Re: Guest Post - Of course from Wisconsin.

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"We were too basic with her food in the beginning, so we want marc&mark to help us explore more sophisticated food that has some diversity and flavor," she said. "I don't want her growing up not liking curry because she never had it."

Of course this is utterly, utterly repulsive, especially the part about how "sometimes the nanny is already doing the cooking in the family" but not doing it well enough. Cheap rich people are the worst - if you want a cook and a nanny, you need to hire both.

That aside, I had my first curry when I was 20 at a little place that used to be kitty-corner from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This did not prevent me from, you know, liking various kinds of curry now. Unlike rich people, I can even cook several kinds myself.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:05 AM
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Cheap rich people are the worst - if you want a cook and a nanny, you need to hire both.

"Housekeeper", encompassing housework/cooking and childcare, is a job that certainly existed in the past, and I don't think it's inherently more oppressive than hiring servants at all. If the person's overworked and underpaid, that's one thing, but combining childcare and cooking doesn't make the job necessarily a problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:09 AM
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I mean, style-section articles about rich people are loathsome, but I don't actually see the problem with paying for training for an employee so that they can do their job as you want them to. You get a trained employee, they get the training which makes them (hopefully) more employable in future -- other than interpersonal hatefulness and the fact that no one should ever hire domestic help ever, what's the problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:16 AM
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Outside of domestic help, interpersonal hatefullness is still fine, right? Asking for a friend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:18 AM
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That's a good way to get Shinola in your couscous. Or the other thing; not all of us can tell the difference.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:22 AM
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I'm not sure what Shinola is, but if it is really small pasta, that would be a problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:30 AM
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I'm not sure what Shinola is, but if it is really small pasta, that would be a problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:33 AM
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3: Oh yes, this was certainly an invitation to a rather unfair pile-on. But I found the quote (and the food tie-in) irresistible.

And fuck if I carry around the difference between quinoa and couscous in my head. (Reason #many that I am grateful that urple is around, I do not define the food cluelessness limit on Unfogged.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:33 AM
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Stupid Wisconsin phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:34 AM
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"Housekeeper", encompassing housework/cooking and childcare, is a job that certainly existed in the past, and I don't think it's inherently more oppressive than hiring servants at all. If the person's overworked and underpaid, that's one thing, but combining childcare and cooking doesn't make the job necessarily a problem.

Yes, but that wasn't nannying in the "mold our children's personalities by supervising their every waking minute and providing the correct activities" sense; it was just "making sure the kids are dressed and fed, and usually when you start with this the kids can pretty much dress themselves". If you want a rich-person-style nanny, you're really looking more for a tutor/governess (at least that's how it sounds from the one person I know who did really high-end nannying) and those roles were not, in the past, combined with kitchen work.

It's so weird to me that these people want their children to be formed into perfect members of the upper middle class, with the correct tastes and skills and everything, and yet they have no problem hiring lower middle class people at low wages to form their children's characters. What they really want is to have their children hand-raised by an upper-middle-class person who is not them, but that would cost too much, so they try to bully the regular help into the correct behaviors.

I suggest a return of the whole "impoverished yet genteel widowed aunt or spinster cousin has to live a miserable life raising the children in exchange for housing and food" thing that you see in various 19th century novels. Then the family will be able to afford a skilled cook too.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:34 AM
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Quinoa tastes like oatmeal in diluted dishwater. Couscous is great with most reasonable preparations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:38 AM
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I'm not sure what Shinola is

Indeed, that has been the source of some confusion for me as well. (Mildly NSFW.)


Posted by: Opinionated Navin Johnson | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:44 AM
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8.last: Forgot. Moby, too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:47 AM
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But what if you're rich enough that hiring a nanny is practical (like I was), poor enough that having a full set of servants would be absurd (like I also was), part of the nanny's job is feeding the kids (like it is for everyone who hires a nanny -- at least lunch but usually dinner, given when kids get hungry and the kinds of hours people who hire nannies generally work), and you care what the kids eat (like most parents do, on some level). At that point, getting the nanny some training in what and how to feed the kids doesn't seem like an offense independent of hiring her at all.

There's a lot of room between rich enough for a nanny to be practical, and rich enough that you're just stingy for not hiring Mary Poppins and a butler.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:48 AM
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14: Right. A concept Wolfe hones in on well in Bonfire of the Vanities.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:51 AM
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Or distinction rather than concept, I guess. But, whatever, he hones it up nicely.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:52 AM
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Quinoa is awesome when cooked like macaroni and cheese, which you would think someone from Wisconsin could understand.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:54 AM
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I've gotten fairly strong pushback on quinoa from Buck -- I like it fine as grains go, but he's not fond. If you make patties with cooked quinoa, egg, some flour or breadcrumbs, and a bunch of parmesan, and fry them, they're quite good and surprisingly fake-chickeny. (You would think some chopped onion would be an improving addition, but for some reason it isn't.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:57 AM
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One could be more traditional and hire a nanny from somewhere that has a delicious food culture. Who has a nanny from Wisconsin?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:58 AM
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10 gets it exactly right. If you want a nanny who cooks, fine, but then you should chill the F out about demanding that they also be highly trained cooks/skilled governesses/talented tutors/whatever unless you're going to pay them handsomely for that. Also I think there's a kind of respect involved for the person you're hiring in treating them as an autonomous and skilled person and not trying to maximize your micro-control over them.

Also, I haven't read the article and also also both quinoa and couscous are bullshit poison foods.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:58 AM
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One assumes they got Wisconsin nanny because they wanted a sweet white girl raising their kid, so suck it up and let your kid eat cheese curds, fuckers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:00 AM
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Wisconsin has an awesome food culture. Cheese, bratworst and beer. You could do a lot worse.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:03 AM
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One assumes they got Wisconsin nanny because they wanted a sweet white girl raising their kid, so suck it up and let your kid eat cheese curds, fuckers.

But if as a result their daughter grows up cooking like a Wisconsinian, how's she going to get a husband? (Other than marrying a Wisconsinian, obvs.)
They need to go Kipling-style and get an ayah. Kipling grew up with Hindi as a first language. Most British kids in India did. Or an amah. My Narnian goddaughter is unnervingly good at Mandarin for a tall skinny child with flaming red hair and no melanin whatsoever (her presence causes middle-aged Narnian women to exclaim "Oh! So beautiful! Nicole Kidman!")


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:07 AM
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Believe me, the nanny who only speaks Mandarin to little Harper is already a thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:10 AM
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More to 10: Part of the issue here is that if you leave the top .5% out of it, income inequality among the employed is down since the decades when having servants was common. Someone in the top quintile of the income distribution in 1910 could probably afford to pay two or three salaries at a rate that was perceived as reasonable at the time. OTOH, paying even one full time salary at any sort of reasonable rate is a serious stretch these days for someone at the low end of the top 5% of the income distribution (me and Buck, in my high earning days. I was also paying down student loan debt, of course).

So someone can be quite high income, but still need to treat hiring domestic help as something right at the limits of what they can afford.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:12 AM
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Also I think there's a kind of respect involved for the person you're hiring in treating them as an autonomous and skilled person and not trying to maximize your micro-control over them.

So, providing training is always an insult? That can't be right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:13 AM
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So, if you barely have enough money to pay your servant, fine, but you shouldn't also expect them to incorporate every single one of the skills of the Downton Abbey staff in a single body/send them out to consultants to provide total class makeover (TM) to suit your aspirational fucking needs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:17 AM
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Always an insult? No. In this particular case, basically yes, unless they're also paying her a substantial premium. Note that it also may sever an emotional bond between nanny and kid and send kid a message that she and nanny are not at all in the same class, which is also presumably part of the point of the parents' actions. "We're too busy to actually mold you, but you better not think you're really like her, either."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:22 AM
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but you shouldn't also expect them to incorporate every single one of the skills of the Downton Abbey staff in a single body/send them out to consultants to provide total class makeover (TM) to suit your aspirational fucking needs.

Knowing how to cook food competently from raw ingredients is both (a) not the kind of skill that you can only reasonably expect of Jeeves and (b) fairly uncommon among young Americans in these parlous times. If you've hired someone to, among other things, feed your kids, you generally approve of how she does her job other than that she can't cook, and it's cheaper or otherwise preferable for you to have someone teach her how to cook than it is to fire her and find someone else who already knows how to cook, what on earth is the problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:23 AM
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Note that it also may sever an emotional bond between nanny and kid and send kid a message that she and nanny are not at all in the same class, which is also presumably part of the point of the parents' actions.

Cooking lessons are going to sever the emotional bond between the nanny and the kid? This is like how psychological experiments risk breaking babies brains, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:24 AM
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Cooking chicken fingers is fast. Microwaves are fast. Elaborate meals take time. That is why people don't cook elaborate meals everyday. They are kind of a pain in addition to the other work that the nanny has to do.

Training can easily be a problem when it means you have to do additional work. Would you be happy to have copy machine repair training? janitorial training? reception desk training? Hell no that is someone elses job.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:26 AM
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Where are all the nannies who are also trained in the trades, I ask you? I need some plumbing and electrical work done but no one in the child care industry seems qualified.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:28 AM
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I think the expectation that someone should both be a full time, super attentive nanny in the way people currently expect AND be an excellent chef who prepares things regularly from raw ingredients is ridiculous. That's not a set of skills we currently expect from most mothers. If that's what you want from your nanny, fine, but you need to cough up and pay a ton of money for it, and if your nanny is getting by making basically normal American food that you don't want to eat for aspirational reasons to the point of hiring a goddamm consulting agency to make sure your nanny cooks right, then I think you are pretty much automatically not someone who is treating the nanny with sufficient autonomy and respect.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:28 AM
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30: it sends a clear message of "this shit she likes and was making for you is not for people like us."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:30 AM
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31: If the premise is that a job incorporating childcare and preparing the kid's meals in a manner not solely relying on chicken nuggets and microwaved frozen food is per se abusive, sure. That sounds wrong to me, but I don't know how I'd talk you out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:31 AM
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an excellent chef who prepares things regularly from raw ingredients is ridiculous

Again, there's a hell of a lot of space between relying solely on microwaved frozen food, and expecting someone to be a professional chef. Cooking food from raw ingredients isn't a freakish luxury expectation, it's something that billions of people worldwide manage to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:33 AM
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Do they manage to do it while simultaneously providing the kind of intensive, full on care that people (like this) also expect from their nannies, without any additional help? Mostly, they don't, and in any event it (can be) a substantial additional burden on the nanny.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:36 AM
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And their nanny, from Wisconsin, does not always know the difference between quinoa and couscous.

Sometimes she knows the difference, sometimes not. The real issue is not teaching her to cook, it's that she has a peculiar form of amnesia that may be indicative of a deeper problem. In fact, teaching her to cook may make things worse if she loses the ability to distinguish between a baby and a roast turkey, for example.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:36 AM
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37: So, if the job has unreasonable expectations and pressures when you look at the whole thing rather than just the cooking lessons, it's a bad job and the employers are jerks. Comity!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:45 AM
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I'm busy, but I mostly agree with LB on the cooking thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:47 AM
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Norbizness tweet: "It's difficult to get angry at people I wouldn't know about were it not for the questionable decisions of a New York Times style editor."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:49 AM
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It's true that I have much less of a problem with it if the deal is "here kid, sit on the couch for an hour and a half and watch some crap on TV or sit in your room by yourself and play with some shit (I don't care which) while I spend the time to get this meal together." But I guarantee you that is not the expectation these parents have.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:50 AM
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You're visualizing "Cook this meal while doing origami for little Graydon with your toes?" Because you're right, that'd suck.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:57 AM
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I fucking guarantee you that these people want simultaneous full attention and good cooking, and that the "consulting service" is mostly like "here's a way to make quinoa risotto where you only get up to stir every 15 minutes so you don't have to take time away from working on the crafting project with little Henry."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:03 AM
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Do they manage to do it while simultaneously providing the kind of intensive, full on care that people (like this) also expect from their nannies, without any additional help? ... That's not a set of skills we currently expect from most mothers

Wait a minute, Halford, are you arguing that it's simply unreasonable to expect anyone, even people with no other work to do, to cook meals from raw ingredients and care adequately for a child? Because that definitely _is_ a set of skills that we expect from most mothers.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:03 AM
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My response was the much like Halford's, "You seriously want me to debone a fish while keeping your precious little one engaged at all times?" but then I realized she was five and could presumably color at the table or shell peas or whatever while the hard work gets done. But one big reason people eat convenience foods is for the convenience, and I can attest that giving extra attention to a child because it's your job gets exhausting.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:05 AM
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cook meals from raw ingredients and care adequately for a child

I don't need to speak for him, but my guess is that Halford has observed that "adequately" really does mean toe origami.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:05 AM
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Really does mean toe origami to the kinds of people the article focuses on.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:06 AM
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Whom Halford buddies around with, but he has the self-awareness to despise.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:07 AM
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No, I'm saying we don't expect mothers to be simultaneously attentively playing with their small children and cooking elaborate meals from scratch. Generally, there's time to do one or the other. If a husband came home from work and demanded of his SAHM wife why the three year old was watching TV for an hour (instead of playing with Mom) while the mom prepared the elaborate, made from scratch meal he is eating, because why couldn't she do both at once, we would rightly feel that the SAHM would be justified in stabbing the husband in the face. Yet this is what (some) people expect of their nannies, because they're too cheap or unable to hire people for what is really a two person job.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:09 AM
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50 to 45.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:12 AM
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39 to 50.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:13 AM
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The 'engaged at all times' expectation is puzzling me a little. I mean, I knew a lot of people with babysitters/nannies and I was one myself, but not in the social class where the NYT is reporting on us. But total focus on a kid, in a manner that would keep you from doing something else, isn't really practical for eight hours at a stretch, and it'd drive the kid insane. They play with stuff, or nap, or talk at you while you make "I'm listening" noises. An expectation that you have both hands either touching or otherwise actively engaged with the kid at all times would make doing anything else impossible, but the unreasonable bit would be that expectation, not the idea of doing something else along with the childcare.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:18 AM
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As I may have mentioned before, my own sister was in service for awhile. The family she was with was almost farcically nouveau riche -- dad was a local Fortune 500 company executive and mom shopped. Literally, that's all she did: Shopped and had lunch with her rich friends. They also had the canonical teenage-kid-from-a-previous-marriage-who-has-been-kicked-out-of-every-boarding-school-she-attended.

Anyhow, the beginning of the end for my sister was when the mom came home and got all upset because there was a smear of jam on the counter, and my sister replied that she thought that sometimes the mom was more interested in having a spotless house than in how her children were being taken care of.

I dunno where this idea that people in Wisconsin haven't heard of quinoa comes from. If this young woman is nannying for asshole arrivistes, she probably didn't just fall off the turnip truck from Baraboo. 6 will get you 12 she is a mid-middle class aspirational sub-Ivy grad who grew up in suburban Madison or Milwaukee, probably within rock-throwing distance of a Whole Foods. Okay, per LinkedIn she is apparently from Neenah, but has spent the last TWELVE YEARS in various child development occupations, including being an in-home caretaker for autistic kids and leading church youth groups. And she went to UW-Madison and got a BA in Rehab Studies with a minor in African Studies. So presumably they make her speak Kiswahili to the kid.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:19 AM
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And I'm not saying no one's unreasonable like that -- I'm sure some people are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:20 AM
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Things like playing games together, doing a project together, elaborate imaginary play in which both are engaged, etc etc. Not full time "touching" but not a lot of time for elaborate cooking, either.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:21 AM
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I dunno where this idea that people in Wisconsin haven't heard of quinoa comes from. If this young woman is nannying for asshole arrivistes, she probably didn't just fall off the turnip truck from Baraboo.

Half the upper-middle-class young people I know grew up on Hot Pockets and don't know how to crack an egg.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:21 AM
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Well, but who was eating quinoa 10 years ago? Like, 5 people in Marin County and that's it. I grew up eating Hot Pockets, amongst a lots of other things, and I'm familiar with all internet foody traditions.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:25 AM
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...almost farcically nouveau riche... asshole arrivistes

This is an odd note. You'd approve of rich people more if they were real aristocrats, rather than jumped-up newcomers who aren't any better than anyone else? Because I can't see how real aristocrats, or old money, are preferable at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:25 AM
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Ah, Wisconsin. Let me butt in for a second. (On preview: I bet Neenah has a Whole Foods.)

I have occasionally confused unlabeled jars of quinoa and couscous, although if I look closely at them I'll usually get it right. (This is more in the context of checking to see if we have something before running to the store than in the context of cooking it. But I could easily see, if you are a fucking full-time caregiver to rambunctious kids, idly pouring the quinoa into the hot water to sit for five minutes, then being distressed to find a pot of yuck when you take the lid off.)

It's true here, but not a foregone conclusion that the nanny is white -- there are people of color born in Wisconsin, and if you are one, moving to New York is an excellent plan for minimizing daily racist bullshit. My mom was telling me depressing but vague things about how racist Madison is, with "some of the worst disproportionate numbers re: black and white stats in the country. bar none. it's awful. and [this data] goes on and on," and I grew up hearing about how the state had the highest black incarceration rate in the country. So instead of mocking lovable cheese-eating, beer-addled midwesterners who don't know that there is ethnic food (Madison has fantastic ethnic food, btw), I tend to go straight to mocking the fact that Amtrak has never run between Madison and cosmopolitan Chicago 2.5 hours away, because (apocryphally but credibly) the northerners are so terrified of black people taking the train up into their fair city. I don't know if that's true, but it might as well be. The bullshit and well-meaning cluelessness are so extreme.

My hometown was pretty good to me, but to the extent that it's a lovable little Portland-in-the-corn, it deserves the same exposure. Unfortunately I am too busy to dig up the real stats. If anyone's interested I can make a point of looking.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:26 AM
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Sorry for the logorrhea. Incidentally, I grew up eating couscous, so I think my "pot of yuck" theory is plausible here.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:27 AM
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I would have been just as disgusted if she was working for asshole aristocrats, but we don't have very many of them around here.

No WF, but there is this in Neenah: http://theredradish.com/


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:28 AM
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Come to think, my college roommate's sister is a freelance stage manager (touring with the Rockettes right now), but between gigs was keeping body and soul together by sort of nannying an intermittently demented old lady. And she said she picked up a lot of food knowledge -- she's the kid I was thinking of who grew up on Hot Pockets and never cracked an egg, but the old lady would want to go grocery shopping, and there was apparently a fair amount of shrieking "Fennel! Fennel!" or similar, requiring Beth to calm her by identifying and grabbing some fennel, which she'd never heard of before. She said she'd ended up broadening her shopping horizons a great deal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:33 AM
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That story was completely irrelevant to the topic of the thread, sorry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:39 AM
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OK, but don't let it happen again.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:53 AM
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Quinoa is delicious and healthy, and Halford should go back to his blackout drunk crack binges in Toronto if he doesn't like it.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:54 PM
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I am totally not understanding what Halford is nattering about. We had a full time nanny/housekeeper for a while when my son was pre-school age. Her job consisted of childcare for about 7 hours, followed by an hour of cooking at the end of the day after mom and/or dad got home. We preferred playing with our toddler over cooking, and she was sick of the kid by that hour and preferred being paid to cook and straighten up for the last hour. It seemed to work out well, because we are moral monsters.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:07 PM
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Of course you are a moral monster anyway, you asshole, but note that you did not actually make your nanny both do chdcare and cook at the same time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:11 PM
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God being a rich moral monster sounds nice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:12 PM
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But total focus on a kid, in a manner that would keep you from doing something else, isn't really practical for eight hours at a stretch, and it'd drive the kid insane.

It would drive the kid insane? Drive the caregiver insane, sure. But this is precisely what our kids demand of us constantly. I'm certain if they got it, it would be like Christmas.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:18 PM
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Eight hours straight staring/talking/poking at them and not a moment's peace? They probably want more attention than you enjoy giving, but I bet after four or five hours of total focus, they'd be crying uncle and hiding behind the furniture.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:26 PM
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Her job consisted of childcare for about 7 hours, followed by an hour of cooking at the end of the day after mom and/or dad got home.

No break. No lunch. That's a long day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:32 PM
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There's not really an obvious way to schedule a lunch hour. I mean, clearly a nanny can take time to eat, have a cup of coffee, whatever, in the way that anyone can while watching kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:40 PM
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68: On the days I have my son, our nanny cooks dinner for him (and for me, because he's expected to eat "adult" food and it's no more work to make enough for two) before I get home from the office. Sometimes that's before she gets him from the school bus, but sometimes not. He entertains himself just fine while she's cooking.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:47 PM
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You'd approve of rich people more if they were real aristocrats, rather than jumped-up newcomers who aren't any better than anyone else? Because I can't see how real aristocrats, or old money, are preferable at all.

Because TRUE real aristocrats have class! Noblesse oblige! Garden gnomes!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:59 PM
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OT: Guy waiting for the bus in a deerstalker cap and a coat that appears to be styled on a Prussian army great coat. Creeping Wisconsinism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:00 PM
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This thread has me missing Nancy -- we had a high-pressure summer, and never got out to see her and Gerard. I didn't see as much of her as Buck did, but it was still nice having her around. (Although, on the topic of the thread, it was a relief having her out of my kitchen. She had very strange opinions about where various things should be put away. Buck does too, but having two other adults being wrong was harder than just one.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:03 PM
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I'm not very good at describing coats. It was German field grey, very long, and looked vaguely Napoleon-era from the front, above the waist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:05 PM
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78: like so?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:07 PM
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I mean, it would be awesome if it was this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:08 PM
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Neither. It had big lapels, like in the early 19th century.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:12 PM
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Relatedly, are people in favor of knitted, thigh-length sweater/coat things? Like this but much longer. I saw one on a student and liked it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:17 PM
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82: I wear those all the time, which is not a meaningful fashion endorsement. I mean, I wouldn't wear that one because it's a frumpy lace pattern (IMO) and the lace should start below the bust or it's going to look awful, but yesterday I had one on over a dress with purple tights because I don't want to be too work-appropriate.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:20 PM
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81: wait that second one is actually from the 19th century


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:24 PM
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||

"Cabbie Who Maimed British Tourist Won't Be Charged, DA Says"

|>


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:25 PM
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||

"Cabbie Who Maimed British Tourist Won't Be Charged, DA Says"

|>


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:25 PM
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oops


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:25 PM
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78.1 to 84.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:27 PM
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68: The article doesn't really preclude that kind of arrangement in the family that's being discussed.

72: I assume you're kidding, but for the record, babies nap. And they can be parked by the tv from time to time also.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:27 PM
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I also don't think it's necessary to go to school to learn that couscous is "the stuff in the box labelled couscous at the grocery store, while quinoa is "the stuff in the box labelled quinoa at the grocery store," and both boxes have very simple prep instructions printed right on them.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:30 PM
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What!? Couscous and quinoa don't come in boxes, you philistine! They come in bulk bins. Obviously you need some consultants for your cooking.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:38 PM
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And they get put in your own glass jars that may have remnants of the original labels. Jesus, were you raised in a barn?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:49 PM
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60: Well, sure, there are lots of racists in Wisconsin, I'd be the last person to gainsay you there.

Funnily enough, one of the dozen or so native Madisonians I know is a fairly high-up VP for Whole Foods. Not directly connected with quinoa or couscous though, so far as I know.

Didn't AWB work/volunteer at a snooty co-op out there? Perhaps she would have some perspective on this crucial moral question of our time.

Asking your nanny to cook the kid healthy foods instead of chicken fingers is not so monstrous. Paying $2,500 for one or two consultations and a couple of days of training is obviously conspicuous consumption, I would argue of a very suspect sort.

And another thing: This woman is educated, partially at public expense, and has a wealth of experience in working with autistic kids and neuro-typical kids alike. Is it really the best use of societal resources to have her fricasséeing locally sourced organic duck livers in gluten-free morel sauce for one be-cowboy-booted rich kid?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:51 PM
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Not directly connected with quinoa or couscous though, so far as I know.

At least not connected, IYKWIM.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:52 PM
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Psst... unimaginative's nanny shops at grocery stores ... pass it on...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:54 PM
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And what we are seeing is just one part of the great cycle of NYTimes coverage--this kid is being well-prepped to be the subject of a Vows column.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:56 PM
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There's a food coöp right in the same building where you can have you kid take fencing lessons while you do rock climbing. I never go.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:56 PM
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85 (and 86): Winston Churchill was hit by a cab in Manhattan in the 1930s - legendarily, he looked the wrong way when he started to cross a street. This recent incident seems to feature much more egregious behavior by the cab driver.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:57 PM
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82: Yes! I find them cozy and I don't feel self-conscious in them, at a time when my clothes generally no longer fit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:09 PM
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90: I've been arguing the whole thread that cooking lessons don't make the employers moral monsters, but they do sound a bit like something that you'd do if you had more money than sense. The sane version of this is to say in the morning "Dinner for little Graydon is X, the ingredients are in the fridge, recipe/directions if you need them are here."

Cooking lessons sounds like either the employers are nitwits, or less likely they're nice people and the lessons sounded like fun for the nanny (really not all that implausible), or maybe the nanny has really never cracked an egg/sliced a cucumber/boiled a pot of rice, and this seemed less micromanagy than teaching her themselves.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:14 PM
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100 also to 93.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:16 PM
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The fact that this group's tagline is "Teaching nannies how to cook for YOUR kids" (caps theirs) makes me think that 28/34 et al. are on to something, and that at least the marketing is designed to appeal to moral monsters.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:33 PM
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If you read it, I think the capitalized "YOUR" is meant to indicate that the service inquires into and takes into account your kid's current tastes.

(For some reason, that gave me a flashback to the babysitter we had when I was a kid, who would make me mayonnaise and jelly sandwiches. Luckily, she usually didn't watch to see if I ate them. Really unpleasant.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:37 PM
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We streamed the movie Haute Cuisine last night. I'd hire that woman to teach my servants how to cook. If I had servants.

Obviously, the default presumption is that people featured in lifestyle articles in the NYT -- and the people to whom the articles are primarily directed -- are monsters. This, though, is a couple of smart fellows who've figured out a fairly harmless way to make money on the monsters' class anxieties. Good for them, and good for them for getting the NYT to advertise them.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:40 PM
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Is it really the best use of societal resources to have her fricasséeing locally sourced organic duck livers in gluten-free morel sauce for one be-cowboy-booted rich kid?

Obviously only a morel monster would think so.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:43 PM
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103.1 (now that I've stopped gagging at the image conjured up by 103.2): That may be what it's meant to indicate at one level but that doesn't stop it from also conspicuously (and I have to imagine deliberately) appealing to the class aspirations/anxieties of moral monsters.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:46 PM
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Heh. I have two memories of our first daycare lady. She started the day by lining us up at the piano and singing Jesus Loves Me. And she served us a daily salad of iceberg lettuce and Russian dressing, which I remember as the most delicious thing ever.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:46 PM
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(We all sang Jesus Loves Me. She wasn't serenading us solo.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:47 PM
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I have mentioned here before that my sister loved to eat peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches as a child.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:51 PM
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At the dawn of the 21st century, a small group of people came together over the internet to debate the relative monstrosity of a collection of wealthy people who appeared in newspaper articles. Although this exercise was, in and of itself, pointless, we are left with a treasury of flame wars, sarcasm and phallic references that will reverberate throughout the world for millennia to come.

--Preface to The Norton Anthology of Unfogged Comments, Vol. 3: New York Times Style Section Threads, 8th Edition, W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., New York, London, Melbourne, 2136


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:52 PM
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110 is great.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:55 PM
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103.2,109: You're scaring me. And I eat mayonnaise on sandwiches all the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:56 PM
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My phallus will reverberate for millennia. Laydeez.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:58 PM
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appealing to the class aspirations/anxieties of moral monsters.

This may be something where my moral intuitions are out of step with the norm. I care about equality: no one should have ludicrous amounts of money to waste while other people are needy. And I care about cruelty: employers should treat their employees respectfully and decently. And externalities generally. Beyond that, I don't really care what people spend their money on.

Having your kid eat healthy, palatable food seems like a reasonable thing to want. This service seems like a non-harmful way of making it happen -- maybe a bit of a boondoggle, but not obviously evil. It's like that thread ages ago hating on Courtney Love for ordering sugar cookies from room service at 3 am; if you're not talking about the inequality that means she has the money to order anything from room service ever (and if that's what you're talking about, why bring up the cookies), why is tacky frivolous spending any worse than anything else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:02 PM
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70: The Calabat has learned to toss his toys out of reach and fake cry, so that I might have to come sit by him to hand him his toys.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:05 PM
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||
Well, no one's as bad as Terry Gross. No one. (Interview with Allie Brosh, folks! The total horror begins around minute 24 of 38. On the other hand the interview makes me love Allie Brosh so much that I kind of can't handle it.)
|>

I wouldn't eat it, but duck livers in morel sauce sounds pretty awesome. A (Madison) friend once bought morels at the farmer's market and went to make cream of mushroom soup with them. At some point he fucked it up, and realized he was going to have to dump some of the finest and most expensive ingredients he had ever bought down the toilet. (Because there's no easy way to discard botched soup, I guess?) I think we dinner guests had mark 2 of the soup, which was amazing.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:08 PM
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114: Well I'm not being entirely serious here, and I certainly don't think this is worth getting worked up over. (And I agree with 104.last, nothing wrong with these guys taking advantage of moral monsters' monstrosity.) But I do feel like the not at all subtle message here is that while ordinary nanny-prepared food may be acceptable for the children of the proles, it will simply not do for your snowflakes.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:09 PM
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114: Does your opinion change if they were not sugar cookies but toast soldiers?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:09 PM
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Obviously only a morel monster would think so.

Only a moral monster would know what morels are.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:14 PM
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117: Eh, it doesn't read all that differently to me from, e.g., going to a restaurant the nanny wouldn't go to on her own dime, buying clothes the nanny couldn't afford for her own kids. It's "We have more money, so we get nicer stuff," but that's what having more money means -- the injustice is the inequality of resources, not the particular spending.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:20 PM
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120: My other sister used to work in a well-known expensive Swedish children's clothing boutique. The people who shopped there were almost all horrible.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:26 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:28 PM
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If it's the Swedish clothes I'm thinking of, you have to admit they're really cute. And lasted impressively well. In fact, there's a picture of four-year-old Sally in a stripey dress and matching shorts from there on my desk right now. (And Newt in a different stripey outfit at two in my wallet.)

I am a monster.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:31 PM
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Maintaining the form and practice of social equality is, if anything, even more important in a world of grotesque financial inequality.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:33 PM
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Weird anxiety-producing nanny interactions: back when Sally was littler and Nancy still worked for us, they spent a lot of time with the kids of another family, whose nanny Nancy was tight with. (She actually still works for the other family as a sort of housekeeper, despite the kids having aged out of nannydom.) And B. the other nanny, had a daughter maybe five years older than Sally, which meant that she was consistently about a size larger.

Somehow, Nancy started bringing B.'s daughter's handmedowns home for Sally. Which, generally I'm all about the handmedowns, and the clothes were perfectly nice, and Sally wore them, but I kept on getting stuck thinking "Don't you know anyone else who could use these more than us? This can't be right." But I was never involved directly in the interaction with B. (like, I'd see her occasionally, but not related to the handmedowns), and interfering with it seemed more embarrassment-ridden then letting it pass.

So I got her kids gift-cards at Christmas, and didn't worry about it. But I did have a vague feeling that I was taking advantage somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:39 PM
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124: Burn the restaurants! Slash the BMW tires! Throw paint on every suit you see!

I mean seriously, there's so much visible inequality of consumption out there that sweating this service seems like a weird, weird place to start.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:41 PM
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I also see this piece less in terms of "support for conspicuous consumption" and more in terms of the Mark Bittman editorials/Michael Pollan-harassing-women-about-not-cooking deranged food politics of the paper of record. Whether it shows up the class underpinnings of the deranged food politics is a reasonable question, but let's not forget the shaming! Organic home cooking is an obligation, not a privilege!

I say this as someone who worries that my child eats too much wheat. She just goes out in the field and munches rows of it down, and even when she spits out the stems has all kinds of stomach problems, which I attribute to gluten poisoning.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:42 PM
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It's not that they can afford curry. It's that they're willing to spend money out of fear that their kid might otherwise not learn to appreciate curry.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:47 PM
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128: Which is the monstrous bit -- wanting the kid to like curry, or not having faith that the kid would spontaneously come to like curry if not exposed to it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 5:17 PM
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116.1: I heard that on the radio while driving back to work from family therapy and just listened to the grotesque goading about "Did you have a plan? What was it???" and couldn't turn off the radio. Just awful!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 5:23 PM
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I prefer bastardized dishes.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:16 PM
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129: It's the gestalt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:21 PM
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And yes, as the person who saw this on Twitter and whose immediate reaction was that it needed to be a FPP and not just a comment, I will admit that Style Section slagging is the lowest form of post. But that's entertainment! Also 110.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:25 PM
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I think Nanny Couscous has been supplanted by the Empress of All Virgins.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:32 PM
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A couscous thread! I made couscous last night. But everyone's asleep now. Hi, Teo!

and my sister replied that she thought that sometimes the mom was more interested in having a spotless house than in how her children were being taken care of.

How shocked she must have been when this was not met with gratitude and approval.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 1:49 AM
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I think my expat grandmother met opprobrium for letting the children eat what the local servants cooked. It was supposed to be spam and creamed canned greens anywhere in the world, apparently.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 1:53 AM
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I can't bear to listen to it to find out, but Terry Gross was mean to Allie Brosh in an interview? That's fucked up.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 2:01 AM
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109 sounds like a good idea, might try that.

A few years ago there was a scare going round that the fashionability of quinoa in the rich world was causing food shortages in the (few) places it was grown because it was all being bought up by exporters. leaving the local farmers without anything to eat. Anybody know if there was anything in that, or, if so, it was sorted out? (Personally, if I never eat quinoa again, I shall not repine.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 2:36 AM
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I think my expat grandmother met opprobrium for letting the children eat what the local servants cooked.

My grandmother had a book called "Zulu for the Household" (published Cape Town 1909) which I wish I could get hold of... it was a list of useful phrases with which to address your Zulu-speaking servants, and the two that stick in my mind are "Put the remainder of the rice pudding in the refrigerator" and "These shirts are insufficiently starched".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 3:56 AM
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137: I heard (most of) the interview. It got weird because Gross was very persistent in asking Brosch about her depression and suicide ideation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:26 AM
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Oh god. I have a cleaner, which I agonised about doing for ages but when my back is bad I use all my spoons* for the weekend just doing the floors.
Anyway she comes in once a fortnight and as well as cleaning she irons whatever stuff I leave out (not that much since most of my clothes don't need ironing). I leave out the spray starch but clearly she doesn't use it - the shirts look very nice on the hanger but by the time I get to work they are already crumpled. I have contemplated leaving her a note but am reluctant to do so.
Now after reading 139, I know I am a morel monster.

*http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:28 AM
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138: From the FB links of the Latin Americanists I know, I took away that there was never anything to it. I can produce some links, I suspect, if you wish.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:32 AM
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Swedish people sure are into baby clothes. I was thinking I'd google "Swedish baby clothes" and instantly know what brand was under discussion, but no. Anyhow, the Swedish baby clothes Zardoz has are nice. If they weren't hand-me-downs presumably Blume ordered them online, with a napkin over her head to hide her shame.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:32 AM
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141: I have a cleaner and I don't even have a bad back. But she doesn't do ironing. (Perhaps if I asked her in Zulu?)

I am a morel monster too. But then, as Brecht said, morels are a luxury of the rich.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:38 AM
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She has worked for a long time for a friend of mine, and when I asked her to work for me she said, well, pay me €40, the same as X pays, and I'll do your ironing as I do for him. (He probably has more shirts.) She was very funny when I met her about the fact that after an initial meeting she hardly ever sees her clients in person, perhaps for years. We communicate either by note or text message, usually.
I find myself in the cliched position sometimes of tidying up before she comes - I don't really want her re-organising my dressing table on some alien principle and it's better to empty the dishwasher myself. Cf. LB above, the silent struggle on where certain kitchen items ought to go also plays out.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 5:03 AM
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Our housecleaner was involved in this, because that's how Camberville rolls. She's independent now, and seems to have a pretty successful business.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 5:21 AM
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morels are a luxury of the rich

Indeed. They're one of the rarest mushrooms; I remember when my mum actually discovered a clump in the wild and cooked them up. Really good.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 5:59 AM
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To be honest, if we weren't completely skint, we should have had a cleaner for part of my wife's maternity leave. Maybe a couple of hours, once a week. But we didn't.

My mum used to work as a cleaner -- offices, and one woman's house, which she did once a week* -- as did I [hospitals and schools].

* they became quite good friends. I don't think my Mum ever found their relationship awkward, although I was young-ish, at the time, so maybe she wouldn't have told me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 6:23 AM
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A few years ago there was a scare going round that the fashionability of quinoa in the rich world was causing food shortages in the (few) places it was grown because it was all being bought up by exporters. leaving the local farmers without anything to eat. Anybody know if there was anything in that, or, if so, it was sorted out? (Personally, if I never eat quinoa again, I shall not repine.)

The issue wasn't food shortages, it was skyrocketing prices. It was a real thing, and a bit double-edged. On the one hand, farmers who actually grew quinoa were getting cash, on the other, the quinoa was getting too expensive to buy just for eating (or drinking - there's a traditional quinoa drink that I gather is like barley water) and people were eating the usual mass-produced sugary/fatty/fiberless junk that the poor get stuck with. This article in the Stranger seems to sum up the whole thing and provide some links. Honestly, it seems pretty uncontroversial - the sudden marketization of a traditional commodity and the accompanying skyrocketing prices tend to fuck up a lot of traditional lifeways. It also brings benefits - cash, more choices for peasants now that they actually have money, boosts to the local economy. It's a really double-edged thing, and I don't think that there's an obvious correct answer in terms of "what position should hippies take on quinoa consumption". I've mostly stopped buying it myself, but I recognize that this isn't an ideal solution.

It seems like the real way to go would be like Zapatista Coffee - fair-trade quinoa cooperatives. But for preference supported on a large scale by the Bolivian government. [Said the anarchist. Give the anarchist a cigarette!]

I do feel like quinoa's miracle qualities are overrated. Millet, for example, is a grain with a less-good but still strong nutritional profile (less protein and iron per cup, but actually, you know, quinoa only has 6 grams of protein per cup anyway). Amaranth actually is higher protein than quinoa or millet (per cup cooked) and has more iron and fiber as well. It's also gummier, true, but it makes a good vaguely polenta-ish savory base, and it's a weed plant that grows throughout the Americas. (You can also pop it - very very carefully in small quantities in a heavy pan - like tiny popcorn to make a puffed cereal or the base for amaranth candy.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:18 AM
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I admit, I kind of want marc&mark to come over and teach me how to cook for myself.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:28 AM
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I have to say I'm fairly hazy on the question of what quinoa actually is, to say nothing of why I'd care.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:00 AM
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It's a kind of couscous.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:02 AM
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It's some sort of hideous grain, probably terribly good for you. Remember bulgur wheat? A bit like that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:06 AM
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It's one of things where pedantic people (hi!) explain that it's not actually a grain, but a flower seed. But from a culinary point of view, it's a grain.

It has to be severely washed, because it has a bitter coating, but once you do that it tastes fine by boiled grain standards -- not exciting, but who expects excitement from boiled grain -- and it's unusually high protein.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:13 AM
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Amaranth is obviously a pre-Saxon settlement somewhere in the British Isles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:14 AM
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153. No, bulgur is acceptable in a few contexts. Quinoa is like bulgur that has been immersed in wallpaper glue after having the flavour surgically removed.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:21 AM
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Amaranth is obviously a pre-Saxon settlement somewhere in the British Isles.

No, it's a minor place name in the Silmarillion.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:26 AM
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It's funny how individual reactions are to different grains. White rice is something I'd eat only if it were soaked in sauce or I was really hungry -- it seems to me to be completely flavorless. But lots of people seem to actively like it. Quinoa, on the other hand, I'm not thrilled by, but it's harmless; if the rest of my family didn't dislike it, I wouldn't mind it plain as a side dish at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:26 AM
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I have never been able to duplicate them, but there was a guy at my college co-op who made amazing pans of porridge. They were probably mostly corn based. Nicely sweet. They had quinoa in them and somehow he got the cook times right so that the quinoa were little burst-y bubbles in the mix.

That's the best quinoa I've had. Besides that, I usually find it to be an unobjectionable grain.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:39 AM
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It's annoying, because now whenever grains come up I feel like I have to say something to keep the sitcom character cliche train rolling, but it's hard to come up with even barely passable new material. I guess I'll just fall back on the old "they're poison and also fuck you all."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:46 AM
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157: I almost went with a LoTR's joke, but I was going to do Gondorian nobility.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:49 AM
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Flavorlessness was a major battleground back when I was a picky child. My mother would protest that whatever vegetable I wasn't refusing - cauliflower? broccoli even? - "doesn't taste like anything" and I would argue back that if it was taste-free why would I even want to eat it?

I guess I know more now about what motivated each of us then - nutrition, textures, seasoning - but when I was six or seven we did a lot more talking-past-one-another about this than about foods where strong flavor was at issue.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:53 AM
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There's a Peruvian place down the way that serves quinoa cooked in chicken fat that's goddamned amazing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:53 AM
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163: Qualtz?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:55 AM
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I was making quite a bit of this for a while. It's good, if you like porridge, and won't leave you hungry in two hours, like most porridges.

1 part steel cut oats
1/2 part quinoa
1/4 part amaranth
1/4 part teff
1.5 parts milk (soy is fine)
1.5 parts water (distilled from the urine of Alsatian yaks)
Pinch of salt
Pat of butter

Bring to a boil, let simmer, stir, etc. Or make it in your fancy rice cooker. Add fruits, nuts, whatever. You can also quickly pan toast the grains in butter before you boil them, but I couldn't detect a difference when I did that, so I stopped.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:57 AM
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White rice is something I'd eat only if it were soaked in sauce

Is there any other way of eating it?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:57 AM
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I used to eat white rice with salt and butter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:59 AM
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I make the exact same thing as in 165, except without the quinoa, amaranth, teff, and butter. It is good and filling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:00 AM
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I like plain rice with a bit of salt and pepper. I used to eat tons of it in college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:00 AM
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and filling

Everything is filling if you wash it down with two beers, brother. That's you, right?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:01 AM
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Yes, but I don't have beer for breakfast and I've had meals with two beers where I've still been hungry afterwards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:03 AM
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The special importance of quinoa is that pronouncing it correctly is a class marker.

The same reason that all fancy restaurants used to have hors d'oeuvres on their menus.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:04 AM
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172 gets it right. Cue "Queeno" Bud Light commercial.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:06 AM
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Quinoa is like bulgur that has been immersed in wallpaper glue after having the flavour surgically removed.

This is insane. Quinoa has a very distinctive flavor.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:08 AM
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So has wallpaper glue.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:10 AM
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Quinoa has a very distinctive flavor.

As something would, it it were immersed in wallpaper glue after having the flavour surgically removed. You think wallpaper glue is flavorless?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:10 AM
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importance of quinoa is that pronouncing it correctly

That used to be true.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:10 AM
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You think wallpaper glue is flavorless?

It depends on the pairing. It's a very delicate flavor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:19 AM
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It has to be severely washed, because it has a bitter coating, but once you do that it tastes fine by boiled grain standards -- not exciting, but who expects excitement from boiled grain -- and it's unusually high protein.

Perhaps I am getting inferior flyover country quinoa but I have only ever encountered it already-rinsed, even when it is not so designated and even in the bulk bin at the co-op. At first I was washing it on general principles, but I noticed that I wasn't seeing any of the turbidity that you are supposed to see as the saponins wash off, so I tried cooking it without rinsing, and lo, it was exactly the same as when I cooked it after rinsing, but easier. I think most of the quinoa now for sale in the US is pre-rinsed, and the rinsing advice dates back a few years when the market was different.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:25 AM
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Huh. I get a real taste difference if I don't wash the heck out of it. And it's oddly water-repellent as I wash it; the grains cling together and are sort of hard to wet. I don't know that it makes your quinoa inferior, but the stuff I buy appears to need washing.

Also, what Megan said about it popping in your mouth is right -- if you cook it right, it's got sort of a caviar texture. More like a grain than actually like fish roe, but the same sort of feeling each grain pop as you chew it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:28 AM
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OT: This is like a concentrated dose of "Old Man Yells at Cloud."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 12:09 PM
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I didn't find the original Andy Rooney funny. All of the imitators are even worse. It's a terrible, terrible genre. Any piece that begins with "What's with all the..." should be nuked from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 12:25 PM
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Y'know what I've been wondering lately: what's with all the Andy Rooney wannabes, anyway?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 12:26 PM
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||
I just got a fundraising email from the DNC that reads (between the lines) "The healthcare.gov rollout is such a clusterfuck that the Republicans are going to shellack us in 2014: Give us money!"
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 2:10 PM
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What is up with the umlaut in 177? Keen-wäh? Who says it like that? Or does the umlaut in this context mean something other than what I think it means?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 2:55 PM
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It's the second derivative of a.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 2:59 PM
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What comes after jerk?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 3:12 PM
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Oh right, snap, crackle, and pop. So it's keen-w*snap*h?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 3:13 PM
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It's good, if you like porridge, and won't leave you hungry in two hours, like most porridges.

I need to make some of this. I have a hard time finding breakfasts that are actually filling, beyond my overly pretentious fancy-pants muesli that I should really just make myself and occasionally get bored of.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 3:27 PM
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187: jerk's date


Posted by: turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:04 PM
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Wait, did ogged just comment on a post he didn't put up?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:05 PM
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Multiple times!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:25 PM
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192 to 191, but why not also to 190.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 4:25 PM
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oddly water-repellent as I wash it; the grains cling together and are sort of hard to wet

the saponins? Does the rinse-water froth?

Delightful book on restoring burnt Grinling Gibbons carvings -- close inspection showed scratches sort of like sanding gives, but sandpaper comes a hundred years later -- eventually worked out it was scouring rush, one of the Equisetum. (Saponins->Bouncing Bet->scouring rush.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 5:10 PM
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No frothing that I've noticed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 5:26 PM
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Hm. The official test soaks and then boils and then checks for froth. INCONCLUSIVE.

I had lovely amaranth growing out a fourth-floor window, until the day before I was going to harvest it -- then all gone! Which is sad as the gardening optimists say the bitterness reduces predation. I suppose Berkeley varmints can pronounce `quinoa', too. And, come to think of it, sheep like the whole thing.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 5:46 PM
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195 to 191.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 6:01 PM
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I probably linked this before, but there's an experiment underway to grow quinoa in Montana.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/wilsall-farmers-take-a-shot-at-growing-quinoa/article_cb323e21-928a-51d2-a5dc-1ca867c2aaae.html

The picture's kind of neat. I had no idea what it looked like.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 6:48 PM
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I'm with Frowner in 179 on the failure to see any need to rinse quinoa. I always get it from bulk bins at the coop, so maybe the product there is different from what you might get at a supermarket? Cooking without rinsing just produces the light fluffy popping, slightly nutty thing that is quinoa. I don't think I've ever experienced wallpaper glue from it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 6:55 PM
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198: There's some guy trying to grow it in Alaska too, with limited success so far.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 7:20 PM
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This is an odd note. You'd approve of rich people more if they were real aristocrats, rather than jumped-up newcomers who aren't any better than anyone else? Because I can't see how real aristocrats, or old money, are preferable at all.

Real aristocrats hire appropriate levels of help and don't demand their kids eat like pretentious upper middle class people. My sister's friend's boyfriend's college summer job was a nanny for an Austrian prince. The prince, age 4, had two other nannies to do the actual child rearing work: an older head nanny in charge of him and his sister, and a younger woman who was in charge of taking care of basic needs. The boyfriend, from an upper class background himself, was just to be a well-heeled young male presence in the prince's life. He spent most of the time playing with the prince in a Newport Country Club. The kid ate lots of pre-packaged rice krispie treats and other foods like that, all of which were prepared by nanny #2.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 7:50 PM
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It's not that they can afford curry. It's that they're willing to spend money out of fear that their kid might otherwise not learn to appreciate curry.

Yeah, this was my biggest problem with it. Maybe it's my own snobbery,* but the overwrought anxiety over pedestrian tastes, with seemingly little understanding of how kids learn to like food was the biggest turnoff. Being an interesting person who likes interesting food ought to develop intrinsically through the child's natural upbringing, and outside concerns for social signaling, and stupid Yuppies like these people assume you can buy an interesting, unique, and passionate child. They're mostly concerned this girl will be as vapid and conventional as they are, and because they're snobs they're not willing to see she'd probably be a far more interesting person if they let the Wisconite nanny have free range.

*It feels very violating to have the counter-culture aspects of ones own childhood taken up by materialistic strivers. We ate quinoa and amaranth as kids because the people around us were Sandinista supporters, not because some fucking music producer was worried their kid would be judged at their 50K a year private school and then maybe not get into Harvard because she admits she eats Wonder bread. We also ate mac and cheese and jello and white rice, and no one judged what people ate based on class signaling. This is wrong, but I want to hardcore judge them.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 8:13 PM
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Real aristocrats hire appropriate levels of help and don't demand their kids eat like pretentious upper middle class people.

God why can't we have more people like that in this country. I swear. It's like we're just a nation of classless slobs. Absolutely shameful. We could learn a lesson or two from Austria, that's for sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 8:17 PM
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How does one prepare a pre-packaged Rice Krispy treat, I wonder. Is it as simple as opening the package? Or is there more to it than that?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 8:52 PM
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You give it some xanax and tell it the pain of being consumed won't last long.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 8:54 PM
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I doubt it minds being consumed, so long as the consumer supported the Sandinistas.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 8:57 PM
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My takeaway from this thread is that Bill de Blasio makes Rice Crispy treats using quinoa and amaranth. And I will not be persuaded that I'm mistaken.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 8:58 PM
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I hope when Rob Ford quits, which I fear will be sooner than we'd all like, he gives his version of the Checkers speech.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:00 PM
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209: I think we can count on several versions, given his history!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:06 PM
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Nixon would have done so much better if he'd gone out on a joke about going down on Patricia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:12 PM
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Is there any reason to think that Nixon didn't do a bit of crack when on one of his drunken binges? Because that would explain so much.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:14 PM
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I think he should just leave it at: " I want to spend more time with my family."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:16 PM
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I should say this--that Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican latex dental dam.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:20 PM
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It used to be that when you thought of oral sex in Canada, you thought of Alanis Morissette and Joey.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 9:32 PM
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... and now I've gone and Googled "rob ford" oral. Crude, but at least I already had a stack of excuses for that sort of behavior at hand.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:11 PM
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201: I hate to break it to the guy, but there haven't been princes in Austria for a while.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:35 PM
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Right, they're all in Newport, hanging out at country clubs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:38 PM
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I don't know where they are or if they count as "princes" in a technical sense, but there's a whole bunch of Habsburgs around.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:55 PM
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There's a whole wikipedia page, a quick reading of which gets me wondering if there is a specific term for the child of a morganatic marriage that ended in divorce.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 11:07 PM
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Amaranth actually is higher protein than quinoa...and it's a weed plant that grows throughout the Americas.

Once the roundup-resistant pigweed takes over all the cultivatable land, we'll have no choice but to nourish ourselves with amaranth.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 3:41 AM
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219: Eurotrash.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 5:30 AM
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Amaranth was the hedge fund that Bulgur and Teff set up after Quinoa Capital LLC went bust.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 5:45 AM
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d^2 speaks truth.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 6:03 AM
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So, taking care of my friend's kid yesterday, I fed her organic peach yoghurt, garlic-and-fake-cheese kale crumble, apple slices and toast-with-fake-honey (this after about an hour of her demanding "Honey! Toast honey!" -- which her mother thought might actually have been her just trying to communicate that she was hungry in general). Ransacked the house for honey and came up with:

● Five kinds of maple or ersatz-maple syrup
● Four kinds of molasses
● A big bottle of blue agave syrup
...and no honey -- Thanks, vegans!

So I had to go to the connivance store and purchase a bottle of 10% honey syrup, probably the least healthful thing this kid has eaten in six months, since her mother, though poor, is kind of a natural food fanatic.

Also noted: We went to the park for a couple of hours and at one point I looked around and realized that all five of the kids playing in the jungle-gym area were accompanied by male caregivers -- 3 dads, one grandpa, and me. I don't think you would have been very likely to see that 20 years ago, even in liberal south Minneapolis.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 7:29 AM
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We could learn a lesson or two from Austria, that's for sure.

Starting with the opera. When I buy tickets to the Met online, 'Countess' isn't even an option in the dropdown menu for titles.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 7:46 AM
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Oops. I mean, when my assistant buys my tickets to the Met.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 7:46 AM
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In the warm light of morning I'm enjoying trying to figure out what the hell is Sandinista-supporting about Amaranth. Maybe an Austrian princeling would know?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 7:48 AM
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(Googling, okay Amaranth... seed? Was eaten a lot in the Andes several hundred years ago? And is apparently a marker of indigenous culture? I guess when we named out alternative high school newspaper "The Amaranth" we were co-opting Britta's more-authentically co-opted culture. Our bad!)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 7:55 AM
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re: 225

The ENO used to have a ridiculous set of titles in the dropdowns, too. Looking now, it just seems to be the usual: Mr, Mrs, Miss, Miss, Prof, Dr, Rev, Sir, Lady.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 7:59 AM
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I always assumed the ENO's list was a bored underling dicking around. "Admiral" is the only one I can now remember.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 8:08 AM
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To answer some questions:

1. Packaged rice krispie treats generally have 2-3 steps: 1) open the package. 2) microwave for 5 seconds (optional). 3) put on plate. My sister's friend's boyfriend never had to do any of this, because it was considered food prep and not part of his job responsibilities. If his charge wanted a rice krispie treat, he would get one of the other nannies to do that.

2. The branch of the Hapsburgs this prince was connected to was one involving some murder/divorce scandal in the 70s, I think. 10 minutes of googling & wikipedia-ing couldn't find anything, but I remember my mother and my sister's friend's parents discussing it at the time.

3. I was being sloppy in the Amaranth connection. The real Amaranth connection was my 4/5th grade teacher was a Shining Path supporter and also a huge indigenous rights activist (those two positions might not be mutually inclusive, not sure about the Shining Path's treatment of indigenous people), and thus an early adopter of Amaranth. She grew her own in the community garden, so it didn't really affect amaranth production in South America, positively or negatively. I actually didn't grow up eating amaranth or quinoa on a regular basis, more generally old world grains, like barley, millet, rye, bulgar wheat etc. I was using 'quinoa' as a stand in for "Diet for a Small Planet" and "Laurel's Kitchen" type cooking, which is the original hippie food. Quinoa I think came in in later iterations of the hippie/yuppie dialectic.

Clearly my own attitude is ridiculous and irrational, but if you see your subculture co-opted by people very unlike you and which you see as representing antithetical values, it's easy to be angry and annoyed, even if rationally you recognize that all culture is about co-option, borrowing, and change, and even if you recognize that the culture you were raised in had ridiculous parts as well. I will argue though that in its earlier iterations West Coast hippiedom actually was reasonably unconcerned with mainstream status or keeping up with the Joneses or making sure your kid became/stayed one of the filthy rich, and maintained aspects of this even into the 90s and beyond. Also, of course, (food) consumption of anything has always been about class and signaling. It's just annoying when something that used to be about social mindfulness is now about signaling class status. (I feel the same about thrifting. I grew up with 90% thrifted clothes because my parents were really cheap. Then at some point it became "cool," and I became grumpy and felt like throwing a temper tantrum. I DID IT BEFORE IT WAS COOL. WAAH WAAH).

I guess on a less ridiculous level, what bothers me about the co-option is that hippiedom, or counter culturaldom came with a set of tradeoffs. By being socially mindful, you had to give up certain material comforts or social statuses. You had to walk the walk and not just consume the quinoa prepared by your nanny. These NY Yuppies want to have it all: they want all the perks of being wealthy, but they also want to be "alternative" as well. Maybe it's the "have your cake and eat it too" aspect that rubs me the wrong way. Or maybe it's just straight up snobbery on my part. I dunno. When I think about it, there are lots of wealthy interesting people out there who don't give me this feeling, so maybe it's the being mainstream and wanting to buy/outsource "interestingness" or a particular type "culturedness"? Maybe it's the anti-Wisconsin part that rubs me the wrong way? Whatever. I'll stop rambling.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 9:31 AM
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Fuck aristocrats. Materialistic strivers are better than aristocrats in every way.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 9:32 AM
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Fuck aristocrats. Materialistic strivers are better than aristocrats in every way.

Marx would agree. Not as good as Proletarians though.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 9:36 AM
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Are you thinking of Klaus and Sunny Von Bulow?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 9:56 AM
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234

Yeah, that's it. I guess it's the Auers/pergs


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 10:12 AM
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She grew her own in the community garden, so it didn't really affect amaranth production in South America, positively or negatively.

Or so the mullahs Filburn would have you believe.


Posted by: Opinionated Wickard | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 10:43 AM
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231: I will argue though that in its earlier iterations West Coast hippiedom actually was reasonably unconcerned with mainstream status or keeping up with the Joneses or making sure your kid became/stayed one of the filthy rich, and maintained aspects of this even into the 90s and beyond

Right. Maintains that even now. I don't see how Diet for a Small Planet or Laurel's Kitchen hippiedom is especially west coasty, though.

The rest of 231 is right as well. I don't have any particular irritation that earthy-crunchiness has been, shall we say, inauthentically coopted, but I do find annoyance that due to that cooptation, 'hippies' are frequently assumed to be so-called hedge-fund hippies, poseurs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:14 AM
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I was quite startled to find my late-80s grandma growing amaranth, kohlrabi, 'ground cherries' (physallis, I think?) and other vegetables I think of as either very hip or very hippie. Turns out she's been doing it all her life.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:31 AM
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It feels very violating to have the counter-culture aspects of ones own childhood taken up by materialistic strivers. We ate quinoa and amaranth as kids because the people around us were Sandinista supporters,

I identify with this in regards to the somewhat coolness (and expensiveness) of VW campers. I grew up going on long trips during the summer in one (which was certainly a privilege in a way) because my parents wanted to travel but couldn't really afford to have us all fly or stay in hotels, etc. So we drove, drove, drove, camped, camped, camped. And ours were always cheaply bought and fixed up/maintained by my step-dad for very cheap. Now, it seems like it's a very popular thing among a certain group to rent or buy the super expensive refurbished ones and travel around in style. (If I had money, I'd probably do this to, but I swear I come by my nostalgia honestly! All of my parents have had one at one point or another (and that's 4 people!).)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:44 AM
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Ugh. Where's the edit feature? Just pretend I'm more coherent than I am.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:46 AM
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238: Ground cherries are the best.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:49 AM
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"Diet for a Small Planet" and "Laurel's Kitchen" type cooking, which is the original hippie food.

Depends how far back you want to go. Graham was a sort of hippie prototype, after all.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:49 AM
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239: Now, it seems like it's a very popular thing among a certain group to rent or buy the super expensive refurbished ones and travel around in style.

It is? I guess I'm not surprised: VW campers are some 40 or more years old at this point, and it's pretty damn difficult to maintain one any more. (Alas! I gave up my '73 camper about 10 years ago, and I cried as it was towed up the driveway. Good, good times.)

Where is this VW camper thing happening? On the west coast US, and southwest, they're more prevalent, I think -- less rust -- but you're in the UK now, right, parenthetical? OR are these actually Vanagons?

I would love to have one of those.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 12:10 PM
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My kid got excited about camper vans recently after building a Lego one. I was a little surprised to learn that VW doesn't even sell the Eurovan, at all, in the US anymore. I don't think there's a new-model production camper van from any company available in the US right now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 12:17 PM
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Photos of my bus duly uploaded to the Flickr stream.

Sigh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 12:20 PM
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244: That's really sad. Camper vans are just soo cool. There are little cabinets for everything! There's a fold-out table, and seats with storage beneath, and a little fridge and sink (pump action on the faucet), and there are just pockets and storage compartments everywhere. Plus fold-out bed, folding into a couch. Way, way, awesome. Plus windows with screens to allow airflow, and curtains for privacy. I believe it teaches efficiency, and self-sufficiency, to live with/in one of these. A happy space to be in.

Similar to a boat in some ways.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 12:30 PM
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Wow, I've been familiar with "Camper Van Beethoven" for what seems like my entire life without ever being aware of the concept of "camper van".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 12:43 PM
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Whether or not Camper Van Beethoven is a reference to camper vans, Halford and any other parent who's in a position to introduce his or her child to the camper van lifestyle should do so, I think. I found it transformative, shape changing, for the rest of all life, and I wasn't even introduced until my 20s.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 1:11 PM
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Actually my plan was just to lure her to the VW showroom so I could test drive some GTIs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 3:15 PM
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I'm also bothered by hippie markers on social strivers, Britta. My annoyance crystallized around one sentence, though, when a trust-funded Boulderite explained that programs to help the poor were a bad idea because they needed that due to a karmic choice in their past lives. The echo of `the station to which God has called them' was pretty loud.

Popped amaranth in caramel would be a damn tasty Rice Krispie.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-16-13 11:03 PM
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243: Oh man, I totally missed the follow ups to this. It's right here in the UK. One way it is happening is that these aren't vintage campers; they're new bodies & engines made by VW (they just stopped doing it) and then outfitted by a company here in the UK. There are also plenty of old ones still knocking about here; I regularly see about three in my neighbourhood. They're the originals, not Vanagons - we had one of those, too. (My parents LOVE them.) Also, I think as there are more that have survived on the West Coast, it's not too hard to maintain because there are always junk yards. However, I'm pretty sure I remember my dad mentioning that the Mexican factory that did spares had shut down? That's got to constrict the market.

244: My dad actually, uh, kind of lives in a van (and has for a long time now) - all he can get now are after-market conversions. Which is better for him, really, as he needs a non-air-cooled engine at this point. My other dad also bought an after-market conversion recently, too. And my mother and her current husband have the next best thing -- pick up with a pop-up shell.

245: Aw, gorgeous! The one I remember best of ours was a '71. My first car was a '69 Karmann Ghia, and I'm very fond of the older VW tail lights.

246: Totally agree. Best things ever.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 12:21 PM
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