Lemon cake/ French ban of religious symbols in schools

I made two loaves of lemon cake yesterday, because Marcella gave me so many lemons. Marcella already makes a very good lemon bar, which I od on, so I made something else. Also, I had just bought a glass loaf pan from the thrift store last week, thinking we didn’t have one, and it would be handy. Joe said “We already have one!” and pulled out a metal non-stick one from the unergonomic recesses of our kitchen cupboards.

(The kicthen was designed by a third-rate architect working for the cookie-cutter home developer, who probably never personally cooked. A pox on them. I had pointed out the design flaws to the developer in the plans, but they said they couldn’t change it. Kaufman and Broad suck.)

Fortunately, the recipe in this Craig Claiborne cookbook called for two loaf pans anyway, so I could use both (better use of the oven’s heat too.) It called for creaming butter with sugar, which I did by hand (my bugs bunny arms need all the workout they can get.) It came out tasting OK, I added much more lemon juice and rind. But it was a bit heavy and dense, and tad dry. I guess the butter/sugar creaming and the beaten egg whites was insufficient to give it more airiness and bouyancy. I think the recipe calls for too much flour anyway.

In France, they’ve just passed a law to ban students from wearing religious symbols. No crosses, no Muslim headscarves, no Jewish skullcaps, probably no Buddhist amulet pendants, no turbans or steel bangles for Sikhs. “It’s a violation of church and state” so goes the flimsy justification. As an American, I think that’s a load of hootenany and discrimination. A teacher leading a classroom in prayer to God is a violation of church and state. An individual wearing a religious ornament is merely personal expression, the freedom of which I thought was permitted in democracies.

I think the students could get around this in a fun and subversive way: by turning everything into a fashion statement. And what better place to carry this out than France: the country that gave us haute couture? The authorities couldn’t ban the freedom in dressing as an expression of fashion, could they? Better yet, show solidarity by ‘cross-dressing.’ A Christian could wear a turban on a bad hair day. A Buddhist could wear a cross pendant

Christianity/Crosses: Wear a big huge, medieval cross encrusted with faux gems and gilt dangling on a necklace. Dangle a few more from the ear lobes. A fashion statement in the early 1990’s.

Judaism/Skullcaps: Wear skull caps with the colours of your favourite football team. Or monogram it with your initials. Decorate it with stars. Be as creative as you wish.

Islam/Headscarves: Scarves in recognizable ‘designer prints.’ Louis Vuitton brown and beige monogram. Or Burberry plaid. Or make your own from whatever printed fabric you find suitable . . .

Hinduism: T-shirts with graphic prints of Shiva. Paisley designs (A Hindi fertility symbol). Bindis. Bollywood is hot!

Buddhism: Crystal beads (like a bracelet or prayer beads.) Buddha amulets can be incorporated as jewelry (In Thailand some even wear minature portraits of famed monks). Lotus designs. T-shirts with graphic designs of Kuan Yin or Maitreya, maybe even a photo of the Dalai Lama, a political hero to many.

Sihk: How about striped fabric for the turbans? The steel bangle can double as a medical alert bracelet, even with a message like “I’m allergic to penicillin and restrictions on freedom of personal expression…”


One thought on “Lemon cake/ French ban of religious symbols in schools

  1. re: les ecoles francaise

    i’m not sure if all western democracies have an equivalent of our 1st amendment freedom of speech. aren’t the french under The Napoleonic Code which i beleive is kinda different than our system (notably in the presumption of innocence or guilt — guess who has the backwards system?)

    Education system is different too. Most our schools do not have uniform code. I don’t know if French public schools require an uniform.

    Sure it’s religious persecution, but what do you think happened during WWII in france? I guess you might call it a quaint french tradition, eh?
    Also note that the Catholic Church offered to place a convent on top of a site of a Nazi Death camp to “purify” it. What about putting a Jewish temple on top of it to purify it, or is that not charitably self-serving enough for the dominant french religious institution that refused to shelter the Jews during the holocaust. This is not to mention afterwards, when certain powerful German vatican officials secured vatican passports for nazi officials so that they could escape Allied occupied germany and flee to argentina.

    In europe, muslims also are not helping their cause at all. In even the tolerant Scandinavian countries, the locals complain that the muslim “immigrants” adamantly refuse to assimilate into their culture; something that these countries have not experienced before with past immigrants who supposedly come there to settle down. I really believe that there is a explosive culture clash coming with the West and Islam (at least the relatively agressive/inflexible/intolerant form that seems to exist right now), which has seen tremendous growth in converts over the past hundred years or so.

    re: religio-wear
    I think a lot of gang members would choose to wear Sikh cause they got that “ceremonial” dagger: might make for an exciting school day!

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