Barack Obama extends his press honeymoon for one more day with this fascinating New York Times story about the Hawaiian plate lunch, said to be one of those secret-longing favorites of the president-elect.

Which is? you ask. Get ready:

Drawing on the food ways of the Hawaiian Islands’ many Asian immigrant groups, and chowed down on regularly by everyone from surfers to businessmen to the future occupant of the White House, the plate lunch is simple in form but varied in its elements. Its foundation: two scoops of white rice and a side of macaroni salad, heavy on the mayonnaise.

This carbo load — usually piled into a plastic foam container — is paired with a protein, generally of the pan-Asian variety, often slathered in brown gravy. After a morning of hard work (or hard surf), one might opt for Korean kalbi or meat jun, Chinese char siu roast pork, Philippine pork adobo, Hawaiian kalua pork (a luau favorite), Japanese katsu or salmon teriyaki, Portuguese sausage, American-style beef stew, or loco moco — a hamburger patty and a fried egg.

I was with him right up to the brown gravy, but I get the idea. While perhaps unique in its pan-Asian weirdness, the basic structure of the plate lunch should be familiar to anyone who ever ate beef and noodles, chicken and noodles (including that singular Hoosier oddity, chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes), or my personal favorite, the Amish haystack.

My first screenplay was based in Amish country, and I included a haystack scene. Two teenage boys were sitting at a dinner table, and if a haystack should appeal to anyone, it’s the bottomless pit of an adolescent male stomach. Googling around for a description, most point back to the Amish Cook column, but I think this single line from a Washington Post travel piece says it best:

Plates in hand, we walked a line of women and girls, who each added a scoop of haystack ingredients: cracker crumbs, rice, seasoned hamburger, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, melted Velveeta cheese and crumbled Doritos.

You see the similarities: Start with a bed of carbs, add protein, top with sauce. It’s not really a recipe so much as it’s a way to clean out the fridge. Lots of recipes start with spaghetti on the bottom, but the interesting thing about Amish food is the way it calls, so often, for the cheapest possible ingredients, real Depression food — hence the crackers. And the Velveeta. (So often city people think of the Amish as the proto-crunchy con, living their pure peasant lives out in the country, which isn’t necessarily untrue, but I only want to note: When you have no refrigerator, Velveeta makes more sense than artisanal cream cheese, eh?)

Anyway, back to the plate lunch. I admire its daffiness, signified by the macaroni salad. Hawaii really is a land of mutts, isn’t it?

Quick bloggage, because I have a lot to do today:

The most interesting thing about this post-election period has been the beating of breasts and searching of souls in the GOP. “Fresh Air” had an interview with the NYT’s conservatism beat writer, David Kirkpatrick, who identified the new and old factions within the party. Old: Social issues, national security and fiscal restraint. New: “High” and “low.” Pretty cruel, I know, but what it boils down to is, if you aren’t embarrassed to say you believe in evolution, and are embarrassed by the separation of the country into “real” and “not real” segments, you’re high. If you love Sarah Palin, you’re low. I’d add to that: If Ted Nugent makes you want to change the subject, high; if you put his “writing” in your magazine, low low low.

Probably of interest to Detroiters only, this nearly slipped past me on Tuesday, a pollster’s look at the two key suburban counties here, Macomb and Oakland, and how the changes of past years reflect on voting trends there.

And probably of interest to journalists only, Ron Rosenbaum delivers a long-overdue takedown of Jeff Jarvis, he of the citizen-journalists-will-save-the-world school of media analysis.

Finally, I posted this to Facebook because I found it simultaneously amusing and depressing: Michelle Slatalla’s rumination on how difficult it is for a woman to lose weight after 40. I’d heard of Spanx, but I’ve never worn them. (Gents: They’re the 21st-century version of your grandma’s girdle.) What I’ve been missing:

I still remember how ecstatic I felt the first time I slipped on a pair of Seamless Mid-Thigh Shapers and managed to zip my tightest jeans. A sense of relief and well-being flooded me.

Unfortunately the good feeling didn’t last. Soon I had to start wearing two pairs at once. If only, like Gwyneth, I could have stopped there.

But I graduated to the harder stuff. I moved on to the Slim Cognito Body Shaping Cami and the Hide & Sleek Full Slip, as well. Yet each time a new layer magically smoothed one bulge, another popped out like a balloon sculpture of a dachshund.

Despite the company’s warnings, I kept going. “If you go with more than two layers, it’s Spanx abuse and you need to get help,” a Spanx spokeswoman warned me.

Two layers of Spanx! No plate lunch for you!

OK, have a good day. I’ll be writin’ and exercisin’, so I can be a big fat middle-aged girl, too.

Posted at 9:39 am in Current events, Popculch |

84 responses to “Carb-loading.”

  1. del said on November 13, 2008 at 10:04 am

    I’m not a journalist but I enjoyed the Jeff Jarvis takedown. Sounds like, after years of hearing whisperings by journalists annoyed with his recent body of work, he’s become defensive and now pushes a preemptive strike agenda against print journalists for his own emotional cover.

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  2. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Speaking of food preferences acquired in childhood, check out these cloverleaf rolls. The rolls in this picture, which popped up in today’s WaPo, are not quite as beautiful as the ones my mom used to make, but the photo sure gave me a jolt. Thanksgiving and Christmas just aren’t the same w/o her perfectly molded and perfectly browned little jewels.

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  3. Dorothy said on November 13, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Jolene we sold cloverleaf rolls at the bakery I worked at when I was 16. And potato rolls, Parker House rolls, sesame and poppy seed rolls. My favorites, though, were the buttercrust rolls. I’d reach for one of those as a snack instead of a donut or cookie every time! They had this neat fan shape to them – thin multiple layers stacked up. Lord what I wouldn’t give for one of them right about now! (But the bakery went out of business years ago.)

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  4. coozledad said on November 13, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Let Ted keep “writing”. He’s about to find out who holds his choke chain, especially if he keeps playing up the know-nothing wing of the party. New money ain’t got shit on old when it comes to ruthlessness.
    As pathetic as that boy is now, I can see a much worse ending for him. Maybe he’ll be able to play mood music for Klan initiation ceremonies with his intellectual brethren in Louisiana.

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  5. LA Mary said on November 13, 2008 at 11:02 am

    I don’t know how they can mention Hawaiian people food and leave out Spam. It’s hugely popular there.
    A lot of Hawaiian food is also Filipino food. Here at the hospital, where there are probably more Filipinos than any other ethnic group, you see that plate you described in the cafeteria quite often.

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  6. ellen said on November 13, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Starch, meat, gravy applies to South Africa, too. The “working man’s” meal is maize porridge with beef, oxtail, or tripe stew over the top. Want it to go? Replace the porridge with half a loaf of white bread, scooped out in the middle to accomodate the stew. No macaroni salad, though.

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  7. Connie said on November 13, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Dorothy, all the Dutch bakeries of my childhood are gone, gone, gone. No more Sempel’s bakery hard rolls, no more clover leafs, nothing. My grocery “bakery” has only potato rolls. Some of the Holland grocery store bakeries will carry krakelingen (pastry cookies) and banket (almond paste pastry rolls) around Christmas, but it is just not the same. I used to buy my rolls – butter horn rolls – from a local Mennonite bakery that came to the farmer’s market, but they disappeared. I recently figured out that they are now providing shops at other “Amish” tourist destinations, so perhaps I’ll find my favorite rolls by Christmas.

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  8. jcburns said on November 13, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Uh-oh. Georgia’s NAACP is holding a press conference this afternoon where they want to discuss (quoting the AJC quoting the NAACP): that as a consequence of the election “African-American parents are reporting that their kids – from elementary to high school -are being verbally and physically harassed by their white classmates while their teachers turn the other way.” And, arrgh, damn, worse than that.

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  9. alex said on November 13, 2008 at 11:31 am

    What I miss more than anything is pogocsa, a Hungarian biscuit made of layered pastry, browned and buttery on top with caraway seeds. Very labor-intensive food. Haven’t had it in years.

    I note that online there’s a Macedonian bread by a similar name but it’s not the same thing at all.

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  10. Cosmo Panzini said on November 13, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Interesting link, jc. Proof that the NAACP is now officially irrelevant.

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  11. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Children in Idaho also seem to be chanting pleasantries re our new president.

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  12. brian stouder said on November 13, 2008 at 11:47 am

    from jc’s link:

    Daryl Graham, spokesman for the state NAACP, said the press conference would feature an east Cobb County family whose daughter attends Walton High School. “The day after, there was a chill in the building,” Graham said.

    I felt that 11/5 chill, too; a bunch of folks withheld their derision about what we had all seen the night before, while others (including me) suppressed our glee. A genuine quiet descended upon us, like a chilly light frost, and it lasted for the remainder of the week

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  13. alex said on November 13, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Quiet around my office, too, Brian. A few days before the election I overheard a couple of nouveau upper middle class snobs gloating that they knew Indiana would be safe, anyway. Otherwise not a peep out of anyone since. Glum faces as usual all around.

    Our local NAACP chapter has a new leader after years of dissatisfaction with the previous one, who didn’t pick his fights very carefully.

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  14. Connie said on November 13, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Speaking of chill, I just read George Will’s latest Newsweek column. A win like Obama’s is completely against the founding father’s intentions as laid out in the Constitution.

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  15. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    A Hawaiian family at my kids’ preschool would bring Spam sushi to potlucks. Surprisingly delicious, once you work up your courage to try it.

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  16. Mindy said on November 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Be sure to wash down that Amish haystack with plenty of Mountain Dew.

    I opted for a plate lunch while vacationing in Hawaii ten years ago. The macaroni salad had more mayo than macaroni – I couldn’t eat it. But it was fun to watch the locals shovel it in.

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  17. Jim said on November 13, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    The Hawaiian plate lunch reminded me of the “garbage plates” popular in Rochester, N.Y.

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  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 13, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Grilled spam with slice of pineapple . . . mmmmm.

    Could the GOP be going through a quadrennial re-assessment? Yep, see all the news stories about Dem brow-tugging after Kerry’s loss four years ago. Do racist morons define the Republican party any more than window smashing goons at World Bank meeting protests define the Democratic party? Nope, even if you can trace a meandering link between some of their official stances, the further fringes of the mainstream, and occasional contacts between them and the looser cannons among our respective deck hands.

    I don’t think Howard Dean likes seeing people in turtle costumes break storefronts at Starbucks, nor does Ken Mehlman’s heart sing when crackers chant hate at fellow students. The debate over the real place of libertarianism in the GOP is going to be where the action is (with religious conservatism feeling the discomfort of severe straddleosity), just as Dem infighting over education policy and union enrollment among Hispanics (documented and less formally entered) will be their pivot point over the next quadrennium.

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  19. coozledad said on November 13, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    My wife used to work with a Philippina who is a very talented chef, as well as a mural artist. We were invited to a party at her house where there was a huge spread, and she took us on a tour of the tables pointing out which items were vegetarian.
    Soon I realized that “vegetarian” meant only a little bit of lard, no head cheese or pork brains, per se. But it was tasty, and the national cuisine will probably be a food craze before too long.

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  20. Rana said on November 13, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    There’s an Amish-run (maybe Mennonite-run?) grocery store near here, and going to it is an experience. The local foodies know it as a place where you can get locally-grown lamb and free-range chicken and heirloom tomatoes, but those things take up maybe 5% of the store at most.

    The bulk of the store is racks and shelves full of all kinds of dry goods (emphasis on dry, and thus shelf-stable): dried fruits and nuts in a variety of bulk bags, dried gelatin mixes in the aforementioned bags, flours, pastes, “chips” not only in chocolate and butterscotch but also lemon, jarred fruit, etc. Some canned goods, a lot of odd “old-timey” ingredients like horehound syrup and homeopathic drops… it’s a weirdly compelling mixture of modern granola-crunchy with Depression era general store.

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  21. mark said on November 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Speaking of Detroit, i read today that the city wants to get in line for $10 billion in federal assistance for a variety of municipal necessities.

    $10 billion for Detroit? That strikes me like asking for $50,000 for some necessary maintenance on a 1976 Chrysler Cordoba.

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  22. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Jeff, I agree (including the spam + pineapple: great camping dinner). It’s the contradiction between the libertarians and the religious fundies that makes the Rs so difficult to take these days — you know, all about personal liberties except the ones they don’t approve of. If they can figure that out, they might get me back; or, at least keep my DH.

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  23. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Here’s a question to tie the progressives into knots. For the Obama children’s new school: public or private?

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  24. jcburns said on November 13, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Why would that tie us into knots?

    Whichever ones the parents (with parental-y consultation with their kids) prefer. And can afford. Kinda none of our business.

    Me, I kinda hope the Obama administration turns public education into something worth lining up for. (A difficult, but not at all impossible task.) They’re welcome to some of my tax money to do that.

    But I don’t think the new first family needs to turn their children into political pawns to make that happen.

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  25. alex said on November 13, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Private, of course. But why should it be any of our frigging business where they send their kids? They have the means to afford the best college prep, so why not?

    Granted, free public education is an important thing, but to subject your children to it on principle alone is ridiculous.

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  26. Connie said on November 13, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Rana, are you describing E and S Bulk Food in Shipshewana? A very strange grocery store full of bulk bags and interesting mixes. This time of year all my holiday baking stuff comes from there, big bulk bags of choc chips and pecans and sugar. Unfortunately we come home with mostly interesting snacky stuff. Who knew there was a five pound bag of skittles?

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  27. brian stouder said on November 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Well, when it comes to schooling the children of the President of the United States, there’s this:

    MEMPHIS, Tennessee – A white supremacist charged with plotting to kill President-elect Barack Obama wants his indictment dismissed, arguing the federal grand jury that charged him had too many black members.

    Always bet on the Good Guys; but also, don’t forget that there are bad guys skittering about, too

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  28. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    The Obama kids are in a private school now, so it seems likely they will choose a private school in DC. But, lord, are they expensive. About $56,000 for the two kids. And that’s w/o the auctions.

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  29. Rana said on November 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Connie – no, it’s a much smaller place north of Richmond.

    Something I always wonder on the school issue for presidential and vice-presidential children is how they, and the school, deal with the presence of the Secret Service.

    Although it occurs to me that these days schools are probably some of the most heavily secured public environments around, what with the fears regarding kidnappings and shootings.

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  30. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I ask about the school because I saw an interesting discussion on the subject at the blog of an Americorps teacher in DC. Amy Carter went to public school there; Chelsea Clinton to private; and Caroline Kennedy was essentially homeschooled. What to do?

    And Alex, I figure if there’s going to be a dissection of The Dress Choice (and the children’s dresses), why should an important decision like school choices be off limits?

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  31. nancy said on November 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    The discussion can certainly be had, Catherine. I notice there’s a 30-year gap between Amy Carter and the Obama girls, during which time I expect D.C. schools have followed the same downward spiral as most big-city districts.

    Presumably they’ll go private, and they’re going to have to take a bite of the shit sandwich. You know: limousine liberals, not walking the public-school talk.

    I guess I come down on, “it’s a personal decision,” and it doesn’t interest me all that much. As we saw with Chelsea it’s not really a discussion of education in America, but an excuse to throw rocks at the president.

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  32. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Rana, a friend taught Maryland in the 70s. She was on a Kennedy Center field trip with her class when she noticed a lot of fit-looking men in dark suits. Then, just as the lights were about to go down, in filed one last class of kids with… Amy Carter.

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  33. LA Mary said on November 13, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    My kids have always been in public schools and for the most part I’ve been very lucky. A few teachers I could have done without at my older son’s middle school, but mostly fine. We have an excellent elementary school right up the street, and we had a magnet middle school for one kid, charter middle school for the other, special learning community in a big high school for one kid, and charter high school attached to Art Center School of Design for the other.

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  34. A Riley said on November 13, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    When the current Mayor Daley of Chicago was elected, his kids were small. Would they go to public or private school? He basically said he wouldn’t sacrifice his kids’ education to make a point, and they’d continue in the private schools they’d started in.

    No one thought the lesser of him for it, either. Shoot, every Chicago parent who can afford does their darnedest to get the kids into either the parochial school system or magnet schools. Failing that, they move to the suburbs.

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  35. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Nancy, I think you’re probably right that it’s not a discussion of education in America, but an excuse to throw rocks at the president. Which is too bad. There’s a great education reporter/columnist at the Washington Post, and the schools there are actually improving in places. It could be an opportunity to shine the light on the improving schools.

    I have one child in public and one in private (and if I had a third, she would probably be at a charter, just for variety). It is not a simple choice for us. There definitely are political dimensions to it. I’ve had a taste of that shit sandwich. Principle alone, not a good reason to go public; but for me it does play into the decision.

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  36. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    The DC schools are among the worst in the nation, despite being the most expensive. There’s a huge school reform effort underway right now led by a very impressive woman named Michelle Rhee and under the protection of the newish mayor, Adrian Fenty. (“Under the protection” meaning she’s been given a free hand to do what she thinks is right.) She is, I believe, in her second year and has already made some good progress.

    She oversaw a big program of improving physical facilities, fired a large number of do-nothing types from the central office, closed some underpopulated schools so as to distribute resources more efficiently, and dismissed some ineffective principals. Right now, she’s trying to implement a program in which teachers get big raises in return for giving up tenure and agreeing to accept more accountability for student performance. It’s not clear yet whether the union will accept this program, but many teachers are in favor of it.

    There’s a long, long ways to go, but she seems to be doing all the right things. She’s also been “mentioned” as a candidate for Secretary of Education, but there’ve been several editorials saying she’s needed where she is. I hope she stays. She’s accomplished a lot, but the hardest part—really making change in classrooms—is still ahead, and it would be tragic to disrupt the changes underway.

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  37. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Whatever they choose for their own kids, I’m hoping the Obamas will take up the cause of the DC schools and the kids in them. I think that occasional visits to the schools and talks w/ kids and parents could really help to inspire improvements in performance. It’s a fairly small system—only 60,000 students—so over the course of their first term, the two of them could touch the lives of a lot of kids. I know it’s a little simple-minded to think that a visit from a black president or a pat on the head from his wife could overcome the effects of poverty and indifferent parenting, but, really, it could for some small number of the kids, and that’d be better than nothing.

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  38. Dexter said on November 13, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I know the Chicago Korean restaurants feature SPAM in many recipes. Japanese actually favor noodles by a wide margin over rice…in hard times, rice was considered too expensive and noodles just took over.
    I always rebelled at beef and noodles served over potatoes, and refused to eat it like that, as everyone else did…way too carbo for me. I still can’t bear to think of eating a mess like that.
    Like our blog host, I am fond of beans and rice. I used to make ham hocks, black beans, and rice and season it with some good spices I bought at the central market in Charleston, SC, where we visit frequently .
    I was in Kissimmee, Florida once waiting for some car repair and stopped in a restaurante cubano and ordered beans and rice…and it was served to me and tasted exactly like I had made at home a week before…I was so proud of myself.

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  39. nancy said on November 13, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Sandra Tsing Loh has a new book out — “Mother on Fire,” or something like that, all about her decision to send her daughters to L.A. Unified. I haven’t read it yet, but from the reviews, she speaks very plainly about the problem of the middle-class parent in a city like L.A., and how at some point you have to take responsibility for the quality of your local schools. In a swiftly declining economy, many people are going to find themselves in this position, and realize they have no choice.

    I have but two observations: Her girls are still pretty young, and in my experience the problems of big-city public schools become more acute the farther you go. Also, when I judged scholarship competitions in F.W., by far the best kids — not always the smartest, but the most interesting candidates — came from the public systems.

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  40. Deborah said on November 13, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I think the Obama’s will go private and more power to them. I lived in a second tier city when my daughter was growing up (St. Louis, maybe that’s a third tier city?). She went to a Lutheran grade school and a private high school. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. We lived in the city and the public schools were awful, just awful. And I’m a big liberal… I wouldn’t have sacrificed my daughter’s education to the cause though. We did send her to an inner-city day camp one summer… big mistake. She suffered horribly and we ended up taking her out. She wasn’t prepared for it and it wasn’t fair to her to make her go through that. I hate it that this gives right wingers fuel, but so be it.

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  41. JGW said on November 13, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve heard of the plate lunch, kind of fascinated. I’m wondering is the sugary horrible Indiana style or the sublime and tangy east coast variety. It kind of sounds like it’s just mac and mayo.

    The other Hawaiian treats like Poke – a raw fish salad, and Shave Ice also sound interesting. The real Aloha State treat seems to be the Shrimp Truck fare. They call it BBQ Shrimp but there’s no grilling. It’s just shrimp sauteed in margarine (Ewwww!, I’d have to go butter or olive oil) and garlic and hot sauce or catsup.

    I’ll pass on the Spam Musabi. The whole history of spam there is interesting though, it’s part WW II and part limited refrigerated shipping at the time.

    I’ve never even been there but still fantasize about moving there. It’s fun to browse Journalism Jobs dot-com but the cost of living. That and Newegg doesn’t ship there on most stuff….

    I’ll weigh in on schools too. As much as it SHOULD be public schools, it won’t be. And I understand, because it makes the security so much harder. If I recall Amy Carter almost never got to have outdoor recess. The playground was too close to the streets.

    Solid bet here, it will be Sidwell Friends. They have a campus much easier to secure, lots of children of VIP’s, diplomats, and they also have a good percentage of minorities and kids getting grants and scholarships, not all the kids are rich. But the clincher has to be the Secret Service history under Chelsea and the staff’s familarity with balancing the needs of the kids and their security.

    Read an interesting tidbit today – no tacks or nails can be used for their room decor at home, the White House Historical folks stipulate the girls use fun tack stuff.

    As a foodie I’m interested in their eventual chef choice – Obama is very anti-carb, and there are a few leading candidates. Leading choice would be he steals Oprah’s chef. He has cooked for Obama often. Bush actually has a very talented female chef, but word is he leaned toward BLT’s and grilled cheese on standard store bought sandwich white bread.

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  42. Catherine said on November 13, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I saw Sandra Tsing Loh speak and read from Mother On Fire a couple of months ago. She is hilarious, and the book is funny and also very poignant. Her message to the group was really that mothers can make a huge difference.

    Yes, her girls are still pretty young, and yes, the problems do get more acute. Also, they are at a magnet school (which still has >40% kids on free/reduced lunch). That said, she is a great spokesperson for at least giving the public schools a try. Like her, I cannot tell you how many people I know who have rejected public education for their children without so much as touring a single one.

    I have been thinking, too, about what effect the declining economy will have on my public schools. My observation is that lower-income families have been priced out of the housing market in our area in the last few years, resulting in lower enrollment. And, no, the middle classes did not just flood back into the schools. The consequences may not be the obvious one of: Middle class families decide they have to get in there and improve things because there’s no alternative.

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  43. LA Mary said on November 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Sandra Tsing Loh used to hold meetings called Martinis and Magnets to explain how to work the LAUSD magnet system. Before she started that, I was lucky enough to know Connie Rohman, a mother of two brilliant kids in my neighborhood. She created a booklet for parents oh how to really get what you want from the public schools of LA. I’ve got no connections, no pull, but I’ve always got my kids into the schools I wanted them in. I have also always been pretty involved in what’s going on in the school. Every single school they’ve been in has been very mixed economically, ethnically, everything. In fact, my kids have been in the minority at every school since elementary, and that’s part of the reason we got in. You can work the public school system but you have to put effort back into it. Not only your kids benefit from your effort.

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  44. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Georgetown Day School is the other favorite in the early betting, JGW. I’m not sure about the details of its physical plant, but, reportedly, it has some of the other features you mention. Also, Eric Holder, member of Obama’s Veep selection committee and AG “mentionee”, is on the board of directors, so they’ll be able to get an insider’s perspective. Michelle visited these two schools—Sidwell and Georgetown Day—during her Monday visit to DC.

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  45. harrison said on November 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    that singular Hoosier oddity, chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes

    that’s the way my parents eat it and have for 55-plus years. i often go to their house for sunday dinner, and they serve it about once every three months.

    and it’s delicious!

    my mother, by the way, makes her own noodles. when i was a kid, i used to eat them raw.

    i bet you can’t go to any fancy-dan restaurant in new york and get it.

    as for high and low republicans/conservatives — this is news? nixon and wallace tapped that outlook — the resentful, the insulted and injured — starting 40 years ago. and they finally realize that it hurts them as a party?

    have fun, businessmen. i say those folks are rednecks, and i say they can all burn in hell.

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  46. harrison said on November 13, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    sorry about the all-italic reply. forgot the correct html to stop it. otherwise, everything i wrote there stands.

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  47. alex said on November 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Poke salad Annie
    ‘gator’s got yer granny
    Chomp chomp chomp

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  48. MichaelG said on November 13, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Late comment. Finally saw the movie. Teriffic! Hugely entertaining. More, More!

    Loh is great. I’ve heard her on NPR many times. Didn’t she get sideways with KPCC or something? Or that other station in Santa Monica?

    I bought some Spam a few weeks ago just for the helluvit. I hadn’t had any in years and years. It’s a big wad of fat with no taste.

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  49. moe99 said on November 13, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Why has no one mentioned shepherd’s pie yet?

    And my 3 kids went to public schools in Seattle. I had to work to make it work for them. I think I’ve told the story about the elementary school principal who was fired because of my detective work here, but the results were solid: my daughter is in her second year of medical school at Univ. Washinton, my oldest son is finishing up a physics/math degree from a fine liberal arts college in MN, and the youngest is in college in S. Cal. He did not go to the math/science magnet school in the Central District like his sibs and I think his education was much the poorer for it, though his high school had by far the most wealthy parent group in the city.

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  50. JGW said on November 13, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I’m not discounting Georgetown Day School. It’s a good bet and solid school also. I’m thinking the family is already close to their protective details and in some ways will want to follow their advice. Who knows though?

    For a (I assume) well researched look at the way the children’s protective details will work and a real appreciation of the dangers they face, read Tom Clancy’s “Executive Orders.” A terrorist strike force tries to abduct President Ryan’s youngest daughter at her day care center. A brutal firefight ensues but the baddies are foiled.

    The real scary part of that novel in my opinion is in a subplot. A group of white supremecist wingnuts is also plotting a plan to take out President Jack Ryan. They select one plausible but not easy method and are foiled, but the other method they ponder is just too easy and scares me. Not going to spell it out, but any small group of military or ex-military with a certain skill set on a certain weapon system, it would be childs play.

    I’d like to say the Secret Service read that book and has pondered the idea, but our government in the form of Codoleeza Rice discounted the 9-11 attacks by saying no one ever envisioned anyone using a commercial airplane as a weapon. Tom Clancy did, in “Debt of Honor,” a 747 plows into the Capitol Building moments after Ryan is approved but still not sworn is as VP before a joint session of Congress.

    I know a little bit about this, my youngest kid’s godfather worked for DSS security and was on Albright’s detail a few times.

    Oh – Hawaiian food item – potato chips. Friends of mine rant, I only tasted a small handfull.

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  51. JGW said on November 13, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    On the noodle topic- I was reading while hungry, came across this post on food blog about pasta, and was like , Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm pasta.

    I made homemade pasta a few times last week. It’s too easy. 1 cup flour to 2 eggs, make a nest, blend in the eggs. On a floured surface kneed the dough for 5 minutes – it’s actually better by hand. Add flour to keep from sticking. Place in a bowl and cover 30-45 min.
    Kneed it again, then roll it out thin on a floured surface. I cut mine with a pizza cutter, but I’m going to get the Cuisinart Stand Mixer attachment (Cuisinart mixers kick KA mixer’s butts. Metal gears, not cheap plastic).

    You want to cook the fresh pasta right away, until it floats and is Al Dente, not mushy. Simple sauces work best. I like the recipe ready tomatoes, no muss no fuss, and fresh grated Parmesan.

    That’s why I love hanging at Nance’s place. We can go from Plate Lunch to security details, presidential family life, and back to carb loading in a few hours.

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  52. nancy said on November 13, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Coozledad passed along this recipe for Vietnamese garlic noodles the other day in an e-mail. I mean, as long as we’re into noodles, ethnic cuisines and dragon breath.

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  53. Hoosier said on November 13, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Hoosiers also are fond of beef ‘n noodles over mashed potatoes. Wonder if Prez elect Obaman ever ate the famous horseshoe sandwich while he was in Springfield? Similar to the plate lunch…toast on the bottom, then meat (often hamberger), french fries and topped with cheese sauce. Great at the B&G Cafe. Yum

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 13, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Semolina flour, tho’, easy to find these days (even Kroger has it). mixes up, kneads, and cuts differently than with standard white enriched.

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  55. Deborah said on November 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    My daughter and I made homemade pasta this weekend. Semolina flour, a whole pound I think and 5 eggs. We have an Italian gizmo that you run the dough through and it cuts it into strips and all. It was fun. Supposed to make 21 servings. Yeah right, we gobbled most of it down in one sitting with Bolognese sauce. A bit left over.

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  56. Dexter said on November 13, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Any of yas ever eat those Primanti Bros. sandwiches in Pittsburgh ?

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  57. Dexter said on November 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    …and boy…wow! This guy really knows how to play a room!!

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  58. Hoosier said on November 13, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    David VanTieghen palaying the room. Reminds me of my music school friends majoring in percussion. There wasn’t anything they didn’t experiment with when it came of hitting, rubbing, thumping or snapping to make a sound. Their rooms were a hoot; a closet rod hung with tire rims, tuned aluminum ice cube trays even a glass harmonica (or is it an glass harmonica?)

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  59. Rana said on November 13, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    harrison – the end-italics command is the same as the italics command, but with a backslash / just in front of the i.

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  60. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Very impressive amount of garlic in that recipe, Nancy.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 13, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Y’know, grilled spam with a good b-b-q sauce slathered atop is awfully tasty, especially next to a stack of shoestring potatoes.

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  62. Gasman said on November 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Late to the game today. As for the schools for the Obama kids, private, no question. It has nothing to do with values or being “one of the people,” it’s strictly a matter of security. Have you ever seen a Secret Service detail? Very disruptive. Sidwell or the other toney private schools have smaller student bodies, the campuses are usually bigger and easier to keep outsiders out. They also probably already have their own security staff as they have diplomats kids already.

    The Obama girls need protection and in a public school setting, they are dangerous to themselves and the other kids.

    When we were in DC in March, we saw Sidwell and another swankey private school up near the National Cathedral. With all of the security and fences, he latter looked like a nuclear facility rather than a school. I’ll bet that there are Israeli diplomat’s kids there. Those kind of private schools could accommodate the Obama girls safely with minimal disruption to the other students.

    Safety first.

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  63. Jolene said on November 13, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Here’s a short article from tomorrow’s paper on the three schools the Obamas are considering. The topic seems to be the talk of the town.

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  64. Catherine said on November 14, 2008 at 12:01 am

    One expects that the girls’ feelings are a big part of the decision, not that the WaPo would emphasize that. Too bad about National Cathedral, though…

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  65. del said on November 14, 2008 at 1:27 am

    I cooked a pork shoulder for a bbq pulled pork recipe a few days ago and my 8 yr old daughter asked if it was really pig meat. She then lectured me earnestly about not killing and eating pigs. She said it was against the law to kill a tiger and it should be against the law to kill a pig. I tried to explain it all to her but as the conversation ended I heard her mutter, “I feel like I’m living with a monster . . .”

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  66. Gasman said on November 14, 2008 at 2:46 am

    You might not want to rent “Babe” anytime soon. She’d be absolutely convinced that she is indeed living with a monster.

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  67. brian stouder said on November 14, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Just for the record – Pam and I are quite impressed with Fort Wayne Community Schools’ accredited Montessori schools. Our young folks (including the 4 year old in pre-K) are in the programs, and the teachers are all highly motivated and engaged, and there is a lengthy wait-list to gain admission. As much as some yappers dog on public education, I think Mary hit it on the head (as usual): parents who pay attention will figure out where their kids need to be. In our case, a few years ago Pam loaded the kids and I into the minivan and we went off to a FWCS “school fair” where all the schools sent representatives (the principal and a teacher or two, in most cases) and you could go from display to display and gab with them, and see which ones impressed you. The Montessori schools immediately impressed us, and the rest is (as they say) history!

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  68. Jolene said on November 14, 2008 at 8:39 am

    So are the Montessori schools private schools, Brian, or are they charter schools?

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  69. nancy said on November 14, 2008 at 8:47 am

    They’re public magnets, Jolene. The Fort Wayne Community Schools settled their racial-balance problem about 20 years ago by making all their elementary schools magnets, everything from math/science to language arts to Spanish immersion to phys ed. The Montessori program is part of that. During a recent reorganization, they extended it into middle school, so Brian’s kids (and my ex-next-door neighbor’s) can go pre-K-8 at the same school.

    I think you have to apply for admittance, but they’re not selective, as far as I know. They may select to some degree for racial balance, but everyone I’ve known who wanted to go there (and was white) got in, no problem.

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  70. brian stouder said on November 14, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Jolene – the Montessori schools that our young folks attend are (or at least were) the only fully accredited public Montessori schools in the country. The teachers make a commitment (5 years, I believe) to stay in the Montessori program, and participate in all the additonal training and schooling they need for full accreditation.

    If a teacher opts out, then they’re on the hook for the investment that the school system made on their continuing education and certification….so indeed, the teachers and staff are all highly motivated stake-holders, right along with the parents and the students. We really love it, and the young folks have been flourishing – although there IS a lot of homework for the 13 year old!

    PS – Nance – I think there is a 300+wait-list now; and there are two Montessori schools, Bunche (where Chloe goes) and Towles (where Shelby and Grant and Nance’s ex-neighbor goes); I think Bunche is all pre-K and kindergarten, and Towles goes on up through 8th grade.

    PPS – Recently the young folks were asking me about Vernon Jordan, and I assumed that they knew who saved his life here in Fort Wayne, and they didn’t! So, ol’ dad looked smart when he said that the hint is- where do you go to school? (which drew blank stares!)

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  71. Jolene said on November 14, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Sounds like a good system. Not being a parent, I’ve never had to deal w/ the school choice issue, but I know it can be a difficult process—even if you don’t require that the administration accommodate the Secret Service.

    Homework is good for 13-year-olds, Brian. Otherwise, it’s video games and Internet porn.

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  72. brian stouder said on November 14, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Otherwise, it’s video games and Internet porn.

    He hasn’t learned to cover his tracks! We have a filter that keeps most of that to a minimum, but occasionally I’ll look at browsing history, and he clicks on lots of Youtubes of scantily clad women (youtube is pretty much PG-13 type cleavage).

    He seems to go for large racks on brunettes….can’t imagine where he gets THAT from!!

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  73. Dexter said on November 14, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Party Unity…Hillary Rodham Clinton for Sec’y of State? Good call. Will she take it? If it keeps it away from Bill Richardson she will.

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  74. Jolene said on November 14, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I hadn’t thought about that angle, Dexter, but you may be right! I have to say I find the idea more appealing than either Richardson or John Kerry.

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  75. alex said on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 am

    A New York senate seat’s a pretty plum thing to give up, though.

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  76. moe99 said on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Man, if I were Hillary Clinton, I think I’d stick to the lifetime sinecure that the Senate seat offers her vs. the Secretary of State. She can chair the Foreign Relations committee and get about the same experience/and/or mileage out of that.

    I don’t see where she derives a major benefit from switching jobs.

    OT: take this BBC Hollywood quiz:

    I got 7 out of 10

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  77. LA Mary said on November 14, 2008 at 10:50 am

    It was the Santa Monica station that Sandra Tsing Loh ticked off. She used a bad word and the engineer didn’t use his bleep button, so it went out over the air. Ruth Hirschman, the general manager, who tends to be a bit dictatorial, sent her packing. Ruth gets very ticked and holds grudges, so there have been a few talented people who have left KCRW, never to return. It’s still a remarkable radio station. You can’t beat it for new music.

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  78. brian stouder said on November 14, 2008 at 10:52 am

    moe – what a great quiz!! I did badly early on – and then learned to go with my first guess, and ended with a 5 out of 10, in the same “Rocky” range as you (so they say!) My mom would ace that test, though, and groan that anybody would miss any of them!

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  79. Jolene said on November 14, 2008 at 11:01 am

    I got 8/10. Think I’ll give myself a cookie.

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  80. Halloween Jack said on November 14, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Hoosier: I think that it’s quite likely; even though it’s more of a Little Egypt (southern tip of Illinois, between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers) thing, horseshoe sandwiches have spread as far north as Peoria. I’ve had one made with prime rib that was very good.

    Another variation: when I lived for a short time in St. Louis about twenty years ago, there was a diner that would take a standard breakfast–eggs, hash browns, sausage–and smother it in chili. Mmm.

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  81. brian stouder said on November 14, 2008 at 11:22 am

    makes one wonder why they call it a “horseshoe”, unless it is a reference to what you think you’re passing, 24 hours later…!! (but the toast/meat/fries mound ‘o food DOES sound good! – especially a prime rib one!)

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  82. Elin said on November 14, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    My 40+ diet consists of Spanx AND Slimpressions! Spanx (2-please) for the bottom half and Slimpressions for the top half. I love how they slim my mid-section, back fat, AND ARM FLAB! Brilliant! What will they come up with next?

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  83. Mosef said on November 17, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Late to the discussion, but I have strong opinions about public school. Here in CA we have just had a divisive vote regarding same-sex marriage, with gays framing the debate as one of civil rights. I have always thought that the deplorable public schools minority children are saddled with decade after decade (after decade) is a true civil rights issue. It is all well and good for middle-class parents to vote with their feet and buy homes in districts with good schools, but what are poor people to do? They are stuck with public education.

    But I think the “send more money” solution is fallacious. DC and NYC public schools spend more per public than many top-tier private school, with dismal results. One option that needs more exploration is vouchers. Students in failed schools (note restriction) should be given vouchers that can be used to purchase a decent education from a private school. Give parents choice, options, and the means to pay for it, and we will see an explosion of educational systems. Some will be awesome, some will suck, but at least we will break the death grip of the teachers’ unions on innovation.

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  84. Hattie said on November 18, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Plate lunches and moco locos are a thing of the past for me. Much as I love them, such a load of carbs, fat, and salt is not for anyone but a surfer in their 20’s.

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