Friday, May 22, 2015

Dear Future Husbands of Tomorrow, My Sympathies

Unless you've been living under the same rock which I have been, you've probably heard of the latest singing sensation, Meghan Trainor. I'd heard of her in passing, especially for her hit 'All About that Bass'. And I had heard of her gaining praise for being a feminist (something she apparently may or may not actually identify as). Anyway, this morning I was lounging and enjoying the beginning of my long weekend with the Today show on in the background. Somewhere along the way I started paying attention when Meghan Trainor started to perform her hit song Dear Future Husband. In the crowd, singing along, were numerous little girls obviously not yet out of elementary school. I was perturbed by both the lyrics and the fact that this song is clearly going to have an impact on young girls.

Now let me set the record straight, I am a firm believer that women are equal with men. Equal. Not less than. Not better than. Equal. Different but equal. I think that women and girls should have the same opportunities. Women are just as smart and as capable. But I don't think that it's right that girls should grow up thinking that they are better than men. Because that's not equality. In recent years, I've had the opportunity to be around many different children and it's concerning to me to hear girls say things like: 'Girls are better than boys' or 'Girls are smarter than boys' and that 'Boys are stupid'. And I can tell the difference between 'Ewww, boys have coooties, gross' and 'Girls are not just equal but better'.

And this song just reminded me of this. In her song, Meghan Trainor sings of what she wants from her future husband. She says if he treats her right, then she'll be the perfect wife. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this attitude? You do what I want, then I'll be a good (I'm using good, because it's not possible to be perfect) wife. What about being a good wife because it's the right thing to do? She also states that her husband should not ever disagree with her, he must always do the apologizing and that he should accept that she is always right. If he does these things (along with many other demands), then he would get 'special loving'. Does that sound like the making of a good marriage? That one person is always right? That one person should always do the apologizing?

Now, I am not saying that men should walk all over women. Far from. I enjoy when Mr Caramel opens doors for me and does nice things for me. One person being treated better than another is not equality. And before you tell me that it's just a song, think about the fact that songs become popular because they usually reflect feelings that are decently popular with their listening audience. And it's undeniable that repeating words frequently have an impact on the persons saying and listening to them. If young girls are thinking that this is the way future marriages should be, divorce lawyers should be very happy.

Think of it this way too. Suppose we took Meghan Trainor's lyrics and changed them ever so slightly, so that it was a man speaking of a woman:

Dear future wife,
If you wanna get that special lovin'
Tell me I'm handsome each and every night

After every fight
Just apologize
And maybe then I'll let you try and rock my body right
Even if I was wrong
You know I'm never wrong
Why disagree?
Why, why disagree?

Wouldn't we start yelling about misogyny and warping the thinking of young boys? We'd start talking about how unfair that is to women and how women deserve better treatment. Not every man is a misogynist. Not every man is responsible for the mistreatment of women throughout history and the world. And not every man should have to bend over backwards to please a woman. 

Marriage is a partnership of two equal persons who become one in the sight of God. No one person in a marriage is more important or more deserving of respect. Not the man. Not the woman. They should both strive to make the other person happy. They should both try to be the best spouse that they can be, even if the other person forgot the flowers. They should both apologize and be willing to accept that they are wrong sometimes.

Dear Future husbands of tomorrow, if your future spouses all believe Meghan Trainor's lyrics, you have my sympathies.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Caribbean-ish Barbecue Sauce

I call this barbecue sauce 'Caribbean-ish' because it's based on a Caribbean recipe (and the taste reminds me of home) but I make some alterations since I can't always get my Caribbean seasonings. Anyway, this barbecue sauce has been a huge hit with Mr Caramel and with anyone I make it for so I thought I'd share it. It's super easy to make and keeps well in the fridge for weeks.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced (or 3 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cream sherry 
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • about 2 tsp black pepper
  • about 1 tsp white pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until tender.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Mix in ketchup, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the rum, tomato paste, vinegar, cream sherry, chili powder, black and white pepper. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, until well combined and heated through. Stir in the remaining rum.
This recipe makes about 3 cups. It's great on chicken, pork, ribs, etc. Try it and let me know how much you love it, because I know you will.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Is it really all downhill from here?

It was my birthday this weekend. And I had an amazing time. I also did a lot of thinking. Maybe it's the whole growing old and reflective thing. Many people wished me happy birthday (which I do appreciate) but then so many of them felt the need to tack on that it was 'all downhill' after 18, 21 or some other arbitrary number. And it got me to thinking.

The phrase 'it's all downhill from here' can be a very contradictory phrase. If a person is talking about having concluded the hard part of a task, then 'it's all downhill from here' can imply that the hard work is over and now they can just coast downhill. In that case, it's a good thing. On the other hand, it can imply that you've gotten to the summit or climax of something and there's nothing else that can be as good or as exciting. When 'it's all downhill from here' was being tacked on to 'happy birthday' it felt as though it were the second meaning - that all the excitement was over and that there was nothing else wonderful to look forward to.

And I thoroughly disagree with that. I just turned 25. While we cannot predict the future, if all things are equal, I have more life to live than I have already lived. Most of my life is still ahead of me. And that, in and of itself, is something exciting. My life is not perfect, not by any means. But I think it's still pretty great. At 25, I have a wonderful husband who tells me that he loves me every morning. I have my dream job, with amazing students and a great boss. I have a cozy apartment that I love coming home to. And I have the best friends I could ever ask for. To me, that's pretty great and I am so thankful for all these things.

But I have so much more in life to look forward to still. I'm looking forward to being a mother one day. To Mr Caramel and I buying a home together. To getting a dog. To buying a car where I like something else in it besides its price. To showing Mr Caramel the beautiful island where I grew up. I still have so many dreams left to fulfill. I still have so much life left to live.

So, no. Life is not all downhill from here, now that I've lived quarter of a century. In no sense. I'm not going to be coasting downhill because all the hard work is over. I've still got a lot of work to do. And I'm not going to be going downhill because I've seen the best that life has to offer me.

As I wrote this, I was reminded of a relatively old song, Natasha Bedingfield's 'Unwritten'. I am still so excited about life - what it is for me now and all that's left to come. And I hope that I never lose that excitement. I hope that I never stop dancing in the rain or skipping in parking lots. I hope that I never stop looking forward to what's unwritten in my life. I hope that my life is not downhill from here.

Here's to another quarter of a century!