Celebrating with Purple and Easy Recipes
International Women’s Day, founded by Clara Zetkin in 1910, has evolved from “bread and peace” in 1917 to the “Press for Progress” theme in 2018. The idea is to celebrate with purple and carry out the #PressforProgress theme worldwide all year. I started the day with bagels topped with Raspberry Chipotle Fruit Spread and cream cheese and coffee. Pressure cooker chicken and rice, baked eggplant, and cherry juice was celebrated in purple style.
History of International Women’s Day
Women’s Day was made official by the United Nations (UN) in 1975. The first women’s day was celebrated in the United States during February 1909 by women marching and “demanding improved pay, shorter hours and voting rights“, three good reasons to campaign for. Marching is only one of several ways to promote social change. Perhaps, you would prefer not to march for causes but want to be involved in bringing about changes for women. Try other forms of campaigning such as advertising, doing research, writing letters, using social media, and educating people about topics you feel strongly about.
Clara Zetkin paved the way for global recognition of women’s achievements. The focus of International Women’s Day in 2018 gives extra attention to facilitating ‘gender parity’, a term that Haley Swenson describes as “a statistical measure that compares a particular indicator among women, like average income, to the same indicator among men”.
Purple represents International Women’s Day. Purple, green, and white have been used together for symbolizing women’s equality since 1908. Why purple? The color purple goes way back in history beginning with ancient biblical times.
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Purple in Ancient Biblical Times
Purple has been considered a royal color used since ancient Biblical times. Purple’s rarity in nature and the expense of creating its dye gave it a great deal of prestige. It was the most expensive dye known to the ancient Israelites in the Bible. It was the color of choice for those of noble or royal birth or those who were high-level officials.
The following three examples, two from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, indicate the nobility and expense of the color purple.
According to Linen Curtains in the Tabernacle, a blog post dated June 12, 2017, “linen curtains, the blue, purple and scarlet embroidery yarn, and the linen priest’s clothes, came from the flax plant.” God gave specific instructions on how the tabernacle (Book of Exodus, Holy Bible, Holy Bible) was to be built. “Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen (Exodus 35:23-25). Moses told the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel . . . and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs . . . and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And he has given both him and Oholiab . . . the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.”
“Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sail and served as your banner; your awnings were of blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah” (Ezekiel 27:7 NIV).
Acts 16:11-15 (NIV) tells about a woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira. The setting of this account was on a Sabbath day outside the city gate to the river, Philippi, a Roman colony and leading city of “that district of Macedonia”, and Lydia was gathered there with other women. Verse 14 states “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.”
”Tyrian purple is a dye extracted from the murex shellfish which was first produced by the Phoenician city of Tyre in the Bronze Age. Its difficulty of manufacture, striking purple to red colour range, and resistance to fading made clothing dyed using Tyrian purple highly desirable and expensive. The Phoenicians gained great fame as sellers of purple.”
Purple in the Elizabethan Era, November 17, 1558 – March 24, 1603
Purple was only allowed to be worn by certain social ranks in the Elizabethan era. “Queen Elizabeth I passed a series of strict laws relating to dress codes. The laws ensured that people across the social spectrum dressed according to their rank and class.”
Purple Dye and Its Expense
Wikipedia gives interesting information about Tyrian purple dye – “greatly prized in antiquity because the colour did not easily fade, but instead became brighter with weathering and sunlight.” There are two purple dyes I’ve researched, one “extracted from the Bolinus brandaris known as “argaman (ארגמן) in Biblical Hebrew” and one extracted from a related sea snail that produced a blue colour…known as tekhelet.”
“More than 9,000 mollusks were needed to create just one gram of Tyrian purple… In 1856, 18-year-old English chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created a synthetic purple compound while attempting to synthesize quinine, an anti-malaria drug . He noticed that the compound could be used to dye fabrics, so he patented the dye and manufactured it under the name aniline purple and Tyrian purple, making a fortune in the process.”
You can read more about the history and meaning of colors representing women and women’s equality at International Women’s Day website. This site states “white represents purity, but is no longer used due to ‘purity’ being a controversial concept.”
What does purity mean?
Let’s look at its synonyms in addition to more adjectives and its meaning in the categories of celibacy, clarity, classicism, elegance, excellence, and holiness. Wait! Don’t go yet. I know these are not the most popular topics in the twenty-first century. Take a few moments to check out this old-fashioned term and what it truly means. Consider why the word has become so offensive that it stopped being used to refer to women.
I’ve chosen five words from each of the above-mentioned categories and synonyms of the word “purity” to give a thorough understanding of its meaning.
cleanliness, cleanness, immaculateness, whiteness, stainlessness
artistic, delicate, felicitous, decent, graceful
abstention, chastity, virginity, virtue, self-restraint
accuracy, directness, openness, prominence, simplicity
class, dignity, nobility, refinement, symmetry
culture, gentility, grandeur, politeness, style
distinction, fineness, high quality, superbness, worth
devotion, faith, righteousness, spirituality, virtuousness
According to International Women’s Day, the colour yellow signifies “a second wave of feminism, purple with green represents traditional feminism, purple with yellow represents progressive contemporary feminism.” It is disappointing that white no longer represents International Women’s Day because it would include the example of refined, noble, elegant, graceful, prominent, and virtuous women of culture.
But ‘Purity’ is a controversial concept? What woman wouldn’t want to be regarded as described by these synonyms of purity? They define an amazing, honorable, exceptional woman. If the concept is controversial because it doesn’t fit women of the twenty-first century globally, start paying attention. I’m not implying that women are perfect without any flaws, but what or who is to stop us from striving for perfection?
Thinking of the 1917 “bread and peace” focus of this global day recognizing women, I decided to celebrate today in Kitchen Southern Hospitality (KSH) style – and included white to say purity is still an acceptable, honorable concept. Starting with breakfast, I chose my own bread craving (bagels topped with white cream cheese and a purple sweet and spicy fruit spread).
Lunch included purple eggplant, white grated cheese, chicken, and rice. I used brown rice that looks more like a shade of white than it does brown. The chicken and rice entree is enough for two. On this occasion, however, I was the only one eating it which meant a peaceful leftovers dinner and no cooking involved (other than heating it up in the microwave).
There is another southern food that would go well with the chicken, rice, and eggplant meal – purple hull peas. The way we eat peas in my part of the South is to add relish, or Chow Chow as we call it, on top of the peas. Oh, my! If you’ve had to shell the peas first yourself, you definitely deserve to enjoy a liberal serving of the purple hulls with Chow Chow. Now that’s some good eatin’.
You cook the chicken and rice in the pressure cooker first then add a tablespoon of the fruit spread on top of each chicken thigh, stir, and it’s ready to eat.
Kitchen Southern Hospitality style is just what it implies:
- southern style recipes
- southern hospitality
- kitchen (cooking, serving, showing hospitality, etc.)
friendly, congenial, sociable, cordial, courteous, gracious, helpful, neighborly, warm, kind, generous, bountiful
The word sounds like a peaceful term to me. When I read of Lydia, the seller of purple, I can picture her as a woman of purity and hospitable. Her guests and those of her household surely must have felt peace in her home as she made sure they were cared for and served with her very best of food and daily bread. Though I don’t sell purple (I do love and wear the color, even did today), I have had fun creating two recipes today to celebrate International Women’s Day in appreciation for honorable achievements of women in the Bible, in the twenty-first century, and in my life.
Ten years ago this week, March 5th, one particular amazing woman in my life took her last breath. Her name was Myrl, and she was one of ten siblings raised by their widowed mother.
Myrl married at seventeen, and her new husband, Benard H., went to war a month later. He served in the Office of Strategic Services, wartime intelligence during World War II and the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. After the war, Myrl and Benard (who had acquired the name “Benny” by his OSS cohorts) lived in Washington D. C. then eventually moved back to their home state, Texas.
I miss her. She isn’t and won’t be forgotten. I think of her every day. This week, however, I feel especially emotional, to the onslaught of tears, because of how much I miss her. She taught me how to cook, love, serve, be gracious and courteous and show hospitality. She was a phenomenal southern cook. A leader. Pastor’s wife. Artist. Interior decorator. Gifted. A comforter. On March 8th, 2018, on this day that we recognize women globally for their achievements, I want to honor my mother, Myrl.
She and my dad were married for 66 years and are both gone now. Grief affects people differently. Even if you’ve lost a dear one, knowing what to say to a friend who is grieving isn’t easy. One thing difficult for most of us is not hearing their voice anymore. That was one of the hardest things for me. Can’t hear her voice anymore. Want to call her and tell her something. Then remember she’s not there.
So I surround myself with things that remind me of special memories. Like her Bible, her chair, a pen. They’re just things. But they bring a smile to my face, a laugh, a feeling of comfort. And I cook and serve others by creating my own southern style recipes and favorite recipes of Mother’s, hoping to inspire and comfort others with “bread and peace” in a hospitable and gracious way.
I’ve added two KSH style recipes for you to try. One is Pressure Cooker Chicken Thighs and Brown Rice, and the other is Baked Eggplant. They are both easy to prepare and cook, and the idea is to serve the special March 8th recipes with purple, green, and white in mind – especially purple.
Pressure Cooker Chicken & Rice
Easy chicken and rice cooked in the pressure cooker
- 2 Frozen Chicken Thighs
- 1/2 cup Brown Rice
- 1-1/4 cups Water
- 2 tablespoons Raspberry Chipotle Fruit Spread
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Six Seasonings an herb and spice brand with Mexican oregano, cumin, coriander, garlic, cilantro, and saffron
Season two chicken thighs with salt and Six Seasonings, and place in the pressure cooker.
Choose the Sear-Roast button.
Sear both sides (approximately five minutes).
Add the rice and water, and close the lid.
Press the pressure cooker stop button, then push start and choose the pressure cooker's Chicken button.
When the pressure cooker timer stops, press the release button that lets the steam out.
Open the pressure cooker, and top each chicken thigh with a tablespoon of the fruit spread.
Stir, and it's ready to eat.
You can also use Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce instead of the fruit spread. The fruit spread is more on the sweet side than spicy.
Like chicken and sweet peas? Try my chicken, rice, and sweet pea soup pressure cooker recipe.
And here is the baked eggplant recipe:
Baked eggplant to represent International Women's Day
- 1/2 Eggplant
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Six Seasonings Six Seasonings is a blend of herbs and spices that include Mexican oregano, cumin, coriander, garlic, cilantro, and saffron.
- 1/2 cup Italian Cheese Blend, grated A blend of low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, provolone, asiago, parmesan, romano & fontina cheeses.
Slice one half of the eggplant into thin slices.
Season one side of slices with salt and the other side with the Six Seasonings blend.
Cover a cookie sheet or pan with foil (easier to clean up that way), and place the eggplant slices on the foil.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, and take the pan out to turn eggplant slices over.
Cook for another 15 minutes, and take the eggplant out of the oven then top with grated Italian Cheese Blend.
Ready to eat!
The delicious chicken, rice, and eggplant meal were served with a cup of cherry juice.
I tend to wait until after a meal to drink a beverage. This time I drank cherry juice in a purple and pink butterfly cup. It’s so pretty and a favorite of guests in my home. I found some gorgeous purple butterfly cups on Amazon like the one below. However, my cup collection must stop growing, or I’ll have to build a wall-to-floor mug shelving unit.
After enjoying the chicken, rice, and eggplant meal, I walked outside a bit and admired a purple tree – appropriate for this International Women’s Day with a purple theme.
No need to wait ’til a year from now to make the Chicken and Rice pressure cooker recipe made with purple fruit spread and baked purple eggplant. The meal will taste just as good any day of the week or special occasion.
If you try out my recipes, come back and share how you liked them (hopefully, you’ll love the flavors as much as I did).
Celebrate you this week. Celebrate the women who have made a difference in your life.