23 (Thu) April 2020
Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo
-Dasmariñas Village, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines-
with the Family
Enhanced Community Quarantine Day 37 / Repax Day -41
Today, the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health (APPFGH) convened an Ad Hoc Virtual Meeting on COVID-19. Our team was asked to organize the meeting one week ago. With the experience and connections that we have built over the past 5 years – and by “we,” I mean KF and KH, the two seminal members of the APPFGH secretariat – we were able to secure the participation of 30 parliamentarians from 20 countries, including presentations from the parliaments of the 4 countries that have hosted prior APPFGH meetings (Republic of Korea, Japan, Philippines, Fiji), and the 1 country that is looking to host the next one (Mongolia).
The meeting provided a timely opportunity for WHO to provide Forum members with technical updates relating to COVID-19, for countries to share their experiences on parliamentary action for COVID-19 response, and for all participants to consider how the Forum can continue to support these efforts. Throughout the discussions, the key unifying theme that emerged was the need for solidarity between parliamentarians and between countries. Participants also highlighted the important role of WHO in facilitating the sharing of information and providing technical guidance.
Whereas the 6th Meeting of the Forum is (as yet) scheduled for the end of August 2020, after my departure from the service of WHO, it is the only program item that I was going to miss. Building APPFGH – the first WHO-led platform on engagement with parliamentarians, part of WHO’s first technical unit dedicated to health law – has been the most rewarding part of my career with WHO.
I am so grateful that we had one final dance, if only to confirm the strength of the network and our role in it.
Project Cook Every Silver Spoon Spaghetti (CESSS). To level up my skills in La Cucina Italiana, I will try the 11 recipes for spaghetti as featured in the seminal Italian cookbook The Silver Spoon (see The Silver Spoon).
Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo (spaghetti with raw tomatoes) is the 2nd in the series, thanks to a fortuitous acquisition of fresh basil at the store today. The recipe appeared impossibly simple.
It turned out amazing. So delicious. So healthy. So easy. So versatile. This will definitely be added to my repertoire.
Once again, I am posting the recipe after a single try.
- 500 grams of ripe fresh tomatoes
- 4 TB of extra virgin olive oil
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 400 grams of spaghetti
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Dice the tomatoes (NOTE: the original recipes calls for peeling and seeding, but I like skins and pulp; also, not peeling and seeding is much easier and faster than peeling and seeding).
2. Cut the basil into ribbons.
3. Crush the garlic (TIP: this is to release the flavors, but keep the cloves intact to facilitate removal later).
4. Combine the vegetables in a bowl, add oil, season with salt and pepper.
5. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld and develop (TIP: this step is critical; otherwise, the sauce will taste disjointed and bland).
6. After 30 minutes, discard the garlic (NOTE: have faith, the flavor of garlic will come through).
7. In a large pot, bring water to the boil, add a generous handful of salt, cook the spaghetti until al dente.
8. Drain the pasta and immediately mix with the tomatoes while the surface of the pasta is still moist and bubbling hot.