Universal Activism

Last night I was reading the latest issue of Time magazine and Bobby Ghosh’s article, “Rage, Rap and Revolution:  Inside the Arab Youth Quake. Middle Eastern youth from Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, now Bahrain and perhaps now Iran, are leading the way in revolts aimed to topple decades old hard line government regimes and bring democracy to their part of the world.  Ghosh says;

‘All of the revolts are led by young men and women, many of whom are novices at political activism.  All use modern tools, like social networking sites on the Internet and texting over mobile phones, to organize and amplify their protests.  And all have the same demands: a right to choose and change their leaders, an end to rampant corruption, the opportunity for employment and improvement.”

It may come as a surprise to many,  that women are playing an important role in this revolutionary activism in the Middle East. But it is happening.  See this article on the women of Egypt and the roles they have played in this recent uprising and indeed historically as well.

“Women have long been told, by the government and even by opposition groups here, that their rights are a priority — but that economic reforms, or security concerns, or cultural considerations must come first.

But as they’ve so fully participated in the first mass protest movement in Egypt in a generation — women here have found that they don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission to be full citizens.’”

Indeed in Yemen, Tawakkol Karman a 32 year old mother of three and one of the nation’s most well-known activists, is striving to produce a non-violent revolution that she hopes will result in similar changes to those experienced in Egypt.  Read more of her fascinating story in this Washington Post article by Sudarsan Raghavan; “In Yemen, female activist strives for an Egypt-like revolution”.

Time and time again the Can-Do spirit of ordinary women propelled to higher action proves to be indomitable.  No matter the geography, and no matter the issues, the themes of feminist theory seem to be universal and there is shared feeling of solidarity with our sisters all over the world.

How do I know this? Look closely at the photo from the Time magazine article mentioned above.

Can-Do Women Are Everywhere. Photo credit: Time, Inc.

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Can-Do Cooks: Pasta Sauce with Pork

Quite honestly this might be the easiest, and most perfectly light meaty pasta sauce I have ever made.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can either cook it on the stove top or in a slow cooker.  I prefer to use my $20 slow cooker for this recipe, because I can prepare the recipe in the morning with minimal fuss, set the slow cooker temperature to low and leave it to cook for 6-8 hours.  Couldn’t be easier.

My favorite tomatoes for this recipe

This recipe was originally published in the New York Times, but I’ve made a couple of changes which, in my opinion, give a better result.

If you can find them at your grocery store, I highly recommend using the brand of crushed tomatoes shown at right.  They cost a little more, but the quality and taste is far superior to other brands, in my humble opinion. (Note: this is not a paid product placement!)

Serve this sauce with a thick spaghetti or fusilli.  Absolutely delicious!

SPAGHETTI WITH PORK LOIN SAUCE (ADAPTED)

(Original Recipe Source: New York Times)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 inch-thick slice of pancetta (about 4 ounces), finely diced

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 fresh or 1 dry bay leaf, finely chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary)

1 pound (1 to 2) bone-in pork loin rib chops

1 1/4 cups dry red wine

28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes

Salt and Pepper to taste

16 ounces thick spaghetti

Grated pecorino Romano cheese, for serving.

 

1. Place a large heavy casserole or frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and pancetta, and sauté until pancetta begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Increase heat to medium-high. Push onion mixture aside and add pork chop(s). Brown lightly on all sides, also stirring the onions to prevent burning. Add wine and use a wooden spatula to mix everything together, scraping the pan. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spatula. Season with salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until meat is almost falling off the bone, about 1 1/2 hours.

Alternatively, after preparing recipe on stove top, place all cooked ingredients in slow cooker.  Set slow cooker temperature to low and slow cook for 6-8 hours.

3. Remove pork, cool slightly, finely shred the meat, return it to the casserole and discard the bone. Over medium-high heat reduce sauce slightly, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and keep warm.

4. While the sauce is reducing, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook just until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well. Return spaghetti to the pot and add the sauce. Stir well. Serve with grated pecorino passed separately.

Yield: About 4 cups (4 to 6 servings).

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