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
Florida experienced a “gold rush” almost as soon as the first Spanish soldier spit out an orange seed and kept marching through the palmetto and myrtle oak in 1513. It’s no mystery as to why California and Florida became dominant citrus-growing regions. Moors (Arabs) ruled Spain for over 800 years, and citrus – particularly oranges … More The Second Gold Rush: Citrus Crate Labels
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
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
I’d like to imagine Spain as it was years ago. Or maybe as it was in Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes’s immortal novel? A Spain filled with windmills and blowing dust, raggedy Sanchos, feet dragging on the dry ground, atop emaciated mules straggling behind crazed knights bedecked with tin hats and rusty lances. Cervantes’s Don … More Don Quixote and Me
Sometimes odd thoughts come to me while I’m stirring a pot of soup or crying over chopped onions. Perhaps you’ve experienced something such as this, triggered by some sort of catalyst. Like a chemical reaction, once it sparks, there’s no going back. In the latest instance of these mind games, one such catalyst appeared in … More Homage to La Cocina Española? Where are the Books?
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
I dream of returning to Catalonia. The last time I was there, in 2010, I crossed the border between France and Spain, and ended up about 30 miles northwest of Barcelona. I stopped for lunch at a small family-run place in a town whose name I can’t remember. The waitress wouldn’t speak Spanish, and all … More Cooking Like a Catalan, No Matter Where You Are
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