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Lenn Thompson

Tag Archives: Latin America

Horchata: Spain’s Non-Alcoholic Answer to Summer

Spanish lore is replete with anecdotes of the origin of horchata. Probably the most popular describes a young woman from L’Horta in Valencia who offered King Jaume I a white, sweet drink. The King was very pleased and asked the young woman, “¿Qué es això?” (“What is this?”) She answered, “Es llet de xufa” (“It is tigernut milk”). The King replied, “¡Això no es llet, això és or, xata!” [“This is not milk; this is gold (‘or’), pretty girl (‘xata’)!] Regardless of the origin, I am thankful someone thought of it! Orxata de chufa (as it is known in Spain) is made from tigernuts, water, and sugar and is an indispensable part of the Mediterranean diet due, in part, to […]

Spanish Bullfighting: The Romance, the Drama and the Traditional Recipes

Recently, the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia (or Catalunya) voted to ban bullfighting; which consequently, provoked me to write an article. Since moving to Spain in 2005, I have attempted to understand the “corrida de toros” – the bullfight. I have tried to learn as much as possible, both the pro and con; and yes, I confess I have attended quite a few corridas. Portugal has its own bullfighting traditions, as does France and Latin America. There is even a type of bullfight on the Zanzibari island of Pemba, off the east coast of Africa – a relic of Portuguese colonialism. However, I’m only familiar with the way it is done in Spain. (Photo by Ferminius) In the part of […]

El Almuerzo: The Spanish Version of Paddington Bear’s Elevenses

When I was a child, I was enthralled with the persona of Paddington Bear.  My sister had the books on tape (remember cassettes?) and I would borrow them over and over, keeping them on as quietly as I could long past my bedtime to hear about the adventures of this little Peruvian bear. Looking back now, I can see why he was so appealing to me: he was free. I mean, that bear did just about whatever he wanted – he didn’t go to school, for example, which to my young self was a shining beacon of liberty that kept my eyes alight in the dark. Why bring this up?  Well, it’s just that life in Spain keeps bringing Paddington […]