Interlude: My Love for OITNB is Eternal.

If you have not seen Orange is the New Black yet, open a new tab, log into Netflix (or get an account.  Now.  Seriously), and prepare yourself for an all nighter.  This show is fabulous.

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The cast hangs out!  For fun!  Celebrating their birthdays!  So cute OMG! (Thanks Autostraddle for the photo.)

This show has women, queers, people of color, relationship drama, critiques of the prison system and other aspects of culture.  It’s holistically, perfectly, and outstandingly stellar.  Like as in outer space.  And I absolutely cannot wait until the second season begins.  Especially since it turns out that Laura Prepon is happily returning, contrary to rumor.

Now I’ll go back to pretending I don’t watch/care about tv.  Until early next year that is.

On Being a Modern Woman.

The United States is by far not the worst place to be a woman in the modern era.  We can do things like vote, marry and divorce who we want (even another woman in some states now – good job Minnesota!), and work any number of jobs.  However, it’s not the best place to be a woman either.  We still face constant mixed messaging about our bodies and our minds from companies like Dove.  We still risk victim blaming when we are harassed, molested, and raped.  And we are still not taken seriously in the realm of ‘real art’ by many critics.

But there is hope.  As a young-ish woman in the United States I am inspired by publications like Rookie, a website and now yearbook created solely by teenage women.  I am encouraged by the fact that one of my favorite neighborhood bookstores posted their 2012 bestseller list and 13 out of 20 of the books listed were written by women.  And I am delighted by the fact that the neighborhood I work for is continuing to draw women entrepreneurs to set up shop.

I am sure that the rest of my 20s (and likely my entire life) will be filled with rants and critical conversations about being a modern woman, particularly in a world where many declare that feminism is unnecessary.  We will form salon and book groups, make meals and drink wine together, and question everything.  And then write about it.  Or paint.  Or sing.  Because if being a modern woman means anything, it is expressing your own individual experience of woman-ness as generations of kick-ass feminists, from the suffragists to the riotgrrls, have done before us.

New Scandinavian Cooking: One of the few television shows worth watching

In general I abhor television.  It’s a time suck that normally provides little to no intellectual stimulation and it’s programming frequently imparts the worst of our cultural values.  I’m also a long time vegetarian.  So you wouldn’t expect that my favorite 8:30pm Monday and Wednesday pastime is watching New Scandinavian Cooking on public television.  But you would be wrong.

New Scandinavian Cooking is what television should be.  It’s funny, educational, and most importantly, a truly useful show.  Though I haven’t tried many of the recipes (at least three quarters feature meat, so it’s unlikely I ever will attempt them), New Scan Cook does more than showcase Scandinavian cuisine- it highlights a different quirky cultural locale in every show, including historical customs, vocations, geographical features, anything and everything interesting about various cities and tiny towns across Scandinavia.

In addition to intriguing cultural tidbits that fan my desire to visit Scandinavia someday soon (the fjords of Norway in particular have called to me for years now), I’ve found myself wanting to test out new or rarely used ingredients in my cooking.  In the middle of winter finding fresh local herbs and many local vegetables is difficult- though Scandinavian cooking does frequently feature root veggies, a winter staple- so most of my experimentation has been waiting for spring to arrive.  Fresh dill, creme fraiche, and aquavit, here I come!

I find most cooking shows to be 1.)Slow 2.)Excessively complicated or 3.)Filled with ingredients I never see myself using.  But New Scandinavian Cooking, with its fascination with simple, local dishes and the food of the proletariat (my words, not theirs) is relaxing, refreshing, and altogether approachable.

It also doesn’t hurt that Andreas Viestad (my favorite host) is extremely adorable and the epitome of an attractive, active, enthusiastic Scandinavian man.  Le sigh.

Have fun cooking, friends, and if you live in Minnesota, be sure to check out New Scandinavian Cooking at 8:30pm on Channel 2.