lunch-in-palafrugell-880

Category Archive for 'tradition'

“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, […]

Read Full Post »

Towards the end of an otherwise very enjoyable dish of Cantonese-style spicy duck tongues at Congee Village on New York’s Lower East Side a few years ago, I found myself asking the inevitable question: how many ducks does it take to make a plate of this? Counting the tongues I could pick up with my […]

Read Full Post »

It must go down among the biggest porkies a man ever told a woman – right after Christopher Columbus telling his mother he wouldn’t be long; he and a few friends were just taking their boats out for a spin. And, never has the term “farm”* been used more euphemistically than when Felipe V of […]

Read Full Post »

“The pen is the tongue of the mind.” – Don Quixote de La Mancha I have been told that the Inuit have more than 30 words for snow and a similar number of descriptors for the myriad tones of white, blue and grey that color their environment. If desert-dwelling Arabs had a similarly nuanced vocabulary […]

Read Full Post »

In 1994, and after six playfully-humorous seasons of barbershop-based banter, fans of British-Caribbean sitcom “Desmond’s” were disappointed when the show was discontinued. This blow may have been softened when they learned that it was to be succeeded by spin-off show “Porkpie”, but, after two fairly insipid seasons, this too was consigned to the bin of […]

Read Full Post »

Five years in the making, and after at least six months’ meticulous planning, this was not an auspicious start. Within twenty minutes of claiming our luggage off the futuristically-plastic baggage carousel at Madrid-Barajas, and after spending the few coins we brought with us on a pair of sorely-needed cortados, we stood, incredulous and cash-less, in […]

Read Full Post »

When the coughing and farting of the antique truck had rumbled away, between the rustlings of birds pecking grubs among the dry plane leaves, you could just make out the pop and thwack of rubber on concrete. Ascending a double flight of unusually steep stairs, past a stained glass window featuring farming folk, the squeak […]

Read Full Post »

As an icebreaker at the beginning of the birthing classes we took in preparation for the arrival of our first-born, participants were divided into male and female groups and invited to sit together and discuss their greatest hopes and apprehensions for impending parenthood. The biggest concern of our fellow soon-to-be-parents turned out to be making […]

Read Full Post »

For much of what we are accustomed to seeing around Christmas, the candles, trees, the mistletoe, the decorations, and many of the songs, we need to thank the Germans. Not specifically those residents of the modern nation state of Germany, but the historic Germanic-speaking peoples of central Europe, for whom the birth of our Lord […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

Of all the miracles of modern science that we have witnessed over recent years, few have received as little attention as the 2009 announcement by the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, that it had successfully sequenced the potato genome. It is a sad reflection on the state of our priorities as a species that […]

Read Full Post »

“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 […]

Read Full Post »

“Waiter! What is this?” “Um, it’s bean soup, sir.” “I don’t care what it’s been. What is it now?” – bad English joke Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, has the highest proportion of native peoples in the country, and traditional culture is alive to such an extent that an estimated 50% of indigenous people are unable […]

Read Full Post »

“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 […]

Read Full Post »

With some cookbooks, you just open them, find something that looks good and go straight into your kitchen and start cooking. Charcutería – The Soul of Spain, the new book from Jeffrey Weiss, is not that kind of book. This is partly intentional in that the book is structured in such a way as to […]

Read Full Post »

“Je me souviens” I shall not forget / I remember – Quebecois motto You never forget your first poutine the saying doesn’t go. But it should. After all, what gastronomic experience could be more profound than the comforts of crispy fries, luscious gravy, and melty cheese curds, followed immediately by sleepiness, the fat sweats, and […]

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

“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 […]

Read Full Post »

“I dream of the South, a huge moon, the sky reversed, I am looking for the South, the open time, and its thereafter.” – Vuelvo al Sur, by Astor Piazzolla One may be inspired by the unlikeliest of sources, and sources of inspiration do not come much more unlikely than John Unsworth. John – Jack […]

Read Full Post »

Like the ghost of Christmas past, leftovers from rich holiday meals have a habit of malingering in the fridge awaiting an inspiration that is progressively less likely to arrive as the holiday season fades into memory, especially in the broadening context of one’s waistline, try as one might to conceal it beneath this year’s hideous […]

Read Full Post »

A typical Sunday morning (or afternoon depending on what time they crawl out of bed) for a New Yorker involves brunch. And what, perhaps, characterizes brunch in New York more than anything else is bagels, cream cheese and lox. However, few, if any, New Yorkers, I would guess, think about lox very much, probably because […]

Read Full Post »

In his rather witty book, French Lessons, Peter Mayle attends the annual Fete de Grenouilles (Festival of Frogs-Legs) in Vittel, France, and describes an episode at the festival banquet in which an attendee, elbow deep in amphibian thighs, tells him that if he thinks eating frogs is unusual, she had heard of an even more […]

Read Full Post »

Many among us, ourselves included, can be forgiven for spending a few wistful moments during the more tedious passages in our lives wondering what it might be like to wander exotic locales, rubbing shoulders with cultured types all while sipping fine wines over plates artfully decorated with exquisite regional specialties. When we come out of […]

Read Full Post »

For centuries, mankind and cuttlefish have had something of a difficult relationship, certainly from the latter’s perspective. Even prior to the development of the photographic tint known as sepia – a brownish hue that makes the late 19th century appear to have been an unusually dusty period – the ink of the cuttlefish was prized […]

Read Full Post »

St. George, the patron saint of England, whose plucky, dragon-slaying derring-do is taken as emblematic of the English spirit, far from being a native of the British Isles, or for that matter, far from ever having come close to visiting them, was actually an adventurous squire of the modern-day country of Georgia who lived around […]

Read Full Post »

Named for the grandson of Puerto Rico’s first governor, the southern city of Ponce is blessed with appropriately distinguished architecture. The equal of few in the Americas, it is a delightful surprise for the visitor. That conquering Americans were responsible for the preservation of the city’s historic district is equally surprising.

Read Full Post »

Conventional wisdom dictates that one should never eat at an empty restaurant, especially early in the week, but if there is absolutely nowhere else open and you have no choice, do yourself a favor and avoid the seafood. Happily, Vieques, a 55-square mile island off the east end of Puerto Rico, and former bombing range […]

Read Full Post »

With wine there is probably more room for personal interpretation and opinion than in any other area of gastronomy. The sheer variety of wines available from across the globe encourages this, but the reputation of the wine connoisseur and his often ridiculous descriptions of the perfumes to be nosed out of the glass makes wine-tasting […]

Read Full Post »

“We may have lost paradise because of the apple, but we’ll get it back with cider.” – Asturian saying “Reach out your arms, as far apart as possible – one high, one low – then just bend your wrist, but do not look!”, instructed the waitress. “Oh, and beginners like you must stand over the […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

Next »