Pumpkin pie redux

by Eszter Hargittai on November 26, 2004

Who would’ve thought that discussing pumpkin pie would be such a popular topic among Timberites (and others as well). Here, I offer an alternative European perspective as there were eight of us around the table last night (with not an American in sight although some later joined us for socializing): three Italians, two Germans, one German/French, one Dutch and one Hungarian. First of all, I’m proud to say that you couldn’t have had a more traditional Thanksgiving meal including a mashed potato/sweet potato dish, bean casserole, cranberry relish, cranberry jello salad, squash, stuffing, plenty of gravy and, of course, a beautiful and delicious turkey. Other than the dinner rolls, ice cream and whipped cream everything was homemade. But let me fast forward to the dessert portion of the evening.

After a walk out to the beach to make some room for the pies, we started a general discussion comparing European vs American pastries. Several people around the table thought that American desserts are just too sweet. This may explain why most people only took a small slice of my pecan pie (oh, and I cheated, I didn’t make the crust). However, I was happy to note that people were quite excited about the pumpkin pie (pictured here without the important whipped cream component). I relied on canned pumpkin pure, but used a special recipe that adds vanilla ice cream to the filling making it extra fluffy and yummy. To the skeptics who in the comments to Belle’s post wondered whether people just said they liked the pie versus actually enjoyed it, I can report that my guests were quite honest regarding their preferences. Everyone got to take food when they left and people did not seem to have any qualms about expressing their preferences (thus I got to keep quite a few peanutbutter bars given that several of those in attendance have not yet developed a taste for peanut butter). I should add that my friend’s Alsatian apple tart was a really big hit as well (and as suggested earlier, it was not as sweet as the other desserts). One more point about desserts: I never use vanilla extract, I use vanilla sugar instead. I think it works much better (the former seems to have an artificial taste I don’t like). Substituting one packet for one teaspoon seems to work well.

The evening ended with us reminiscing about European 70s music (that may require a separate post sometime) and playing around with the various toys on my coffee table (coffee table books are so passé, try putting some Rubik games out sometime). Of course, after that amount of food no need to get so technical as to introduce elaborate puzzles. I brought out my vintage Schwarzer Peter card deck my grandmother and I used to play with when I was five. There is a reason I used to play with it when I was five. After a few minutes of playing we started wondering how many PhDs it takes to figure out the quickest way to end the game (well, you know, without actually just calling it quits). (Keep reinventing the rules and working with the other players so someone can win.) What a fun evening, and of course, no need to cook for the next several days.

Ab Hominem Arguments

by John Holbo on November 26, 2004

Keith Burgess-Jackson responds to Chris’ post. "What’s interesting (and ironic) is that nobody at the site engaged my
argument. In the insular world of liberalism, argumentation is
unnecessary. One mocks conservatives; one doesn’t engage their
arguments." OK, obviously the dogs voting thing wasn’t the man’s argument, so it was very unfair for Chris to seize on that. The argument goes like this: "Some disappointed pundits have said that this [voter rejection of gay marriage] reflects bigotry. No. It
reflects intelligence. The other day, Pat Caddell said that homosexual
“marriage” isn’t a conservative/liberal issue. It’s an
intelligence/stupidity issue. I agree. I have said in this blog many
times that the very idea of homosexual marriage is incoherent, which is
why I put the word “marriage” in quotation marks."

So the argument is: supporters of gay marriage are stupid? Or: some guy says homosexual marriage is incoherent? (How could some guy be wrong, after all? Makes no sense.)

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Tarik Amar on the Ukraine election/coup

by John Q on November 26, 2004

One of the nice things about blogging is the occasional contributions from people who have more sense than to start a blog of their own, but are well-informed and passionate about particular subjects of current interest. Over at my blog, I’ve had not one but two such contributions on events in Ukraine.

Following up the post from Tom Oates last week, reader Dan Hardie sent me another (long) piece, by Tarik Amar, who is doing a PhD on Soviet history speaks Ukranian, German and Russian, among other languages, and knows the place very well. Lacking all these qualifications, I pass it on to you with a recommendation to read it.

From what I’ve read, including Tarik’s piece, this all seems very similar to Marcos in the Phillipines and Milosevic in Serbia, and hopefully will be resolved in a similar fashion.

Post or perish ?

by John Q on November 26, 2004

There’s been a fair bit of discussion among academic bloggers about whether blogs count for the purposes of vitas and if so how. The maximalist position (so far not put forward seriously by anyone as far as I know) is that each blog post is a separate publication. The minimal claim is that blogs are a form of community service, like talking to school groups and similar. A good place to start, with plenty of links to earlier contributions, is this post by Eszter.

Rather than engaging directly with the arguments that have been put up so far, I want to claim that the question will ultimately be settled by the way in which blogs are used and referred to. In this context, I have a couple of observations.

First, I’ve had one reader tell me that he’s cited one of my posts in an academic work, and I think this is not unique. Clearly, the more this happens, the more conventions for referring to blog posts will be developed, and the more easily they can be incorporated in vitas and so on.

Second, I had an interesting recent communication from the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia, which sets school examinations. They used this post in an exam paper for Year 12 politics. They wrote asking for copyright permission to print it in their set of past papers[1].

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by Belle Waring on November 26, 2004

My dear, dear, deluded fellow Timberteers. Pumpkin pie is not replusive. Pumpkin pie is a silken cloud of holiday deliciousness. Last night I served the full Thanksgiving dinner to 16 people, many of whom, being British or Australian or Spanish or some such nonsense, had never eaten pumpkin pie before, though they had heard of this fabled treat. To a man and woman, they all thought it was delicious. Delicious, I say! Of course, it was a totally unorthodox pie actually made of kabocha squash. I adapted this recipe from the NYT and let me tell you, it will knock your socks off.

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