Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cooking With Ivy

Last year, Robert and I took a once-in-a-lifetime Mediterranean cruise. It has taken a year to sort through the pictures and get my act together to post pictures and reflections. I have to start with pictures that have the longest history. So, the back story. In 2009, when I started this blog, I joined an international group of food bloggers called BloggerAid. Our biggest project was publishing a cookbook the proceeds from which were donated to the UN Childrens' food program. In the course of that project, I met a few women with whom I continue an internet relationship. So, when I realized our cruise was stopping at Nafpion, Greece, and Ivy Liacopolou of lived near there, nothing would do but that we cook together. Ivy and her husband, Dimitri, picked us up at the pier.

The island of Bourji is a favorite tourist destination, but we had to forgo tourism in favor of food.
After a bit of a morning snack of delightful pastries, we got busy with the cooking. I love to work with phyllo dough, but I've never made the dough because I thought it would be very difficult. Little did I know that it is as easy to make as pasta and far more versatile.
My husband is a very precise cook, but he rarely tries anything beyond pancakes and BBQ. Here, he is preparing a lump of dough for rolling.

He took a turn at running the dough through the same machine we use when we make pasta.
Then Ivy guided him through the process of putting two strips together to make a sheet of dough. Then they put a strip of a spinach mixture on one end, rolled and twisted to get this:

After baking, but before cutting into servings:

I took a spin at the dough for spanikopita.

Ivy showed us that slight variations gave us very different end results.

From the same dough, we made:
  Mushroom Ravioli
  and lucious fried pockets of cheese.

We added some cheese,

a salad,

and had a feast.

Which Dimitri photographed.
New friends, great food and all in a field of fragrant orange blossoms.

What Happens to the Union Now?

Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP candidate for President of the United States. He's been called a loose cannon, a liberal in conservative clothing and, as one political operative for a suspended campaign described him, a chimpanzee with a machine gun. I think a President Trump wuld be the worst thing that has happened to my country and, possibly, the world in more than 200 years.
That said, I am not particularly encouraged about what might happen to my country if Donald Trump is not elected. For, if he is not elected, we have a pattern for what will happen here in the next eight years. The only good things that have come out of Washington in the past six years have been Executive Orders issued because Congress has a two-letter response to every major policy proposal put before them that would benefit the citizens of the country.
The dirty little secret of my country is that we have a lot of racism, ageism, and sexism. Sure, there were a couple of people who questioned if Ted Cruz was a natural-born citizen, but he is white and his middle name is not Hussein. Not to pick on Ted Cruz, but he is a member of a very odd sect of Christianity that believes they must control all governments of the world to enable the second coming of Jesus. But, he is not linked to an outspoken Black pastor, so his religious life was not an issue.
No matter which candidate prevails in the Democratic party, the winner can expect treatment similar to that experienced by our current President. Both can be targeted with the "old" label. The ageism is not so obvious for the older of the two, perhaps because of his gender. He, however, has two strikes that will be used against him -- he calls himself a Demcratic Socialist and many people will hear only the Socialist part of that description and, despite this country's years of support for Israel, he will be the victim of bold and subtle objections to his religion. David Duke has already talked about the Jewish extremists who are anti-American. I've already heard concerns about Hillary Clinton's age phrased in terms of "She looks tired." We have more than twenty years of the hatred of the Clintons, lies about them, holding them to higher standards so they can be criticized, etc.
Just as we have seen obstructionism based on the color of President Barack Obama's skin, we will see obstructionism based on Bernie Sanders age, religion, and political affiliation or we will see obstruction based on Hillary Clinton's age, gender, and history. I worry that our country will not survive no matter who is elected.
Lest I appear to be Chicken Little, I do see potential for our survival. It will not be easy. It will require that all our Congressional leaders of both parties develop the spine to do what they are supposed to do -- government of the people, by the people, for the people. Stand up to the elite who purchased them with campaign contributions, get rid of the effect of Citizen's United with legislation, and remember that most of them have the title of Representative. Can that happen? Yes. Will it happen? I am doubtful. But it has to happen if this country is to survive as a democracy, not as the theocracy or the meritocracy with which it is flirting.