Saturday, December 8, 2007

David Kalivas is back

It took more than a year and a half for David Kalivas' World History Podcast to be revived - we nearly thought it had podfaded. Five new lectures were added, three of which on Egypt, Mesopotamia and monotheism in a series of connected thoughts. What sets Kalivas apart from other lecturers and history podcasters is the natural ease at which he manages to give a broad overview, yet pick out vital details and maintain a very relaxed, near casual tone of voice.

Egypt and Mesopotamia both emerged as early civilizations. Egypt maintained a stable rule for thousands of years, whereas in Mesopotamia there was a succession of cultures; one conquering the next and so forth. These two river valley civilizations succeed the previous podcast series where the Chinese and Indus Valley Civilizations were described.

From the exchange between Mesopotamia and Egypt we inherited monotheism; the ancient Hebrews stem from Abraham who came out of old Ur and eventually rode to Egypt. Egypt is also the scene of the Exodus. Even though Kalivas does not suggest an actual link, he makes a point at paralleling Akhnaten's attempt to turn the Egyptian cult into a proto-monotheism and Moses implemented monotheism, taking the people out of Egypt, roughly at the same time.

Couscous with Chicken

Typically in the winter I make huge dishes of couscous we all love. Leftovers are intended; we store them in single servings in the freezer, for later use. It is very handy and near indispensable to have ready to go meals in the fridge when you have a family.

12 drumsticks; skin removed (Or any amount of chicken legs, with or without the thigh)
3 table spoons of olive oil
1 tea spoon cumin
1 tea spoon sweet paprika
2 tea spoons turmeric
1 tea spoon coriander (ground)
a handful of coriander (leaves)
2 cloves garlic
5 carrots
5 stems of celery
green pepper
2 courgettes
500 grams chickpeas (readily boiled or from a can)
(Optional to add: pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower)
500 grams couscous (3 minute microwavable)
0.5 liter boiling water

Slowly heat two table spoons of oil and add cumin, sweet paprika and one tea spoon of turmeric. When the oil is sufficiently hot, throw in the pieces of chicken, one by one, carefully turning them around in order to have them fried lightly in the oil and spices. If necesary to make some room, take out some of the chicken (not all) and add the vegetables. Stir fry until everythign is sufficiently warm. Add salt, garlic and chickpeas. Boil the water and add that too. (In case you took out some of the chicken put the pieces on top) Allow to boil for 10-20 minutes. Put the couscous in a bowl, add one teas spoon of turmeric and one table spoon of oil; stir well with a fork. Take 0.5 liter of broth from the stew and pour it on the couscous. Stir with the fork in order to evenly immerse the couscous in the soup. Put the bowl for 3 minutes in the microwave and high power. After three minutes, allow the couscous to stand for 5 minutes. Stir the couscous with the fork once more.
Check on the stew, add salt to taste. Serve on top of the couscous.