Thursday, 20 June 2013

Kitchen sink kitchari - and women in Australia

Last week I was poorly.  It was a common cold that found me either cuddled up with a box of tissues or going to bed early.  I might well claim that I also had an upset stomach.  But this wasn't a result of the cold.  It was caused by story after story in the media about poor treatment of women in Australia.  Whether it was poor political jokes, army scandals, court cases, or radio interviews, it made me feel both angry and sad.  Feminism seemed a far off dream.

I have a daughter.  I want her to grow up feeling clever, strong and able.  I don't just want her to be pretty in pink and in her place.   It's not easy.  Already she wants to be gorgeous.  Fortunately she wants to be so much else.  We love doing craft.  I love it for encouraging her creativity and teaching her to make a lot out of very little.  Above are a couple of recent craft activities.  We made butterflies to stick on pictures and then a dotty bag made of paper.

I wanted to say something about the women issue in the news last week but had lots else to say.  Today I feel like my latest cooking is nothing to write home about so I have dug into my archives and found a bowl of kitcahri that I made in early May when E was poorly.  In the spirit of catching up, here are a few of my favourite autumn photos.

Kitchari (just one of the many ways to spell the name) is an Indian dish of lentils and rice.  I had leftover rice and E wanted invalid food.  This was perfect.  I was inspired by the spices at Dr Oz Show and then added lots of vegies like Ricki.  I'd highly recommend it as comfort food for anyone feeling poorly or needing some solace after hearing the latest news.

For those who think a good meal doesn't give enough comfort to redress the sexism in our country, here are some choice comments:
  • 'I want young girls and women to be able to feel like they are included in public life' Australian Prime Minister, Julia Guilard in response to Howard Sattler radio interview.
  • '...You have the gall to frame this opportunity to work for free as some kind of feminist jamboree.' Catherine Deveney's outraged response to a request by Equal to be part of a debate about the choices Australian women make.
  • 'The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.'  YouTube message by Lieutenant-General David Morrison, Chief of the Australian Army message regarding unacceptable behaviour towards women.

I am sending this Kitchari to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends event.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: NCR Sweet potato and chickpea salad and pinterest reflections
Two years ago: A simple lunch of smoky soup and blueberry cake
Three years ago: Half Moon Café: Coburg’s best falafels
Four years ago: Novice Nutella cupcakes accompanied by guitar
Five years ago: Great Stew of Darkness!

Kitchen Sink Kitchari
adapted from Diet Dessert and Dogs and The Dr Oz Show
Serves 4-6

1-2 tsp canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp each mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
knob of ginger, finely grated (I didn't use but would next time)
1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric
dash of cinnamon
7 cups water
2 cups red lentils
1/4 drum cabbage, finely chopped*
2 tsp sea salt 
wedge of kent pumpkin (about 500g), finely diced*
1/2 small cauliflower, finely chopped*
6 button mushrooms, finely chopped*
3 cups cooked basmati rice
Plain yoghurt, to serve (optional)

Fry onion in oil for a few minutes until softening.  Add mustard, cumin and fennel seeds and fry a few minutes until seeds start to pop.  Add carrot, celery, garlic and ginger.  Cook a few minutes minutes.  Stir in ground spices briefly.  Add water, lentils, cabbage and salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add pumpkin, cauliflower, mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the cooked rice and heat through about 5 minutes.  Serve with yoghurt, if desired.

*NOTE: Any vegetables can be used here, depending on what needs to be used from the fridge.

On the Stereo:
Grace: Jeff Buckley


  1. It is shocking how women are still been treated in this day and age. I have a 12 year old daughter thank goodness she hates fashion, she is comfortable in trackies (yes even in summer) and baggy t-shirts, it frustrates me at times she does not want to wear petty clothes, dresses, short etc or jewellery. When I asked about it she says this what's she wants to wear and does not care one iota what her friends etc think. Having said that, she is off to high school next year and refuses to wear the dress required, now that is a battle I am not looking forward too.

    1. Her attitude and confidence is her beauty :) Your daughter obviously doesnt need artificial adornment to shine.


    2. Thanks Mrs Fraueny - your daughter sounds like an interesting individual - hopefully she will be able to wear her high school dress with her own individual style and feel comfortable in that. And I agree with helen that confidence is indeed beauty

  2. Fear of the womb.......if they didnt need it for their own existence they would do away with it.

    I too have been saddened by the inequality of treatment afforded to our current Prime Minister based on her sex.

    Noone realises the damage to Australian society the Howard years of non spending and war on terror has had. It sent us hurtling back some 50 odd years in development as a society. We are now behind in progress in so many areas technology, medical research, education, environment, immigration and unfortunately womens rights. The rights our mothers fought so hard to get, maintain and advance are almost unknown today.
    Women are targeted in employment as we are seen as the weakest. So work conditions, promotion, opportunities are targeted. I lost my job recently not based on my performance they retained a male in the position who had less qualifications and relevance. A friend of mine such an incredibly smart woman who works tirelessly as a head of her school was refused a position because they decided she didnt have the right personality traits for the job it was given to a man.
    Men dont want women in positions of power when I say men I dont mean all of them but in the influential fat layer of society that holds the power they want it held by men. Why? because it suits a capitalist society better. Men can put all importance on upholding a list of numbers over human suffering or the health of the planet or ensuring future generations move safely forward.
    But there is something that they dont realise women are also smarter than men we just are we have an innate ability to see minute detail and big picture simultaneously. Its what allows us to ensure both our children and our own survival. We are multitaskers in every sense and we are champions of commonsense.
    You dont have to have children to tap in to this resource either. We have the ability to apply commonsense at any point once we see the big picture and examine the finer details.
    They cant stifle us and if they chop Julia Guillard down at the ankles we know that whilst its depressing in the now it will only light fires in other women to take the challlenge follow in her footsteps and push it further.
    At some point men will have to let go of the control and the fear of the womb and ask us for help because as a society we are floundering. The male way is breaking down all over the world. Its not working thats when women will come into their own. Might not be Sylvies generation but I bet it wont be far off that.

    I hope you get better soon and the fire returns to your belly.
    PS: there is nothing to fear in beauty beauty is subjective and in the eye of the beholder my nieces 'pink' is red. ;)

    1. Thanks Helen - Wow that is a topic close to your heart. The Howard years weren't good for the country but there are historical forces beyond Howard that seem to have sent feminism backwards. Possibly we need a fourth wave of feminism because the third wave seems to be floundering. Did we just get complacent? Sorry to hear your lost your job to a man - life sucks but I hope you will find something else.

      In a way I think men have turned to women to help because now many families are dependent on two incomes rather than one but I think men need to work out how to be able to respect and support power in women - this is one of the problems with our prime minister - people just don't seem to respect her husband.

      But I have hope things will change - if history has taught us anything, it is that there is always change even if so slow that we don't notice it - and so I think the more of us that refuse to accept this treatment of women, the faster the change

  3. oops sorry its so long didnt mean to write a book!

    Helen :))

  4. The gender issues in the news have left me both dismayed and amazed. I really thought we were past the time where being male or female was the most important thing in defining who you were and what you did. Some of the comments have been horrifying. It's been a low month for Australian politics! I think Sylvia is lucky to have you as a role model, and thanks for taking the time to do this post.

    I also love your autumn photos and the sound of kitchari, which I'd not heard of before.

    1. Thanks Kari - it has been a low month for Australian politics - in fact I wonder how history will reflect on Guilard's government. I think in the 1980s we had made great progress with feminism and even when I was at uni feminism had more respect and then there was this post feminism attitude we-have-made-the-change-so-now-we-can-have-fun-and-make-fun-of-women. It is disappointing but as I said to helen, history goes in waves and I hope these attitudes will change again.

  5. There was an interesting radio program on Radio National a few days ago with Natasha Mitchell called 50 shades of Feminism it's worth listening to :)

    1. Thanks Tash - sounds interesting - will try and look it up

  6. First of all, let me say that I couldn't be more thrilled that you chose my recipe (and Dr. Oz's) as part of this feminist-themed post! :D I read about some of those issues as well and was just flabbergasted. We still have a long way to go, baby!

    Now, the kitchari. . . I can see the comfort it provides, but want to emphasize that this is not just invalid food! We eat it regularly just as great comfort food in the cold weather. Yours looks terrific, too.

    1. Thanks Ricki - sadly there is a long long way to go with feminism - we really seem to have gone off track. And I agree kitchari is more than invalid food - but it was an excellent dish for E when he was ill. But I think we would love to eat it regularly - in fact I have some rice in the freezer than might well go that way

  7. Your post reflects my feelings so very much. I've been so depressed this week at the way we seem to be going backward, and the fact that being female seems to be such a negative thing.

    But I can't believe that this is what it will always look like. While the next few years look pretty bleak to me, I think we must surely swing back at some point.

    My next project is to write a letter of support to every woman currently in parliament, regardless of party. Every bit of flak they are taking is one less piece for our daughters and nieces - or so I must firmly believe.


    1. Thanks Catherine - it does seem bleak but I have confidence in history going in cycles and that this too shall pass (though I also thought labour would rise into the ascendency when the Libs were so strong and I don't feel like I was right there!) - good luck with writing your letters - sounds like a great idea

  8. Makes me sick. Makes me so sick. A great many people in the US have witnessed my ranting about the state of affairs in Australia right now. Makes me sick. And I'm secretly glad I'm not there to be faced with the trollop every day. I'm waving my feminist flag high - the flag that says not that women are superior, but that we're godd*mn all equal argh.

    The end.

    1. Thanks Hannah - it is odd to look at your country from afar and see if with external eyes as you must in another country (I remember being in the UK during the Tampa crisis and my memory of Australian politics on the news was John Howard coming to the microphone and walking away without speaking as though he didn't have a clue - it was very odd) I really do wonder who are these people who support shock jocks such as Alan Jones and Howard Sattler - and then I remember I know some of them and I feel even worse! Keep flying the flag and looking forward to days when you can feel proud about reports of goings on in Australia

  9. Just right now, my husband is watching a documentary about the Norwegian radical right-wing assassinator Anders Breivik in the next room. In the media, it was mostly stated he had nationalist and anti-Muslim attitudes, but the documentary is about that he actually had very masculinist attitudes and was a radical anti-feminist as well. Things like that scare me a lot and make me very angry and sad. :(

    I need to make a kitchari soon, I've never tried!

    1. Thanks Kath - I agree. it is scary how all these attitudes build up a picture of humanity that makes some people so worthless in others eyes. Hope you and your husband enjoy the kitchari

    2. I haven't made it yet, but I have bought brown basmati rice and yellow lentils, so I think I'll make it next weekend. :)


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