By Isa Covo
2020. Twenty years ago we left a century so full of contrasts: there were the two world wars, racist segregation, lynching, the blood-drenched ends of colonialism, the Vietnam war, the end of most kingdoms, the rise of Nazism and its brutality, the concentration camps, revolutions, the killing of a young and popular president, the killing of a charismatic and courageous Civil Rights leader, the violent demonstrations, the AIDS epidemic, and many more unsettling and tragic situations.
It was also a remarkable century where arts flourished, with new visions and expressions, in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, ballet, literature, progressive thinking. The pop music expressions with Tin Pan Alley first, the expansion and new sounds in jazz, also Hip Hop and most of all Rap that conquered the world.
Of course, we cannot forget the legacy of the Beatles, the music of Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and many more—too many to list here.
Remember Woodstock on that rainy weekend, which was never exactly replicated, but remained legendary? And the Flower Children?”
There were big strides in technology that inspire to this day: the landing on the moon, the extra-terrestrial space exploration, the invention of radio and television, the internet and the speed of communication to the farthest reaches of the world, the cell phones, followed by smartphones offering even more possibilities. There has been progress in medicine that has helped improve the quality of life and, in some cases, find a cure.
Two decades into this century, where are we now? Early in the century, 9/11 happened, and we still suffer the aftermath, with our first responders and volunteers still getting sick. We are involved in wars in several countries in the Middle East. Russia is a menace meddling in politics around the world. Pollution is attacking our environment and health, climate change is happening, and we don’t know where it is going to lead us if we lack control; the gap between the rich and the poor in our society has widened, racism may not have increased, but more and more people feel free to express it. Insults and foul language abound, civility is diminishing, but not entirely. Acts of civility and kindness are still here: people offer their seats to those they feel may need them. Have you noticed how many people open doors to others? If someone falls down in the street, how many react? How many are eager to offer help to those who need it to cross a street, for instance, or climb the stairs? Yes, they are many.
What about the various charities and those belonging to them, and are truly dedicated? And those who finance them, even in small donations? Some of our richest are ready to share their fortune through foundations for the good of humanity—they support education, research in various fronts, the arts, urbanism and more.
So here we are. I wish you all a very good, productive, healthy and loving year. Enjoy your life every day, and if it is in your power to make some others happy, do it.
The more frequent New Year’s resolution is to control one’s weight, so here is a recipe that is tasty and low in calories. Our only wish should be for all of us to become better people and help improve our world.
Raw Marinated Tuna
After the many celebrations of the holiday season, you may be looking for something easy, tasty, and not too fattening. Well here is a solution—a delicious Japanese-inspired dish that has all those qualities.
- 1 pound tuna ¾ inches thick, approximately
- ½ teaspoon wasabi paste or powder
- 4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
- 4 scallions
- 4 shiso leaves
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1. Wipe the tuna with a wet paper towel and cut into 3/4 to 1/2-inch cubes. There should be four or five per person.
2. If using wasabi powder, mix it with one tablespoon of water. In a small bowl mix together the wasabi, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil if used.
3. Place the tuna cubes in a shallow container and pour the marinade over it, stir to coat the tuna. Marinate eight to ten minutes, stirring them two or three times.
4. Meanwhile rinse, dry and cut the scallions into two-inch pieces and cut into thin strips, separating the strips. Do the same with the shisho
5. Arrange the cubes on individual plates and distribute the marinate over them, decorate with the scallion and shiso strips. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds if used.
Yield: serves 4