Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Godfather and Peaky Blinders: Why, Oh Why Did Apollonia and Grace Have To Die?

Michael Corleone and Apollonia 
on their wedding night

(Major Spoiler Alert!)

As I approach the computer I have the sensation that when I write this post, I will be playing music on the keys. Mozart, something gentle and soft, such are the emotions I feel toward these two characters that fate or writers or directors has decided to eliminate.

Apollonia, “More Greek than Italian!” The stunner in the film “The Godfather” who caught Michael Corleone’s eye and heart as the thunderbolt hit him while he was in hiding in Italy. The thunderbolt. So Italian to call it that, a misnomer because, really, the thunder roars and the lightning bolts. But, in Italian slang, it hits the mark. “You were hit with the thunderbolt!” cries one of his bodyguards. 

Michael and his bodyguards are walking in the hills. Here is the description of Apollonia as Puzo wrote it in the novel: “They [the girls] were dressed in cheap gaily printed frocks that clung to their bodies…Three or four of them started chasing one girl…The girl being chased held a bunch of huge purple grapes in her left hand and with her right hand was picking grapes off the cluster and throwing them at her pursuers. She had a crown of ringleted hair as purple-black as the grapes and her body seemed to be bursting out of its skin. Just short of the grove, she poised, startled, having caught the alien color of the men’s shirts. She stood there on her toes poised like a deer to run…Her skin was an exquisite dark creaminess and her eyes, enormous, dark violet or brown but dark with long heavy lashes…her mouth was rich…and dyed dark red with the juice of the grapes. She was so incredibly lovely that one of the bodyguards murmured, “Jesus Christ, take my soul, I’m dying.”

Puzo describes what Michael is feeling: “…he found himself standing, his heart pounding in his chest, he felt a little dizzy. The blood was surging through his body, through all the extremities and pounding against the tips of his fingers, the tips of his toes. All the perfumes of the island came rushing in on the wind, orange, lemon blossoms, grapes, flowers. It seemed as if his body had sprung away from him, out of himself. And then he heard the bodyguards laughing. ‘You got hit by the thunderbolt.’" 

When Michael and his bodyguards describe Apollonia to a local café owner who happens to be her father, the man shouts, “No!” saying he does not know her. Michael immediately realizes he has insulted the father; he elegantly proposes marriage in the old way, saving the day. And unless you have been living on the moon, you know all this already and you also know that the old world courtship takes place so beautifully you want to die forgetting that in the old world not every groom was so handsome and fine and not every bride so happy. No matter! When Apollonia disrobes on her wedding night, we swoon. Her dark skin! Her breasts, so innocent and sweet! Michael! Into what unknown country have you ventured?

Here is how Puzo describes their wedding night: “Her flesh and hair, taut silk, now she was all eagerness, surging against him wildly in a virginal erotic frenzy. When he entered her, she gave a little gasp and was still for just a second and then in a powerful thrust of her pelvis, she locked her satiny leg around his hips…” We know from her lovemaking that Apollonia is more than a quiet virgin.

The next time we see Apollonia she is learning how to drive; she is chattering happily and waving her hands about explaining that now she knows everything, “Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday!” Her long dark hair is up, in the old way, when a married woman no longer wore her hair down because a woman’s hair was considered flirtatious and now that she was married she should be more formal and refined.

We fall in love with Apollonia just as Michael did. In the throes of love comes despair. Apollonia is killed by a car bomb meant for Michael, even while we are laughing at the remark made by one of his bodyguards, “She’s gonna make a great American wife!” Even as we laugh at her cuteness at wanting to drive to Michael, as Michael softly smiles, then, as he sees one of the bodyguards sneaking off, he, realizing it’s a trap, screams, “Apollonia, no, no!” Disaster, horror, grief! How can this be?

But, we know. It was the author, Mario Puzo’s decision to kill Apollonia, when he wrote The Godfather. But, it is the director, Frances Ford Coppola, who explains in The Godfather Notebook, “Apollonia’s simple grace and overwhelming beauty MUST DOMINATE THIS WHOLE SECTION OF THE FILM. While she is alive, Michael can truly think of nothing else.” We surmise that Michael would have been too happy, too content with Apollonia, and he needed to be bitter, angry, hard for the work to come. His older brother, Sonny, has been assassinated in New York, making Michael’s return to the real world inevitable. Stylistically, Michael cannot continue to live in wedded bliss in Italy, in the old world, as though the new world and his new responsibilities did not exist.

Ah, me!

I am bereft. I want it both ways. I don’t see why Apollonia can’t fit into Michael’s new life in America. I still imagine the scenarios. Apollonia in New York. Apollonia shopping. Apollonia wearing her new clothes, sophisticated in her new hat. Apollonia pregnant. Apollonia cooking. Apollonia listening closely to the advice of her mother-in-law, seriously nodding her lovely head. Apollonia with children around her. All these scenes are still in my imagination. I even have imagined Apollonia’s reaction to Kay’s abortion, as though both stories could exist at the same time. I see Apollonia’s face stone cold and proud. She would never, never do such a thing. Never would she think it.

Sigh. I never liked Kay. 

At the end of the day, I miss Apollonia for all the wonderful scenes, comedies and dramas, she would have played. Yes, Michael would have had his hands even more full. Yes, our attention would have been drawn from the decidedly masculine action. Who am I to re-write The Godfather? I am the one who misses her. Perhaps we have to have tragedy before we can appreciate what remains - Mary Corleone. Michael’s beautiful, Madonna-like daughter. 

Oh, nope. Sorry, she also dies.

Grace Shelby

Now, Grace.

Grace, of the Netflix Original series, “Peaky Blinders,” about the Shelbys, a Birmingham, England family, charming Romany criminals led by the noble, intelligent, handsome Thomas Shelby. I’m a sucker for the noble thief. 

When we first see Grace - and her music is tinkling, trés gentile (“dreamy, ethereal,” as the captions call it) - she is walking toward Tommy Shelby’s bar The Garrison where she applies to be a barmaid. What looks like a gentle falling snow surrounds her as she approaches the bar. Suddenly, you realize, that’s not snow, it’s falling ash. This is Birmingham, England and Grace is the only light thing in the darkness.

Grace is a delicate blonde beauty with patrician lines. In fact, we learn Grace comes from a good family. She has joined the police force as an undercover agent to avenge the death of her policeman father by the IRA. Tommy’s not Irish. He is Romany, (aka Gypsy), an English criminal, a bookmaker, who happened on some brand new automatic weapons whilst robbing the BSA company warehouse. Finding these guns becomes the mission of the Crown and law enforcement.

Grace stands out. She wears no make-up, yet her large blue eyes are beautifully expressive. Her light hair is delicate, flowing around her face in soft, natural waves. She’s wearing a sheer white blouse and a soft green suit. The bar manager at first refuses her, saying she is “too nice.” “How do you know I’m nice?” Grace accuses him. She might not be nice.

She tells him she can sing, and she does, not in a sweet high voice you might expect from such a delicate form, but in a clear, bold alto. Riveting.

In fact, Tommy is struck (much like Michael Corelone) with the thunderbolt when he sees Grace for the first time. She obviously doesn’t fit. Unlike Michael, Tommy keeps his head. “Are you a whore?” he asks her, “because if you’re not, you’re in the wrong place.” Grace is hurt, but she perseveres.

Tommy doesn’t allow singing in the bar. He hates the Irish songs. But, he allows Grace to sing. He is feeling particularly down one evening. He tells her to sing. They are alone after hours in the bar. He tells her stand on a chair and sing. She stands on a chair. “Happy or sad?” she asks Tommy. “Sad,” he chooses.

As Grace sings beautifully, Tommy does something we know he can’t do - he falls asleep. We happen to know Tommy cannot sleep; he uses opium to sleep, to block out the night terrors of digging the tunnels in the mud of Flanders.

Grace remains standing silently on the chair.


Grace doesn’t remain a barmaid for long. She quickly moves up to bookkeeper, making her privy to a lot of Shelby family business information. Grace falls in love with Tommy, but she betrays him anyway. Soon, she realizes where the guns are, and she reports this info to her superiors. After killing a few IRA guys, Grace becomes closer and closer to Tommy. Though she betrays him, she also protects him, hiding him in her room in a poor rooming house. The couple make love; they are in love. Tommy sleeps again, through the night. 

Grace writes to Tommy proposing a new life in America. Tommy writes back that he will consider her proposal. He says, “I learnt long ago to hate my enemies. But I’ve never loved one before. The idea of New York is interesting, but I have worked so hard for this day. For this victory. (Though Grace betrayed him, Tommy still won the fight.) I have responsibilities here. For people I need to protect and people who I love…I will give you my decision in three days.” He signs the letter, “All my Love, Thomas Shelby.”

Grace is already at the train station, where she must defend herself against her former boss who holds a gun to her head. :51 seconds to the end, Grace shoots her gun through her purse.


I suppose it’s the same as Michael Corleone. Thomas has responsibilities. His way of life is extremely dangerous. We wouldn’t want Thomas to become too soft or too happy. But, unlike Apollonia, Grace is trained in warfare. It was and still is hard for me to suffer that the day they return from their honeymoon, Grace dies from a bullet meant for Tommy. She would have been sooo much fun to watch develop as a character, she might have even stolen the show from Tommy.

I wonder, too, as I watch, how deep does this phenomenon go? I mean, Apollonia, Grace, Mary Corleone, these are the things we fight for, die for: home, hearth, love, family, all the good and beautiful things in life. These we fight to protect. Yet, these are the sacrifices. Are the stories saying, in effect, I guess we can't have nice things? Someone, or some force, is always trying to take them from us.

Peaky Blinders is not the same without Grace. All the other blondes on the show are brassy, fakey, creepy, angry, stupid. They’re just not Grace. They don’t have her natural, well - grace. Not her intelligence. Her stature. Her poetry. Her way with Tommy. Grace goes deep.

I couldn’t bear to watch the new season. Season 5. It took me a long time to come around, but when I did, what a lovely surprise! 

Grace. Tommy talks to Grace. He sees her. She speaks back. “Happy or sad?” she asks. And she holds Tommy’s weary head to her breast. Tommy has a death wish. Twice, we see him struggle with the urge to harm himself. Then, after a colleague is killed by a car bomb, Tommy hesitates to start his car. Grace is in the backseat. “Push the button, Tommy. Come home to me,” Grace says. Tommy pushes the button. The car starts up safely and Grace disappears again.

At the end of Season 5, we have what people are calling “a strange ending.” This is the third time Tommy expresses his death wish. He is unable to stop a fascist movement in England. He has said he would stop when he met the man he couldn’t defeat. The screen goes X-Files blue. Tommy and Arthur are at home, in front of their house, with Arthur trying to console Tommy about the events gone wrong, “Let’s go inside. We’ll work it out. Have a drink.” “I need to walk.” Tommy sets off into the blue fog over the field where the landmines had been; he sees Grace, there is a dark horse, as in the Jew’s dream. Grace says, “The work’s all done, Tommy. It’s all done. We can walk away from all of this. It’s so easy. It’s so soft. Such a small change.” 

Tommy puts his gun to his head and screams. 



Spoiler Peaky Blinders - There will be a Season 6 and 7 - Cillian Murphy (Tommy Shelby) has already signed on. After all, we didn't hear a gun shot.

Two things I learned about The Godfather while researching this post - 1. Michael and Apollonia lived in Italy for months before she was killed. When Apollonia died, she was pregnant. 2. The guilty bodyguard disappeared after the bombing, but many years later, Michael tracks him down to a pizza parlor in Buffalo where a Corleone soldier kills him with, “Michael Corleone sends his regards.”

©Patricia Goodwin, 2019

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest poetry books are Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author, and Java Love: Poems of a Coffeehouse.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Greta the Great

Greta in 2018, her first climate strike,
alone in front of the Swedish Parliament building

Every time I type her name, I type Great. Freudian dyslexia. I’m not too ahead of my time writing about Greta, and I usually don’t write about people everyone else is writing about. But, this time, I got into a bit of trouble on Facebook over her. It was her meltdown at the United Nations. I said something to the effect of how sad it was to see her like that and the comments - from friends of mine who know me and should know better - took the opportunity to rage against my lack of political correctness, as if I were suddenly Fox News attacking Greta’s Aspergers. Comments like “You don’t have to be normal to be wonderful!” As if anyone had ever accused me of being normal.

I had to look up Aspergers. I won’t bore you with the details you probably already know about Greta having read about her so much. I couldn’t care less what conditions Greta the Great has or doesn’t have. I read that people have commented on her clothes, her diet, her hair, her size, what the fuck ever!

I also said something about how they - operative word, “they,” my definition of “they” is anyone who has more power over your life than you do - said once, “We wait for you to get tired.” I got attacked for being tired. “We can’t get tired in our work!” came the comment back to me. Sorry, you’re actually one of the people who burned me out.

I saw something that day, the day Greta raged. I saw a person who had tried so hard. I remember her first day at the UN, when she was calm and quiet and told the world leaders, “My comments to you today will be this report on climate change from the world’s leading scientists.” She, a rational, thinking, caring, intelligent person had thought, “This is all I need to say. After they read this report, there will be no dispute. No more questions, only action.”

Look at the science. Look at the polar ice melting. Look at the animals going extinct. Look at the storms, and the floods, the fires and the drought. Now, now, now, act, act, act!


I’ve seen it before. Nothing, a terrible reaction to the truth.

She’d just come off a dramatic journey across the Atlantic on a sailboat powered only by sustainable energy. She disembarked to march and speak. Millions of people - and remember she started with only one, herself - my favorite picture of Greta, sitting alone outside of the Swedish Parliament building with one sign - now followed and supported by millions marching and shouting in the streets of national capitals around the planet. 

Greta Arrives in NYC, August, 2019

Millions of Marchers in cities around the globe
Climate Strike, September 20, 2019

Now, September 23, 2019 was the time to speak to the leaders and, it seemed, though probably it wasn’t the first time she realized, she saw quite clearly that she may as well be alone. Because, she realized that the throngs of marchers are the choir. The throngs of marchers are not polluting the planet. The men and women in front of her representing nations and corporations ARE POLLUTING THE PLANET and they are the ones who were not listening to her or to science or to anyone.

Greta the Great Lioness 
hissing and snarling
at the United Nations, September 23, 12019

Two articles recently appeared about the despair Greta must feel. These articles urged me to write today, as the authors were the only ones who seemed to see what I saw. From Smithsonian, reposted from 2013, “The Money Behind the Climate Deniers” by Colin Schultz, and from Truth Dig, September 23, 2019, “Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites" by Chris Hedges. These articles are about the powers that be, the powers out there, not only denying climate change, but contributing to it daily.

The Guardian reported, “In an impassioned speech (at the UN, September 23, 2019), Thunberg told those who hold office, ‘you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?’ Greta snarled. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.’"

Scolding the world leaders, she cried out, "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean.”

There were more strikes for Climate Change today, Friday, October 4, 2019. Greta herself will join activists in Iowa City and she is calling for more strikes, “Fridays for Future.” Next, she will move on to march in Chile.

I wondered why I was writing at all about climate change, burned out as I am. I’ve never been politically correct and I hate following a crowd. Possibly because I like the way Great (oops, I did it again)*, Greta had started - with diet. I’m sympathetic to this approach because I’ve been macrobiotic since 1974, 45 years. I’ve been climate friendly my whole life, as I was brought up in a traditional Italian household. Yes, we grew our own food and bought only from the North End and East Boston traditional markets. Greta changed her parents first, getting them to stop eating meat and to adopt better dietary and lifestyle habits. Here is where climate change will happen, and happen naturally. Those who eat well, live well. They do not take, they give.

I have no idea how to stop the greed of our current leaders: presidents, kings, prime ministers who are selling their land, their water and their people for a few pieces of silver. I only know how to go around and under them. Good food is getting harder to find. Real food is no longer as nutritious as it once was because of soil depletion and water and air pollution. Fake food, which is often the only food available to people, inundates our supermarkets and makes us sick. We may find ourselves sick and dying before we actually drown or burn up.

What do we do? We keep on. Our dollars speak loudly at the cash register. The millions who are marching represent voters and customers as well as future leaders. Plenty of people are out there visibly fighting with us, and invisibly striving and working.

Thank you, Greta, for all that you do. Greta the Great is no longer alone.

*These typos are absolutely genuine.

©Patricia Goodwin, 2019

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest poetry books are Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author, and Java Love: Poems of a Coffeehouse.

Within this blog, Patricia writes often about non-fiction subjects that inspire or disturb her, hopefully informing and inspiring people to be happy, healthy and free.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

It Ain’t Fiction!

Fictional Jeffrey Epstein (Jordan Hayes) Being Led Off By Fictional Feds

Law & Order SVU 2011 Episode, "Flight"

Fiction is the best way to tell the truth. Many writers agree with me and over the years they have tried to tell us many times about things that are going on all around us that we are too busy or too good to see. Good people, I find, can imagine evil, but they usually don’t. They usually assume most people are like them, busy minding their own business, not busy trying to hurt others.
To name a few fictional truth tellings - Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson, along with revealing certain CIA mind-bending antics, Conspiracy Theory was the first to call John Lennon’s death an assassination. Michael Clayton, “I am Shiva, God of Death!” aimed at a fictional Monsanto-like super company busy poisoning the world. Prime Suspect for its 1993 Season 3, "The Keeper of Souls," about the organized abuse and, sometimes, murder of street kids and orphans by rich and powerful men. Even comedian Seth MacFarlane tried to tell us with his 2005 Family Guy cartoon of Stewie running naked through the mall screaming, “Help! I just escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement!”

For years, I have been reading in The Daily Beast about this fellow named Jeffrey Epstein who was a pretty intense partier. Thank you Daily Beast for your courage in speaking out. You’ve been telling us about Epstein’s Fantasy Island, about his ranch in New Mexico, about his buddy Ghislaine Maxwell who procured very young girls for him, about Prince Andrew, Trump, Bill Clinton, about the parties and the after-parties, and the wee small hour romps with under-aged girls in the manses of rich and powerful men. You have told us oh, Daily Beast, about the Catholic Church, about the Vatican, about the culling of child sex slaves from private schools, from orphanages, from the homeless children on the streets. We still haven’t paid attention to these last, “suffer the little children to come unto me” said Jesus to his disciples.

I find it remarkable that people still need to see it on TV before they will get it. No, that’s not so because it WAS on TV and they still didn’t get it.

Thank you Law & Order, Special Victims Unit, cast & crew, and especially creator, Dick Wolf, who along with writers Dawn DeNoon and Christina M. Torres, tried to tell us in their 2011 episode, “Flight,” about the exploits of super-rich financier Jeffrey Epstein. Specifically “Flight” echoes the time Epstein, fictionally called Jordan Hayes (cloyingly played by Colm Feore) received a French girl as a birthday present. (In real life, Epstein has been accused of having received three twelve-year-old French girls as a birthday present.) In the episode, the French girl is tricked into giving Jordan Hayes a massage, during which he requires her to be naked. (What is it about this guy and massages? Epstein seems to have gotten several nude virginal massages daily. Ugh!) She’s trapped in the room. Later, before she is allowed to leave, an attendant makes her offer up a friend to be Jordan’s next victim. In fact, SVU went on to describe several underaged girls paid to give weird, creepy massages to Jordan Hayes, Jordy to his friends, namely an older French girl who used to be is lover and was now his procurer of very young girls. This dark-haired young woman eerily reflects the real life older beauty, Ghislaine Maxwell, a beautiful socialite who allegedly procured Epstein’s victims, one wonders why she didn’t have better things to do with her life. Perhaps like many real life female sex slavery procurers, she’s angry about her own victimization and just doesn’t care about anyone else. Or maybe she’s just plain evil. According to the SVU episode and also the real life victims, the procured girls were kept hostage till they performed whatever bizarre sexual act Jordy (Epstein) wanted or the tender, underaged girls would be sent out to perform for Hayes’ (Epstein’s) rich old cohorts.

The Real Life Ghislaine Maxwell

Spoiler alert:

Unlike the real life Epstein who supposedly committed suicide (I think he was murdered, hung, dispatched by his old cronies who wanted to silence him. They always kill their friends.), in the SVU story, Jordan Hayes isn’t punished for his crimes. The Feds swoop down to save Jordan in a deus ex machina move because he is too valuable as a witness to allow him to rot away in prison with other Level 3 sex offenders. As Jordan is swept away by this accommodating nebulous Federal agency, his ex-girl friend turned pimp now facing 80 years in prison, is handcuffed and left screaming, “I love you, Jordy!” 

Fictional Ghislaine Maxwell (remarkable resemblance!) handcuffed, facing 80 years

In real life, Epstein’s facilitator, Maxwell, who was photographed aprés Epstein’s arrest having a carefree lunch at an In & Out Burger, seems to have gotten off Scott-free. I would think she knows too much. Remember, they always kill their friends. Her brain must be what we used to call “a little black book” full of names and dates and addresses. 

All perfectly useless now. Unless real life coppers step up to do what fictional ones have done.

Fictional Special Victims Unit

Next time you hear yourself talking about Jeffrey Epstein and others like him, don't just talk, do something - stop for a minute to give to the orgs that are out there fighting for the victims of sexual abuse. Anything you can afford, even $10, can help someone escape their captors. Here are two of my favorite orgs - The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Polaris.

©Patricia Goodwin, 2019

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest poetry books are Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author, and Java Love: Poems of a Coffeehouse.

Within this blog, Patricia writes often about non-fiction subjects that inspire or disturb her, hopefully informing and inspiring people to be happy, healthy and free.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

“STOP Eating the White Man’s Food”

Native-American Warrior Dance

I’m quoting. I’m quoting a Native-American young man who, upon visiting his cousin, saw that his cousin was suffering: he was overweight, sluggish, sick, depressed and feeling hopeless. He told his cousin, “You gotta stop eating the white man’s food! I did, and I got my life together. I’m feeling a lot better, clearer, stronger, more alive.”

No one should eat the White Man’s Food. What is the white man’s food? Red meat, processed meats, sugar drinks, artificial foods, fast foods, white flour baked goods, non-organic dairy, GMOs, chemicals, dyes, preservatives, trans fats, added salts and sugars.

I read this young man’s story in a comment. I believe in comments. Real ones, that is, not those turds dropped by trolls. Real, serious comments from real people who know something. Often, the people commenting know more than the author of the article itself. I call it “word-on-the-street,” to quote Christopher Walken in Suicide Kings, word-on-the-street is “Solid!”

I believe this young man’s story.

The reason I believe him is because I have not eaten the white man’s food for over 40 years. I’ve been macrobiotic for 45 years and counting. My diet is based on brown rice and vegetables with some fish, chicken and organic eggs. I’m not that strict, really. I enjoy a little scotch in the evenings, and a small dish of frozen yogurt. But, I am 67 years old, not on any medications, and doing pretty well.

Back to the Native-American man. What did he advise his cousin to eat? Whole grains, beans, vegetables, lots of vegetables, foods we can actually get, unlike the buffalo, which we nearly destroyed. If anyone wanted to eat buffalo, please remember you must consider what the buffalo is eating and where you live. Only people who live out of doors, in buffalo country, where the buffalo graze on clean land may eat buffalo. Wild game is not desirable unless you are living wild; it is very hard to balance game with our modern lifestyle, which tends to be on hardscape, streets, sidewalks, houses. This hardscape, and the stress of modern life, are why we are attracted to so much sugar - however, sugar kills.

Besides the buffalo, we have also nearly destroyed the corn, another traditional Native-American food. Almost all corn (and also soybeans) in the United States is Genetically Modified. Be very careful to eat only organic corn and soybeans!

I remember, and I have not been able to find him, another young man, not Native-American, who was, years ago, trying to help the Native-Americans to regain their native foods, especially beans which can be obtained or grown relatively easily. But, we live in the modern world, and people can now go to almost any store or natural foods co-op to buy good quality beans, whole grains and vegetables. I remember this young man’s open hand holding pinto beans, a bean marked with the reddish-brown spots of a pinto horse. I eat pinto beans, they’re sweet and creamy, very delicious.

I say white man’s food, but many African-Americans have also forgotten their traditional foods. They have turned to fast foods as a staple diet or to regular, American fare. However, African-American food is fantastically delicious! I grew up Italian, and very early got the impression that people who have suffered war or other deprivation, like slavery, have learned how to forage and make good food out of what other, more privileged people, consider weeds or undesirable parts of the animal. I grew up eating tripe and chicken feet and gizzards and dandelion greens, not necessarily in the same dish, but I was no stranger to native grasses and parts of the animal most cooks throw out. Maybe I never really ate the white man’s food. My mother railed, “Don’t eat anything from a factory!” She picked dandelion greens in vacant lots while the neighbors laughed at her. 

Native-Americans were taken from their native lands and marched to arid, hostile land over hundreds of miles along the Trail of Tears. Many died or sickened, and when they arrived, they had nothing. They were not allowed to leave the reservations or to get jobs. They were not allowed to speak in their native languages or teach their children the native dances. Have things changed? Yes and no. Native-Americans can now move freely, but, in this modern day, there are still more dead and missing among our Native-Americans than any other group. 

Whole grains cost very little and are simple to cook. Brown rice triples in volume when cooked and lasts for days in a bowl win the counter, covered with a sushi mat. An easy brown rice recipe follows this post, as does a basic recipe for beans, and a nutritious condiment called gomasio, made from roasted sesame seeds and sea salt to sprinkle on your cooked brown rice. 

I say white man’s food, but there’s no reason anyone should eat any of its poison. It’s not about race anyway, it’s about power. Power to the people. Take back your traditional foods. Take back your power! Everyone should learn to cook for themselves and their families. It’s the only way back to health. Remember.

Brown Rice

2 cups short grain brown rice (This is simply the best, highest quality brown rice.  Short grain is the strongest brown rice, good for strengthening our conditions,)

3 cups spring water (1 1/2 cups water to each cup of brown rice)

pinch sea salt

Wash brown rice in a strainer.  Put clean rice into a pan with a good strong base, like a Revereware pan because it will need to simmer for 45 minutes and you don't want the bottom to burn.

Measure 3 cups spring water, pour into pan with washed rice. 

Place pan on stove, turn flame up high until water boils, then turn down flame immediately until rice is gently simmering.  Then, cover tightly and let simmer for 45 minutes.

When you remove the cover, your rice should be fluffy and separated, perhaps slightly stuck to the bottom.  This is okay.  If "bottom rice" is golden in color, toasty looking, it is very delicious and tastes great added to your miso soup!

Don't worry if your brown rice isn't perfect on your first try!  Many people have to make several pots before they get it right!  Even if it's wrong, too mushy (Next time add a little less water!) too dry (Next time add a little more water!) you can eat the rice and it tastes great!


1 cup beans

2-3 cups water

Small piece of kombu sea vegetable (available at Whole Foods or Eden Foods online) Kombu is not necessary to cook beans, but it does help soften the beans and eliminates gas from the bean)

Wash beans in a strainer, you can work the beans a little with your hands to begin the softening process.

Place beans in pan, water to cover. Bring to a boil, simmer for 1-2 hours if using dry beans. Skim the foam from the top to eliminate gas from the beans.

You may also buy canned beans from a trustworthy source such as Whole Foods or Eden Foods. (I cannot recommend Goya beans as they are not organic and contain a lot of salt.) When I cook with canned beans, I add chopped onion and garlic sautéed in olive oil. Yum!


One quarter cup of unhulled sesame seeds contains 35% of our required calcium for the day.

To make gomasio, please wash about two cups of unhulled sesame seeds in a fine strainer until the water runs clear. Then, drain the water carefully by tilting the strainer and tossing the seeds from side to side in the strainer. You may let the strainer sit on a clean towel for a few minutes, occasionally tilting it to get more water out.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the seeds are almost dry, or completely dry, place them in a shallow glass pan in a 350 degree oven, turning them with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes or so. Seeds are done when they are a golden brown. Your kitchen will also be infused with a delicious aroma of roasted nuts!

Place hot seeds into a wooden bowl. To make gomasio, place approximately 3 TBS of sea salt to 2 cups seeds into a suribachi bowl or mortar bowl. If you don’t have either of these, you may use an ordinary wooden bowl. Crush the sea salt with a spiraling motion of the pestle. When sea salt is fine, add the seeds and crush them into the sea salt with a spiraling motion. Do not crush all the seeds, leave some whole for more flavor. 

You may use hot seeds for gomasio making, but let the gomasio cool before placing it into a glass jar for storage. If you wish to save some of the seeds for adding to salads, breads, cookies, etc., put some aside in a wooden bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally to speed up the process. Store these in a glass jar for future use.

Like any other time consuming process in the kitchen, gomasio making may be done efficiently around other activities during the day, and will not seem to take up much time as soon as you have a method down. Gomasio usually lasts a few weeks. Once you have tasted good homemade gomasio, you’ll always want some around!

©Patricia Goodwin, 2019

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest poetry books are Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author, and Java Love: Poems of a Coffeehouse. Patricia has enjoyed the health and well-being of the macrobiotic diet for over 40 years. She has written many articles about health and the dangers of GMOs.

***Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant to substitute for medical care. Please consult your physician before beginning any new dietary guidelines.