The Collected Thoughts and Musings of an Aspiring Political Philosopher

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Luscious Crab Cakes

I've been making crab cakes this way for years; it's my own recipe (as far as I know... I kind of made it up as I went along) but you're welcome to share with friends if you like it. There are a lot of variations to this; change the veggie combination, add fresh garlic instead of powdered, use an egg or just substitute the equivalent amount of water, etc. You just can't mess it up too much by switching things around, just don't overcook them because they get tough as a brick if you do.


1 pound fresh crab meat, carefully shelled (or 3 6-oz cans of crab)
1 large egg (or approximately 1/4 cup water or milk)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (substitute 3/4 cup of bread crumbs or for extra richness use 3/4 cup of crumbled Club® Crackers; if you do substitute, you will need both the egg AND the 1/4 cup water or milk)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (substitute chili powder or your favorite spicy stuff)
1 tablespoon Worstershire sauce
1/4 cup each diced sweet yellow onions, celery, parsley
1/2 cup diced cooked shrimp (salad shrimp work best and don't need chopping)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (substitute 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic or to taste)
Salt, pepper to taste
Lemon juice
Olive oil (about 3 to 5 tablespoons total, use as needed during frying)

Pre-heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Combine cornmeal (or substitutes) with crab, shrimp, diced veggies, egg (or substitutes), butter or margarine, cayenne, Worstershire, garlic powder, salt and pepper in large bowl. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are fully moist and mixture gets lumpy. Form into fist-sized balls, then flatten to form patties approximately 3/4 inch thick, making sure the edges are smooth (moisten some more if they seem crumbly). Carefully place crabcakes into frying pan to avoid splashing hot oil. Cover and cook approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add oil to pan if necessary and repeat until all crabcakes are complete. Drizzle lightly with lemon juice and serve plain or with your favorite sauce (tartar, teriyaki, oyster and even ketchup all work nicely). Number of crabcakes depends on how big you make the patties, but usually makes between 6 and 10 total.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Palin's Comic Book View of History: Paul Revere's Ride

Apologists for Palin immediately struck against the "lame-stream media" laughing at their darling for getting the history wrong (again) about one of our iconic First Patriots.

There is a tiny bit of merit in their arguments, particularly the chuckles that Revere warned the British. In a sense, he actually did at one point, though it was never his intention to tell the British anything. He was captured (along with his two fellow riders, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott, who are often forgotten in retellings of the famous Midnight Ride story) by a British patrol and informed them that he had been raising the alarm and they would be met by "five hundred Americans" ready to fight.

So that part of the account Palin gave had a grain of truth to it. But her word pudding, as incoherent as it was, didn't exactly give us any indication that she was talking about that incident at all (or was even aware of it). To hear her tell it, Revere might as well have been standing on a rooftop waving his fist at the British defiantly, a patriotic glow emanating from his body, as he warned the cowering British army that they were already defeated and might as well slink back to their ships and sail away.

Beyond the comic-book glorification Palin (and so many others who adore her) have of American history, the other details of her brief blizzard of nonsense lack historical basis as well.

She seems to think Revere shot his gun and rang bells. He was both unarmed and had no bells, at least as far as the historical account goes (although some pictorial depictions of him do show him ringing what looks like a teacher's school-bell, so it's hard to tell for sure). But by all written accounts, it was the people he warned from house to house that shot the guns and range the bells, not himself.

While Revere did in fact "warn" the British (while being detained and under threat of having his brains blown out) that's a little different than Palin's embellishing it with him telling the British that "we're going to be free" and "they weren't going to be taking away our arms".

Although he was either a member of or sympathetic to the Sons of Liberty, a group of Americans who (sometimes violently) fought depredations of the British against Americans, few of them wanted independence from Britain; most of them simply wanted fairness and self-determination under British rule. So while I'm no expert on Revere, there's a good chance Revere no more wanted independence from the Crown than most of the rest of the colonists did in 1775. Up until this time, in fact, they were sending delegation after delegation to Britain petitioning to allow the colonies representation in Parliament, hardly the actions of people who hated the Crown so much they wanted complete freedom.

It wasn't until AFTER the battle at Lexington and Concord that most colonists realized that the Brits were going to ruthlessly put their foot on the Americans and thus the first serious discussion of real independence rather than self-determination took shape, leading to the Declaration of Independence a year later.

The best resource for Revere comes of course from his own accounts as well as those of his companions. The website for the Paul Revere House is here:

It might do for Sarah Palin, as she visits all of these historic sites, to brush up a little better before spouting more word coleslaw in front of the cameras. While entertaining, we must remember that a good number of Americans consider her a leading light of Patriotic All-Americanness, and the more we encourage her by putting her ridiculous clown-show on the air and Internet the more her fans believe she's the model for their children and their children's-children. Do we really want to embolden future generations of historical know-nothings?

(Hat tip to Douglas Redecopp for pointing me to the apologist's article)