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eat the cup, part 4

this is just silly.

i mean, i went out to dinner last night and went to caju specifically for the purpose of enjoying a mocqueca. tonight, i am staying at home to prepare the evening’s dinner (and the morrow’s lunch) and i am preparing... mocqueca.

this has to be a sign of something wrong. isn’t it weird to keep craving this? what is it about this particular fish stew that makes me happy to eat it for days on end?

simply put, mocqueca’s flavour, much like the brazilian soccer team, may be impossible to beat. the lush mixture of seafood (most commonly shrimp), tomatoes, coconut milk and spices combines the heartiness of the old world with the exotic flavour of the new. it could only come from brazil.

after all, brazil almost defines multiculturalism and diversity. before being conquered by the portuguese, brazil’s indian populations, unlike the incans or mayans, were disparate, diverse, ununified. today, the population continues to be one of the most heterogenous in the world, with roots in portugal, africa, asia, and other areas of europe (after slavery was outlawed there in the late nineteenth century, large numbers of immigrants, particularly italians, came over to work on the coffee plantations).

mocqueca finds its origins in bahia province, itself a cultural mix, being both a centre of catholicism and of candomble, the brazilian variant of voudoun.

nonetheless, one can identify elements of a unified national culture, based largely on its citizens’ reputation for warmth, great parties and dominating the world in soccer.

it’s a good thing that i like their food so much, because the way they’re playing, i have a feeling that i’m going to have a lot of opportunities to enjoy it in the coming weeks.

(you may note that i have eschewed my habitual placement of the national flag of the country whose cuisine i’m appropriating for the evening with a photograph. that photograph was taken on college street in toronto this afternoon, an hour and a half after the brazilian win.)


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…