One of the echo chamber sidebars of this entire circus of an election involves the “discussion” of what it means to be an attractive person.
If you’re a woman, this is an old topic filled with ambivalence and angst. We’ve allowed large multi-billion dollar industries to convince us that make up, hair products, fashion, and shape are things to be acquired and desired. We exfoliate, hydrate, moisturize, blow dry, and revitalize to create sleek, satin-soft, radiance for our skin and hair.
The danger is that too much of that hydrated revitalization can lead to a plasticized version of the current trend in “beauty”. We’re told that at a certain age, it’s important to go lighter with our hair colors. We’re also told that crêpey skin and turkey neck are horrors that need to be covered with the latest turtleneck fashions.
OK – I loved the late, great Nora Ephron’s book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” – and if you haven’t read it, this is a good time to grab a copy. The brilliantly expressed anxiety involved in the maintenance work of sustaining appearances is both hilarious and deeply sad.
Ah, what we go through to remain acceptably visible.
And then – if we’re lucky - we turn 60. At that age, there’s really no need to expend any resources on the products of beauty. We’re now physically invisible. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Now is the time when we can get back to what truly makes people – makes humans – attractive. It’s not the hair products. Some of the sexiest men alive are bald. And some of my most beautiful friends have spent their lives outdoors in the sun and wind – and their skin has become a testament to their experiences.
Attractive is really about being aggressively, assertively kind and generous.
Kind with the emotions that visibly beam through sparkling eyes.
Happy with the joys of discovering life’s wonders through curiosity.
Grateful with the recognition of the abundant gifts of friends and family.
I’ve found that humans are only ugly when they’re spewing anger and hate – and there’s been plenty of ugly recently.
No matter who wins – we have politicians already promising to ensure there will be no policy discussions, or true debate about how best to solve issues for this nation. Instead there will be more years of promoting hate rather than ideas, of denigrating different rather than celebrating diversity.
And that will make for a very unattractive nation.
And now a promise fulfilled – the recipe for Moroccan Adafina –
This recipe comes from Saffron Shores, by Joyce Goldstein – with a few variations.
In orthodox Jewish homes, there is no cooking on the Sabbath, but it is also encouraged to have a hot meal on Saturday for mid-day. So the tradition was to prepare a slow-cooking meal that could remain in the oven overnight and be gloriously ready by noon of the next day. Or one can raise the temperature – cook for fewer hours, and have a great evening party.
· 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
· 2 large onions, chopped
· 6 cloves garlic, minced
· 3-4 pounds stewing beef or brisket, cubed
· 6 potatoes, peeled and halved if large
· 1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
· 12 dried apricots, cut in pieces
· 1 teaspoon ginger
· 1 teaspoon ground allspice
· salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
· broth to cover
· 8 eggs, in their shells that have been washed
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. In a large, heavy dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the onions until golden, 15-20 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, tucking the eggs under the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and bake for 8 hours, or until the meat and chickpeas are tender.
Or you can bake at 300 degrees F for 4-5 hours. To serve, peel the eggs – which will be brown and almost creamy to eat – and return them to the stew.
Note: I’ve also made this recipe by using 3-4 pounds of chicken thighs in place of the beef.
Enjoy! And stay warm.