Kitchen Think: Swing State Eats on Election Night


Just finished voting and on my way home I was thinking about the swing states… no, not their political impact, but about the food that comes from those places.

GP is right… I’m always thinking about food.

Friends are coming over to the house tonight for a potluck dinner to watch the election returns, so I thought, why not have each person bring something (easy) representing one of the swing states?

I’m doing the two big items, the Smithfield Ham (Virginia) and the Cincinnati Chili (Ohio).

For appetizers, someone is bringing a huge platter of Wisconsin cheese. North Carolina is represented by Sweet Potato Tater Tots (because you can’t really ask a guest to do the barbecue thing, especially last minute).

One friend wanted to bring Loose Meat Sandwiches to represent Iowa, but we had enough entrees so she opted for corn on the cob (we did need a veg in there somewhere).

We’ve got dessert covered: A Florida Key Lime Pie, New Hampshire Pumpkin Bread and Shoofly Pie from Pennsylvania (which I’m very excited about because I’ve never had it before).

That leaves Nevada. We really couldn’t come up with anything for Nevada… so in honor of the ubiquitous buffets available in casinos across the state, we’re going to serve BUFFET STYLE and honor Nevada in that way.

Looks like we’ve got plenty of food, which is a good thing… because it could be a loooong night!


Kitchen Think: Stop The Weight Bullying!


Are you a weight bigot?

Calling someone fat or obese, even under the pretext of being concerned for his or her health, is a form of bullying. Shaming someone in order to get them to lose weight is equally cruel.

And these days, those being bullied are just as likely to fight back…

Take the case of Wisconsin television anchor Jennifer Livingston. She received an email from a viewer recently that said, among other things, “Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.”

Here’s how Jennifer responded:

Last week on my Facebook page, I posted a new commercial from Blue Cross of Minnesota. I was shocked by the ad because it struck me as shaming rather than educating.

Weight bigots hide behind the “…concerned for your health” line because it’s a way to be mean, and act like they are better than the other person… without looking like a bully.  People who are overweight or obese know they have a weight issue… and they are concerned for their health, too.

I know we’ve all been inundated lately with statistics and numbers and information on just how obese our country has become. I’ve certainly written a lot about the problem… you can see some of my posts on the subject here, here and here. But, unless you’re offering some new information that can actually help someone overcome his or her weight problem, think before you speak.

Nobody likes a bully.


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: