Abby Wambach Shows Women How to Change the Game in Wolfpack

Abby Wambach, the two-time Olympic gold medalist, FIFA World Cup champion and international soccer’s all-time leading scorer, is taking on a new game, that of empowering women—asking them not only to be thankful for what they have but also to demand what they deserve. And that’s the premise of her new book, Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game (Celadon 2019; $15.82 Amazon price).

To create a winning championship team, Wambach, who was co-captain, helped forage the 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion Team into a wolfpack of winners. Now she’d like women to ignore the old rules that help keep them down and instead change the game.

Believing that there has never been a more important moment for women, she talks about the “Power of the Wolf” and the “Strength of the Pack,” and her book is rousing call to women outside of the sports world but employing the techniques she used to create a championship team.

“We are the wolf,” she said in her keynote address to the Class of 2018 at Barnard’s 126th Commencement on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at Radio City Music Hall and her book reflects that stirring speech. Her concepts of “Power of their Wolf” and the “Strength of their Pack” is her way to be a catalyst for overcoming the obstacles that women face. As an example, she talks about the pay gap where women in the U.S. still earn only 80 cents on the dollar compared to men and black women make only 63 cents, while Latinas make 54 cents.

“What we need to talk about more is the aggregate and compounding effects of the pay gap on women’s lives,” she says.  “Over time, the pay gap means women are able to invest less and save less so they have to work longer. When we talk about what the pay gap costs us, let’s be clear. It costs us our very lives. That’s why if we keep playing by the old rules, we will never change game.”

Wambach offers some rules to overcome being Little Red Riding Hood and instead become “the wolf.”

· Make failure your fuel: Transform failure to wisdom and power.

· Lead from the bench: Lead from wherever you are.

· Champion each other: Claim each woman’s victory as your own.

· Demand the effing ball: Don’t ask permission: take what you’ve earned.

Ifyougo:

What: Celebrate the release of Abby Wambach’s book Wolfpack

When: Thursday, April 11 at 7 pm

Where: Community Christian Church, 1635 Emerson Lane, Naperville

Cost: Tickets cost $29.97 (with service fee) and include a pre-signed copy of the new book and admission for one person. You will receive your book when you arrive at the event. wolfpackandersons.brownpapertickets.com

FYI: For more information, call Anderson’s Bookshops, 630-355-2665

The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook

Still worried about that extra Halloween candy you gobbled down?  Imagine how many miles you’d have to spend on the treadmill after attending the 1450 banquet, held in England celebrating the enthronement of an archbishop where guests munched on 104 oxen, six ‘wylde bulles,’ 1,000 sheep, 400 swans and such game birds such as bustards (larger than a turkey), cranes, bitterns, curlews and herons?

“Our ancestors had gastronomic guts,” Anne Willan tells me as we chat on the phone, she in Santa Monica, California where there’s sunshine and me in the cold Great Lakes region.  I find it fascinating to read old menus and descriptions of banquets and feasts and for that Willan, founder of famed French cooking school École de Cuisine la Varenne, recipient of the IACP Lifetime Achievement Award and author of 30 cookbooks, is the go to person.

Even better, after collecting cookbooks for some 50 years and amassing a collection of over 5000 tomes, last year Willan and her husband, Mark Cherniavsky immersed themselves in their antiquarian cookbook library and came out with The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook (University of California Press $50).Anne Willan

“Seals were eaten on fast days along with whale, dolphin, porpoise and thousands of other fish,” says Willan. Hmmm…that’s different than the macaroni and cheese and fish sticks I used to eat at the homes of my Catholic friends on Fridays.

Here we peruse four centuries of gastronomy including the heavily spiced sauces of medieval times (sometimes employed because of the rankness of the meat), the massive roasts and ragoûts of Sun King Louis XIV’s court and the elegant eighteenth-century chilled desserts. One for the interesting detail, Willan also tells the story of cookbook writing and composition from the 1500s to the early 19th century. She highlights how each of the cookbooks reflects its time, ingredients and place, the  recipes adapted among the cuisines of Germany, England, France, Italy and Spain as well as tracing the history of the recipe.

Historic cookbooks can be so much different than ours, ingredients unfamiliar and instructions rather vague. For example, Willan points out the phrase “cook until” was used due to the difficulty of judging the level of heat when cooking a dish over the burning embers in an open hearth. It wasn’t until the cast-iron closed stoves of the 19th century that recipes writers begin were finally able to give firm estimates for timing.

For food historians and even those just appreciative of a good meal, the book is fascinating. For me as a food writer, I wonder about covering a dinner where birds flew out of towering pastries, seals were served and eels baked into pies and it was often wise to have a taster nearby in case someone was trying to poison you.

Anne Willan 1

The following recipe is from The Cookbook Library.

Rich Seed Cake with Caraway and Cinnamon

This recipe is based on a cake in The Compleat Housewife by Eliza Smith, published in London in the 1700s.  Willan, ever the purist, suggests mixing the batter by hand as it was done 300 plus year ago.

“The direct contact with the batter as it develops from a soft cream to a smooth, fluffy batter is an experience not to be missed,” she says. “If you use an electric mixer, the batter is fluffier but the cake emerges from the oven less moist and with a darker crust.”

At times, Willan needs to substitute ingredients. The original recipe listed ambergris as an option for flavoring the cake. “Ambergris,” writes Willan, “a waxy secretion from a sperm whale, was once used to perfume foods. As it is now a rare ingredient, I’ve opted for Mrs. Smith’s second suggestion, of cinnamon, which marries unexpectedly well with caraway.”

1 pound or 31⁄2 cups) flour

1 2⁄3 cups sugar

6  tablespoons caraway seeds

5 eggs

4 egg yolks

1 pound or 2 cups butter, more for the pan

11⁄2 tablespoon rose water or orange-flower water

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift together the flour and sugar into a medium bowl, and stir in the caraway seeds. Separate the whole eggs, putting all the yolks together and straining the whites into a small bowl to remove the threads.

Cream the butter either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the yolks two at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the rose water. Whisk the egg whites just until frothy, then beat them, a little at a time, into the egg yolk mixture. Beat in the cinnamon. Finally, beat in the flour mixture, sprinkling it a little at a time over the batter. This should take at least 15 minutes by hand, 5 minutes with a mixer. The batter will lighten and become fluffier. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake until the cake starts to shrink from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean when withdrawn, 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 hours. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack until tepid, then unmold it and leave it to cool completely on the rack. When carefully wrapped, it keeps well at room temperature for several days and the flavor will mellow.

 

 

 

Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free

Inside the purity culture, girls and women are not only responsible for their own sexual thoughts and actions but also those of the boys and men around them says Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free (Touchstone 2018 $26).

Linda Kay Klein Author Photo by Jami Saunders Photography            “Because women are seen as the keepers of sexual purity which is a necessary part of their living out their faith, when men or boys have lustful thoughts about them, then it’s about what they were wearing, were they flirting,” says Klein, who grew up in the evangelical movement in the 1990s before breaking free. “It creates a tremendous amount of anxiety because your purity is assessed by others around you. It makes you worry about when you’re going to fall off the cliff and no longer be considered pure and no longer part of the community.”

But if being non-sexual before marriage is of utmost importance, afterwards the onus is on the woman to be extremely sexual, able to meet all their husband’s needs lest he cheat—which of course would be her  fault.

“Zero to 100 is extremely difficult,” says Klein, noting it’s better to ease into sexual experience. “I interviewed women who didn’t know what sex was and suddenly they’re expected to be a sexual satisfier.”

As far as sexual abuse, well, if girls and women were just pure, that sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

Klein was in her 20s when she left the evangelical church. The impetus was in part when she learned her pastor had been convicted of child enticement with intent to have sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl who was under his pastoral care. She was a senior in high school and as awful as it was to learn that, it was even more devastating when she discovered the pastor had been let go from two other evangelical institutions after he confessed to committing the same acts.  But her evangelical upbringing still bound her.

“I thought I would be free,” says Klein who during her teenage years was so obsessed with staying pure that she took pregnancy tests even though she was a virgin and resisted asking for help when dealing with what would later be diagnoses with Crohn’s Disease because she wanted to prove she was a woman of the spirit and not of the flesh. “But I wasn’t able to escape them, they were me.”

At least at first.

Writing her book, which took 12 years, was cathartic for Klein who interviewed many evangelical women and likening the fear and angst they experienced as similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Noting there’s a dominant gender teaching in the evangelical church—as well as many other churches, Klein says that patriarchy hurts both men and women except those at the top of the hierarchy.  There is also something else off putting about the purity culture and that is the profit motive in the development of products.

“The people on the ground are believers,” she says.

Others make money off of purity rings which can range in price from around $10 to $600 or more, abstinence education, Christian purity parties, father-daughter purity balls and clothing including t-shirts reading “Modest is Hottest.”

“Over the course of time I did a lot of healing through my research for the book,” says Klein, who. “There have been phases in this journey. I’ve been angry, but keeping my focus on healing, knowing I’m not alone—I think there’s something powerful that happens.”

Ifyougo:

What: Author Conversation: Linda Kay Klein & Deborah Jian Lee

When: November 7 at 7 p.m.

Where: Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL

Cost: Free

FYI: 773.769.9299; womenandchildrenfirst.com

 

 

 

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

Women’s anger is complicated, dating back to the days before they were allowed to vote and when all but a few careers were available to them. Even in the last generation or so, women have fought against discrimination in pay, employment—consider that former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor could at first only get a job as a deputy county attorney even though she graduated from the prestigious Stanford University and what they wore (up until the 1970s even pantsuits were considered inappropriate in the workplace) among many other things. On a personal level, when my father returned from serving overseas during World War II, at least one of the men on the East Chicago Public Library board demanded that my mother resign because she was taking a job away from a man. Fortunately, other board members disagreed and she worked there until she was in her 70s, retiring after 50 years. Other women weren’t as lucky—many were asked to leave or fired so that men could be re-employed.Rebecca Traister_credit_Victoria Stevens

For New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Traister, a National Magazine Award winner for her coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandals, writer at large for New York Magazine and contributing writer for Elle, the long-simmering anger women have felt is now brimming over. This is shown by the ever growing #MeToo movement and also what she sees as women’s reaction to Donald Trump and his policies that hurt women. In her newest book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger (Simon & Schuster 2018; $27) Traister wants to let women know their anger is potent.

“It’s consequential, it’s meaningful, valid and rational,” says Traister who discusses how women’s anger is often held against them and used to invalidate their feelings. “I think those are things that women are told are not true about their anger all the time. This book sort of serves as a guide and a reminder–to let women know that their anger is powerful, that it has historical precedence.”

Indeed, Traister argues that anger, when used to make changes, is a potent force.

“It’s the bottling up of anger, rather than the anger itself, that raises our blood pressure and makes us grind our teeth,” she says.

Though her book was written before the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Traister says the  reaction to how the women who came forward were treated will also reverberate into the future—just as they did 26 years ago after the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

“#MeToo was an examination of how often sexualized harm was actually a tool of inequality within workplaces and within power structures where women faced all kinds of economic, professional, public forms of discrimination,” she says noting the harm being done wasn’t just sexual—it was also economic and professional. “What was being exposed were fundamental inequalities.

Ifyougo:

What: Chicago Humanities Festival, in conversation with Dr. Brittney Cooper

When: Sunday, October 28 at 3:30 p.m.

Where: Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston, IL

FYI: (847) 467-4000; chicagohumanities.org/events/207-rebecca-traister-good-and-mad

 

 

 

Gretchen Carlson’s “Be Fierce: Stop Sexual Harassment and Take Your Power Back”

Gretchen Carlson shows how to fight back.

Gretchen Carlson started a tsunami when she sued Roger Ailes, the all- powerful mogul CEO and Chairman of Fox News and Fox Television for sexual harassment after she lost her long-term job as a Fox anchor for refusing his advances.  Now, with the release of her latest book, Be Fierce: Stop Sexual Harassment and Take Your Power Back (Center Street 2017; $27) she is garnering the stories of women—and men—who have been sexually harassed and showing them how to fight back.

“When one person says no to sexual harassment, they inspire others to step forward as well,” Carlson tells me when we meet at Books by the Banks, Cincinnati’s annual and very popular regional book festival. Like me, she is there to sign copies of her books. Unlike me, she has a large table right by the entrance and a huge sign overhead with her name on it. I am in the center of the barn-sized room, crowded together with other writers who are at my level in the food chain. We have no oversized banners with our names on them just little placards on our shared tables. Nor will we have, as the morning goes on, lines of up to an hour waiting to have us autograph our books.

Hearing the Message Loud and Clear

Those long lines show how much Carlson’s message has resonated. She’s been inundated with the stories of those who’ve also experienced sexual harassment and, to a much lesser degree, hateful comments about being a gold digger and just out for the money, advice on how women should dress to avoid being harassed and those who believe there is no such thing as sexual harassment, just lying women. Carlson blithely posts these pearls of wisdom on her Facebook page. We’re looking at you “baychevy” who posted “…most of the time women claim they were sexually harassed and make a big deal out of it simply to broadcast to other women that they are irresistible.”

“Thank you,” I say to Carlson. Hey, I’ve been through it, who hasn’t? And, of course, I thought that’s one more thing you have to deal with.

Not so, says Carlson, who had to withstand a barrage of negative publicity loosened on her by Ailes and his allies.

“That’s also to be expected,” says Carlson.

Be Fierce and Be Smart

It’s one reason why she says we need to be fierce. And smart. The lawsuit would have been just another she-said, he-said situation but Carlson had the recordings. Ailes settled for $20 million. And in the following cascade of women coming forward to tell their horror stories about his penchant for sexual harassment, he eventually was fired from his job—albeit it with a $40 million payout.

“You were so smart to record all those conversations,” I say. Carlson replies with a smile.

She is indeed, very intelligent. An honors graduate of Stanford University who also studied at Oxford University, she was the first classical violinist to win the title of Miss America. Carlson is also fierce. She didn’t just take her money and go home. Angered not only by what happened to her but what happens to so many others, she determined to empower them to become fierce. It is her mission and the purpose of her book.

“I had worked 25 years in the business–working my way up from local to national news and discovering I was going to lose all that made me determined to speak out,” she says.

Showing the Way

Her book doesn’t dwell on her own travails but instead is a guide for those who experience sexual harassment and what they should expect and how they can navigate confronting a system that has until recently taken a “boys will be boys attitude.”

“Coming forward isn’t fun,” she tells me. “Women aren’t looking for fame or money when they take the step of reporting harassment because there’s nothing rewarding about being demeaned.”

One her Facebook page, she writes, “It’s easy to be disgusted. It’s easy to be outraged. But we need more – we need a movement. It’s time to be fierce. Be Fierce:

I’ll repeat what I said to her that day in Cincinnati, “Go, Gretchen, go.”

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