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Articles tagged "Food"

Where the Sidewalk Bends: Romeo and Juliet in the Dessert Aisle

Like a Portuguese baker preparing creamy pastéis de nata, to write this post I need to start with eggs. Yolks, to be specific. During the Colonial period, Portuguese convents and monasteries used the whites (clara) for starching clothes in their laundries, while the yolks (gema) were simply thrown out or fed to the pigs. At the time, Portugal was one of the world’s biggest egg producers, so surplus yolk, paired with an influx of sugar from its colonies, became the most...

Ketchup

I read in the newspaper that the Apocalypse wasn’t going to happen. To celebrate this piece of good news, I went to McDonald’s and ordered a hamburger. “How fortunate,” I thought, enthusiastically seasoning my hamburger with ketchup, “that there won’t be any angelic horns, no earthbound star plunging toward us on a path of fiery destruction.” Until that day I had eaten without enthusiasm, as I had been living in the shadow of impending...

from “Broken Glass Park”

I hate men. Anna says good men do exist. Nice, friendly men who cook and help clean up and who earn money. Men who want to have children and give gifts and book vacations. Who wear clean clothes, don’t drink, and even look halfway decent. Where on earth are they, I ask. She says they’re out there—if not in our town then in Frankfurt. But she doesn’t know any personally, unless you count people she’s seen on TV. That’s why I always repeat the words...

Three Times Germany

Three Times Germany is an audio production of twenty-three monologues performed by eight actors. The monologues are based on interviews of East Germans, West Germans, and Germans living in New York. Retracing his own life journey from East Germany to West Germany in 1974 and on to New York in 1980, Uwe Mengel interviewed Germans who crossed his path along the way. The resulting monologues offer an unusual and often disconcerting view into the prejudices and reservations with which Germans...

Pink Pigeons—Was It They Who Won?

An early August wind whispers through the lush green trees of Alma Ata. The tiny leaves break into applause. "What are these trees called?" I ask the interpreter. "Tuzhi," the ravishing, delicate Tatar beauty responds gently, in a distinctly American accent. Her name is Gulnaz. So beautiful, fragile-looking, adorable! Like a refreshing vision of paradise itself. And the words flow from her mouth in a cascade of flowers. A persistent breeze keeps blowing her short blonde hair across her...

Song of the Kiwi

The kiwi is man, that male animal with his triptych of dangling genitals: he doesn't sing, he doesn't fly, he has no wings. He doesn't get pregnant. He has no breasts. He lacks a fresh vagina. The kiwi lives far away, down under: New Zealand, Australia. He is the opposite of the kangaroo, female animal with a voracious fertility, muscular and graceful. The kiwi hears the song of the powerful kangaroo and the earth beneath his feeble legs begins...

The Kitchen

Ruth loved flour. Mother loved the kitchen. And I loved Ruth and Mother. I grew up at the large kitchen table, watching Ruth sift flour and mix various kinds of dough. I learned to walk while holding on to Mother's skirt as she chopped onions, boiled potatoes, and minced meat. My mother, a beautiful cheerful woman, always sang in the kitchen, often old songs by Frank Sinatra: Fly me to the moon, Let me play among the stars . . . On Ruth's lap, I was coddled on her oil-spotted...

On the Tomato

  Brief Vaudevillian Hypotheses Apropos of this Androgynous Fruit 1 Behold the hero of the vegetable patch a modest American marvel with the face of a Chinese lantern. 2 Sheer light made of water: a fleeting heart, pumping muted cries of jubilation. 3 Her fancy dress, her festive fantasy of red confirms a doubt: she's a lady tossed in the salad by mistake. 16 A tomato rots: here lies a misfortune greater than...

from “Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded”

Yusuf al-Shirbini wrote his primary work, Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded [Hazz al-Quhuf bi-Sharh Qasid Abi Shaduf], in or shortly after 1686. His only other known work is a homily written entirely with those letters of the Arabic alphabet that do not have dots. Little is known of the author's life, though he appears to have studied at al-Azhar, Cairo's religious university, and to have worked as a bookseller and perhaps, at some point, as a weaver. Brains...

Settling Accounts

My father abandoned my mother a few months after I was born. So my mother and I had to move into the home of my maternal grandmother. My mother had only one brother, Uncle Otávio, a failed economist who worked for an import firm for a pitiful salary. A friend of his was elected president of the nation and made him head of a large state entity, where he had the opportunity to get rich through corrupt measures, allowing him to give his mother, my grandmother, a life of luxury. She...

Rice

1 She woke in the middle of the night to cook rice. Couldn't sleep. She was lying on the bed, eyes closed, but she hadn't the slightest sensation of sleepiness. He slept quite well beside her. When you are insomniac, the person slumbering next to you is like a curse. She rolled over, got up, and sat at the edge of the bed. Then she lay back down, and rolled over. He was completely insensible. In life not only are birth and death solitary, but so is sleep, and even insomnia. Then...

from “Comfort”

A two-star colleague had helped me import a rye from a small French village with the rather apt name of Pont-Saint-Esprit. Because opium had been banned under the Opium Act in 1928 and no other hard drugs were available from the wholesalers, enthusiasts are forced to find devious ways of getting hold of their stimulants. In previous centuries practically everybody got a regular and considerable dose of mind expansion because practically everybody ate rye bread. Sometimes, rye hosts a...

Easter Lunch

The window of the one bedroom in our tiny house looked out onto the street. Opposite, on the other side of the street, there was a large building known as "the kids' house." It was a long, two-story yellow building with green door and windows, where a mix of foreign teenagers lived. The Italians called them "deviant kids," meaning problem kids that risked turning into delinquents. But we called them "our kids from the big house." In the house there also lived a series of tutors...

Time Out for Blackberries

8 A mushroom in the sauce impresses like a tree: not through violence, through perseverance. 13 Red watermelon humor: meaty appearance, watery vanity. 14 Bolder, the pear: the heart is dead, the shell sings on. 17 Illustrious tyranny of the peach: no proliferating soviet seeds; at heart, just a stony monarch. 20 Uses of the lentil: its double convex zeal focuses earth's joy. 21 The ant is the grape of its kingdom: it models solidarity...

The End of Amsterdam’s Hunger Winter

"The ape brought us the food," Father said and added, after a pause, "and a book." This was followed, as always, by another pause, a longer one to let the opening sink in. "This is the first memory I am conscious of." It happens to be my first memory as well, for my memories do not extend beyond those of my father and my grandparents. After their experiences and their accounts of them none of my own experiences can claim any kind of validity. Moreover, I was constantly reminded to be...

The Hunger Artist: Feasting and Fasting with Gogol

"And bake us a four-cornered fish pie," he said, sucking the air through his teeth and inhaling deeply. "In one corner I want you to put the sturgeon cheeks and the gristle cooked soft, in another throw in some buckwheat, and then some mushrooms and onions, and some sweet milt, and the brains, and whatever else, you know the sort of thing. And make sure that on the one side it'sóyou knowóa nice golden brown, but not so much on the other side. And the pastryómake...

The Story of One Occasion

On one of many occasions Greta Garbo visited her fellow actress Marilyn Monroe in her home town, the City of Angels. Greta, who lived in New York, flew to the West Coast, took a taxi at the airport, and rode home to Marilyn, who welcomed her in her usual fashion, barefoot in a simple dress. She often wore an apron too because she loved baking rolls for Greta, who kindled her passion for rolls. Greta said she had this effect on people; they wanted to bake and feed her all sorts of...

Red Bean Sticky Cakes and Running

I am a countrywoman. This year, I'm thirty-six years old. My name is Chen Wumi. This name isn't very pleasing to hear, but the Beijing reporter Guo Wangjing was charmed by my name. He said that my name seems Western, that Russians and Albanians have people called Wumi, and that the Qiang, one of China's ethnic minorities, have people called Wumi too. Reporter Guo was just flattering me. In fact, he didn't realize the implications of Wumi. He was twentysomething years old and...

Ice Cream

"Here you are, which do you want: lemon-yellow or rose-pink?" He had bought two ice creams and with a sad look on his face was offering them to her so she could choose. The woman at the cart pocketed the money he had just handed her and was already serving other customers, all the while calling out: "Best ice cream in town." It was always the same: as the moment of parting approached, it seemed as if a bucket of sadness was being poured over him and he would hardly utter a word during...

Crying over Light Green

Even as I scoop Korean sushi into my mouth with a trembling hand, the train forces the fields of summer into my eyes. The light-green rice paddies prick my pupils. Why is the field so green? No, the word "green" is hardly adequate. Every shade of green is said to be the same, but to me light green is different— a color containing a wave or a rustle that never bows its head. Look at the pure rice plants. Why is my heart so dark? I swallow a fourth piece of Korean sushi...

Black and White

March twenty-second. Friday night. Everything is in place. The soft metallic chimes of the living room clock strike ten with mathematical precision as you begin the second course; the exact same scene is replayed every night, down to a T. Him. You. The same pauses. The same silences. The same calculated movements of his fingers as he lifts one corner of his napkin. Three refined pats of his lips—pat, pat, pat—and then a sip of wine. Silverware clinking intermittently against...

Pears from Gudauty

We could hear the dry coughing of our landlord, Khuta Kursua, through the partition wall, and Mother's eyes were wide with fear. I was ten, my own lesions had barely healed, and now we were neighbors of tuberculosis again. Our landlord was a handsome, thin man, all smiles with his paying guests but ferocious with his wife, although, actually, I was not too interested in the people around me. I had seen the sea for the first time that year and spent the rest of the month savoring the...

The Grammar of Easter (You Don’t Say That in English)

The rate at which Christian festivals were upstaging the local, traditional ones was accelerating. To the older generation, who professed the traditional religious faith, the rapid transformation was simply stupefying. To the middle-aged, younger generation, the educated elite, the change was a welcome miracle, an evangelical achievement, the rewards of which they hoped to reap in paradise. They returned to their small villages in full Christian fervor and forced their parents to renounce...

Death of a Swan

Later it wasn't easy for Michael to believe that they had really been capable of it. It must have been because it was Christmas Eve, one of the last of the century, because of the solemn air of withdrawal around them, which made the streets appear abandoned. The holiday isolated the four friends, who had been thrown together, more than any ordinary day. The evening was not excessively cold. There was a thin covering of snow on the streets. The overcast sky was pale gray and hung low...

The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons

Mehrabad Airport, Tehran. Air France, flight 726 I hate this life of constant wandering, these eternal comings and goings, these middle of the night flights, dragging along my suitcase, going through Customs and the final torture, the humiliating body search. "Take off your shoes, open your handbag, let's see inside of your pockets, your mouth, your ears, your nostrils, your heart and mind and soul." I am exhausted. I feel homesick—can you believe it? Already homesick. And yet...

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