O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma... OK
I wasn't born when FDR was president. We may have had a good one or two-- Eisenhower (in retrospect) and JFK (in dreams)-- while I was alive, but I have a desire for there to be one great one before I die. And there's one on the horizon: Elizabeth Warren. She's got to win her battle for a Massachusetts seat in the U.S. Senate first. Polls show she will and yesterday's amazing endorsement by the Boston Globe should help close the deal. Will Oklahomans be proud of their native daughter? Will they support the brilliant woman who was born just over 60 years ago in Oklahoma City, at a time when Oklahoma was very, very blue and very, very populist?
Oklahoma isn't blue anymore and whatever populism is left is strictly Know Nothing and neo-fascist right-wing populism. Oklahoma is one of the few places where they still admire the Tea Party. A week from Tuesday they'll be vying with far right Mormon bastions, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, for who gives Obama the smallest percentage of votes. In 2008, Oklahoma gave McCain his biggest win anywhere-- 66-34%. Since gaining statehood in 1907, Oklahoma voted Democratic in all but two elections (in the Warren Harding landslide over James Cox in 1920 and in the Herbert Hoover landslide over Al Smith in 1928) through 1948, but has not gone Democratic since-- Elizabeth Warren's whole lifetime-- except in the landslide win for Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
The only Oklahoma Democrat holding federal office any longer is Blue Dog Dan Boren, who is so far to the right that in the current 2011-'12 session, 15 Republicans have higher ProgressivePunch scores, including die-hard conservatives like Tom McClintock and John Campbell of California. Boren, who used to brag he was George W. Bush's favorite Democrat-- and whose main function in Congress is to allow Boehner and Cantor to pass extremist insanity and call it "bipartisan"-- is finally retiring... and the weak, right-wing Blue Dog hoping to replace him, Rob Wallace, is likely to lose to Markwayne Mullin, a character right out of the Rush Limbaugh dittohead audience. Wallace appears to be running against President Obama and Nancy Pelosi instead of the Republican.
Time for an "on the other hand." Remember when we first met Oklahoma state Senator Andrew Rice, founder of the Progressive Alliance Foundation who ran against right-wing freak Jim Inhofe in 2008? Running as an unabashed strong progressive, he scored 5% better than Obama did and won 4 counties-- Okmulgee, McIntosh, Muskogee and Cherokee (unlike Obama who won none).
A few weeks ago Digby, Amato and I had a Blue America meeting at M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica. It's the brand new state-of-the-art raw food restaurant in Santa Monica, the crème de la crème of vegan dining. I knew it because the owner/chef, Matthew Kenney was the founder of my favorite restaurant in New York, Pure Food and Wine (Gramercy Park). It was delicious! I'm having dinner there tonight. But you know what? Oklahoma beat Santa Monica to the punch!
The Matthew Kenney Academy, located in Oklahoma City, is the first licensed and classically structured Raw and Living Foods educational center in the world.That's cute, huh? How about this story from This American Life a week or two ago? It's all about how Oklahoma, against huge odds, came to have the first and best publicly-funded pre-school system in the country. It's a story I've been trying to figure out how to share with DWT readers since I first heard it driving in my car.
Formerly called, 105degrees, the Matthew Kenney Academy was created in response to the increasing demand for chefs skilled in the art of raw and living food preparation.
The curriculum emphasizes the use of whole, organic, unprocessed, plant-based foods to achieve healthy, aesthetically refined and flavorful cuisine.
The Academy, along with the Matthew Kenney OKC restaurant, is the endeavor of celebrity chef and author Matthew Kenney and Oklahoma City resident Dara Prentice.
Forbes named Matthew Kenney OKC one of America’s Best New Restaurants in 2010.
Raw food is also referred to as living cuisine for the healthy natural enzymes protected in the food by keeping its temperature below 105 degrees Fahrenheit during preparation.
A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Matthew Kenney started his career 20 years ago when he was named one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food and Wine Magazine. He has received two James Beard Nominations for Rising Star Chef in America. He is the author of several cookbooks, including Raw Food Real World, Everyday Raw and Entertaining in the Raw.
...Wendy Thomas, from southern California is attending the academy and is blogging about her experience, she wrote: “For me, it’s about learning how to eat consciously and in agreement with nature. I came all the way to Oklahoma for two months to learn as much as I can and I want to make the most of this experience. I’ve learned a lot, made mistakes, learned from those mistakes and in the end, I am very thankful for every moment.”
Boris Lauser, a student from Berlin said, “I came into the Academy with 3 years of experience as a raw food chef. However, the Academy course starts at a contemporary high level of raw cuisine and only 2 weeks into the course, we started doing exciting fermentation, including coconut yogurt and tree nut cheeses. The school’s focus on artful plating and excellence in taste and quality has definitely left an imprint on my work.“
The intimate class size and personalized instruction, under the supervision of Megan Massoth, the Academy Director and lead instructor, allows for a hands-on experience within a state-of-the-art commercial living foods kitchen.
The one-to-two month long training for chef certification, prepares students for careers in the many areas of the fast-growing field of culinary arts emphasizing health and sustainability. It includes opportunities in spas and restaurants, catering outlets and culinary educational centers.
“I invite you to come learn with me to make the world a healthier place, one bite at a time.” said Matthew Kenney.