Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
In lending my support to my dear friend Diana sharing her personal story and her global, and Arabic world oriented, feminist and sexual views, I commented on her blog link on Facebook. Typically and traditionally, I view Facebook purely as a frustratingly and aggravatingly convenient modern social media tool, and not as an appropriate forum for intellectual and political dialogue; however, stepping away from naivety, and cognizant of the information technology movement and evolution, I recognize its inherent participation in these types of discourses, whether I like it or not. Her Lebanese born and raised cousin was quick to respond to my brief words elaborating on Diana's message of the importance of female equality and sexual liberation as a necessary parallel mechanism to political and cultural change in the Middle East, quick to instigate and call me out on my ideals and slander me with Western ignorance, with displacement and translocation of Western thought to a historically and culturally altogether different geopolitical arena.
I completely understood Diana's cousins cause for alarm, her disease with Diana's forthright views and calls for change, and was in turn quick to clarify my intentions, and responded in kind (much of this indeed is verbatim): it is an idealist statement, my expressed desire for the fetters of inequality to be removed from the female population; we must maneuver pragmatically in our environment, in its politics and economic exchanges, in its social relationships, in its history and culture, however, our ideals can aid as a true and powerful compass. Applying Western political, religious, and social ideologies, as well its subsequent historical lessons and stories, which like those of the turbulent Middle Eastern region, also continue to be written and developed, is not only irrelevant to a region rich with its own people and past, it is indeed toxic. Orientalism created and perpetuated by Western thought and media has served to only exacerbate the issues of inequality, at the base of other political and social ramifications, notably fostering a landscape and an image democratically nonviable. A visual manifestation of Westoxification, replete with genderized political undertones, can be seen in the above image of a vintage Harper's Bazar cover from 1915; aesthetically, it is stunning, an immaculate mix of illustrated patterns and colors, but it is not without impact on our cultural and political collective subconscious.
As a concerned observer to Arab political and economic happenings, and as an active member of the global feminist community, and the global humanity community, I merely want to raise awareness to the issues of female inequality as foundational to other social, cultural, political ills, both in the East and in the West; again, we account for half of any natural population, and certainly need to demand our own rights. Our fathers and brothers, our lovers, need to listen, to give respect and earn ours in kind, and work along with us in order to enact true change.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
To start my weekend of gorging on delicious food, Rebecca and her beau took me to an intimate and sophisticatedly casual local restaurant, called La Laiterie; adjacent to a cheese shop, this establishment prided itself in small plates and entrees showcasing various meats and cheeses.
After spending about five hours bumping and being jostled in a large and rectangular public transportation vehicle, amidst some other upstanding citizens of humanity, and the expected flotsam and jetsam of society, I really wanted a nice, stiff cocktail. The bus ride was well worth it, as these images will depict, for it was a truly lovely weekend, but I am still thankful for the relaxation afforded me by this alcoholic concoction. Dubbed a Bee's Knees cocktail, it featured gin and lavender; if not a fan of potent floral overtones, beware. Such a pleasantly pink drink was a perfect start to a girls' weekend of eating and drinking.
The precise name of Rebecca's cocktail escapes me; it featured mezcal and an egg white, so was both frothy and refreshing. I always enjoy a single drink before dinner, to prepare for the meal, and offer some time to just sit and converse with my party.
Chicken liver mousse with some French bread crostini; very delicious and smooth.
Headcheese, or brawn; also very delicious. This was my first time dabbling in cured brains and the like, and I enjoyed the flavor immensely.
Medium-rare bacon wrapped skirt steak, in a light au jus, garnished and accented with mushrooms and thin slivers of sweet potato. Sinfully delicious; I cleaned my plate. I paired the red meat with a strong, rough, untamed red wine, a bonarda from Argentina. Somehow, in our zeal in devouring the small plate, the macaroni and cheese Rebecca and I shared neglected to be documented.
Following dinner, we gossiped and giggled with a boxed wine, for the record, the best box wine I have ever had; Rebecca's recommendation.
Saturday morning we rose early to head to the esteemed Providence farmer's market, which is indoors, thankfully, until it finally thaws. Live music played on what were certainly hand-crafted locally made instruments entertained young, future hippies.
Local soda, in all the traditional flavors; I sampled the root beer with my lunch, and it was divine, not overly sweet, a bit smokey, very full flavored. Ideal for a root beer float.
Local root vegetables, some of the only available vegetables at this time of year, and in this temperature, outside of green houses.
Believe it or not, this display of seemingly delicious baked goods is actually a display of delicious dog treats; I am almost certain humans would not be able to tell the difference. What sugary charlatan work.
Local plucked chickens, resting idly on some ice.
Some local jams and dipping sauces; I indulged in the blueberry-dark chocolate jam, a perfect and subtle pairing.
Deep red onions; I liked the color.
Both my older sister Elizabeth and my younger brother Adam have learned the art and science of bee keeping, and honey making, and for that I am eternally jealous. Maybe one of them will own a country home soon and can teach me.
Alpaca yarn is neutrally colored and always so soft.
This gentleman would sharpen your kitchen knives while you wait.
Buckets of shellfish, the pride of New England.
Very useful diagram of the various cuts of meat from a pig, found on the side of a great hot-dog truck.
Sausage topped with egg salad.
Ancestors hailing from Bavaria and Prussia, I was destined to choose the bratwurst with the curried onion sauce; it was handed to me steaming hot, freshly made with a large bun, powerful enough to encase and support the meat. I stood up and ate this wantonly, without care for utensils or napkins.
Honey cookies circling a thick and healthy layer of chocolate ganache; again, motif for this post, too delicious to be true.
True Moroccan mint and green tea, served with sugar cubes, in this glass cup that was initially too warm to lift.
The tea pot; after a day of meandering throughout the town, wandering in and out of various stores, Rebecca and I split this pot of tea. More gossiping and giggling ensued.
Rebecca snagged this quick shot of me, sitting in the center of the intense grasp of the sun's rays. I felt sort of lame keeping my sunglasses on inside, but it truly was uncomfortably bright.
Saturday evening, Rebecca invited over a group of her friends for a dinner party, in honor of a fun visit and the commencement of spring break, a very welcomed and all too brief respite from hours of critical theory and other texts, both sensical and non; she prepared a lovely meal for us all. Above is the marinated leg of lamb, without bones; this hunk of meat had basked in the flavors of some lemon and thyme for a few hours before roasting in the oven.
Paired with the lamb were some rough cut potatoes, also flavored with thyme. Rebecca also made a delicious carrot soup, from coconut milk and lime juice, which I intend to make later this week.
To drink while preparing food, or in my case, applying copious amounts of shimmering eye shadow, and waiting for the party, Rebecca suggested a pinot blanc; I do not recall ever trying this varietal before, and though Rebecca had only sampled some from Oregon, we opted for one from the Alsatian region of France. As would be expected, it had a slightly sweet finish to it, reminiscent of many German whites, but I found it to be quite suitable for drinking, especially without a food pairing.