Republican Lives Matter

Bigotry is in full force at Penzeys Spices.

I was skimming through my inbox, minding my own business, when I read this in an e-mail from Bill Penzey, owner of Penzey’s spices:

“The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades.”

A wave of ugliness? You mean like this e-mail? You mean like a vendor insulting a customer in her own home?

He’s right, that kind of ugliness has been heretofore unseen in my inbox.

But I’m a Christian, I can turn the other cheek, cut him a little slack.

Some customers, however, must have complained because today I received another e-mail, an update from Bill:

“You may have read Tuesday Night’s email. In it I said:  “The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let’s commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength.”
Since I ask you to read my emails, I feel it’s only right that I read each of your replies. In sifting through those replies it was clear that, though not intended, a good number of people seemed to sincerely believe that in my statement I was calling all Republicans racists. In the emails of those Republicans who voted for someone other than the party’s nominee, I sensed genuine pain at having the strength of character to not go along with what was happening, but nonetheless be grouped in with those who were. I apologize for writing something that caused you pain; that is not the person I want to be. You are your party’s future, and you deserve my admiration and respect, and your country’s as well.

For the rest of you, you just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate’s racism, because for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience. But the thing is elections have their consequences. This is no longer sixty years ago. Whether any of us like it or not, for the next four years the 80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate are going to treat you like you are the kind of person who would vote for an openly racist candidate.

Hold up, Bill, I have to interrupt for a sec.

First, this customer disagrees that our President-elect is racist. It surprises me that a businessman would offend half his customers based on hearsay. Isn’t that bad for business?

Second, “80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate”?

You might want to brush up on your math skills and your understanding of the electoral process. It is impossible to win a presidency with 20% of the vote. And, if I may, there are not enough registered Republican voters to elect a Republican president without the help of a good number of Dems. So you might need to shame your Dem customers, too.

And third, really? Are you really going to demonstrate your great love by shaming your customers? By treating us badly? By being intolerant of us? Isn’t that bigotry?


intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself: the difficulties of combating prejudice and bigotry

But back to your e-mail:

“You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends. If you are lucky and younger family members are still coming over for Thanksgiving, before it’s too late, take a moment and honestly think about how your actions must look through their eyes. Simply saying “I never thought he’d win” might be enough. But if you have the means, leaving a receipt from a sizable donation to the ACLU or the SPLC accidentally laying around where you carve the turkey, might go over even better.
Or, just do what you do best and volunteer… More often than not, those we meet cooking and serving food to feed those in need are Republicans. You really are a good bunch, but you just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago. Make this right. Take ownership for what you have done and begin the pathway forward.”

I feel your hate.

And this former customer respectfully requests that you leave your heaping helping of hate off my Thanksgiving table.

#percolate  #uglyisbrewingatpenzeys #feltalittlelikeabrickthroughmywindow


Food, life

Lemon & Lavender Love

I received a curious piece of e-mail on Saturday.  It was a note from a spice company asking those of us who cook to please watch a documentary about Amy Winehouse.

I didn’t know much about Amy except that she died of a heart attack brought on by heavy drug and alcohol abuse, won a Grammy and wrote a song entitled Rehab – the first two lines of which I sang repeatedly after I broke my foot.

Curious, I drove to the library after church, borrowed the dvd, got comfy on my bed and slipped the disc into my laptop.  The hub was hogging the family room tv with NASCAR.

For two hours I sat on my bed and witnessed the sad and infuriating progression from hopeful to hopeless. Exactly five years and one day after she died.

She was simply a hopeful, humble girl grateful for a gift. A gift that she would always have to enjoy, a sanctuary, a refuge from depression.

Along came a spider and sat down beside her.

A bad boy by the name of Blake Fielder turned her on to cocaine.

And then he left her brokenhearted and addicted.

After “Rehab” made her rich and famous, he returned to ride the gravy train.

The anger I felt while watching the film was directed at him.

And at her dad, who also took a seat on that train.

Neither of the two most important men in her life nurtured her talent or protected her heart and soul.

Both of the two most important men in her life exploited her talent and neglected her heart and soul.

Toward the end of the documentary, toward the end of her life, Amy was invited to sing a duet with her idol, Tony Bennett. It was a big deal.

After she passed he said, “She was one of the truest jazz singers I ever heard. To me she should be treated like Ella Fitzgerald, like Billie Holiday. She had the complete gift. If she had lived I would have said, ‘Slow down, you’re too important.’ Life teaches you really how to live it, if you can live long enough.”

Amy might have lived long enough if her talent had been nurtured, not exploited; treasured, not trashed.

So why did the owner of a spice company beg me to watch a documentary about Amy Winehouse on the anniversary of her death?

Who knows? Frankly he is a bit of a lunatic. And a bit of a pompous jerk. But that’s a story for another post. He wrote something about life being 25% better when we cook and share meals together.

My take-away: Amy’s is a cautionary tale about a malnourished soul.

I’ve told you before that I went through several months of bizarre and scary neurological weirdness about seven years ago.  At times I thought I might die.

Sitting in my family room one day I told God why I didn’t want to die.  I was thinking out loud, stripping life down to its bottom line.

It wasn’t my ministry that I wanted to live for – someone else could do that – I wanted to live for my family. I told God that I wanted to live so I could cook nutritious meals for my family.

Since then, the Formica-topped, nothing-special island in my kitchen has become my sanctuary.

It is a place of refuge from the depressing realities of this fretful world. When it all becomes too much, I close my laptop, head for the kitchen and engage in culinary art therapy.

It is the holy place where I prepare sacred gifts for my family.

It’s where I do what I can to make the world a better place.

Lemons and lavender.

I feel better about paying top dollar for organic produce if I at least try to use every bit of it.  So on Saturday, as I was making a citrus marinade, I zested the lemon before I cut and juiced it.

I paused the making of the marinade, poured about a cup and a half of organic sugar into my food processor, zested the lemon directly over the sugar and then added a tablespoon or two of dried lavender flowers which, coincidentally, I bought at the spice store on Friday.  I gave it all a good whirl and then poured the sugar into a jar.

So now I have a jar of lemon, lavender sugar in my fridge right next to the perpetual jar of plain lemon sugar.  I just keep zesting lemons into that jar and adding more sugar as I go.

There’s always citrus sugar on hand for pancakes, scones, sugar cookies, tea.


I was feeling a bit out of sorts this morning so I headed to my sanctuary and sliced a peach and some strawberries.


I threw in some blueberries, too, and then sprinkled it all with a spoonful or two of that lemon lavender sugar.


I love how the sugar makes the fruit glisten.

And how it draws out the juices.

Juices. We’ll need some shortcake to soak them up.

So I poured 12 ounces of half-and-half into a small saucepan, added 3 tablespoons of local honey and a half teaspoon of the lavender flowers. Just as it started to turn from a scald to a boil, I removed it from the heat, covered it and let it steep for an hour. Now the strained cream is in another jar in my fridge just chilling.


Later, when I make Alton Brown’s shortcake recipe, I’ll use my lemon, lavender sugar in place of plain sugar and I’ll use my honey, lavender infused half-and-half in place of plain half and half.

Because the love is in the lavender and the lemon.

Lavender-honey whipping cream would be great to top the shortcake and fruit. But I spotted my whipped cream dispenser already in the fridge and remembered that I have limoncello whipped cream to use up. That will be really good, too.

The hub is working in his office twelve miles away, my daughter is shaping youngsters into fine citizens twenty-five miles away and for the next hour I will be in my kitchen baking 25% more goodness into our lives.