A vegan in New York

June 19, 2017

Not until you finish reading this post, will you understand its title which, on the other hand, is inspired by Sting. I am not a vegan, but I was in New York not so long ago, and one of those questions that friends asked me when I came back refers to what I ate there. You will know my answer at the end of the post.

My trip to the land of vegetarianism started years ago when I was in Brest (Belarus). Since then I have found the way of nourishing myself as I freely choose. Great attention was given to my new diet at the beginning; sometimes I was even asked for the reasons why I turned to a new diet. Although I always tried to move the conversation along to another topic, it usually kicked off a lively debate.

Knowing this, it is clear that veganism is a controversial issue; therefore it is perfect for the short and sweet speech I have to deliver at my English class. Briefly, the description of veganism, as well as the reasons in favour for going vegan will be pointed out. Besides, other labels as vegetarian, organivore, locavore or flexitarian will be succinctly commented.

It is by no means certain that by the end of my presentation my colleagues will be willing to say something. When it comes to diet, people feel stuck in their habits and they don´t like to be questioned.  All the same, don´t get me wrong, it is not my intention to convince them, only open a debate.

But, let´s go back to my experience as a vegetarian in New York. I´d like to emphasize that it was really easy to find salads, in plastic box naturally. Although it is far more difficult to explain my perception, I´d say that meals were like any other marketable product there, not real food.

One more observation, despite that vegetarianism is in many ways a great diet, any kind of extremism leads to isolation. So, stop labelling people, we´d better enjoy good and natural food.

Quoting Sting´s song, I was not an alien in New York or in restaurants, and I try to be myself don´t matter what they say about my diet. And in your case, what do you think about veganism? Have you ever thought about your diet?

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A silly question

June 12, 2017

Sitting in a local restaurant, having dinner with a friend, a silly question came to my mind; and, of course, I couldn´t help asking him: do you think there is some kind of direct relation between your favourite flavour and your personality?

Only after the question was posed, did we start an animated conversation about taste, about  Asian coisine. And we didrealized how different we are regarding flavours among other things.

Actually, trying to answer the silly question, a list of hypothesis was formulated. Are those who have a sweet tooth, who cannot avoid the temptation of eating a moist cake or a delicious ice-cream, the sensitive or gentle kind? On the other hand, if someone is a fan of sourness, and for example enjoys savouring lemon or vinegar, are they irreverent and pungent when it comes to their way of talking? Furthermore, do preferences for spicy and salty meals reveal a more optimistic or extrovert personality?

It seems that not until these questions are formulated by some researcher from a well-known University, will we have a possible answer. Meanwhile, we know that there are four basic flavours: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Although in my last online search I found that there is a new one flavour called “umami”. The term was introduced by the Japanese Kikunae Ikeda to refer to a savoury, brothy or meaty taste.

Yet, going back to the silly question, there are different kinds of personalities according to experts. However, only the four kinds found by researchers from different Spanish Universities can be taken in account. According to them, people can be classified as optimistic, pessimistic, trusting or envious. Therefore, what would be the correspondence between the four basic tastes and the four basic personalities?

A far as I am concerned, the match is done. Nonetheless, although I will come back to the topic, have you ever thought of the relationship between your favourite flavours and your own personality traits?


Emilia and Benito

June 5, 2017

My friends and I were wandering around the temporary exhibition at El Prado Museum, and in front of the portraits of prominent Spanish writers, I commented on the relationship between Emilia Pardo Bazán and Benito Pérez Galdós. My friends confessed that they did not know about that romance, which was not only based on true friendship and admiration between talented artists, but also a real passionated relationship.

According to the documental that can be watched there, the collection was made possible by an American philanthropist who fell in love with Hispanic culture during his early youth. With the passion and determination typical of a person who flollows a dream, the philanthropist gathered an important group of representative pieces of the Hispanic culture throughout History. During his life he built a close relationship with some of Spanish artists at that moment, and as a result some of the most important works by Sorolla, to name just one, are included in the famous collection.

Among other works by Sorolla, displayed on the walls were the portraits of his contemporary writers. However, what caught my attention the most were Emilia and Benito´s portraits. And, if my memory serves me correctly, Emilia Pardo Bazán was the only woman in such an illustrated group.

On no account can we say if the order in which the portraits are exhibited mirrors the friendship or enmity between the authors; neither do I remember if Emilia and Benito were put together. What would have been their desire?

To tell the truth, I don´t think it is an aspect that would bother them; they were used to hiding their love affair. It is said that if you want to read good erotic literature, you can try the letters handwritten by Emilia and sent out to Benito. The letters he answered were destroyed, so we don´t know if the tone used was the same or not.

I guess that, apart from the explicit messages expressed in the letters, they would have created a personal world between them, with codes understandable only by them. Who knows if they put words on the mouth of their characters with messages to his or her lover.  Going further, if they lived now and had a personal blog, would they communicate with secret messages hidden in the text which only them could understand?

Regarding secret relationships, do you know any other between historical characters? Can you guess some hidden relationships among those people surrounding you?