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Tag Archive '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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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“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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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“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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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I often think that living in a small scruffy New York City apartment is akin to a pioneer life in a log cabin somewhere remote. Sure, the commute is easier, but the myriad quotidien affronts and man traps of a city existence certainly resemble the perils of life on the range.

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The largely unknown city of Compiegne, France, has the distinction of being the site of one of Louis XV’s most extravagant homes away from home. Under him, the Chateau de Compiegne became one of three distinctly opulent seats of government alongside Versailles and Fontainbleau. The latter French monarchs were hardly known for their desire to […]

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‘Tis the season, so in that spirit, we’re joyously giving away two prizes to the winners of this month’s top five – your favorite holiday foods/drinks. This month’s entries were fascinating, perhaps more fascinating than usual because the unique choices allowed us a small but intimate window into your lives, especially those that came with […]

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Not your average Christmas meal… We couldn’t let this month go by without doing some sort of “holiday themed” post. We were scratching our head trying to come up with this months “Top 5” contest thinking of such winners as, “Top 5 Most Friggin’ Annoying Christmas Tunes” and “Top 5 Christmas Sweaters Your Mom Owns” […]

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And, while you’re at it, good fellow, I’ll have a warm bath with virtually anything you’ve got on the menu: pasta, potatoes, fish, chicken, soup, bread… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… A man goes to the doctor complaining of neck ache. The doctor gives him some painkillers telling him to take two […]

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Happy Hallowe’en, WANF readers! Instead of posting shots of us dressed up in costume as the tastiest parts of a pig’s anatomy, we’re celebrating All Soul’s Day and the arrival of a much-needed weekend with a classic Friday night dish from the British Isles (where in truth, Hallowe’en has never really caught on in the […]

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I’ve talked about my sweet ‘ole grandmom, Anna, a few times on this blog. This was a woman who waited tables at the Golden Nugget (now Bally’s Grand) casino (R.I.P.) in Atlantic City until she retired at 76. This is the same woman who would wear winter gloves in the summer because her tiny hands […]

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We are fortunate enough to live in a city with a ridiculous amount of diversity when it comes to restaurants, and one place we frequent often is a ‘hip’ Colombian restaurant (what the hell, it is Brooklyn). When we go there it’s because of two things: 1) We’re friggin starving and are ready to eat […]

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It’s widely known that humble ingredients prepared with simple techniques often produce the best dishes, and it’s becoming more widely known that this philosophy lies at the very heart of Spanish cooking – a cuisine that has, in the last five or so years, become one of the most celebrated “new finds” of foodies everywhere. […]

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