Tuesday, December 31, 2019


The idea that a reality show host would be preferable over our first woman President was considered too far-fetched an idea.  But we grossly overestimated just how badly rampant misogyny reigned.  For the failure to take that threat seriously, the past three years have revealed a reoccurring punchline that’s become a national nightmare.  In this darkest and silliest timeline, we can only counter by laughing, as mocking public authority figures is still legal.
Hear the one about Trump? You've probably heard a lot
“Did you hear the one about President Trump? Or, more precisely, did you hear all 3,128 jokes?”
“A think tank that has studied the content of late-night comedy for the past 26 years said Donald Trump was the butt of more jokes in 2017 than any other public figure has for a single year. By a lot.” 
“He beat the previous record of 1,816, set by Trump as a presidential candidate in 2016… Prior to that, the record was 1,717 by former President Bill Clinton in 1998, the year of Monica Lewinsky.”
The online numbers are probably in the millions by now.

Some of the most memorable and reoccurring statements I’ve made include some variation of the following:
Trump has made 12,019 false or misleading claims over 928 days
Trump has lied more than every President in history COMBINED.
And that's counting Presidents in other Countries.

“I had the largest inauguration at any point in history! And I beat out all 16 Republican nominees!”
"I'm not in trouble!" says President in trouble.
"Millennials HATE him! This Millionaire's secret to staying rich has experts baffled! Read this get-rich-quick scheme for the low low price of $99,999.99 to find out how!"
"What's that empty vacant lot over there?"
"It once belonged to the most powerful man in the world, who built a monument to his name until he was undone by something or other."
"What was his name?"
"I dunno. Ozzy somebody or other."
The most common defence has been along the lines of "Give him time! He's still learning on the job!", despite younger qualified people better suited to the job.  It’s been three years, and he’s showed no sign nor ability to learn anything.  He’s remained just as, if not more ignorant.  All the praise about his intellect and great deals (in the absence of politicians and military personal who openly call him an idiot) come from Trump himself.

Over time, I started developing a certain catchphrase everytime the news happened to mention that this was the most unhinged the staff had ever seen Trump.  And I repeated the phrase every time he has a temper tantrum, and I’ll say it again:
Up until now, we’ve been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Listing all the things I’ve said in response to his atrocities would be five times as long.  The problem with Trump saturation is that when you’re exposed to his ever-increasing list of crimes, you become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data thrown your way and become desensitized to it.

So I'm going to break up my commentary into bite-sized increments.  Thing is, even grossly reduced, it's still a lot.

Trump’s Evolution From Relief to Fury Over the Russia Indictment
"What followed was a two-day Twitter tirade that was unusually angry and defiant even by Mr. Trump’s standards.”
Up until now, we’ve been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

Today in politics: Live updates
An ally close to President Trump told CNN that President Trump berated White House communications director Hope Hicks after her testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in which she admitted she sometimes told “white lies” to protect the president. 
Said the source: “She was his last emotional crutch.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
The White House Returns to Chaos
It never really left.
Never have we seen such chaos and corruption
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
No Chaos in White House, Trump Says, ‘Only Great Energy’

Trump’s giddy spree
“Sources who’ve spoken with the president in the past few days describe him as ‘giddy’ — a man who has finally fully indulged his itch to break free of John Kelly’s restraints.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
White House shakeup shows Trump tired of hearing 'no' for an answer
“People close to Trump said his firing on Tuesday of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the latest sign of the Republican president’s growing impatience with his initial set of hand-picked advisers who he viewed as slow-walking his favored policies.”
“Trump will still encourage disagreement within his inner circle, these people said, but once he makes a decision, he wants it carried out swiftly.”
"Sir, your test results just came back positive."
"Yes! Winning!"

‘Tired of the wait game’: White House stabilizers gone, Trump calling his own shots
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

Transcript: James Comey's interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos
STEPHANOPOULOS: “That’s stunning. You can’t say for certain that the president of the United States is not compromised by the Russians?” 
COMEY: “It is stunning and I wish I wasn’t saying it, but it’s just — it’s the truth. I cannot say that. It always struck me and still strikes me as unlikely, and I woulda been able to say with high confidence about any other president I dealt with, but I can’t. It’s possible.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational James Comey.

“The Era of Primal Trump”: Insiders Fear Trump Is Lurching from One Nuclear Showdown to Another
“...White House advisers have been consoling themselves with the thought that, for at least a few days, his hot war with Robert Mueller has turned cold. Trump last tweeted about the Russia investigation on June 7. But there’s considerable anxiety that the détente is about to end.”
Said one friend of the president: “It’s going to hit the fan pretty soon.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Psychologist warns Trump's mental state is rapidly deteriorating – and he may be 'on the boundary of psychosis and reality'
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Trump loses temper over border wall funding
But Hillary wasn't elected, because Women are too emotional or something.

Omarosa tells how President Trump’s ‘mental decline can't be denied
“While watching the interview I realized that something real and serious was going on in Donald’s brain. His mental decline could not be denied.”
"My mentality is as good as it's ever been! Better even! No one will deny it!!!"

White House paranoia deepens after Omarosa tapes
“Nevertheless, the tapes have only deepened a pre-existing sense of paranoia among Trump staffers… fueling an underlying suspicion that everyone inside the West Wing is out for themselves.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

‘How Did We End Up Here?’ Trump Wonders as the White House Soldiers On
“People who have known Mr. Trump for years pointed out that he has never been as cornered — or as isolated — as he is right now, and that he is at his most dangerous when he feels backed against the wall. They pointed to his reaction after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape of him boasting of grabbing women’s genitals was released in October 2016. Mr. Trump responded by parading Bill Clinton’s female accusers in front of Hillary Clinton at the presidential debate in St. Louis, and acted like a man with nothing to lose.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

Here’s Where Things Get Dangerous With Trump
“I tend to think something else is happening: that we are entering the most dangerous phase of Donald Trump’s presidency. We always knew this would happen — that the rule of law and Trump would at some point be unable to coexist — but we had no idea how it would specifically play out. Now we see the lay of the land a little more clearly.” 
“What we’re about to find out is if Trump can pull off all his usual tricks, and face no serious political or legal consequences for this. I’d say that question remains nerve-rackingly open.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Laying out the obstruction of justice case against President Trump
“Forget the Russians, the adult film stars, the Playboy bunnies, and the illegal payoffs covering up sexual misconduct. Forget the hotels full of foreigners enriching the president. And forget the convictions of his former campaign manager and his personal lawyer who may in the near future implicate the president himself in their wrongdoings.”
Forget the Russians, the adult film stars, the Playboy bunnies, the etc..."

How can we forget all that stuff when we're constantly reminded? Come to think of it, we probably need to be reminded, given how much stuff we have to remember.  You've probably forgotten half the stuff on this list already.  And we're only just getting started!
Trump Rejects White House “Intervention” and Goes It Alone 
In the wake of his recent outbursts, White House officials have discussed whether President Trump would listen to his closest New York City friends in an effort to rein him in.
More than ever, Trump is acting by feeling and instinct. Said one former White House official: “Trump is nuts. This time really feels different.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

President non grata: Trump often unwelcome and unwilling to perform basic rituals of the office 
Wilson said. “He’s crawling the damn walls because they’re running story after story on John McCain and he hates it because he’s not the center of attention.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Christopher Wray becomes the latest target for Trump's ire 
Said one person familiar with Trump’s thinking: “He is in the worst mood of his presidency and calling friends and allies to vent about his selection.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency
"Go ahead, bombard me with hard-hitting questions! I can take it!"

"Well, did you - "


White House: New Woodward book ‘nothing more than fabricated stories’
“He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”
— White House chief of staff John Kelly, quoted in Fear: Trump in the White House, about President Trump.
"These stories are all FALSE! And they're all TRUE!"
Exclusive: Trump's nightmare: "The snakes are everywhere"
"Redo my Enemies list!"

"Here you go."

"This page is blank!"

"That's your Friends list. It's easier."
Mentally Destroyed Trump Is Holed Up, Watching Fox News, And Tweeting About Obama
He's gone full Howard Hughes. You NEVER go full Howard Hughes.
Trump is Cracking 
Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties
For weeks this fall, an ebullient President Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot.”

“But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6. With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties
“Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials.” 
Said one administration official: “He’s furious. Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”  
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

“Insanity”: Trump’s Post-Midterms Blues Are Roiling the White House 
“White House officials are struggling to understand the source of the fury fueling the president’s eruptions… Current and former officials are debating different theories for Trump’s outbursts, ranging from his fears over his son Don Jr.’s legal exposure to the prospect that House Democrats will unleash investigations in January. 
Said one former West Wing staffer: “This is a level of insanity I’ve never seen before.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

A fuming Trump continues his intervention in the Mueller probe 
“notes that President Trump tweet attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller — and there are more this morning — “are just the tip of the iceberg of the ways in which the president of the United States has intervened in, criticized, thwarted, and potentially obstructed an investigation that involves him, his family and his 2016 presidential campaign.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Mueller’s Steady Stream of Russia Revelations Is Driving Trump Crazy
“The thing about stories built on actual facts, as Mueller’s will be, is that they tend to be powerful and command attention because they add up. People like solid crime stories. 
It also adds up that Trump remains in the panic that has consumed him since he returned from his calamitous trip to rainy Paris nearly three weeks ago. He just keeps tweeting maniacally about his innocence and Mueller’s ‘witch hunt’ even as he heads to the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

Think President Trump seems rattled now? There may be more to come
“If President Trump appears to be rattled by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation now — and his extraordinary tweets on the subject suggest that he is — just wait,”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
“He stormed out of the Oval, walked into an anteroom just off the Oval Office and had in his hand a folder of briefing papers. And he just scattered them out of frustration — threw them across the room.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Trump goes after Mueller probe in Friday tweets
President Trump tweets up a storm Friday morning ahead of new court filings that are due today from Special Counsel Mueller’s office.
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
14 Trump and Russia Questions Robert Mueller Knows the Answers To
I'd wait for the movie, but the previews are KILLING me.
Mueller Just Going to Grind a Few More Levels Before Final Boss Fight
Remember when there were worries that after waiting for so long, the Mueller report wouldn't amount to much? And be anticlimatic?

I'm very disappointed that we didn't even get a CONGRATURATIONS! screen.
“This Is Not a Normal Time”: Trump and the Rapidly Expanding “Witch Hunt”
"We timed how long it took before the President said something incriminating. The record was 11 seconds."
Trump Now Claims He Doesn't Remember Trump Tower In Moscow Meeting
"I REMEMBER NOTHING!" says the man with a "Very good brain."

'Somebody needs to run': Flake floats GOP primary run against Trump 
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told Politico that a Republican needs to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020. 
Said Flake: “I’ve not ruled it out. I’ve not ruled it in. Just, somebody needs to run on the Republican side.”
"Any takers? Anyone?? Mueller???"

Donald Trump: 'I don't know Matt Whitaker'
Days after appointing Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general and assuring the country that he was capable replacement for the ousted Jeff Sessions, President Trump Friday claimed not to know his new Justice Department chief.
Remember the good old days when being a front-stabber was seen as a positive trait? And the guy was fired before he could even get on the team?

Trump Ridicules French for Losses in World Wars, Saying the U.S. Had to Rescue Them
"You think the sign on my Tower stands for France?! ...pay me good money, and you can legally change the tower into whatever you want to call it."
France says Trump should have shown 'decency' on Paris attacks...
"When everybody acts the same way I do, then it'll be 'Common Decency'!"
Trump's mood takes a foul turn: 'He's pissed – at damn near everyone'
A week after standing in the East Room and declaring victory in the midterm elections, the President is isolated and growing more furious by the day. He’s openly speculating about replacing more members of his Cabinet, though so far has stopped short of executing the dismissals, leaving those aides in a career purgatory.” 
Said one White House official, noting the mood in the Oval Office is darker than normal this week: “Yes, he’s pissed — at damn near everyone.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

At 243 Pounds, Trump Tips the Scale Into Obesity
So, he's above the weight limit of 239 pounds, back when he was "The healthiest human that ever lived"?  Maybe we should have him redo that mental test, and ask how he would bring an umbrella inside.

"Easy!  You build a beautiful plane around the umbrella."
Here's @EliStokols's new reporting on how Trump "stormed out of the Oval" after his meeting with Pelosi & Schumer today.
Pre-Christmas Trump: Rebuked, rampaging 
It was a historic letter and a historic moment capping a historic day, one you could easily see filling a full chapter of future books on the Trump presidency. The wheels felt like they were coming off the White House before Mattis quit. 
Trump asked one trusted adviser: “Did you know he called me a terrible human being?” 
“We’re told that Trump was furious when the slight surfaced in a two-year-old video right after he promoted Mulvaney.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

Trump threatens a shutdown that will “last for a very long time
"We need a smaller Government."
"How about no Government at all?"
"Not that small."
Mueller may submit report to attorney general as soon as mid-February
"I'm now banning the month of February."
Reliable Allies Refuse to Defend a President Content With Chaos
President Trump, who has long believed that he is his own best adviser and spokesman, was forced to test that idea on Friday when few of his allies seemed willing to publicly share in his evident satisfaction with the tumultuous events that have buffeted the White House in the past few days.
"I'm also abolishing the month of January as well. In fact, next year will be rebranded as Trump Year 1. This new feature will be accepted worldwide."

We need a president with 'impulse control'
“He’s not behaving like he’s fit for office. He’s behaving extremely erratically. He’s not giving the American people or our allies around the world any sense that there’s a rationale for the decisions that he’s making. And the events of this last week were just another example of that, whether it’s a sudden announcement of a withdrawal in Syria or the turmoil with his staff. He’s just so erratic. And so I think that, what you’re seeing around the country is that people who voted for him have begun to reassess him. And folks understand that we need different leadership. And the sooner we get that, the better.”
In an alternate timeline, Hillary is being vilified for being too emotional.

Trump Couldn't Even Say 'Merry Christmas' Without Whining About His Border Wall
"What's everybody so upset about?! I said Merry Christmas! The War on Christmas is over!"
Trump loses it after being named worst president ever

"Oh, yeah. Thanks, Obama!"
President Trump tweets up a storm Friday morning ahead of new court filings that are due today from Special Counsel Mueller’s office.
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
‘A tailspin’: Under siege, Trump propels the government and markets into crisis
“Inside the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump was in what one Republican close to the White House described as ‘a tailspin,’ acting ‘totally irrationally’ and ‘flipping out’ over criticisms in the media. The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a ‘gutless president’ and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.”
"This is the calmest and rationalist he's ever been."

‘A rogue presidency’: The era of containing Trump is over
“For two years, they tried to tutor and confine him. They taught him history, explained nuances and gamed out reverberations. They urged careful deliberation, counseled restraint and prepared talking points to try to sell mainstream actions to a restive conservative base hungry for disruption. But in the end, they failed.”
“Trump will enter his third year as president unbound — at war with his perceived enemies, determined to follow through on the hard-line promises of his insurgent campaign and fearful of any cleavage in his political coalition.”
“So far, the result has been disarray. The federal government is shut down. Stock markets are in free fall. Foreign allies are voicing alarm. Hostile powers such as Russia are cheering. And Republican lawmakers once afraid of crossing this president are now openly critical.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.

Trump’s Interest in Buying Greenland Seemed Like a Joke. Then It Got Ugly.“Some former Trump administration officials in recent days said they were increasingly worried about the president’s behavior, suggesting it stems from increasing pressure on Mr. Trump as the economy seems more worrisome and next year’s election approaches.”
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational Donald Trump.
Trump Is Melting Down Because China Won’t Give In on Trade
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and Rational etc.
The great crackup: Trump is coming even more undone
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm and etc.
'He's losing his s---': Trump's advisers are increasingly worried about his mental state following days of erratic behavior
Up until now, we've been dealing with the Calm etc.
Trump's day of rage: Profanity, false accusations and a press spat
Up until now, we've been dealing with the etc.
Beneath the impeachment spin: Growing GOP concern“What you most hear from congressional Republicans on impeachment this week is the sound of silence.” 
“GOP sources say they have a good reason for that fear. They have no idea what else House Democrats’ investigation will uncover or what comes next.”
"What are you so scared of? If you're completely innocent of all charges from a report that Exonerated you Completely, you shouldn't have anything to worry about!"
Trump’s anger boils over
“The idea that President Trump has finally gone over the edge is an overwrought journalistic genre. Oftentimes, people simply forget all that has come before when they declare him to be particularly unwieldy or off the rails at a particular moment. And his opponents are far too anxious to find examples of Trump finally reaching a threshold that suggests he has completely thrown caution to the wind and may be just giving up.” 
“All of that said, it has been some week for Trump — even by his standards.”
Up until now, we’ve been dealing with etc.
According to Donald Trump, a lot of people are crying around Donald Trump
"I have reduced my entire staff to tears. Can you say that about any other wimpy Presidents?"

Why Trump Can’t Tweet His Way Out of This 
"What’s unique about this phase of his presidency is that he’s being attacked with so much damning information from so many directions and so many different power centers that he can’t keep up. Not even a street fighter with Bruce Lee’s skills could repulse this sort of pile-on."
The chickens are coming home to roost.
Impeach Trump, Repeatedly
“There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents a president from being impeached more than once.”
"You can't impeach the President for multiple things!"

"Yes we can."

"Well you SHOULDN'T!!"

Trump White House accidentally sends talking points to Democrats – then demands the email be ‘recalled’
"Where's the 'unsend' button?!"

White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again
Okay, one time, I thought they were really that stupid.  Doing it twice, and I've got to wonder if they've got a tech person who's... not sympathetic to their views or something.

"Stop clicking 'Select All'!"

"Some of these Democrats were Republicans once."

Impeachment has put Trump in a different place. He’s showing it every day.
Up until now, we've been dealing etc.
Said Pelosi: “What we just witnessed on the part of the President was a meltdown.”
Up until now, we’ve been etc.
Trump turns Pelosi's 'meltdown' criticism around: 'She is a very sick person'
Trump blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi following a heated meeting at the White House, questioning her mental fitness and commitment to the country, The Hill reports.
Said Pelosi: “Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her ‘upstairs,’ or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country.” 
He added: “She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!”
Just hours after Nancy accused Trump of having a meltdown of his own.
The Unraveling of Donald Trump
“The country is entering a new and precarious phase, in which the central question about President Donald Trump is not whether he is coming unstrung, but rather just how unstrung he is going to get.”
Up until now, we’ve etc.

The guardrails are off the Trump presidency
Up until now, etc.
Startling discovery: Impeachment is not bringing out the best in Trump
“Can we all agree that the specter of impeachment may not be bringing out the best in Donald J. Trump?”
Up until etc.

Dear GOP, Some Scary Advice on How to Survive Your Impeachment Nightmare
“By now it should have dawned on you that there is no escape. You are going to have to render a verdict not just on Donald’s Trump’s policies, but on his personal conduct. For just the third time in U.S. history, the Senate will hold a trial on the impeachment and removal of a president.” 
“You’ll have to vote up or down and your decision will have consequences that will linger long past this election cycle. The situation is already grim.” 
“But it is all about to get worse: the evidence, the venue and the president’s conduct. There may be more smoking guns, the trial will be televised, and based on the past few weeks, Trump is likely to be more unhinged than ever.”
Up etc.

Schiff pauses hearing to read Trump tweets attacking impeachment witness in real time
“What we saw today: witness intimidation in real time by the president of the United States.”
“It’s not witness intimidation if the witness isn’t intimidated!”

Trump’s speech in Hershey revealed a presidency off the rails
It was one of his ugliest rallies yet — and put the stakes of 2020 in sharp relief. 
“Over the course of a more than 90-minute delivery, Trump pushed conspiracy theories and blatant lies, trashed law enforcement officials that aren’t blindly loyal to him, exhibited thuggish tendencies toward protesters, made misogynistic remarks, and demonstrated that he fundamentally misunderstands the Constitution.” 
“It was one of his most troubling performances in recent memory and served as a stark illustration of just how ugly Trump’s reelection campaign will be.”
etc. etc. etc., etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. . Etc. etc. Ect. Ect. Ect.

On Wednesday, as articles of impeachment against a sitting president were presented for only the fourth time in history, all three networks led with the Jersey City shootout before covering impeachment.
"First up, the weather, sports, and the horoscope. And now, the impeachment coverage."

Trump 'red in the face and going off the rails' after historic impeachment vote
"I had the largest Inauguration at any point in history!"
"Psst. This is your Impeachment."
"I had the largest Impeachment at any point in history!"

Given his egostical nature, when history looks unfavorably back on his actions, instead of being referred to You-Know-Who, via Voldemort, he should instead be known as Ol’ Whatsisname.  That would really get on his nerves.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Recipe to Avoid Disaster

Generally, when I cook, I need precise instructions, otherwise I wind up using more ingredients than usual, prepared improperly.  After that, it becomes a matter of rote.  All that’s left is to get what’s needed and go on autopilot from there.  I prefer to stick with my old favorites, and don't experiment much with new tastes out there.

From what I understand, people have trouble with figuring out cooking.  So much of typical cooking instructions come with ambiguous descriptors, usually relying on intuition borne from numerous results of trial and error, until finally settling upon a combination that works best.

For my Mother, she was grateful to have a cookbook, Second Helpings Please! that just gave the list of instructions, without having to delve into a deep profound personal history on the creation of said foodstuff.

No extraneous words needed.  All the necessary ingredients are clearly labeled on top in bold, with the instructions printed below.  Couldn't be simpler!

Even so, people still find cooking to be an arduous task, and I think I may have inadvertently stumbled upon why.

As a way of trying to better socialize, I’d been taking a cooking course, where numerous members break the task down into separate sections.  One group handles peeling the potatoes, another focuses on chopping the veggies, another rinses the lettuce, and so on.  On this particular day, I noticed there were some extra cartons of Chicken Broth, and I was unsure if this was for the meat or the soup.

I took a look at the cooking instructions, and found that I was having tremendous difficulty trying to find the specific ingredient.  A friend of mine helped point out which one it was.  (It was for the soup)

After this, I took another look at the instructions, and figured out why I had so much trouble finding it.  Maybe you’ll figure it out before my explanation is done.

To better understand the thought process, let’s take a look at a typical cooking instruction for something simple.  Here’s the first image result I found.

It seems fairly typical.  But let’s take a closer look at the list of ingredients.  Does anything stand out to you?


Seems perfectly normal?

What if I told you there was another way to organize it?

An easier way?

Take another look at that recipe.  Does anything come to mind?

Think hard about this.  Once it’s been seen, it can’t be unseen.

Did you come anywhere close to this?

I’m someone who thinks in pictures rather than words, so when I tried to find the Chicken Broth, I looked at the beginning of each bullet point, rather than looking in the middle, and ran into difficulty there.

Furthermore, the various portions such as cups, teaspoons throws the food ingredients further out of whack.  So if you’re looking for them on the list, and you’re stumbling around the middle, Of course you’re going to run into trouble!

For some reason, we’ve internalized putting the units of measurements first, Ahead of the food!  It would be one thing if we were dealing with assembly instructions, making sure that we had all the parts before getting started.  But cooking isn't like assembling a table from an IKEA catalogue.  (Well, maybe instant cooking)  It's not an exact science - any number of combinations or substitutes can be applied wherever possible.  As long as the formula stays close enough, you can get the results you want.

I wondered why it was like this, putting the numbers before the food, and then I figured that it’s because cooking is a social construct.  In the kitchen, you were likely to say, “give me half a cup of flour” rather than, “give me flour, half a cup”.  One sounds natural, and the other sounds methodical.

Grammatically speaking, it’s correct, but structurally speaking, it doesn’t make sense!  But we don't have to adhere to old social constraints.  We’ve stuck to antiquated listing methods past the point when it should be useful.  Until I pointed this out, it probably didn’t even occur to you.

I don’t know if this discovery means much, but it certainly can’t hurt to rearrange the order a little.  You may find it much easier.

During the cooking class meal, I came up with a tongue twister due to mishearing certain key words; Dude spilled Fruit Soup on his Zoot Suit.  Try saying that three times fast.

As a closer, here’s a slightly revised version of Bubby’s chicken soup recipe:

  • chicken x 2 pounds
  • beef x 1 pound
  • water, cold, 4 quarts
  • onions x 6, cut in half
  • carrots x 12, cut in half
  • celery x 3, cut in half
  • potatoes x 3, cut in quarters
  • parsley roots or parsnips x 2, cut in half
  • parsley and dill, bunch, wrapped in string (to make it easier to take out later)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Put all the meat in water and bring the pot to a boil.
  2. Keep on skimming the fat with a strainer many times until there is no fat near the surface.  
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, placing the dill and parsley last.
  4. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Do not let the water boil, or the soup will not be clear.
  5. Remove the parsley and dill bunches.
  6. Taste the soup just before it’s done, and continue adding enough spices to make sure it’s perfect.