This blog features topics not commonly found in a textbook. The posts have been written in simple English so that
they can be understood by intermediate level students.
The blog also includes Spanish translations, English definitions and glossaries
to facilitate comprehension of the articles.
Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The tragedy behind the cream

Chantilly cream is whipped cream which has been sweetened and flavoured with vanilla. French chef François Vatel (1631, Paris – April 24, 1671) created crème Chantilly (Chantilly cream), but there is no contemporary documentation for this claim.
Vatel was responsible for an extravagant banquet for 2,000 people given in honour of Louis XIV in April 1671 at the Château de Chantilly. The banquet, however, ended up in tragedy. Vatel was so worried about the lateness of the seafood delivery that he committed suicide by running himself through with a sword. His body was discovered when someone came to tell him of the arrival of the fish.


Vatel is a 2000 film based on the life of the 17th century French chef François Vatel, directed by Roland Joffé and starring Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, and Tim Roth. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration French actor Gérard Depardieu played the role of Vatel.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Coffee, the Devil & the Pope


Coffee owes the spread of its popularity to Pope Clement VIII's influence. In the past the Catholic Church considered that coffee was the "bitter invention of Satan" because it was widely drunk by Muslims. It was also a sort of antithesis or substitute for wine (which was used in the Eucharist). Pope Clement VIII, however, became fascinated with the aroma of coffee. After tasting it, he found coffee delicious and he declared that, "This devil's drink is so delicious... we should cheat the devil by baptizing it." The year often cited is 1600. This is how Pope Clement VIII made a great contribution to the coffee popularization among Christians.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brownies, a sweet mistake

It is easy to see that the brownie got its name from its dark brown colour. But as with most foods, the origin of the brownie is mysterious. The legend tells of a housewife in Bangor, Maine, who made a mistake while making a chocolate cake: she forgot to add baking powder. When her cake didn’t rise properly, instead of tossing it out, she cut and served the flat pieces. The first chocolate brownie recipe was published by one of America’s most famous cookbook authors, Fannie Merritt Farmer, in 1906.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Words in English: Foodscapes



Foodscapes are beautiful surreal landscapes made of food. The pictures were taken by photographer Carl Warner. Warner was born in Liverpool in 1963 and has spent most of his life drawing and taking pictures. He has worked mainly in the advertising industry for the past twenty years. He has a studio in London, and now lives with his wife and four children in the Kent countryside.

Cool Link:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Apples & Honey: A Sweet Tradition

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and like most Jewish holidays there are food customs associated with it. Dipping apple slices into honey is one of the most popular and well-known food customs on Rosh Hashanah. The old Jewish tradition of eating sweet foods expresses the hope for a sweet new year.
Ancient Jews thought apples had healing properties. Whenever King Herod (73-4 B.C.E.) felt faint he would eat an apple, and during Talmudic times apples were frequently sent as gifts to people in ill health.

Did you know?

Rosh Hashanah
is a Hebrew word which literally means "head of the year".

Cool Link:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse enters The 27 Club

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 - 23 July 2011) was an English soul and R&B singer and songwriter. She was born to a family of jazz musicians and raised in London, England. The singer's problems with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as her self-destructive behaviour and her mental health problems, regularly appeared in the news from 2007 until she was found dead today in her London home.
Her death enabled her to become a member of The 27 Club. This club, also known as the Forever 27 Club or Club 27, is the name given to a group of influential rock music artists who died at the early age of 27. To read more about this club click here.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What numbers say about William and Kate

William is the son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the legendary Queen of Hearts, Diana, Princess of Wales. Kate is a collegiately educated fashion icon, with a somewhat rocky romantic past. What do the numerology charts of William and Kate reveal about them and their relationship?

The 29 is an excellent number for competitors and people who have a desire to dominate others. It is not a number of love, warmth, and personal compassion. It is a number of power, and no two digit number portends more conflict between people, entities, and ideologies. It has the same energy as 11 September (11, a 2 in reduction and 9, the month), or as it is referred to in the United States, 911, and we all know what happened in 2001 on 911, i.e. 11 September 2001 - the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City. In fact, many battles and conflicts in history have been fought within the context of this 2 and 9 energy. The marriage date of William and Kate shares this 11 energy - 29 calendar day reduced to an 11, the wedding year of 2011, the wedding hour of 11:00am, and Kate's age, 29, an 11 in reduction. This 29 energetic influence on the day of their wedding will last, in numerological terms, for over twenty years, creating a rather long period of relationship power issues and intensity.
Number 11 itself has a negative connotation. It means disaster.
The announcement of Kate and William’s wedding even fell during November, 2010 - the 11th month of the year. Both Kate and William turn 29  in the 11th year of the century. Sarah Burton (11 letters) designed Kate's wedding dress. Number 13 is also a very unlucky number. The name Kate Middleton has 13 letters. On 16 November 2010 Clarence House (13 letters) announced that William and Middleton were to marry.
Numerology shows the great influence of  numbers 29, 11 and 13 over William and Kate. Will they have a happy life or not? Only time will tell.