Sunday, March 01, 2015
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unemploymentIt is all around us. We can’t seem to escape it. It has caused records in unemployment, strained marriages and most recently the poverty levels in America. The Economy, the “at-fault” of everything that has occurred in recent times and what is in the road ahead. The Economy is the new four letter word for the way Americans are living in uncertain times.  The blame for “The Economy” has been blamed on the President, The Republicans, The Democrats, The Senate, Congress, Washington etc., etc., etc.

"Wait, aren’t you the guy that writes about food?”   “Is this one of those how to stretch your budget recipe guides?” Not quite!

Why am I writing about the Economy and the people in Washington?  Because their actions, bickering and childish behavior are affecting the lives of everybody who voted them into office and the future of this great nation as well and not one has a solution to the problem of “The Economy”

 “So does this mean you are going to write about politics and not give us a recipe we can cook this weekend? I can see the news about the economy anywhere, I want a nice picture of food and maybe a recipe or two”……….I will do better, how about I tell you, in detail about a dinner I had with a dear friend and tell you(or at least try)the recipe while I go off on my political diatribe.

 We were recently invited to a dinner party given by a dear family friend Jane (not her real name).When asked what we should bring the response was a little shocking, “NOTHING”. We along with a few other close friends were a bit hesitant to be invited to a dinner by Jane. You see Jane, like countless other Americans is unemployed, because of “The Economy” she is underwater on her house and to make matters worse her husband of 20 plus years recently passed away because he could not afford the proper medical care for his condition.  Just a few years ago Jane was a successful Real Estate Broker and her dinners were always filled with family and friend enjoying her very delectable meals.

 We are greeted at the door by one of Jane’s three children. He is a very polite and well-mannered 16 year old who’s delight at having friends visit is apparent in his smile and almost watering eyes. The aromas coming from the kitchen is one that is familiar only to those who are invited to a family meal cooked by a person with passion. It is that passion that has Jane cooking for everyone tonight. She has missed her friend and family and the priceless time spent with them.

 As we sit down we are served a small plate of crispy chicken skins with a hot sauce made with chili peppers, garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper all blended together until the consistency of a thin salsa. And just in case you are wondering, YES I said crispy chicken skin. It caters to the desire of something crispy and spicy to whet the appetite.

We are then served a perfectly grilled sausage that is served with wilted bitter greens sautéed in olive oil and garlic and served over a white bean puree. Simple delicious ingredients that are cooked exactly like described. On the table we also have carrots that have been cooked with salt, seasonings and then tossed with syrup and a little bit of cayenne. Simply sautéed zucchini  in olive oil, straightforward and to the point. A delicious meal but with a message which I believe should be taken to heart by the Washington Politicians.

 You see Jane is in the same boat as many other American families, just like you and I Jane is dealing with it, she is getting creative with what she has and is learning to make more out of the less.

 The crispy chicken skin, usually something that is thrown out has been turned into a palate pleasing delight. Unhealthy? Maybe? but in moderation everything is O.K.  Can Washington take something that will normally not be utilized and “re-purpose” it? Can Washington do something that is not healthy yet desired and do it in moderation?

 The hot sauce is just a few simple inexpensive chili’s & garlic mixed with a more expensive ingredient like olive oil, and when used in small amounts and allowed to perfectly mix, something divine – more than just the some of their parts. Washington –take notes.

The sausage, wilted greens and pureed white beans?, all ingredients that were on sale in the supermarket . The carrots with syrup and cayenne is  inexpensive (carrots) and readily available in most households with children (syrups). The zucchinis came from her backyard.

Millions of American are learning to live without, downsizing and doing the staycations while Washington Politicians are playing “politics”. I for one am glad that people like Jane exist only for the reason that it creates new opportunities. The dinner at Jane’s house is a growing trend across America – home meals. Jane is charging her dinner guests for the privilege of eating frugally, and God Bless her, people are paying to experience a more modest life. She is teaching them how to cook more frugally and how to stretch the menu. Only in America. It should be a mandate that ALL candidates be a server at one of Jane’s dinner parties, YES, serving food so that they can really listen to what is going on in America.

 You have to love the Entrepreneurial spirit. Washington can learn a lot from Jane and all the other Americans that are shouting at the top of their lungs. Hopefully they will listen.

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