Saturday, April 12

Red cooked pork butt

3-4 lbs. pork butt

The day before:
Cut pork into large pieces, bring to a boil, cool and then rinse, refrigerate

Fry in a little olive oil:
chopped package shallots or several scallions
sliced ginger (a piece the size of two thumbs)

All the meat
2 star anises
2 one-inch by ½ inch pieces of chinese cinnamon
1 Tablespoon sichuan peppercorns
6 dried peppers
5-6 pieces rock sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup rice wine for cooking
½ cup soy sauce
1-2 teaspoon black pepper
1½ cups water; the mix of meat and spices should be about 7/10 covered

Stew over a low flame until tender (1½-2 hours)

Sunday, April 6

Salmon fried rice

Use the leftover oil from frying salmon or salmon skin.

Chop about a cup cabbage, fry in the salmon oil, add half a cup of chopped cilantro, stir fry, mix in a couple of cups of cooked rice (adjust according to how oily you want it), sprinkle with salt, and you're done.

Salmon on rice wrapped in nori

That's about it. Salmon skin is good. Chop up the meat and skin and fry it up. (Save the oil and some of the meat for Salmon Fried Rice). Spread cooked rice at one end of a sheet of nori, spread on some salmon, sprinkle with furikake and wrap it in the nori; I don't know if it's genuine onigiri, but I like it.

Shiitake mushrooms with snow peas

Snap both ends off snow peas, slice about equal quantity of fresh shiitake mushroom caps (discard the stem) into thin slices. Heat oil, first dump in the mushrooms, then the snow peas, stir fry adding water whenever the liquid dries up. Don't overcook!

Chinese "meat loaf"

OK, it's not really a loaf, but it's meat.

½ lb. ground pork

Mix in a couple of teaspoons of:
soy sauce
rice wine
sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste.

2 scallions
1½ teaspoon ginger
1 cup shiitake mushrooms

Microwave the mushrooms a minute or so; they'll shrink to about half.

Mix all ingredients together in a low bowl, then put the trivet in the rice cooker, two cups of filtered water, put a plate on the trivet (in case of spills) and the bowl on the plate. Click it on and take it out when it's done. Eat with rice.
To what shall I
Compare this human life?
To the white wake
Of a boat rowing away
At the break of dawn.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's this:
世間を 何に譬へむ 朝開き 漕ぎ去にし船の 跡なきがごと
Yononaka o nani ni tatoen asabiraki kogiinishi fune no atonaki ga goto

Wisdom, of a sort

"Do not let these circumstances define you the way I let them define me."

"Revenge" Season 3 Episode 13 at 31:49,250


In The War on Reason Paul Bloom writes,
In his recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker notes that a high level of self-control benefits not just individuals but also society. Europe, he writes, witnessed a thirtyfold drop in its homicide rate between the medieval and modern periods, and this, he argues, had much to do with the change from a culture of honor to a culture of dignity, which prizes restraint.
I had thought of "dignity" primarily in terms of just one of the American Heritage Dictionary's definitions, that is, "Stateliness and formality in manner and appearance", and #4 in the OED reads "Nobility or befitting elevation of aspect, manner, or style; becoming or fit stateliness, gravity" and refers us to "dignified": "Marked by dignity of manner, style, or appearance; characterized by lofty self-respect without haughtiness; stately, noble, majestic."

But that's not cited in the Macmillan English Dictionary, which instead only mentions "the impressive behavior of someone who controls their emotions in a difficult situation," whereas Merriam-Webster offers "a way of appearing or behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control" and "the quality of being worthy of honor or respect".

I did not know this. And even if the Macmillan English Dictionary gives the example "She faced her death with great dignity" for their above definition, restraint and control of one's emotions aren't apparently what "dignity" means in the Death with Dignity movement, which states,
The greatest human freedom is to live, and die, according to one's own desires and beliefs. From advance directives to physician-assisted dying, death with dignity is a movement to provide options for the dying to control their own end-of-life care.
So in "death with dignity", it's still control, but control of one's own future. I have the impression that it also suggests there's something undignified about living in an unpleasant manner, that is, suffering from the symptoms of illness and its treatment: pain or unpleasant side effects from medication or other life-prolonging measures.

But for me, life, and aging, and death itself are all pretty undignified.