Largo

…I grew up liking that word when I first learned it during my piano lessons.

My apologies for my prolonged absence from WordPress. With the holidays and trying to finish work before leaving for Taiwan to celebrate CNY festivities in several days, my life has been quite the opposite of Largo. Yet, the flu managed to catch me and snatch me away from work. On the bright side, I have time to blog!

My current read is The Stone Raft by my favorite author, José Saramago. I have many of his books, but let them sit on my desk waiting to be read until I find a certain time to give myself a “special treat” in my reading. I refuse to devour all his works voraciously one after another. Similarly, I take my time in savoring the raw material of Saramago literature. Rather than the usual two week interval it takes to read a book, even after one month, I am still not finished with The Stone Raft — although I could have easily completed the book during these past four homebound days. This imaginative, hilarious book is basically about the Iberian peninsula breaking off from the rest of Europe.

I love José Saramago.

These past bed-ridden days, I look out the window to see the sun deceivingly shining to tempt people out to the cold Winter air. This causes me to reminisce about the just past spring and summer. The spring of visiting Portugal and the summer of laying on an Italian island reading Slow Food Revolution by Carlo Petrini.

Santa María del Camino

I am known for my “peculiar” eating habits. To name a few:

  1. I do not eat fresh fruit, only dried fruit.
  2. I do not like the taste of chocolate, only white chocolate.
  3. While working on the computer, I use chopsticks to snack on trial mix.
  4. I only eat the tops of muffins.
  5. I only like the icing of a cake.
  6. I am vegetarian (best reaction from this was from my grandmother who asked: “did you join a strange religion?”)
Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, JP

Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, JP

I am also one of the slowest eaters you can ever meet. Eating with friends will often show that I am the last one to finish despite being predominantly the listener of the conversations.

“Quiet people have the loudest minds” — Stephen Hawking

Slow eater, but not slow to start.  I had to crop out my bite because I could not wait for the photo to be taken.

Slow eater, but not slow to start. I had to crop out my bite because I could not wait for the photo to be taken.

In my past post, The Insanity of Love, I first wrote about my Portugal travels. Lisboa does have its treats, but I suggest to take a trip to see the sights and sins of Sintra as well.

Traditional sins

Traditional sins

In eating, a third of the stomach should be filled with food, a third with drink, and the rest left empty — Babylonian Talmud, c. 500.

(…I disagree, fill the last third with dessert!)

Simply to Sintra: From Santa Apolonia Station it is 1,25€ and 3 metro stops to Restauradores. Then about 4,50€ from Rossio station to the last stop on the green line called “Sintra”.

excursión

From the train, it is possible to take a bus to climb and hike through Sintra features such as the Castelo dos Mouros

mouros

or to the Palácio Nacional da Pena.

pena

But doing all of it by foot will guarantee better sights…

At the bottom of the walk is Hans Christiansen's home

At the bottom of the walk is Hans Christiansen’s home

…or to run away from certain images:

PenaPalace3

Nevertheless, all the sightseeing will lead you to indulge in Sintra’s food among her colorful buildings.

The destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

People who love to eat are always the best people — Julia Child

Oftentimes, people refer to the slow food movement as silly nostalgia and refute that eating is manifested in our primitive instinct to eat prey quickly. However, Slow Food Revolution explains how the movement is against what the Chairman of the EU Parliamentary Commission for Culture put as:

a desperate serious genocide of taste.

One of my favorite parts of the book was about the ABC Movement, which means “Anything But Chardonnay/Cabernet”. This section toted to break the boredom with the usual grapes and expand one’s taste buds for different wines.

Genetic erosion of species diversity is not only threatening flavors, but also specific attributes of soil and land that can in turn affect farms — from indigenous to industrial.

Museum of Anjos Teixera

The destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves. — Anthelme Brillat-Savarin 

According to Slow Food Revolution “Our relationship with the seasons and regional peculiarities has been almost entirely lost. Regional variety has been replaced by homogenous products subjected to long distance transportation and designed to meet consumers’ requirements.” Related to this is how factory farms are the new sweatshops.

While Slow Food Revolution was not the most exciting read, it did reinforce some concerns I share: “Will the food of tomorrow maintain a bond with the soil, the land, and the farmer…or will it simply be the product of the genetics lab, irrespective of where it is produced?

Will it be a gift of nature, warts and all, or will it be an insipid, rigorously codified industrial product?”

Advertisements