Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. We are approaching the end of the year and our 2019 blogging season ; there are only two articles left before we take an extended,postponed for untold years, and, false modesty apart, welldeserved vacation until sometime in March. Today we decided to prepare for dinner some spinach and cheese ravioli with a Dotta Pellegrina sauce, which you must be already familiar with. Here is our final preparation in La Bestia.
Please join our humble table for this hearty dish in a wintery evening with plenty of conversation and camaraderie.
Cher lecteurs, lectrices, blogueurs et blogueuses:
Bon soir. Dans cette époque de l’année ça commence à faire un peu de froid dans le Sud de la Floride et on peut finallement bricoler avec quelques recettes que nous avons apris dans la saison froide en Europe ou en Amérique du Sud. C’est le cas du vénérable Gratin Dauphinois, un des classiques de la Cuisine Française Traditionelle. Le voici!
Est-ce que vous pensez que c’est assez creimeux pour votre goût si délicat? Allez-y. Essayez un peu, s’il vous plaît!
Une ravissante jeune femme de la Savoie (un de mes Trois Grand Amours dans ma Vie) m’a enseignée à le faire. C’est pour ça que j’ai pleuré tellement quand je l’ai préparé aujourd’hui…Elle me manque beaucoup maintenant….
Notre humble table est servie. Veuillez nous joindre pour partager un plat délicieux et de la bonne conversation.
In order to spontaneously, smoothly start the discussion of such a difficult issue like Astrology—rife with hot controversies and opinions, pro and con—we preferred to “go with the flow”, instead of taking any firm position either way. We decided to first transcribe two pages from our novelMadame D.C. Book I – Three voyages.
In this scene Emily and Annie, two close friends, visit Madame Melina, a famous soothsayer with a small storefront office in Washington Avenue of Miami Beach. Here is their dialogue:
Annie and Emily were seated at the round table of the astrologer’s studio.
-“I will…But first you must calm down a bit, dear,” Melina said, turning her attention to Emily. “Who’s this nice lady that came with you?”
-“My cousin, Emily…A Wall Street financier—she needs help too.”
-“Hi, Madame…I’ve heard so many good things of you.”
-“Hello, pleased to meet you—I’ll take care of you of course.”
-“My David has a lover,” Annie said, sobbing. “What should I do?”
-“Mmm…To defeat your enemy you must know her first…Find out where she was born, the date and what’s more important…the time of the day.”
-“It’s not a woman—”
-“It’s a travesty.” Annie twirled a strand of her blond hair and smelled it.”
-“I see…We must find her, uh, his Ascendant…Know what it is?”
-”Nothing springs to mind.” Emily said.
-“Mmm…we’re familiar with the zodiac signs of the calendar but we ignore which one was ascending at the time…That variable differentiates each one of us from someone born in the same place that day…In Greek, ‘horos’ means ‘hour’ and ‘skope’ is look—to look at the hour of the Ascendant.”
-“Oh…I didn’t know,” Emily said, “but I’ve always been curious…”
-“It’s natural for a woman to feel some curiosity,” Melina said, “Astrology connects us with our mystical dimension…For centuries patriarchal figures of authority have seared guilt complexes in our minds to control us better. Astrology re-connects women with he stars that we’re coming from. We’re small pieces of the original Big bang—we project our own source of light.”
Annie stared at her in total rapture. “Have such a way with words—”
-“Let’s start with yours,” Melina said to Emily. “Write down your date of birth with time and place. I’ll check the Carta Astral website.”
Emily wrote in a post-it note. Melina read it and started hitting the keyboard.
-“Mmm…You’re Aquarius..But your Ascendant is Leo, which makes you practical, organized…Like all the great writers or politicians. Interesting.”
-“It’s funny that you mention it, but I’m toying with the idea of a writing and political careers…Are the stars aligned in my favor, Madame?”
-“Definitely, go for it—it’s your destiny…There’s a rub though.”
Emily hunched over the table. “What?”
-“Mmm…You were born in the 3.30 and 5.30 PM time frame…You got a vibrant body but you must learn how to handle your sexuality…and you’re brewing more than one existence inside you—you’re a latter-day alchemist.”
Today is not the day when you elbow your way through the maddening crowds to do your last minute shopping.
Today is not the day when you gobble all the leftovers (and more) from last night’s dinner to make you sick.
Today is not the day when you fight a ferocious war of words with your all too insufferable mother-in-law.
Toady we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior (for Christians) and a savvy teacher (for the rest of people)
In an excellent article in The New York Times, Peter Wehner said: “First-century Christians for what a radical and radically inclusive figure Jesus was, and neither are today’s Christians. We want to tame and domesticate who he was, but Jesus’ life and ministry don’t really allow for it. He shattered barrier after barrier.” He put the example of the famous parable of the Samaritan woman at the well (included in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John) Even though he surely knew that this lady had a “disreputable reputation” (being married five times and living with the fifth without the blessing of a rabbi) Jesus Christ treats her with respect and dignity, without judging her a priori. Grateful with his kind and empathic attitude, she became the first woman preacher of the nascent Christianity.
Note – This picture of Carraci’s Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the well was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
The same author said: “For Christians, the incarnation is a story of God, in the person of Jesus, participating in the human drama. And in that drama, Jesus was most drawn to the forsaken and despised, the marginalized, those who had stumbled and fallen. He was beloved by them, even as he was targeted and eventually killed by the politically and religiously powerful, who viewed Jesus as s a threat to their dominance.”
In the United States of America there was a politician who followed Jesus Christ’s teachings: Abraham Lincoln. In a 1859 speech, he said: “Nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into this world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.” In these times of extreme political polarization, where half the country is “red” and the other one is “blue”, we need that inclusive discourse in our civic space more than ever. We must remember that the Founding Fathers created a nation for all the American citizens, not just for half of it. To emphasize the need to include each and every one of them in the great national project, they chose to speak in Latin.
Good morning and Merry Christmas to you all. As is our custom, we are having breakfast enjoying a big slice of a panettone. For those that do not know the legend behind this Italian specialty that was exported (and we honestly believe, bettered in the River Plate region) we are enclosing a link to a previous article on this treat. Buon appetito!
Buenos y Muy Feliz Navidad para todo(a)s ustedes. Hoy amancimos con unas ganas irresistibles de desayunar con un rico sanguche de una gloriosa Milanga (creacióm inigualable de nuestra Cocina Rioplatense) Nos pusimos manos a la obra: tostamos un pan cibatta importado de Francia y le pusimos toda esta munición gruesa adentro.
Tiene una milanesa napolitana de pollo (con mucho jamón y queso mozzarella pero poca salsa de tomate) que apoyamos en un lecho de una rodaja gruesa de cebolla con unas lajas de tomate fresco adobado con orégano, guacamole y un poquitín de aceite de oliva. Que les parece como quedó este delirio culinario en una fría matina ?
Están cordialmente invitados a compartir un cachito con nosotros en una mesa cordial. A morfar se ha dicho!
“La voix de la sagesse c’est de commencer à désirer ce qu’on a déjà”
Jean François Marie Arouet
Dear readers and fellow bloggers:
Good morning and Merry Christmas to you. Today we are awaiting the renewed birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, with the hope that this terrible pandemic will eventually pass away and we will go back to a more benign environment. We just listened to the words of our dear Pope Francis admonishing us that unbridled consumerism has hijacked the significance of this festivity; he urged us all to give a charitable gift, instead of splurging on unnecessary objects.
As Arouet’s saying advises us: “the voice of wisdom is to start coveting what we already have.”
We have our health. We have our family. We have our friends. We have our work and studies. It is a lot already.
Sadly, we will not have a traditional family meal this time, as our daughter Noël Marie stays away for safety reasons. However, we will communicate via WhatsApp, sharing pictures and videos to feel “a little closer” momentarily. We will hope and pray that we will soon meet again in Saint Patrick’s Church for a mass and then go out for dinner. The picture we posted is of one such event in the summer of 2019. We are counting the days for a blessed reunion.
Didn’t we enjoy the fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions to prepare our salads?
Didn’t we count on fresh grapefruits, oranges, and apples to fix our smoothies?
Didn’t we emit a sigh of relief when we saw the well-stocked supermarket stalls?
Didn’t we pray to God Almighty to thank him/her/ihr for living in the USA?
Yes, we all did. But that bounty did not materialize only because the Holy Spirit touched the right elbow of our dear friend Todd Jones, enlightened CEO of Publix Supermarkets (with all due respect for his religious beliefs)
No, it happened because thousands of poor migrant farmers, usually born in Central America, toiled tirelessly first in Florida in the summer and then went up North. A similar phenomenon took place in California and Oregon.
On December 17, 2010, the 5 o’clock news program of Telemundo transmitted the words of the spokesperson of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a union founded in 1993 to defend the rights of thousands of migrant workers in Southwest Florida. Immokalee, on the western edge of the Everglades, has been dubbed as the WinterTomato Capital of the World, producing that delicious fruit for U.S. consumers. He denounced that migrant workers were hard hit by the Covid 19 epidemic and he asked for more state and federal resources to assist them, no matter their legal status.
On June 18, 20120, Patricia Mazzei, a reporter for The New York Times, wrote: “Florida’s agricultural communities have become cradles of infection, fueling a worrying new spike in the state’s daily toll in new infections, which has hit new records in recent days. The implications go far beyond Florida; case numbers in places like Immokalee are swelling just as many farmworkers are migrating up the Eastern Seaboard for the summer harvest.” The migrant workers spend an unusually big amount of time with large groups in the fields and then go back to cramped living quarters, with family members and/or friends sharing makeshift bunk beds.
The reporter was surprised to see a crew of Doctors without Borders, an aid group largely associate in our minds with major meteorological disasters or cruel wars, setting shop in the central market of the small city to inform and help people in need. The Public Health picture looked unusually grim six months ago, when she paid a visit, but now it is even worse, with many infected migrant workers in the neighboring hospitals and several of them already dead.
However, right now, we have one (and possibly two) good vaccines that are ready to be quickly deployed in the most affected areas of our society. We, health care workers, are grateful that we are at the top of the waiting list to be inoculated asap.
But shouldn’t that privilege also be extended to those unusually exposed because they feed us?
Vaccinate the migrant workers quickly and efficiently to achieve good immunity. Those critical workers of the food chain must be protected for their (and our) sake.
Justice for the migrant agricultural workers. Vaccinate them first at no extra charge.
Good evening. It is getting dark and cold in South Florida, in an unusually gloomy day in the midst of this terrible pandemic. As we said in our previous article, our Celtic ancestors commanded us to get ready for the long night. We prepared a powerful risotto with plenty of rice, veggies, sausages and species like oregano, pepper, moringa, etc.
After relishing a big bowl of this hearty meal, we might feel better prepared for tonight’s action. What do you think?
When we’ll hear a knock-knock in the middle of the night on our door, we will yell: Who are you? Friend or foe?
After this meal and a few beers (and maybe a little shot of Jack Daniel’s) we’ll be ready to face these spirits head on.
“No dije cuantos son, sino que vayan saliendo!” ( I did not say how much they were, but start coming out)
Today, December 21st, 2020, our Celtic forefathers warned us through a dream at early dawn: “Wake up, Son of Samhain, you must prepare your family for today’s celebration.” We immediately jumped out of bed, ready to follow a ritual that has been in our families for centuries, both in the Basque and Italian branches: The Winter Solstice.
In an excellent article, Elizabeth Dias, a reporter of The NY Times, said: “Humans all over the Northern Hemisphere will share nature’s winter ritual of darkness on Monday, whether they acknowledge the winter solstice or not. In the lower 48 states, this year’s longest night will last 15 hours and 50 minutes in Angle Inlet, Minn., according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. In New York City it is 14 hours and 45 minutes, and in Miami 13 hours and 28 minutes.”
The end of the happy Summer season and the beginning of the harsh Winter has been celebrated by agricultural communities since Ancient Times with a special family gathering around a bonfire, sharing a hearty meal and traditional stories. The critical supply of grain was already stored in the makeshift silos, the animals were herded into the barn for protection and everybody looked up at the clearest sky. Will the deities above have mercy on human beings and allow them to survive this winter? They believed that the unstable period was used by wandering spirits to cross over. It was a time of great fear and uncertainty, and only their communal efforts could finally save them.
Note – This picture of David Rijckaert’s Barn Interior was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
We have become inured to the passional riveting of these ancient cyclical benchmarks, naively safe in the belief that just the marvelous scientific and technological prowess of the past two centuries would shield us from the dramatic consequences our ancestors suffered if they dared to ignore them. However, the terribly prolonged pandemic of the SARS-CoV-2 has dramatically altered the supposedly “normal parameters” of daily life, obliging all of us to adapt quickly. Even something as simple as ordering a cappuccino at a bar, has been radically changed, maybe forever. This utterly contagious virus is an Agent of Evil that does not respect national boundaries or social standings.
The approval of the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines has given us the needed glimmer of hope that, after a long wintertime, the chain of viral transmission will be radically cut. The national governments, while enforcing a draconian lockdown for festivities, are actively signing contracts for a steady supply of the vaccine for their populations. It would be wise to look at the pristine skies tonight and pray to whomever/whatever.
May God Almighty have Mercy on us and grant us the privilege of surviving Winter.