Thursday, June 19, 2008

El Narguile: Cultura de Fumar

A narguile is a water pipe used for smoking flavored tobacco.

The word “narguile” comes from the Persian word “narguil”, which means coconut. This smoking instrument is also known as shisha (which means bottle in Arabic), Kalyan (Iran), hookah (India).
For North Africans, from Morrocco to Egypt, smoking shisha is a common practice. In the last decade, this tradition has become popular at “cultural cafes” around the world where they offer it as a diversion while their clients sip their tea, coffee or cocktails.

This curious pipe, has a base made out of glass, ceramic or metal, that is filled with water, or a mixture of vodka and water. Its body is made of metal and on the top there is a piece with holes in it where the humid flavored tobacco is placed. The tobacco is then covered with aluminum foil, where you place a piece of coal to heat up the tobacco.

Tobacco flavors are very varied: apple, peach, mango, strawberry, coconut, piña colada, coffee, vanilla, mint, cherry, lemon, coca-cola, banana and orange, among many others.

The smoker, needs to suction from a thin tube connected to the narguile. The aspiration enables air to circulate though the internal tube close to where the tobacco is located, to the bottom, where the tobacco mixes with the water and it “cleaned”, producing a thinner, but not less injurious smoke.

While popular belief indicates that smoking through a narguile is less harmful than other methods, there are studies that contradict this belief. Smoking is always damaging. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to learn about different methods and rituals used in different cultures.
According to a narguile is composed of the following pieces:

Lüle: Where you place the tobacco and the piece of coal.
Ser: The body of the narguile that is connected to its base.
Shishe (base): The part that is filled with water or a mixture of water and vodka.
Marpuch: Tube used for smoking.
Sipsi: The mouthpiece connected to the tube that is used for smoking. Aturquia recommends that each user utilizes a different one for sanitary purposes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Unrolling Pasta Bundles

Last week, we tried to distinguish different types of “dry” pasta so we can stop asking the same questions every time we go to an Italian restaurant. But the truth is stuffed pasta presents the same confusion whenever we eat out.

That is why this week I decided to focus on this delicious dough once again so we can put it into place for once and for all.

Curiously, I found out that the recipe for the basic dough for all these different types of pasta is the same. The only thing that varies is its shape and its varied fillings: from traditional such as chicken, meat, vegetable and cottage cheese to more peculiar ones such as cabbage, blood sausage with apple, and eggplant with cheese and nuts.

Here are some pictures to help you differentiate different types of stuffed pasta so next time you visit an Italian restaurant you can venture into this delicious cuisine without having to ask about the difference between agnolotti and ravioli.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stop Repression in Argentina

After more than 90 days of conflict between the Argentinean government and Argentinean farmers, government officials ordered imprisonment of Alfredo de Angeli, one of the leaders of Federación Agraria Argentina.

While de Angeli was being taken away, in Buenos Aires, people spontaneously protested on the streets.

United for a federal Argentina. "Argentinean Farmland ¡Cheers!"

Argentinean ask for PEACE.

No more repression.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Italy: Solution for Pasta Mix-up

By Laura Vaillard

What does a university student and an Italian have in common?

They both place “pasta” in the center of their food pyramid. A student always has a pack of pasta on his/her shelf because it’s economical, and it’s a dish that easy to prepare. While Italians always have pasta on their shelves for cultural reasons.

In Italy, lunch in one of the most important meals of the day: they have a pasta dish as an appetizer, meat with a side of vegetables as the main dish, and sweets and fruit for dessert.
Since pasta is present in every Italian lunch, they invented an infinite number of pasta types to camouflage idea of eating the same thing ever day.

However, this excess of creativity tends to cause problems when we go to an Italian restaurant. What is the difference between rigatoni and fusilli again?

Here are some pictures to help you out next time you visit a trattoria:


Monday, June 02, 2008

My Seven Wonders for 2007: Asia

Pictures by Laura Vaillard

Aisa: Indonesia, China, Malasia

This week I leave you my seven favorite pictures from my trip through Asia in 2007. These are my Seven Wonders. Enjoy!

Bali, Indonesia

Traditional Boat at the Summer Palace, China

The Great Wall of China

Rice fields in Bali, Indonesia

Bangkok, Tailandia

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunset at the Fire Fly Park, Malaysia