A Spicy Tequila Cocktail and a Thank You to Planned Parenthood

posted in: Cooking, Savory, Sweet | 47

There I was, merrily taking a little break from food blogging to realign my priorities and practice my big comeback into the world of social media (hint- it involves jumping through flaming hula hoops, jazz hands, and a honey badger) when something happened that compelled me to write. But first, it compelled me to pour myself a big, stiff cocktail, you know, because that’s just the way I like them. Big and stiff. Cocktails, I mean. This one’s called the Green Gargoyle, in keeping with all the trendy green drinks of today like Green Machine, only it has the power of tequila and jalapeno rather than spirulina and kale excrement. So settle in, relax, and let me tell you a little story. Afterward you’ll want a Green Gargoyle.

During my last year of college I decided to move in with my boyfriend. It made sense, after all, since we spent practically every night together anyway. He was brooding, artistic and conflicted which totally turned me on and totally turned my friends and family off. Nobody thought it was a good idea, but I thrive on changing no’s into yeses, so I did it anyway. In the first few months, little things started happening. He locked me and my two newborn kittens out of the house one night because my best friend had come to visit and he was jealous of the time I spent with her. He followed me, popping up in strange places when he said he would be out of town. My relationships with friends became strained because they could see something I refused to and I wouldn’t listen when they told me to get out.

Then he hit me. He broke a door down and used his clenched fists to pummel my face and body. I had two months of school left until graduation, and I knew then that I would leave him when it was over. I figured I could survive as long as I didn’t rock the boat. I didn’t want to deal with finding another place in a small college town for such a short time. I had theses to finish, finals to prepare for, and graduate school entrance exams. I also had no one to talk to. My friends had long since given up on me because they didn’t want to watch me go back time and again. It was too embarrassing to bring up to family or faculty. I made an exit plan, and I made sure he didn’t find out.

Then I found out I was pregnant. I was careful about birth control, but apparently not careful enough. I was without insurance, without friends and with child, in an abusive relationship during what was supposed to be the greatest time of my life.

I turned to Planned Parenthood because regardless what I chose, it was my only affordable option. I walked into their offices with nothing, but I walked out armed with knowledge and the sense that I would get my life back again, no matter what. They presented my choices without bias and with compassion. They gave me time to think and feel. They certainly did not make light of my situation, and they encouraged me to explore the ramifications of every outcome.

I won’t lie and say that the choice I made was without horrific emotional consequences, but it was the responsible thing to do at the time. Two unwed and about-to-separate kids with no immediate source of income would have a hard time excelling at parenthood. Plus if he hit me (more than once by then), there’s very little to suggest that he wouldn’t continue the pattern of aggression with a child. I paid dearly for a moment of irresponsibility, but I grew up fast after that.

If Planned Parenthood hadn’t been there, I don’t know what I would have done. I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I still had him in it even in a cursory capacity. I am one small person with one tiny story to tell. Planned Parenthood helps millions of others like me, whether they catch precancerous cells in a pap smear or order a life-saving biopsy because a woman got a mammogram who would otherwise have been unable to afford it.

And now the Susan G. Komen Foundation is pulling their financial support of Planned Parenthood mere months after the appointment of known abortion foe Karen Handle as Komen Foundation VP. Cancer, of course, knows no party lines. I may be staunchly liberal, but at the end of the day I want everyone to receive the healthcare they need, not just the ones who believe as I do. More than a decade has passed since I triumphed through my own personal hell, but I know that every day others who have it worse than I ever did look to Planned Parenthood for help. I am fortunate now to be in a position to give, and I am thankful for the freedom of choice to determine where my dollars go. This year I’ll give directly to Planned Parenthood, in hopes that they will be able to continue all services the Komen money had previously allowed them to offer. There are also excellent breast cancer charities out there such as Army of Women who could certainly benefit from our support.

And now, after the Komen shenanigans, the Monsanto madness and the political escapades of the week (I’m looking at you, Newt Gingrich), we all could probably use a drink. The Green Gargoyle fits the bill because it will transport you to another place. A spicy place. A place where people dance on tables and never fall off. It’s got tequila, cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber, key limes, agave nectar and Hawaiian alaea salt. There is enough kick from the jalapeno to boot out the troubles of the day, and enough soothing from the cucumber to ease the most tumultuous of minds. Go ahead- let your conscience be your guide. It never fails to steer you in the right direction, and in this moment that’s toward this spicy cocktail.

The Green Gargoyle

Serves 2

  • 1 ounce agave syrup
  • 2 ounces key lime juice
  • 6 cilantro stems- leaves only
  • ½ jalapeno sliced into 1/8” wheels, plus more for garnish
  • 2” English cucumber, cut into four pieces
  • ice
  • 4 oz good quality agave tequila
  • Hawaiian alaea salt crushed in a mortar and pestle for rimming
  1. Chill two cocktail glasses. Add the agave, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber and two ice cubes to a pint glass. Muddle the mixture for 20 seconds, or until the jalapeno and cilantro have released their smell and the cucumber is pulverized. Add the tequila and stir to combine.
  2. Strain the mixture into the chilled glasses, each containing one large piece of cocktail ice or several small cubes. Kiss the upper rim of the glasses with halves of the key lime you squeezed. Sprinkle alaea salt on the lime impression, tossing a little into the drink itself. Garnish with additional jalapenos if you so desire and enjoy.
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47 Responses

  1. I like this post! It’s really cool.

  2. I had an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the late 80s.I was 18, it was my first year in college. They treated me with the utmost respect–and honored the choice I felt was best for me. Later, they provided me with well-woman exams and birth control on a sliding fee scale so it was affordable. Beginning in the early 90s I worked for a small nonprofit women’s health clinic that also provided abortion services. That period was one of the most difficult but also most rewarding periods of my life. The clinic was regularly picketed, invaded, damaged and fire-bombed, and staff were regularly followed home and picketed in their own neighborhoods. I was in the clinic the day John Salvi murdered two clinic workers in Boston.

    I was thrilled to carry two pregnancies and birth my two beautiful children while working in that clinic, and was thankful every day that I could choose to have kids while also helping women choose what was best for them at that time in their own lives. I write all of this to thank you for sharing your story. So many women are ashamed to talk about their abortion experiences and when I read daily how our access to safe health care, contraception and yes, abortion services is being eroded, I realize it is more important than ever that we be brave and share our experiences.

    I am sending a donation to my local clinic today.

  3. I found this recipe on a Twitter link and made it without reading the post.
    I liked it so much that I found the website where I could make the drink again and also read the entire post.
    Like the drink itself, it’s balanced, a perfect blend of sweet, hot, sour and bitter. A lot like the post, perfectly balanced, a beautiful thing. Thank you for the great story and fantastic recipe.

    Linda Reply:

    @allen, I’m happy you came to the drink and post that way- love the parallel you drew. Thanks

  4. Linda,
    Planned Parenthood was there when I needed help in the form of contraception and health screenings when I couldn’t afford it on my own and I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t had their organization as a resource. Until now I had always assumed that Susan G. Kormen organization was all about helping those in need, but this whole thing has opened my eyes to a really nasty trend. Charitable organizations can be corrupt. Women have struggled to obtain the rights they deserve and sadly must continue to fight to retain those rights. I for one will follow your lead and find a different avenue to fund the fight against breast cancer.

  5. john phipps

    @john phipps

    Now I think I have less respect for them that I did before. The furor and loud noise of money going away from their control seems to be what triggered their change of heart.

    Linda Reply:

    @john phipps, agreed. they’ve always rubbed me the wrong way, this just cements it.

  6. You should consider adding a Pin It share option for Pinterest.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! and the amazing cocktail recipe!
    *in camaraderie

  8. Thank you for sharing your story – it is very moving, and a powerful statement in support of an organization that I value and believe in deeply.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. It must have been hard but it’s so great that other women can know they are not alone.

  10. Steph (@crushgear)

    A very brave post, Linda. Thank you for writing it.

  11. You’re an amazing woman and so incredible for getting out such a situation. I wish other women were/are as courageous as you.

    I could use that cocktail right now.

  12. Powerful! Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

  13. This is, by far, one of the most sane, rational, and well-written things I have read in a very long time. Choice is a responsibility, difficult, but it is a right. Perfectly put, and thank you for having the guts to rally around an organization that is too often demonized for the amazing services and help they provide people all over this country.

  14. I appreciate your bold honesty Linda- as others have said, it takes courage to tell this story. There are many people out there who need you right now to stand up for them when they don’t have the strength to. Brava.

  15. Thanks Salty for being the best read tonight after dinner and before I go back to work. Philosophically, I don’t really care much about humans. The Sun on the other hand…

  16. I grew up in Serbia and being pro-choice was a given. My dad was an ObGyn who did not like to perform abortions as a form of contraception, but he did perform them skillfully, without moralizing or judging. Arriving to a developed country that is torn on so many basic, humane issues was the biggest culture shock to me.
    I have always been pro choice – my dad instilled in us a healthy dose of responsibility and even healthier one of fear:)
    I applaud your honesty and courage and fully support the PP mission. After all, I am raising three daughters in this country:)
    I don’t have all the ingredients for the Gargoyle in my pantry (tequila being the most obvious one), but one of these days I’ll have to make it and send a friendly Salud your way:)

  17. I’m having my first period since Abe and am hemorrhaging and cramping in solidarity with your post. After having an abortion 10 years ago and having all the preggo problems after Evan I would never have another one but I’m still pro-choice. And I hope you at least pee’d in that motherfucker’s cheerios. Literally.

    Linda Reply:

    @marisa, wish i would have thought of that!

  18. Hi Linda,

    Thank you for posting my comment and for your gracious reply. It’s very reassuring to see that civil discourse still exists – too bad our politicians can’t follow our example!

    That is one killer cocktail… hopefully one day I’ll have the pleasure of having one with you!

  19. Linda, wow. Your so honest and open. I could never have written that post. Your a trooper! I would’ve loved to give you a hug. I can’t imagine what this must of felt like at the time. So glad you found your true happiness in life with your family.

  20. Lorraine

    Thanks for sharing, a very personal and difficult time in your life. I too went to planned parenthood a few years ago in need of the morning after pill after being grilled by my doctor as to why I needed it and why I wanted a prescription. PP was nothing but professional, friendly and non-judgemental. Leaving me very aware of what an awesome organization they are and how many people they serve. I will also be making a contribution to them. xo

  21. As always when I visit here, I’m struck by your honesty and eloquence. Planned Parenthood is a wonderful organization. Abortion, which seems to be the root of this politically-derived situation, is only 3% of their work.

    I think the foundation will regret their announcement.

  22. Patty Morrow Lyman

    My God girl you have grown into one strong, beautiful, remarkable woman. There were definitely times in the 90’s when I was worried, but viola! Look at you. Congrats on your unshakable strength and wonderful life with a great family.


  23. I have walked three of the 3Day 60 mile walks for Komen – really tough, every time. I raised over $12,000. I am done, baby. Write to Komen, return the Xmas cards, the address stickers and write something on the outside of the envelope. Planned Parenthood saved me when I was in college, pregnant and I had to fly to another state where abortion was legal. I can never repat PP for what they did for a young terrified girl in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1972.

  24. Hello Linda,

    You may decide not to publish this and I don’t even know if this is the right venue for this comment, but I think you are comdemning the Komen organization out of hand.
    From what I have read, their rationale for not funding Planned Parenthood stems from allegations that Planned Parenthood is using federal dollars to fund abortion services. Now, whether you agree with federal funding of abortions or not, as the law stands today, it is illegal – and if those allegations are founded in fact, then Planned Parenthood is going to have some troubled times ahead. As someone who has worked for non profits for many years, I can understand SJk’s position. The backlash for supporting any organization where there is even a whiff something like this (i.e. misappropriation of funds) simply is not worth it – and in fact, I’ve worked for several non profits where funding would be withdrawn automatically on that basis. I of course don’t know what SJK’s policies are, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

    Linda Reply:

    @Nancy@acommunaltable, I would never choose to not publish your comment- it was well-written and merely stating your opinion of the facts at hand. I think that may be a good way for them to spin the situation to win back a handful of their former supporters, but even if that were true, there is legal and there is moral and Planned Parenthood clearly has the moral higher ground here. Please feel free to always speak your mind in the comments section of my blog! I would never prevent you from expressing your well-honed thoughts.

    john phipps Reply:

    Thanks for your openness. Posting opposing views is how we find common ground. It allows all sides of any topic to share their facts and opinions so that we (the whole of us) can make informed and rational decisions. Putting up walls to only allow one opinion to be shared limits us all.

    Marcy Reply:

    Linda –
    This was a beautiful post.
    And I have to applaud you giving DIRECTLY to planned parenthood. What a great solution.

    The flip side is I have stopped supporting SGK because my expectation was that money I donated would help fight BREAST CANCER, not used to promote abortion. Given that PP doesn’t even do mammos, I think trying to make the connection between the two organizations under the header of “women’s health” is a stretch at best.

    Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if we could all give to the organizations we believe in, and we could trust that the funds we do donate to those organizations aren’t subsequently funneled to organizations we oppose?

    Appreciate you sharing your story – you are not alone.

  25. As someone who accompanied more than one friend to Planned Parenthood during our high school years, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. It is an essential service that they provide and many lives would be hugely impacted without it…

  26. I like that “turning no’s into yeses”. If we did not have people like you we would never have new ideas and certainly no good ones!

    Thank you for sharing your very personal experience with us. Now I bet you can see signs of similar personalities from a mile away! I know that’s how it was for me. A costly lesson to learn but we tend to learn quickly that way.

    I have had very minimal experience with Planned Parenthood so I had no idea how supportive they could be in a difficult situation. All I hear is what I see on the news and we know that it is biased when presented from a “side” that can see no other way but theirs. So naturally I do not consider it “gospel”.

    You are a very strong person and I know you can probably stand on your own but if anyone flips you sh-I mean crap for this post I have your back. It takes balls to take a stand and I’m glad that you did.

  27. Thanks for sharing your story boo. I too was in a very abusive relationship and I think speaking out helps. If I would have had someone that would have known what I was going through rather than judging I might have gotten out quicker.

    Oh yeah…Fuck small minded people that don’t believe that woman have a right to choose.


  28. Linda, what an honest, heartfelt and brave post!

  29. Props to you for sharing such a personal story. You’re absolutely correct, cancer and other health issues know no party lines, but are unfortunately, manipulated by them. Thanks for this post! You made it fun and inspirational.

  30. Sharon Crosetto

    You are and amazing person! Your best writing yet sister:)

  31. Thanks for your story and the Planned Parenthood link. This Komen Foundation has disgraced their mission. Appalling.

    Linda Reply:

    @Jon, they’ve rubbed me the wrong way since they went around suing people a few years ago who had “for the cure” in their name. A charity should focus on giving, not convoluted personal and political agendas.

  32. You made a brave choice then and I’m glad you had the help you needed. You made an equally brave choice now to share your story. My daughter had a similar story and Planned Parenthood offered her a similar refuge and help with making a choice that mattered to her.

    I have been called pro abortion because I am pro choice. No one is pro abortion but when women find themselves making choices like you made, like my daughter made; they definitely need support. To see SJK, always known until now for being an advocate and resource for women’s health issues, take this stance is heartbreaking and disgusting. That one person with a clear political agenda could affect the health choices of such a wide swath of women is beyond me. That any one person ever has the right to effect any choice a woman makes regarding her health and her body is beyond me.

    Thanks for speaking out. It needs to be sad and I’m not at all surprised that you would be one to say it.

    Linda Reply:

    @Barbara | Creative Culinary, You bring up a great point, Barb- this is essentially the doing of one person, or if not that, then a very small handful. Power is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands and it is extremely sad to see the trickle-down effect it will have. I think the bright side here is that PP will receive a lot of direct donations in light of this, and people really seem to be standing up.

  33. Well, well said! I am always so thankful I live in Canada where every woman has access to healthcare. I so wish our neighbours to the south would finally figure it out too.

    Linda Reply:

    @Patricia @Cooking Cakes and Chemistry, I think we’re working on it, slowly but surely. Of course I say this and I’ve been on the phone with my insurance company and dr’s office for 4 hours today trying to resolve one tiny billing snafu… someday.

    Patricia Reply:

    @Linda, your constitution says “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” but unfortunately those rights are not extended to all, are they? You are heading in the right way but the US of A is a megalith that is hard to get moving…

    Megan @Country Cleaver Reply:

    @Patricia @Cooking Cakes and Chemistry,
    AGREED! We can’t afford to be so archaic and narrow minded in our policy.

    To Linda: Thanks so much for opening up on that deeply personal side of your life. Cancer/unintended pregnancy/abuse/etc can happen to ANY women regardless of party affiliation or financial circumstance and it’s sad when groups pull their affiliation based on arbitrary and seemingly hypocritical lines. It’s wonderful when groups like PP can stand up for women who have nowhere else to go in these sometimes dark times in their lives. It’s time we stop drawing lines in the sand. One day they might turn to deep crevasses to which we may never be able to cross back over again. The alienation needs to cease.

    Megan @Country Cleaver Reply:

    @Megan @Country Cleaver,

    And now – I really need that drink. A really effin’ big one.

    Linda Reply:

    @Megan @Country Cleaver, Agreed. It’s little sects like this that make me see how something so horrific as Nazi genocide could ever actually happen. No more lines in the sand.

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