Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 12/16/19: Curried Pork Chops Braise, The Past is Never Gone, Elizabeth and Jack Frost

1. I was sitting here at home, staring at Wardner Peak, wondering what to fix myself for dinner tonight. I suddenly remembered that I have pork chops in the freezer in the basement. I also have coconut milk. I thawed the chops. I created a layer of sliced onions in the bottom of the Dutch oven, put the chop on top, and surrounded the meat with chopped celery and sliced mushrooms. Meanwhile, I heated up a plug of yellow curry paste, combined coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce in a pan with the paste, warmed it up, and poured it over the other stuff in the Dutch oven, added some leftover black olives from Thanksgiving and about half a bunch of cilantro. To finish, I opened a bottle of hard apple cider and poured some in, hoping to create heat, sweetness, and saltiness in this dish.

I cooked this over low heat on the stove top for several hours and made a pot of rice.

Later, around dinner time, I laid down a layer of jasmine rice in a bowl, scooped out a pork chop, put it over the rice, and then covered the rice and meat with the curry/cider liquid and some mushrooms, onion, celery, and black olives.

It worked.

2. If I binge watch a television series, the episodes all run together. I like having them stand apart from each other to some degree. I admit, though, when I finished watching episode 3 of Season 1 of The Crown, it was tempting to rush right into episode 4. Episode 3 took a step back in time, reminding viewers of King Edward VIII's abdication, and explored how this traumatic event never ended. It's very much alive in 1952 when the former Edward VIII, now the Duke of Windsor, returned to England for his brother, King George VI's funeral. Elizabeth II has ascended to the throne. Immediately she must negotiate tricky situations with her grandmother, mother, and husband, along with the Prince of Windsor and, especially, Winston Churchill.

Shakespeare's history plays help us see, if we needed to be told, that history exists always in the present. The past is never finished. What happened is always happening. Likewise, The Crown is portraying this same truth in human life. The past, even if forgotten, lives on and I look forward to future episodes of The Crown to see how the new queen comes to grips with this reality. She certainly came to a reckoning with it in Episode 3.

3. The apps on my Vizio contain a bunch of average, but informative, documentaries about music, politics, sports, and a lot of other things. I watched one of them today, The Story of Queen Elizabeth II.  It provided an overview of the life of Elizabeth II, from her childhood to about 2011.  All of the interviewees were media people and others who support the monarchy; the movie viewed Elizabeth II favorably, intelligently, and, I'd say, a bit protectively.

I also watched another episode of A Touch of Frost. It featured a murder witnessed by an autistic teenager obsessed with outer space, stars, constellations, UFOs, and beings from other planets visiting Earth. As if this case wasn't thorny enough, Frost also worked, simultaneously, on trying to find a divorced couple's missing child and on figuring out who was behind a rash of recent home burglaries.

DI Jack Frost has a soft heart for underdogs and a contempt for police bureaucracy. Both were fully in play in this episode, "Close Encounters".

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