Trainwrecks and Belly Aches—
—and Blackberry Ricotta Cheesecakes I vowed I would stop paying attention to the organized train-wreck of the 2020 U S Presidential race, but as per usual I’m irresistibly drawn back for one more smash of a vein-load of that injectable crack. The 2020 race is the drug that makes your brain fall out in moist chunks, turns your convictions to cold porridge and twists your mouth into a permanent “O” of gobsmacked disbelief, and that’s if you brush your teeth. I’m ready to brush somebody’s teeth with a chain saw, because Elizabeth Warren, fresh and wholesome as a newly-baked loaf of bread, has been reduced to a few broken pieces of Melba toast that cockroaches would disdain as a life-raft, come the deluge. Ignored, patronised and discounted: The disappearing of Warren is a sign of how much she was feared as a threat to the status quo. The misogynist erasure of Warren has left me disappointed, shocked and angry, and it kicked into gear so smoothly and predictably I started to wonder if I’d been gaslighted alone in a Victorian drawing room. Though I have no standing as a citizen in the US election — unless I merit some skin in the game via Trump’s ability to hijack Justin Trudeau’s agenda for my country by dropping bombs from whose rubble Trudeau has to dig himself out — I’ve been fired up about Warren for years; in awe of her passion filtered through reason; her fearlessness (does anyone else remember her characterization of Trump in 2016 as “a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud”?), her folksy yet razor-sharp talent for making wonkish policy understandable for the average voter; her spinning of (hallelujah!) a positive progressive narrative that resonated; and her integrity—pace the Sanders supporters and their sour and infantile barbs calling her “a corporate lackey.” Seriously, kids? I’m dejected on her behalf because of her obvious merits and suitability for the role of POTUS and for the hard slog she has put in, for the fact that this is no doubt her only shot at the Presidential prize. I’m disgusted that in the space of four years, two women, Clinton and Warren, putting in twice the effort that men invest in their careers, have been trashed, sneered at and nullified by an establishment whose members they always equaled and usually surpassed in talent. I’m disgusted at Sanders supporters who months ago called, with absolute lack of grace or even acknowledgment of her abilities, for Warren to exit the race and endorse Bernie, apparently unaware of the patronising misogyny of that assumption. I was flabbergasted by their belief that Warren “stole Bernie’s agenda,” as though by virtue of being a male he owns the social democracy playbook. But there you are: men are solid; women are treacherous, so the old story has it. (I knew that Sanders supporters skewed young, but I didn’t realize quite how many fontanels had failed to close.) Disgusted, flabbergasted, but not surprised. These must be the supporters who said of Clinton, “Shut the bitch up;” who bought into, either out of credulousness or cynicism, every conspiracy theory and magnified every sexist cliché or archetype (from “women’s shrill voices” to “can’t be trusted”) while ignoring her impressive achievements from a lifetime in law and in politics, her world-beating resumé, and her most recent qualification, her having been Secretary of State, a role to which Obama had obviously appointed her to groom her for the world’s most important office. These are the Sanders supporters who, in response to Warren’s devastating take-down of Bloomberg in Nevada, which was clearly the impetus for his pulling his campaign, replied, we’ll thank her when she goes. Is there any limit to their spite, their pouty, petulant hostage-taking or their emotional blackmail? My only fear, and one born of cynicism, was that being a woman made Warren as unelectable as being a so-called “socialist” makes Bernie. Perhaps it’s an even handicap; and if Sanders wins the nomination? Well, this boomer knows that, unfortunately, there are times when nothing disappoints quite so much as getting exactly what you want, especially when it’s demanded with such unfailing mean spirit. From politics to pie, A trick I learned from Imelda Pinkham, Headmistress, Role-Model Lesbian and Eminence Grise of Miss Pinkham’s Finishing School for Young Society Fags. For if ever one (always refer to oneself in the third person) finds oneself fielding a conversational gambit such as— “Did I tell you about the marvelous results of my recent spa treatment for fecal impaction? Not only do I feel lighter than air and cured of my halitosis, they located my Wedgwood tea service for twenty and half a set of Mahjong tiles lodged in the folds of my sigmoid colon!” —it behooves one to have a strategy for rescuing the situation, apart from fainting, or “old reliable” as it’s known. “Speaking of dessert,” one could venture, “do you not think the Floating Islands too utterly yummy, or do you prefer, perhaps, the Cherries Jubilee? Appalling, wasn’t it, and so frightfully unexpected, when the servant doused himself with the Cognac and set himself alight with the torch, and really we should ask for extra helpings, just to show we shan’t be intimidated by such Bolshevik nonsense, it’s simply not fair to Tanya when she’s pulled out all the stops for this, dear Tanya, such a poppet, couldn’t be more amusing, don’t you think?” Let’s talk dessert, in other words, and first a moment of silence for those ladies in “Windows on the World” on 9/11 who must have been postively kicking themselves for ordering the low-fat vanilla mousse and the coffee with Splenda. First-time customers are thinking, if that’s the dessert trolley, no wonder they call dining here a “once in a lifetime experience.” Hey, kids, will you look at that! Must be Oprah swinging by for “Uber Eats” take-out in her private jet! Only in The Big Apple, right?! Those are my first 9/11 jokes, I think that, all things considered, I did pretty well, and you should just calm down, OK, because, you know, it’s been nearly twenty years. That’s pre-Lady Gaga, if that puts it in perspective, and, by the way, Bernie. If Bernie gets the nomination, it’ll make 9/11 look like the time your mom’s hairdo collapsed when you opened the back seat opera window of the family station wagon. And are you done the moment of silence yet? Jeezus, we haven’t got all day, here! Ricotta blackberry cheesecake with a shortbread crust, tulips optional. Even though I’m sure it’s in a million cookbooks, I made it up. This is why I earned the affectionate, I assume, sobriquet Mister Know-It-All Smartypants III. The filling required no cooking: Large tub of Ricotta + icing sugar + lemon zest + blackberries. Then shortbread = 1/4 c sugar, 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, tsp pure vanilla extract (blend); 1 c flour, mix and knead briefly, press into pan, bake blind then add the filling. Refrigerate. Done. Young People told me it was delicious but what do they know. Yes, that was the recipe. Don’t blink! Now to answer your respectful yet still extremely annoying questions: HOW MUCH icing sugar? ENOUGH icing sugar!
HOW BIG a tub of ricotta? A BIG ENOUGH tub of ricotta! Look it up if it means so much to you. Things I would do differently if I could step into the particle degromulator and travel back in time, but not so far back that particle degromulators haven’t been invented yet: I wish I’d called the William Morris Agency and hired some more blackberry extras to fill in the gaps and mill around. Step 372: ENJOY! But avoid ingesting the 2020 US Presidential Election campaign. It leaves a sickly aftertaste. ֍