“The White Ribbon”, “The Lottery”, my Trolley-Dolly bag and Tom Kha Gai soup
Thursday is movie day. In the afternoon I venture out to a movie alone. This week I saw “The White Ribbon”. This film is creating a buzz in hollywood and in the press. It is among my five favorite films of all time (the limted ones I have seen). Michael Haneke’s film is set in 1914 in a bleak, monochromatic, rural village. It was made in black and white to add to the tone. Haneke targets the traditional, pre first world war German culture . This culture adhered to strict discipline instilled by their protestant religion. These village members, depicted in the movie were cruel. The old against the young, men upon women, rich upon the poor and the able-bodied against the disabled. Haneke’s thesis is that this generation of cruel men provoked Nazism in the youth it reared. He alludes to the fact that the accidents, vandalism of cabbages and assaults are done by the village children in revenge on their elders. The story is narrated after the war by the village school teacher, who is reflecting upon what had happened in his village and the outcome of the last 30 years.
The Trolley-Dolly is a trendy eco friendly handbag to take to the grocery store with you. It is filled with many various colors of shopping bags and produce net carriers, which makes your trip easier because you have a neat storage bag that hangs on your shopping cart. I hope to be distributing them in stores in Los Angeles shortly and I will promote them once I have thought this business venture through. There is definitely a large LA market of trendy Angelenos for this product. More will be revealed!!
This film reminded my of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”. The New Yorker published the story in 1948. Her story depicts a jovial, picturesque rural village, where all the members are preparing for the annual lottery that has taken place for 75 years. The reader discovers that the lottery event is a fatal stoning of a village member. Everyone takes part in the stoning, including children. No villager questions the morality of their behavior. Johnson’s story suggests that individuals are not strong enough to confront their disapproval because they are afraid of being rejected by society.
Even though both “The lottery” and “The White Ribbon” interpret Haneke and Jackson’s explanation for why the human attrocities took place in the world wars, both pieces are relevant in today’s society. We are interested in mean gossip. We judge other people’s behavior and then get caught in the same behavior ourselves. We stereotype people. We condemn others so that we don’t have to look at our shortcomings. I see this happen in my community of family, friends and social groups that I belong to. I hope that I do question authority and ideals and take more responsibility of my own behavior. But at the end of the day as these stories depict, I am only human and am also prone to being evil!!
My soup recipe has no relevancy to today’s blog. Except for the fact that it has been part of my week. I emailed my Friday menu to my client, she wanted Tom Kha Gai soup. Filled with gratitude to the internet I was able to grant her wish. The soup was delicious and took 10 minutes to make. However, tracking down the different thai produce items proved to be a challenge as I don’t live near a 76 market. This is the recipe I finally chose to make:
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
4 red Thai chile, diced
1 inch fresh galangal root, thinly sliced
1 piece fresh ginger
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 can straw mushroom
4 medium tomatoes (optional)
1 stalk finely chopped lemongrass (optional)
10 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Bring coconut milk and broth to a boil, add thinly sliced galangal, minced ginger, and thai chiles to soup and simmer on medium for 10 minutes.
Add chicken slices and stir occasionally until chicken is tenderly cooked.
Add straw mushrooms (drained), and thinly sliced, deveined lime leaves (optional: cut a few cross-sections of lemon grass and add to the soup) (optional : cut tomatoes into largish cubes about 1″ square, and add to soup).
Add more thai chiles if it is not spicy enough for you — simmer for 10 more minutes.
When you are ready to serve, turn off the heat, add brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and stir well.
Then top it off with the cut cilantro.
Serve hot by itself or pour over rice.
dash chile sauce over the top to taste.