Thursday, February 5, 2009

Submit your recipes for Iggy's Conflict Resolution Cookbook

Lawrence Martin has an interesting piece (Ignatieff's kitchen cabinet signals a new way) on the group of 10 key Liberal MPs that Ignatieff huddles with every morning to discuss key issues.  This was a key contributing factor to the way the Newfoundland budget concerns were handled.

This is all well and good but the name it is referred to by "kitchen cabinet" does raise my eyebrow (admittedly much less formidable than the Igsters Spockian ones).  I am concerned about an increasingly apparent fixation on food as a way to resolve conflicts.

Consider the following:

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc arrived just after 7 p.m. for Sunday dinner at Michael Ignatieff's modest condominium in Toronto's swank Yorkville neighbourhood. Mr. Ignatieff's wife, Suzanna Zsohar, cooked chicken. And the three Liberal MPs – all leadership rivals – spent the next few hours hashing out their role in the high-stakes plot to take down the Harper minority government.
And this:

Just a week ago, the Liberal Leader announced his party would support the budget - with an amendment calling for three updates - in a confidence vote. He argued that Canadians didn't want another election.

But on Monday night, over a glass of Ontario Chardonnay and a dinner of hake on white bean and roasted cherry tomato salad, he changed his mind. The Liberal Leader had invited the six MPs and his chief of staff, Paul Zed, to his official residence at Stornoway for a "working dinner" on the issue.

"It was a very cordial and friendly dinner," said a guest. "A consensus was reached."

Perhaps this is the Harvard faculty method of reaching decisions and so far it seems to have worked.  But I can foresee two problems with this method.  The biggest one is that there will be a lot of conflicts to resolve over his tenure as Liberal Leader.  If each one requires a meal to solve, he will have to face a weight control issue.  We already have one national leader with a well known waistline problem:

Stephen Harper is an overweight junk-food addict who drinks Pepsi (actually, it’s Coke and Harper has since shed about 35 pounds).

When pundits were anticipating a clash of titans, I don't think they were referring to a bad Canadian version of Sumo wrestling.  And I doubt that they were thinking about which is better baked hake and chardonnay or a double-double and a 12 pack of Tim-Bits.  Although the differences are very telling.  The second issue is the recipes.  Politicians are very status conscious.  You can't serve the same thing every time.  Poor Ms. Zsohar will have a hard time finding recipes to keep everyone fed and happy. For this reason, I have taken it upon myself to collate a list of recipes for the Igster kitchen.  I will start the ball rolling with this one from Anne Linday's excellent "Smart Cooking" (I can highly recommend it).

Penne With Italian Sausage, Tomato and Herbs

SERVES 6 (change servings and units)


·  1 lb Italian sausage

·  1 lb penne pasta

·  1 teaspoon olive oil

·  1 large onion, chopped

·   garlic cloves, minced

·  28 ounces tomatoes, undrained and coursely chopped

·  2 teaspoons dried basil

·  1 teaspoon dried oregano

·   1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (I don't always use)

·   pepper

·   2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)


1.     In skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink in centre, about 15 to 20 minutes. (I boil first to get rid of some of the fat).

2.     Drain well; cut into thin round slices.

3.     In large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until tender but firm; drain and return to pot.

4.     In nonstick pan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions until tender, about 5 minutes.

5.     Add garlic, tomatoes, basil and oregano;.

6.     Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

7.     Add cooked sausage.pour over pasta; toss to mix.

8.     Sprinkle with parsley, pepper to taste and parmesan if using.

9.     toss again and serve.

10. enjoy.

Just doing my part to help with the smooth functioning of the country.

(P.S.: Is Blogger being very frustrating for everyone else these days?)
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1 comment:

sassy said...

Here is one that makes a substantial side dish or a good lunch on its own

Spinach and Rice Salad

- 1 Bag of spinach chopped finely (I use baby spinach when I can get it)
- 2 Cups of cooked rice (you can use brown rice, a mixture of white and wild rice, or just plain white)
- 1 Green pepper (chopped or sliced)
- 1 Yellow pepper (chopped or sliced)
- 1 Red pepper (chopped or sliced)
- 1 Cup cashews (or salted sunflower seeds)
- 5 Sprigs parsley
- 3 Shallots

- 1/2 Cup of oil (sunflower is nice but a good olive oil also works)
- 1/4 Cup (or less to taste) of Soya Sauce

Cook and chill the rice ahead of time. Add dressing and nuts just before serving. I have also added dried cranberries when making it at Christmas