Tag Archives: bread

You Can Take the Salami Out the Hood but You Can’t Take the Hood Out the Salami

My Friends,
   Since I have been traveling I have been diligent in partaking in local cuisine.  Some observations I have made: Portuguese bacalhau is dope, Spanish churros taste better than that Taco Bell tripe, French cheese, wine & bread are a trifecta of win schway, and Italian pasta can’t be touched.  “Well sure” you say, “thats what those countries are known for; of course its going to be better there.”  Well that line of reasoning might suffice for the reasonable mind, but dammit I need to delve deeper into the questions that have been answered to everyone else’s satisfaction.
   This is more (not much, but a little) than simply making much of an issue for the sake of something to write about; I got to thinking about how up until this last visit to France I have typically hated French wine.  Seriously, I cant remember buying a bottle or trying a glass in Canada that I thought much of in spite of the fact that they were marketed as mid to mid-high level wines.  However, I come to France and every bottle of wine, no matter how inexpensive, is some wild ass shit.  Ditto for the cheese: I have always loved Brie, but never did I enjoy it as much as I did in France.  I brought a smilar observation up to my cousin here in Legnano, Italy while we were enjoying some Gorgonzola, grapes, and bread.  Now since I have been here in Italy I have had something of a love affair with Gorgonzola which, in case you aren’t familiar, bears more than a superficial resemblance in appearance and flavour to blue cheese.  While crushing our nth wedge of this cheese tonight I inquired as to what the difference was between Gorgonzola and blue cheese.

“It’s the same” my cousin told me.

“Then why has blue cheese never tasted this good at home,” says I.

“Well ya see (you simple fuck) things taste different depending on where you eat them.  Aside from the fact that they make it here, you could drink a bottle of wine made in Padua two hours away and it will taste one way.  But you take that same bottle down to Naples and drink it there and it’ll taste different.  It’s something in the air affects the flavours.”

This explanation partly satisfied me mostly because it was an alternative to the common and widely accepted answer (if everyone believes it; I can’t help but be suspicious).  However, it still sounded like some old bullshit.  Not to discount atmospheric effects entirely; I mean I could see such factors making a difference if you simply walked into Mordor with your fancy cheese and let the heat, sulphur fumes and ash really absorb into it for a few hours before eating.  But what kind of pretentious cheese/wine/bread conoisseur can claim with a straight face that they notice the subtle difference that geography of consumption makes in the bouquet, body and aftertaste of their delicacy of choice?

Since I obviously take issue with the “it’s just better there” reasoning and I find the atmospheric influence reasoning a little suspect, I’m going to go ahead and assume the food tastes better here because my mind is playing tricks on me.  That is to say, I am probably just idealizing things in my head.  It makes sense; all of the amazing meals I have had here I associate in my head with where I ate them, the time of day (usually watching a sunset or sunrise), how good I was feeling at the time and how much progress I had made that day.  In fact , when it comes down to it, my meals have become ritualized to the point where simply eating is no longer sufficient; it has to be a multi-sensory experience.  Obviously, I could eat some pretty crappy food and in these circumstances I would probably remember it fondly.
   The ability of my mind to trick myself both saddens me and reassures me.  It is kind of sad to think that perhaps the food that I am enjoying so much here is no better than what is available back home (this is a fleeting sadness however, as my enjoyment is ultimately what matters most).  The reassurance comes from the knowledge that I have the ability to idealize and enjoy any meal and by association, any life experience more than I normally would by taking the time to do it right and incorporating as much pleasurable aspects into it as I can.

George Costanza: A rare genius unappreciated in his own time

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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The Most Useful Blog in the World

My Friends,  
   I am in Rota, Spain right now. I left Cadiz this morning on the ferry and met up with Ricky, who reached out to me over couchsurfing.net yesterday. He must have seen what a standup guy I was (you can see too: ) and been moved by my blog entry, “Hostel California” (4 Oct 2011). In any event, he invited me to take the ferry to Rota and crash at his place, which I did after considering that I was less than thrilled with my accommodations in Cadiz and also that he is a fellow member of NATO.
I arrived in Rota just before one, and after getting him on the phone we met up at Castillo de Luna, which is an old castle that has been turned into a municipal building here in Rota. Some of my loyal readership may remember my 16 August 2011 entry, entitled “I Used to Like Meeting New People,” where I detailed my encounter with Rob, am overly social senior who balanced out incredibly interesting life stories with incredibly mundane ones. Well, I mentioned that he had been in a coma and he fell into that coma here in Rota in the 1960s disarming sea mines left over from World War 2.

“Wow, that is soo interesting; please tell me more.”

Perhaps if I run into him again I will have something to contribute to the conversation now before he goes on at length for an hour.
Back to the situation at hand, my host, Ricky, has been very welcoming. He showed me around the house and basically told me to make myself at home while he headed back to work. Finally being in a position where I have access to a computer that not only has a mic and camera, but also no other travelers waiting to use it, I have made the most of my time, first catching up on “Arby & the Chief,” a youtube series I like, then doing a little bit of vlogging. My clothes are performing well; just showered with them yesterday and I am smelling good. I realized they needed washing yesterday when I woke up and all I could smell was myself (ps, salt waterswimming is no substitute for a shower). Anyway, me and some friends ended up going to Torre Tavira to see the camera obscura

and all I could think the whole time we watched the demonstration was “oh man, I hope these people can’t smell me.” Now, no such problems: smellin good and feelin good. Gonna crush a shower tonight and that should keep me agreeable with people’s olfactory glands for the next few days while I visit Tarifa, Gibraltar and Malaga.
Speaking of which, as it looks now I dont think I will be heading to Munich for Oktoberfest. Its not a definite no but the chances are looking slim, in spite of the drunken post I made the other night (see “The Best Drunken Idea of My Life,” 2 Oct 2011). If I do go, that will be great and will definitely provide me with lots of blog fodder. If not, I will have to make my own adventure, hitchiking, dehydrating, starving, and generally suffering as I hitchike up the arid east coast of Spain. I’m up for the challenge so I hope you’re up for reading about it.
Stay Thirsty
-Andre Guantanamo

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