If you came here on this Labor Day hoping for a cogent analysis of the state of U.S. Labor, you'll find far better articles elsewhere than I can write. The Washington Post has some good ones today. In this article, E. J. Dionne gives us some quotes out of context which sound quite Communist; can you guess who they are? It's the kind of article that could lead to some good student assignments in your Composition classes. In this article, Harold Meyerson reminds us of the promises that were made about the post-Industrial economy we find ourselves in, promises which have been broken; is it time for a new Industrial Revolution? In this article, Robert J. Samuelson gives us truly depressing statistics about job creation.
Samuelson points out that for every job opening, there are 4.5 unemployed workers who would like that job. My first thought: those are pretty good odds.
I have a Ph.D. in British Literature, and my spouse has an M.A. in Philosophy. He looked at the statistics for jobs available for every Philosophy Ph.D. (at that time, about 80-100 unemployed Philosophy Ph.D.s for every tenure track job) and decided to get an M.P.A. I've stuck with my original plan and moved into administration, and in some ways, it's worked well for me. But I can't help but notice the adjunctification of my profession. Should I want to move back into teaching, full-time jobs (tenure track or not) are increasingly hard to come by.
Like I implied, I'm probably not the best person to write about the plight of the unemployed, especially the unemployed males. I'm still not sure that bringing manufacturing back to our shores is the way to go. I'm old enough to have met a generation of mill workers dying because of the lung diseases they developed because of inhaling the fibers that manufacturing generated. I've studied dispossessed workers through the decades, and the golden age of manufacturing left many behind, particularly as they got close to retirement. And even though various manufacturing developments made machines in the 20th century safer than they were in the 19th, there were still horrible deaths that post-industrial workers won't face.
I know that we can argue over whether it's better to have some job, any job, even one that might mangle your limbs than no job and no way to pay your bills.
But instead of arguing, let's bake! Here's a great recipe to celebrate the end of summer. You can modify it to be lower in fat by having more milk and less cream/half and half. You can add more or less berries, fresh or frozen--or a different fruit. You can use up your odds and ends of bread; I used a combination of regular French bread and a multigrain baguette, but I'm willing to bet that any bread would work.
In short, it's a perfect recipe: easy, cheap, and incredibly tasty.
Blueberry Bread Pudding
1 pound French bread cut into cubes
4 C. cream (a mix of 2 c. half and half, ½ c. cream, and ½ c. milk worked very well)
2 c. sugar
3 T. vanilla extract
2 c. blueberries (1 ½ pints worked very well).
Combine cream/milk mixture, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Add bread and stir gently. Add blueberries and put into a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes, when top bread cubes should be golden. For even more of a texture variation, bake the last 5 minutes on broil, but watch carefully to avoid burning.