War, it has been said, is God’s way of teaching us geography. Despite our general aversion to learning, Americans have long been enthusiastic pupils in this particular classroom.

Port Royal. Tripoli. Veracruz. Gettysburg. Wounded Knee. Jutland. Belleau Wood. Corregidor. Guadalcanal. Dresden. Normandy. Tinian. Hiroshima. Inchon. Seoul. Khe Sahn. My Lai. Saigon. Bagram. Abu Ghraib.

We know these places because of what happened at them. We have learned our geography well, and our lessons continue. Ar Raqqah. Aleppo. Homs. We know these places. And new ones are sure to be introduced soon.

But these places, as places, are unimportant. Other than unusually historical sites such as Palmyra, what does it matter if buildings are razed, roads are blocked with debris, infrastructure destroyed? Those are merely things, and can be repaired, replaced or simply abandoned. These cities, as collections of things, don't matter.

What does make these place names important? You already know the answer, because you are actually an intelligent, empathetic human. PEOPLE! Those places matter because of the humans who were there. The people who died to bring them to our attention.

At least 200 dead at Wounded Knee. 9,777 American dead at Chateau-Thierry, with an unknown number of German deaths. Six hundred thousandkilled in Dresden. 220 official American and 1,602 NVA *confirmed* dead at Khe Sahn.

And we haven't even looked at the displaced: the refugees. Jesus Fucking Christ, the refugees. I can't even START on them. No, really. I can't. But, what the hell, our current Administration can't either, so I guess we're all good!

(We are not all good.)

In memory of those being killed collaterally in our name, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recipe they might nearly recognize, were they still here to share in it with us. And if you live somewhere that actually accepts refugees, and you know some, maybe they might like this almost-familiar dish.

Today we make my adaptation of

Syrian Chicken Thighs

Intoxication: Ragedrinking is quite in season this year, isn't it?

Serves 2

Difficulty: 2/10

Time: 15 minutes prep, 35 cooking. 50 minutes total.

By the way, these are seriously spicy, so if you're not into it, go back to this cheesy garlic chicken. You're welcome.



  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 Tbl flour
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 - 2 carrots, cut in 1/4 X 3 inch sticks
  • 1/2 Tbl julienned fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1/4 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Chicken stock
  • 1/2 Tsp Thyme
  • Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbl brown sugar
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained

      Sinuses: CLEARED!

      • Combine the salt, flour, ground cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and pepper.
      • Coat the chicken with the spiced flour.
      • Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chicken and any loose spiced flour.
      • Brown the chicken well, then remove from pan.
      • Add the carrots & ginger, saute ~ 2 minutes.
      • Add remaining ingredients, return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil
      • Cover the pan, reduce heat to a high simmer for 20 minutes
      • Remove lid, continue simmering another 15 minutes.

      Soooooo much flavor! Soooooo fragrant! Serve over couscous or, as I did, over lemon-cilantro rice. Leave room for a side of smoldering rage, well seasoned with bitter tears.

      So flavor! Much spice! Yum!

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