quigonejinn: (avatar - big and little)
[personal profile] quigonejinn
Meatballs By Somebody Whose Mother Was Too Chinese to Make Meatballs But Who Really Loves Meatballs



  • 2 pounds ground meat. We use a mix of ground chicken and pork, but I've used all chicken or all turkey before with success.
  • 2/3rds cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Garlic powder, because life is too short to chop THAT much garlic
  • Two handfuls (or one big handful if you don't have tiny mutant hands) fresh sage, well chopped
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary, well-chopped
  • Vegetable oil.
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients except oil in large bowl until well combined, at which point it will look like mostly ground meat. Form into loose balls roughly the size of your thumb from first knuckle to end of thumbnail. Line a glass tray with aluminium foil, dribble some oil on -- if you're using ground pork, you don't need much oil, but if you're using chicken, you want more. But you want a small amount spread thinly over the bottom, because otherwise, you'll end up with meatballs sticking. Bake at least until the color of brown cardboard, which will be about 25 minutes in our oven. Makes roughly 55 meatballs, plus a few to wet the beak of the chef/whoever is doing the dishes. Served this week with pasta salad made up of farfalle with aspargus and peas, dressed with oil from baking the meatballs, apple cider vinegar, basalmic vinegar, a little white truffle oil, and fresh-ground pepper. Because Mr. Rhod likes Additional Ingredients, he adds fresh avocado and a little Parmesan on top.

...

Spoilers for Big Little Lies.

So yeah, we watched this, and it's white as hell and straight as hell. A same sex white dude couple that doesn't even figure in the Greek chorus and have, like, two lines? Maybe? in the orientation episode? Doesn't really count. And I think the cheapest house on the show was more than half a million dollars which means it's the equivalent of 10 years wages for the average US family.

But gosh, I loved this and have been chewing over it for days. The lifestyle porn (and it is a++++++ lifestyle porn, for the record, would enjoy loving shots of Renata's house again) aside, one of the most thought-provoking things about it for me has been the angle it takes on child-rearing -- and I'm not just talking about the nature versus nurture argument that plays out with Ziggy and Max, and the question of whether genetics or environment are more important in making a kid into a bully, and how that flows through to the scenes we get of all the men* in ths show.

Take for example the way that Perry's scenes with his kids are characterized by fun and games and in-jokes and squealing happy laughter, and with the very first glimpse you get of Madeline, the rage-a-holic, stopping her car in traffic to get out of the car and yell at the teenage driver in front of her, and then yell at her daughter in the back seat in front of all of her friends, and then she goes back to her car to fight with her other daughter. You can feel the narrative that's shaping, and it's one that gets underlined in heavily in the first episodes -- Celeste and Perry, so perfect. Ed and Madeline, so fraught. You'll even notice the mention of how Celeste, to round out her perfectness, used to be a corporate lawyer and she gave it all up to be a mom. She gets praised for her sacrifice, but does anybdoy ever point out that Madeline gave it all up from the beginning? Instead, the show lets her ambition and fury and emotion just boil over in that scene in the car after talking to the mayor.

By the end of the series, too, there's been an inversion. Perry who is so affable and pleasant for an audience is a complete fucking monster in private. Madeline who is so abrasive and sharp and utterly mean girl when she has an audience is a good friend,and a woman capable of deep feeling. In fact, the moment that the show frames as her most successful moment as a mother comes when she tells Abigail about her affair -- she is a terrible mother in a lot of ways, and has a deeply strained relationship with Abigail**, but when the real moment comes, she can lay herself emotionally bare for her children and help them Get Right.***

And that is, of course, where Perry completely fails. When he is the person he is inside, it shapes his kid by making the kid think it's OK to choke the fuck out of another little girl. You'll note that when Celeste confronts him with it, it takes him about 0.05 seconds, and then it's onto Y U LEAVING ME, and the way the show plays off the confrontation between Perry and Celeste, and Ed and Madeline, with the wronged party in each side contronting the other with evidence of the wrongdoing? And how they each respond differently? And the weird complicated feeling in my chest when you realize what Ed is doing, and the effect that Madeline is having, and how that contrasts with the high-pitched anxious OH GET OUT GET OUT OH GOD DON'T LET ME HIM PUSH YOU OFF THE CLIFF

It's beautiful formal narrative structure for the final episode, and I love it so much.





* A delightful thing about the show is how much the male characters are fleshed out as appendages to the women. You meet Ed as part of Madeline's backstory, and then you're introdued to Bonnie through the connection, but Bonnie gets developed, and the last scene gives Bonnie equal weight to Celeste, Madeline, and Jane. And there are no men at all.

** One of my favorite scenes in the entire series is the bit where you think Madeline and Abigail are going to have a rapprochement -- Abigail coming to Madeline to reassure her that Bonnie isn't going to take her place, and how that comforts Madeline, and they have a tender moment, but then Chloe comes in and asserts a little-kid need for mothering, and Madeline seems to forget about Abigail. And that last frame of Abigail's little broken-hearted face?

*** In my soul, the (very true) reason that Abigail articulates about how the controversy of her medium will obscure the message is 1000000000))))% Bonnie, gently calling out her white stepdaughter for meaning well, but actually underlining the elevation of rich cis white womanhood above all other women. But I don't know if it's the case, and I wish the racial angle of it had been more strongly articulated in the show.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 05:24 pm (UTC)
thatyourefuse: Vanessa Ives from Penny Dreadful, walking along a bloodtrail in the snow. (Default)
From: [personal profile] thatyourefuse
Hey, I was just thinking that I haven't seen you in ages!

And this sounds unexpectedly fascinating (although I am grimly gearing up to watch Billions because Maggie Siff could do ANYTHING SHE WANTS to me, so possibly my Rich People Making Poor Choices receptors are going to be occupied).

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 08:20 pm (UTC)
obsession_inc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] obsession_inc
HI RHOD HI HI HI and now I want to make meatballs, THANKS.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 10:19 pm (UTC)
nolivingman: (Duty and honor and repression)
From: [personal profile] nolivingman
Hi! BLL has been on my list, but maybe I will take a break between seasons of Empire (OMG COOKIE!) to catch it.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-19 12:53 am (UTC)
deuces: (Default)
From: [personal profile] deuces
I'm not watching Big Little Lies, but I'm just commenting to say that the dressing for the pasta sounds really good (I've never used that combo before). I used to just use meat for meatballs (bc my simple mind thought meat balls were literally meat rolled up into balls and that's how my mom made it and it didn't occur to me to look up a recipe.....) so they came out dry, but then I learned you could use EGGS and BREADCRUMBS and a juicier meatball world was opened up to me.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-19 01:15 pm (UTC)
indiefic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] indiefic
The meatballs sound delicious. Totally going to try them out. I haven't watched BLL, but your commentary is very thought provoking.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-21 08:57 pm (UTC)
eirene: (peggy)
From: [personal profile] eirene
Those meatballs look delicious! I always bake mine off before putting them in spaghetti sauce to cook together, because I just like the way they come out better than frying.

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