Weekend Endorsements: Socialism and Cupcakes.


blackink: It would be easy to dismiss Dutch society as “socialism gone wild,” writes Russell Shorto, but closer inspection reveals an upside that the United States might consider exploring. In his thoughtful essay in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Shorto offers another look  — one that admittedly relies more on anecdotes than data — at the benefits of going Euro. Early into his stay in Amsterdam as a struggling writer and married father of two children, Shorto spent a lot of time fretting about the 52 percent income tax rate. Until, of course, he started to see the substantial benefits of living in a social welfare state: affordable health care, government reimbursements for day care (as much as 70 percent), four weeks of vacation per year, an absence of the stigma associated with living in public housing. Sure, Shorto mentions a few drawbacks: most stores are closed by dusk and a strong social bent toward consensus and conformity. And he even asks, “can such a system work in a truly multiethnic society?” That question, no doubt, is directed at us — – Americans. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Europe — let alone Amsterdam. But at the least, I’m willing to explore the alternatives.

shani-o: I’ve been on a mission to try new recipes. It’s easy to get stuck in a lean protein rut when you’re trying to be healthy, but don’t actually take the time to plan something new.  I’m endorsing the recipes I’ve fallen in love with this past week.  Appetizer: roasted garlic bulbs, which are ridiculously easy and taste amazing on a triscuit with some havarti. Main course: a classic roasted chicken, and the remains can transform into multiple other meals (get thee a slow cooker!).  Dessert: Earl Grey cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting, these were a hit at my job (above photo borrowed from Desert Candy). Bonus: cheap flash-frozen fruit from Target goes great with a banana, milk and whey protein for a fantastic post-workout smoothie (for a tiny fraction of the cost of a smoothie at Jamba).


13 thoughts on “Weekend Endorsements: Socialism and Cupcakes.

  1. bitchphd May 9, 2009 at 8:50 pm Reply

    I am so very making those cupcakes. Thanks!

    Also that whole blog looks freaking awesome. A recipe for mud pie that doesn’t use prepackaged ingredients? I’ve died and gone to heaven.

    Or I will, because fuck my cholesterol.

  2. Kia May 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm Reply

    I’m all aboard the cupcake train as well. I’m sure they taste every bit as good as they look!

  3. Molly May 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm Reply

    Have you been to raspberry eggplant (http://tinyurl.com/pbje8j)? Those are some of the best exotic cupcake recipes I have ever encountered…

    And I am waiting with bated breath for socialized healthcare…freedom from consensus is waaay overrated…

  4. Molly May 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm Reply
  5. Ron May 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm Reply

    I love that cupcake recipe. So inventive. I’ll have to check that out.

    Try Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream. I’ve made it a few times and each time, it’s an absolute hit.


  6. shani-o May 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm Reply

    Clearly we haven’t been doing enough food-blogging here at PB. 🙂 Thanks for the links, Molly and Ron. And Ron, I’m all about homemade ice cream this summer.

    Bitch, how’d they come out??

    • Winslowalrob May 10, 2009 at 9:56 pm Reply

      Shani, teach me the ways of ice-cream! My wife and I want to be able to make our own stuff, we are headin back to Sichuan (China) this fall and need to make consistently good ice-cream (We can only take so much KFC sundaes) or else…

    • bitchphd May 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm Reply

      They’re pretty good. I think I want to up the Earl Gray content in them, and I made actual buttercream frosting (the kind where you cook the egg whites ever so slightly and then whisk the shit out of them before sloooowly adding butter and, in this case, a li’l earl gray tea and some lemon. I think I”ll do them again with more tea flavor in the cakes themselves and maybe a little lighter hand with the frosting, because oooooooh, my tummy…..

      • shani-o May 12, 2009 at 11:09 pm Reply

        I think I’m gonna up the tea in them, too, if I make them again.

        The real buttercream sounds crazy good, but my stomach would probably revolt if I tried it.

  7. Kia May 11, 2009 at 7:27 am Reply

    Because the cupcakes blinded me I forgot to point out that as a woman who has given birth at home I’ve been a fan of the Dutch health care model for many years. The number of out of hospital births in the Netherlands is much higher than here in the States and their mortality rates are much lower. There is a lot more to maternal and neonatal health than that but it is an easy stat that illustrates the the broader picture. Dutch women have genuine choice in the birthing process and medical support wherever they start out or end up giving birth. During a visit to Holland, I was able to talk with some doctors and midwives solidifying my desire to plan a home

    But people still give me wry smiles when they find out I went to Amsterdam for a research project!

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