Posts tagged ‘Food’

EPI: We Can Lick It

Animal Rescue

Image via Wikipedia

Princess Celestia has a dog named Vito that she adopted from the animal shelter. He’s a large dog, probably a shepherd, maybe even purebred. When she took him home it didn’t take long for him to start losing weight at an alarming rate. He was also constantly having little “accidents.” He ate ravenously but suffered from chronic diarrhea, and, worse yet, seemed to be starving to death.

Many of you may read this and assume the dog is diabetic (as would be my first guess) or that the dog has pancreatic cancer. Both are good guesses. But you would be wrong. Vito’s problem is caused by the failure of his pancreas to produce necessary enzymes to digest food efficiently. His disease is serious and life threatening, but it is easily treatable.

Princess Celestia had to pay for many rounds of expensive testing for Vito before he was finally diagnosed. However, once Vito was properly diagnosed she had already found an internet forum for owners of dogs with EPI. EPI is Vito’s disease, and it is an acronym for Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

The people on the EPI forum were able to put Princess Celestia in touch with other dog owners in the same situation, and they were able to help her with recommendations on medicine and enzymes and how to properly deliver enzymes to Vito. So, working in cooperation with her veterinarian and her friends on the EPI Forum, Princess Celestia was able to get poor Vito back into fighting shape.

EPI is a disease that is often fatally misdiagnosed or looked over. The people on the EPI forum are working to spread the word about EPI so no more dogs are put down or made to needlessly waste away. They are trying to raise awareness among veterinarians and to raise money towards research to combat the disease.

And now I’ve done my part by calling your attention to this website. If you’re an animal lover, then you should go check it out. You never know. You might save the life of a dog or cat one day…simply by knowing the symptoms of a rare but fatal disease.

June 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

Women and Food

Two women cooking

Image via Wikipedia

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about how I learned to cook when I was a girl while my dad got to sit on his ass and continue to brag about how he could only make steak and popcorn. This blog post was actually kindly featured by a woman named Addie Broyles, a professional journalist for the Austin American-Statesman. She’s a food and film critic, but she usually writes about food. She has her own blog, which she calls feministkitchen.

At the time I remember that I thought it was odd that someone would combine the topics of food and feminism and have enough to maintain a blog. She may have thought the same thing about Christianity and feminism with regard to my own blog.

I started thinking about Addie and her blog and how my most recent blog posts would fit in quite nicely with what she’s doing. With my last post about the blatantly sexist research article that tries to implicate working mothers for the childhood obesity problem, I thought about just why it is that women do the bulk of cooking in American households?

Most couples nowadays marry later in life. They’ve been out on their own for a while before they settle down. Presumably, the men would have to eat. Do they just make sandwiches and eat out all the time? I don’t think so. Most of the men I’ve known could cook on some level.

I always kind of thought that was sexy. One guy I had a crush on in my late 20s actually made baked beans from scratch, and the idea kind of got me excited. When I say from scratch, I mean he soaked the dry beans in water overnight and then cooked them and then stuck them in a dish with bacon and seasonings, Martha Stewart style. God, he was hot! He was a little blond accountant geek with wire rimmed glasses, but those baked beans made him Adonis.

So, we’ve established the fact that men can cook. Why don’t they? They do when they live alone. They do if they get paid to cook. Most highly paid chefs are still men. The most famous chefs are men. That’s not exclusively their domain; women are also professional chefs, but the majority of upper echelon professional chefs are men. Clearly, not only can men cook, but if we pay them to do so then, if you can judge their abilities to cook based solely on their career success and pay rate, they can cook better than we can.

To my mind, there are several possible reasons why women usually do the cooking:

  1. Society expects women to do the cooking, and therefore women feel that they have failed as women if they are not doing the bulk of the cooking. Maybe it’s women who actually insist on doing the cooking because they don’t want to feel like they’ve failed as wives and mothers.
  2. Men want women to cook because they simply prefer not to have to do so. As such, the woman does the cooking or it doesn’t get done. Women cook by default.
  3. Men want to do the cooking, but they defer to the women in their lives because the women prefer to do the cooking, which may have something to do with reason #1.
  4. Men don’t cook, unless it involves a grill or a smoke pit, because slaving over a stove isn’t “manly.” They don’t want to be seen as a wuss. So, men insist that their wives do the cooking because if they did the cooking it would make them less of a man.
  5. Men would cook, but they aren’t sufficiently motivated to do so. Obviously a big fat paycheck motivates them. But you don’t want to have to pay your husband to cook, so what else do big-time professional chefs get out of their careers besides money? They get praise and recognition.

I suspect the real reasons why women usually do the cooking are as varied as the couples themselves and their own attitudes towards food and gender but that the bulk of the reasons could have something to do with some combination of the reasons listed above or it could just have to do with the fact that men, on average, work longer hours in the workplace than women do. It averages about 42 minutes more per day, which is just about enough time to cook a meal and put the food on the table.

Do I think most men really want to work 42 minutes more than women do? No. I think some men find their jobs satisfying and fulfilling and do this out of choice, but I also think that there are probably even more men who toil in crappy jobs in order to support themselves and their families.

Why do they do this? Someone has to pick up the kids, and it makes sense that the person who picks up the kids is the person who makes the lesser amount of money. This means the woman usually picks up the kids and puts food on the table so the man can get an additional 42 minutes of pay at a higher rate.

This is why gender equality is in everyone’s best interests. If women averaged the same work for the same pay, then it would make sense for mom and dad to take turns cooking and cleaning and picking up the kids. Men would have less stress at work, since they’re not working as much, and they’d have better relationships with their wives and children because they’d have more time to spend with them.  The key to male and female satisfaction is in a more balanced relationship. This means that changes have to take place in both our private and public lives.

February 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm 4 comments

The Neighborhood Potluck

An assortment of food dishes at a church potluck.

Image via Wikipedia

1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men that were casting their gifts into the treasury.

2 And he saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than they all:

4 for all these did of their superfluity cast in unto the gifts; but she of her want did cast in all the living that she had.

-Luke 21:1-4

I like to think of myself as being civically minded, which means that sometimes I participate in neighborhood association meetings. This month’s was a potluck. We meet in one of the conference rooms of the community center. Sometimes (like this time) we eat, we discuss something to do with the neighborhood, maybe we vote. This time around we were discussing city planning. This is a process the city has been working on with my neighborhood for about a year and a half now.

Anyway, this time around was a potluck, like I said. I brought some bread. There was chicken and salad and beans and side dishes and desserts. There is almost always someone that I haven’t seen before at these meetings.

I was helping by doing the food setup. This isn’t hard. Basically, I took everyone’s dish as they came in and set it in an appropriate place on the table. One guy, a guy I recognized as being a homeless man who drifts in and out of the neighborhood and has done so for years, brought a sack with a jar of peanut butter and a can of chicken noodle soup. There was a second homeless gentleman; he didn’t bring anything.

The man I recognized, the one who brought the food, kept interrupting the meeting to ask when we were going to eat. He followed up with the pronouncement that he could not wait for the City Zoning meeting to begin, but then asked when were we going to eat.

Well, as soon as we got to eat, he took his plate and left and didn’t even eat with everyone else. The other guy did eat with us. I won’t say he stuck around for the whole meeting; I didn’t expect him to since I pay rent here and didn’t want to sit through the city planning. I didn’t notice when he snuck out. But the first man pretended to actually live in our neighborhood in the sense that he pays rent or owns a home, while the other guy was just honest. I don’t think he told anyone he was homeless; he probably thought we were able to figure that one out for ourselves. And he stayed and broke bread with us.

After the meeting when I was helping to clean up, I spoke with Mrs. Landlord. I wanted to make sure that she had the sack of food that the first homeless man had brought with him so that she could donate the food to a food pantry. There’s one near her work.

She said, “Oh, that’s going to make me cry…”

“What?” I said.

“It’s like the story of the widow and the coins.”


I know the parable, but the significance was lost on me. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that a homeless man who brings canned food to a potluck probably didn’t pay for it with his own money. He may have fished it out of a trashcan. The bag was more than a little sticky.

I personally think I like the second homeless man better. I like the guy who didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t, the one who stuck around and ate with us and talked. Like the widow in the parable, he was sharing all he had to share: himself.

December 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm 1 comment

Weiner Dog Blues

Cropped screenshot of Joan Crawford from the f...

Image via Wikipedia

The vet’s office called yesterday. I called them back and then drove home on my lunch hour to check on my dog. She doesn’t seem to fuss when she doesn’t think anyone’s around to hear it. All was quiet. I had her with her food and water in the spare bedroom. When I opened the door she was sitting, staring aimlessly. Her food is scattered. Her water bowl, that I change daily, is murky because she’s stepped in it and gotten food in it. I change it again.

I want to see what she’s like for a day without pain meds which should be easy because she fights me so when I try to give her pills (even when I trick her with peanut butter) that I am afraid that I am going to lose a finger. She doesn’t like to be confined (not even to be held or cuddled). She does fuss when I try to put her in the bed with me to sleep for the night. I put her in the spare bedroom again. I wonder if she hates me for giving her the Tylenol. Maybe she knows that I am the Joan Crawford of dog owners.

“No more peanut butter!”

This morning when I open the door of the spare bedroom she’s in the same spot as yesterday noon, sitting, staring aimlessly, but this time in the opposite direction. I speak to her in a soothing voice and bend down to pet her. She flinches like I’m going to hit her. I’ve never hit her in my life. Cuffed her under the chin perhaps, for discipline, but even that was exceedingly rare and not done forcefully but just for shock value. It’s like you might slap a toddler on the behind to keep him away from the stove. She’s never flinched when I’ve touched her before.

After a few minutes she comes out of the spare bedroom and starts bumping around the entire house. Minimal fussing and whining, thankfully. I don’t know. I really don’t know what to do. This doesn’t seem like much of a life for her. She’s frightened and doesn’t like to be touched. I have to make sure that she gets food and water since I’m afraid that she can’t find the bowls, though they are in the same spot they’ve always been.

I am supposed to take her in to the vet’s first thing on Wednesday so they can examine her again. They will keep her while I’m at work, and then I’ll come pick her up or whatever after I’m done. Or whatever is what I think will happen at this point. But I wonder if I am being fair to her. Maybe she likes stepping into her water bowl and bumping into things and soiling herself. Maybe she hates me. Maybe I am getting rid of her not to put her out of her misery but to put me out of mine since she’s no longer the affectionate animal she once was only a few days ago. I don’t know, and I am so sad.

November 2, 2010 at 11:56 am 2 comments

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