Friday, December 31, 2021

Needed In Afterlife


The shopping Race  before holidays, reminds me of a common reaction heard from people :Hey, what do you need all this stuff for? Remember, you'll take nothing with you when you leave this world!

True, but that wasn't  so in antiquity. I learnt about it at the archeological museum (one of the finest in Europe) of Heraklion, Crete island. There was a section in the museum that attracted many visitors, as it displayed exhibits found in people's graves at cemeteries: tools, weapons, clothes, jewelry, worship figurines, decorations, household items.    Interesting!

People in ancient times demanded to be buried with their belongings as they believed they 'll need the stuff in Afterlife. Not a good idea. Soon after the burial, the grave was opened by thieves and robbers. 

Swords and brooches were noted as being among the most commonly taken items from the graves, probably because these items were given as gifts and passed on across generations providing folk stories and fond memories. Still, even after the robberies, there was enough stuff left for the modern archeological excavations to discover.

(I noticed a newspaper picture there of Liz Taylor wearing a golden brooch  in the form of a bull horn designed according to the original item found during an excavation. I included the photo in the post I wrote in 2016, after my visit at the museum).

                                                                               Liz Taylor

I  believe that behind the Afterlife scenario, there's also the very human tendency to get attached to items, as it often occurs to me . This tendency makes it hard to impossible to declutter the house. Sometimes, the item has neither money value nor sentimental one. I just happen to like it, and even though I don't use it, or it takes up space, I won't get rid of it. So, there  goes my decluttering.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Ubersetzt Und Verbessert


The above title  is a well-known german expression referring to translation, and  meaning 'translated and improved', that is, the translated version is better than the original one.

This expression could be applied to any form of 'conversion' , not only from language to language. Food , for example. Sometimes, a version of a certain dish is better than the original one.

The vegetarian pizza, a popular dish, has its modern roots in Naples, south Italy. I happened to eat pizza in Naples and in other parts of Italy, and didn't like it. I constantly compared it to my local pizza in Israel, and concluded  that  the local one was much improved, it tasted better.

                                vegeterian pizza - slices

There's another kind of pizza  'on the market',  a non-vegetarian pizza with a minced meat topping (lamb or beef) mixed with minced veggies and herbs.  This pizza is of turkish-armenian origin, and is named 'lahmajoun' (or lahmacun). They introduce it in a taboon oven, which is hot enough to cook the raw meat and dough simultaneously and the result is "to die for".


 the taboon

There was an eatery near my place of work based on this turkish delicacy. So, I had quite a few lahmajouns at that time. Once, I told someone (a tourist guide) that the first thing I 'll do if, and when I visit Turkey is to have an authentic lahmajoun. Ha,ha, ha, was his reaction,  authentic or not, this, here, is the best lahmajoun you'll ever  get.

Remembering my experience with pizza in Italy, I said to myself, that maybe he was right. Perhaps, the Israelis found a way to ..."verbesser' (improve) the original.

Nowadays, I seldom eat pizza or lahmajoun. I do however, eat almost daily 'tahini' (techina in hebrew), the one and only,  the sauce that goes well with any pizza and with everything else. I don't care about  its origins and versions. I rely only on my own version. I buy the main ingredient - sesame-seeds' paste , and make it as Sinatra would say -  'My way', adding the essential three items: lemon juice, garlic, water.


* web pictures

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Eggplants - from Farm to Table.

Eggplants (aubergine)  are a favorite of mine and  I buy them often. I like eggplants for their fiber, taste, and versatility of use. ( My method of cooking, by the way : on the stove top over direct flame - messy but delicious). 

                    standard looking eggplants

During the last years one sees huge eggplants in various purple shades, in addition to the  normal looking eggplants . I'll buy, of course, the normal size, shape, and color, as the huge ones are probably grown with pesticides and hormones (non organic, non - GMO food). 

big eggplant

My approach applies to all veggies and fruits. When shopping at the market or grocery store I'll choose only those food items that resemble in size, shape, color, taste  the ones I'm used to, since childhood.

From reading, I understand that eggplants are very popular in south-eastern asian countries , such as Bangladesh . Eggplants (known there as Brinjal)  are  grown as genetically modified from 2014. Those in favor of GMO claim that the crops are  good (reduced pesticide), the farmers' profits high, and that  it gives the people of this  country some food security.

                                                                     Brinjal eggplants                   

                                    Brinjal chart

As far as I know, GMO is bad for human consumption. After all,  veggies and fruits are our body's nutrition and fuel. We take from them vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber -  all necessary to make body and mind work. We don't wish our nutrition to get genetically manipulated in the lab.

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about possible food insecurity in the world as a result of Climate Change and the Covid-19 pandemics. I believe we might indeed face, at some point, food insecurity and even famine. This calls for alertness, as it may bring GMO into the picture.


 *  web pictures

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Caring For The Future Generation


New Zealand's  planned Ban on tobacco ,  makes me smile, for two reasons. The first one - I like the idea and approve of it; the second one, it reminds me of my beloved father (rip).

According to the Media, New Zealand will ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008, under a law expected to be enacted next year, to make sure young people never start smoking. 


On the day he was told by the doctor he had to quit smoking, my father  just "walked away" from cigarettes  without ranting. He was a quiet, timid person, but had willpower and self-control.


                            My father David

Most people have strong opinions on everything, but ..weak character. Thus, many of them easily fall into addictions: tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling - to name  but a few (the really bad ones), and can hardly, if at all, get out of it. These addictions could ultimately destroy the addicted and his/her family. They also  heavily affect the State's social and health budgets.

In my father's days, there were no support groups,  online forums, medications, rehabilitation centers. One had to be highly motivated and stop on his own, take matters in his own hands, as they say. It was  challenging but possible.

In general, addictions are seen as "a life long enemy, and recovery as a daily battle". I believe that's true; therefore a lot of thought should be given to prevention. New Zealand's act is a small but positive step in this direction.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Get Prepared, Get Candles


Candles , as a source of light, warmth, and decor - are  great, versatile items, and an interesting subject. We celebrate, pray, mourn, honor, decorate, etc.. with lighted candles in the background.

We use candles on festive occasions  (holidays, anniversaries) , on solemn occasions (prayers , funerals, Remembrance ceremonies), as decorations and gifts, as emergency light during power outages, etc... 

It has to be mentioned and emphasized that candles are a fairly good (not powerful) option of energy during emergency/survival times for lighting, cooking and heating.  They can be stored in large quantities, produce minimal toxins when burned, and are easy to use.

       emergency candle (web photo)

The variety of candles seems to be endless. There are factory - made candles of various sizes , hand-made candles with natural ingredients, fragrant candles, colorful candles, survival candles.  I've got samples of almost any of the above mentioned types, but I tend to use mainly  the basic, factory- made candles.

We've just made it through the eight days of Hanukkah holiday, at the center of which there's a Menorah (lamp) and... Candles.

          Menorah and    Hanukkah  candles  (web photo)

'Hanukkah' celebrates miracles done by God in ancient times  to help the nation get rid of foreign oppressors, recover Jerusalem and rededicate the Second Temple.                

Both adults and children love this holiday which is also called the 'Festival of Lights' (Hag Haurim)., especially as it is accompanied by eating of donuts, and singing of lovely, specific songs.

The Menorah or Hanukkia  has 9 candle holders : one for each of the eight nights; the ninth candle is the 'shamash' (helper) ; it helps to light the other candles.

I love candles in the house,  as they illuminate with a low glow creating an intimate atmosphere of warmth and relaxation. There are people who even believe that light of a candle drives away 'the evil eye'.