The news this week has me thinking a great deal about our criminal justice system and how broken it is on so many levels. Obviously I was not in the grand jury room and did not hear the evidence, but I did have the opportunity to sit on a grand jury in the late 90's. As a recent law grad, it was fascinating -- watching the prosecutors outline each element of the charge through witnesses and other evidence -- it was a real life demo of everything I learned in my criminal law and procedure classes, which were some of my favorites in law school. That said, it was also a horrifying window into how screwed up our criminal justice system really is. A few weeks in, several of my fellow grand jurors still didn't seem to understand that we weren't *trying* the cases, but merely seeing if they met the rather low evidentiary standard for indictment and that the trial came later. It was stunning. We'll likely never know how each grand juror in Ferguson ultimately came to his or her decision, but it seems odd from an outside perspective that the very low indictment standard wasn't met by the prosecution.
Back to my work increasing access to justice and improving the legal system, I guess . . .
Sorry for the radio silence, kids. I have been a little busier than I'd prefer and when I have had down time, I have had zero interest in being in front of a computer. I am currently on an Amtrak en route to DC for a conference law school public interest/pro bono people and am headed off to the woods with college friends upon my return to NYC.
These recent items from my news feeds caught my eye:
Down with Brunch! -- Apparently going to brunch makes you an irresponsible, childless, indulgent consumer who illustrates what's wrong with New York. Personally, I tend to go for the bacon, but then again, I prefer brunch at home (ideally in PJ's) to brunch out.
How to Stock Your Pantry -- In the *duh* department (at least from my perspective, although I get that not everyone else has food hoarding tendencies). Otherwise known as "why I can eat for a month if I'm locked in my apartment and can't order from Seamless." See also: this.
I am happy to report that as of about 4:30 this morning my power went back on and as of about noon today I have heat and hot water. I wanted to write a post about how I spent my time during the week and important things I learned about living without power since Monday -- and I will -- but right this moment I feel somewhat drained and exhausted just from having to trek around the city searching for power, hot water, etc., trying to get work done, and making it home before dark.
Also, there are plenty who are still in the dark. WNYC has a list of ways to help. Also, NYC is in dire need of poll workers for election day. Email me for details.
If you haven't read these two pieces this week, you should.
Going With Your Gut First, And Then Your Heart pretty much sums up my philosophy on food and relationship compatibility. Gathering over food and drink, often at my own home, is a huge part of my life and someone who "doesn't eat vegetables" or would rather eat a wrap at the gym cafe than have a home-cooked healthy meal (yes, I've heard both of these from men I have dated) is likely not the guy for me. He doesn't have to be as crazy as I am about food or enjoy cooking as much, but it would be ideal if he were open to it and excited about it, and embraced my passion for cooking for friends and family. As a starting point. The last boyfriend I lived with learned to cook in our home. He continues to cook to this day.
All the Single Ladies explores how the "romantic market" has changed for marriage-minded women, but also how many women are challenging whether or not they want to be married at all. As the author states in the articles introduction: "[T]his strange state of affairs also presents an opportunity: as the economy evolves, it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family—and to acknowledge the end of “traditional” marriage as society’s highest ideal." Definitely an interesting read and one that got me thinking.
I was supposed to go to Maine this past weekend, but was foiled by Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene. That said, I had serious lobster on the brain, and between that and Mark Bittman's timely piece on lobster in the Sunday NYT magazine, I decided that lobster bisque was just what I needed to make it through the storm. I stockpiled everything I needed, but as Saturday morning arrived, I realized I needed a tomato, so headed to my local natural foods market, where I picked up a bunch of tomatoes, corn, and an artichoke. As of about 2 p.m. on Saturday, after a workout, I hunkered down and started to cook, thinking that friends within walking distance might come over that night. After brunch (egg, Flying Pigs Farm bacon, skim latte), I made lobster stock from some shells I had in the freezer, cooked the two lobsters I had bought the night before, then proceeded to make bisque, corn and tomato salad, and a steamed artichoke. As I was taking out the garbage, I ran into my next door neighbors, and we arranged for an impromptu dinner party later that evening. In addition to the bisque, I whipped up some brownies (using my favorite recipe, but substituting some espresso-laced chocolate), and we feasted -- Arturo's pizza; tomato, corn, shallot & arugula salad; bisque and brownies.
Day two of the storm seemed a little calmer, and true to our nature, my fellow New Yorkers were ansty from being inside all day and night on Saturday. Roopa, Karen, Enzo, Noel, Caroline & Kevin came over and we feasted on a hodgepodge of canned goods (pickled herring, anyone?), made Ramos Gin Fizzes and Bloody Marys/Red Snappers and a killer batch of fried rice, spearheaded by Noel. We followed that up with A Fish Called Wanda and truffle-parmesan popcorn.
Almost everyone I talked to ate and drank their way through the storm. Wonder if that's just a reflection of my friends and family or if people generally find it comforting?