Indy Digest: Dec. 2, 2021
I find cooking to be therapeutic—relaxing, even.
OK … well, let me rephrase slightly: I find cooking to be therapeutic—relaxing, even—unless I manage to make a complete debacle out of things.
I have a pretty nutzo schedule (at least when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic-caused stay-at-home order, something that I really, really hope will not become a thing again), so I don’t often have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. Therefore, I often do a lot of cooking in a crock pot. A slow cooker offers a perfect compromise: I can cook and tweak and make a (hopefully) perfect dish without spending a ton of time in the kitchen.
While I enjoy experimenting by preparing new things, I also have some standbys I make regularly. One of those things is a Basque-style soup broth that’s become a family recipe, of sorts, from when my mom and her siblings worked at a Basque restaurant as teenagers. I often make a big batch; it keeps in the refrigerator for several days, and is perfect to enjoy as a snack or even a light lunch.
I decided on Monday to make a batch to have around for what was shaping up to be a hectic week. In the morning, I threw the veggies and chicken in the crock pot along with some water, and let it cook all day. Late in the afternoon, I removed all of the veggies (which had given up all their flavor to the broth), threw in the final ingredients, and added salt and pepper to taste. After that cooked for a while, I went to do my final taste test and decided the soup could use just a little more salt and pepper.
I added in a dash or two of salt; I then reached for the pepper container, opened it up and gave it a shake.
So … you know how some spice containers have two sides—a side with small sprinkling holes, and a side with a large pour opening?
Yep. I opened the wrong side, and shook at least at least a half-cup of black pepper into the soup. Maybe more. It was at this point I shouted an expletive that could be heard throughout my apartment complex.
I grabbed the nearest large spoon to fish out some of the pepper—and the spoon I hastily grabbed was slotted, It was at this point I shouted an even louder expletive. I had truly made a debacle out of things.
By the time I retrieved a non-slotted spoon, the damage was done. The soup had become a sickly gray color. I decided to stir it and take a taste, hoping maybe, just maybe, things were not as bad as they looked. The result was that I learned it is as sort-of possible to both cough and sneeze at the same time.
Therapeutic cooking, this was not. I could have USED some therapy when all was said and done.
From the Independent
Post-Growth Spurt: The Regrettes Bring Meaningful Lyrics and an Evolving Sound to Pappy and Harriet’s
By Matt King
December 1, 2021
The Regrettes are embarking on a mini-tour which includes a return to Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Dec. 9.
By Bill Frost
December 1, 2021
Here are 10 stream-worthy new series and movies that premiered over the past month or so that you might have missed.
By Matt King
November 30, 2021
A look at December entertainment options in the Coachella Valley and high desert.
December Astronomy: Venus Is the Celestial Headliner, Along With the Geminid Meteor Shower and the Start of Winter
By Robert Victor
November 30, 2021
December skies offer an eye-catching lineup of three evening planets—while a few hours of dark, moonless skies coincide with the year’s best meteor shower.
December 2, 2021
Topics tackled on this week’s Independent comics page include combat boots, standing one’s ground, white men on yachts, crime mug shots—and much more!
Best of Coachella Valley Winners’ Advertising Spotlight!
• An anti-vaxxer attacked a Purple Room employee earlier this week when the employee tried to enforce the city of Palm Springs’ indoor dining requirements. From a news release via Purple Room spokesman David Perry: “On Tuesday, Nov. 30, an employee at Palm Springs’ iconic Purple Room Supper Club was physically attacked and verbally abused by a patron who refused to show proof of vaccination, a requirement for entry to the club in addition to all indoor dining establishments within the city. After jumping the employee, the individual attempted to push his way into the club while delivering an anti-vax diatribe screaming, ‘I’m tired of you f**cking liberals. I’m going in the room.’ After the attack, the individual was forced to leave and is still at large and unidentified. A video in the club recorded the incident and a photo of the alleged assailant. Both have been turned over to the Palm Springs Police Department who are investigating. … There have been other incidents in which unvaccinated guests attempted entry to the club and were verbally abusive when they were turned away. However, this was the first physical altercation.”
• Omicron, that wild and wacky SARS-CoV-2 variant you first heard about only a week or so ago, is making its away around the U.S. It’s in San Francisco. And New York. And Colorado. And Minnesota. Given the amount of international travelers who come to the Coachella Valley, omicron may already be here—and if not, it will certainly be soon. What does this all mean? Nobody knows yet.
• The Biden administration today announced its plan to get the U.S. through another expected—and possibly omicron-fueled—winter COVID spike. NBC News characterized the moves as “out of step with other countries that are clamping down.” Some details: “The administration’s strategy will focus mostly on ramping up existing COVID-19 procedures and promoting vaccinations and booster shots. It will also aim to make testing more accessible by requiring health insurers to reimburse customers for the cost of at-home tests. The administration will also send 50 million at-home tests to community health centers and rural clinics for free distribution.”
• The Los Angeles Times examines the possibility that omicron was birthed in a person who had an immune-system-battering condition such as uncontrolled HIV. The piece offers an interesting look at how variants can be spawned. A taste: “Tulio De Oliveira (the South African scientist who first discovered the variant) said the emergence of Omicron in a patient unable to clear the virus quickly was ‘the most plausible’ origin story for the world’s newest variant of concern. There’s good reason to think so. Researchers in the United States and Europe have seen coronaviruses with frightening mutations arise in COVID-19 patients whose natural defenses have been suppressed by drugs to fight cancer, manage autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, or keep transplanted organs from being rejected.”
• Meanwhile, here in the Coachella Valley, the status of the pandemic remains steadyish-to-worsening slightly. The latest Palm Springs wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2, done Nov. 22 and 23, shows the amount of the virus in wastewater ticked up for the second consecutive week. Even more alarming: A graph on the report shows that the numbers are eerily close to what they were at this time last year—as a hospital-overwhelming spike was just getting started. It’s worth remembering that last year, however, nobody was vaccinated yet. Still, these numbers are worth watching, especially with the specter of omicron looming.
• The weekly Riverside County District 4 COVID-19 report also shows some upticks in COVID-19 stats. (District 4 consists of the Coachella Valley and rural points eastward.) During the week ending Nov. 28, hospitalizations shot up from 42 to 58, while the weekly test positivity rate was 4.3 percent, up from 3.9 last week. Saddest of all: At least five of our neighbors died because of COVID-19 during the week.
• The Southern California Association of Governments has issued a so-so economic forecast for the region in 2022. From the news release: “Southern California has reclaimed 70% of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the recovery ahead will be an uneven one as labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, equity gaps and inflation continue to impact the region’s economy, a new forecast shows. The report was released Thursday, Dec. 2, during the 12th Annual Southern California Summit. … The forecast was prepared by some of the region’s top economists, and notes that the strength, resilience and diversity of Southern California’s economy helped avoid what could have been a far more serious downturn. Even so, the impact of the pandemic has been significant, with the region still more than a half million (507,000) jobs below its February 2020 total, even after having added 1.21 million over the past 19 months.”
• The Associated Press yesterday published a big investigation that is more than a little bit disturbing. The headline: “US military explosives vanish, emerge in civilian world.” Key takeaway: “Hundreds—and possibly thousands—of armor-piercing grenades, hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives, as well as land mines and rockets have been stolen from or lost by the U.S. armed forces over the past decade, according to an ongoing Associated Press investigation into the military’s failure to secure all its weapons of war. Still more explosives were reported missing and later recovered. Troops falsified records to cover up some thefts, and in other cases didn’t report explosives as missing, investigative files show. Sometimes, they failed to safeguard explosives in the first place. The consequences can be deadly.”
• An expert on Roe v, Wade, writing for The Conversation, explains what may happen to abortion rights in the U.S., based on arguments that were heard earlier this week. Key portion: “Hearing arguments in a case that could fundamentally alter abortion rights and regulations throughout the nation, the six conservative justices who hold the majority in the highest court seemed divided: Would they overturn the core right to abortion entirely or would they allow abortion to be limited by the states to the early stages of pregnancy? … The arguments at the court on Dec. 1 suggest that there is a third path the justices could—and might – take. The court could focus its ruling on a narrower and more neglected aspect of the ruling in Roe: the court’s understanding of the facts of fetal personhood.”
• And finally … you know those cute cat videos that make the cesspools that are social media slightly better places? Well, it turns out some of those kitties are being used to spread misinformation. How? The New York Times explains: “The posts with the animals do not directly spread false information. But they can draw a huge audience that can be redirected to a publication or site spreading false information about election fraud, unproven coronavirus cures and other baseless conspiracy theories entirely unrelated to the videos. Sometimes, following a feed of cute animals on Facebook unknowingly signs users up as subscribers to misleading posts from the same publisher.”
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