Tuesday, September 9, 2014


So the arts meet sometimes.  And in reality there is an art to everything.  The Spanish have mastered the art of frying an egg in a very special way.  So for fun I thought it would be interesting  to share the art and the recipe. In 1816 Diego Velazquez, Old Woman Frying eggs, shows a process that is still done today in which eggs are fried in olive oil.  It is so amazing to think of a process of cooking that has survived so long and come into the future. While pursing through blogs I came across the article on the Art of Frying an Egg.   The blog is one you may want to check out In Praise of the Sardine, though there are no sardines in this recipe. 


          SPANISH FRIED EGGS                                                                        
                                                           from google only for art advocacy

Diego Velazquez  Spanish Artist  Diego Vieja Friendo Huevos , Old Woman Frying eggs 1816   hangs in the National Gallery in Scotland

"I was intrigued to read in one of Penelope Casas' cookbooks that her Spanish husband's favorite meal, the one he request every year for his birthday, is fried eggs. Heres is a guy married to the author of a half dozen Spanish cookbooks and culinary travel guides to Spain, a man who could presumably request any number of gastronomic delights, and he desires fried eggs?  My initial thought was "what a yoke".(pun intended).  But then I noticed each of my Spanish cookbooks includes a recipe for fried eggs. And each one waxes as rhapsodic as Penelope Casas" husband about how beloved the fried egg is in Spain.  Still I felt skeptical, I felt compelled to test how deep this passion ran during my second visit to Spain. Nearly everyone I ask grew flushed with excitement as soon as I raised the topic of the huevo frito! Yet another reason why the Spanish are my kind of people." from the blog .From the blog In Praise of the Sardine.

Salvador Dali      Dying of Velazquez                            from google only use only for art advocacy.
"Naturally, I sampled fried eggs whenever I could in Spain, including a memorable one that was perched atop an embarrassing quantity of the most delicious foie gras I have ever had. (Mantequeria can Ravell in Barcelona).  I also learned how to master th simple art of the huevo frito, which as you will learn, is the best farm fresh e.g. ou can buy quickly fried in generous amounts of extra virgin oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  Guess what I will be making for myself on my birthday every year?

extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
1 egg per person
coarse sea salt, preferably Maldon
toasted bread


Pour enough oil in non-stick pan to come to a depth of about 1/4".  Turn flame to medium high and heat until nearly smoking.  Break the egg into the pan without breaking yolk.  Quickly turn down the heat to medium low and cook for no longer than one minute, all the while using a metal spoon to baste the egg on top with hot oil from the pan.  The white will puff up and get a bit crunchy and golden of the sides and the yolk will remain runny.  Use a slotted spoon to lift the egg out of the pan and shake off any excess oil.  Plop you egg onto your plate or toast, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper if  you like and imagine yourself at an outside terrazzo somewhere in Spain on a warm sunny day."

 I hope you enjoy this bit of fun…with art, food, and travel.  Those are a few of my favorite things!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Boushra Almutawakel is an enigma in the Middle East, but she is a growing part of young women artists who are exploring the myth of women and their identity in a culture that romanticism women and restricts them. 

Disappearing Woman                                      Boushra Almutalwakel

For those of us that are from Western cultures it is hard to understand women who cover themselves so completely, but one point of view Boushra had made since to me….she stated it is like Western women who cover themselves with makeup and you can not see their real selves. Growing up I knew little about the Middle East other than what may have been mentioned about the Crusades and Infidels.  I don't think I even knew what infidels were or where they lived.  
Then came Lawrence of Arabia and my next view of the Middle East was formed, tribes primitive tribes that fought and struggled to form one cohesive body to fight the British control.
  The call to prayer, the women's clothing, the seeming harshness of the culture all started to build a romantic vision in my mind of flowing robes, turbans, deserts, camels, and women hidden behind carved screens in a harem.  It was not until I went to college that me view again changed and then again not until well into adulthood.  But the most dramatic change for me was living in Izmir, Turkey and learning more about Islam and women's role with in the country and religion.  Turkey was at the time a very Western leaning Middle Eastern country and the more religious women might cover their hair or wear a loose covering that did not show the shape of their body.  And living two years in Turkey gave me just a peak behind the myth I had formed from childhood.   The Call to Prayer, was no longer chilling to me, but welcoming.  People were friendly and hospitable to me as a foreigner.  I knew that women, that were not Western, were not treated as equally as I was.  In my travels in Turkey as I went Eastward the customs were more and more rigid and restrictive for women.  

Boushra Almutalwakel         Portrait of Mother and Daughter         from google for purpose of art advocacy
I have read that in some areas of the Middle East women are not allowed to drive and that they must carry a passport to go from one part of town to another.  I have also read non fiction books that document women's struggle to win more freedom and rights that are often met with harsh punishment.  I still struggle to understand what is cultural and what is religious in the restrictions applied to women. 

I look forward to seeing more of Boushra's examination and conversation about her culture in Yemen as well as other pioneer young women artists of the Middle East.  They help us all break down stereotypes and gain a clearer understanding of Eastern culture that seems so different from our own.

 Photography by Boushra Almutawakel                              from google for the purpose of art education
Boushra Amutawakel, a penner among Yemeni female photographer, found these ideas stimulating and decided to interpret them photographically.  As she recalls, after September 11th and increase in 'all things Middle Eastern' took place, either demonizing or romanticizing Arabs and Muslims.  Part of the Romanticism, she elaborates "is  was Middle Eastern women have been portrayed artistically as exotic mysterious creatures".  She wanted to challenge through her work "Wester, Arab, and Islamic views and stereotypes", trying to "look at things from different perspectives and approaching the many layers "she seems in this subject."  Source Nafas Art Magazine

Boushra Almutwakel challenges us all to think about the roles of culture and the female image and role in society.

Untitled by Boushra Almutawakel  Yemin Photographer
from google for art advocacy

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