The chocolate question

The chocolate question

A boy is presented with a new aspect of chocolate when he meets a rare species: a child who may at some point have been permitted to eat as much of it as they wanted.  He is duly impressed. “It’s got every sort of chocolate you can think of,” I went on: “soft...
Conveyor belts of civilization

Conveyor belts of civilization

Wine as a key constituent of our civilization, and I liked the idea of its being moved on great conveyor belts of happiness. For much of Europe, civilization has been intimately and happily tangled up with wine  – the essential element in wave upon wave of...
My kind of market (II)

My kind of market (II)

If you follow this website, you will know I’m partial to cornucopian markets bursting with fine foods and other delights.  Here’s a new description to whet the appetite for such magical human hubs. The Abkhazian bazaar!  Those smells, the sounds … It...
How to extend your lifespan

How to extend your lifespan

A Russian woman who lived in Abkhazia describes a local custom we might all like to adopt.  As a means to extend your lifespan, I can’t think of anything more delightful. According to Abkhazian custom, the time you spend with guests around the table...
Afternoon tea (I)

Afternoon tea (I)

Must be the Brit in me, but I love detailed descriptions of sumptuous teas and picnics, although I have failed to win my Italian husband over to either concept.  So abject has my failure been that when I once mentioned a picnic, he innocently asked, ‘But why do...
Paying the bill

Paying the bill

A charming admission of costs incurred by a character who appears in György Faludy’s memoir of life in Communist Hungary.  This outrageously sumptuous evening takes place in pre-communist days, during Faludy’s childhood.  A larger than life person, this...
A banquet breakfast

A banquet breakfast

I like detailed descriptions of meals and picnics. Here Steinbeck sets down in detail a stupendous and outrageously over-rich breakfast laid before him and Robert Capa on their travels in Ukraine. Remember, this was a country which had suffered one of the...
Nothing more marvelous

Nothing more marvelous

A delicious dinner with friends, the table noise, also the talk noise. In our case, these are mostly at home, so we are the waiters filling the glasses and plates. The summer is coming and if it is kind, we can hold most of those dinners in the garden, accompanied by...
My kind of civilization

My kind of civilization

You can spend a lot of time thinking about civilization and whether it has a future, but defining it isn’t so straightforward.  Or is it? This definition works for me, particularly on a hot summer’s day in a piazza in Italy. Or anywhere.Favourite flavours...

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