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Category Archive for 'culture'

“The beauty of Jerusalem in its landscape can be compared with that of Toledo.” – Robert Byron, The Road to Oxiana Perched above its bend in the Tagus, with sheer drops on three sides to eddying currents, and tightly-enclosed within its craggy walls Toledo has an impenetrable, monumental aspect. But, through the early morning rays, […]

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If the path from high finance executive to cookbook author isn’t a well-beaten one, then the path from stock-broker to market stall-holder is even more poorly trod. But, for Oxford-educated former bankers turned Banh Mi vendors-cum-restaurateurs, Van Tran and Anh Vu, that was their peregrination. They certainly don’t say so in the book, but it’s […]

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“There are more pizzerias in Buenos Aires than in Naples and Rome combined.” – Ernesto Sabato, Heroés y Tumbas In his book “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” travel-writer Bill Bryson, in an attempt to defeat insomnia, describes making a lonely evening among the anodyne IKEA fittings of a Stockholm hotel even more excruciating by tallying […]

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“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all,for Sicily is the clue to everything.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Sicily sits apart from mainland Italy, like a rock ready to receive a swift kick from the instep of the Italian boot. Indeed, many Italians would tell you […]

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Last year there was unprecedented outrage when the news broke that the meatballs being sold by more than one European grocery chain were “contaminated” with horse meat. This was big news this side of the Atlantic for two main reasons: a) the horses in question are likely to have been American horses, and b) because […]

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As Montreal braces for its annual mid-winter festival, a lot of which takes place au plein air as they might say, much of the US East Coast braces itself for the kind of frigid, snowy conditions that Montrealers witness 6 months of the year, illustrating just one of the ways they and their city distinguish […]

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“There once was a tall bloke from Durban A Sikh, oft’ seen sporting a turban. A white country loaf in curry afloat, was the lunch he’d chase down with a bourbon.” The future is a frustratingly unpredictable thing. Perhaps most frustratingly, when there are predictable events in that future but the circumstances in which you […]

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My guidebook assured me that 3 out of 5 Icelanders believe that faeries, mischievous sprites and trolls are real. Many, it continues, actively take precautions against them, refusing to set foot in the spots they are thought to inhabit. My first introduction to the country, the drive from the airport into Reykjavik, past a giant […]

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Most Brits associate mincemeat with Christmas – its intoxicating mix of fruit, spices, booze, nuts and mixed peel provide Pavlovian stimuli, stirring memories of cherubic choirs a-caroling, roasted poultry, and the Queen’s speech – whereas I associate it with Easter, because it was always around then that we finally ran out of mince pies. I […]

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“A journey is a fragment of hell.” – Prophet Mohammed Regular readers will most likely know a handful of factoids about us WANF-ers and our proclivities, among them: one of us is English, the other Italian-American; we enjoy making a wide variety of dishes, many of which we’ve sampled on our travels; and we have […]

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While Queens may have the reputation for being the most ethnically diverse area in the United States, our very own borough of Brooklyn is certainly not bereft of global flavors. From the side-by-side Mexican and Chinese neighborhoods of Sunset Park to the century-old Italian areas of Carroll Gardens and Bay Ridge, to the more recently […]

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Greeks, Romans, Moors, Normans, Spaniards, Garibaldi and his thousand, and finally hordes of tourists have visited Sicily over the milennia. Some stayed for centuries, some only for generations, but even those whose sojourn was comparatively brief played a role in the island’s blending of cultures and traditions. If this human concoction can be distilled into […]

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Though a resident of Singapore, then a part of Malaysia, during the early 1950s, I doubt very much if my father ever had much of an opportunity to experience its astonishing variety of cuisines. Confined mostly to the Changi district (now better known for its international airport) and the company of other expatriate British military […]

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During his show on Panama, Anthony Bourdain observed that Chinese food somehow gets shinier the further west one goes. He might also have mentioned that it changes in other ways throughout the western hemisphere too, on the whole, becoming less and less Chinese-like. In a similar way to Panama, to which Chinese laborers flocked to […]

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He’s certainly not the first to make such a remark, but when in a recent episode of his PBS show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, chef Rick Bayless commented that Mexican food may be the first “fusion cuisine” in the Americas, the concept resonated with me. The collision of cultures and culinary traditions that […]

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When our readers actually read our posts, it feels really good. Because we often write a lot in our post, it is understandable why some may choose not to actually read our words. We understand how many blogs exist, and many only have time to do the “blog drive-by” (you know what I’m talking about […]

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There is so little information available about Burma (or Myanmar, depending on how you rock it) that after the inevitable Wikipedia entry, the CIA World Factbook is the second item that appears in Google’s search results. This anonymity is largely due to the military dictatorship that has kept the country under lock and key for […]

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It is no coincidence that, in the 30 years since Franco’s death, Spanish creativity in the arts, architecture, business, and gastronomy has blossomed. It is also no coincidence that it has been, predominantly, though not exclusively, Spain’s sub-national and regional groups — who were repressed most viciously by the Fascist dictator — that have led […]

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La Cupertina, at the corner of Cabrera and Godoy Cruz in the charming Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, is reputed to have the best traditional Tucuman empanadas in the city. And, certainly, they are rather good. So tasty, in fact, that we bought a dozen for carry-out the day we left Argentina and nursed […]

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As Odysseus was nearly drawn to his destruction on the rocks by the enchanting song of the sirens, so your hardy WANF voyagers were almost powerless to resist breaking themselves on the plentiful tables of Uruguay. However, unlike Homer’s hero, for whom women were the main weakness throughout his epic peregrinations, during our recent travels […]

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During last fall’s McCain-Obama Presidential election season, TV channel Comedy Central’s website had a feature called “remember when you cared about…” which reprised some of the now (& then) farcical action from the previous Presidential campaigns of W. Bush and John Kerry. The 2004 race was my first such campaign-season as a resident of this […]

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Looking for a ray of sunshine in your diet?

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Last week I had off from work for our “midwinter” break.  It wasn’t a very relaxing week but cooking, for me, is very relaxing. Five hours of cooking can actually be quite relaxing as well.  And that’s what happened when I decided to take on the challenge that Joan of Foodalogue put in front of […]

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Even though mulled wine should remind me of being in the church choir as a cherub-faced youngster and singing Christmas carols with frosty breath overlooking a seasonally-decorated nave and a sea of pink-cheeked parishoners, it doesn’t. In spite of this being the way I was introduced to this most famous Yuletide beverage, my abiding memories […]

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The first time I ate pulpo a la gallega was at a very disreputable-looking food stand not far from the Estadio Balaídos in Vigo, Spain, before watching a soccer match between Celta de Vigo and Racing Santander (it finished 2-2). It was served on a slightly wilted plastic plate with a toothpick that looked suspiciously […]

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When you think of Brazil what do you think of? Is it the lazy sway of coconut palms, golden beaches, beautiful, bronzed people, a back-drop of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and soundtrack of relaxing bossa nova? Is it a throbbing samba rhythm, huge, garish paper-mache heads, and crowds of people dancing at carnival? Is it the magnificent […]

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We literally just walked in after spending our Labor Day afternoon at the annual WIADP (West Indian American Day Parade) on Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, but to describe what we just witnessed as simply a parade would be akin to saying that scotch bonnet peppers are sometimes a little spicy, i.e. an enormous underestimation. The parade […]

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As you know, we received a beautiful package from a fellow blogger in Spain and we have been slowly using all the contents in various meals. Another element of this package was a jar of Spanish Marcona almonds. These almonds are amazing on their own and taste incredibly different (sweeter and meatier) than the almonds […]

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Not long ago our good friend Nuria at Recipes Pic by Pic offered to do a food exchange with us, knowing both how obsessed we are with Spanish food and their comparative scarcity over here in the States. In return she asked that we send her some typical American products of our choice as well […]

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