Liking Food I Don’t Like

One of the odder meals in Poland comes from the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridays. Along with the boiled or mashed potatoes there are a couple of hard boiled eggs. Then a sauce flavored with a lot of horseradish is poured over the eggs. It’s just called eggs in horseradish sauce (jajka w sosie chrzanowym).

Okay, it tastes a lot better than it sounds…. or looks.

I make the sauce with vegetable broth thicken with a little flour and pour in a crap ton of horseradish (I am not into subtle flavors….) and then some sour cream or milk. It sounds kind of odd but is great when you have a stuffed up nose.

I used to hate horseradish in the US but it really makes some dishes in Poland. Soft boiled eggs with a little mayonaise and horseradish is very yummy and a friend makes a delicious appetizer wtih herring, sour cream and horseradish, in theory I don’t like two of the main ingredients but I wolf the combination down like a hungry dog.

And Polish horseradish is just a lot….. better than any I’ve had in other countries. I used to think that it simply fits in better to Polish cooking than it does American but about a year ago in Germany there was some horseradish in the breakfast bar… and it wasn’t very good. So know I’m thinking some countries just make some things better (I swear I can taste the difference between paprikas from Hungary and from anywhere else).



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I Refuse to Worry About This

This a great example of how not to create concern for Global Warming (or Anthropogenic Climate Change or whatever). The reason for this is that the idea of horses the size of cats IS THE CUTEST THING EVER!

Oooooh that’s so scary!

Why don’t they just write a headline “Global Warming Equals More Cotton Candy” or “Climate Change to Bring Teddy Bears to Sentient Life“.

They’re just messing with us now….

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Greek Children Pay for the Euro

This is one reason (out of many) that I hate the Euro. A currency without transfers or common fiscal policy is not a currency but a trap to catch countries in perpetual debt. It’s worth noting that about 5 % of the massive bailout money Greece has received actually stays in Greece, the rest is paid to German lenders. The Euro (as most modern banking) is a large confidence scheme that impoverishes children so that digital information can be transferred from one computer to another.

Greece is certainly not innocent in this but at this point it’s like someone in debt to loan sharks with debts that can never realistically be paid back (especially since the reforms demanded by the bankers have the effect of reducing government income pushing it deeper in debt and punishing any lingering entrepreneurship in the country. Portugal, on the other hand, has quietly done everything the bankers have asked…. and is in no better position now than it was when the Euro bubble burst in 2008.

The people who designed the Euro were creating a 1970’s solution for problems that were better dealt with by computer by the early 2000’s. They purposely built it so that once a country entered it could never leave and now millions of people in Spain, Portugal and Greece (soon to be Italy?) are paying the price for their hubris.

Greek children may not be doing well but German banks aren’t going to lose a cent. I sometimes wonder if they want crowds with torches and pitchforks, because this is how you get crowds with torches and pitchforks.

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I’m So Fusion

I had to go the doctor’s this morning and my way back took me by an international food store. I hadn’t had anything but water since five in the afternoon the day before for a test done at the doctor’s so I was pretty hungry. My first plan was to get the ground corn flour used for making arepas but walking around I bought some other stuff too.


Two okay tastes that are… suprrising okay together

By the time I got home I was far too hungry to make arepas and so I decided to combine a couple of the things I had bought. Among other things there was udon noodles and a ready-made portion of aloo matar. So I combined them. Actually it wasn’t bad. The bland chewiness of the udon was a nice contrast to the spice of the aloo matar (yeah it’s not that spicy but my palate is kind of tame now) and they absorbed the sauce nicely too.

I probably won’t repeat it the hunger driven experiement but it was surprisingly okay.

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Department of No Sympathy

This is indicative of the tendency of magazines like Slate to treat every ethnic disagreement as a problem of discrimination. Sorry. I’m not buying it.

Yes, the Estonian government could probably make it easier for Russians who are fluent in the language (a strong indicator of willingness to be part of the country) to become citizens. But mostly this sounds like Russian feelings of superiority and cultural and linguistic inertia. They’ve been living in Estonia for 25 years. There is no excuse for every Russian there to not be brilliantly fluent in Estonian. Estonians were not given a choice about living in the USSR and learning Russian for 50 years (and they did a better job at the language than the current feckless Russian speaking population).

“Too hard” and “I can’t practice” and “They speak my language” are not valid reasons for failing to learn a national language. They are all excuses made after the decision has been made to not learn a language “They’re not friendly” and “They made fun of me” are also post facto rationalizations and not real reasons that people don’t learn a language they need.

The real concern is that rather than cross a border they want the border to cross them. Putin is clearly itching to show NATO up and clearly NATO will not risk war over a sliver of a tiny country.

But these people are not victims of discrimination they’re victims of their own choices.

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Forbidden Bird

I was delighted to see this on youtube. Back in the late 1970’s I had started to develop a taste in non-anglophone music starting with some Latin American pop and then some Arabic Levantine music and Indian movie songs. Then I found the album Passaro Prohibido (Forbidden Bird) by Maria Bethânia, who I’d never heard of and bought it because… I did that type of thing (buying albums just based on a hunch).

Buying this was a gamble that paid off. Big time.

I was never bowled over by any of the pop or rock that was commonly touted as “mind-bending” but this album was like entering another musical universe and changed the way I thought about music. Some of the album seemed totally alien and compelling like the opening track As Ayabás (which I now know is devoted to female deities in Candomblé) defying western ideas of musical structure with the stark changes in mood and tempo. Others like Balada do lado sem luz (ballad of the side without light?) seemed simultaneously familiar with its similarities to American Soul Music of the early 1970s yet different in ways that were hard to pin down.

It also… intensified my interest in Brasil and Portuguese and had a few things worked out differently over the next ten years I might be writing this blog from somewhere in Brasil rather than Central/Eastern Europe (not that I’m complaining).

Reason # 3492 that I love the internet is the breathtaking scope of content for those willing to look. My vinyl copy of the album disappeared long ago but it makes me happy that I  can become reacquainted with this wonderful album again now.

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Cahiers du Cinéma de Sexe Cannibale

I’m unsure about what the headline here is meant to suggest. Does it mean that this movie is the final definitive word on Cannibal Sex movies so that no one will dare to make another because they know it won’t be able to compete? Or is it just the final definitive word on French cannibal sex movies. If the latter, is it a challenge for other nations to see if they can top it with their own definitive Cannibal Sex movies? As a species do we really want to encourage Germany and Japan in this particular sweepstakes?

I might be able to answer these questions by reading the article but I find baselsss speculation to be more entertaining.

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