Luis Egidio Meléndez: Still Life of Oranges, Watermelon, a Pot, and Boxes of Cake, ca. 1760 The thorn-like spines on the stems nicked me. I had no idea orange trees bore thorns, like the crown of Christ on the cross. And like Christ on the cross, I bled. Sucking my finger, I yelped, and Daddy … More Oranges, Florida’s Gold
A New York Times columnist, Roger Cohen, wrote about getting lost while hiking in Spain’s Sierra de Guadarrama, his gripping story filled with an underlying and somewhat disturbing meaning. On the surface, it seemed like a story about luck. But I chose to see “Lost and Found in Hemingway’s Spain” as a treatise on Fate. … More Fishing for Meaning: Fate, Destiny, and Heimarmene
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. ~ Alexander Graham Bell Partly cloudy skies and a hint of frostiness in the air promised a wonderful morning for visiting Barcelona’s Picasso Museum, … More Doors Open, Doors Close: Life’s Little Lessons
Well, I am going to be brief here. Typing with one hand is not easy … . Four days into my nineteen-day Spanish adventure, I missed a step right at the top of the long climb up to Parc Guell in Barcelona. Tried desperately to keep my balance, to no avail. And fractured the radius … More Disaster, or How to Ruin a Vacation with One Tiny Misstep
For a long time, when I thought of Spain, Extremadura came to mind. Not the fertile fields of Al-Andalus or the craggy green mountains of Catalonia. Extremadura’s vast barrenness revealed a deep truth to me when I first saw it. I’d studied it, as well the lives of the conquistadores from Extremadura, the ones who’d … More The Rice in Spain, Not So Easy to Explain
Standing on the edge of the cliffs in the merciless wind, I struggled to keep my unruly hair out of my eyes. A losing battle it was, for I could barely see the roiling blue water below. No trees, scrubby grass, an old whitewashed church, and a modern lighthouse. Nothing else. Sagres,* perched on the … More For Me, All Roads Lead to Spain
Nine years ago, I decided to poke a toe into the world of food blogging. I settled on the name, “Gherkins & Tomatoes,” based on a painting by Luis Meléndez, a tribute to the period of history known as “The Age of Exploration.” Faced with a blank screen demanding something, anything, the first words that … More 9 Years of Writing about History … A Celebration!
First, a pinch of etymology. The Greeks called lavender nardus after the Syrian city of Naardus, from which comes the word “spikenard.” (More on spikenard in a second.) As for our word, “lavender,” we must once again thank the Latin language for lavare, meaning, “to wash.” A member of the mint family, and cousin to … More Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme … and Lavender