That time of the year has come…


…when I repeatedly repeat the yearly repeat “I hate Carnival”.

Tips for foreigners, whether you are in Brazil or not:

  1. DO NO ASK A BRAZILIAN IF HE LIKES CARNIVAL OR ABOUT CARNIVAL AT ALL . Do not ask a brazilian of he likes samba. Do not ask a brazilian for carnival party tips. Brazilians are pretty obvious and outgoing about their love for carnival. They will practically harrass you to go to a carnival party of any kind and get drunk, to the point you'll say 'yes let's go' only because you will realize the brazilian will not stop bugging you unless you agree to go out. So, if YOU ARE IN FRONT OF A BRAZILIAN WHO DID NOT MENTION CARNIVAL AT ALL, SHUT UP AND DON'T EVER BRING IT UP, BECAUSE YOU ARE IN FRONT OF A BRAZILIAN WHO HATES CARNIVAL. JUST GO WALK AROUND and you will find plenty of people just hanging out around the corner or asleep on the gutter, who can give you tips about where to party.
  2. DO NOT SAY “I LOVE BRAZIL.” D.O N.O.T S.A.Y I.T. especially if you are a celeb or if you are going to appear on media of any kind, unless you wanna sound as dumb and clueless as Alicia Silverstone on Clueless. If people ask you what are your thoughts abotu the visit and your country, be short, smart and stay true to yourself. DO NOT SAY “I LOVE BRAZIL”.
  3. Do not expect exotic, hot or “spicy” food. In general Brazilian cuisine is bland, non-creative and very simple in the matter of seasonings. The main “spices” of Brazil are salt and sugar, and all food tends too be either too salty or too sweet. Most meals are made with ingredients not very different from the ingredients in other western countries, and we have a huge network of fastfood imported from America. Brazilians have a sweet tooth and you'll find dozens of varieties of candies and chocolates and sweet places with a dedicated desserts and sweets buffet. Also, you'll find a coffee place every 50 meters, and every coffee place will always have espresso, which may be simples or dulpo (yes, double). Coffee places do not offer cream or creamer as an option here. You can only get straight milk.
  4. Don't expect to get your change straight. BRAZILIANS HATE COINS. They always round the price up or down to whatever amount of coins you have that is closest to the real change. Actually we hate coins so much that we pretty much eliminated the use of the 1 cent coin by simply ignoring it. If you find one, send it to me, I collect them. I actually have ONE 1 cent coin in my piggy bank. I even wonder if it's worth more just because of it's rarity.


The case for mall love, Star Wars, UBER and Happy 2014!


Yesterday I've been to Cinemark watch Mockingjay 2.

 

Today I've been to the same place, again, to go to the cinema, again, only this time I watched Star Wars VII: the Force Awakens.

 

I confess: despite growing up with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker (I always love Han Solo the most,meven when I was like… 4yo), I got frustrated with Lucas' prequels of cute animals and child stories. I hated what's his name who played Anakin. God, they could at least have chosen a real actor for someone as iconic as The future Darth Vader. But not content with the poor choice for Anakin's role, they decide to throw the shit in the fan altogether by pairing Anakin with bland boring equally terrible if not worse in thespian skill matters Natalie Portman. That was way beyong the bearable to watch. Hence my caution in getting excited about Ep VII. All I could think of was “oh no, 3 interminable hours of cute droids and Jar Jar Binks-Like creatures. If I am going to see this, may the force be with me, really”.

 

But to my surprise it was an awesome movie and I needed not to stand up in the middle of the theatre to split the screen in half with my light saber. Picking up the old actors was such a great decision. There was continuity to it and it made me feel like I was watching the original film again for the first time, revamped.

They really built up the characters well, including the troopers, who weren't only mere extras with guns in a white plastic costume anymore. The whole scene where the troopers are summoned to destroy the resistance – a great reference to WWII and Hitler. Big red banner with black symbol in the background, troopers in formation as if SS and Gestapo had been consultants for the movie themselves. And hail to the chief just like a “Heil Hitler”. I loved their choice of actor for “baby Vader”.

Spoiler ahead…

I saw it comming all along but it broke my heart to see Han Solo go like that.

Jedi are sort of like priests, don't marry, etc, it's all force force force. But the ending was literally and figuratively a cliffhanger. The girl could be Leia's daughter (with someone other than Han Solo) OR she could be the daughter of Skywalker himself. After all, he was MIA for years with nothing but his hoodie. nOt even his light saber. Go figure what he's been up to all these years??

But I guess we'll find that one out in Ep. VIII.

I should add I watched the movie in a theatre equipped with all that crazy technology which I cannot remember now. 3D + that crazy rocking chair + something else called D something. Detox, whatever. iT wasn't IMAX though, but it was certainly better or comparable.

It was really …shaky. And completely awesome. I highly recommend to watch it in a well equipped theatre.

 

After the movie I spend the whole day at the mall, shopped for a lot for things I needed and things I didn't, but other people do, with my poor husband having to cope with his really vain pretty empty and bored vacationing wife's love for shoping malls and the only distraction and going out she could afford for the moment.

 

After 1 pound of burgers and bacon, cheese and guava ice crean and an espresso, I returned home using UBER, witch is my current public transportation of choice. And here we are again.

Hope I get a good night of sleep, because tomorrow will be a long day.

Since this year was shit and next year ia going to be worse, I wish you beforehand a happy 2014!!

 



Dona Zefinha – Comida Nordestina


Dona Zefinha specializes in northeastern Brazilian cuisine. The menu is extensive and has many traditional dishes from that area. The service was quite good.

Many of the dishes are for 2, and we got the Caramão Tropical Refeição: shrimp and rice served in pineapple halves with a rich cream sauce. One pineapple half held the shrimp and the other the rice. The sauce was divine. We stuffed ourselves happily, and then had tapioca de coco e doce de leite: tapioca (also common in the northeast) with coconut and dulce de leite.

I can’t wait to go back!

Dinner at Dona Zefinha

Address: Rua Lima e Silva, 776, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Phone: +55 51 3072-5557
Hours: Monday to Saturday – 5am to 1am
E-mail: atendimento@culinariadonazefinha.com.br
Web: http://www.culinariadonazefinha.com.br/



Book Review: “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer


This is not a random gullible green author raising the flag of veganism. It is a rather detailed research on how does the American meat industry works. Every claim and factual citation is properly referenced. Even when the reference is “just” a website (people will believe anything that is on the internet), there are ways to check further for the veracity of it.


You can also go farther than the author, and research the web for resources that try to debunk the things written on the book (not he he does not do that himself). The author gets to his own conclusion, and does not impose veganism on the reader. It’s up to the reader to make his own decisions, which, if you are smart enough and pay attention to the news, should not be a hard task.


In less than two months we have had two massive food recalls, all related to the factory farm meat industry: first there was the poultry and meat recall due to E.Coli contamination, and then there was the scandalous egg recall due to Salmonella. These only happen because the animals’ immune system is genetically designed so deficient that their bodies serve as playground to microorganisms. The factory farmed animals would never survive in case they were not fed tons of broad spectrum antibiotics everyday mixed with their food. As if that was not enough, you still have account improper management of the animal/meat througout the whole slaughtering process. Headlines like “Egg recall highlits the dangers of mass food production” only happen thanks to factory farms.  By reading Foer’s book, you would not have to read the article behind that headline. Because you would know instantly what would be written therein.


We (that is, human beings) are frequently lectured over self-medication and misuse of antibiotics; doctors and entire hospital staffs are blamed for bacterial resistance and the eminent “superbugs”. While there is truth in that, nothing can bear more guilt for imminent diseases (say H1N1) and “superbugs” than factory farms. It is a safe bet that you will never hear of the “Cat Flu” or “Dog Flu”. Because we do not eat cats and dogs. And even when we do (Koreans do), they are not produced in a genetically engineered immune deficient massive industrial scale fed broad spectrum antibiotics. Now chickens, pigs, fish and cow? The situation is so bad that I would not be surprised in case there was something that sounds as absurd as a “fish flu”. So please watch out for what (who) you eat and food safety. It’s not just about animal welfare, but our health depends on it too.



My Grain


Since a few weeks ago I became vegetarian and decided to increase the daily consumption of dietary fiber.


The following text has noting to do with that. It is more about how  fibergasted I was at the intensity of my last headache.


It  pounds my skull, pulsing, as a very very bad idea insisting to get out.


Each footstep evenly conducts itself up through my body into my skull, making my neurons resonate and my brain dance frantically like a gelatin about to part in the middle under the slightest pressure.


When the miminum light beam does not dim my sight enough to make it go white blind¹, I can see stars and planets and supernovas and all kinds of celestial bodies. Even being indoors².


Even the sounds of lower magnitude reverberate causing the jelly, I mean, the brain, to dance even more willingly and frantically.


(To think I always thought I was a bad dancer.)


The resonace spreads from my brain only to take over my body and suddenly I am dancing fully instead of only in my head (that’s what I call putting your ideas in practice…).


My skin gets pale and moist  from the dancing and my stomach announces the milk shake has been shaken enough already and going up the cup…


…and then I get home and take a miracle pill.


(What, you thought I was on drugs before all that happened?)


¹what the unskeptical lay people also know as “seeing God”?


²Probably would fit the diagnostic criteria for some random DSM-V diagnosis entitled to psychotropic prescription drugs.


P.S.:  this case has shown no valid statistical evidence of correlation between fiber ingestion, vegetarianism and altered mind states. I reamain a cereal eater and a vegetarian. Now just go eat your cereal and enjoy your salad, please.



Olivian Fettuccine


I’m a hopeless cook disaster.

I don’t think I ever made anything in my life that was’t noodle without failing terribly (ok, I confess I made omelete, but overall I’m not only bad but dangerous at the kitchen).  Anyway, for whatever reason (as in “there was no yogurt to eat with my cereal” and “the house ran out of fruits”) today I decided to make pasta (surprise…) with whatever I had laying around in the kitchen. And the thing is:  miracle or not, it actually ended up tasting really good. And I had a Casillero del Diablo 2008 Carmenere wine that went just perfect with it.


Cutting the chit-chat, here’s the recipe to my…


Olivian Fettuccine


Chop in slices a few leaves of Treviso Radicchio, lettuce and  half a grated carrot, and leave it there waiting.


Fill a pan with water, add salt and put it on the stove. It’s  a good idea to light the stove so, you kow, the water will boil.


In another pan, pour a bunch of olive oil; drop a proportional bunch of  herbes de provence; drop a proportional bunch of coriander (actually you can exaggerate a little here); pour (ok, careful here) a few bunch of drops of traditional Tabasco; pour a bunch of acetobalsamico di Modena (equivalent to 3 soup spoons). Do all this with the stove off. Fine. By now the water in the other pan must be probably already boiling, so you add the desired ammount of fettuccine to the first pan. After that you light the stove in low heat and with a wooden spoon you keep mixing all the spices for 3-5 minutes. Then you turn of the fire a little, add a bunch of mayonese and mix it all together really well. Then you add the chopped vegetables that I mentioned in the first line of this post, turn the fire on again, low, and mix it all together for like 2-3 minutes.


Well, at this point the fettuccine is probably al dente, so you drain the water from the pasta, and add all the fettuccine into the pan with the spicy sauce, and mix it really well.


Put it on a dish, and eat it with a fork and a knife, and a good glass of Carmenère wine.



Saturday Supermarket


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