Category Archives: MidLaw Diet

Cahiers du Hoummous — Hummus in a time of crisis — MidLaw Semiotics

In crisis, recur to fundamental principles.

Fundamental principles arise from experience. Experience from consciousness. Language shapes consciousness. Language matters.

“Hummus’ is the abbreviation of  “hummus bi tahini.” Hummus is the original word for chickpeas and tahini is for ground sesame seeds.  Hummus begins here. Then salt, and lemon juice to dance. Oil, garlic, cumin, and pepper to dress.

Before the crisis, some were suggesting substituting white beans instead of chickpeas and eliminating tahini. They called that hummus.  Others, mashed beets. It was hummus, except without the chickpeas and without the tahini.

What? George Washington’s hatchet.

Is crisis any wonder?

Recur to fundamental principles. Chickpeas mashed, sesame seeds ground, lemon juiced. Things will come right.

Cahiers du Hoummous — Hummus in a time of crisis — Routines

Control counters crisis

Routines are control.

Centuries — millennia —  have chiseled the steps to hummus. There are routines.

The Cahiers du Hoummous sees the steps, the routines, records them.

Each step in its turn, unto itself. Then the next.

Non-essentials fall away.

Chickpeas, sesame seeds. Lemons.

Choices are made. Routines settle.

  • Dried chickpeas or canned?
  • Roast sesame seeds or tahini?
  • Olive oil in it or on top?
  • One lemon or two?
  • Garlic in the hummus or on top? One clove or two, roasted or not?
  • Add tahini to chickpeas or chickpeas to tahini?
  • Skins?
  • Spices.
  • Hot hummus or cold?
  • And more.

Routines. Handles. The handles strengthen. Hummus and beyond.

The gateway is MidLaw Mind. In a time of crisis.

 

Cahiers du Hoummous — Bedrock in times of crisis

In times of crisis, it is well to stand on bedrock. Recur to fundamental principles.

The verdict of the centuries is that hummus is chickpeas (mashed), sesame seeds (ground), garlic (peeled), and lemon (juiced).

Followers of MidLaw will learn hereafter that olive oil, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper play important supporting roles.

But the essence of hummus is chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), garlic, and lemon. That is bedrock.

A trend of recent times is to introduce other elements into the mix. Worse, there are those who substitute and eliminate essentials. This is done in the name of creativity. They call the result “hummus.” Partly, this is an offense to the language. Often, it is an offense to the culture. It serves ill in a crisis.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with throwing anything you like into a food processor, then grinding and eating it. (Well, let’s limit this to vegetables for discussion’s sake.) But, there are issues of language, etymology, and culture here – which will be considered in later cahiers. Get your own word, though, for what you do, because without chickpeas and tahini, it is not hummus. The earth will shift beneath your feet.

And there is the issue of beets – grinding up beets, eating them, and associating that with hummus. Does this require discussion?

In a crisis, trust the learning of the centuries.

 

Annual Herb Sale of NC Unit CANCELED

The Annual Herb Sale of the North Carolina Unit of the American Herb Society set to occur on April 16, 2020, at the Greensboro Farmers Market is canceled. It will be re-scheduled on the Other Side.

Consult the North Carolina Unit’s website for developments.

MidLaw cannot be responsible for updates. It just can’t.

Cahiers de Hoummous: Hummus in a time of plague

Hummus has weathered three thousand years. And so it is suited for a time of plague.

Three thousand years wear away what is not essential. They find what is irreducible.

MidLaw will speak of this, in future cantos. MIdLaw will seek bedrock.

DISCLAIMER

Cahiers de Hoummous is not legal advice, it is not medical advice, and it is not political commentary. It is hummus commentary, based on the best information available to MidLaw, and tempered by an attitude that cannot be said to be entirely serious or scientific. MidLaw believes, however, that when prepared and consumed as part of a conscientiously applied program of personal advancement, hummus can be effective in raising spirits and supporting well-being.

Important planning for the other side – Herbs – 2020 Herb Sale – NC Unit of the Herb Society of America – Greensboro

ANNUAL HERB SALE OF NC UNIT OF HERB SOCIETY OF  AMERICA IN GREENSBORO HAS BEEN CANCELLED

 

Consult Herb Society Website for More Information

and Announcement of New Date

 

On the other side of this current epidemiological mess, you are going to want herbs. Fresh herbs. From your yard.

Plan for April 16, from 7 AM to 3 PM at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.

This is the Annual Herb Sale of the North Carolina Unit of the Herb Society of America.

“All your favorite herbs will be there.” Thousands of plants for culinary and landscape uses.

Not just your garden variety herbs, but also heritage plants, gardening tips, specialty vendors, and educational materials. Proceeds from the sale will support community gardens, student scholarships, public schools gardens, and more.

But mostly, it’s herbs. Thousands of them. All your favorites. What a unit!

  • This event may be held either indoors or outdoors as conditions warrant.
  • Check with the Unit to learn its plans for an intriguing upcoming presentation. “Unusual, Interesting, and Uncommon Herbs.” [EVENT CANCELLED. TO BE RESCHEDULED.]
  • The Herb Society’s recently announced Notable Native Herb of 2020 is Claytonia virginia, which appears to have edged out Claytonia caroliniana by a leaf.

The Unit is a unique and prolific source of learning about herbs. Its material about basil, in particular, is quite steamy and perhaps a touch fevered (go read it for yourself), but certain to draw the adventurous to the Sale at the Farmers Market on April 16. [Like everything else, I assume that a fresh assessment about canceling the event will be made closer to the date.]

Fresh herbs in your backyard, on your deck, in your patio, or in a window box, have been proven to be superior to dried ones in applied programs of herbification.

 

Sun-dried tomato pesto — SPOILER: Recipe plagiarized from Guilford College

Recipes are not protected by copyright law.  (At least, as long as they do not incorporate anything more than materials and directions.)

Recipes might be plagiarized, but plagiarism is not illegal, exactly. There is, however, a moral component to it.

So let’s start with this: the excellent recipe set out below was created (as far as I know) by Guilford College to accompany the exceptional sun-dried tomatoes grown and dried on the Guilford College Farm, which supports Guilford’s extraordinary Sustainable Food Systems major and which produces over 10,000 pounds of food a year (and more).

Here’s the deal: Guilford College sun-dried tomato pesto is dynamite, and it’s great on collards. And other stuff. Takes about 10 minutes to make. Here’s what you need to know:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes.

NOTE: Use dry dried tomatoes, not the ones immersed in oil. If you try it with the latter, you’ll want to adjust other ingredients, and flavor may be inflected. Guilford College sun-dried tomatoes are comparable to a leaf of flue-cured tobacco.

  • 1/3 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds.

NOTE: I would use more almonds than this, at least with my collards. I’m not sure that salted almonds wouldn’t be fine, but not the smoked ones or flavored ones.

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt.

NOTE: Now, you see the point about whether the almonds are salted.

  • 2-3 cloves garlic.

NOTE: This is going to depend on you and garlic, and the particular garlic you have. Food without garlic is ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­like an interstate with no exits­, but too much garlic is a punishment for sins.

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, the ones you should have growing in a dry, full-sun spot somewhere in your yard (in a pot for all that). Even you can raise rosemary.
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. (You know the drill about red pepper: it’s optional; you can probably add more than what’s prescribed. Up to you.)
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper.
  • ¾ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil. (More or less, depending on your plans for it. I wouldn’t use too much here.)

Directions

Put it all into a food processor. Process. Just like the Early Friends did.

Put it on whatever you want to.  Collards is/are a good idea. Or, black-eyed peas, for the season.

Moral Absolution

If you have read this far knowing that this recipe has been appropriated from Guilford College, you now have three options. They are:

  1. Refer a likely student to Guilford knowing that Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE – changes lives.
  2. Make a donation to Guilford, hoping that, if your donation exceeds three figures, someone will send you some sun-dried tomatoes, and knowing that your gift will support Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE. If the sun-dried tomatoes are not forthcoming, ask for some.
  3. Tell others that Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE – is carving out a unique and immensely valuable niche for Guilford College in the firmament of 21st Century higher education.

If you do not do one of these, then you may be colluding in some sort of plagiarism. It’s not clear.

Basil is for Idiots

Basil is for idiots, but pesto

basil_genovese-plantOver the millennia, the peoples of the Mediterranean have learned a simple but profound truth: Almost anything goes better with olive oil, garlic and a little salt. Maybe some lemon juice. Over time, they realized that, if you have the oil, the garlic, and the salt, then you can just go out into the back yard, scoop up almost anything that’s green and fresh, and mash that up with the oil and garlic and have something good to eat …  although, if you try this, things will go a lot better if you have some basil or parsley in your yard.

Which of course brings the discussion to pesto and pistou and persillade and green sauce. It’s time to get ready.

With fresh basil, you can have the best pesto. The good news is: any idiot can raise good, fresh, plentiful basil.

All basil wants is a lot of sunshine, plenty to drink and a well-drained place to sit. (Basil and I are a lot alike.) You can have all the fresh basil you want – at trifling cost.

It’s a little amazing how many different recipes are described as the one for “classic” pesto, and it’s daunting to observe the near-religious fervor that infuses notes and articles about it. Just put “pesto recipe” into your search engine and push the button.

Remember what Bobby Bare said: “Just buy you some basil and plant it by June, and you’ll be a rocking and a rolling soon.”

Soup in milk cartons — Spanish; fortune awaits at Greensboro Farmers Market

These Spaniards sell fresh soups, chilled, in the likes of milk cartons in their grocery stores. Sometimes in bottles, like milk bottles. Salmorejo, gazpacho, ajoblanco. Wonderful, highly flavorful, fresh cold soups.

Maybe they do this in grocery stores in the US. I am not a good shopper. Often I don’t see what’s there.

I suppose it’s a close call, but when you can get such soups, so fresh, so easily, and so economically, with little or no chemicals, why would you go to the trouble to make them yourself?

Maybe we could get them at the Farmers Market? They’d need coolers. Like they do for seafood and and chickens.

If not, you’d want to learn to make your own ajoblanco.

Octopuses

Octopuses, they say, have nervous systems that differ radically from ours (us vertebrates). Clusters of nerve endings are located around their bodies and among their many legs. Those nerve junctions can operate independently. They don’t need to send every bit of information back to a central brain. They coordinate directly and independently of brain central.

This makes them quick, resilient and smart in a special way.

We don’t entirely understand them and their angle on consciousness.

In light of this, should we be eating them? With mashed potatoes and alioli?