Truly stranger than fiction.
To celebrate this season of giving and sharing, I’m passing along an old favorite. May your holiday and New Year be filled with health, happiness, good cheer and everything you find meaningful. xo, Alisa
Focaccia with olives and rosemary
Bon Appétit | May 1995
This recipe was inspired by one from olive oil expert Lidia Colavita. You can make a meal around the bread by offering it as an accompaniment to bean soup.
2 cups warm water (105°F; to 115°F;)
2 teaspoons dry yeast
4 1/2 cups (about) all purpose flour
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 black or green brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata or Greek),
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
Place 2 cups warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle dry yeast over; stir with fork. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.Add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture and stir to blend well (dough will be sticky). Knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is sticky, about 10 minutes. Form dough into ball. Oil large bowl; add dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough; knead into ball and return to same bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 45 minutes or less
Coat 15×10-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Punch down dough. Transfer to prepared sheet. Using fingertips, press out dough to 13×10-inch rectangle. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over dough. Sprinkle olives and chopped rosemary evenly over. Let dough rise uncovered in warm area until puffy, about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475°F. Press fingertips all over dough, forming indentations. Bake bread until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes. Serve bread warm or at room temperature.
I’ve been noticing a growing trend: hosts and hostesses who weren’t taught the golden rule of party giving – namely, that your role is to make sure that all your guests have a great time. (If you have a good time, too, that’s icing on the birthday cake!)
At several parties we attended this past year, the hosts stayed in the kitchen or one part of the house, chatting with only a few people. They didn’t circulate with an eye out for anyone who might be standing alone. Nor did they make introductions (e.g., “Have you met So-and-So? He’s a pilot and since you love to travel, you should get to know each other”), thereby giving the conversation a starting point.
Is this generational? Geographical? Situational… perhaps a carryover from going to office parties where you already know everyone?
There’s a parallel trend at dinner parties: guests who either show up empty-handed or fail to write a “bread and butter” thank you note (or e-mail or text). Contrast that with friends who came over the other night bringing two bottles of wine, homemade dessert, and flowers. These are people you’ll definitely invite again!
Meanwhile, since you probably have some parties and eating in your future from now through New Year’s, I found the following food cravings chart very interesting. I have no idea whether the science behind it is sound, but if it helps, who cares, right?
Remember that nuts and cheese are high in calories, so substitute in moderation.
(Sent from a friend.)
THERE WERE 3 GOOD ARGUMENTS THAT
Jesus was Black:
- He called everyone “brother”.
- He liked Gospel.
- He didn’t get a fair trial.
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
- He went into his Father’s business.
- He lived at home until he was 33.
- He was sure his mother was a virgin, and his mother was sure He was God.
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
- He talked with his hands.
- He had wine with his meals.
- He used olive oil.
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
- He never cut his hair.
- He walked around barefoot all the time.
- He started a new religion.
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Native American:
- He was at peace with nature.
- He ate a lot of fish.
- He talked about the Great Spirit.
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
- He never got married.
- He was always telling stories.
- He loved green pastures.
But the most compelling evidence of all proves that Jesus was a WOMAN:
- He fed a crowd at a moment’s notice when there was virtually no food.
- He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it.
- And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do.
The world is abuzz with new revelations about sexual harassment, workplace predators and all-around bad behavior.
This leads me to think about a couple of incidents from my past. Viewed through today’s lens, they’d probably warrant a call to HR. But — and this is not to excuse these men — the world WAS different when I was young.
A suburban-dwelling supervisor stopped by my desk one evening to let me know he was going to “apartment sit” a friend’s place in the city for a few days and encouraged me to meet him there for drinks “and”. Said supervisor was married, decades older, and my direct boss. Accepting might fast-track a promotion and certainly lead to plum assignments; refusal could turn a cordial relationship into enmity.
Unlike, say, Harvey Weinstein, there was no physical intimidation. But the message was clear: if you want to advance, here’s one way to do it.
I had a tiny office and a very large, very tall boss. One day, he came in, closed the door, and proceeded to back me up against the wall while attempting to kiss me. Physical and scary, as this man had total power over me — not just in that moment but going forward if I handled things badly.
Did I tell anyone? No. Because what good would it have done? Men had no hesitation coming on to women at work; it was almost expected and it happened a LOT. So with both bosses I tried to offer a reply that would protect their egos while I rejected them –thereby preserving our working relationship.
With boss #1, I flattered him by reminding him that I was a lot younger and said that if we became involved I’d risk falling for him, which would be a very bad idea.
He bought it.
With boss #2, I flattered him by telling him how much I liked working for him (he was brilliant) and I may have lied and said I had a boyfriend.
Was this brave? Of course not. Just simple gut instinct that if I didn’t make a big fuss, they’d stop. It didn’t occur to me that they might victimize someone else or that this could be a pattern; I only wanted them to leave me alone.
My questions are these: Does every proposition by a person in authority qualify as sexual harassment? And has it become too easy to assign blame without also considering ways in which the other party might respond?
I get that a powerful person like Weinstein can intimidate the hell out of a young woman whose career might never get off the ground if she doesn’t “go along”. But showing up at the guy’s hotel room might send the wrong signal. And if he answers that door in his bathrobe, why in hell does she go in? Is she that naive? Or is she a participant in a quid pro quo?
I don’t mean to diminish the seriousness of sexual harassment. Men who think “grabbing pussy” is a compliment, or feel entitled to treat women as objects, are disgusting. On the other hand, I wonder whether we’ve gone too far in the other direction, labeling every advance or teasing remark as harassment, which minimizes those that are.
Perhaps we should learn how to diffuse a tense situation before it gets out of control. Plus karate, in case that doesn’t work.
What are your thoughts?
UPDATE, 1/11/18: Interesting perspective from Catherine Deneuve, et. al., saying that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction (if you’ll forgive the anatomy reference): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/09/movies/catherine-deneuve-and-others-denounce-the-metoo-movement.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share
In an open letter published in Le Monde, the actress and dozens of other Frenchwomen criticized the movement for punishing undeserving men.