Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I love a Big Salad...

Elaine: They have big salads.
George: I've never seen a big salad.
Elaine: They have a big salad.
George: Is that what I ask for? The BIG salad?
Elaine: It's okay, you don't…
George: No, no, Hey I'll get it. What's in the BIG salad?
Jerry: Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.
Thanks to the character of Elaine Benes (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus), restaurants everywhere have got the idea that the BIG Salad is dear to the culinary heart of every woman, (it is ... right people?!?) We have some really great big salads around here. I love the sweet pork salad at Costa Vida and the Grilled Lime Chicken Bajio Salad at Bajio. If I have to make it myself, I like to make this BBQ Chicken salad. If you want the recipe... you slow cook some chicken breasts in your favorite BBQ Sauce and shred the chicken once it's cooked and then put whatever you like with it... or in my case, whatever I have on hand. It can be fancier with some corn strips, and drizzled BBQ sauce on top of the whole. I like making a pastry bag by snipping the corner of a baggie, or you can just pile the stuff on and eat it.
I have 2 big salad recipes that I make quite frequently. My family is so over them. But, I like them both because it seems like a lot of food, but calorie wise it is really is not. I always use a low-fat buttermilk based dressing and low-fat cheese on the top and then chicken... after that the rest is vegetable material.
The thing is... I wanted a Big Salad bowl. Putting your Big Salad on a plate is no good and I always spill it that way. Finally after years of searching for the perfect Big Salad bowl, I found the one pictured above for five dollars at Kohls. Happiness. (I bought 3 of them, but have mostly used just one... people around here say... "Um.. can I just have my chicken and a little salad on the side.." They don't get the whole.. "Big Salad" thing.

Frontline... The Mormons.

The photo on the right is one of film maker Helen Whitney whose documentary film in cooperation with the program Frontline aired last night on PBS. She is quoted in the Deseret Morning News in an interview with Scott Pierce as saying, "I hope that most of the stereotypes — ideally, all of them — will be blown away. Because so many of them are just based on ignorance. Ignorance about Mormon history, ignorance about Mormon theology. Ignorance."

Last night was just the first two hours of the program, but I was personally very dissapointed in most of it. Atleast Whitney tried to get the idea out that Mormons are not currently practicing polygamy. Polygamy was practiced for about forty years of the church's 200 year history. And then, by only about five percent of the members. Still, she spent quite some time interviewing a polygimist family who are not Mormons. People could get the wrong idea.

While the program tried to show the history of the western migration of the church and it did touch lightly on some important points, I thought it fell short there. In a nutshell, the Mormons had built three different and beautiful, clean and lively communities in three different states. They were driven by persecution from each one. By persecution, I don't mean hassled.. I mean tarred and feathered, murderered, raped and had their property stolen from them. Governor Boggs of the state of Missouri had issued an extermination order against them. Much of the problem the Mormons had in Missouri had to do with slavery. The divisions in the country concerning slavery were rising to a fever pitch. Mormons were against slavery and voted as a block. Those who killed Mormons were not to be and were not prosecuted. Mormons built the lovely city of Nauvoo Illinois out of a mosquito infested swamp land into a city that rivaled the city of Chicago in size and surpassed it in beauty. The prophet and his brother were murdered and the Mormons again had to leave a beautiful place that they loved to go out into the wilderness again where they contracted horrible sickness and starved and froze to death by the hundreds.

I don't know if we can, but try to imagine their anxiety, as they had settled in Salt Lake, and as they had once again begun to build a beautiful city... they recieve news that Johnson's Army sent by President Buchanan is coming to occupy the city.

All of those things are documented in journals and records that have been carefully preserved. I would have like to have had some of the experiences of these amazing people told in their own words.

I understand that we are talking about trying to cover 200 years worth of history in four hours, really a daunting and truly impossible task. And, I understand that there will be loud voices clamoring from both sides to have their views heard. Maybe it will be a starting place for those who are curious to learn about the history of the Mormon Church. While the members of the church are not and never have been a perfect people, there are so many stories and lessons of courage, strength, sacrifice and faith in the history of the church.

In my own family history, I had an ancestor who owned a farm outright in Denmank. She lived in wealth and comfort. She left it all and came to join her faith in Utah. C has an ancestor who carried her little brother on her back a thousand miles across the plains. Why? Becaused they believed. To me, that kind of faith is a sacred and beautiful thing and that above all was not covered in this program.

Still, I'll be watching tonight.