Having just had a week off I've been wrestling with this nagging issue in my mind. I found myself, throughout the week, hard pressed for energy to think of something to do that didn't involve getting to a store to pick up things that the kids were needing or plunking myself in front of a screen. Sure, I can chock it up to exhaustion. I can blame the crappy, cold weather and lack of sun. Suffice it to say that it was all I could do to keep up a reasonable yoga and running schedule throughout the week and plan one other thing in the day.
Thank goodness for this book which I've been devouring (although I have to slow myself down sometimes to really take it in). I'm not just pushing the book because the author is Canadian but because he's also kick-ass deep. Throughout the week I was reading his chapter on the image and the power of the image. J.R.S. went succinctly through a look at western religious art and the transformations that it went through up to about DaVinci when the 3D reality kicked in. He talks about how artists were looking for the moment of epiphany when that reality was created... except the epiphany didn't quite happen. The paradigm didn't shift epically like they thought it would. And then the still photo was invented and that kind of kicked paintings butt. A perfect image of whatever it was the photographer wanted to capture. Further still was the moving picture. But something happened in all of that 'reality' and along the way the reality of the photo and the moving picture wasn't reality at all. It was illusion. It was set up. It was doctored. Now, we live by the moving picture. It informs us in every way about ourselves - our looks, our expectations, our beliefs. J.R. Saul even goes as far to say that tv is our new religion. It's the one thing that we do, in the western world at least, ritualistically and en masse. Except it's all staged.
It got me thinking a lot about how much screen I take in. It got me thinking about how much I see people talking about tv shows on FB, on their blogs or in everyday conversation. It's how we talk about it too.
'I've got to make sure I catch the new episode of...'
'I can't believe what they just wrote into that story line...'
'I can't stand that character'
'My PVR only records 2 shows at a time. How am I going to catch everything'
I don't have either cable or satellite. The channels we get come through our rooftop antenna. I don't miss cable. I don't think that I've ever even considered getting it again and that was about 5 years ago. But I still watch my fair share of shows and it's still crap. It's still written in this stilted, formulaic manner. It's still played by actors who must look a certain way for everything to work. It still wraps up into a neat little package that leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction but the desire to experience the same banal comfort next week. Reality tv... worse. News.... the worst.
I'm going to work toward becoming more aware of what's in front of me all the time. I'm not going to say 'that's it - I'm cutting it out' because that's not just unrealistic, it's unsustainable. I think that the key is awareness.
During my week off I also decided to get serious about varying my cooking again. It's so easy to get in ruts. My ruts include cream, parmesan cheese, greens and pasta. That's ain't half bad. There is, however, only so much of that one family can take. I made some Trini Stewed Pork and this is the stuff that we made with it. Callaloo looks kinda gross and goopy but once you put it in your mouth you realize you haven't yet lived until that very moment. It's amazing, beautiful stuff. It's also good for you and if you can't find Dasheen leaf you can always try substituting with spinach. You will get quite a different taste so you might have to adjust a bit but it's still absolutely worth it.
makes about 4 cups of callaloo
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 - 2 1/2 cups okra (okro) coarsely chopped
4 - 4 1/2 cups dasheen, leaf and stems coarsely chopped (you can use spinach in a pinch)
4 slices bacon, diced (or salt pork or pork belly)
2 tbsp butter or lard
1 can (about 2 cups) coconut milk - not the 'light' stuff
1 cup boiling water
2 scotch bonnet peppers to throw on the top
salt to taste
Heat a heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat.
Add in the butter or lard and throw in the onion, garlic and bacon. Cook only for a couple of minutes.
Add in the okra and dasheen. Cook for another couple of minutes
Turn the heat to low and add the coconut milk and boiling water. Stir well.
Before covering place the two peppers gently on top of the greens but don't mix in.
Cover and cook together for about 25 - 30 minutes or until everything is soft.
Remove the two peppers.
Use an immersion blender to blend everything into a sticky sauce mixture.
Check the taste and add a little more salt and pepper sauce if needed.
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- Wanda Thorne
- St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
My Favourite Cookbooks
- Wanda Thorne
- bok choy
- coconut milk
- cream cheese
- goat cheese
- green peas
- ice cream
- main course
- maple syrup
- peanut butter
- poppy seeds
- quick bread
- root vegetable
- side dish
- smoked salmon
- sour cream
- split peas
- stir fry
- sustainable living
- vanilla bean
- white chocolate