Today is International Women’s Day – observed annually to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
Meanwhile, a report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has revealed that
the pay gap between men and women worldwide may be much higher than official government figures. The report, “Gender (in)Equality in the Labour Market”, is based on survey results of some 300,000 women and men in 20 countries. It puts the global pay gap at up to 22%, rather than the 16.5% figure taken from official government figures and released by the ITUC on March 8 last year.
The report also confirms previous findings that union membership, and particularly the inclusion of women in collective bargaining agreements, leads to much better incomes for both women and men, as well as better pay for women relative to their male co-workers.
To the woman in America, that’s an average loss of 4,34,000 U.S. dollars in lifetime earnings.
You won’t hear much about this in the mainstream media. They’ve got more important things to consider. Like a quarter of Beyonce’s right nipple.
Since women earn 3/4 of what men do for the same job, I guess they should pack up on Wednesday afternoon and sail out of their offices. If they’re getting only three-quarters of the remuneration, they might as well work only three-quarters of the time.
These women come home in the evenings and submit to the enduring drudgery of housework. The men may be kind enough to ‘help’ if they feel like it. I’ve travelled for many years on the local trains in Mumbai. A lot of women in the ladies’ compartment would use the hour on the evening commute home to shell peas, chop vegetables they had just purchased (yes, they carried knives), string beans and peel shallots. In the general (men’s) compartment, most would be snoozing, listening to music, reading the paper or playing cards.
And I’ve wondered. If these women go home and don’t cook dinner, or do laundry or the dishes, just what are those guys in the compartment next door going to do? Dump them? Won’t that be nice, really, to get some deadweight out of your life?
Oh, here’s what a bunch of celibate men have to tell women: the washing machine is more liberating than the Pill. I say, don’t have kids. It’s more liberating to do just one’s own laundry than that of six people. These are the same guys, by the way, who ex-communicated the doctors of a 9-year old child who got an abortion after being raped.
This post is dedicated to all the women who refuse to be suckered into suckerdom. Like my mom. She would cook once, maybe twice a week if she felt like it, and I was used to eating the same thing three days in a row. And she had only two items on the menu: Eat it or Leave it. When she was too exhausted to even reheat yesterday’s leftovers, she would fish out two giant Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars and we would giggle and make it our dinner. The rest was take-out. My dad cooked, but he was traveling or away most of the time and rabidly carnivorous unlike my vegetarian mom.
If I complained that my friends brought fancy lunches to school while I got sandwiches most of the time, she would repeat, as often as necessary: “There are some kids who don’t bring lunches at all. Besides, do I have ‘maid’ or ‘chef’ stamped over my forehead?”
Thank you, mom, for not aspiring to sainthood. And for teaching me that it’s not worth anything, really.
This is one of those fuss-free one-pot meals that she would’ve made. Replace the azuki beans with red cowpeas and the thyme with curry leaves, and it would be quite similar to food cooked in her native Kerala on India’s south-western coast.
This dish is true comfort food and a Sunday staple in many Jamaican homes. I adapted it from this recipe. Check it out for step-by-step instructions and a video.
No frying onions, roasting spices, or any of that jazz. Five minutes of prep for three meals for two people. It’s so delicious that we’ve made it twice this past week, once with red rice and jalapenos, the second time with basmati and habaneros. Just toss everything in a pot. Fix a salad while it’s cooking and you’re good to go.
Habanero peppers, spring onions, soaked azuki beans and dried thyme
Any chillies will do, though this is traditionally made with scotch bonnet peppers. I don’t think anyone sells scotch bonnets in our
town state, so I settled for their cousins, the habaneros. Habaneros come from Cuba, Latin and North America, while scotch bonnets come from the Caribbean and Maldives. Both are intensely hot, with a slight citrussy flavour and floral aroma. They were considered the hottest peppers in the world until the Tepin/Pequin peppers growing wild in the south-west U.S. and Mexico and Bhut/Naga Jolokia from north-eastern India were deemed hotter.
A word about ‘peas’. Here, it stands for dried beans. Traditionally, Jamaicans use gungo peas (whole pigeon peas/toor/arhar), or any variety of cowpeas (like red cowpeas/chori or black-eyed peas). Some recipes also use varieties of red beans or kidney beans. I used azuki/adzuki beans.
You can use canned, but this recipe calls for using the liquid the beans were cooked in, and I don’t like the slimy stuff in the can. Use soaked dried beans if you can. It yields a much better flavour and texture.
If using canned beans, rinse them well and replace the bean liquid in the recipe with water. Add them when you add the rice. You would need approximately a cup and a quarter of cooked beans.
JAMAICAN RICE AND PEAS
Serves two people for three or four meals.
1/2 cup dried beans or 1.25 cups cooked
**dried cowpeas/pigeon peas/red kidney beans/red beans/azuki beans
1 cup rice (we used brown basmati)
2 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
2 chopped spring onions/scallions
**separate the whites and greens
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh
3/4 cup coconut milk
** low fat is fine. or use 1/4 cup coconut milk powder mixed with water.
salt to taste
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
**any hot pepper will work
2 tsps oil or butter
1. Soak beans in plenty of water for six hours or overnight, drain, add 1.5 cups water and cook with a bit of salt and the garlic cloves until done, but firm. If you overcook them and they turn mushy, wait until the rice is 3/4 cooked to add them.
2. Measure out the rice. Wash and set aside. Rinse the measuring cup.
3. Drain the bean liquid into the same measuring cup you used for the rice. Add to it the coconut milk and enough water to get 2 cups and 2 tablespoons total.
This measurement is for basmati or long-grained rice. If using short-grained rice or other varieties, increase the amount of liquid (to maybe 2.5 cups plus 2 tablespoons) and cooking time accordingly.
4. In the same pan you cooked the beans, add the chopped spring onion whites, thyme, salt to taste and the habanero/scotch bonnet pepper (slit, but still attached to the stem) along with the rice, the cooked beans, the bean-coconut liquid and oil/butter.
5. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on the lowest setting for 12-14 minutes until done. Let it sit covered and undisturbed for another five to ten minutes. Add crushed black pepper if you want to.
6. Discard the habanero and garlic, garnish with spring onion greens and serve.
Thyme from last year’s garden
To dry thyme, just cut the stalks and keep them in a dark dry place standing upright (as you would keep flowers in a vase) for four or five days until the leaves are dry. Then pull them off and store in a jar. This method also works for rosemary, lavender and oregano.
Jamaican Rice and Peas is our entry for Monthly Mingle: Caribbean Cooking hosted by the lovely Meeta @ What’s for Lunch, Honey?
Filed Under: azuki beans, Beans-(Dried), brown-rice, Caribbean, Chillies/Peppers, Coconut, coconut-milk, GARDENING, Garlic, habanero, International Women's Day, Jamaica, MUSINGS, Rice, Spring-Onions/Scallions, Thyme, vegan recipes, vegetarian recipes