Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cookie Marshmallow Cups in the Kitchen

Cedric just called to say he's almost done with his entry this morning and that C.I.'s holding the main entry at The Common Ills to include Cedric and Kat. He wondered if I might want to blog early so C.I. could note my site as well?

I will because I know C.I. feels like I get lost every weekend. C.I. did note this site later in the week and I ended up with ten e-mails from people who'd never written before so I want to stress that C.I. does note my site. I'm the newest community member with a site and I know C.I. tries to get the word out. I appreciate that but C.I. already gets the word out.

Cedric had two recipes to suggest in case I didn't have one in mind. I was weighing three and trying to narrow it down for tonight but I was happy to grab a suggestion. Cedric's first recipe was ruled out. I won't do strawberry recipes here because I don't use them in my kitchen. They're a wonderful fruit but my husband and three of my children are all allegeric. I have no idea why only three are, genetics, I suppose. But that's mean that we have blueberry shortcake instead of strawberry. I love strawberries and eat them outside the home. I do make a point to wash my hands afterwards because one time, at a picnic, I made the mistake of touching the side of my husband's face and just whatever juice alone was left on my hand (I had wiped with a paper towel) was enough to cause an allergic outbreak on that side of his face. For awhile, I did use frozen strawberries because it was thought that it was just the fresh ones that had a problem for family members with allergies. But I had to rule those out as well when one of the boys, when he was very young, ended up with an all body rash breaking out. So I love strawberries myself, but I won't post recipes with strawberries here since I'm calling the site "Trina's Kitchen" and strawberries never come into my kitchen.

The second recipe is the one I'll go with and when Cedric started dictating the ingredients (this is one his grandmother makes), my youngest daughter (who'd had breakfast not that long ago) was watching me write it down. As soon as I got off the phone, she said I should make it. I would have been fine with taking Cedric's word for it that it was a great recipe and noting here that I'd be making it myself, for the first time, tomorrow but since she was hungry and it was easy to whip up, I went ahead and made a batch. This is another "no cooking required" recipe.
You can use your kitchen to prepare dishes and not use your stoves or oven for those who are still a little nervous.

Cookie Marshmallow Cups
1/2 cup crushed chocolate wafer cookies
4 scoops chocolate ice cream
marshmallow creme
4 cherries

Place 2 teaspoons of cookie crumbs in 4 different cupcake liners. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Fill in around the cream with the remainder of the cookie crumbs and sprinkle some crumbs on top. Cover with foil and freeze until it is time to serve them. Before serving them, add a layer of marshmallow creme and a cherry to each one.

I didn't have chocolate wafers so my daughter grabbed the Oreos and crushed them. Tip: Put them in a freezer bag, zip the bag, then crush them. You could also use chocolate chip cookies or any other cookie you have on hand. I put the cupcake liners into a muffin pan before filling them and that made it easier for me. You could try it either way. I didn't freeze because my daughter was hungry and wanted one "now." But be sure not to put the marshamallow creme or the cherry on top before freezing, they will be frozen and you don't want that.

I'm flipping through the paper (Boston Globe) to figure out what else to write. (I hadn't planned on writing early today.) Yvonne Abraham has an article entitled "Questions of how far US crackdown can go: Analysts dubious on immigrant plan." This is from her article:

As part of the program, announced Thursday by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the agency will dedicate 171 agents of its 2,500 nationwide to investigate and take action against employers who hire undocumented immigrants.
But effectively combating what has become a widespread business practice would require the government to hire thousands of more investigators, to streamline methods for checking workers' legal status, and to show a new willingness to stand up to business interests, the analysts said.
''Nobody has bothered in 20 years to enforce these laws," said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
''With the number of monitors they've got," Sum said, ''they can only monitor a tiny fraction of the employers." Nationwide, an estimated 7 million undocumented employees work for hundreds of thousands of firms, Sum said.

While I would prefer to see employers targeted (instead of employees), I do wonder about the whole thing. If an employer isn't paying minimum wage (at the very least) to all workers, he or she is breaking the law. Cracking down on that I have no trouble with.

But I am wondering why the immigration issue continues to be discussed in terms of employment? There are obvious economic policies that result in people leaving their countries of origin. (There are also frequently human rights issues.)

I'm not really sure what employment (if wage and other work place laws are followed) should have to do with it? I know Bill Frist is busy trying to introduce his harm to immigrants bill yet again. But I'm not sure why the focus is on economics?

If immigration is the issue, why do we focus so on employees and employers? Because it's an easy way to track people? Because employers are the ones (the business community) pushing for "reform" that will benefit them?

I just don't grasp the need to make working a crime.

Possibly, it's because if we focus on a job or series of jobs, we're not addressing the true economic factors effecting immigration? The trade policies that hurt so many nations?

I'm hurrying because Cedric called back to say he'd told C.I. he had posted and that I was attempting to put together a post as well.

But where I'm coming from is that I believe we need a more open and more streamlined program for citizenship. I have no problem with a written test. I've helped several friends study for it. The first time, my priest had asked me if I had time to help and I assumed, no problem. I was wrong. And have used that as an example since when helping friends. The problem was, just my being born here and going to school here did not mean I didn't need some help as well. (The answers, in the booklets we use, are in the back.) There were questions I didn't know the answer too. Now I do. And like I tell anyone I help, when you pass this test, you can be proud of yourself for a number of things including that you know more than most people and more than me before I started helping.

I can understand the need for a test to prove that someone has an idea of what the basic principles (and facts -- the number of members in Congress honestly seems useless to me, but maybe I'm missing something). It doesn't make someone a better person to know these things but it will help them grasp how something works. (Though in the case of everyone I've helped, they've been in the country for some time and already grasped how things worked. We mainly worked on memorizing the facts.) Why does that matter?

For the same reason that it matters to all of us, so that we know what our government can and cannot do. So if we're on the receiving end of government abuse, we know that's not supposed to happen. It also matters so that you can pass on the information to others, children, friends, other family members. It matters so that you can grasp how the government works, but, again, everyone I've ever helped has already grasped that before we began studying for the test.

Employment is very basic to life (especially with the destruction of various elements of the social net). I'm really not for targeting employees or employers on the issue of undocumented workers. People need to eat, they need a roof over their heads. I know very kind people who, in the past, would employee someone and look the other way because they knew the necessary documents weren't going to be forthcoming.

Now if an employee in that kind of situation is taken advantage of, there's a problem and that's where government should step in. Work safety laws also should be enforced. But instead, I fear, we're focusing on programs that will penalize employees and employers (and some are good hearted, I'm not talking about corporations -- though I'm sure good people exist in those as well). If you're a church member, you're a church member. I'm not looking for proof of where you were born or proof that you followed every requirement to enter the country. You're here now, you're someone I know and you're someone that has a right to work, to live and to dream.
If I can help you in some way, I should because I know you will do the same for me. That's how things work at my church. For all the 'faith-based' baloney from the Bully Boy, there's nothing church-based in the legislation the press keeps pushing.

What strikes me as ironic is the fact that immediately after 9-11, Bully Boy had a better policy than anything that has been offered. It was more open to immigrants. (Though there was a conern on the part of some in my church that this was really just a way to trick people into showing up to start the citizenship process so that they could be deported, that wasn't the case for anyone from my church. We were really busy then, going over the testing.) Someone down the street or across town may be Joe or Jose, Marie or Maria, but they're your neighbor. They have rights just as such. Maybe not "legal" ones, but societal ones.

Briefly, after 9/11, the process was streamlined. I would favor a return to that and more expanisve ideas as well. One proposed piece of legislation (I think it was the House bill) offered that you register, work X number of years, then you can apply for citizenship. If you think that's valid, my question to you is, "Do you know how long it takes for the citizenship process?"

With the exception of the brief period after 9/11, it's a long process. (Before that temporary policy, we had one church member who was in the third year of the proces.) I think the legislation that the press has pushed punishes people.

Why are we punishing anyone? That's my question. My parents were immigrants, my husband's parents were immigrants (do not trash Ireland to my son Mike, he will explode). If we're suddenly so worried about immigration, let's do the right thing then and turn the issue over to Native Americans. Let's allow them to decide who should be allowed to stay and who shouldn't.

Otherwise, it strikes me as a lot of "I got mine" bluster that helps no one.

I also do not believe that targeting employment (or tying it in) on this issue helps. In the 90s, a church member quit his job (his wife was still working) because INS kept coming by his work and he was sure he was going to be discovered and punished. (He's a citizen now.) That's what will happen with this sort of focus. People trying to put food on the table will end up in even greater fear. Apologies to the almighty Bully Boy, but my religious beliefs come before him or any other elected leader. So, under one proposal, the things I'd done in the past (and will continue to do) with my church would be illegal. (No help, food or anything else, could be offered by individuals, churches or social workers to undocumented immigrants without it being illegal.)
If that became law, I guess I'd be arrested because our home is always open and if we're sitting down to the table when friends arrive, they're invited to sit down as well. I don't ask for "papers" before putting the food on the table and I never will.

C.I. just called saying Cedric had said I was hoping to post this morning, so let me wrap this up. I'll recommend four items from other sites:

Kat's "Both Sides of the Coin -- Ben Harper's Both Sides of The Gun vs. The Living Room Tour""
"My pacificism isn't a cloak I wear some days and others put on war drag"
Cedric's "Law and Disorder addressed PBS and Armenia"

And I recommended it last week before it went up, but please read Ava and C.I.'s "Today, we're all cheerleaders."