The Stew? I still have nightmares.

And friend and I spent a very entertaining two hours trying to establish what went so horribly wrong with The Stew. We came up with a recipe for a culinary catastrophe… which started as a perfect valid stew ingredient list and turns into a nightmare if you don’t have proper instructions, and wrongly translate some ingredients. It also explains the radish.

After some research we came up with the recipe for a stew called Menudo, a popular hangover dish in Latin America according to several recipe sites, that comes with a sauce and other components for serving. The ingredient list is… interesting as it is (contains cow’s feet and the lining of a cow’s stomach), but it’s a perfectly valid stew recipe. Then we found us another stew recipe and added that to the disaster zone. And when you make a few mistakes in translation and don’t have proper instructions, you end up chucking the components of two dishes (plus additional periphery for serving) into a single pot to make a stew.

Starting point was my own cooking, or more precisely, how I treat my personal recipes. I usually just jot down the ingredients to aid my memory because I know what to do with them. If you don’t, then all you see is a list of various ingredients in no particular order. Also, me being bilingual, I sometimes write things down in the language they first pop up in, leading to some recipes being in a very random mix of two languages.

We did that with the Menudo recipe and translated a few ingredients into Spanish, and god did we spend a long time trying to find ingredients that you can confuse with something else if you’re not fluent.

Then I wrote the ingredient list down onto a card the size Alec shows to Magnus, and used a tiny scrawl – because the ingredient list is long – with a blunt pencil.

I then added another stew ingredient list on the same card and separated the two with a line, but still, no instructions because I don’t need those, right? Because I’m grandma Trueblood and I have been making these stews for five decades.

So the ingredients list for Menudo (left purposefully vague because these are my recipe notes and I know what I am doing):

First the stew, then the chili sauce.

Honeycomb tripe, beef tripe, beef feet (patas), yellow onion, 3 small heads of garlic, cloves of garlic, peppercorns, salt, oregano, bay leaves, arbol chiles, guajillo chiles, chicken stock, white hominy, cumin

And the part that says To Serve

Oregano, red chile powder flakes, limes and lemons, onions, cilantro, corn tortillas, butter

Now without instructions you end up chucking all of the above into a single pot instead of making the stew, a sauce for the stew, and keep the things that are served together with the stew.

The translation mistakes we put in were:

Patas: instead of the beef feet the poor kids read patacon, which are fried slices of cooking bananas, ergo, bananas. Cloves of garlic can be misinterpreted as cloves and garlic. Honeycomb tripe… that’s honey, right? Bananas and honeycomb, makes total sense. Hominy is specially treated and if I understood correctly, fermented corn, and cooked, is slightly reminiscent of old popcorn. So, popcorn it is.

But then comes the right half of the card, which contains another stew, a stew made of calamari and potatoes. But the Lightwood kids don’t know that they are looking at two recipes.

Again, this is a vague ingredient list because grandma Trueblood knows her stuff:

Squid rings, onions, 1 large red pepper, cloves of garlic, olive oil, bay leaves, dry white wine or sherry, fish or shrimp stock, diced potatoes

The squid rings are called rabas, but the Lightwood kids mix up rabas and rabano, which means radish.

So what the poor kids ended up with is a stew made of bananas, honey, cloves, a shit ton of garlic, red pepper, salt, onions, oregano, a handful of bay leaves, peppercorns, chicken stock and fish stock, squid rings, potatoes, popcorn, cilantro, cut-up lemons and limes, a shit ton of chilies, white wine, sherry, and radishes.

I would spit that into my coffee mug as well.

-written by @lakritzwolf

True love cannot die

Lately, I have noticed a disturbing trend, especially on YouTube but also on tumblr. I call it the “Cinema Sins” culture, where you forcefully focus on all the negative elements in a movie, and all the mistakes, to call them out and mock that movie for them within an inch of its life.

Admittedly, it can be fun. But eventually the need to find more and more mistakes turns into a hate fest, and after a particularly disturbing incident on Cinema Sins’ channel I quit and never went back. It’s when you turn things that aren’t mistakes into something to mock that you have a problem.

This culture has moved to tumblr, and I had a first row seat when some of the blogs I followed started to do exactly that to Shadowhunters. (Note: Keyword is followed, as in, past tense)

In the beginning, it was fun. There were small inconsistencies and so on, that made me giggle, like suddenly missing props or that sort of thing. Then it went to writing, and that’s where it started. The terms ‘shoddy’ and ‘bullshit’ and ‘crap’ and all those words became more and more prevalent. I openly admit, I did some of that myself. Until I discovered that I stopped enjoying watching the episodes and suddenly was only looking for the bits to complain about.

I leaned back, took a deep breath, and unfollowed half a dozen blogs in one go.

Important Notice: This is NOT an attack on those blogs. Everyone is free to blog about what they want and what they like or don’t like. I joined, I realised it’s not for me, and that’s what the unfollow button is for.

Does the show have its issues?

It sure has. I won’t deny that there are a lot of incidents of inconsistent or even lazy writing. A lot of scenes that deal insensitively or dismissively with a character’s arc or situation. But at the end of the day, what movie, what show, has ever been without that? I have never, in my four decades of life, seen any show or movie where I enjoyed every moment, or where I didn’t roll my eyes at least once or twice.

The point I want to make is not to pretend that Shadowhunters is perfect, although it scored high in LGBTQA+ representation and racial diversity, and did even good in the Bechdel test. (x)

But there are reasons we love the show and its characters that go beyond numbers. There is so much to love about Shadowhunters: Lots of heroes, and villains, and ships. Because that’s the thing with this show. It offers so much. You can find a character of your sexuality, your skin colour, your history, your religion.

We want to see ourselves, or part of ourselves, in fictional characters. We see the bad things and the good things, and we want to focus on the good things because fiction is an escape from reality into a better world, a world in which we can suddenly be a hero and overcome all our problems and difficulties and obstacles.

That’s what loving this show (or any other work of fiction) is all about. We dream. We want to be heroes in a story. We want to be like them.

And the world of Shadowhunters is close enough to our own to be able to easily imagine yourself in it, and yet supernatural enough to be a safe escape from reality in our dreams. The characters face so many problems that we face as well, and so much more that remains as fuel for our fantasies. And I’m talking about both characters and relationships.

So, we love Shadowhunters because maybe we want some of Clary’s talent, her stubborn courage, or maybe just such a loving relationship with our own mum.

We want some (a sliver would be enough) of Jace’s self-confidence.

Some of Magnus’ flair and elegance.

Some of Alec’s courage to face and change the world for his love.

Some of Simon’s incredible perseverance.

Some of Izzy’s comfort with her own body, even if we don’t look like her.

Some of Maia’s Take No Bullshit attitude.

Some of the strength that enabled Maryse to admit that she was wrong, made her strive to do better, and become a better person.

And of course, aren’t most of us dreaming about a love like the one Magnus and Alec have?

There is so much to love about our show, so don’t let anyone tell you it’s not worth your time or your devotion. Stay strong, ShadowFam. Because true love cannot die.

Written by @lakritzwolf