Friday, August 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 49

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.

This week on 7 Quick Takes, I explore just how much mileage I can get from a bowl of soup while claiming this isn't a cooking blog. Join me, won't you?


Last weekend, I made jalapeño corn chowder with peppers from my garden and corn from a local farm. (And because one member of the family isn't so hot on the hot stuff, I used this recipe to allow each diner to personalize the heat level of their own bowl.)

This season, I've added serrano chilies to my usual pepper lineup. But after a few were harvested, I thought I'd better find out how hot they are before I put them in anything.

Enter the Scoville Heat Scale:


Hm. Turns out serranos are quite a bit hotter than jalapeños. I'll need to use those carefully.


And talk of chilies means it's time for Fun with Homonyms!

chili: refers to the stew that's so great on a chilly day, as well as the pepper (Capsicum annuum); plural chilies.
Chile: the country.

Even though the name of the website listed above encourages me to eat more chiles, I don't think I could possibly eat even one. Because, you know, it's huge.


Here's little story that begins with a free kitchen tip:

This is the easiest method I've found to remove corn from the cob:

One addition: I always put the Bundt pan inside a big bowl to catch the stray kernels that would otherwise go all over the counter, floor, etc.

As I was prepping the corn for the chowder, the knife handle kept hitting the side of the ginormous (16" across) bowl. It sounded like I was hitting a gong.

Because we had just watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the 1939 version), the continual clanging of the knife on the side of the bowl reminded me of the scene where Quasimodo introduces Esmeralda to the bells: "Look, look, here, up here! Friends! Up there: Babies! Jacqueline! Gabrielle! Guillaume! Big Marie!" (See this clip, beginning around the 6:00 mark. It's a great moment.)

So my largest stainless mixing bowl is now Big Marie.


And finally, a few items that have nothing to do with soup.

First, my friend Suzanne talks about the gift of presence:

The way Jesus communicated goes against my natural bent, on so many levels. If I am talking to a young woman battling addiction about Jesus, and her eyes glaze over, I am tempted to talk faster and louder to see if she gets it. If I am counseling someone on entering a vibrant relationship with Christ, I am tempted to rush to the sinner's prayer, instead of helping this person understand the enormity of Jesus' love for them and the cost of following him. This goes against the very teachings of Jesus and his way of loving and engaging people with truth. (read more)

Speaking of loving and engaging people with truth... Sarah Moon proposes a better way to do pro-life:

You've seen the hateful, bloody battle that both sides have been fighting. You've heard the ruthless attacks and the fear-mongering. And, while I'm not going to change my mind about my stance on this issue, I am going to come out and say, on behalf of my fellow Pro-Life supporters that I am sorry.

I am truly, remorsefully sorry, not for our beliefs, but for the way that we've expressed them. I am sorry for the hate and the ignorance. I am sorry for turning a blind eye to some of the reasons why people get abortions. I am sorry for the hurtful, accusing bumper stickers. I am sorry for calling people "The Mother of a Dead Baby," or "Murderer." I am sorry for not realizing that any woman who feels the need to give up her baby is probably struggling enough as it is without us adding shame and guilt. That isn't our place. I hope you'll forgive us, and I hope we will do a better job of supporting life. (read more)

Sarah Bessey reminds us of our true name:

There are a million people that like to give us names. But....

Our name is not Failure.
Our name is not Slut.
Our name is not Worthless or Ugly or Fat or Lazy or Rejected or Lonely or Bitter or Angry or Abandoned or Undeserving of Love.

Our name is Precious.
Our name is Beautiful.
Our name is Chosen, Cherished and Created.
Our name has been pronounced, my luv, and we, we have been named Beloved. (read more)

And just for fun, some amazing bike tricks:

Happy Friday, friends!



  1. Sarah B.'s pretty amazing, isn't she?

    My mother has been involved in prolife work as long as I can remember. I grew up steeped in it. I was five when I learned what a abortion was. (I haven't communicated that to my 6yo yet. We came close this morning, and I just wasn't ready.)

    I've come to believe that politics is useless in this matter. So-called prolife politicians don't do anything about it...the why is another topic, but that's the facts. It just doesn't happen. Roe v. Wade won't be struck down until the attitude of the entire culture changes; as long as children are viewed as separate from sex, as long as women allow themselves to be turned into objects by suppressing a healthy, functioning part of their bodies, abortion will remain. And that's why I teach NFP. My prolife calling is to shift hearts at the ground level, not in the ivory tower of people trying to get re-elected. To break down the wall that says your choices are birth control/abortion or a zillion kids. As if God is so stupid that He didn't have a better way mapped out in our very own bodies.

    I fully expect that I'll fight this battle my whole life, and abortion will still be legal. But if I've changed a few hearts along the way, I'll consider it a success.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Kathleen. Abortion is a difficult and complex thing to explain to children, no doubt about it.

    And I agree that high-level politics, with its reliance on demonizing the other candidate, may never be helpful here. The issue is far too personal and nuanced to translate well to the political stage at that level.

    There is much to appreciate in your comment, and I'm grateful there are people like you educating couples about how to reconcile sexuality, fertility, and the realities of their own limits.

    But if I may, I'd like to offer a small but important correction to one thought in your third paragraph: I don't think that suppression of conception is what turns women into objects. I think it starts much, much earlier, with a culture that devalues and dehumanizes women in a million ways, and a church that doesn't stand against that.

  3. Pam, I'll grant you that objectification definitely starts earlier, but I do think that contraception is a very big part of it. The whole sexual liberation idea is based on the idea that women must be available always, without risk of entanglements (i.e. permanence & children), strictly for what their bodies can offer. And that is intimately tied to suppression of fertility.

    As for a Church that doesn't stand against it...there's some truth to that, I'm afraid. :(

  4. You're right -- that idea is definitely based on the idea of constant sexual availability -- I wrote about this issue here:

    But the idea of a woman's constant sexual availability is itself based on objectification that has already taken place in the minds of men who have bought what the culture is selling. At least, that's how I see it.

    But maybe this is a chicken-or-egg argument...

  5. I really like these random quick takes posts. And thanks for the plug! Happy day to you.


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