Saturday, December 09, 2006

Baked Bananas in the Kitchen

I recieved an e-mail from a woman who was very upset this week. She stated she wasn't trying to be rude (and I didn't take it as such) but the recipes weren't helping her. Her problem is a ten-year-old son who refuses to eat anything for dinner other than a frozen pizza.

She said any recipe I proposed wasn't helping her at all.

With eight kids, I've had my share of picky eaters.

So before anything else, I know what it's like to be a mother near the end of her rope, I want to share what I passed on to her because maybe someone else can use it as well?

One of my older children went through a frozen pizza phase when he was either thirteen or about to hit that age. I have no idea why. Possibly it was the changes his body was going through? The changes meant he needed consistancy on the outside?

Back then, frozen pizza didn't mean what it does today. You basically had little bits of red meat (supposedly pepporoni). He would eat other things with it but he had to have to have the pizza and this went on for almost five months.

Not serving it meant he wouldn't eat anything. My husband's attitude was ignore it and he'll start eating dinner. Which I did try for two weeks. After that, I figured he could have his pizza because he was eating other items as well.

I'm sharing that because the woman wrote that she was sure I would think she was a bad mother and spoiling her child or "refusing to be an adult and a parent."

I didn't think that at all. There are very few times when you don't enter into a power struggle with a child at some point. My own rule of thumb was: If it's not going to hurt, let's go through this phase. Which means, if this was a safety issue, I wasn't budging. Anything else, I was willing to adapt to.

This is what I did and what she's attempting now. It may work for you if you ever need it, or need it now, or it may not. And you may never have a child who is bound and determined not to eat. If so, consider youself lucky.

But I went through that and I did understand. For me, I started wondering if this meant everything I had ever done as a parent was the cause? Was I a lousy parent? Was I too soft?
Did I spoil?

Like I said before, for two weeks, my husband's advice was followed.

During that time, my husband took away this and that, but it had no effect on our son.

Whatever it was, it was deeper than a whim.

So what I did (and what I recommend) was add to the pizza. It might be mushrooms, it might be olives, onions or bell peppers. (And I recommend that today even if you're buying a "supreme" pizza.)

The woman who e-mailed has it worse than I did. Her son will not eat anything in addition to frozen pizza. So I really do think adding some vegetables of some form to the topping is necessary. I also think this is a phase her son will pass through. I think we would have passed through it sooner if we hadn't tried two weeks of nothing first.

My son had never done anything like that before and it really was a surprise. Since he was one of the oldest, I spent those two weeks questioning everything not just with him, but with all my children, everything I'd done and was doing?

After he got his pizza, I didn't worry anymore. He was eating. And when this worked for the woman who wrote, she felt so much relief.

This was more than a picky eater and it's just one of those things that you deal with.

It may have been a control issue. Not in the sense of "I will take control of this family!" but in the sense of something is going on (which may seem minor on the outside) that is just so much, too much to handle, that there's a need to excerpt control on one area?

I do know his voice was changing and he was having the hardest time any of our sons would with that. It was cracking constantly.

Obviously, I went through puberty. I have children, after all. And though my youngest daughter is convinced the last two weeks that I know nothing about being a teenager or a host of other issues, I did start out as a baby and I did grow up.

I can remember being both thrilled and embarrassed when I finally started developing breasts.
I wasn't that keen on the period and was only embarrassed about it, to be honest. I think that was due to the time -- we had all those horseback riding commercials and any woman can tell you, it's nothing like riding a horse. I think my daughters had less of an issue with that.

I also know they never had the embarrassment of getting their period with no warning of what was to come and no hiding in the bathroom at school as a result. (I skipped a classs because I couldn't go out into the hall for obvious reasons.)

But even with what I went through, I have no idea what it's like for a boy. The most obvious outside change for me was I got little breasts and then they grew. I know my son was practically not talking at one point due to the long period it took his voice to change over. If I was embarrassed about my new breasts, I could walk down the hall with a book blocking my chest. How do you conceal a voice that cracks every other sentence? (Other than by refusing to speak?)

So who knows what all was going on?

But when that issue arose with my son, it was actually a positive thing. After all the worrying and guilt, what I was left with was you pick and choose your battles and, if nothing else, he'd obviously been raised to express himself.

It may not be pizza for anyone going through something similar. It may be something else. In terms of food, I've had children who got obsessed with mac and cheese, with potatoes, and, in Mike's case, with a glass of water. We never could figure out, my husband and I, whether that came from eating out or what, but he had to have a glass of tea and a glass of water by his plate. Mike being Mike, he really was our low maintanence child, he would get his own glass of ice water if it wasn't set on the table for him. It wasn't an issue.

But who knows what's going on when they start leaving childhood. It's probably much rougher than it was when I did.

The woman wrote that maybe she hadn't streesed vegetables enough or maybe she hadn't done this or that.

I firmly believe her son is in a phase and he'll come through it. When he does, then she can start introducing other items. There's no point in feeling guilty about what came before, nothing's going to change while he's in this phase and it's not about the parent, it's about maintaining some sense of order when things feel chaotic on the inside.

When I wrote her about my son, she wrote back that her son's voice was changing. She hadn't connected the two before.

But we're not Gourmet magazine here. If you've got a problem, let me know. I may not be able to give you the right answer, but I can probably offer something.

I did not take offense at her first e-mail and I've told her that but want to stress it because I've been there and I know you feel like you're losing it. The minute he ate the pizza, she said she just felt relief. I discussed this with my mother and she reminded me of one of my brothers who fought day and night with our father about his (my brother's) hair length.

We've never had that problem with our own kids. In fact, I always with Mike would grow his hair out a bit. The first time he started going to the barber on his own, he came back with a crew cut and I thought, "Oh the curls are gone." I still miss them. But that's his hair and hair's not a battle we ever wanted to get into. We even lived through our oldest daughter's intentionally pink hair. We all survived.

If it's safety, I will be a hard nose. (Chores were never a problem because the kids policed one another on that.)

But the pizza issue that she's going through and that I went through, I'd rather have that problem than some of the problems that are out there. A child with a drug problem or a child that's only going to eat pizza, I'll take the pizza issue. A child who is thinking of suicide or demanding pizza for every dinner, same choice.

And besides the raging hormones of puberty, who knows what else is going on school? If you're lucky, you'll hear about the "big things." Problems or things like that. But I know my biggest problem in grade school wasn't a test or a grade. When I was in third grade, a group of us were speaking about who knows what. But for some reason, I was mentioning the washing machine but said the dish washing machine. This really mean boy went around taunting me that my clothes were washed in a dishwasher for the rest of the school year. I never took that problem home but it humilitated me. Every time I thought it had died, he'd bring it back up.

So it could be something where he said he ate whatever and one of the other kids said, "I only eat pizza." Or maybe some personal hero made that claim. Who knows?

But it's not worth a power struggle unless your child is asking for something you can't afford. If your child is saying they will only eat caviar at dinner and you can't afford to put that on the table, then it's time to address that.

I asked Wally's mother about this wondering if he'd gone through anything like that. She said he just zeroed in on broccoli. He didn't demand it or tell her he had to have it but they just ended up having every day for a period of time. She also said, "If he'd demanded it, he would have gotten it. After the car accident, I was never going to be 'strict.' (Wally's father died in a car accident and Wally, who was a small child at the time, was in the hospital for months due to his own injuries.) She said he could have pushed any button he wanted but she got lucky because he didn't end up being that sort of child. (I would agree with that. I love Wally very much but would love to see him cut loose more. He's very mature for his age.) (He's also a very wonderful young man.) When she was talking about that, it just drove home how some things we get so worked up over just aren't worth it. I mean, what's pizza at dinner each evening compared to losing your husband and nearly losing your child?

After we spoke, I started thinking about how some were worried about the perfect turkey not that long ago and with Christmas coming up for some, there may be some grabbing of worrying. Life's too short. No adding stress in the kitchen. If your kitchen is anything like mine, stress comes in on its own two feet and you don't need to be inviting it to drop by regularly.

So, with that in mind, a very easy recipe today. You will need to use your oven. My mother made this when we were growing up and I called her to find out where the recipe came from? The New Goodhousekeeping Cookbook. Edited by Dorthy B. Marsh and published in 1963.

Baked Bananas
4 firm bananas
2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine

Start heating oven to 450 degrees. Peel bananas; place in a well-greased baking dish. Brush well with butter; sprinkle ligthtly with salt. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or untill bananas are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Serve hot, as vegetable, with hame, hamburgers, poultry, etc.
Makes 4 servings

Use slightly green-tipped or all-yellow ones. P.S. For a golden-brown tint, broil backed bananas about 1 minute.

I never broil. When I make this dish, there's always impatience and questions of whether it's almost done or not. My mother said the recipe also suggest that you can "Pour 3/4 cup canned whole cranberry sauce over bananas before baking." We either eat them as is from the oven or with a chocolate sauce on top (poured on after they've cooked) or with a scoop of ice cream.

It's a very easy dish to make and you can serve it for the holidays. Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and I think it covers everything:

Friday, December 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Kyle Snyder continues speaking out against the illegal war; Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter Peggy Poop demonstrates that not everyone ages well; over 200 protest the war in San Francisco;
you know it's ugly when the US military dubs children 'insurgents'; and the Rumsfled has one more persona to test before he bows off the public stage.

Starting with peace news within the United States.
Kyle Snyder is currently traveling the West coast speaking out against the illegal war. Snyder was heavily and repeatedly targeted by a recruiter who promised the moon and delivered nothing. Because verbal agreements can be broken . . . on their end. On leave from Iraq, Snyder self-checked out and went to Canada in April of 2005. Happy there, speaking out, a job he enjoyed working with disabled children that paid well. Snyder began to consider returning to the United States. As October drew to a close, he did just that and on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering that the military that lied to him before had lied yet again.

KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Snyder. Barrows-Friedman noted his Army Corps of Engineers training and Snyder explained that he thought he'd be in Iraq doing construction "asphalt and concrete, laying foundations for schools, hospitals, roads." Instead, they made him a gunner and "an escort for high ranking officials." He saw a number of things in Iraq, reconstruction wasn't one of them.

Kyle Snyder: The things that I saw there for instance, you know, when we're told that we're liberating the people of Iraq and we're doing positive things you know I expect to at least see the civilians and stuff, you know, accepting us more. And basically accepting what we're doing. But children were flipping us off, they were begging for food and water almost all the time when I was out. I had seen people killed, I had seen people injured and it's just basically what led me to leave the war in the first place were the policies that drove the war. You know, when the Bush administration in 2004 and 2005 were saying 'We're liberating the people of Iraq' like I said I expect to see some of that happening. You know, no matter what rank you are, I think that we deserve to know why we're fighting. And basically it felt like a lie. It felt like a lie. And mainly because we couldn't explain what the mission was.

Despite a warrant for his arrest, Snyder's "going around speaking to povertized areas, mainly African-American and Latino communities, around the country because they're targeted by recruiters and I think that recruiters should tell people the truth." He didn't have that himself. No one was warning him. The mood of the country then was still Rah-Rah, he was targeted heavily in high school (recruiter evern came to his graduation) and he grew up in foster homes. Snyder knows what it's like to think some adult's really interested in you, really concerned about you, only to realize after they were just trying to hit their month's target goal.

Nora Barrows-Friedman: And Kyle, if you were speaking with a young person who was considering joining the military right now, they were weighing their options, what advice would you have for them and what would you talk about with their families?

Kyle Snyder: . . When a recruiter comes up and talks to you, it's not because you're a special kind of person. It's not because you have any type of thing that some other human being doesn't. And a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds assume that, you know? 'Oh a recruiters talking to me because I have some kind of special ability that no other person has.' And they over-glorify it making you know basically the Army into Rambo-like figures and things that you know are in action movies when that's not the case. They really need to look at what they'll be doing. . . . You're a gunner, medic, driver or, you know, an escort. Those are the only four jobs that are in Iraq regardless of what you sign up to do. I'd say, you know, if somebody signed up no matter what branch of service, I'd say it's about an 80% chance you're going to Iraq as long as the Bush administration is in power. So they really need to look at that and understand that, yes, they're going to Iraq as long as, like I say, the Bush administration has their say, the war's going to last. So they just need to understand that. And I can understand people that do join the military and that believe in what they're doing but they need to understand people like me as well --that are lied to to get into the military. And, you know . . . I don't know. That's basically all I can say.

Kyle Snyder is a public US war resister. He is part of a resistance movement within the military that also includes Darrell Anderson,
Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are some of the war resisters who have gone public and over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.

When asked to speak about this movement, Kyle Snyder noted, "There's over 8,000 AWOL soldiers in the United States right now, 200 in Canada, 38 have applied for refugee status in Canada and I'm hoping, you know, that they start coming out. And I know that some of them are going to be coming out in the next few months. . . . I could use Bush's words, 'Are we going to solve this problem now or are we going to wait for the next president 5 years from now, 10 years from now when 8,000 Iraq veterans are homeless or hiding in a corner because it wasn't taken care of like it could have been?'"

Rebecca wrote about Snyder's interview here.]

Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.

Tina Kim (WorldNow) reports on Appeal for Redress and notes that Jonathan Hutto and others involved with the appeal will be holding a news conference next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to raise awareness on the project which is gathering signatures of active duty service members calling for the US troops to be brought home. The appeal will be presented to Congress in January. Jonathan Hutto was a guest last week on WBAI's Law and Disorder. [Mike noted it here.]

Today begins the National Days of Action to Support GI Resistance, called for by
Courage to Resist, which run through Sunday the 10th. Indybay IMC notes: "Other Bay Area Events: On Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film 'Ground Truth' will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film 'The Ground Truth' will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."

Sunday, the 10th, is also Impeachment Day and click
here for David Swanson's overview of the goals and list of events. Action is needed to end the illegal war. And each day it drags on, more and more are wounded, more and more die.

They Kill Civilians, Don't They?

CBS and AP report that, on Friday, "20 insurgents, including two women," were killed in a US airstrike (in the Salahaddin Province). The US military has a breathless press release on it that's all blah, blah, blah until this line: "Coalition Forces also found that two of the terrorists killed were women. Al-Qaida in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately." And children too, right?

CBS and AP note that the area's mayor, Amir Fayadh, says that "seven women and eight children" were killed. AFP reporters "found and photographed relatives weeping over several mangled bodies, including those of at least two children, near the ruined homes." AFP also notes that the US military's flack Christopher Garver denies children were killed, even when presented with photographic evidence by AFP. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that the "charred and bloody blodies laid out" were covered with blankets and "An AP photo showed an Iraqi man who had pulled back one of the blankets and uncovered the face of one of the dead, who appeared to be a boy about 10 years old". Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports that "grieving relatives showed the bodies of five children wrapped in blankets to journalists."


CNN reports a bombing in Tal Afar that left three dead and a mortar attack in Baghdad that claimed four lives and left eight more wounded. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports: "On the outskirts of Baghdad, three mortar rounds hit a Shiite residential area, killing 25 men, women and children, and wounding 22" according to police.


Reuters reports that Human Nuri ("head of customs in the city of Najaf) and his brother were shot dead in Baghdad while in another Baghdad incident an unidentified person was shot dead and three more wounded.


Reuters reports 18 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division -- Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 7. The Soldiers were conducting a dismounted patrol responding to a possible IED, south of the city, when a roadside bomb detonated, killing two Soldiers and wounding two others." And earlier today, the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in the Iraqi capital Thursday. The combat patrol was conducting joint operations with the Iraqi Army to prevent sectarian violence in a western neighborhood of the city when the bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."

And the
US military boasted of entering Falluja General, a civilian hospital, on a whim. Blood donors were needed . .. maybe 'insurgents' were present! Screw the rules guiding civilian institutions in warfare, lock and load, baby, lock and load. And it's those incidents and many others that explain why the war is lost.

In legal news, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Patti Ackerman and Missy Comley Beattie are on trial for excercising their right to free speech. To summarize the case so far, a dramatic recreation
based upon the reporting of Samuel Maull (AP).



Typical municipal courtroom. Well, maybe not 'typical,' it is Manhattan.

We see the DEFENSE TABLE where FOUR WOMEN listen: PATTI ACKERMAN, MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE, MEDEA BENJAMIN and CINDY SHEEHAN -- attracitve women all. They stare ahead intently

FOUR WOMEN'S P.O.V. -- a gnome-like woman, in a faded, tattered Kerry-Edwards: 2004 t-shirt, BITTER PEGGY KERRY, sputters on the witness stand in front of D.A. HAN who smiles and nods in sympathy.

I was on my way to meet the group, to take their
petition -- then I saw --

Bitter Peggy begins sobbing. Han hands her a tissue. Bitter Peggy looks over at the defense table and glares.

Then I saw -- Peace Mom!

Bitter Peggy points a menacing finger. Cindy waves and grins sheepishly.


Free speech, peace doves, compassion
Peace Mom
Passion, peace sign, bravery
Is Peace Mom
She's tinsel on a tree . . .
She's everything an American should be!
If you find one to emulate
Only one to emulate
Let it be Peace Mom . . .
Peace Mom!*

Han smirks to the defense table as DEFENCE attorney rises and walks to the witness stand.

Bitter Peggy Kerry, you agree that you were
notified that a petition would be dropped off?

Yeah, so?

And you agreed to accept the petition?

What of it?

You were on your way to accept the petition and
then something stopped you.

Peace Mom.

Just the sight of Cindy Sheehan was enough to
make you break your agreement?

Damn right. "Peace"? Please. I'm bitter
and angry and mad at the world. Keep Peace Mom
away from me. Every where she travels, there's always
a chance that, at any minute, peace could break
out! I hate her. I hate her! I hate her!

Bitter Peggy goes into spastic convulsions while Defense looks on. Alarmed, D.A. Han leaps to her feet.

Your honor, a recess?

I'll get that Peace Mom. I'll get her. I hate
her. I hate her like I hate kittens and puppies.
And Christmas! And peace! I hate peace!
War! I must have war! I do want war, I do!
Screw Peace Mom, find me Kill Mom! I want
Kill Mom. Kill mommy! Kill mommy!


So ends the docu-drama recreation. [*Earle Hagen and Sam Denoff wrote the theme to the TV program That Girl starring Marlo Thomas -- who also was the executive producer of the show.]

In other news of courage,
Steve Rubenstein (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the 200 plus people march yesterday from Grace Cathedral to the federal building downtown which was led by Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to protest the Iraq war. The Bishop was among those arrested and he stated, "God is with all who have suffered in Iraq. This war needs to be opposed. Even though there is widespread sentiment against the war, we need to continue to push for peace. There is good reason to believe this is an unjust war." Zach notes that Wendell Harper reported, from the protest, on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.

And finally, he's been the White Queen, the Scold, the Nag and, on his way out the door, the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld decided he wanted to try on one more persona: Axel Rose.
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports that the Rumsfled thinks what the world . . . needs . . . now . . . is just a little patience. Just a little patience.
The tragically unhinged Rumsfled declared that Iraq was still 'winnable' "if we have the patience and only if we have the staying power." Rumsfled's "staying power" -- obviously in question now -- can surely take credit for the 655,000 estimated Iraqis killed during the illegal war. To the would-be-Axel-Rose, the world responds, "There's no room for you here, go away, girl, there's no room for you here" (White Stripes).

kyle snyder