Debating at lunch how long it would be before we’re all eating grass soup (sopa de golf on the costas), we progressed to the devil’s cookbook, and someone mentioned the 16th century colonial chronicler, Bernardino de Sahagún.
Back when Bernardino was booking the cooks Mictlan was where dead Aztecs lived–way up north, probably in New Jersey:
In Mictlan, Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecaciuhatl (the gods of death) eat feet, hands, and a fetid beetle stew. Their gruel is pus; they drink it from skulls.
One who used to eat tamales a great deal, eats what is full of a foul smell there in Mictlan; the tamales are full of a foul smell of fetid beetles.
He who on earth ate a stew of black beans eats hearts in Mictlan.
And all the poisonous herbs are eaten there, and everyone who goes to Mictlan, everyone eats prickly poppies. Everything that is not eaten here on earth is eaten there in Mictlan, and it is said that nothing else is eaten, that there is great want in Mictlan.
(de Sahagún trans Sullivan, ed Nicholson, Primeros memoriales: paleography of Nahuatl text and English translation)
The late Martin Booth in his marvellous Gweilo: memories of a Hong Kong childhood ate beetle stew. I can’t help wondering if was actually betelnut stew, but whatever: those were the good old days, folks. Look back in hunger.
(Next Primera Sueca outing November 9: Día Onomástico de S. Pacharán, sloe collection and maceration kickoff)
- Sepia to the iron with ali smelt
Via Carlos Ferrero Martín and @ucedaman, another great menu, featuring ears to the iron, sepia to the iron with ali smelt, almejas to the sailor, tape of lomo…
“Ali smelt” is original and perhaps a calculated insult to one or all Shias, but “a la” as “to the” has tested the imagination, though not always the …
- Interchangeability of nominative and genitive forms of Spanish patronymics?
I’m thinking of examples like Álvarez/Álvaro, Alves/ Alves, Benítez/Benito, Díaz/Diego, Domínguez/Domingo, Fernández/Fernando, Giménez/Ximeno, Gómez/Guillermo, González/Gonzalo, Gutiérrez/Gutierre, Henríquez/Henrique, Ibáñez/Juan, Juánez/Juan, López/Lope, Márquez/Marco, Martínez/Martín, Menéndez/Menendo, Muñoz/Muño, Núñez/Nuño, Ordóñez/Ordoño, Ortiz/Ortún, Peláez/Pelayo, Pérez/Pere, Ramírez/Ramiro, Rodríguez/Rodrigo, Ruiz/Ruy, Sánchez/Sancho, Suárez/Suero, Vázquez/Vasco, Velázquez/Velasco.
- Richard and the lion’s heart: the truth
So Richard Cœur-de-Lion owed his name to bravery in battle? Hmmm, because Robert Chambers‘ 1869 Book of Days, pillaging a medieval romance, tells a different tale. As we join proceedings, Richard is languishing in the nick (again! but it’s German this time) for having beaten up a pub musician, killed the son of the king of Germany in a fistfight, and shagged said king’s lovely daughter something rotten. Der Kaiser is not ze happy bunny in ze pointy hat:
- The storks of war
A fragment from Italo Calvino’s quasi-17th century folk romance, Il visconte dimezzato/The cloven viscount, uses storks as a portent of battle. Several unconnected 2nd century Greek accounts might appear to do the same, perhaps particularly if one’s a lazy sod and doesn’t read anything but scraps of stuff on Google Books.