August is starting out on an interesting note. The temperature has risen to the point you could get breakfast going on the asphalt on your driveway by around 8:00 a.m. Yesterday I believe it hit 105. Too hot for this Canadian girl. Been dreaming of cool aqua waterways and rattan ceiling fans.
I volunteered mid-week at the food ministry. 9:00 is my scheduled arrival date. At around 8:30 I poured some ice water in my water container, put on my sunglasses and grabbed my keys. By the time I snapped my seat belt in place I realized my water was still sitting on my counter next to the apron I wear when sorting vegetables. Sigh. Turning off the car I retraced my steps only to find the lock on my front door literally sticking its tongue out at me. The center unit housing the keyhole was protruding out about 3″ from the lock itself. This was something I’ve not seen before. Not sure how to approach it, I inserted the key in the protruding mechanism at the same time pushing it in towards the door. When I turned the key to the right it immediately became securely wedged in the key slot with my car key and remote dangling from it. Insert expletive here. After ten minutes of wrangling with the key it became clear it wasn’t coming out and I wasn’t going in. On the way out I’d locked the door to the patio. A phone call to my other half would have done the trick but he was asleep and either wouldn’t hear the phone or possibly ignore it. Still this seemed the only available option. However, after searching with no luck through my cavernous bag for my phone I realized the phone was also sitting next to my apron and water on the counter. Never mind. Needing to remove the car keys in order to be on my way I found this procedure more difficult than I expected. Sitting on my porch mat I pulled and pushed, grunted and groaned, stood on my head and laid on my back, and generally worked up a sweat on my freshly cleaned self finally releasing the key and the remote. Yea for me.
My luck got better as the day progressed and I made it through my shift without incident. Afterwards I had several errands to accomplish. One, to exchange several items at Ben Franklin’s Craft store. Passing the bench directly in front of the store I noticed people passing by staring openly at a young woman sitting there. As I got closer I realized she was nursing her infant without benefit of a diaper or blanket to cover herself. She smiled and I smiled back at her and entered the store. Inside I heard two women discussing the nursing situation. The words “disgusting” and “shameless” came up in the conversation. Really? The young mother looked to be sort of an earthy type. Her blonde hair was braided. She wore a shirt made of a gauzy material worn over cut off jeans and what I call Helen of Troy sandals. In the 70’s I would have expected to find such a girl living in Santa Cruz or possibly in a brightly painted VW van parked on a piece of acreage in a small mountain community mainly known for their excellent crops of marijuana. Perhaps with the climate in our country regarding such public displays being what it is it would have behooved her to cover herself. There have been several recent incidents involving women breast feeding in public in the news. Certainly I don’t find one of the most natural things in the world to be either disgusting or shameless, but some people are offended by it.
The U.S. is a country of contradictions, I believe. Our European neighbors seem to be far less prudish then we Americans when it comes to their bodies. In the Scandinavian countries nude bodies are not a rare sight and if you hit the beaches in the south of France tops are definitely optional. In turn we seem to celebrate such shows as Dating Naked, Naked and Afraid, and even the amazing premise involving real estate agents and a nudist colony called, Buying Naked on reality TV. Personally I find Dating Naked far more strange than a young girl nursing her baby, but again that’s just me.
I’m sure when Trog was running around the world skinning his knuckles trying to pierce the tough hide of an uncooperative bison, the little woman wasn’t sitting under a tree with a palm frond over her chest nursing Trog, Jr. Clothes came into being originally as protection for our bodies, not to hide them from view.
Truth is I think we can’t decide. Strip clubs certainly abound in cities around the nation. Pornography is the number one search option on the Internet and adult bookstores and movie houses can be found in most big cities. This is not considered good form by the moral majority, but nonetheless people continue to seek it out and the industry continues to flourish.
For me, perhaps I don’t want to sit across from a woman in Starbucks before my first morning latte and look at her exposed chest, but I wouldn’t find it so much offensive as simply too early in the morning for flesh.
At any rate my bifurcated thoughts for the day. Interested in your opinion on this subject.
These lamb shanks were out of this world. Too hot to cook with the temperature soaring this week, so the crockpot was the perfect solution.
Fabulous Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
4 lamb shanks
3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
Salt and pepper
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup prosciutto, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine (I used merlot)
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes w/peppers
1 15 1/2 oz. can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups cooked rice
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in large skillet over med.-high heat. Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Brown shanks on all sides for about 10 mins.
Remove from skillet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil. Add carrots, celery, orange bell pepper, prosciutto, and onion to pan. Cook over medium heat for 8 mins. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Place cooked vegetables in bottom of 6 quart slow cook sprayed with cooking spray. Add beans to vegetables and mix. Top with browned shanks.
In bowl mix remaining ingredients. Pour over meat and vegetables. Cook on low for 11 hours, removing cover twice to stir and spoon juice over meat.
Serve over cooked rice.