Polygamy Now
The unfolding story of polygamy in the United States

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tom Ka Gai Cookoff

Our intentional community has seen a decline in common meals, so I proposed a challenge -- cook up a pot of an exotic soup and we'll see who has the best recipe! I suggested Tom Ka Gai (Thai chicken soup). This wonderful soup is flavored with lemongrass, lime leaves, Thai ginger root, coconut milk, and other unusual and tasty ingredients.

Six cooks stepped forward to take up the challenge. We had no idea how many neighbors would show up to eat, so I cooked a triple recipe (twelve bowls) just in case. Lisa and I provided a good bread and salad for everyone, and the game was on!

The evening was a hit, and many of our neighbors attended, sampled the different soups, and stayed to chat. We've decided to do it again in three weeks, next time choosing Indian food (not soup) as a theme.

My special ingredients were the juice of fresh limes and a Vietnamese fish sauce made from fermented anchovies (not all fish sauces are alike). My recipe got a lot of compliments, but I actually preferred Jocelyn's, which had a richer coconut and more complex pepper taste. David's Indonesian soup was also a winner. Was that curry I tasted? (He's not telling.) Honestly, all the soups were excellent.

You can see the recipe I followed by clicking on the picture of the soup. I modified it somewhat, adding more lime juice and removing the Thai peppers before serving.

If you're looking for a skill that fits well with a family, community, or tribal environment, cooking is a great choice! If you aren't used to cooking for the masses, just start with a recipe for four and scale it upwards. Then invite all your neighbors (or tribemates) for dinner. Mastadon au vin, anyone?
An octogenarian prophet took a beautiful 18-year old bride. The eager young thing burst into the bedroom wearing nothing but a flimsy neglige and asked excitedly, "How'd you like some sup-er sex?" "I'll take the soup," he answered quietly.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Toward Enlightened Community

Big Love fans, have you ever wondered why Joey and his wives Wanda and Kathy refuse to leave their compound? Or why most polygamous families live in polygamous communities? Or why Karen, Lisa, and I would be reluctant to leave our intentional community?

It's because we've found our tribe -- neighbors with whom we live cooperatively, who know us well, and who care enough about us to tell us their truth and ours. And the social, spiritual, and economic advantages of living in community are incredible!

We recently received a gift from another community in the form of an e-book they wrote called Toward Enlightened Community. Click the photo, and you can read or print a copy for yourself. Here's what this community had to say --

We are a successful community who has been around for over 20 years now. Most of our members have been with us for at least 10 years. In those years we've learned a great deal about what it really takes to live together harmoniously. It has certainly been a challenge -- a very HEALTHY challenge. We've discovered a lot about ourselves, about human nature, and about what makes community really WORK, in the process.

Here's the introduction to their book --

Since the hippie heyday of the 1960s, when communes popped up like mushrooms and faded just as fast, community has lost popularity in the United States. Indeed, the popular mind has turned against community, citing innumerable problems and pitfalls as evidence that community living is, in general, foolish, if not dangerous. Thus, the very possibility of community living is viewed with considerable skepticism, and even irrational fear, by many. ...

However, despite its pitfalls and challenges, community has much to recommend it. The benefits of community living run the entire gamut from spiritual, emotional, and psychological, to pragmatic. But that, of course, is something that must be experienced to be believed.

The book is excellent. Whether you live in a community or would like to find one, you really should consider reading it. We'll be offering copies to our own community.

Here's a selected list of chapter titles --

Motives for Community
Community and Utopian Ideals
The poor track record of utopian ideals
The shopping list approach to finding community
A realistic approach to community

The closest possible approach to Utopia
The glue of shared belief
Why marriage and family is not enough
Elements of a good, spiritually-sound support system

Community’s Downsides Are Its Upsides
The Advantages of Not Always Having Things Your Way
The Benefits of Being "Stuck with" People
The economic costs of having your own same thing
The only person that you can really change is yourself

The chapters are short and easy to read. It took me only an hour to read the entire book online.

The book emphasizes the spiritual benefits of community. It's a little light on the nitty gritty of finding, creating, or living in a community. For that, try Creating Community Anywhere: Finding Support and Connection in a Fragmented World by Carolyn Shaffer.