#JustDoIt like Nike: if your business has the right stuff

NikeBravo Nike for taking socially responsible marketing into the end zone. The company’s new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, a pro athlete who knelt for his convictions and lost his job, is experiencing backlash from American’s who appear to be unfamiliar with their own history. Social protest is as American as Friday night football, or dumping tea in Boston Harbor!

Perhaps the difference is that Kaepernick’s social protest is non-violent. Is that what makes it un-American? Is that the reason young David Hogg, teenage activist and scourge of the NRA receives death threats? His non-violent, articulate and so sadly necessary protest actions should be lauded not lamented. His demonstration of mature, principled action puts his President and Congress to shame.

I am certain the Right will point out that my opinion has no value as I am not American.  I am a Canadian, from that country that has unfairly taken advantage of its southern neighbour with a population 100 times that of Canada.  (I admit I am rather chuffed that our David to their Goliath has the grandson of a brothel owner and German immigrant sniping childishly.)

What will it take for the rest of corporate America to believe in something so much that it will sacrifice everything…just as the founding fathers did in 1776?

Are nostalgia and camp incompatible?

Armie Hammer.

I watched Disney’s retelling of The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp channelled Buster Keaton as Tonto and Armie Hammer floundered. Now that I understand just how good Armie can be, I blame the floundering on the director. His film was a constant struggle between camp and nostalgia. Nobody one.

My director du jour, Luca Gaudagnino, has said in interviews that he liked Lone Ranger. After viewing I can understand the point of view as long as you enjoy movies that constantly morph between comedy, satire, and nostalgia. Oh my goodness. My head spun!

I never understood the meaning of visceral.

VISCERAL: relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect.

There are moments when language fails me. The title of this particular musing is an example. I knew the definition of visceral. I even experienced, or so I felt. I was proven wrong.

For the past eight days I have been watching, then rewatching Luca Gaudagnino’s Call Me By Your Name. The performances of Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer redefined visceral for me. The emotions they expressed were molecular. They embodied confusion, reluctance, and desire. Surrender was unspoken. Their capitulation complete.

My compulsion drove me to watch as many of their previous films as I could find on Netflix. I expected transendence. Once again, I was wrong. The only conclusion I could draw? There was some other force at work to pull those magnificent performances from them. Some alchemy that might never again be seen.

Luca Gaudagnino’s direction was the essential catalyst. He created the environment. He chose the cast. He picked the time and place for filming. He connected with James Ivory. He guided the music. He applied the restraint. He gave his actors space to be visceral.

Yet…I haven’t found the courage to watch his other films. What if Call Me By Your Name is an inexplicable happenstance, the like of which will never again be seen? I refuse to contemplate the possibility.

Cooking Solo: Pasta Shortcut

Spaghetti Joseph

This shortcut requires a microwave oven and a Joseph pasta cooker, as pictured above. I am partial to Joseph’s line of kitchenware. But I was skeptical of this piece. So why did I buy it? It was on sale, and there was Joseph’s reputation, an irresistible combination.

On the bottom, under the dry spaghettini, are concentric circles, marked with numbers 1 through 4. They are the serving amounts. Just align your handful of pasta with the circles and you won’t cook too much. (That is your cooking solo tip of the day.)

Along the end that doesn’t have the screen, there is a water level indicator. You match the level with the amount of pasta you are cooking. The tool is long enough to take standard length pasta in the horizontal position.

Warm the water to boiling. I actually boil the kettle while preparing everything else. Put the pasta in the container. Pour the boiling water over the pasta to the appropriate level marker. Insert the container in the microwave. For a single portion I microwave on High for 10 minutes. (The how-to book that accompanies the container says that you shouldn’t use more than 900W of power. My microwave is rated 1000W. So far no problem.)

While I warm up my homemade pasta sauce in the microwave, I leave the container with the water and pasta on the counter to finish cooking. But you can drain immediately. Learning what works for you based on how al dente you want the pasta is a trial-and-error situation.

Buon Appetito (Just watched Call Me By Your Name, can you tell?)

Cooking Solo: Gadgets

Kitchen GadgetAs a kitchen gadget collector, I can state emphatically, “Solo cooks don’t waste your money.” Most kitchen technology is designed for people who cook for more than themselves. As a result, the solo cook ends up with way more of whatever she has made then she needs.  (A recurring theme, you might note.)

The gadget above was a gift that I have employed and enjoyed time and again since it was bestowed. No electricity required. Most of it goes in the dishwasher. The amount it chops in one session is solo sized.  I have $200 machines that do as good a job, but with more hassle.

Like to bake? Do you enjoy a warm muffin in the morning? No need for a muffin tin with this recipe: Cup Muffin. Put all the following ingredients into a mug that can hold at least 6 ounces of liquid.

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – of whatever spice wakes you up in the morning – ginger for example
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener – dry – liquid sweeteners throw this recipe off  a bit
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil – you do not want the flavoured oil of any sort

Whisk the ingredients with a fork, then microwave on high for 1 minute.  Maybe longer if your microwave doesn’t produce 1000w on high. Less time if your microwave is very powerful. The muffin should just fall out of the mug when you turn it upside down.

Nutritional value of a cup muffin

I have no idea.

I am not a nutritionist, but I know one. You should visit her site for great recipes, a professional’s understanding of nutrition, and, if you provide your email, a free advice-filled e-newsletter.

That is another pitfall for the solo cook, eating well. Balanced meals are hard to prepare when you are cooking for one. May I remind you that most celebrity cooks, even the ones with websites and strong opinions, are not nutritionists. Seek the advice of professionals.

PS – where am I travelling with this recipe? North Carolina. A relative of mine who lives there shared the recipe with me. I think of him every time the microwave buzzer beeps.

Cooking Solo: Slowly

I do remember mentioning that solo cooks should make small amounts of food to reduce waste and leftovers. When cooking slow, ignore my advice.

Slow cooking is all about big batches than can be packaged into small amounts for later consumption. Chilli, soup, stew or sauces…they taste better slow cooked, frozen then warmed.

How big a batch depends on the size of your slow cooker and how fine a sale you found that day at the grocery store. I watch for the better cuts of meat at a reduced rate. Another favourite is fancy tinned tomatoes, like fire roasted. You decide. Anything goes…in a slow cooker.

Cooking Solo: Leftovers

Leftovers are a reality for solo cooks. Four days of eating the same leftovers can turn an enthusiastic cook into a fast food consumer.  Fast food joints serve meals for one.

Yesterdays dinner sits in the fridge waiting to be warmed tonight. I could skip a day: And on the third day there were leftovers. The meal was from scratch with fresh ingredients, so next day consumption is optimum.

How to avoid leftovers that is the question?

Unless you eat everything on your plate PLUS anything left in the pots, pans or casseroles there will be leftovers. I am coping by planning for leftovers, and buying ingredients in small amounts or easily portioned amounts.

The wapiti medallions were packaged in pairs. The rice and wild rice combo cooking instructions told me how much I would make, so I could halve the recipe. Left over vegetables go into the soup for lunch the next day, just like restaurants do.

When I cook once, eat three times, I freeze the batch of chili or soup in smaller containers so it feels as if there were no leftovers. Perhaps a container of frozen chili or soup isn’t exactly leftover when it is planned.  Don’t judge: I do what I can to mitigate the leftover stigma.