Ciao'd while watching the French Open.
Before you play the race card on me, the white whine moniker was coined by Streeter Seidell, author of White Whine: A Study of First World Problems (2013, F+W Media, Inc.). If you take a step back, you have to admit that the title is not only brilliant but true, too.
Lately, I have been hearing a lot of complaining among my crowd about persnickety “problems.” There’s a Hatfield and McCoy battle waging at my tennis club (that alone raises the eyebrow). Non-members are attending tennis clinics. And they are super loud, laughing and calling to each other on a court adjacent to courts occupied by members. Said members are consequently bugged to distraction. Granted the noise is not prescribed tennis etiquette but it begs the question: if the pros at the US Open can play through rowdy crowds, why can’t a 3.0 player just get on with it?
Here’s another first-world whine: Queuing to get on your flight to Hawaii/Mexico/Europe because your miles did not sweep you through to first class.
Oh, and another one: A crying baby on that flight to paradise.
And how about this: Standing behind a person with 16 items in the 12-item market cash-out line.
And this: Candy corn or Peeps not sold all year long.
I can go on:
Your kid not getting into the college dorm he wanted.
And on: A sweat-showering person posing next to you in hot yoga.
And one (or two) more: No WI-FI. Wonky GPS.
Listen, I am guilty of more than one of the whines above. Stuff bugs me, too; however, in light of what transpires beyond the entitled masses, I am trying to maintain perspective.
I’m thinking about stuff like this:
For 1 billion people safe water is scarce. It takes less than 3 seconds for the water to cascade from our faucets (thewaterproject.org).
Around the world, 62 million girls are not in school (usaid.gov).
42 million – roughly one in eight Americans – rely on food stamps (CNN Money). These are fellow Americans who make only (or less than) $26, 600 a year for a family of three. Do the math - approximately $555 a week – for EVERYTHING.
More than 13 million kids in this country go to school hungry (No Kid Hungry).
In a single night in California in 2016, 21.48% of the population experienced homelessness. In New York, 15.7% (National Alliance to End Homelessness).
I could go on with these stats but I think you get my drift.
Am I an activist? Do I have an answer for these real problems? No, but I think I finally became less of an ostrich and more of an eagle. I am well aware of the strife in the world but, until recently, it swirled around me rather than alighted upon me.
When I was overwhelmed, my grandmother told me, “Take one step and your other foot will follow.” Recognizing that something needs a solution is the first step to making it happen. So I guess this post is the first step.
This recipe for Olive Oil Braised Potatoes with Sage and Bay Leaf pays tribute to another strife. During the mid-19th century, a blight destroyed virtually every potato in Ireland, a staple for the country’s population. About 1 million people perished. Seriously, aren't we so blessed?
OLIVE OIL BRAISED POTATOES WITH SAGE AND BAY LEAF
Cooking the potatoes in olive oil elicits their creamy, buttery flavor.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds small red potatoes, halved
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 small bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock + more if needed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, shallot, sage and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. If the potatoes dry out, add a bit more liquid.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.