Thursday, July 28, 2011

"The Cleveland Show" takes on the double burden

It seems Seth MacFarlane, the creator of FOX's "Family Guy" and "The Cleveland Show," doesn't have many fans among feminists. calls MacFarlane's shows  "unfunny, anti-feminist and anti-woman."

However, I found this episode of "The Cleveland Show" titled "Beer Walk!" particularly interesting because it calls attention to an old societal chestnut women have been struggling with for years:  the "double burden."

The double burden, also known as the "double day" or the "double shift," is defined as the performance of paid labor outside the home in addition to the performance of the majority of unpaid labor within the home.  The double burden disproportionately affects women.

In this episode, Cleveland's wife Donna fakes an injury in an attempt to get Cleveland to pitch in around the house until she's outed by his bar buddies who use patriarchal trickery to restore the status quo.

Watch the episode here:

The story is told on a backdrop of of typical raunchy, patriarchal humor, but that's the point -- we live in a patriarchal society.  Once we get past the stupid jokes, a satirical exposure of the double burden comes into focus and three truths emerge:
  • The double burden is real and is still firmly in place,
  • The double burden is not taken seriously , and
  • Domestic work, performed primarily by women, is devalued by society.
I'm not defending MacFarlane, because some of his work is "out there" and some criticism might be valid. Yet, here he addresses topic that is not  afforded much coverage in the mainstream media.  The drawback is that he has chosen to do it in a quirky way in an unconventional forum, so the message will be lost on some people.

But not on all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cherie's Kitchen Revisited: The best meatless loaf


That means, "I have found it."

My husband Chris was a "meat and potatoes man" before we went vegetarian three years ago and meatloaf was one of his favorite dishes.

I've been searching for a tasty veg alternative since.  I found it in this recipe from "The Engine 2 Diet" by Rip Esselstyn. 

Esselystyn's book advocates a plant-based, vegan eating plan that he says "lowers cholesterol and burns away the pounds."

It's hard to find a plant-based diet plan.  Most offer only a few vegetarian alternatives at best.  But, all the recipes on this plan are 100 percent vegan with no animal products whatsoever.

I also love that Esselstyn has included a chapter  debunking 12 myths about plant-based diets, including:
  • You can't get enough protein eating a plant-based diet,
  • Carbohydrates make us fat, and
  • By eating only plant-based foods, you'll miss key nutrients.
Also, I was able to make this recipe from ingredients already in my fridge, freezer and pantry.  All I needed was a block of firm tofu.

If you're not a fan of tofu, don't worry.  My husband is not fond of it either, but this recipe passed the taste and texture test with flying colors.

Lynn's Meatloaf 
Serves 6


2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
10 ounces firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup walnuts, finely ground
12 ounces vegetarian meat crumbles (I used Morningstar Farms)
1-1/4 cups quick cooking oats
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup (additional for topping, optional)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon thyme, sage and rosemary (or whatever spices you have on hand.)


Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray a loaf pan with a nonstick cooking spray like Pam.  Saute celery, onion and garlic on high heat in a sprayed skillet for five minutes until tender.  Remove from heat and cool.  Mash the tofu in a large bowl.  Stir in the vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients and mix well.  Spoon the mixture into a loaf pan.  Top with a layer of ketchup (this step is optional, but adds flavor and moisture.)  Bake 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with an Engine 2 Basic Salad of lettuce, mandarin oranges and sweet red bell peppers.

Related links:
Find more recipes and learn all about the Engine 2 Diet at

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nellie McKay the lyrical feminist

“I really don’t care what people say. It’s amazing that feminism continues to exist at all, considering how much counter-feminism is out there. So, I’m glad if people can listen to some music and maybe fix some prejudices of their own, just by thinking.” -- Nellie McKay in an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune

I first heard Nellie McKay's "Mother of Pearl" featured on a Canadian reproductive rights podcast.  Her lyrics got my attention and I had to know more about her.

Here's a woman singing about feminism of all things.

And, she gets it. Totally!

Have a listen, then come back for more about Nellie:

If there's anything McKay's fans and critics agree on it's that her style is "hard to categorize." likens her to Randy Newman ("Short People") crediting her with a "penchant for lyrics that are cynical and sarcastic as well as dark-humored."

Further, "McKay's lyrics can be every bit as cutting, edgy and biting as Alanis Morissette or Pink .. her work is distinctive and impressively unorthodox."

McKay told that it's "silly to name your (musical) influences," but lists Third World, Ry Cooder and Pearl Baily as some of her favorites.

McKay's debut album "Get Away from Me" was released in 2004.

In 2006, She starred in the Broadway production of the "Threepenny Opera" with Cyndi Lauper, Alan Cumming and Ana Gasteyer. Later that same year, she released her second album "Pretty Little Head" under her own record label, Hungry Mouse.

She released her fifth album "Home Sweet Mobil Home" in 2010.

A native of London, the 29-year-old McKay has spent much of her life in the United States. She has plenty to say about  topics such as vegetarianism and wearing of fur. She also has advice for President Obama admonishing him not to water down his message of change.

McKay's newest original stage project titled "I Want to Live" is a musical based on a 1958 Susan Hayward movie about death row inmate Barbara Graham.

The New Yorker calls it, "Part B movie, part seedy cabaret act, part existential meditation and all musical exploration."

Her current tour will bring her to the Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside Ohio August 12 where she will perform the music of Doris Day.

Road trip anyone?

Related Links:

Monday, July 4, 2011

On Independence Day: Celebrating the freedom of choice

From the Detroit Free Press:

Rhonda Walker courtesy of

"I am thankful for all forms of freedom ... However, freedom of choice means the most to me in a broader sense than just the constitutional right for women to choose as it relates to bearing children.  Overall, our ability to make our choices for what we want and want best for our lives is a freedom every human being of sound mind should be afforded." 
--Rhonda Walker, WDIV anchor and founder of The Rhonda Walker Foundation

The foundation's goal is   "To empower inner city teen girls towards becoming strong, confident, successful and moral future leaders."

Its motto:

Respect Myself and Others
Walk With Confidence
Fearless and Faithful