Your Country

I was sitting in a little strip mall Indian restaurant one night with JJ and V, discussing politics and the world in general, and I said something that would come back to me with a jolt later on. I was deep into Ozwald Spengler at the time and it was something about how demographics shapes history. I remember commenting on how their generation of young eastern men and women, would shape the world. How Indian and China would define a new social revolution. About six months later, the Arab Spring exploded across the middle east. So I was right on the demographic, a little off on the geographic.

I wanted to share this because I think these guys could be to the Arab Spring what Bob Dylan was to the Social Movements in the 1960’s:

I’ve always felt out of sync with my country and with my generation. I have found myself envious of those who are in the thick of it. The movers and shakers. But I have realized that you must be able to look on to something, not just out of something in order to know all of it. Writer’s must be able to do this – to walk in two worlds, never quite belonging. The mover’s and shaker’s may be doing it, but someone has to be by their side to tell about it. You must learn how to give your readers a taste of this life and time, let them smell your world cooking in the kitchen. You definitely need some local ingredients.

There are plenty of novels that maybe timeless, but they still define a time or a place by painting us a picture in a way that only a story can. War and Peace, Tale of Two Cities, Huckleberry Finn, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Shogun, just to name a very few. This is the job of the artist, to let us view the transcendent through the temporal. They make a small bit of time and space live on, forever unchanged, in their pages. My friends all tell me how India has changed and is still. I will never get to go to the India I dreamed about when I laid on the floor of my grandmother’s parlor fawning through her National Geographic Magazines and ingesting the lush, colorful pictures until they became lik a part of me.

There is one other way to capture a moment of history. A way to engross yourself in another culture, even if it no longer exists, and that is through their cuisine. This is a recipe from my grandmother that she used to make for me in the kitchen of her old-Victorian house that crumbled down a long time ago. It’s contents were sold, it’s pieces were scattered and I imagine that those beautiful pictures of India blew away across the wind-swept prairie.

Sauerkraut with Sausage and Cardamon Dumplings

  • 1 jar of sauerkraut
  • bullion and water
  • beer
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 sausages, cut
  • salt and pepper
In a frying pan, cook your sausages (chopped or not) until they are about half way done. In a soup pot, saute your onions  in the butter until they become slightly translucent. Add in about 1/2 cup of water and the bullion and let the bullion dissolve.
Wash, wash, wash your kraut in a colander before you add it into the pot. Add your sausages, caraway and 1/2 the beer, then add water until it is all just slightly immersed. Bring it to a boil.

For the dumplings:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
 Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar,  cardamon and salt in medium size bowl.  I added in the cardamon, because I think it makes a nice balance. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk to make a soft dough. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling sauerkraut. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid.

Akana prindjerav tut. 


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