, but rather to explore the meaning of the phrase “white trash”. That phrase has always made me vaguely uneasy, with its associations to places that most of us probably have been but would like to forget. To me it has always carried an implicit racism, but I know it doesn’t to many other people. Why must trash be qualified as white? The implication to me is that black, brown, red, yellow, green, whatever color people are all trash and then, alas, there are some whites who are also trash. At least that’s the formulation I recall from the part of my youth that I spent in the bad old, before civil rights, days in the South.

    I’d prefer to think of myself as unequal opportunity trailer trash.

  39. Redshift says:

    Thanks for taking this up, EW. I saw the recipe flap as an opportunity to point out how elitist the McCains are; Ms. Redshift’s reaction was annoyance about how sexist the whole thing is.

    It’s kind of sad for Republican women, really. Part of the wingnut hysteria about the Clintons was that Hillary wasn’t a good quiet fashion-plate wifey like First Ladies are supposed to be, and Dean got grief because his doctor wife wouldn’t abandon her patients to go on the campaign trail with him. Michelle Obama will be another helping of smart professional woman instead of accessory.

    But because of who they pander to, wives of Republican candidates are required to pretend they’re Ozzie and Harriet, even when they obviously aren’t. And that’s pretty sad.

  40. jdmckay says:

    St. McCain’s gluttonous “Surge Purge” recipe needs a Surgeon General’s warning:

    May lead to uncontrollable nervous twitch accompanied by
    robotic hand gestures resulting from conscious suppression of healthy immune system response to clear & present moral hazards.

  41. maryo2 says:

    war cake = eggless spice cake…..-War-Cake-(Ww2)-recipe.html

    How fitting that many of what we think of as our traditional family recipes came from war rationing. And note how GW has not asked the general public to sacrifice anything for the current war effort.

    Ramen noodles:
    Mr Ando said the inspiration for his product came when he saw people lining up to buy bowls of hot ramen noodle soup at a black market stall during the food shortages after World War II.

    • Rayne says:

      Have a feeling that the original used molasses and not a combination of corn syrup/brown sugar, as molasses might have been more commonly and cheaply available, but it would also depend as to which war and which continent generated the recipe. I know I’ve seen “war cake” recipes that go back further than the Civil War.

      Might be similar to a ginger bread without ginger.

    • emptywheel says:

      It did come out of the war. But one of the reasons it was a family recipe for us was that my great aunt–who was unmarried her entire life (After being dumped by an Irish guy when she was 18) used to make it for people who lived away from home. My dad was in the seminary for 5 years, and it was one of the few kinds of food he could get from the outside, so he ended up loving it.

      It’s not bad–when you put a dollop of sour cream on it.

      • Rayne says:

        Was it dark and moist — cakey? or was it more like a dense bread?

        Depending on the war and the shortage at hand, there are war cake recipes that use molasses and/or raisins instead of sugar, and yeast or baking soda instead of eggs for binding/leavening.

        • emptywheel says:

          That’s the one. Molasses and raisins, and no egg, I think. It wasn’t just the ration-available ingredients, but also that the damn thing would remain edible for a month.

          • Rayne says:

            This is probably close — it’s eggless, milkless, butterless, and no white sugar, all of which would have been in short supply during past wars. I’m iffy about the corn syrup; would they have used a little more raisins and corn syrup? Perhaps, depending on where the cake baker lived. Might even have had citron in it for holidays, or a bit of ginger instead of the nutmeg. Probably would have used lard instead of the shortening, too.

            The raisins and molasses would be natural preservatives, explains the longevity of the cake. Personally, I’d serve this warm with a dollop of whipped cream and some whiskey hard sauce, heavy on the whiskey.

            War Cake

            1 cup molasses
            1 cup corn syrup (light or dark can be used)
            1-1/2 cup boiling water
            2 cups raisins
            2 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
            1 teaspoon salt
            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1 /2 teaspoon ground cloves
            1 /2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
            3 cups flour
            1 teaspoon baking soda
            2 teaspoons baking powder

            In large pot, combine molasses, corn syrup, water, raisins, shortening, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

            Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Combine with molasses mixture and beat well.

            Divide batter between two well-greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake 45 minutes or until done. Cakes will be dense and will not rise much.

            Recipe makes two loaf cakes.

              • Rayne says:

                You’d have to increase the recipe by 1/2 if you were going to try to make (2) 8×8 square cakes instead of the (2) 9×5 loaves.

                Odd. I collect cookbooks, dug into what would have been the most likely one for a “war cake”, the Settlement Cookbook c. 1965, containing recipes going back to the first edition in 1901. No “war cake”, no cakes with molasses, nearly all have eggs. Guess we must have been living it up in 1965.

          • pdaly says:

            The Household Cyclopedia printed in 1881 for American homesteaders has a reciped for “Black cake that will keep for a year”

            One pound of sugar, the same of butter and flour, 10 eggs; heat them well together, and when light add 2 wineglasses of brandy, nutmeg, mace, and cloves, 2 pounds of raisins, and the same quantity of currants. It will take some hours to bake. A good deal of spice is necessary.

            There is also a recipe for Election cake, Federal cake, and mock turtle soup for those who cannot find turtles for the real turtle soup.

            The Household Cyclopedia is not just a cookbook, it covers nearly all the practical and domestic arts in a single book (incidentally with PA in the news these days for their pending and relevent democratic primary, its editors were from Pennsylvania). The preface boldly states “this single volume would be found to embody the results of the useful experience, observations, and discoveries of mankind during the past ages of the world.”

            I’ve skimmed enough to know that this quote from the Cyclopedia’s chapter on Inks is my favorite. I’ve quoted it before on The Next Hurrah:

            To Restore Decayed Writings.

            1. Cover the letters with solution of ferrocyanide of potassium, with the addition of a diluted mineral acid; upon the application of which, the letters change very speedily to a deep blue color, of great beauty and intensity.blockquote>

            Where is that Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution? I think they need a little bath of ferrocyanide and mineral acid.

  42. skdadl says:

    war cake: that would be a yellowcake, wouldn’t it? For that I think you need generous amounts of ledeen on hand, maybe a little feith.

    • Elliott says:

      war cake: that would be a yellowcake, wouldn’t it? For that I think you need generous amounts of ledeen on hand, maybe a little feith.

      sprinkled liberally with niger pepper

  43. maryo2 says:

    Old family recipe, meet old family joke.

    Three moles working their way through a tunnel.

    First one says, “I smell honey.”
    Second one say, “I smell syrup.”
    Third one say, “All I smell is mole asses.”

  44. bobschacht says:

    Well, as long as we’re on family recipes, I remember this one:

    Skin a few large potatoes. Use an apple corer to cut two transverse tunnels through the width of the potato.

    Bake the potato until half done or so (this is the crucial info that I’m missing).

    Insert two pork sausages, one through each tunnel. The potatoes should be of a size that the ends of the sausages protrude only a little from each side of the potato.

    Now smother in a relatively clear mushroom gravy, resembling mushroom soup, and bake until potato and sausages are done.

    Voila! Now you have “Pigs in the White House.”

    Bob in HI

    • bobschacht says:

      Nuts. Nobody noticed my recipe for “Pigs in the White House“. It is a real– and perhaps unique– family recipe, although I suspect that my Iowa grandparents had Democrats rather than Republicans in their crosshairs. Besides, it tastes real good. Almost as good as EW’s bacon-encrusted turkey!

      Bob in HI

      • CLSCA says:

        I noticed it, but was just too brain dead to comment. We’ll try it one day soon. Thanks!

        Ah, the bad old days. My grandfather was that way too (fixated on the evil Demos).

  45. maryo2 says:

    When thinking about the guys locked in Guantanamo, I feel so badly for them that they have not tasted their favorite foods in years. Can you imagine how they lay on their shelves thinking about Mom’s xxxx? For years. Because they were young and believed in something and wanted to make a difference.

  46. SparklestheIguana says:

    Hey, Bush found a way to mention 9/11 in greeting the Pope.

    Pope: “Base your decisions on moral principles.”
    Bush: “9/11.”

    • bobschacht says:

      Hey, Bush found a way to mention 9/11 in greeting the Pope.

      Pope: “Base your decisions on moral principles.”
      Bush: “9/11.”

      Yeah, doesn’t that old pope know that everything has changed since 9/11?
      ( /snark)

      I guess Bushie thinks that not only is the U.S. Constitution just a piece of paper, but so is the Bible. What the Commander in Chief wants over-rules whatever is in the Bible, right?

      I think grandiosity has run amok in the White House.

      Bob in HI

  47. SparklestheIguana says:

    Cokie Roberts (riding in the Bush limo to greet the Pope): “The president said he shares many of the same beliefs as the pope. The thing he likes about the pope is that he speaks with moral clarity about certain truths and that he does not believe in moral relativism.”

  48. Sara says:

    If anyone wants wartime recipes, I probably have them. I inherited the complete family collection, including all of Eleanor’s suggestions published in her McCalls column, and all of the hand out’s from the Dept of Agriculture and the Home Economists with the County Agent system.

    Then, when putzing around an Austrian Second Hand place, I found a Nazi cookbook from about 1943, rather beat up, but still of interest. Interesting suggestions for using dried mountain wild flowers, greens and berries to make soup and the like. I’ve also collected cookbooks in Danish and German written by those who homesteaded circa 1880-90 in Minnesota and N. Dakota, designed to teach new emigrants how to make things similar to dishes familiar from the home country out of frontier American food products.

    I don’t personally cook this way, but sometimes you find a gem of an idea in this kind of literature that you can incorporate in contemporary cooking.

    • MadDog says:

      Might be a good idea to get those goodies “published” on the Net as PDFs or something.

      People forget how much “history” gets lost. With the apparent infinity of the Net, our “history” has a chance of surviving time’s ravages.

  49. Mary says:

    81 – And note how GW has not asked the general public to sacrifice anything for the current war effort.

    Other than their economy, good paying jobs, jobs period, a working immigration system, healthcare, social security, educations, infrastructure repair and maintenance, self respect, world respect, basic decency, rule of law and the Constituion.

    But almost no one has to miss an episode of Dancing with the Stars.

    Until, that is, the dreaded HD tv conversion happens (during a Dem President’s term)

    • Ishmael says:

      Yes, sorry for the OT Canadian bacon, but as skdadl points out, the Conservatives have stalled in the polls as well – if we could just get the 65% of Canadians who wont vote for Harper to vote efficiently I will be very happy indeed!

  50. bmaz says:

    Man, the Stanley Cup starts and you Canucks are everywhere! I previously believed in American exceptionalism when it came to fucked-upism, but now you are catching up in even that. You could leave us the pride of still being the most screwed up at least……

  51. Rayne says:

    p.s. most definitely sift the baking soda and baking powder. Nothing like getting a chunk in the middle of the cake, and it will help with the nominal amount of leavening they provide such a dense batter.

    Good luck!

  52. PJEvans says:

    I’ve got my mother’s 1943 ‘Good Housekeeping’ cookbook, with all the wartime recipes and substitutions. (Those come in handy sometimes.) A lot of the later family favorites came from that magazine in the 50s.

  53. PJEvans says:

    The recipe I have has brown sugar, and the soda is dissolved in water before going into the hot sugar-shortening-raisin-spice mixture. Cake pan: yep.

  54. MarieRoget says:

    What a great thread- it just keeps rolling on chock full of interesting comments. I’m bookmarking it for the recipes, including Pigs in the White House, Bob in HI.

    Any of you w/Irish roots may have had this old fav from my Dad’s side of the family- used to be a great way to use up the catch of the day & that extra rhubarb from the patch behind the shed. Disclaimer- I haven’t cooked this in so long, had to look up an approx. recipe & found one @

    Mackerel with Rhubarb (Irish)

    2 pounds mackerel filets
    2 ounces margarine, or butter
    1 large onion, chopped
    1/2 pound rhubarb, chopped
    salt and black pepper, to taste
    bread crumbs, toasted
    Rhubarb Sauce
    1 pound rhubarb
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 lemon rind, grated
    2 tablespoons water


    Melt the margarine (or butter) and cook the onion in it until
    Add the chopped rhubarb, season with pepper and salt and
    continue to cook gently for 5 minutes.
    Then add bread crumbs and stir the mixture.
    Now lay the mackerel filets out flat, skin side down, and spread
    the stuffing on them.
    Roll each up, put them in a greased oven dish and cook them
    in a moderate oven (400F) for 15-20 minutes.
    While the fish are being cooked, make the rhubarb sauce by
    placing all the ingredients listed in a saucepan and stewing
    them until the rhubarb is cooked and quite soft.
    This will take 10 minutes or a little longer.
    Then put the cooked rhubarb through a fine sieve or the
    blender, to make a puree of it.
    This can be served either hot or cold with the cooked

    • Rayne says:

      Oh man, I wish I could get past the mackerel to try that, Marie. Love nearly all kinds of fish — except mackerel.

      Wonder what other fish I could try with that? Probably a stout saltwater breed, not a freshwater.

      • MarieRoget says:

        Actually, it worked really well w/any fish I’ve ever tried that holds up under filleting & baking.. Back in the dim past I’ve made the rhubarb sauce alone to go w/fried trout. Think I’ll give it a go this wknd. I like mackerel, not as a steady diet, but occasionally.

    • emptywheel says:

      Ooh. THat looks great (and I was just explaining to my aunt yesterday why I was more Irish than my Irish husband). Now I know what I’m going to do with the frozen rhubarb in the freezer between now and when I make my first fresh rhubarb pie…

  55. bobschacht says:

    OK, now that I’m home, I can get at the official family recipe my Mother wrote for Pigs in the White House (Origin of name not known.) She wrote:

    When Cream of Mushroom Soup came into being one of the “winners” Grandma Munger discovered was the following meat-stretcher everyone liked:

    Pigs in the White House

    3 pork-link sausages per serving
    1 small potato (just large enough to put an apple-corer through to make a hole for a sausage), or
    1 medium-large potato, just large enough to put two apple core holes side by side for 2 sausages) –
    (1-2 potatoes per serving)

    Set aside the “cores” for use below.

    Parboil the pork sausages, piercing them to let out steam, fat, etc., for just a minute, reserving the liquid, and insert into the holes in the potatoes.

    Lay into a casserole or electric roaster so pork sausages don’t fall out.

    Cover with 1 can mushroom soup mixed with a cup or two of the liquid reserved from parboiling. Add potato “cores”.

    Bake at medium-350 for 1 hour.

    Bob in HI

    • kspena says:

      delightful—both times. I particularly like the imagry of the pigs squeezed inside the white potatos; it’s not torture, in my humble opinion, since they’re lying down and not in a forced standing position.

    • bobschacht says:

      MarieRoget & kspena,

      My Mother’s recipe does not state that one should peel the potatoes first, but she always did so. After all, how else do you make the “house” white?

      Happy eating,
      Bob in HI

  56. MarieRoget says:

    Thank you, Bob! Meat stretcher recipes were always favored in my family, too (my brothers & I once figured out that during our growing up yrs. we had our family of seven, plus off & on 23 different relatives living on our farm in Maine.

    Pigs in the White House- wouldn’t it be a kick to know where that name came from…

  57. JTMinIA says:

    I don’t know if my favorite recipe would help me or hurt me if I ran for public office in the US. It’s called “Hindu Nightmare.” It’s lamb saag made with beef.

  58. skdadl says:

    Rhubarb sauce on white fish — I have to try that. What a good idea.

    Back to one of the other topics of the thread: Is First Lady an official position of some kind? It can’t be in the constitution. Is this just a question of custom, or was the position somehow instituted?

    It’s true that political leaders’ spouses everywhere get paraded on certain occasions, but some First Ladies seem more official than others. This has to be a custom whose time is coming to an end. Clinton cracked the mould in some ways, but more by sharing her husband’s job than by distancing herself from it. It would be interesting to see a president’s wife some day just say, “Sorry — I’m too busy today.”

  59. JohnLopresti says:

    There was a food-centric interview on the radio while Tuesday of this week April 15, the same day as a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The program on the radio was a background interview with a person who was part of a group of fieldworkers which had brought suits for unfair wages and living conditions for legal fieldworkers in the South. The interview included a translator who was part of the political organization in which the monolingual worker interviewee evidently was a principal, and a patently bright one. The audio translation was intermittent, so the original narrative was audible in its entirety in the original language. I found a fair synopsis in one paragraph at the end of this Amy Goodman article. In sum, farm workers were housed in a van which the ranch manager locked at night, keeping the laborers inside. Fastfood entities are interested in the story because the laborers have enjoyed considerable success in court over the past few months in actions which would cost employers money for pay adjustments, a fiduciary prudential view on the part of the restauranteurs. And there are politicoes interested in the fray. Some of the early work in this matter also involved wholesale produce ag operations in the South; for example, see Southern Poverty Law Center’s interesting writeup of a 2002 case recently decided, concerning GA melon workers. The firstmentioned lockedup worker matter involves a hamburger wholesaler and is in FL.

    SF under current moderate leadership has authorized ordinances for restaurant workers guaranteeing health plans and mandating employer contributions, a proposed rule that has irked the professional organization of restauranteurs, who are prosecuting the matter in the region IX court in Pasadena; see Egelko’s article on the BushCo amicus status in the case, in an article published today.

    Also, I appreciate the findlaw link from klynn; I would characterize that Sentelle joined decision as less than a permanent, and would imagine EPIC to have ongoing interest in the similar Cheney energy taskforce consultations. Maybe we will see more sunshine in government laws in the next congress as counterpoint to the past few years of executive on steroids.

    There is one recipe in my archive that echoes the comments about molasses, above, better with a more purified ingredient, though probably suitable only for children, excess sugar, for people who allow children to have a lot of that.

    Re the ChicagoTimes link from reader, above, the article is hyperpolitical and jingoistic, but like bmaz’ skinny comment, reflects well on Ms. Hensley’s charitable pursuits. Ew is right, though, the media’s reportage on these minutiae, to me, suggests more of the retrenchment and downsizing in treepulpbased media and vapidity based videosoundbiteconsciousness.

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