Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review of Terra's Kitchen


*This is not a sponsored post. 

Terra's Kitchen is a food delivery service that has a range of recipes: vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, low-calorie, etc. They're non-gmo and they use organic when possible. This review is based upon my first shipment--I was pleased, and I've signed up for a second one. I'm a vegetarian and a Weight Watcher living in Tennessee. I cook just for myself.

Shipping
What appealed to me first about Terra's Kitchen was their packaging (part of the reason why I didn't stay with HelloFresh). It's like a little refrigerator--quite clever and reusable!

FedEx dropped off this heavy box on my porch during the shipping window I was given, and picked it up again on the next business day:



See the latches on the front? They have a little tamper-evident strip. Rip those off, and unlatch. The next layer is insulation: 


Pull out the insulation to reveal five little drawers full (depending on how much you order) of food and ice blocks:



The ingredients for each meal comes in plastic containers covered with a thin film. The containers are easily recyclable. Here are the ingredients for Pesto-Goat Cheese Vegetable Flatbread

What you see are mushrooms (which I only used half of because I'm not a fan), fajita-cut peppers and onions, their flexpita (5 sp for Weight Watchers), parsley (I used 1/3 of what they gave me), goat cheese, and a tub with pesto (I used half) and spices. If you look closely you'll see that everything is already cut up. The only cutting I had to do was chopping the parsley. That dish took about 20 minutes to prepare. Here it is complete: 

The other two meals I tried with my shipment were Tofu-Bok Choy and Black Bean Sliders. All three meals were quick and easy to make. 

Taste and Preparation
The first meal I made was the Black Bean Sliders. OMG so good! And so easy! I'll definitely make this again. The patties are made with black beans, cumin, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. You mix their salsa with the fat-free sour cream they send and put it on one side of the bun, and put smashed avocado and cilantro on the other side. I had to cut the cilantro and scoop out the avocado, and I had to saute the garlic, cumin, and jalapeño. The rest was just mixing. My only criticism of this meal is the bland buns. Granted, they were better brushed with oil and toasted as they recommended, but my regular sandwich slims were better. I made three large patties out of this instead of 4 small ones and had it for 3 meals. 

The second meal I made was the Tofu & Bok Choy Stir Fry. Again, I divided this into 3 meals which I had for lunch 3 successive days. I was less impressed with this one but I think it was because I didn't put in enough red pepper originally and only half the balsamic. For the third serving, I added more of each and it was much better. The only prep I did for this was squeezing the water out of the tofu. My cooking involved boiling the rice, sauting the tofu, then adding the pre-cut vegetables and sauce. 

The third meal was the flatbread pictured above. This one only made two meals for me but both were hearty. I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms so I only used half; it would've been even more filling with all of them. To make the flatbreads, I toasted the pitas in a skillet, sauteed the pre-cut vegetables with balsamic, spread pesto and goat cheese (which I had to crumble) on the pitas, then topped with vegetables and parsley, which I had to chop (I didn't care for it anyway [do people who dislike cilantro actually like parsley? Just wondering.]). The flatbread was super yummy, my second favorite meal and probably something I will order again. 

Value
It ain't cheap. My total for these 3 meals plus a caprese salad (1 serving) was $77.43 (before the $35 discount I used). For my second order, I've chosen Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Apple Quinoa Bowl ($13.49x2), Curried Chickpea Spinach Bowl ($11.99x2), Curry Vegetable Soup ($14.99x2), Harvest Salad ($7.99), and Berry Balsamic Salad ($7.99). My total will be $96.93. Which is like holy crap expensive! I can tell I won't be doing this often. ;) 

If you'd like to try it out and get $35 off (and incidentally give me a $25 credit!), try this link. If it doesn't work, let me know. I can have them email you a link direct. Thanks!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Advantages Response Card #bds

Rape Culture in That 70s Show

There's only one moment of rape in the show: when Kelso is raped by Laurie in "Red's Last Day" (S2E02). Here's a clip: L
Kelso and Jackie have recently gotten back together, and he is having a fantasy where he tells Paul Anka and Lyle Waggoner that "I love Jackie and a real man can deny his instincts," when Laurie interrupts him.

KELSO: Listen...Laurie....uhhh I don’t think you should be in here...I mean I know we’ve made out a couple dozen times...
LAURIE: Twice.
KELSO: Okay....but that’s over!
LAURIE (climbs on top of Kelso): Gosh, I sure do feel close to you Kelso!
KELSO: Uhhhhh, listen, Laurie, I, I don’t think my girlfriend, ... Jackie, would like you sitting on me.
LAURIE: I think YOU like me sitting on you, in fact I know you do!
KELSO: Okay! But that’s not the point!
LAURIE kisses Kelso: Shut up Kelso! This is your lucky day.
(She closes the door. Cut to the van seen from above)
KELSO: Those are my pants! No! .....(van starts shaking) yes....yes....

Although Kelso sexually desires Laurie, he doesn't give his permission because he knows it would hurt his relationship with Jackie. Laurie forces him--granted, it takes little force, but he distinctly says no. That's rape. In traditional thinking of just 20 years ago, this wouldn't count as rape at all, and even today you'd have a hard time convincing a jury. It's still rape.

If you don't think this is rape, imagine how it would play out with the roles reversed. What if Laurie had gotten a new van and was day-dreaming about its potential when Kelso came along? What if she became uncomfortable, and he told her to relax as he shut the door and told her it was her lucky day? What if Kelso unzipped her pants and she said no? Is it rape? Even if right afterwards she says yes?

Look, rape isn't a question of sexual desire. You can want sex and still be raped. Wanting isn't the same thing as consenting. If a woman goes to a bar wanting to have sex, she doesn't want to have sex with just anyone. So she may leave the bar, sexually frustrated, though she has turned down a man's advances. That doesn't give him the right to force himself on her. Even if he makes her orgasm.

As it turns out, he doesn't mind. In fact, he really liked it. When he announces in the circle that he and Laurie have had sex, he's bragging and gives it two thumbs up.

KELSO: I mean...she took advantage of me! I’m violated.
HYDE: You idiot, your thumbs are still up!
KELSO: (Chuckle) Acting’s hard.

And that's what gets me. His example suggests that (1) rape isn't really rape and (2) rape isn't a big deal. When Fez suggests the dark room switch in S7E22, Angie laughs at him good-naturedly. But pretending to be someone else in order to have sex does, in fact, count as rape. Fez is an admitted pervert, so it's "natural" that he has these plans, and it's women's job just to laugh them off.

In the world of That 70s Show, it's easy to laugh at rape threats, because women are presented as having all the power. Think back to seasons one and two when Donna would "playfully" say okay to sex, then rescind her permission. It frustrated Eric, but he never took advantage of her semi-consent. Because she held the power in the relationship. There are many other examples and I'll post some later if I get a chance--if I can tear myself away from watching the show.

As much as I critique this show, I love it profoundly.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Rape Culture

Rape culture is "a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women.... A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm" (Transforming a Rape Culture by Buchwald, Fletcher and Roth).

An example of this can be found in the 1984 movie Sixteen Candles, starring Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and Michael Schoeffling. Ringwald plays Samantha Baker, and most of the action is set on her 16th birthday. She has a crush on Jake (Schoeffling), but Farmer Ted a.k.a. the Geek (Hall) is the one who keeps hitting on her. The scene below, which occurs on the bus ride home, seemed harmless to me when I was a teen but is shocking now:


Although Sam tells him that he isn't welcome, Farmer Ted sits down next to her with one arm on the seat behind her and the other on the seat in front, partially encircling her and invading her space. He stays there, in her space, close to her body, even pausing a moment to smell her neck. When she insults him, he's offended and criticizes her manners.

This is rape culture. It never occurs to her to yell for help, to yell at him to get out of her face, or even to change seats. Rape culture supports the idea that this is what women are expected to endure. The Geek's fault isn't that he's coming on to her; it's his lack of social graces and his refusal to recognize her rejection.

It gets far, far worse. During a wild party at Jake's house, his girlfriend Caroline passes out. Jake says he could "violate her ten different ways if I wanted to." The Geek replies, "What are you waiting for?!" Jake allows the Geek to drive Caroline home in his car. On the way, the Geek stops at his friends' house so they can take a picture (this was long before the days of cell cameras). He manipulates her body so that she is partially sitting in his lap. The next morning, the two wake up in Jake's car. Caroline believes she and Ted had sex (i.e. date rape, since there's no way she could've consented), but she's okay with it.

I used to believe that Caroline was imagining this and that Ted would never do that to her. He seems such a good guy! I was so naïve. Ted had already shown that he believes girls owe him sex. He's confused that Jake would not want to rape Caroline if he has a chance--that's what women are for.    Who knows what other photos were taken after the initial one? What advantage was taken of her body? Caroline is defined in terms of her sexual availability. Her body is freely available to be used and manipulated. And in the end, it doesn't even bother her. Because THIS IS THE NORM.

And that's what rape culture means. It's the expectation that men will rape women if they can and that women make far too big a deal out of it, because it's really just normal behavior and they can't help it.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Overt sexism in That 70s Show

It's no secret that the society depicted on That 70s Show is patriarchal and sexist. After all, the fourth episode of Season 1 is titled "Battle of the Sexists," in which Eric has to learn that it's okay for his girlfriend to beat him at sports and Donna's parents have a fight because Bob won't let Midge take a community college class instead of getting his dinner ready. In the second episode, Red gladly gives Laurie gas money but refuses to give any to Eric. In the third episode, Kitty is told to bake pies instead of asking President Ford a question. And it continues throughout the seasons. Like when Fez says, "Well Fez is a man, what will you do to please him?" But overt sexism is just a straw man.

The show makes a joke out of male chauvinism and male ego. When Bob says Donna never would've been president of a company because she's "a gal" in Season 7, it's a joke for the audience. The viewers are So Much Beyond that sort of thing. "Of course women can do want they want!" they think. Eric's insecurities in "Battle of the Sexists" are also jokes, such as when he imagines himself in a dress with inflating breasts. 

But it's the subtler, underlying values that really do damage. Like when Donna stays home from college to be with Eric, about the stupidest thing ever, and yet later Eric abandons her to seek his future in Africa. To be a girl or wear a dress is the ultimate denigration for the teenage boys. When Kelso falls off the water tower in Season 1, the boys in the hospital room automatically watch the nurse's behind, because that's what boys too. 

But the worst thing is the rape culture that the show supports. More about that next time. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My obsession with That 70s Show

If you know me at all, you know that I watch That 70s Show pretty much every day. Usually at least two episodes a day. I wouldn't say I love the show, but I'm definitely obsessed with it.

I've come up with several possible reasons for my obsession. First, the music. I never really liked 70s music before this show, but both extra-diegetically and within the story, the music is incredibly effective and upbeat. Second, it's funny. I rarely actively laugh at it anymore, but nothing is too terribly serious (I pretend the eighth season doesn't exist). Third, I have a LOT to say about it.

I keep lamenting that I found this show so late that I can't join a cultural discourse about it. I keep wanting to criticize it or present a scholarly analysis, but there's no audience. But last week I realized I don't need an audience. I have my blog.

So I'm going to talk about That 70s Show for a little while. I have lots of little gripes, but my major intervention concerns its anti-feminism. That will be the subject of my next post.



Monday, April 13, 2015

Daredevil

I don't normally follow TV much. I don't like the commitment that comes into watching a whole series, having to remember when it comes on, getting "behind." Look, there's already enough I'm behind on.

My husband, on the other hand, is my pop culture guru. He keeps up with it all. And it pleases him when I join him for TV. So, when a new Marvel show was coming on, I joined him for the first episode.

I found it pleasant enough, not compulsory watching but not bad. But then I found myself thinking about it more, and then watching it while I was doing another task. Now I'm already on episode 6. I've decided Daredevil is totally addictive.

My favorite episode was the third, which had a beautiful parallel structure: 3 people faced with a moral dilemma. Those dilemma aren't easily resolved. There aren't pat answers offered by this series. In ep 6, Matthew/Daredevil has yet to define his moral limits, which is damaging his relationship with Claire. I'm hoping he doesn't pull the Byronic-hero bullshit, I must always be alone, I'm toxic to others, etc. The greatest challenge we all face is to connect with another human being, and no one can be a hero who doesn't do that.