MN Masala: The Minnesota Meat Raffle (& Greek Pastitsio)

By Jane and Chux: Minnesota is a unique place to live.  We have days of sub-zero weather in the winter time (which is a misery that creates hearty souls and bonds us as Minnesotans), many beautiful fresh water lakes, ice fishing, and meat raffles!

Chux and I attend a monthly “Third Friday” event organized by a good friend.  Third Friday is a casual get together at a local restaurant/bar where about 40 friends and family members meet to socialize, eat, have a few drinks and play the meat raffle.

You can find meat raffles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada and the United Kingdom.  In Minnesota, meat raffles are regulated by the state gambling board.  National Public Radio recently did a story on our unique tradition of meat raffles, which you can read here.

Last month at the Third Friday event, I had five one-dollar bills in my wallet to play the raffle.  Time after time, I lost another dollar.

On the last raffle of the evening, I hear a familiar voice say “I won!”  It was Chux.  He was on the other side of the room and had won on his only bet of the evening and on the last draw.  He is so lucky!

For the winning ticket, he got two pounds of ground hamburger, a ham steak and a pound of bacon.  We used the ham steak in a frittata and one pound of the hamburger to make adult mac and cheese, or Greek Pastitsio (recipe below).  We froze the bacon and the remaining hamburger for another day.  The Greek Pastitsio was delicious!   We will try our luck in another week at the next Third Friday meat raffle.  Maybe this time, we’ll get the beef tenderloin. Continue reading

Who defines ‘science’?

Cindy Moy

By Cindy Moy: On February 18, 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered a large chunk of ice and rock orbiting the sun. This chunk was categorized as a planet and named Pluto, after the Greek god of the underworld.

In the ensuing years, further study revealed Pluto to be one of several large chunks of rock and ice in the Kuiper belt.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted on the definition of ‘planet.’  Part of the planet test is that the object “must have cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.”

Pluto did not meet this definition, and therefore it was no longer a planet.

Except in New Mexico and Illinois. Those states disagreed with the IAU’s definition, and passed resolutions declaring that Pluto was indeed a planet in those states. (Tombaugh was born in Illinois and spent his adulthood in New Mexico. He is lauded as a hero in both states.)

Other scientists also cried foul at the IAU’s decision. Dr. Alan Stern, who has been involved with dozen of space missions, pointed out that Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune do not meet the IAU’s definition of a planet either, as they share their orbit with asteroids.

Let’s sum this up, shall we? Scientists who devote their lives to the study of planets do not agree on how to define ‘planet.’

Yet, they are taking votes on how to define what they are seeing in space, and these objects are being defined by a majority. What if the majority is wrong? What if the minority is vindicated 100 years from now?

Science–things we know for sure–is debunked regularly. We know the earth is not flat. We know gravity exists. Or do we?

If religion is faith, and science is fact, and scientists can not agree on the facts, then is science not, in fact, a form of faith?

How can we be confident in science, if the scientists do not agree?

Will you marry me?

By Cindy Moy: I’ve heard many proposal stories. Some are elaborate (to the point of being obnoxious,) and some are heartfelt and sweet. The Husband proposed to me by giving me a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas. When I put the puzzle together, it was a photo of a sign that read, “Will you marry me?”

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing a cookie recipe titled “I Want to Marry You” Cookies. One woman claimed this recipe is so good that you need to be careful who you bake them for, because after one bite the recipient will declare that s/he wants to marry you.

For the record, no one declared their undying love for me after I made these cookies, but it did bring everyone from their respective corners of the house to the kitchen to see what was baking.

So here is the recipe (make at your own matrimonial risk): Continue reading

Are looks important?

By Cindy Moy: Recently I posted a link on my Facebook page to a MasalaChica blog post titled What Do Looks Have to do with Love?

This post brings up a lot of interesting questions, and I was surprised at the response I received when I posted this comment:

Sometimes I’ll meet people and think they are really attractive, and then I get to know them and wonder why I ever thought they were good-looking. And some people seem pretty plain and then I get to know them and I wonder why I didn’t realize sooner how beautiful they are. Continue reading