O Estrangeiro

I’ve just finished reading L’Étranger (The Stranger) by Camus. It had been on my to-read list for a long time because it’s a “classic” and I (stupidly) challenged myself to read more classics this year. Well, how depressing. It’s about a guy who kills a man by accident and gets death penalty. Sure, it’s well written and all. As the reader you get into his head, get as bored as he is about the events that unfold. But really, what was the point of reading such a depressing story ?! Ah, but maybe this novel is about more than just another depressing story, and I simply don’t get the philosophy of the absurd. Whatever.

I’m getting frustrated with the French literature: Madame Bovary is a bored adulterous woman who lets herself die of unhappiness (leaving a heartbroken husband and a motherless child), the Stranger is again bored and, though he seems to think he is happy, ends up… headless. I’m having a hard time reading Le Rouge et le Noir (the Black and the Red) by Stendhal, because it’s yet again another story of a coldhearted young man who starts an affair with a married woman…

The only pleasant surprise so far (in the world of French literature) (that I’ve read recently), that I can think of, was Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Paradise) by Zola. As a teenager, a friend had loved it and lend it to me… but the descriptions were too long for my taste then. This time around I found myself delighting in such wealth of details in mid-nineteenth century fashion and innovations in the department store. The main character, Denise, is actually virtuously strong and refuses the advances of her rich boss, who is reputed to be a ladies’ man. I know, shocking in a French novel… Maybe I will enjoy reading more of Emile Zola.

Categorias: inglês, leituras | 5 Comentários

Nuit Blanche

In all my “wild” years as a music student, practicing a couple of hours everyday, going to concerts at night, dancing tango a dozen hours per week, I never managed to pull an all nighter. I would sleep in late in the morning, have a nap in the afternoon, and be fresh(er) the day after.

Well, that was, er, more than ten years ago.

This week, for the first time in my life, and for an unknown reason, I didn’t sleep at all from the night of Wednesday to Thursday. Not a wink. Each time I would lie down to try to sleep, I would start coughing (we all had some kind of a cold last week), but then I would stand, drink a sip of water, sit at the computer and be fine. I did this twice then just gave up to try to sleep. I put some music in my ears, and started sewing the night away. I caught up on the small repairs and a few projects that were pilling up. I started the night frustrated with that insomnia, but ended up quite happy with all the music I listened to and the sewing I finished. Uninterrupted.

In the small hours of the morning I opened the front door and enjoyed the quiet of the sleeping town and the sunrise. With a soundtrack in my ears. It was wonderful.

The strangest in all of this is that the following day I was fine. I didn’t even need a nap in the afternoon! Weird, uh?

At 9:30pm, though, I was fast asleep.

With my clothes on.

Categorias: inglês, sobre mim | 4 Comentários

Jaca

The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Kerala, in Tamil Nadu (in Panruti), coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight, 36 inches (90 cm) in length, and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

(Thanks, wiki*)

Jaca // Jack fruit trees.


Once in a while, hubby comes back from a visit to a farm with a bag of beans or a few BOXES full of bananas, both of which never go to waste as both are part of our almost-daily diet (plus, I’ve also learned to make bananada — banana spread). One day, he finally came home with a jaca (jackfruit). A fruit that I had long heard about, “a prehistorical looking fruit” would describe my husband, but as it is usually too big to eat at once (unless you have a dozen kids to feed at home, ha ha) I didn’t dare buy one at the feira (farmer’s market); Even if they do cut a piece for you, I didn’t know how much to ask for or how to choose the fruit. As it happens, I finally got to try one for FREE and it was a SMALL specimen !  

The small-ish fruit.


I wish I could say “it taste just like chicken”, but, er, not really. It’s really very sweet and, as you can see in the video below, has a lot of fiber. The seeds are quite big so it’s easy to take off, but somewhat difficult to eat in a civilized manner ! I’ve read that there are some sweet or savory dishes with jack fruit in South East Asia. My in-laws told me too that I could prepare it as I do apple sauce without the adding any sugar. I had no idea and should look into it next time we get another one of these monsters! As it happens we ate a bit of it, but I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the fruit that went into containers in the fridge, then ended up as compost in the backyard…

Categorias: frutas, inglês | 4 Comentários

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