A Portrait of the Modern Heroine

Roomie night: a quintessential occasion that has no equal. In September 2010, I moved out into this fantastic apartment with a near and dear friend, Jennifer Berg. Since then, we’ve made this our home, and have come to value these nights dearly. The formula for a successful roomie night is simple: good food, lots of laughter, and of course a great chick flick.  From Jane Austen’s Emma to Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, we’ve become enamored with these heroines of self-worth and love (regardless of how cheesy they get). I thought it would be worthwhile to share a “taste” of a roomie night on this blog by sharing one of our dinners: Baked Tilapia with Mango-Black Bean Salsa
This was actually a very simple dish to make. I had poured over a number of salsa variations earlier in the day, and was unable to decide on one or the other. As such, I chose a hybrid of several recipes (a dash Martha Stewart with a taste of Southern Living). The thought of a fresh, light salsa seemed ideal for this roomie night, and what better pairing with such a colorful relish than tilapia? A light chardonnay with a side salad made for the perfect meal. Granted, our “chick flick” of choice features two ladies whose diet consists of pizza and pop tarts (and yet they STILL look great!) But I imagine the Gilmore Girls would appreciate these roomie nights, even if the food goes above their own culinary efforts. I intentionally made more salsa than needed so we could enjoy it with chips as well. Trust me – this salsa is FANTASTIC, and you’ll be wishing you made more after you’ve finished your fish. Click HERE to check out this recipe.
Now here was a tricky pairing – the “heroine” idea was a natural choice, but one glance at the classical music heroines reveals that “happily ever afters” are rare occurrences: Isolde from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Mimì from Puccini’s La bohème, etc. Not quite the “roomie night” ideal, but c’est la vie. According to Dictionary.com, a heroine is “a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds…” In that sense, there is no doubt that opera is the strongest context. A “subtle” allusion to my recipe helped narrow down my choice to Georges Bizet’s Carmen – “a superstar among operatic heroines, her name forever spotlit in the general imagination.”* In this opera, Bizet paints the portrait of an alluring heroine whose unfettered love and fiery spirit have made her name a legend beyond the stage. I chose the most famous of the work’s arias, the Habanera, sometimes referred to as “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” (“Love is a rebellious bird”)**. The following recording is of Maria Callas, arguably one of the most celebrated sopranos of our time. Enjoy!

Sources Cited:
* Alvarez, Maria. “Fatal attraction.” The Guardian
** “Habanera (aria).” Wikipedia.com

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