On February 1st, a new social media site opened for business: Spoutible.
I’ve been using it since then and it has been smooth sailing, more or less. It’s still in beta and it can be a bit slower than you might be used to on Twitter, and it glitches a little, but the team behind the scenes keeps us in the loop as things progress. The soft opening let people really find their pods, their like-minded people. I’ve found some of the political accounts I followed elsewhere, but my most positive experience thus far has been getting to know the writing community there.
I’d recommend giving it a try, kicking the tires and take a deep breath because the whale puns abound.
The biggest difference that I see on Spoutible is my timeline is filled with the people I actually follow as opposed to Twitter which has been giving me Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Lauren Boebert and others whose drivel I really don’t need in my life. I would understand if what I’m seeing was newsworthy, but it’s trolling by our Congresspeople. It’s sad and depressing.
Do I expect Spoutible to be perfect? No, of course not, but I kind of like the Nazi- and conspiracy theory-free zone.
I’d also recommend Post, which has been going along for a couple of months (I think) now. It’s more newsie and political, although I expect Spoutible to pick up on those topics as more new voices join up. I can be found at Post under the same handle, kbwriting.
Follow the links.
I do believe I’m done looking for more microblogging sites though.
Food and cooking are universal. We all eat, we all need to get food on the table, and even if it’s not us directly, someone needs to cook. From small galley kitchens in apartments to large farmhouse kitchens looking out over lush, green backyards, whatever kitchens we are destined to be “stuck with” we adapt and we learn how to work with what we have. If we don’t have an ingredient, we try a different one. When my kids were little, in the summer we held taste tests. I would get things they’d never eaten and we’d try them. It was great fun, and the kids had an awesome time choosing what new food, mostly fruit they wanted to try. Some (donut peaches) did better than others (anchovies).
I had the privilege of working one of my first jobs out of college as a civilian for the US Navy’s child development program and through that job met people from all over the country and we shared food and recipes and cultural traditions, and it was wonderful.
One of my mentors, Sylvia was an African-American woman from New Orleans. She had a demeanor of floating on air, gliding through our lives, and expressing and encouraging our wonder in the world and in diversity. I learned so much from her. She was ethereal and offered her words and advice as a sage. From her, I learned to make her sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving.
I followed her recipe exactly for years and my family loved this new item in our Thanksgiving celebration. My mother could not reconcile that sweet potato pie was served cold and as a dessert. She just could not get used to it, and soon it became a side dish in our house. The only difference between Sylvia’s and my version was temperature and time to eat.
After a while, after three kids and depression, and “I don’t have time for this” I converted it to a casserole, but I still miss that original version that Sylvia introduced me to. At the bottom, I’ll share my recipe, which, while excellent is not what you’d find in New Orleans.
Combining Sylvia’s traditions with mine was one way I blended her African American heritage with my Jewish heritage and then further blending Jewish and Christian traditions for holidays, in classrooms as a teacher and in my husband’s Catholic family.
This has been a longwinded introduction to a Twitter friend of mine, someone I met on the social media site in the last few months.
Michael W. Twitty is a proud African-American Jew who expresses himself through cooking and writing about food and culinary history. His Twitter handle is KosherSoul, which exemplifies his focus.
I’m going to quote from his website because this epitomizes how I think of my own cooking: Michael has introduced me to the term, “identity cooking.” “Identity cooking isn’t about fusion; rather its [sic] how we construct complex identities and then express them through how we eat.” This is a truism that if you follow me for any length of time and read my food posts, you’ll see that connecting different foods has always been my cooking style. Bringing together flavors that don’t necessarily go, but manage to surprise. None of us eats in a singular “culinary construct”. We often work with what we have and adapt. My mother-in-law was excellent at pulling things together from her cupboards and turning it into a gourmet meal. She had a rare talent.
As for Twitty, I could easily just copy and paste his website to describe how he blends the two diasporas of African-Americans and the Jewish people and their food, but I’ll let you visit him yourself as he explores their crossroads. He is a two time James Beard award-winning author and his recent book, KOSHERSOUL: The Faith and Food Journey of an African-American Jew was the winner of the 2023 National Jewish Book Council Award for Book of the Year.
Find all his socials below as well as his website and links to purchase his books.
He also offers classes in the DC/Baltimore area. Information here.
As promised, my recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole
To make this as a pie, pour into a graham cracker pie crust, cover with mini marshmallows and bake for about 35 minutes at 350, until marshmallows are golden brown.
Ingredients & Directions:
1 large can of sweet potatoes (cook, drain, mash) 1 stick of butter 1/4 cup of brown sugar (whatever variety you prefer – I use dark, Sylvia used light) I don’t measure the spices, but I add about: 1 TB cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg Incorporate everything together and pour into a small, any shaped casserole dish. Cover the top with mini marshmallows and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
Scoop and serve. If pie, let cool, slice, and serve.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
– Theodore Roosevelt
January almost always starts off with a bang. I’m organized, I’ve got my calendar, I’ve planned my blog and my classes up to a point, and then around now, not quite halfway through February, it flounders.
It hasn’t floundered. Not really.
I think I may have found a routine, sort of, some motivation, kind of, and even though it’s not perfect, well, nothing is, it seems to be working (for the most part).
I’m still trying to find the perfect storm of organizing while not being overly fastidious and ridiculously detailed.
I’m sitting at my desk (read: dining room table that was actually cleaned last night for dinner, but is currently not even remotely close), surrounded by folders, papers, planner, notebooks, car keys (which actually have a home, but are not there at the moment), and my cell phone.
I have a meeting in ten minutes, and I’m still trying to get this post halfway done so I can put it up tomorrow (Wednesday). It would only be two days late (in my mind) so that’s okay, and that’s what I wanted to talk about.
Since the beginning of the new year, I’ve been on top of things. Not only on top of my website writing, but the site housekeeping is coming up this week (ch-ch-ch-changes), and I’ve been getting ready for my two new classes in March, and working on organizing my two books on Scrivener, my storyboard program.
And, the list goes on and on. Not sure if that’s such a good thing.
Since my success in November with NaNoWriMo, I’ve been really excited about writing. I’ve tried to keep track of my writing time, word counts, ideas for future items, and writing every day. Almost every day. This has been coupled with moving all of my computer folders onto an external hard drive to better organize my writing and be able to see what I have and what I can do with those old workshop pieces. Next up is transcribing those workshop notebooks that go back about a decade.
Things seem to be coming together, and I’m hoping that by writing about it, I won’t jinx it.
I had my final therapy appointment (until I find another therapist) last week. I’ve decided to take a month off and see how I’m feeling. It’s been ten years and therapy has been a lifeline as well as a mental comfort. I’m not sure how I’ll be, but I’m hyperaware of how I feel, and I have my coping. There have been so many changes recently and a lot of the positives began about ten years ago when I found therapy; my faith; my writing. It’s been a lot in ten years and the changes take some getting used to. Including deciding on a new therapist.
I had a funeral last week for a wonderful woman in my writing group. At her funeral (and unrelated to my friend), I believe that I was given inspiration for a short story.
Inspiration is everywhere.
I’ve been on a new social media site, Spoutible. It opens to the public on Thursday and despite its glitches and slowness, it’s amazing. The atmosphere is truly the anti-Twitter. Everyone is so nice and friendly and we’re all following each other. We’re helping each other figure things out and having conversations, and I think I’m going to really like it there.
It’s still in beta (and will continue to be on Thursday) but it’s a million times better than a week-old site should be. I feel safe, I feel lighter, something I didn’t feel on Twitter. I can feel my blood pressure remaining steady. And when I open it, I don’t see Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, or Lauren Boebert like I do on Twitter at the top of my feed even though I don’t follow any of them. It’s kind of annoying. I mean, I can’t mute everyone, can I?
I will have a Spoutible account attached to this site, something I did not do with Twitter. I’m not sure how I’ll use it but come along for the ride.
That’s it for now. I have an exciting Friday Food coming up at the end of the week. Come back for that!
I am trying to share Black History, especially if I can find it through Black voices. I saw this on my timeline on Spoutible (open to the public on Thursday – there will be a review coming then). As a studier of history, I am always surprised to discover something else that I didn’t know. It is so important to keep our minds open to learning new things. If you know of someone not on this extensive list, please add them in the comments.
I’ve been seeing and hearing quite a bit about a new proposal from House GOP members about abolishing the IRS and implementing a 30% sales tax*. On its face it is an absurd prospect filled with scare tactics talking points and falsehoods, or as we like to call them: LIES.
I’m including three links as well as a great video that explains exactly what’s in the bill at the end. First, I’m glad to give you my opinion on this as someone who pays the bills for my household and is soon-to-be preparing our taxes and who spent the weekend shopping with my family for our household needs.
A 30% tax increase is CRAZY. It’s as simple as that. We’re an average family of five, one of whom lives on his own (but who often comes to dinner). We are still materially supporting two other children (regardless of their ages), feeding, clothing, entertaining. We live paycheck to paycheck, and some months we don’t have anything at all until the next paycheck. It varies.
This weekend we went to several places and took our daughter to breakfast on Sunday. I’m going to round up what we spent:
Breakfast out: $63
Department Store: $68 (this included groceries, medicine, and clothing)
Walmart: $6 (groceries)
McDonald’s: $3 ($1 drinks)
Sally’s Beauty Supply: $24 (school supplies)
Target: $164 (personal care/hygiene, toilet paper, school supplies, groceries, toy on clearance)
All of these purchases include state and county sales tax, which in (our part of) New York is 8%.
New totals based on an additional 30% federal sales tax (on goods and services):
Dept. Store: $88.40
For a grand total increase of: $98.40 for one day’s shopping. ONE DAY.
Republican House Members claim that this will abolish the IRS and eliminate 87,000 “weaponized” IRS agents who were increased in a recent bill that President Biden signed last year. This is a falsity that they’ve continued to lie about. Those 87,000 IRS agents will not be armed (as they’ve claimed) and they will not be coming to your house, but increasing the assistance the IRS gives to its clients every day. I’ve been on the phone with them previously and have always felt helped. They’re also supposed to help reduce the backlog to avoid situations like we experienced in 2021 when we filed in May and didn’t receive our refund until the end of December.
This National sales tax will be on goods AND services, where the current state formula is on primarily good with only a few services paying sales tax. This tax on services would include babysitters, which is explained in the video. This will also be on top of the state and local taxes paid on goods currently.
One of the things they claim is that 40% of households pay no form of income tax, and for those family’s eligible, there will be a monthly rebate based on a formula in relation to the poverty line and family size, but you would still have to pay it upfront at the time of purchase. If you’re eligible for the rebate, that is.
This creates an enormous burden on the poor and middle-class working families. The rich will always find ways to get around this tax, simply by leaving the country to do their shopping. Plus the fact that they can afford the increased pay out.
If it wasn’t obvious yet, I am definitely against this bill, and will be contacting my Congressman’s office to let him know he has my support to vote NO when this comes to the floor.
*Republicans claim that it isn’t a 30% increase, that it’s a 23% increase. That is because of how they are doing the math: $30 out of $100 is 23%. The video does an excellent job of explaining this.