Good morning and Happy Sunday. Today we decided that we were going to take it super-easy and for once not dabble with the kitchenware, like we regularly do on Sundays for the family’s meal. What should we do? Thinkie…Thinkie…How about if we order from the fabulous Bariloche Bakery?
Voilà! We called them and their dearest chef-manager Ms. Alba prepared us this Torta Pasqualina.
This spinach and eggs pie is a staple of Italian cooking, first invented in the Liguria region. Italian homemakers prepare it for Easter, trying to achieve 33 layers of dough (the age of Jesus Christ) Our dear grandmother Yolanda Musciello prepared us the very best pies that we have ever tasted. However, Ms. Alba, aided by our firm mentoring and her strong desire to improve herself, is coming very close. First she did awful pies with soggy vegetables, overcooked eggs, undercooked dough…. But slowly and steadily she learned to prepare delicious pies with a certain saveur du terroir.
Pictured on the right is Alba, with her tagliarini and meatballs. (I’m afraid I am creating a Monster) Aside from any joking, she is the perfect example of the powerful bearings of Italian culture andtraditions, which can be rightly incorporated by anyone that has the determination to learn them. Like the Hindu tradition, the Italian one is based in much more than a language. It is a way of life. And delicious food and relaxed table conversations have always been an integral part of the whole.
The pasqualina has been sliced up and we reserved this succulent portion for you. Buon appetito!
Hi to all my readers and fans. It has been pretty hectic studying a ton of course material for my degree in Creative Writing at Florida State University (FSU) Hopefully we will be done by the Fall. Let me show my funny attire when I participated yesterday in the Zoom Mike Stand-Up Comedy contest in New York City. Promise to keep you posted of my future virtual and physical appearances.
In the meantime, stay cool and don’t give me an attitude, bros and sis. Especially the latter. The cute béret that I am wearing in this picture was loaned by my friend Steven who served in the British Army. The insignia of the bald double-headed eagle is distinctive of the Mercian Regiment, named in honor of the old Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in the middle of the island. God Save the Queen.
Good morning. Yesterday, May 12th, we celebrated the International Day of Nursing, our dearest hard-working and irreplaceable colleagues in the acute and chronic care of our sick fellow citizens. This date has been chosen because Florence Nightingale, a British social reformer, statistician and founder of Modern Nursing, was born on May 12, 1820; during the Crimean War, she visited the field at night, armed with a famous lamp, looking for wounded soldiers for transport to a hospital.
During our English studies in the Instituto Cultural Anglo-Uruguayo of Montevideo, Uruguay, we read and appreciated an article about the courageous woman, dubbed as The Lady with a Lamp. In our later studies of Medicine, we came to appreciate the nurses’ abnegation and professionalism. Moreover, one of the biggest lessons of this terrible pandemic, is that our precious nursing staff played a pivotal role in the care and comfort of countless victims worldwide; oftentimes the very last human presence that a dying person had was a nurse holding hands in a last adieu to this world.
We picture the last moments of our dear Uncle José Luis with that uniquely affectionate comfort. Thank you very much for so much love and dedication for Mankind. Let us not ever forget that.
Good morning and Happy Sunday. Today we are celebrating a very special day, which even with its crass commercial undertones, has a strong significance for all of us. Happy Mother’s Day. Those of you that still have the privilege of her physical presence next to you, should hug them tenderly. And for the rest of us that do not, we should pray for the salvation of their souls and their bienveillance.
The above picture was taken in a café-concert in Punta del Este in the 90s and is one of the best shots of our dear Gladys Josefa, the very best mother we could have had. Gracias Mamita querida!
Every morning we ritually pray to Jesus Christ in the Cross for the salvation of our dear mother and grandmothers. And of course we never fail to shed a little tear for them, asking for their protection.
Let us rejoice with the blessing of having been born from women and been reared with their hands.
“Je gagne mes batailles avec les rêves de mes soldats”
(I win my battles with the dreams of my soldiers)
Napoleone di Buonaparte was born in Ajaccio, Corsica on August 15th, 1769, a mere ten years after the island passed from being a Genovese possession to a department in the French nation; he passed away in the British island of Saint Helen on May 5th 1821. Last May 5th marked the 200th Anniversary of his death, which has been discreetly celebrated by the French Republic. Hs military campaigns all over Europe caused thousands of human casualties and economic devastation, which makes him a very controversial figure in these times of political correctness and historic revision.
Above we included the reproduction of the great tableau of Jean Louis David showing the coronation of Napoléon and his wife Joséphine in the Cathédral of Notre Dame in Paris on December2, 1804. He famously took his wife’s crown out of the hands of the Catholic bishop and placed it himself. That was the ultimate gesture of the Ritali (despective term used in France for the citizens of Italian origin) that had dared to storm his way into the core of the highly centralized French state.
Aside from his outstanding military victories, Napoléon and his group of advisers prodded great transformations in several regions of the planet, which brutally modernized many societies. In France it established firmly the equality of rights of all the citizens in the Napoleonic Code; it laid the foundations of its administratively efficient division into departments, away from feudalism. In Italy it broke the grip of the Catholic Church and the regional warlords in the communal affairs; for the first time Italians had the concept of a Unified Nation when he established a Kingdom in theNorth (headed by him) and a Kingdom in the South (headed by his brother) In Germany it spawned the military coalition of the previously ferociously independent länders and city-states (with the exception of Baviera) into a large army that, together with the British, would finally defeat with him. However, after he had departed, the European societies changed their economic and social tenet.
The invasion and takeover of the Bourbon Kingdom of Spain with the establishment of a puppet regime headed by his brother José, sparked the revolutionary movements in South America, Initially the criollos (natives) and Spanish citizens living in Argentina and Uruguay mobilized and hastily formed provisional governments that considered the deposed Fernando VII as their legitimate ruler. However, after “tasting” the fruits of local rule, when the Bourbon king was re-instated in Madrid, those provisional governments refused to dissolve and disappear, sparking fierce wars of liberation.
With dear our father Mario, we enjoyed reading and discussing Napoléon’s military campaigns, including his last stand at Waterloo; displaying a battle map of a book we had gifted him, our father neatly showed us how the unknown obstacle of a little ditch foiled the rescue charge of La Garde Impériale. If that elite regiment would have reached his commanding position, he would have won the battle.
Do not be surprised that people of French heritage like us still admire the Great Corsican so much. In a recent survey that asked French commoners what was the historical figure they would like to personally meet and talk to, they responded like this:
First place: Napoléon Bonaparte
Second place: Charles de Gaulle
Third place: Louis XIV
As you already know by reading our article, we had the fortune of meeting Général de Gaulle as a child. Perhaps, in one of the still unexplored corners of our wide world, we might meet Napoléon?
Good evening. As we stated in our previous article, we cloistered ourselves in our humble residence to make progress in the final corrections of the Galley Proofs of our book. But after several hours of toiling in front of our computer, we decided it was time to prepare some delicious pasta with sauce.
What better idea than to boil some Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli from Giovanni Rana and to add some of the succulently luscious Bolognese sauce that we prepared one week ago. Remember it?
Of course we will pair it with two bottles of Mionetto Prosecco to keep dreaming about that lovely Mädchen that broke our heart a few years ago while we were studying at the Università di Padova.
Why two bottles? Because we are superstitious and the second one might perhaps summon her here.
In the Spanish language there is an old proverb that says: “De ilusiones también se vive.”
Translated in English, it goes approximately like this: “With illusions, we can also make do in Life.”
Feliz Domingo para todos y todas ustedes. Hoy tenemos que seguir corrigiendo las Pruebas de Imprenta de nuestro próximo libro Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague (esténse tranquilos que lo vamos a traducir al Castellano, eventualmente) Para poder tener energías suficientes, preparamos un rico sanguche de Matambre, cortesía de la Bariloche Bakery, y el infaltable, leal Mate Amargo.
Tostamos primero un gran naan y despues pusimos lechuga y cebolla picados; condimentamos todo con aceite de oliva y aceto balsámico. Después pusimos el matambre picado en pedazos. Finalmente rociamos con una porción generosa de queso mozzarella para gratinar todo en nuestro hornito.
Que les parece como quedó todo? Se animan a acompañarnos con un bocadito? Están invitados.
Good morning. We wish all our fabulous working relatives and friends a great May 1st, their day. Today we especially remember those that every day toil in countless working places to make our modern societies work smoothly for all of us citizens. Without them, we would not survive a minute.
Note. This reproduction of Ford Madox Bown’s Work (1863) was taken from Wikimedia Images. The original painting is located in the Birmingham Art Gallery, United Kingdom.
After these terrible months, we should appreciate the sacrifice and efforts of millions of workers worldwide that defied the dangers of this still ongoing pandemic to keep us well fed and clothed. In our upcoming book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague, we argued that society owes much more than a mere recognition to all of them, but rather increased wages and social benefits. We hereby enclose an excerpt of our book for you to read. Please let us know your valued opinion.
‘This zoonotic disease, which passed between animals and humans, was propitiated by a global trade of wildlife, agricultural intensification, deforestation, and urbanization that are bringing human communities in a much closer contact with wild animals’ habitats. These critical issues must be urgently addressed by all nations in international forums with real powers to regulate and enforce.
Another major upheaval is the change of the socio-economic coordinates of most societies regarding the labor opportunities that will be offered by employers. The purely physical labor will continue to keep downsizing in the Information Age, especially for positions that can be staffed by people working from their homes. The remuneration of the heroes that are now buttressing communities—physicians, nurses, care assistants, laboratory clerks, fire and police forces, operators of basic services, truck and delivery drivers, re-stockers of warehouse supplies, etc.—must be promptly, justly increased to reflect their real value for our mere survival.
Is a financier fiddling with numbers more valued than your local butcher?
As we are writing these lines, we are hearing the generalized hand clapping of the Parisians, exactly at their 8 PM time through the transmission of Radio France Inter [i] in honor of the medical and nursing personnel of their hospitals.
In a positive twist, the citizenry has stopped to subserviently follow the so-called “celebrities” of entertainment and sports that had polluted all public spaces. Who is the object of their dreams? The scientists that are working to bring a safe and effective vaccine against the Coronavirus. The blessed saviors of Mankind.
In the aftermath of this pandemic, the world all around us will feel “weird.” Many of the familiar physical and spiritual assumptions that anchored our daily demeanor in our societies will either be transformed or gone forever from Reality. Tom Frieden, a former director of the CDC [ii] said: “A new world is here. Hand sanitizers at building entrances, touch-free doors and elevators, health care that results in fewer infections of patients and staff, and similar measures are here to stay. Travel bans and quarantine of travelers will most likely continue until there is a vaccine, Vulnerable people may need to shelter in place even after others have re-entered our new world.” [iii]
Whatever the magnitude of the challenges ahead, we have the firm certitude that our dear women will be at our side. Let us appreciate their precious devotion by enthusiastically giving them their due respect.
As President François Macron said in an address to the French nation:
Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. After so many months of forced Social Distancing, pasteurized Zoom meetings, dearth of basic human interaction like shaking hands or getting a palm on your back, we are more than ready for “adventurous forays”, even if it is still confined to our imagination. One of the best memories of our educational background is when we lived in our relative’s home in San Donà di Piave and we regularly travelled by train to the Università di Padova to study for our Doctorate in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Great, exciting times indeed.
One of the characteristic dishes prepared by the local chefs was, and still is, the pasta patavina, which adds potatoes of various kinds to the classic preparation’ it might sound like a redundancy ofcarbohydrates but, trust us, it is a completely new and delicious way to savor the Chinese invention.
Perhaps the very best architectural-artistic building of the city is the chapel that Giotto decorated for the powerful Scrovegni family of merchants, depicting the Life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Hailed as one most beautiful artworks of the Early Renaissance, the Scrovegni Chapel was built between the years 1302 and 1305 and was initially meant to be the family’s personal lieu of prayer. And this rich family had a lot to pray for. Amongst their myriad businesses they were money lenders with terms of scandalous usury to the population and powerful of the city; the lelder Scrovegni became famous all over the peninsula and Dante Alighieri placed him right in the middle of Hell. In order to atone for his father’s sin and plead for his eventual relocation to Heaven, or at least the waiting station of Limbo, Enrico, his son, paid a fortune to Giotto in order to decorate this chapel. What was the heraldic coat of arms of this powerful family? La Scrofa Azzurra (the blue sow)
But there is very personal undertone to this story. In one of our many visits to the chapel, we came across perhaps one of the most beautiful and intelligent women we ever met. Withholding her real name for privacy reasons, we can tell you that she was a visiting German graduate student, staying for a few weeks for her thesis. We had one of the most passionate love affairs you can imagine. Sadly, the blonde walkyrie finally opted to return to her hometown where her boyfriend awaited her. However, we harbor the silly illusion that, in a return visit there, we will meet again and get married. Pour quoi pas?
Enough with melancholic memories and let us start cooking. You can use any kind of cooked pork. But we got a grilled smoked pig leg (lacón) from El Rincón Asturiano, in the city’s West Brickell area.
We skinned the leg, carefully taking off all the excess fat, just preserving a little bit to jazz it all up.
Then we prepared some thinly sliced sautée potatoes,red and green peppers plus some onions.
With the addition of a can of San Marzano tomatoes, we are ready to mix all the above together.
First put a thin coat of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the casserole, add the tomatoes and stir for 10minutes. In the second stage, season with a little bit of salt and pepper with plenty of oregano. After cooking at a medium level, put all the mix. Stir for 5 minutes, turn the heat off with the lid back on.
When you are ready to have dinner, boil the potato gnocchi for a few minutes. Serve it hot. Voilà!
Closing our eyes, we picture ourselves escaping with our Dearest Fräulein (and newly wed bride) to a quaint little resort in the Caribbean; we’ll spend hours lounging on the beach and cooking for her.
Her favorite drink was (and surely still is) the Mionetto Prosecco. Ready for our über-romantic dinner.