Quinoa experiments, Angela Merkel

I've put quinoa in soups before and making it into gluten free tabbouli was on my list. In the weekend my sister told me about cooking it in stock which seemed like a nutritionally wizard combination. Then I found late this afternoon that Soakednuts had answered my query, only there certainly wasn't time for nine hours of soaking before dinner time. So I soaked the quinoa in water and a little lemon juice for a couple of hours, then thawed some pork stock and cooked the quinoa in that. In another pot I sauteed bacon ends, mushrooms, celery, red pepper, green pepper, carrots and broccoli. Things went a little belly-up when I turned the stock off and the vegetables up before going out to the washing line, instead of vegetables off and stock up. But there had been continued quinoa soaking in very hot liquid and it looked fine so I mixed the two pots together and served it with spoons and forks given the soup-y base.

Not that utensils of any kind were required for the over-tired short people, who declared their plates yuck (perhaps because it wasn't chips, or gingerbeer?) and have gone to bed without any dinner. I liked it, though I don't think the blurred soup-y stir-fry-ish combo is about to win any awards for texture. Taste-wise, worth doing again.

A little gardening today. I transplanted some basil seedlings, though I've kept them on the windowsill. I moved the strongest pumpkin and zucchini to the lean-to but the smaller seedlings can stay on the study windowsill for a while longer.

Yesterday's birthday girl came to find me in the school playground this afternoon (at pick-up time) to tell me how much she likes the skirt. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

It's not that I haven't been thinking about politics, but that when I get to the evening and have space to blog, I am too tired to organise my thoughts with any kind of clarity. I started tonight but had to give up as I couldn't find a blog post I wanted to link to (from Home Paddock, an earlier one on the debate on foreign ownership of NZ farms, as well as the more recent, amusingly written one on Save the Cities) after ten minutes of searching, I gave up on starting. I don't see the issue the same way as Home Paddock but I did find that her clear assessment of the benefits and drawbacks in the debate gave me a useful framework for constructing my own thoughts. What I wanted to find again and cannot is a reference to the drop in farm values if foreign ownership is further restricted and how this would negatively affect the amount of money that retiring farmers could spend (and thus boost or not boost local economies).

Also in recent months, I have occasionally been reading some extreme right wing views put forward by Lindsay Mitchell in her blog. I guess I am self-medicating for low blood pressure. But the thing I have been thinking of is how for some people, it is exploitation when people are on a benefit and for others it is exploitation when people are working for big business and the lion's share of the value they create goes to the boss, not the labourer. Sometimes I wonder if I am an anarchist at heart, but if you were to see how bossy I am in real life, you might decide, as I have, that I could no more live in a commune or get involved in Playcentre than I could become a ballerina.

I am not wishing to imply that work is not important. Work is really important, whether it is working for money, or cooking meals and raising children using a shared pay packet. Everyone deserves the right to work. I am all for policies which create as many jobs as possible.

I know this is all a bit fuzzy. But I do feel a moral responsibility to try and think aloud about politics and how we organise our society. Not because I have the best thoughts (God forbid if tonight's offering was as good as New Zealand could get) but because thinking and talking about politics and rubbing off on different perspectives is, I think, seriously seriously important. When our treasured Guardian Weekly arrived on Monday, I read this article with dismay. Merkel claims that German mulitculturalism has utterly failed. She is laying the ground work fast and furiously for greater acceptability for the demonisation of immigrants to Germany. The race scapegoating card is being played almost everywhere across Europe at the moment, and I feel quite fearful that another holocaust may become thinkable again. Underlying her claims (and, for example, the NZ administration who welcomed Pacific Island workers in to our freezing works and forestries in the 1960s and then hauled them out in Dawn Raids when economic conditions declined in the 1970s) is the idea that certain people deserve more privilege. They were historically wealthier and this level of privilege must be regained or maintained, no matter who else gets shafted in the process.


Heather said…
I was struck by your comment about certain people deserving more privilege. As a Kiwi I have the right to live in this country, the right to an excellent free education, to a great social safety net, to excellent free healthcare etc. (despite the ways all of the above are being eroded, they're still amazing on a global scale). And all I did to 'deserve' this was to be born here.

My husband is a strong advocate of unlimited immigration - the free movement of labour to go with the free movement of capital. I struggle with this as I like my culture the way it is, and immigrants *do* change the culture. Heck, my ancestors have radically changed the culture the pre-European Maori were familiar with in this place. But my sense of justice suspects he may be right.

Some advocates of such open immigration argue for allowing people in, but not extending the social safety net to them. If, knowing this, they still decide that it is worth their while to come, then you are still allowing them access to be options than what they would have had at home. I have heard some Pacifika people argue this, too. Someone on National Radio once was saying that they had a relative in the Islands who they wanted to bring to NZ. NZ wouldn't give him PR as he had some serious (and expensive) medical condition. The family was in a position to fully fund his medical care themselves, and basically were arguing for a new immigration category where people have rights to residence but not to social services. My leftie heart rebels against this, but my level head suspects it might be a good thing. Is it more just to simply keep people out than to let them in but restrict the benefits they have when they are here? I don't know.

There was an interview with a British Muslim guy on Kim Hill on National Radio this morning talking about Angela Merkel and immigration and integration and so on. He made the excellent point that your average immigrant is unlikely to *want* to integrate into a society that hates them. You might find it interesting.

I'm not really heading anywhere with this, but I did want to throw the fragments I have into the mix!

I suspect you're quite right about a holocaust too. Not that it's certain, but that it would be a 'logical' outcome of the way things are heading. I was very impacted by realising, on a two-month language course in Germany when I was at university, that the Nazi regime wasn't so much anti-Jew etc. as pro-German (for a particular definition of German), and the Hitler gave a demoralised people something to hope in. Scary stuff.
Hi Heather
Thank you for your comments. I am going to keep thinking about them, and find the Kim Hill interview.

It is indeed logical not to integrate into a society which hates me. Very valid point.

This protection of indigenous culture aspect has a particular irony in New Zealand, where Pakeha specifically squashed/wiped out the pre-existing culture.

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