71 Truck said: ↑ On our November 2018 cruise the table next to us were Indian and vegetarian. Every night the serving staff brought them the most amazing Indian food and lots of it. The serving staff had no problem doing this for this family and were happy to accommodate them. The cruise we just got off this past Saturday we had mentioned this to our head waiter one night and he offered to bring some out whenever we wanted. (there was a table near us again this cruise that appeared to be eating Indian cuisine every night) We had some of the most amazing Indian food brought to our table on Thursday and Friday nights. We told him not to have the kitchen staff go out of their way but he said it was not a problem. I think they make certain dishes on certain nights and offer it to the guest on certain nights.
As for asking for something completely not on any of the menus my wife and I would personally never think of doing that.
And if you were having an iffy tummy; they do offer a lighter fair menu that is served with things like plain rice and no sauces. Click to expand… But they notify the ship ahead of time for special menus. They don’t just have every single food item in their inventory, like Indian food. We have been on 8 Disney cruises and have also seen this. I have asked the servers about it and they say they make food for those who order it ahead and sometimes have a bit extra. That is probably what you got. Ships are completely different then a regular restaurant. They have limited space and plan everything out by what they think that they will need. You can special order, within reason, of course. DCL will go out of their way to get a person whatever they want to eat. But don’t forget to tip your server extra for the extra work they do. Many times they have to run to a different kitchen to get your special order and they work hard enough as it is.
What Is This Tiny Black Seed and What Is It Good For?
Black cumin has even been described as a “miracle herb,” and its name in old Latin, “Panacea, ” means “cure all. ” 4
Traditionally, black cumin has been used for immune-system support, well-being, digestive health, respiratory issues, kidney and liver support, and heart health. In Asia and the Middle East, black cumin seeds have long been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases.
A tincture of the seeds has traditionally been used to treat indigestion, loss of appetite, diarrhea, parasitic infections and skin problems. An external application of black cumin oil has even been used as an antiseptic and roasted seeds as a treatment to stop vomiting. 5
The most abundant active plant chemical in black cumin is thymoquinone; other bioactive compounds in the seed include Î±-hederin, alkaloids, flavonoids, antioxidants and fatty acids. Some of the most compelling research into black cumin’s health benefits is highlighted below.
Thymoquinone is known to have anti-cancer effects. 6 Research published in Drug Discovery Today concluded thymoquinone has a long history of battling cancer in vitro and in vivo (in “test tube” experiments and animal studies), and modulates 9 of the 10 hallmarks of cancer. 7
Thymoquinone extract from black cumin appears to be effective against cancers in the blood, lung, kidney, liver, prostate, breast, cervix, colon and skin. 8
Oxidative stress may decrease the efficiency of pancreatic Î² cells, which control the production and release of insulin. As such, oxidative stress is thought to play a role in the development of diabetes .
Black cumin decreases oxidative stress and may preserve the integrity of pancreatic Î² cells. 9
When people with diabetes consumed two grams of black cumin per day for three months, it led to reductions in fasting blood sugar and HbA1c and increased the functionality of pancreatic Î² cells, which suggests black cumin may be a “beneficial adjuvant therapy in type 2 diabetes.” 10
Consumption of black cumin is associated with lowering of elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Thymoquinone in black cumin also may benefit endothelial dysfunction, which is involved in many cardiovascular disorders.
In those with age-related endothelial dysfunction, thymoquinone helps to recover endolethial function, in part by inhibiting oxidative stress and regulating the angiotensin system, which is involved in controlling blood pressure . 11
Black cumin is associated with anti-obesity effects, including reductions in body weight and waist and hip circumference, with researchers noting: 12
“Nigella Sativa [black cumin] showed a significant weight loss and reduced waist circumference with a mild reduction in fasting blood sugar, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein levels.”
A number of studies have indicated black cumin may be helpful for asthmatics. In one study , thymoquinone was found to be instrumental by reducing two inflammatory mediators of asthma and other inflammatory processes. 13
Another study confirmed the anti-asthmatic effect of black cumin extract, showing it acts as a bronchodilator. 14
Further, black cumin seeds act as a relaxant and display both anticholinergic (reducing spasms in smooth muscle) and antihistaminic (blocking allergic reactions) effects.
The thymoquinone in black cumin seeds was even found to be superior to the asthma drug fluticasone (a synthetic glucocorticoid). 15
Eat Black Cumin Daily for Health Improvement?
Some countries, such as China, value black cumin seeds for their purported anti-aging benefits, and they are rich in B vitamins and iron, deficiencies of which have been linked to memory problems, hearing trouble and even gray hair.
Rich in phytochemicals, black cumin contains antioxidants and other nutritionally essential components that, eaten regularly, black cumin might prevent numerous maladies.
Some have even called it a “seed of blessing” because it provides protection against two of the leading causes of death in the U.S., cancer and heart disease. 16 According to Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: 17
“Recent pharmacological investigations suggested its [black cumin’s] potential role, especially for the amelioration of oxidative stress through free radical scavenging activity, the induction of apoptosis to cure various cancer lines, the reduction of blood glucose, and the prevention of complications from diabetes.
It regulates hematological and serological aspects and can be effective in dyslipidemia and respiratory disorders. Moreover, its immunopotentiating and immunomodulating role brings balance in the immune system. Evidence is available supporting the utilization of Nigella sativa and its bioactive components in a daily diet for health improvement.”
Culinary Uses for Black Cumin
Black cumin oil is available in supplement form, but you can easily add the seeds to your regular meals. It’s popular in North Indian, Pakistani, and Iranian cuisines, with a warm, slightly bitter flavor that tastes something like a blend of thyme, oregano and nutmeg.
You can add the seeds to casseroles, stir fries, salad dressings (try them mixed with lemon, cilantro and tahini) and baked goods, sprinkle them on salads, or even add them to your coffee or tea. You can also make black cumin tea by pouring hot water over the seeds (about one tablespoon) and letting it steep for 10 minutes. 18
Aside from their culinary uses, a mixture of black cumin, honey and garlic makes a powerful tonic for soothing coughs and boosting immunity, especially during cold and flu season or if you feel like you’re coming down with an infection. 19 Black cumin oil can even be used topically to treat psoriasis and eczema or mixed with facial cream to moisturize and soothe your skin.
The benefits are so impressive that I add about half an ounce (one tablespoon or 11 grams) of black cumin seeds to my breakfast smoothie every morning, and you may want to do the same. The prophet Mohammed even described this humble black seed as a cure for every disease but death itself. 20 Spread the Word toFriends And FamilyBy Sharing this Article.
The Treehotel is a popular restaurant in north Indian cuisine and offers mouthwatering dishes that are a delight and food lovers haven. Most of all its curries and the food here are made fresh with incredible variety of choice in the menu. What’s more there are plenty of options here for vegans, with their food being well cooked with just the right seasoning and spices without overdoing the chili or the masala. With excellent service and pricing it is a must visit for any and every food lover. It has been recommended by both the Oxfordian Food blogger and also oxford’s restaurant guide. Located on Iffley village, it is a credit to north Indian cuisine!
Good restaurants in oxford
Indian Restaurant Oxford
Manikgad Trek 7th July,2019
Details: Date : 7th July 2019! (Leaving on 6th night)
Type : Hill Fort.
District : Raigad, Near Panvel.
Height : 1500 ft. (approx).
Grade : Medium (First timers, not fit in general might find this trek strenuous).
Manikgad pictures here : http://bit.ly/manikgadphotos
Campsite photos here: http://bit.ly/mokshmantraphotos
Manikgad, although a less explored fort has an amazing experience to offer, specially during monsoon season. The more explored and longer route is from Panvel.We will be ascending from Pen-Khopoli, which is an easy route.
The route will be Pen-Khopoli rd – Varsai – Ghote. The base village from this side is called Ghote.
Our Moksh Mantra adventure campsite lies at the base of Manikgad before Ghote, which will be our halting point for rest, freshening up and lunch.
About the terrain:
The length that needs to be covered Moksh Mantra to Manikgad top is 5km.
Flat/Climb/Descent : 1km/2.5km/1.5km
The climb from Ghote is gradual, only the last kilometer being steep.
This trek can be done even by first timers lead a fitter lifestyle.
Why you should trek here?
1. The route from the Pen-Khopoli is less strenuous compared with the route that most take from Panvel. For people who would be trekking for the first time, this route offers small river crossing, jungle trek and a visit to our Moksh Mantra campsite.
2. View : Manikgad offers breathtaking views of the surrounding region . On a clear day, one can easily see forts like Karnala, Prabalgad, Chanderi, Malang gad, Irshalgad, Sondai, Lohagad, Visapur from the top.
3. Food : Be a nomad for a day and get to taste the local cuisines.
4. Health : Hiking/Trekking is one of the best way to stay in good shape and good health.
5. Clean Indian and Western washrooms and changing facilities at the campsite.
6. Get freshen up inside a rain dance setup at the campsite after the trek. There is a small pool and flowing river to go to. Play board games and outdoor games like football,volleyball and much more.
7. Comfort zone : Coming out from our closets to meet new people, share travel stories and ideas is what Team Mapping Journeys offers and looks for.
Itinerary : 6th July
Meeting Point: 10:45 pm(Pritam Dhaba, Dadar)
Bus leaves sharply at 11:00pm.
11:00 pm : Dadar East Near Pritam Dhaba.
11:30 pm : Ghatkopar, Shoppers stop.
12:00 pm : Vashi Near Main Bridge.
12:30 pm : Kalamboli Mc D.
02:00 am : Reach Moksh Mantra campsite and rest for the night at the campsite.
05:00 am: Wake up call. Freshen up and get ready for the trek ahead after breakfast.
07:00 am: The trek commences.
The trek takes 2.5hrs – 3hrs to reach the top and another 2hrs to reach back down at the campsite.
Once down at the campsite lunch will be served followed by a short feedback session around the tea snacks.
The return bus journey will take 3hrs approx depending upon the traffic conditions.
We will be reaching back to Dadar before 18:00hrs.
Cost : Rs. 1400/- (Inclusive of gst)
Group discount applicable for 3 or more.
The cost includes,
Travelling from Dadar to Dadar.
Breakfast, Lunch, Evening snacks.
Campsite entry fees.
Rain Dance,Pool access.
Guide and Professional Expertise.
Safety and First aid.
Mapping Journeys team along with. Exclusions :
Meals during travel Personal expenses Insurance of any kind Medical hospitalization, evacuation and related expenses. Any item not covered under “inclusions. All our explorations are nature-friendly. Smoking and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited. If anyone found doing the same, will be debarred without refund from the exploration.
Pay using, 1. Google pay: 9867697306 2. PayTm Number: 9867697306
For payment using credit/debit card/net-banking – Get in touch for details! Do confirm about the seat availability prior to any payments!
Contact us: +91 7588505216 +91 9867697306
Love and Maps, Mapping Journeys!
The Uncommon People by Benaifer Kapadia
They say to grow one needs support and bandwidth, Benaifer has been that in the journey of the IWH, Indian Women in hospitality. She brings in a lot of positivity, enthusiasm and energy on the board. The lady who has worked her way and contributed immensely to the growth of the organizations that she has been a part of. She heads sales and marketing in her current role, travelling is a passion for her. I can say that a lot of her wisdom comes from that passion. IWH in conversation with Ms. Benaifer Kapadia.
IWH: Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc
They say “learning is not a spectator sport”. I am a learner till date. I believe “Experience” is the most brutal of all teachers. But you learn & that’s how you grow as a better individual. I have always been an above average student (academically). Coming from an all girls convent alma mater, where rolling your socks down was considered offensive, to the much forward thinking college phase, where bunking was my mandatory right (I did not exercise that much though!) to the hustle and bustle of corporate life… it has been a semi circle! Each phase is and was a learning curve. And it is here where I quote my favourite learning which is “To Be Old and Wise, You must be Young & Stupid!”… I trust I am over being stupid (it’s a habit hard to break for most individuals) and continue being Young!! Old and Wise is yet to come!
IWH: What made you select Hospitality as a career? Was it easy making that decision?
My inclination to be a part of the hospitality industry started from college. By education I am a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors in Travel & Tourism Management. To be honest, I wanted to avoid a subject that is dear to most of us – “taxation”! Enrolling for travel and tourism was not all hunky dory! Like any other subject I had to prove my eligibility for it. I was always intrigued to educate myself on & about Indian tourism, world socio-economics in hospitality, diverse cultures, languages, maps, people engagement and food and beverage. It is inspiring to note that inspite of the vast disparity in economy, tourism sector contributes 4.6% to the GDP growth of India and successfully continues to grow in near future.
IWH: What is your current role?
I am currently employed with General Hotels Management Limited (GHM) as Director of Sales & Marketing for The Chedi Mumbai, India. The Chedi Mumbai will be India & the city’s newest and most highly anticipated luxury hotel opening its doors to guests in 2018. Set to transform the Powai region in Mumbai into an epicentre of style and indulgence, the hotel is strategically located in close proximity to the international & domestic airports, to IIT Powai, to commercial business districts established in North Mumbai and Bandra Kurla Complex. The hotel will feature 312 luxurious guestrooms and suites, a Club Lounge for exclusive use by club & suite guests, seven exceptional and innovative dining and entertainment offerings, extensive meeting facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, a holistic spa and wellness facilities. For more information about The Chedi Mumbai, please visit www.GHMhotels.com
IWH: How has your hospitality journey been so far? Pros, cons etc?
I think I am still too young to say I have started my journey yet as such. Or at least I like to think so. Hospitality is an evolving industry where no one day is similar or routine to another. That is the beauty of this sector. Don’t take one day at a time and live out your life. Wake up every morning, and live your life right, your way – not the way anyone else would. Make mistakes, learn when you do and treat others (be that guests or employees) like you would like to be treated. There are no set pros and cons for this sector. I see more opportunities arising for an evolving and fast moving industry such as ours.
IWH: Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?
My parents have and always continue to be my biggest mentors. They instilled in me the value of hard work and dedication.
IWH: What have been the high points of your career? Highlight at least 3.
I would highlight the best of 3 to be:
(1) Working with Hyatt International as a pre-opening team member to open the prestigious flag-ship hotel in South Asia, Grand Hyatt Mumbai. This hotel strengthened my foundation of the 4 Ps of sales and marketing
(2) Working with Carlson Rezidor (now Radisson Hotel Group) that excelled my career growth thru the ranks & exposed me to business development and global sales
(3) Now working with GHM Hotels as a pre-opening executive committee member to open The Chedi Mumbai, India that shall dominate Mumbai’s dynamic skyline with its sophisticated and thoughtful offerings & prove to be a game-changing luxury hotel for Mumbai
IWH: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?
Statistics from a recent HR report suggest that departments that have been less than successful at promoting women into leadership positions are also unsuccessful at recruiting women. I personally do not support this regressive thought. My sister, Shehrezad Kapadia, Chef De Cuisine, Four Seasons Mumbai is a young, successful, senior lady chef managing and co-working with a team of female and mostly male chefs. I strongly believe that there are many more noted companies in the hospitality world that are doing a good job & creating more diversity in the industry with no or minimal gender inequality
IWH: If there was anything that you could change about your life or career what would that be?
‘Gardens without dead leaves are not beautiful. Even the Moon has black spots on it’. So while I have a list of to-do’s that I would like to amend and hope that I will be able to do it in my onward and present journey, I am currently satisfied with who and where I am with a hope to be a better version of who and where I want to be!
IWH: What do you think of IWH?
We have diverse team strength of ladies that bring together years of experience & hard work. It is a great platform to connect and collaborate, to bring new ideas to the world of travel and hospitality, that not only benefit the industry and also the individual(s) associated with this sector
IWH: Your advice to the young professionals and students
Our industry is well known for its long and rigorous hours of work. My advice to young professionals will be that time is one of your most valuable resources. You use time to make money, but the time will come when you will need to start using money to buy yourself time to do the things you want to do. We have to learn the art of time management.
IWH: Anything else you wish to share with our readers?
I would like to share the below quote from the great JRD Tata who is the founder of hospitality in India. He says and I quote “Common people have an appetite for food; uncommon people have an appetite for service”! Athiti Devo Bhava!
We couldn’t thank her enough for her time and having a great conversation. We look forward to another coffee break with her. As we leave we wish her many more fulfilling travels around the globe and meaningful journeys in her professional and personal lives.
This Week at the Crescent City Farmers’ Market
Get Ready to GiveNOLA! | May 6, 2019 Fresh & Local: Get Ready to GiveNOLA! GiveNOLA day is Tuesday, May 7th – the perfect day for a farmers market! Join us at the Uptown market tomorrow for live music and all of your favorite CCFM vendors. This year your donation is especially critical in supporting our Market Match and Meet me at the Market programs. Market Match is our SNAP matching program where shoppers who use food stamps can double their dollars on fruits and vegetables at the market. Meet me at the Market is our program for our youngest eaters where we offer field trips and give market produce to school children to take home to their families. Your donation on Give Nola Day will help us continue both of these important programs while supporting dozens of local farmers and food producers. You can help us give vulnerable children and families access to fresh, tasty, healthy food! We’ll also be giving away market goodies and cool schwag so come learn more about Market Umbrella’s work and get ready to GiveNOLA! You can schedule your donation now, before Give Nola Day starts! Just go to the Crescent City Farmers Market Give Nola Day fundraising page: https://www.givenola.org/crescent-city-farmers-market Thank you for all you do to help support the Crescent City Farmers Market and the communities of shoppers and food-producing families we serve. Picks of the Week: Volunteer with CCFM Want to get more involved in the markets and our food access programming? Spring is a great time to volunteer at markets – the weather is beautiful, the crops are plenty, and markets are busy and cheerful places to be. Come hang out and talk about your favorite seasonal recipes while you work alongside staff to set up and break down market and beverage service, as well as engage with customers and vendors. See the inside workings of our various fresh food access programs, and while you’re here, pick up all the fresh fruits and veggies (and seafood, meat, dairy, bread, etc.) you need. Check back often as we also use this calendar to post volunteer opportunities at various events we attend around town and host ourselves. Check out our calendar of available volunteer opportunities and sign up for a spot directly through the calendar. See you at market! Fire up the Future This year, the Made in New Orleans Foundation will be sending two aspiring chefs to New York, bringing them one step closer to achieving their professional goals in the culinary and hospitality industries. The scholarship includes tuition to the International Culinary Center, housing, materials, a life changing internship at one of New York’s most established restaurants, and on-going support from New Orleans. Help us in spreading the word and nominating someone from New Orleans with a passion for the culinary industry. Requirements and application are available on the MiNO website . Deadline: May 31, 2019. Vendor of the Week: Louisiana Gourmet Produce Ladies and gentlemen, the self proclaimed Jimi Hendrix of farming, Mr. Tony Accardo. Mr. Tony comes from a long family line of farmers in Grand Point, Louisiana. The Accardos farm on rich perique soil only found in St. James Parish, where the robust, fruity perique tobacco is grown. The family specialized in heirloom varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, and more. Mr. Tony is revving things up at the Saturday CBD market these days, so pick up some carrots from the man himself and the youngest Accardo, Kyle (pictured) for this weeks recipe! Tuesday’s Green Plate Special: Thali Llama After traveling all over India, Tyler and Merritt returned to New Orleans and launched their regional Indian pop-up Thali Llama. Thali Llama focuses on different regional cuisines of India, where the couple explores dishes learned throughout their travels. Together, business and life partners Tyler and Merritt pop up at the Bucktown market and will join us at the Green Plate Special for the month of May! Stop by every Tuesday for some heartwarming dishes including mango curry, butter chicken, and more! Recipe of the Week: Miso Maple Mustard Glazed Carrots If you’re a plant-based foodie around these parts you’ve probably heard of the Mississippi Vegan. Not only do we love his recipes, but we also love that he is a regular market shopper! Check out this recipe for super easy, super flavorful Miso Maple Mustard Glazed Carrots . You can pick carrots up at all of our markets from Major Acre, Monica’s Okra World, Williams Produce, Louisiana Gourmet Produce, and more! What’s your favorite dish to make after visiting the Crescent City Farmers Market? Share your recipes with us on Instagram or Facebook or even Twitter and it might be featured in our weekly newsletter! Markets This Week: UPTOWN
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
9 am – 1 pm
200 Broadway St. near the River BYWATER
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
3 pm – 7 pm
Chartres St. at Piety St. OCHSNER
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
3 pm – 7 pm
Ochsner Rehabilitation Hospital
2614 Jefferson Hwy. at Maine St. MID-CITY
Thursday, May 9, 2019
3 pm – 7 pm
American Can Company
3700 Orleans Ave. at the Bayou BUCKTOWN
Friday, May 10, 2019
3 pm – 7 pm
325 Metairie Hammond Hwy. at the Lake DOWNTOWN
Saturday, May 11, 2019
8 am – 12 noon
Central Business District
750 Carondelet St. at Julia St. RIVERTOWN
Saturday, May 11, 2019
9 am – 1 pm
Williams Blvd. at the River Crescent City Farmers Market , 200 Broadway Street, Suite 107 , New Orleans , LA 70118 SafeUnsubscribe™ email@example.com Forward email | Update Profile | About our service provider Sent by firstname.lastname@example.org in collaboration with Try email marketing for free today!
Traditional Turkish Food : Aguz : Made From Cows Colostrum
Mayıs 7, 2019 Traditional Turkish Food : Aguz : Made From Cows Colostrum Turks are very resourceful when it comes to food. They waste nothing and everything is used in one form or another. Reading “brain soup” on my local takeaway menu no longer makes me burst into giggles and my favourite dish in Urfa was Dalak, which is lambs spleen. I am also still trying to figure out whether the mother-in-law was joking, when at Ramadan after cutting up the sheep, she wanted to keep its bollocks. I figure that maybe it is one of those things in life, that I will not benefit from knowing. Anyway, on my latest travels, I visited the region of Beypazari near Ankara and was introduced to a dish that I had never heard of before. It is called Aguz and it was given to me by a local farmer and his wife. Having never been a farmer or kept a cow as a pet, I am a complete novice when it comes to their pregnancy rituals and the ingredient that they produce at birthing time, which is then used to make Aguz. I asked hubby for more information on the dish and he had never heard of it so I delved into the world of livestock farming and the internet to research exactly what it was. The information on the internet is limited, so I am assuming Aguz is a local delicacy in Turkey or a dish that is restricted since it relies on the cow giving birth. The best explanation that I could find comes from a website that goes in-depth about Turkish cuisine. They mention it as a dish, which started during the Ottoman reign, and it is prepared in the following way “ Aguz: This is made from colostrum, milked from cows that have just calved, for three days. The colostrums is strained, lightly salted, and put into a vessel which is covered and lowered into boiling water, where it thickens. It is checked several times, and when it has thickened sufficiently, it is removed from the heat and put in a cool place to stand overnight. This solidified milk product is called aguz. It is eaten with sugar.” Before antibiotics were invented, colostrum was used to fight infection and build up immunity. Some athletes also use colostrum to boost performance. When it comes to nutrients, colostrum is meant to be the best source that you will ever find. There has been some claims in the past that colostrum should not be used to make dishes such as Aguz because it is not fit for human consumption, but there are people that deny this claim and I doubt that locals in the village would take any notice of these expert claims, instead relying on age old traditions. I was also surprised to find colostrum used in Indian and Icelandic cuisine Yes, I did. The dish tasted like rice pudding without the rice. It was plain on my palette however; I was advised that sugar is normally sprinkled on the top. It was white and had a smooth consistency. I was urged to taste it before being informed as to its source, but would have eaten it anyway as I always believe in trying something at least once. I am not sure that I will eat it again because in 11 years in Turkey, I had never heard of it before and maybe will never come across it again. Though I will always remember the circumstances that led me to taste Aguz for the first time. We were in the village of Dudas in the Beypazari region and gave one of the local farmers a lift to his house. Half an hour later, we drove back down that road and found that farmer standing outside his gate with a bowl of Aguz and three spoons. He had been waiting for us and was eager to share his food. Turkish people never fail to delight me with their hospitality. That day along with other events in my recent travel plans, have made me realise that my travel plans for Turkey are far from over.
Readers question : Have you heard before about Aguz or eating the colostrum from a cow?
Further Reading : Cooking with colostrum – scroll down to the disapproving readers comments at the bottom
Recipes for cooking with colostrum and the following is a quote from this website “ A friend of mine from Turkey recounts that her mother always obtained colostrum in the spring–often at great trouble and expense–from a farmer in the countryside. She then lined up all the children and gave them a cupful of this tonic to drink. The immediate result, says my friend, was that they all fell asleep. The colostrum was said to help keep them healthy throughout the year .”
I love the taste and health benefits of it I wish to eat it everyday but can’t find it in uk but when I’ll go back home I’ll eat it again
It felt good to be eating something that was not junk food but can not say that I felt a surge of energy or anything. Then again though, think my body is well past its sell by date
It sounds really interesting. And I love that it could be so good for you! Did you feel healthier after having some of it?
Thanks for the tip Asli – I will keep an eye out for it when I visit Balikesir
You may want to try Hosmerim. They say the real one is made with Aguz milk. Hosmerim is a lovely dessert from Balikesir.
They were new words for me as well Stephanie – we learn something new every day!
Exactly Jennifer – Even more so of it is not the norm
So many new words in the title of this post
I find I’ll at least try most things these days. You just never know if you’ll like it unless you give it a try!
Just think rice pudding DJ!
Pretty sure I would love this stuff….if someone set a bowl down and didn’t tell me the story that is:)
The old man and his wife were lovely people Ozlem – so warm towards strangers.
LOL – you make me laugh Alan but I will take it that you are in approval of my culinary adventures!
Sometimes when we listen to the experts Ellen, it seems nothing to safe to eat anymore!!
That really is fascinating Natalie, never heard of Aguz before – well done for having a go, would have loved to try! Your photo with the old man and aguz is so beautiful, you can read from the photo the respect the holds for his food, so lovely.
(to the tune of Colonel Bogey) Sweetbreads! And the same to you! Have to admire your ‘pluck’ (more offel) Natalie – then again if it looks like a rice pud and quacks like a rice pub – it’s a rice pud – until they tell you different or it gives birth. Jeeez!
It’s funny, the word “colostrum” doesn’t sound like something I’d want to eat, but when you say “rice pudding” I’m all in! It’s certainly true that human colostrum has health benefits for human babies, so I guess it’s logical they would hope for the same with cow’s colostrum. But lately some are saying cow’s milk isn’t really good for us, so who knows? The important thing is, it tastes good.
I could not find the Turkish translation for colostrum TFL – If you can find it, let me know what it is please so I can add it to the article
Not sure if I could eat them K. Would have to not know what they were first!
Not sure what it’s called before it’s solidified but we can get the more ‘liquid’ version on the market here – sold in Coca Cola bottles! An expat farmer friend told us what it was and it used to be popular in the UK, too – again in liquid form. Actually never asked what it’s called on the market. Will rectify that this weekend. Julia
bollocks… very delicate and tender Share this:
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
https://www.nateliason.com/notes/sapiens-yuval-noah-harari Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari: Summary, Notes, & Lessons – Nat Eliason Fantastic history of humankind! Read it! Very interesting, you’ll learn about history, psychology, economics, it’s many lessons roll… www.nateliason.com
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Rating : 10/10
Read More on Amazon Get My Searchable Collection of 200+ Book Notes
Fantastic history of humankind! Read it! Very interesting, you’ll learn about history, psychology, economics, it’s many lessons rolled into one compelling narrative.
Click here to listen to a podcast based on these book notes
An Animal of No Significance
Three important revolutions shaped the course of history: the Cognitive Revolution kick-started history about 70,000 years ago. The Agricultural Revolution sped it up about 12,000 years ago. The Scientific Revolution, which got under way only 500 years ago, may well end history and start something completely different. This book tells the story of how these three revolutions have affected humans and their fellow organisms.
The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were insignificant animals with no more impact on their environment than gorillas, fireflies or jellyfish.
Just 6 million years ago, a single female ape had two daughters. One became the ancestor of all chimpanzees, the other is our own grandmother.
Over the generations, the people of Flores became dwarves. This unique species, known by scientists as Homo floresiensis, reached a maximum height of only 3.5 feet and weighed no more than fifty-five pounds. They were nevertheless able to produce stone tools, and even managed occasionally to hunt down some of the island’s elephants – though, to be fair, the elephants were a dwarf species as well.
Today there are many species of foxes, bears and pigs. The earth of a hundred millennia ago was walked by at least six different species of man . It’s our current exclusivity, not that multi-species past, that is peculiar – and perhaps incriminating.
Mammals weighing 130 pounds have an average brain size of 12 cubic inches. The earliest men and women, 2.5 million years ago, had brains of about 36 cubic inches. Modern Sapiens sport a brain averaging 73–85 cubic inches. Neanderthal brains were even bigger .
In Homo sapiens, the brain accounts for about 2–3 per cent of total body weight, but it consumes 25 per cent of the body’s energy when the body is at rest.
Archaic humans paid for their large brains in two ways. Firstly, they spent more time in search of food. Secondly, their muscles atrophied.
An upright gait required narrower hips, constricting the birth canal – and this just when babies’ heads were getting bigger and bigger. Death in childbirth became a major hazard for human females. Women who gave birth earlier, when the infant’s brain and head were still relatively small and supple, fared better and lived to have more children. Natural selection consequently favoured earlier births. And, indeed, compared to other animals, humans are born prematurely, when many of their vital systems are still under-developed. A colt can trot shortly after birth; a kitten leaves its mother to forage on its own when it is just a few weeks old. Human babies are helpless, dependent for many years on their elders for sustenance, protection and education.
One of the most common uses of early stone tools was to crack open bones in order to get to the marrow. Some researchers believe this was our original niche.
… humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust .
Since long intestines and large brains are both massive energy consumers, it’s hard to have both. By shortening the intestines and decreasing their energy consumption, cooking inadvertently opened the way to the jumbo brains of Neanderthals and Sapiens .
When Homo sapiens landed in Arabia, most of Eurasia was already settled by other humans. What happened to them? There are two conflicting theories. The ‘Interbreeding Theory’ tells a story of attraction, sex and mingling. As the African immigrants spread around the world, they bred with other human populations, and people today are the outcome of this interbreeding.
The opposing view, called the ‘Replacement Theory’ tells a very different story – one of incompatibility, revulsion, and perhaps even genocide.
Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin colour, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
The Tree of Knowledge
The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating, between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago, constitutes the Cognitive Revolution .
But the most important information that needed to be conveyed was about humans, not about lions and bison. Our language evolved as a way of gossiping . According to this theory Homo sapiens is primarily a social animal. Social cooperation is our key for survival and reproduction.
As far as we know, only Sapiens can talk about entire kinds of entities that they have never seen, touched or smelled.
But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively.
Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers.
Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers . That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.
Sociological research has shown that the maximum ‘natural’ size of a group bonded by gossip is about 150 individuals . Most people can neither intimately know, nor gossip effectively about, more than 150 human beings.
Any large-scale human cooperation – whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe – is rooted in common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination.
Two Catholics who have never met can nevertheless go together on crusade or pool funds to build a hospital because they both believe that God was incarnated in human flesh and allowed Himself to be crucified to redeem our sins. States are rooted in common national myths. Two Serbs who have never met might risk their lives to save one another because both believe in the existence of the Serbian nation, the Serbian homeland and the Serbian flag. Judicial systems are rooted in common legal myths. Two lawyers who have never met can nevertheless combine efforts to defend a complete stranger because they both believe in the existence of laws, justice, human rights – and the money paid out in fees.
There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings .
Unlike lying, an imagined reality is something that everyone believes in, and as long as this communal belief persists, the imagined reality exerts force in the world.
No one was lying when, in 2011, the UN demanded that the Libyan government respect the human rights of its citizens, even though the UN, Libya and human rights are all figments of our fertile imaginations
The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mythical glue that binds together large numbers of individuals, families and groups. This glue has made us the masters of creation.
A Day in the Life of Adam and Eve
Our eating habits, our conflicts and our sexuality are all the result of the way our hunter-gatherer minds interact with our current post-industrial environment, with its mega-cities, aeroplanes, telephones and computers. This environment gives us more material resources and longer lives than those enjoyed by any previous generation, but it often makes us feel alienated, depressed and pressured. To understand why, evolutionary psychologists argue, we need to delve into the hunter-gatherer world that shaped us, the world that we subconsciously still inhabit.
There are even a number of present-day human cultures in which collective fatherhood is practised, as for example among the Barí Indians. According to the beliefs of such societies, a child is not born from the sperm of a single man, but from the accumulation of sperm in a woman’s womb. A good mother will make a point of having sex with several different men, especially when she is pregnant, so that her child will enjoy the qualities (and paternal care) not merely of the best hunter, but also of the best storyteller, the strongest warrior and the most considerate lover. If this sounds silly, bear in mind that before the development of modern embryological studies, people had no solid evidence that babies are always sired by a single father rather than by many.
Many scholars vehemently reject this theory, insisting that both monogamy and the forming of nuclear families are core human behaviours. Though ancient hunter-gatherer societies tended to be more communal and egalitarian than modern societies, these researchers argue, they were nevertheless comprised of separate cells, each containing a jealous couple and the children they held in common.
The Stone Age should more accurately be called the Wood Age , because most of the tools used by ancient hunter-gatherers were made of wood.
The heated debates about Homo sapiens’ ‘natural way of life’ miss the main point. Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, there hasn’t been a single natural way of life for Sapiens . There are only cultural choices, from among a bewildering palette of possibilities.
There is some evidence that the size of the average Sapiens brain has actually decreased since the age of foraging. Survival in that era required superb mental abilities from everyone. When agriculture and industry came along people could increasingly rely on the skills of others for survival, and new ‘niches for imbeciles’ were opened up . You could survive and pass your unremarkable genes to the next generation by working as a water carrier or an assembly-line worker.
Average life expectancy was apparently just thirty to forty years, but this was due largely to the high incidence of child mortality. Children who made it through the perilous first years had a good chance of reaching the age of sixty, and some even made it to their eighties . Among modern foragers, forty-five-year-old women can expect to live another twenty years, and about 5–8 per cent of the population is over sixty.
Ancient foragers also suffered less from infectious diseases . Most of the infectious diseases that have plagued agricultural and industrial societies (such as smallpox, measles and tuberculosis) originated in domesticated animals and were transferred to humans only after the Agricultural Revolution.
As they pushed on, they encountered a strange universe of unknown creatures that included a 450-pound, six-foot kangaroo, and a marsupial lion, as massive as a modern tiger, that was the continent’s largest predator. Koalas far too big to be cuddly and cute rustled in the trees and flightless birds twice the size of ostriches sprinted on the plains. Dragon-like lizards and snakes seven feet long slithered through the undergrowth. The giant diprotodon, a two-and-a-half-ton wombat, roamed the forests.
Of the twenty-four Australian animal species weighing 100 pounds or more, twenty-three became extinct .
Around 14,000 BC, the chase took some of them from north-eastern Siberia to Alaska. Of course, they didn’t know they were discovering a new world. For mammoth and man alike, Alaska was a mere extension of Siberia.
However, around 12,000 BC global warming melted the ice and opened an easier passage. Making use of the new corridor, people moved south en masse, spreading over the entire continent.
By 10,000 BC, humans already inhabited the most southern point in America, the island of Tierra del Fuego at the continent’s southern tip.
But no longer. Within 2,000 years of the Sapiens arrival, most of these unique species were gone. According to current estimates, within that short interval, North America lost thirty-four out of its forty-seven genera of large mammals. South America lost fifty out of sixty.
Perhaps if more people were aware of the First Wave and Second Wave extinctions, they’d be less nonchalant about the Third Wave they are part of. If we knew how many species we’ve already eradicated, we might be more motivated to protect those that still survive.
History’s Greatest Fraud
The transition to agriculture began around 9500–8500 BC in the hill country of south-eastern Turkey, western Iran, and the Levant.
Wheat and goats were domesticated by approximately 9000 BC; peas and lentils around 8000 BC; olive trees by 5000 BC; horses by 4000 BC; and grapevines in 3500 BC .
No noteworthy plant or animal has been domesticated in the last 2,000 years . If our minds are those of hunter-gatherers, our cuisine is that of ancient farmers.
Sapiens could dig up delicious truffles and hunt down woolly mammoths, but domesticating either species was out of the question.
Rather than heralding a new era of easy living, the Agricultural Revolution left farmers with lives generally more difficult and less satisfying than those of foragers . Hunter-gatherers spent their time in more stimulating and varied ways, and were less in danger of starvation and disease . The Agricultural Revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, but the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather, it translated into population explosions and pampered elites. The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return. The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud .
The culprits were a handful of plant species, including wheat, rice and potatoes. These plants domesticated Homo sapiens, rather than vice versa.
According to the basic evolutionary criteria of survival and reproduction, wheat has become one of the most successful plants in the history of the earth.
the new agricultural tasks demanded so much time that people were forced to settle permanently next to their wheat fields. This completely changed their way of life. We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.
The life of a peasant is less secure than that of a hunter-gatherer.
Cultivating wheat provided much more food per unit of territory, and thereby enabled Homo sapiens to multiply exponentially.
This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.
Humans, like many mammals, have hormonal and genetic mechanisms that help control procreation. In good times females reach puberty earlier, and their chances of getting pregnant are a bit higher. In bad times puberty is late and fertility decreases.
People tried to space their children three to four years apart. Women did so by nursing their children around the clock and until a late age (around-the-clock suckling significantly decreases the chances of getting pregnant).
But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away .
One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it.
This discrepancy between evolutionary success and individual suffering is perhaps the most important lesson we can draw from the Agricultural Revolution.
The Agricultural Revolution made the future far more important than it had ever been before. Farmers must always keep the future in mind and must work in its service.
Until the late modern era, more than 90 percent of humans were peasants who rose each morning to till the land by the sweat of their brows. The extra they produced fed the tiny minority of elites – kings, government officials, soldiers, priests, artists and thinkers – who fill the history books. History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.
People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.
Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music .
Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences.
Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids . Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
The inter-subjective is something that exists within the communication network linking the subjective consciousness of many individuals. If a single individual changes his or her beliefs, or even dies, it is of little importance. However, if most individuals in the network die or change their beliefs, the inter-subjective phenomenon will mutate or disappear.
Between the years 3500 BC and 3000 BC, some unknown Sumerian geniuses invented a system for storing and processing information outside their brains, one that was custom-built to handle large amounts of mathematical data. The Sumerians thereby released their social order from the limitations of the human brain, opening the way for the appearance of cities, kingdoms and empires. The data-processing system invented by the Sumerians is called ‘writing’.
(The Sumerians used a combination of base-6 and base-10 numeral systems. Their base-6 system bestowed on us several important legacies, such as the division of the day into twenty-four hours and of the circle into 360 degrees.)
the first texts of history contain no philosophical insights, no poetry, legends, laws, or even royal triumphs. They are humdrum economic documents, recording the payment of taxes, the accumulation of debts and the ownership of property.
Writing was born as the maidservant of human consciousness, but is increasingly becoming its master. Our computers have trouble understanding how Homo sapiens talks, feels and dreams. So we are teaching Homo sapiens to talk, feel and dream in the language of numbers, which can be understood by computers.
There is No Justice in History
According to a famous Hindu creation myth, the gods fashioned the world out of the body of a primeval being, the Purusa. The sun was created from the Purusa’s eye, the moon from the Purusa’s brain, the Brahmins (priests) from its mouth, the Kshatriyas (warriors) from its arms, the Vaishyas (peasants and merchants) from its thighs, and the Shudras (servants) from its legs.
‘Look,’ said the average white citizen, ‘blacks have been free for generations, yet there are almost no black professors, lawyers, doctors or even bank tellers. Isn’t that proof that blacks are simply less intelligent and hard-working?’ Trapped in this vicious circle, blacks were not hired for white-collar jobs because they were deemed unintelligent, and the proof of their inferiority was the paucity of blacks in white-collar jobs.
Such vicious circles can go on for centuries and even millennia, perpetuating an imagined hierarchy that sprang from a chance historical occurrence. Unjust discrimination often gets worse, not better, with time. Money comes to money, and poverty to poverty . Education comes to education, and ignorance to ignorance. Those once victimised by history are likely to be victimised yet again. And those whom history has privileged are more likely to be privileged again.
Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition. No culture has ever bothered to forbid men to photosynthesise, women to run faster than the speed of light, or negatively charged electrons to be attracted to each other.
Since myths, rather than biology, define the roles, rights and duties of men and women, the meaning of ‘manhood’ and ‘womanhood’ have varied immensely from one society to another.
The most common theory points to the fact that men are stronger than women, and that they have used their greater physical power to force women into submission
First, the statement that ‘men are stronger than women’ is true only on average, and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men.
women have, throughout history, been excluded mainly from jobs that require little physical effort (such as the priesthood, law and politics), while engaging in hard manual labour in the fields, in crafts and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it.
there simply is no direct relation between physical strength and social power among humans. People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twentysomethings are much stronger than their elders.
Another theory explains that masculine dominance results not from strength but from aggression. Millions of years of evolution have made men far more violent than women. Women can match men as far as hatred, greed and abuse are concerned, but when push comes to shove, the theory goes, men are more willing to engage in raw physical violence. This is why throughout history warfare has been a masculine prerogative.
As men competed against each other for the opportunity to impregnate fertile women, an individual’s chances of reproduction depended above all on his ability to outperform and defeat other men. As time went by, the masculine genes that made it to the next generation were those belonging to the most ambitious, aggressive and competitive men.
In order to ensure her own survival and the survival of her children, the woman had little choice but to agree to whatever conditions the man stipulated so that he would stick around and share some of the burden. As time went by, the feminine genes that made it to the next generation belonged to women who were submissive caretakers.
Particularly problematic is the assumption that women’s dependence on external help made them dependent on men, rather than on other women, and that male competitiveness made men socially dominant.
Bonobo and elephant societies are controlled by strong networks of cooperative females, while the self-centred and uncooperative males are pushed to the sidelines.
The Arrow of History
Democrats want a more equitable society, even if it means raising taxes to fund programmes to help the poor, elderly and infirm. But that infringes on the freedom of individuals to spend their money as they wish. Why should the government force me to buy health insurance if I prefer using the money to put my kids through college?
Republicans, on the other hand, want to maximise individual freedom, even if it means that the income gap between rich and poor will grow wider and that many Americans will not be able to afford health care.
If tensions, conflicts and irresolvable dilemmas are the spice of every culture, a human being who belongs to any particular culture must hold contradictory beliefs and be riven by incompatible values. It’s such an essential feature of any culture that it even has a name: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact, it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture.
Today, we are used to thinking about the whole planet as a single unit, but for most of history, earth was in fact an entire galaxy of isolated human worlds.
One of the most interesting examples of this globalisation is ‘ethnic’ cuisine. In an Italian restaurant we expect to find spaghetti in tomato sauce; in Polish and Irish restaurants lots of potatoes; in an Argentinian restaurant we can choose between dozens of kinds of beefsteaks; in an Indian restaurant hot chillies are incorporated into just about everything; and the highlight at any Swiss café is thick hot chocolate under an alp of whipped cream. But none of these foods is native to those nations. Tomatoes, chilli peppers and cocoa are all Mexican in origin; they reached Europe and Asia only after the Spaniards conquered Mexico. Julius Caesar and Dante Alighieri never twirled tomato-drenched spaghetti on their forks (even forks hadn’t been invented yet), William Tell never tasted chocolate, and Buddha never spiced up his food with chilli. Potatoes reached Poland and Ireland no more than 400 years ago. The only steak you could obtain in Argentina in 1492 was from a llama .
Merchants, conquerors and prophets were the first people who managed to transcend the binary evolutionary division, ‘us vs them’, and to foresee the potential unity of humankind. For the merchants, the entire world was a single market and all humans were potential customers. They tried to establish an economic order that would apply to all, everywhere. For the conquerors, the entire world was a single empire and all humans were potential subjects, and for the prophets, the entire world held a single truth and all humans were potential believers. They too tried to establish an order that would be applicable for everyone everywhere.
The Scent of Money
In a barter economy, every day the shoemaker and the apple grower will have to learn anew the relative prices of dozens of commodities. If one hundred different commodities are traded in the market, then buyers and sellers will have to know 4,950 different exchange rates. And if 1,000 different commodities are traded, buyers and sellers must juggle 499,500 different exchange rates! How do you figure it out? ( Current problem in the crypto space.)
Some societies tried to solve the problem by establishing a central barter system that collected products from specialist growers and manufacturers and distributed them to those who needed them. The largest and most famous such experiment was conducted in the Soviet Union, and it failed miserably. ‘Everyone would work according to their abilities, and receive according to their needs’ turned out in practice into ‘everyone would work as little as they can get away with, and receive as much as they could grab’. More moderate and more successful experiments were made on other occasions, for example in the Inca Empire. Yet most societies found a more easy way to connect large numbers of experts – they developed money.
Money is not coins and banknotes. Money is anything that people are willing to use in order to represent systematically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services.
The sum total of money in the world is about $60 trillion, yet the sum total of coins and banknotes is less than $6 trillion. More than 90 percent of all money – more than $50 trillion appearing in our accounts – exists only on computer servers.
When a wealthy farmer sold his possessions for a sack of cowry shells and travelled with them to another province, he trusted that upon reaching his destination other people would be willing to sell him rice, houses and fields in exchange for the shells. Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.
The silver shekel was not a coin, but rather 0.3 ounces of silver . When Hammurabi’s Code declared that a superior man who killed a slave woman must pay her owner twenty silver shekels, it meant that he had to pay 6 ounces of silver, not twenty coins.
Counterfeiting is not just cheating – it’s a breach of sovereignty, an act of subversion against the power, privileges and person of the king. The legal term is lese-majesty (violating majesty), and was typically punished by torture and death.
The Indians had such a strong confidence in the denarius and the image of the emperor that when local rulers struck coins of their own they closely imitated the denarius, down to the portrait of the Roman emperor! The name ‘denarius’ became a generic name for coins. Muslim caliphs Arabicised this name and issued ‘dinars’. The dinar is still the official name of the currency in Jordan, Iraq, Serbia, Macedonia, Tunisia and several other countries.
First, to qualify for that designation you have to rule over a significant number of distinct peoples, each possessing a different cultural identity and a separate territory .
Second, empires are characterised by flexible borders and a potentially unlimited appetite . They can swallow and digest more and more nations and territories without altering their basic structure or identity. The British state of today has fairly clear borders that cannot be exceeded without altering the fundamental structure and identity of the state. A century ago almost any place on earth could have become part of the British Empire.
Evolution has made Homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature. Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘we’ and ‘they’.
In the language of the Dinka people of the Sudan, ‘Dinka’ simply means ‘people’. People who are not Dinka are not people. The Dinka’s bitter enemies are the Nuer. What does the word Nuer mean in Nuer language? It means ‘original people’.
The sun never set on the British mission to spread the twin gospels of liberalism and free trade. The Soviets felt duty-bound to facilitate the inexorable historical march from capitalism towards the utopian dictatorship of the proletariat. Many Americans nowadays maintain that their government has a moral imperative to bring Third World countries the benefits of democracy and human rights, even if these goods are delivered by cruise missiles and F-16s.
Commercial tea farming did not exist in India until the mid-nineteenth century, when it was introduced by the British East India Company. It was the snobbish British sahibs who spread the custom of tea drinking throughout the subcontinent.
The Law of Religion
Religion can thus be defined as a system of human norms and values that is founded on a belief in a superhuman order. This involves two distinct criteria:
Animists thought that humans were just one of many creatures inhabiting the world. Polytheists, on the other hand, increasingly saw the world as a reflection of the relationship between gods and humans.
In fact, most polytheist and even animist religions recognised such a supreme power that stands behind all the different gods, demons and holy rocks. In classical Greek polytheism, Zeus, Hera, Apollo and their colleagues were subject to an omnipotent and all-encompassing power – Fate (Moira, Ananke).
The fundamental insight of polytheism, which distinguishes it from monotheism, is that the supreme power governing the world is devoid of interests and biases , and therefore it is unconcerned with the mundane desires, cares and worries of humans.
The Greeks did not waste any sacrifices on Fate, and Hindus built no temples to Atman.
There are necessarily many of these smaller powers, since once you start dividing up the all-encompassing power of a supreme principle, you’ll inevitably end up with more than one deity. Hence the plurality of gods.
The insight of polytheism is conducive to far-reaching religious tolerance. Since polytheists believe, on the one hand, in one supreme and completely disinterested power, and on the other hand in many partial and biased powers, there is no difficulty for the devotees of one god to accept the existence and efficacy of other gods. Polytheism is inherently open-minded, and rarely persecutes ‘heretics’ and ‘infidels’.
In many cases the imperial elite itself adopted the gods and rituals of subject people. The Romans happily added the Asian goddess Cybele and the Egyptian goddess Isis to their pantheon.
The only god that the Romans long refused to tolerate was the monotheistic and evangelising god of the Christians. The Roman Empire did not require the Christians to give up their beliefs and rituals, but it did expect them to pay respect to the empire’s protector gods and to the divinity of the emperor. This was seen as a declaration of political loyalty. When the Christians vehemently refused to do so, and went on to reject all attempts at compromise, the Romans reacted by persecuting what they understood to be a politically subversive faction. And even this was done half-heartedly.
Still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries, the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians. In contrast, over the course of the next 1,500 years, Christians slaughtered Christians by the millions to defend slightly different interpretations of the religion of love and compassion.
The Christian saints did not merely resemble the old polytheistic gods. Often they were these very same gods in disguise. For example, the chief goddess of Celtic Ireland prior to the coming of Christianity was Brigid. When Ireland was Christianised, Brigid too was baptised. She became St Brigit, who to this day is the most revered saint in Catholic Ireland.
Zoroastrians saw the world as a cosmic battle between the good god Ahura Mazda and the evil god Angra Mainyu.
Gautama found that there was a way to exit this vicious circle. If, when the mind experiences something pleasant or unpleasant, it simply understands things as they are, then there is no suffering. If you experience sadness without craving that the sadness go away, you continue to feel sadness but you do not suffer from it. There can actually be richness in the sadness. If you experience joy without craving that the joy linger and intensify, you continue to feel joy without losing your peace of mind.
He encapsulated his teachings in a single law: suffering arises from craving; the only way to be fully liberated from suffering is to be fully liberated from craving; and the only way to be liberated from craving is to train the mind to experience reality as it is.
The modern age has witnessed the rise of a number of new natural-law religions, such as liberalism, Communism, capitalism, nationalism and Nazism.
If a religion is a system of human norms and values that is founded on belief in a superhuman order, then Soviet Communism was no less a religion than Islam.
Scientists studying the inner workings of the human organism have found no soul there. They increasingly argue that human behaviour is determined by hormones, genes and synapses, rather than by free will – the same forces that determine the behaviour of chimpanzees, wolves, and ants. Our judicial and political systems largely try to sweep such inconvenient discoveries under the carpet. But in all frankness, how long can we maintain the wall separating the department of biology from the departments of law and political science?
The Secret of Success
This is one of the distinguishing marks of history as an academic discipline – the better you know a particular historical period, the harder it becomes to explain why things happened one way and not another.
Level two chaos is chaos that reacts to predictions about it, and therefore can never be predicted accurately. Markets, for example, are a level two chaotic system.
Most scholars in the humanities disdain memetics, seeing it as an amateurish attempt to explain cultural processes with crude biological analogies. But many of these same scholars adhere to memetics’ twin sister – postmodernism. Postmodernist thinkers speak about discourses rather than memes as the building blocks of culture. Yet they too see cultures as propagating themselves with little regard for the benefit of humankind .
The Discovery of Ignorance
But the single most remarkable and defining moment of the past 500 years came at 05:29:45 on 16 July 1945. At that precise second, American scientists detonated the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico. From that point onward, humankind had the capability not only to change the course of history, but to end it.
Throughout history, societies have suffered from two kinds of poverty: social poverty, which withholds from some people the opportunities available to others; and biological poverty, which puts the very lives of individuals at risk due to lack of food and shelter. Perhaps social poverty can never be eradicated, but in many countries around the world biological poverty is a thing of the past .
The Marriage of Science and Empire
Astronomers predicted that the next Venus transits would occur in 1761 and 1769. So expeditions were sent from Europe to the four corners of the world in order to observe the transits from as many distant points as possible. In 1761 scientists observed the transit from Siberia, North America, Madagascar and South Africa.
Many cultures drew world maps long before the modern age. Obviously, none of them really knew the whole of the world. No Afro-Asian culture knew about America, and no American culture knew about Afro-Asia. But unfamiliar areas were simply left out, or filled with imaginary monsters and wonders. These maps had no empty spaces. They gave the impression of a familiarity with the entire world.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Europeans began to draw world maps with lots of empty spaces – one indication of the development of the scientific mindset, as well as of the European imperial drive. The empty maps were a psychological and ideological breakthrough, a clear admission that Europeans were ignorant of large parts of the world.
The discovery of America was the foundational event of the Scientific Revolution. It not only taught Europeans to favour present observations over past traditions, but the desire to conquer America also obliged Europeans to search for new knowledge at breakneck speed.
The Aztec Empire was an extremely centralised polity, and this unprecedented situation paralysed it. Montezuma continued to behave as if he ruled the empire, and the Aztec elite continued to obey him, which meant they obeyed Cortés. This situation lasted for several months, during which time Cortés interrogated Montezuma and his attendants, trained translators in a variety of local languages, and sent small Spanish expeditions in all directions to become familiar with the Aztec Empire and the various tribes, peoples and cities that it ruled.
The Capitalist Creed
Banks are allowed to loan $10 for every dollar they actually possess, which means that 90 percent of all the money in our bank accounts is not covered by actual coins and notes.
Because credit was limited, people had trouble financing new businesses. Because there were few new businesses, the economy did not grow. Because it did not grow, people assumed it never would, and those who had capital were wary of extending credit. The expectation of stagnation fulfilled itself.
Today, there is so much credit in the world that governments, business corporations and private individuals easily obtain large, long-term and low-interest loans that far exceed current income.
Smith made the following novel argument: when a landlord, a weaver, or a shoemaker has greater profits than he needs to maintain his own family, he uses the surplus to employ more assistants, in order to further increase his profits. The more profits he has, the more assistants he can employ. It follows that an increase in the profits of private entrepreneurs is the basis for the increase in collective wealth and prosperity.
All this depends, however, on the rich using their profits to open new factories and hire new employees, rather than wasting them on non-productive activities. Smith therefore repeated like a mantra the maxim that ‘When profits increase, the landlord or weaver will employ more assistants’ and not ‘When profits increase, Scrooge will hoard his money in a chest and take it out only to count his coins.’
In order to control trade on the important Hudson River, WIC built a settlement called New Amsterdam on an island at the river’s mouth. The colony was threatened by Indians and repeatedly attacked by the British, who eventually captured it in 1664. The British changed its name to New York. The remains of the wall built by WIC to defend its colony against Indians and British are today paved over by the world’s most famous street – Wall Street .
In the late 1830s the Chinese government issued a ban on drug trafficking, but British drug merchants simply ignored the law. Chinese authorities began to confiscate and destroy drug cargos. The drug cartels had close connections in Westminster and Downing Street – many MPs and Cabinet ministers in fact held stock in the drug companies – so they pressured the government to take action.
In 1840 Britain duly declared war on China in the name of ‘free trade’. It was a walkover. The overconfident Chinese were no match for Britain’s new wonder weapons – steamboats, heavy artillery, rockets and rapid-fire rifles. Under the subsequent peace treaty, China agreed not to constrain the activities of British drug merchants and to compensate them for damages inflicted by the Chinese police. Furthermore, the British demanded and received control of Hong Kong, which they proceeded to use as a secure base for drug trafficking (Hong Kong remained in British hands until 1997). In the late nineteenth century, about 40 million Chinese, a tenth of the country’s population, were opium addicts.
This is the fly in the ointment of free-market capitalism. It cannot ensure that profits are gained in a fair way, or distributed in a fair manner. On the contrary, the craving to increase profits and production blinds people to anything that might stand in the way. When growth becomes a supreme good, unrestricted by any other ethical considerations, it can easily lead to catastrophe. Some religions, such as Christianity and Nazism, have killed millions out of burning hatred. Capitalism has killed millions out of cold indifference coupled with greed. The Atlantic slave trade did not stem from racist hatred towards Africans. The individuals who bought the shares, the brokers who sold them, and the managers of the slave-trade companies rarely thought about the Africans. Nor did the owners of the sugar plantations. Many owners lived far from their plantations, and the only information they demanded were neat ledgers of profits and losses.
The Wheels of Industry
At first, the idea of using gunpowder to propel projectiles was so counter-intuitive that for centuries gunpowder was used primarily to produce fire bombs. But eventually – perhaps after some bomb expert ground gunpowder in a mortar only to have the pestle shoot out with force – guns made their appearance. About 600 years passed between the invention of gunpowder and the development of effective artillery.
separating the metal from its ore was extremely difficult and costly. For decades, aluminium was much more expensive than gold. In the 1860s, Emperor Napoleon III of France commissioned aluminium cutlery to be laid out for his most distinguished guests. Less important visitors had to make do with the gold knives and forks.
Two thousand years ago, when people in the Mediterranean basin suffered from dry skin they smeared olive oil on their hands .
To Harlow’s surprise, the infant monkeys showed a marked preference for the cloth mother, spending most of their time with her. When the two mothers were placed in close proximity, the infants held on to the cloth mother even while they reached over to suck milk from the metal mother.
carelessly on extravagant luxuries, whereas peasants lived frugally, minding every penny. Today, the tables have turned. The rich take great care managing their assets and investments, while the less well heeled go into debt buying cars and televisions they don’t really need.
A Permanent Revolution
The Industrial Revolution turned the timetable and the assembly line into a template for almost all human activities. Shortly after factories imposed their time frames on human behaviour, schools too adopted precise timetables, followed by hospitals, government offices and grocery stores . Even in places devoid of assembly lines and machines, the timetable became king. If the shift at the factory ends at 5 P.M., the local pub had better be open for business by 5:02.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the daily life of most humans ran its course within three ancient frames: the nuclear family, the extended family and the local intimate community.* Most people worked in the family business – the family farm or the family workshop, for example – or they worked in their neighbours’ family businesses. The family was also the welfare system, the health system, the education system, the construction industry, the trade union, the pension fund, the insurance company, the radio, the television, the newspapers, the bank and even the police.
Yet throughout history, such imagined communities played second fiddle to intimate communities of several dozen people who knew each other well. The intimate communities fulfilled the emotional needs of their members and were essential for everyone’s survival and welfare. In the last two centuries, the intimate communities have withered, leaving imagined communities to fill in the emotional vacuum .
The two most important examples for the rise of such imagined communities are the nation and the consumer tribe.
In recent decades, national communities have been increasingly eclipsed by tribes of customers who do not know one another intimately but share the same consumption habits and interests, and therefore feel part of the same consumer tribe – and define themselves as such. This sounds very strange, but we are surrounded by examples. Madonna fans, for example, constitute a consumer tribe. They define themselves largely by shopping. They buy Madonna concert tickets, CDs, posters, shirts and ring tones, and thereby define who they are.
In the year 2000, wars caused the deaths of 310,000 individuals, and violent crime killed another 520,000. Each and every victim is a world destroyed, a family ruined, friends and relatives scarred for life. Yet from a macro perspective these 830,000 victims comprised only 1.5 per cent of the 56 million people who died in 2000. That year 1.26 million people died in car accidents (2.25 per cent of total mortality) and 815,000 people committed suicide (1.45 per cent).
In 1964 a military dictatorship was established in Brazil. It ruled the country until 1985. During these twenty years, several thousand Brazilians were murdered by the regime. Thousands more were imprisoned and tortured. Yet even in the worst years, the average Brazilian in Rio de Janeiro was far less likely to die at human hands than the average Waorani, Arawete or Yanomamo are, indigenous people who live in the depths of the Amazon forest, without army, police or prisons. Anthropological studies have indicated that between a quarter and a half of their menfolk die sooner or later in violent conflicts over property, women or prestige.8
Yet the Soviet elite, and the Communist regimes through most of eastern Europe (Romania and Serbia were the exceptions), chose not to use even a tiny fraction of this military power. When its members realised that Communism was bankrupt, they renounced force, admitted their failure, packed their suitcases and went home. Gorbachev and his colleagues gave up without a struggle not only the Soviet conquests of World War Two, but also the much older tsarist conquests in the Baltic, the Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is chilling to contemplate what might have happened if Gorbachev had behaved like the Serbian leadership – or like the French in Algeria.
For real peace is not the mere absence of war. Real peace is the implausibility of war. There has never been real peace in the world. Between 1871 and 1914, a European war remained a plausible eventuality, and the expectation of war dominated the thinking of armies, politicians and ordinary citizens alike .
Today humankind has broken the law of the jungle. There is at last real peace, and not just absence of war. For most polities, there is no plausible scenario leading to full-scale conflict within one year. What could lead to war between Germany and France next year?
The Nobel Peace Prize to end all peace prizes should have been given to Robert Oppenheimer and his fellow architects of the atomic bomb. Nuclear weapons have turned war between superpowers into collective suicide, and made it impossible to seek world domination by force of arms.
For most of history, polities could enrich themselves by looting or annexing enemy territories. Most wealth consisted of material things like fields, cattle, slaves and gold, so it was easy to loot it or occupy it. Today, wealth consists mainly of human capital and organizational know-how. Consequently it is difficult to carry it off or conquer it by military force .
What would happen if the Chinese were to mount an armed invasion of California, land a million soldiers on the beaches of San Francisco and storm inland? They would gain little. There are no silicon mines in Silicon Valley. The wealth resides in the minds of Google engineers and Hollywood script doctors , directors and special-effects wizards, who would be on the first plane to Bangalore or Mumbai long before the Chinese tanks rolled into Sunset Boulevard.
It is not coincidental that the few full-scale international wars that still take place in the world, such as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, occur in places where wealth is old-fashioned material wealth. The Kuwaiti sheikhs could flee abroad, but the oil fields stayed put and were occupied.
And They Lived Happily Ever After
though the last few decades have been an unprecedented golden age for humanity, it is too early to know whether this represents a fundamental shift in the currents of history or an ephemeral eddy of good fortune.
But the most important finding of all is that happiness does not really depend on objective conditions of either wealth, health or even community. Rather, it depends on the correlation between objective conditions and subjective expectations . If you want a bullock-cart and get a bullock-cart, you are content. If you want a brand-new Ferrari and get only a second-hand Fiat you feel deprived.
This is why winning the lottery has, over time, the same impact on people’s happiness as a debilitating car accident. When things improve, expectations balloon, and consequently even dramatic improvements in objective conditions can leave us dissatisfied.
After all, our chimpanzee cousins seldom wash and never change their clothes. Nor are we disgusted by the fact that our pet dogs and cats don’t shower or change their coats daily. We pat, hug and kiss them all the same.
If happiness is determined by expectations, then two pillars of our society – mass media and the advertising industry – may unwittingly be depleting the globe’s reservoirs of contentment .
Suppose science comes up with cures for all diseases, effective anti-ageing therapies and regenerative treatments that keep people indefinitely young. In all likelihood, the immediate result will be an unprecedented epidemic of anger and anxiety.
Some scholars compare human biochemistry to an air-conditioning system that keeps the temperature constant, come heatwave or snowstorm. Events might momentarily change the temperature, but the air-conditioning system always returns the temperature to the same set point.
Take the work involved in raising a child. Kahneman found that when counting moments of joy and moments of drudgery, bringing up a child turns out to be a rather unpleasant affair. It consists largely of changing nappies, washing dishes and dealing with temper tantrums, which nobody likes to do. Yet most parents declare that their children are their chief source of happiness. Does it mean that people don’t really know what’s good for them?
That’s one option. Another is that the findings demonstrate that happiness is not the surplus of pleasant over unpleasant moments. Rather, happiness consists in seeing one’s life in its entirety as meaningful and worthwhile.
The scientist who says her life is meaningful because she increases the store of human knowledge, the soldier who declares that his life is meaningful because he fights to defend his homeland, and the entrepreneur who finds meaning in building a new company are no less delusional than their medieval counterparts who found meaning in reading scriptures, going on a crusade or building a new cathedral.
As long as my personal narrative is in line with the narratives of the people around me, I can convince myself that my life is meaningful, and find happiness in that conviction.
What is so important about obtaining such ephemeral prizes? Why struggle so hard to achieve something that disappears almost as soon as it arises? According to Buddhism, the root of suffering is neither the feeling of pain nor of sadness nor even of meaninglessness. Rather, the real root of suffering is this never-ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a constant state of tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction.
The End of Homo Sapiens
What would happen, for example, if we developed a cure for Alzheimer’s disease that, as a side benefit, could dramatically improve the memories of healthy people? Would anyone be able to halt the relevant research? And when the cure is developed, could any law enforcement agency limit it to Alzheimer’s patients and prevent healthy people from using it to acquire super-memories?
Imagine another possibility – suppose you could back up your brain to a portable hard drive and then run it on your laptop. Would your laptop be able to think and feel just like a Sapiens? If so, would it be you or someone else? What if computer programmers could create an entirely new but digital mind, composed of computer code, complete with a sense of self, consciousness and memory? If you ran the program on your computer, would it be a person? If you deleted it could you be charged with murder?
When the nuclear age erupted in the 1940s, many forecasts were made about the future nuclear world of the year 2000. When sputnik and Apollo II fired the imagination of the world, everyone began predicting that by the end of the century, people would be living in space colonies on Mars and Pluto. Few of these forecasts came true. On the other hand, nobody foresaw the Internet.
The only thing we can try to do is to influence the direction scientists are taking. But since we might soon be able to engineer our desires too, the real question facing us is not ‘What do we want to become?’, but ‘What do we want to want?’ Those who are not spooked by this question probably haven’t given it enough thought.
The Animal that Became a God
Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?
You might also like my notes on…
The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant
The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
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GWENEVERE SHARMILA SAMIR
GWENEVERE SHARMILA SAMIR
FULL NAME: Gwenevere Sharmila Samir
BIRTHDATE: February 2nd, 2192
BLOOD STATUS: Muggle-born
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Predominantly heterosexual
NATIONALITY: British; has Indian, Welsh, Swiss, and German ancestry
WAND: 13 & 3/4” phoenix feather, red oak, fairly bendy
GROUPS/CLUBS: Quidditch Chaser
MIRROR OF ERISED: as of January 2208, her as a (well-paid) Charms professor
BOGGART: an empty Gringotts vault ; having lived a life of comfort, financial instability scares her the most (barring her fear of imminent death, of which everyone seem to have a little bit)
DEMENTOR: the first time Headmistress Prewett announced that there had been a murder on school grounds, and she realized that even the magical world isn’t completely safe
AMORTENTIA: The metallic smell of wizarding currency, petrichor, Darjeeling tea
VERITASERUM: She doesn’t like her sister! Partly because she didn’t inherit magical ability!
The word “stupendous”
Passing through ghosts when the weather is getting warmer
Taking her tea with no cream or sugar
Having to get a new passport because she has run out of empty visa pages
When people like her cooking
The moment during the Welcome Feast when the food appears and she finds herself seated directly in front of a meat dish
Forgetting the common room password
Room-temp butterbeer that has lost all of its foam
When her father, knowing that she can’t use magic outside of school, asks her to do the chores she has now gotten used to doing with magic, just to mess with her
• Lucky | Powers of Felix Felicis aside, there are real reasons behind why some people appear to have luck on their side more than other people. One of those is the acute ability to identify trends and ride them up the curve of success. As an ancient Chinese proverb proclaims, even pigs can fly if they’re standing where the wind blows the hardest. Gwen has a keen eye for seeing where the wind blows the hardest, and she seems to know exactly which ship she needs to jump onto so that she begets the greatest rewards expending the least effort.
• Keeping calm in moments of panic | This skill requires three things: a swift (and often correct) intuition, the lack of special attachment to any one possible solution, and the optimistic belief that everything will turn out okay, all of which Gwen is practicing to perfection.
• Identifying ingredients based purely on smell | Coming from a family where meals were shared with conviviality and joy, Gwen has always viewed the ability to enjoy good food as one of her most prized assets. Her vast experience with global cuisines has made her into kind of a gourmand, with a nose and a palate so refined that she is able to tell apart different ingredients in the same dish and yet so tractable that she’s comfortable eating everything ranging from grasshopper garum to habanero peppers.
• Not punctual at all | Gwen has a reputation for showing up late to pre-arranged dates and appointments, and everyone is left to wonder why she was tardy, given that she is not known to give reasons for her delays. Had she passed a cool postcard store on the way and wandered in? Had she lost track of time thinking about the latest charms she had learned? Had she been daydreaming while waiting for the staircase to reconnect but then forgetting to complete her climb? We shall never know.
• Technologically un-savvy | Have you ever met a scatter-brained coder? A software engineer lacking logic in their arguments? An IT-specialist unable to find the one tiny detail that’s causing havoc? No, no and absolutely no, and for equivalent reasons it would be quite preposterous to ask Gwen to command modern Muggle technology with ease. It’s a good thing she’s got magic.
• Bad at budgeting | This should come as no surprise – she’s never had to! Put her on the Yule Ball committee and she’ll blow through its vault before she’s even gotten to hiring the band. Besides, having once used a calculator to add 8 and 11, she’s never been able to intuitively understand how all those little numbers add up to bigger numbers.
She is a night-owl, preferring to go to bed after the clock has struck 12. On a similar note, she finds it hard to get up in the morning!
She’s a vegetarian and has been one her entire life!
When Gwenevere first opened the box that Mr. Ollivander handed her, she was confused as to why the wand that has chosen her was so long. At 11, she had an elfin frame and a diminutive voice. Nothing about her seemed out of the ordinary, barring the fact that she, who had grown up in a perfectly ordinary Muggle family, had just received an acceptance letter from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Mr. Ollivander expressed his wonder at the uncommon length for such a small witch before explaining that sometimes longer wands choose those with particularly big personalities or those with particularly memorable traits. The esteemed wandmaker’s explanation did nothing to lessen Gwen’s confusion, as it wasn’t immediately clear which parts of her were big or memorable. Four years later, she was beginning to understand her wand’s choice. To be fair, her personality, intellect, and character as a Hogwarts fifth year are anything but full-fledged, but their trajectories are becoming evident. Gwen could fairly be labelled a visionary. She seems to be able to see things that most other people could not see, which is not to say that she’s a seer or aims to be one, only that she has a knack for what the Muggles like to call synthesis thinking, or the act of combining seemingly unrelated things in new ways. It’s something rooted in a deeper dimension of her personality, one concerned with her inborn fondness for change. Gwen has been adaptable and resilient since she was little, rarely becoming flustered by instability in her world, which has included things as small as canceled dinner plans and as big as an inter-continental move. Genuinely believing that everyone else is just like her, she has been known to change her own plans with other people without regard for their own ability to respond. More often than not, she won’t even become privy to the other person’s irritation until they confront her about it, alas, to no avail; she does this till this day.
Everything about Gwen is fast. She commands an impressive vocabulary for her age and is not afraid to show it, often discharging words with rapid-fire fluency and a liberal inclusion of tangents and asides. She devotes not quite enough concern for the coherence of her speech only because her skills in logical organization have yet to mature, though it can seem impossible for such rapid-fire verbal communication to support any amount of clarity. Her default gait is an exaggerated stride; even having grown out of that elfin frame into just a slightly taller-than-average height, she still finds people struggling to keep up with her pace. Needless to say, she’s a zippy force on a broomstick as well. Her temperament changes with the same kind of frequency and abruptness, sometimes in the same run-on sentence. Her mercurial temper has wound her up into more sub-ideal situations than she’d like to remember, though she believes it’s not yet within her power to intentionally improve on this front. Fortunately, we catch her in good moments more often than in bad ones. At her best, she can light up an entire room with her own brand of effusive optimism, leaving everyone touched by the veritable sunshine she indiscriminately emanates. At her worst…well, we shall leave that to your imagination and hope that you never become so unfortunate as to find out.
In one sense, she is good with people and is rarely found wanting for friendship. She is neither shy nor introverted, so she has always created and maintained relationships with ease. Perhaps because she understands most intuitively the mutability of life, she is wary of letting any relationship grow too deep. It can feel like she makes friends simply to collect them, either for their accomplishments, their connections, or their ability to hold her interest. This is accurate to a certain extent. She has, for example, ghosted someone before because their life has irrevocably fallen into the beige-colored trap of ennui. However, considering most of her relationships means to an end never stops her from sharing moments of delight—delight for delight’s sake—with a select number of people she truly appreciates. She fancies that she is quite discerning about all matters, above all friendships, food, and fashion. Snobby? Sure, but it’s not entirely unexpected, given her childhood spent in relative affluence and her family’s sophistication about the world outside the United Kingdom. Curiously, while she has never had to worry about money, she finds herself thinking about it more often than upper-middle class children do. She has come to expect her lifestyle to be defined by a certain level of extravagance, one her parents maintain with pleasure. It gives her a real sense of stability, the one pillar on which she is able to lean while everything else rattles in the winds of change.
Gwen is not one to become lost in details, preferring to think hypothetically, conceptually, and holistically than to concern herself with numbers, practicalities, or even precision of expression. This means she’s much more suited to academic professions than anything dealing with the messiness of the real world (and that, if you couldn’t already tell, she could be very scatterbrained). If she were more honest with herself, she would admit that this is probably the most overwhelming reason for the Sorting Hat to put her in Ravenclaw, unless the articulate head-topper saw any spark of outstanding scholastic achievement that has yet to appear. Now that she’s well past the half-way point of her compulsory education, this seemed less likely than ever, for it was true that she was not exceedingly smart, at least in the traditional sense of books and test scores. She completed most of her classes with fair results, and I daresay she even learned a little bit from each of them. Often, however, she finds the classroom setting uninspiring at best and oppressive at worst. Nevertheless, she makes a special exception for Charms. It’s not difficult to see why; its study emphasizes hands-on techniques firmly rooted in a hefty helping of conceptual brilliance with generous allowances for innovation, a combination of all things Gwen holds most dear.
All in all, we need to remember that Gwen is still in her teenage years. Her personality, intellect, and character are inevitably overshadowed by the impetuosity, pettiness, and defiance typical of most teens, magical or not. We forgive her for it, hoping that she fully experiences both the highs and lows of adolescence so that she might evolve into an ever better human being.
The origins of popular dishes around the world
Home Food and drink The origins of popular dishes around the world The origins of popular dishes around the world May 2, 2019 Jack Food and drink , Local Flavours 0
Cultural appropriation is one of the buzz terms pinging about social media at the moment. It has its origins in something worthy and important, but it’s been bandied around recklessly to the point casual accusations of it often distract from serious cases of, well, cultural appropriation. This seems especially common when it comes to gastronomy.
A number of chefs have found themselves in the cultural appropriation firing line. You have to be extremely knowledgeable about gastronomy to jump into a culinary arena and fling cultural appropriation accusations around. Either extremely knowledgeable… or completely ignorant about food. Sushi in a Portuguese restaurant. Why not? Especially when many Japanese restaurants serve…
Recipes change and evolve from chef to chef, cook to cook, frying pan-wielding granny (or grandpa) to frying pan-wielding granny; everyone adding their own take, even in a small way. Expand that to an international level and you discover a veritable smorgasbord of influences to be found in some popular traditional dishes.
Take tempura , the famous Japanese dish of seafood and vegetables which have been lightly battered and deep fried. It’s not Japanese at all. It was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century. … Tempura, which was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese.
I’ve just finished reading a fascinating book called The First Global Village – How Portugal Changed the World . A couple of pages relating to the exchange of cooking techniques and the movement of ingredients from one country to another got me thinking about how trying to pinpoint ‘ownership’ of specific dishes can be a minefield.
According to the book, the Portuguese picked up the method of wrapping light pastry around a savoury filling from North Africa, took it to India and hey presto, the samosa came into being. The Portuguese then brought this little snack with them to their homeland. Now you can buy chamuças as a snack in cafes and kiosks all over Portugal. Samosas, Portuguese style.
The Portuguese also took chillies from Brazil to Asia, contributing to a radical transformation in the cuisine there. Even that post-pub pain threshold tester, vindaloo is down to the Portuguese. It seems obvious when pointed out, but it means garlic wine ( vinho de alho ) – a reference to the Portuguese method of marinating meat in barrels filled with wine and chillies.
Near where we stay in Portugal are the remains of Roman garum ‘factories’. Garum , a fermented fish sauce which was highly sought after in the age of the Roman Empire, is said to be the forerunner of the pungent shrimp paste used extensively in Southeast Asian cuisine. Remains of a Roman garum factory at Troia, Portugal.
The book goes on to list a range of fruit, vegetables, spices, and cooking methods whizzing back and forward between various countries across the globe. We were introduced to sarapatel , a savoury and slightly spicy meat and offal Portuguese dish, in Alentejo. It’s a dish which is popular in parts of Brazil and Goa in India.
Staying on an Indian theme, historians claim that some of the sauces we know as ‘curries’ were created for British during the days of the Raj. Just to highlight how confusing the whole thing can be, it’s said Chicken tikka masala was invented by a Pakistani chef in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow. Try unravelling cultural appropriation out of that spicy little nugget. Curry at an Indian club in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.
A few years ago I read a satirical article in a Spanish magazine which suggested all the Italian restaurants on the island of Fuerteventura were run by Argentinians pretending to be Italian. A relatively common dish on the Canary Islands is arroz a la Cubana , which allegedly doesn’t come from Cuba at all but was created by the Spanish. It’s also popular in the Philippines. Ropa vieja , one of Cuba’s national dishes, originated in the Canary Islands.
In the Caribbean, much of the cuisine owes its existence to influences from Africa, Asia and Europe – sofrito from Spain; callaloo and ackee from West Africa; salt fish from Europe and North America. I’ve even seen one suggestion that Jamaican patties have their origins in Cornish pasties. Salt fish popular across the world; from the Caribbean to southern Europe and from Africa to Southeast Asia.
Trying to figure out who has ‘ownership’ of what is bewildering, and also rather pointless. Tracking the journey of dishes is, however, fascinating.
One of Britain’s favourite meals, fish and chips, may have been introduced by Italian or Jewish immigrants. The Scotch egg came from India or North Africa. Pizza began life as flatbreads with toppings in Greece. Pasta was brought to Italy from China. And on and on it goes. A Scotch egg in a bar in Lisbon.
Any map showing the historical movement of food products and dishes across the globe is like a spaghetti junction of tracks which mirror exploration and trading routes, with culinary influences spreading to and fro in all directions.
The joy of travel and trying the cuisine of different cultures often involves shared experiences. As a lover of good food and trying new things, I’m eternally grateful so many ingredients, techniques and dishes have been ‘shared’ between cultures and nations in the past. Without this exchange the World would be a much poorer and far blander tasting place.