29 May 2011

Cooked breakfast on a Sunday morning

Tourists from the Continent or East Asian countries may complain that British cuisine lacks refined and heavenly specialities, but they have to admit that breakfast is absolutely an exception.

The full British breakfast features a range of cooked food such as bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, and fried tomatoes, to name a few. And the list may go on.

No wonder William Somerset Maugham, an English playwright and novelist active in the 1910s to 1930s, claimed English breakfast to be the best meal of the day and recommended serving it three times a day.

Believe it or not, I I used to prepare full cooked British breakfast from scratch for myself everyday, except those days when I had hangovers. Yes, for five years. Apart from those basic ingredients, especially the most important baked beans, I usually had one more extra dish—an omelette filled with cheese, mushrooms and finely chopped spring onions.

However, although I still cook breakfast after returning to Taiwan, I seldom have so much in the morning. Most of the time the only cooked bit is just a fried egg.

Today, waken up by the radiant sunshine and bloody chirruping birds at five on a Sunday morning, I decided to go to the food market at seven, much earlier than usual, and then have a quick, compact version of cooked breakfast—grilled tomatoes, fried sausages, sautéed mushrooms and fried eggs, served with some toasted baguette slices.

Though not as extravagant as what I had when studying in Britain, it's really a surprise for my wife Fanne. It's not too bad to have a long lie-in and then wake up to a meal ready to eat on a Sunday morning, isn't it?

15 May 2011

A tango at a tango bar

(Listen to 'Por una cabeza' by Carlos Gardel from Tango Bar, 1935)

There are several definitions of the word bar to be used as a noun. Looking it up in a dictionary, you would probably find the first several to be 'a long rod or evenly shaped piece of solid substance', 'a regular narrow block of sold material' and 'a band of colour or light'.

One or two items further, there comes something like 'a counter or place across which beverages are served'. Right, that's where you intoxicate yourself and get tipsy, tight or, in the end, blotto.

However, there are some other types of bars where alcohol is not the main option. For example, whereas a juice bar serves prepared juice beverages, an oyster bar features fresh oysters, which are usually shucked on site within sight of the customers.

There is also a kind of bar which I've never come across so far—a tango bar. I can't imaging what else people can do in a tango bar besides tangoing.

Well, it's actually a Spanish-language film shot in 1935, with Carlos Gardel, the legendary tango singer-songwriter, playing the protagonist. It's where 'Por una cabeza', the second-most recognisable tango tune, after 'La Cumparsita', is from.

Tango Bar was acclaimed in newspapers as 'Un drama de pasion y aventuras, realzado por la música y canciones sin par' (something like 'A drama of passion and adventure, heightened by music and songs without the parallel', I suppose). It's definitely worth watching; I shall grab a DVD.

This 78s record arrived two weeks ago. Let's enjoy the original song delivered by Gardel himself, after having been bombarded with the instrumental versions in so many Hollywood films such as Scent of a Woman, True Lies and Schindler's List and so on.

For lyrics and English translation, please refer to The Tango Lyrics Page.

03 May 2011

Fast-growing Ronne

While women change their mind in a way more capriciously than we can imagine, just like a feather in the wind (not my personal opinion but based on 'La donna è mobile', a song from Verdi's opera Rigoletto), babies grow up at a speed much faster than we expect.

Well,today I'm not going to tell another story about another gramophone record. Thus, there is no audio player embedded, nor any old-time recording added.

I just want to share this photo with the dear readers of my weblog.

Roone will be 14 months old on the 5th of May, but at the moment he simply doesn't look like what a 14-month-old one should. One of the colleagues said he though this was a three-year-old boy.

It might be exaggeration, but Ronne does increase in size as well as change in appearance so fast that sometimes in the morning I would doubt if I took someone else's child home, when I had too much booze the night before.

Fortunately, it's always him, my good boy.

(2-day-old Ronne: what a difference!)