history

Marriage in Indian style

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It was at the end of February in 2009 when I was about going home from Nagpur to Münich. My spirit was still on high because I had just left behind the Orange city, (Nagpur is located in central India and it is the largest orange-growing town) and my soul was still lingering somewhere there so that I didn’t perceive when my airplane landed at London Heathrow. But when I heard the announcement of my flight attendant ’s that unfortunatelly the Munich flight had been cancelled due to the not predictable lava ashes, I fell down immediately to the real world. I was busy dialling my husband’s  in order to inform him about the changing of my arrival, when a pleasant-faced, young Indian woman approached me in a turquoise sari and in a sneakers with a short overcoat. -Is this seat taken?-she asked me in English politely. When I replied-no-she sat down. After a few formal phrasis such as -how terrible that we were captivated by the lava ashes and so on I had learned that she was supposed to fly to Munich as well in order to reunite her husband. What a coincident!- I exclaimed with a surprize- I am also heading for Munich. She cheered up hearing that. Then when word followed by word, it turned out that she had just married a month ago. The wedding took place in Nagpur, but because her husband had already been worked for three years in a neurological research institute in Munich, after the marriage he had to return immediately. Unfortunately she couldn’t fly with him because to obtain the visa and other papers it needed a longer time. Otherwise, she was full of anxiety, because it was her first flying experience ever. -I can not wait to see my husband but I am detained by the lava ashes-she whispered with a bleak smile on her face. -I am so sorry-I told her in order to express my sympathy- that’s right you are supposed to be in your honeymoon!- Then partly because I wanted to divert her attention of her self-pity and partly because I was really interested in the way of the Indian marriages I asked her to tell how she met her husband. Her face relighted immediately like a bulb in the socket. It was overly an interesting topic because before about Indian marriage I had only informations like ( I mean before the computer time) young couples contacted through a matchmaker who arranged their marriages. I have always found a bit bizarre when I read that matchmakers were even taken breath samples from the couples (after they licked her hand and she sniffed the smell then she could establish whether they become or meant to each other), in order to be sure on that that they will make a perfect match in every aspect. -„You know today the young Indian people find each other on the Internet”-enlightened Bharti (that was her name) to me, we have a special website where everyone can look for a partner. When someone finds a sympathetic man or woman, parents are asked to go to the chosen family. Then they discuss important issues such as financial situations of the families, compare the nubile’s school degrees, or which caste they belong to, mainly because the country still cling weddings belong to the same caste.

It was 28 of February, and Bharti met her husband first time in mid of January! Oh my God! You had a really ephemeral engagement!-I exclaimed.-It was!-replied Bharti with a smile and then continued her story-but you know inspite of the haste we were well aware of that that the marriage means tying the knot forever! Divorce doesn’t exist in India.- Going to get married before we met only three times, with our future husband? I don’t think so it would work in Europa! But there is no accounting for tastes! And Bharti continued – The first time we met was at my parental house, a second time at an expert’s whom she made our horoscopes, which convinced us that we would fit together (the husband of agricultural graduates, and she studied pharmacy and was a chemistry teacher in a high school). Then we had a nice talk of the significance of marriage-leaded by our parents who told us that the most important in a marriage to choose the right partner because marriage is for life. -And what if the love is gone in a few years? I interrupted Bharti. -I don’t think so- she replied, -because later, love becomes intimate relationship-. Then the marriage is rather a business than love!- I fully disagree- answered Bharti, -because I am absolutely positive on that that parents know what is good for us.- And then Bharti went on:- You know, before our marriage my husband and I had a face to face talk, about what would be our needs, on what way we would like to live. She also revealed that that according to the Hindu religion, sex before marriage is forbidden for men and women as well (Oh my God then the Kama Sutra is thoroughly misunderstood in Europe). Finally, the third meeting was the marriage.

 

 

By this time our conversation was interrupted by the loudspeaker, but when we heard that our flight likely won’t take off in the following few hours, we carried on our conversation in a little cafe nearby. Thus we had more time for getting known each other better and Bharti had the opportunity to show some photos of her wedding but what I was really fascinated by it was a cushion on which the image of the young couple was pressed. I had to admit that in her red sari Bharti was a gorgeous, beautiful bride, she really looked like a Bollywood star. Then she recalled her wedding day, when her mother and her girlfriends attired her, decorated her hair with flowers, put lots of jewelry on her arm, neck. They were motifs painted on her face, hands, feet with henna, which is according to the Hindi religion protects them from any adverse effect. Then on the next photo I recognized the veiled Bharti, who was walking- escorted by her parents up to a huge bonfire where his future husband-the groom was waiting for her. Then the father „gave” the bride to the husband, indicating that for that very moment he will be responsible for his daughter. Her mother took a bowl from which she threw some grain toward the flames.- It helps to become a good wife- added Bharti as an explanation. On the following picture I saw Bharti’s husband who painted a red line into his wife’s hair parting, this meant that finally Bharti became his. “This is the sindur. -said Bharti (when someone is engaged she has a Bindi on her forehead, a red painted dot, which means the girl has been taken. Sindur means the woman is married). (I guess there is no cheating and no divorce, because a women with sindur is considered taboo for every man!)

The next picture showed when the couple placed seeds and fruits on the sacrificial fire, to obtain the blessing of Krisna of the marriage and the spiritual life, being supportive of each other, avoid diseases, etc. -said Bharti. After the fire ceremony the feast had began. There were plenty of colourful plates, piles of spicy dishes typical samples of the Saoji kitchen, even though it is very spicy does not cause any health problems-assured me Bharti-. But I couldn’t go along with her because once I went through in an indigestion from a Tikka Massala and I was so sick almost ended up in a hospital and by the way at that moment I could not wait longer to eat European dishes again, it was same feeling when I returned from Japan.

-And what will you going to do in Munich?- I asked her curiously. -Certainly I would like to work but before-I will try to be a virtuous wife, I will not provoke my husband, I won’t use too much perfume, and if my behavior is correct, my husband’s mind will stay sharp and relaxed and I am sure the marriage will be as spiritual connection as sexual.- I was totally captivated by the purity of her vows, but before I had time to compare to the European principles of marriage, the loudspeaker called us and announced that, we could begin boarding. We quickly switched e-mail addresses and promised to meet again in Munich!

To be continued

Because Nagpur is located near to Cobra River and belongs to Vidharbha region where there is a particular cuisine called the saoji kitchen. The typical food spices are black pepper, coriander, bay, gray cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, soy and coconut fillings. The non-vegetarian main dishes are made of chicken and lamb, but in order to get enough protein the vegetarians consume Paneer which is a kind of lactovegan cheese (milk boiled and eaten with a mixture of lemon juice).

What about the golden apples or the story of my Quince cheese

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In September the possibilities of summer have gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and many people turn inward, both physically and mentally. Personally I find that autumn is pretty, I like to watch the autumn foliage, and how the leaves change their colors and not negligible that the vegetables and grains are ready to be harvested for this time. Not unintentional that any cultures feature autumnal harvest festivals, often as the most important on their calendars. Still extant echoes of these celebrations are found in the mid-autumn such as Thanksgiving holiday in USA and Canada, the North American Indian festivals tied to harvest of autumnally ripe foods gathered in the wild, the Chinese Moon festival, and many others. The predominant mood of these autumnal celebrations is a complacence for the fruits of the earth mixed with a certain melancholy linked to the imminent arrival of harsh weather. While most foods are harvested during the autumn, foods particularly associated with the season include pumpkins (which are integral parts of both Thanksgiving and Halloween) apples, used to make the seasonal beverage the apple cider.

My grandparents had a grape vineyard so that each September or early October we harvested the grapes in order to make vine with the help of my uncle who was a pharmacist and at the same time a winemaker expert. Of course after the hard work we celebrated our small harvest with eating many heavenly dishes such kind of the quince cheese or quince jelly-candy was. I don’t know how many times I enjoyed when my grandma baked the fruits with sugar and lemon juice, and we loved to watch how they turned crimson after a long cooking time and became a relatively firm, quince tart, dense enough to hold its shape. The taste was sweet but slightly astringent.

When we finished our jobs in the garden, we children surrounded my grandmother, who spinned a yarn. What I liked the most among her fairies was when she talked about the origin of the spices and fruits. I think she was a kind of medicine-woman because she was well aware of the effect of many herbs. She told me about her quince recipe once that it came from the Roman time of the cookbook of Apicius, (not…a collection of Roman cookery recipes compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD gives recipes for stewing quince with honey) who named the quinces the golden apples.

All over the world there are 40-50 quince species, and only in Hungary 10-15 species exist, the most prevalents are from the village of Bereczk, then the pear shaped quince from Dunabogdány, the greenish-yellowish colored ones from Mezőtúr (the harvest is only in October) and finally the smallest, early ripened quinces come from Perbál and Gönc. In Hungary, quince cheese is called birsalma sajt, and it is prepared with small amounts of lemon zest, cinnamon or cloves. Péter Melius, the Hungarian botanist mentioned quince cheese as early as 1578 as a fruit preparation with medical benefits. The Hungarian word „birs” ‘s („the name of the hard-firm skinned apple shaped of fruits”) origin is unknown. In the 16th century it was called bis, biss apple.

In England historically marmalade was made from quinces. The English word “marmalade” comes from the Portuguese word marmelada, meaning “quince preparation” (and used to describe quince cheese or quince jam; “marmelo” = “quince”), but nowadays in English it refers mainly to jams made from citrus fruits, especially oranges.

In French cuisine, quince paste or Pâte de coing is part of the Provence Christmas traditions and part of the thirteen desserts which are the traditional dessert foods used in celebrating Christmas in the French region of Provence. Quince cheese, an old New England specialty of the 18th century, required all-day boiling to achieve a solidified state, similar to the French cotignac.

In continental Croatia, quince cheese is an often prepared sweet and it is named kitnkes, derived from the German Quittenkäse.

In Pakistan, quinces are stewed together with sugar until they turn bright red. The resulting stewed quince, called Muraba, is then preserved in jars. In Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, the membrillo, as the quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish jello-like blockor firm reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo.

Recipes:

Quince with whipped cream serves for 4

2 medium quince
⅔ c superfine (baker’s) sugar
⅔ c water
1 clove
1½ T lemon juice
1 apple

Preheat oven to 250˚F (120˚C).

Peel and halve the quince. Using a melon peeler and a paring knife, carefully core the quince halves. They are incredibly hard, so be careful when using the knife to remove any stray bits of stem. Reserve the peel and trimmings. Combine sugar, water, 1 clove and lemon juice in a shallow baking dish, such as a casserole (preferably one with a lid). Stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the reserved trimmings and the quince halves, cut side down. Peel the apple. Using the largest wholes on a box grater, coarsely grate the apple over the quince halves. This will prevent the quince from drying out while baking.

Cover and bake for 5 to 7 hours until over 160 degrees the fruit softens and turns pink or, if you’re lucky like I was, crimson. According to Paula Wolfert, who is an expert of how to cook quince, not all varieties of quince turn quite so red. She recommends serving the quince halves with clotted cream and toasted almonds. Although I tried it both I preferred my quinces with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Either way, strain and then spoon the sweet cooking juices over the fruit.

By the way leftover juices make a great spritzer mixed with water or, even better, a great version of a Bellini or Kir Royale mixed with Prosecco or Champagne!

Quince tart Tatin

  • 4 quinces (about 2 pounds total), trimmed
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Bring quinces, 1/2 cup sugar, and the water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently until quinces are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer quinces to a plate to cool, reserve cooking liquid. Return coarsely chopped quinces to pot (including seeds, cores, skin). Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in remaining 5 cups sugar and the lemon juice. Cook with constantly stirring it until preserves are thick, orange, and register 220 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 25 minutes. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Let it cool.

Quince balls

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 quince, peeled, cored, and seeded

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan bring sugar, star anise, cinnamon, and 4 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, using a 1/2-inch melon peeler scoop out 12 balls of quince.
  3. Add quince to liquid and reduce to a simmer. Cook until quince is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely in liquid. Store quince in poaching liquid in an airtight container, refrigerated, until ready to use.

My name is Bond, James Bond

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For Bond fans, it has been easy to identify the man who gave 007 his name, but damnably difficult to decide who, if anyone, Fleming based his character on

On the search for the real James Bond

James Bond is dead. Or let’s put it another way, the famous ornithologist called James Bond, whose seminal book Birds of the West Indies Ian Fleming was reading when he was desperately searching for a name for his fictional secret agent, is dead. He died in 1989, having given his name to the twentieth century’s most famous fictional character and received, in return, a signed copy of You only live twice from Fleming. Fleming liked the name immediately saying later ”I was determined my secret agent should be as anonymous as possible. This name brief unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed”. For Bond fans, it has been easy to identify the man who gave 007 his name, but damnably difficult to decide who, if anyone, Fleming based his character on. The contenders include Ian himself, his brother Peter, their father Valentine, an obscure British diplomat called James Boone, and a trio of spies (Tory MP Sir Fitzroy, Maclean, Patrick Dalzel-Job and even a Yugoslav double agent called Dusko Popov). The Boone rumour is easiest to dispose of. The source is Miles Copeland, the ex-CIA agent best known as the manager of 80-s rock group The Police. In his 1974 book Without Cloak Or Dagger, he says „British intelligence officers who knew Fleming entertain the theory that he built his Bond stories around one James Boone, a Foreign Office administrative inspector whose real job was to examine inventories of supplies at British diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa but who pretended to his girfriends it was only cover for more glamorous missions. Copeland alleges that Boone fought and killed a local in Tehran in a row over a girlfriend and the slain man turned out to be a major local villain (although Boone hadn’t realized this when he’d been defending his girlfriend’s honour). There is no mention of Boone in Andrew Lycett’s thorough bioghraphy of Ian Fleming written with the family’s help, and as only Copeland has even mentioned this scenario, it’s probably just cracking story.

How about the Flemings themselves? In truth you can see all of them in Bond. Valentine, who died in WWI. When Ian was 8, remained the dashing young hero in his son’s imagination. As a child, Ian was told to pray each day to be as good as his father-something he never managed. And when Ian was writing the first Bond novel Casino Royal, he was in the midst of personal crisis of his own, dissatisfied with marriage and middle age. He may even have envied his father his ultimely death. Writing spy novels was a distraction from his depression and he created a character as charismatic and as courageous as his father-but less scrupulous. Ian’s elder brother Peter was an excellent travel writer and historian who overshadowed Ian at Eton. He wrote a string of travel books (the best probably being the Brazilian Adventure) having as many globetrotting adventures as 007. His prose style almost reads as if it’s been written by a slightly more sophisticated (and morally more upright) Bond. Ian himself is an extremely obvious model of Bond. The list of things Fleming and Bond have in common is pretty long: losing parents as a child, having a Scottish father, a career in naval intelligence (including promotion to the rank of commander) a love for cars and the same predatory approach to the opposite sex. Where they differed-and this is why the search for the real Bond continues-is that most of Fleming’s work for British intelligence took place behind a desk. Hence the quest to find the agents with Bond’s hands on experience. The most favoured candidates are Maclean, Dalzel Job and Dusko Popov. Fleming did run Popov as an agent in WWII. The Yugoslav’s codename was Tricycle which allegedly referred to his sexual preferences. Popov warned the US of major Japanese attack days before Pearl Harbor, but is chiefly famous for spending 80,000 dollars in fourteen months (1 million at today’s prices) while on a counter-espionage operation in New York. Dalzel-Job was another of Fleming’s agents (he wrote an acclaimed account of his spy service called From Arctic Snow to Dust of Normandy) who like Bond worked in naval intelligence and had a gift for languages. Fitzroy Maclean was a friend of Fleming before the war, and their professional paths crossed during it. Some of Maclean’s stunts while in the SAS (such as parachuting into Yugoslavia to help Tito fight the Nazis) have the derring-do one would expect of 007, and Maclean’s autobiographical account of his adventures, Eastern Approaches has the panache of a Bond novel. A possible clue may lie in Fleming’s attitude to chasing of his hero for the movies. He initialy wasn’t keen on Sean Connery, feeling, a tad ironically given Fleming’s own roots, that he was too Scottish. He wanted someone more quintessentially English-his suggestion were David Niven, Cary Grant and the young Roger Moore. All, you could argue, incredibly idealized and glamorized versions of how Fleming saw himself after a few too many coctails.

About the Author

The rough guide to James Bond, was written by Paul Simpson. I have just bough his book which was published in 2002. He devoted his book to James Bond, the most famous fictional character of the 20th century. The secret agent whose identity is the world’s worst kept secret and who is still the movie hero. He put all the movie Bonds under the microscope; the books-all the novels, spin-off books, Bond’s rivals and Ian Fleming, the man behind 007; the lifestyle – the girls, Q’s finest inventions, the cars, the cocktails; the vintage champagnes, the locations; and the trivia.

Paul Simpson has edited various magazines, launched the adult football magazine Four Four Two, written books on football trivia, the European newspaper industry, and a biography of Paul Gascoigne and has worked for the FT, Q, and The Times. He is the editor of the Rough Guides to Shopping Online and Cult Movies and author of the forthcoming Rough Guides to Elvis and Cult TV.

Diner en blanc-white dinner in Paris

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The Diner en Blanc is regarded as an exclusive upper-class event with no commercial or political backgrounds. The number of participants, however, is now in the thousands.

As today Dîner en blanc is known, based on private initiative, through networks of friends and family picnics organized mass of people dressed in white in prominent urban locations. The starting point of the phenomenon was Paris. Meanwhile there are similar events held today in several other cities, including in Montreal, in Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Darmstadt, Zurich, Cologne and Hanover.

As source of the event is called the summer 1988, when a certain Francois Pasquier moved spontaneously his overcrowded private garden party in the nearby Bois de Boulogne . It was a great hit. As a result, he arranged every June at a joint, not registered to the police so the picnic is held secretly in a public place in Paris. Mandatory for all participants is to wear completely white clothes from head to toe. Everybody has to bring their own tables and chairs then they are assembled into long panels with all participants and it is also obligatory to bring a three-course menu and cold drinks. Served as venues including the Place de la Concorde, the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot and the courtyard of the Louvre. The 20 thst Anniversary of the event was held in the avenues of the “Champs-Élysées”. This year in June 17 it took place at Notre Dame.

More recently the idea spread in the German speaking countries. On 29 May 2010 was the first example, Diner en Blanc in Berlin on Bebelplatz with about 400 participants and on 1st of July 2010 gathered about 500 guests all in white in the Munich Hofgarten. However in Hanover the dinner in white has been held since 2008, usually changing constantly in places that are kept secret until the last. Usually remain hidden from the organizers, because events of this magnitude usually not without conditions (toilets, fees, garbage collection, etc.) may be performed. The idea has since spread into a worldwide, picked up by the son of the founder, Aymeric Pasquier, in Montreal. This will attempt to build a network effect in which all the cities together.

The original Diner en Blanc is without any commercialism. By event organizers, champagne producers and other companies now in some professional events and catering are offered admission. So far this form has been rejected by the founders of the Diner en Blanc.

The  flash mob phenomenon is a bit similar to the diner en blanc phenomenon. Flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. The term, coined in 2003, is generally not applied to events and performances organized for the purposes of politics (such as protests), commercial advertisement, publicity stunts that involve public relation firms, or paid professionals.

Chance for an encounter with Pope Benedict XVIth

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In 2005 the 20th Catholic World Youth Festival (in German: XX. Weltjugendtag) was held in Cologne, Germany (from August 16 to August 21). This was the first participation in the world youth meeting of Pope Benedict XVIth (and me). From Aug 16 to 19th 200 countries, 400,000 young people participated in the programs, schools, universities, church groups, religious organizations and representatives but during the weekend the number had trippled, in 21 of August, 1,200,000 faithful were attended to the Pope’s mass.

At the wrong place at the wrong time

Since I don’t really follow the events of church life’s, it is no wonder that the 20st Catholic World Youth Festival escaped my attention. At that time my husband worked in Munich, and we saw each other far and few between. On the 18th of August was my husband’s turn to come home, and we were ignorant enough toward the outside world so it could happen on that way that we agreed to meet in Cologne. I thought it would also be a good opportunity for a shopping spree. I like Cologne very much, we had often been there with my daughters as it is only two and a half-hours away from Brussels. In the hope of doing some shopping again my younger daughter accompanied me. After a smooth and seamless trip we arrived in Cologne at half past ten, and had easily found a parking place not far from the city. With the joy of seeing my husband soon we started walking towards the cathedral, but a short time later, we were stopped by the unusual sight of crowds and lots of policemen. When we made some inquiry we had learned that the city was considered to the 20th Catholic World Youth Summit! It is fine we thought, it definitely means a good event with fancy fair and the evening Mass, on which we can not participate, and so naively we went on and headed to the shopping street. But after a few steps we had to adapt to the surging crowd. The whole maze reminded us as if we were in a rock concert, young people were hoping mad and singing, the only difference was the audience: priests, monks and nuns in their uniforms from different denominations. I think because they had already been excited enough of the thought that they would meet the Pope personally. Later walking in the street became more and more difficult and finally we found ourselves among some Brazilian chatolics. It also meant that we had been trapped because there was no way out. We couldn’t go neither forward nor backward. What a bad luck I thought and I started to worry how could we manage to meet my husband at the subway station at 12 o’clock?

My daughter suggested: “Mom we need to get out of here somehow, otherwise we would avoid to meet father” – And then something happened a woman who was standing next to us turned into green and silently fainted. My teenage girl who had participated in some pop, rock concerts had already experienced similar situations so she acted routinely and shouted lustily in German: “Somebody help! There is a woman on the pavement”. Instead of God, a policeman showed up, and we were released behind on the heels of paramedics they cleared the way immediately. Meanwhile the victim was exported on a stretcher in the ambulance care we could also escape from the crowd.

So where to go now? We asked each others helplessly, after we recovered from the not nice experience. – “Look for a safe place and wait there for father, proposed my daughter. It was a wise advice, and we acted according to that. Meanwhile we were waiting for him we killed the time studying the nuns, monks, and their loose behaviors. We saw Spanish nuns, who were clinging to a rope in the fear of not losing each other. Then Italian nuns, who were jumping up and down rhythmically with excitement, in the hope of that soon the Pope will deploy front of them. Later we were crashed into a Hawaiian priest’s chest, a 38-40 year old man, who seemed to be in complet despair, as it turned out later he was swept away from his flock. He came from Waikiki and did not know what to do. I reassured him that Cologne is not a big city to not find his fellows. From then on, he persisted in our side.

Meanwhile my husband was still trapped in the airport. He let us know by SMS that he had already arrived a half an hour ago, but stuck in the airport which would be closed until of the pope’s leaving it and not a soul was allowed to go in or out until he resides there.

At 12.25 a great roar shook the square of the cathedral. We immediately knew that only the appearence of the pope can provoke such an ardour. A few minutes later came another message (not from the pope, but from my husband), that finally the exits had been opened and we did not believe that, but in about 5 minutes later we had found each other. We wanted to rush to the car, but the police formed a cordon and did not allow anyone to change its place until the pope walked around the square in his bulletproof capsule (the pope mobil). The mass hysteria outbroke, a few nuns wept, Negro groups sang gospel “I will follow him wherever He may go” … and then suddenly there was a great silence because the pope’s mobil appeared in the curves. Yes, it was him, Papa Razzi as he was called jokingly by the German press. Meanwhile the pope approached us very slowly I recalled the memory of my religious grandparents, my grandmother, who always dreamed of that one day she could pilgrimage to Rome in order to see the Pope but instead she got a rosary from us from Rome. Then the distance between us and the pope became less and less. Only 200 meters left then 100, then the holy man stood before us in life-sized and we could look through his capsule. His hair was as white as snow, his ivory white festive dress matched to it and a giant gold cross was hanging around his neck. He looked astonishing. And the air around him flowed endless peace and harmony, joy, spiritual peace and contentment. And then miracle happened, he glanced at us with a kind, loving smile, raised his hand and blessed us! After 10 minutes we were released by the police and could reach our car.

In one thing I am certain,  this year I’m not going to meet anyone in Madrid, specially not in the mids of August !

Some datas

History of the World Youth Day dates back to 1986. At the initiative of Pope John Paul the II was the first meeting in Rome. Since then, every three years two meetings will be held. In Cologne in 2005, 1.200 000 young people attended the closing Mass and 7,000 journalists. It was also known that as Joseph Alois Ratzinger now Pope Benedict’s XVI was his first public appearance in the Catholic world. In 2008, the meeting was in Toronto this year will be held in Madrid.

The Pope’s 2005 apostolic journey in Germany

In January of 2005 Pope John Paul II died, in April  the new pope was inaugurated, the German-born Ratzinger, chose the name Benedict XVI th (this name was chosen because St. Benedict was Europe’s patron saint. Another argument is that  he wants to continue Pope Benedict XV’s footsteps in his peace project. Benedict XVI th is the eight German pope in history. The last German pope was pope Adrian VI nearly 500 years ago.

Dying for the era of Diana

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To the memory of Lady Diana Spencer who would be 50 on 1st of July

The obsession with celebrity that led to her death also defined the era she lived in

SHE DIED FOR A BLURRY PICTURE, a pointless snap from a speeding motorcycle that might have appeared on an inside spread of Hello! or Paris Match or some other glossy of no consequence.

It is unfair to the real Diana Spencer, by all accounts a nice person who used her fame well, that her death so symbolizes the emptiness of celebrity worship, the false faith of the end of the 20th century. Dodging tabloid photographers, she was doing her bit not just to preserve some privacy but to hold back forces that she helped unleash-forces of media intrusion that will now be subjected to an unprecedented backlash. In a twisted way, she died in the line of duty, not to country but to the age she came to represent. Historians are likely to judge that Diana’s reign she did owed its brilliance to the tranquility of the times. With no global wars or cataclysm no Hitler or Churchill to dominate the public realm, we could turn our full attention to diversion of gossip and fantasy. We now routinely view image and spectacle as large with meaning with old-fashioned substance suddenly the boring trifle. The irony is that with the end of her short life. Di may well achieve a political goal more substantial than of all but a few politicians. The shock of her death is being likened to the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Clearly the analogy seems overdrawn their forever young influences on popular culture notwithstanding. Diana wasn’t president and her death leaves no creative vacuum like that on Elvis Presley or John Lennon. But just as Kennedy memorial was the civil rights act Diana s could be ratification of a treaty banning land mines, not just in Britain but in the USA where skeptical senators may now have to contend with a new public groundswell. This could yet yield for her reputation as a first-rank humanitarian as well as immortal icon of style. If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, Lady Di launched at least a thousand of covers, and hundreds of millions of newspaper and magazine sales. In the 16 years since her marriage she became not only the most famous woman in the world but the only personality who consistently sold big in the global marketplace. While paparazzis are not a new phenomenon Di as prey took the game to a new level. Instead of 3 or 4 photographers trailing a celebrity it could in her case be 30 or 40, each hoping for that six-figure shot. This created a strange and perhaps emblematic protocol of coverage: the president of France can stroll down the Champs-Elysées undisturbed: a divorced ex-royal couldn’t leave a restaurant without a high speed chase. Di came to understand that the tabloids were simultaneously the bane of her existence and the source of her strength. In the recent years she not only developed working relationships with tabloid editors but learned to exploit publicity for her cause, be it skewering Charles or raising money for charity. One reason for her popularity was that the public essentially shared her spurgle-and purgle attitude toward celebrity news. Readers buy it and bemoan it without fully confronting the contradictions. They want to inspect the clay feet of their heros-then cry for the head of the sculptor. Will this global hypocrisy market still work as it always has? In the short run, only a foolish publication would pay for gory pictures of the accident. To do so would risk a boycott. The more difficult question is whether Diana s death might change the tabloid culture permanently. In recent years with global news proliferating photographers have gone from being a minor annoyance that came with the territory of fame to being a major source of anxiety for public figures. As their private loathing of the press boils over publicly, it will likely find a ready audience among millions already fed up with the news media-any new medium. The distinction between tabloids and so-called respectable news org will be difficult to uphold in the recriminations that lie ahead, and for good reason. If there had been no accident and the motorcycle paparazzi in the Paris tunnel had obtained a good shoot of Di and Dodi kissing, most of the world s newspapers would have checked over the price paid for first rights to the shot-then published it themselves.

Ultimately nothing much can change because media coverage is the oxygen of modern public life. Watch as celebrityhood is transmogrified into secular sainthood, courtesy of a publicity machine that will turn even its own remorse into just another story. Perhaps that’s appropriate, for it is the mighty communications culture that made Diana and shapes the world she left. The princess will never be queen, but maybe the titles don’t mean much. The England in which she lived will never be remembered as Elizabethan. It will be The Di Era.

 So sad she had to die for it.

after by J. Altar

The Mexican great-grandchild of Béla Kun or whom I am working with

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In this spring, a new student arrived to our department. When I met the black, curly-haired, very handsome guy, alias Luis Khun, who came from Mexico, I jokingly made a remark, – accidentally aren’t you Hungarian?- for my great surprise his answer was -Yes, I am- what is more he also knew about the fact that he was a great-grandchild of a dubious man Béla Kun. Well, Béla Kun was a dubious man? –I repeated his saying because it was clear that Béla Kun had been targeted.  About the name a compulsory reading book rang a bell immediately, the book of Dezső Kosztolányi: Anna Sweet, where the writer described quite negatively the escaping of the Hungarian ex-communist leader of Béla Kun:

 “Béla Kun fled the country in an aeroplane. In the afternoon – about five o’clock – he passed the so called Russian house, then took off an Aeroplan, flew across the Danube river from the castle, and daringly turned toward Vérmező-(Bloody field it is the name of a square in Budapest where famous people were executed). The plane was conducted by the  commissar himself. It flew barely twenty meters height, so that his face had been seen. It was pale and unshaven as usual. Beneath he grinned of the citizens, with a  mischievous face, even waved mockingly goodbye for the citizens. His pockets were stuffed with the Hungarian layer cake the Gerbaud and moreover with jewelry, gems, church chalices, among other treasures those he got as a charity from barons, gracious, benevolent ladies. His arms were loaded with thick gold chain bracelets.  When he swung aloft with the Aeroplan he disappeared from the sky as he had been dropped some gold bracelet right in the middle of the Vérmező sqaure.  There was an old citizen between the Krisztina district and  in the Trinity Square, called something Patz – Patz Charles Joseph – he found. At least it was the rumour in the neighbourhood of Kristina district “

The second time when I met Luis, took place in our favorite Chinese restaurant in the outskirts of Munich, called Yuan, and as the Mexicans are very open to other nations culture, (probably that was the reason why he came with us to the Chinese restaurant), so was Luis, when he entered the restaurant he immediately pierced me and sat next to me. Word followed word and while we were waiting for the drinks, he shared some detailes of his life. I learned that he had attended the University first in Saarbrücken, and then he applied for a PHD position in our department of microbiology of the University of Munich LMU. -Mexican and Jewish bloods are running in my veins, “-continued Luis the story of his life after we finished a big bowl of  Chinese soup and ate some sushi. -My parents are divorced. I was raised by my mother. Later on I diverted the conversation to Mexico. What can I say about Mexico?- began Luis after the third main dish, -(at Yuan’s the kitchen is so good we can not stop eating after one main course) Mexico city lies in two thousand meters above the sea level, located in a valley where the air is so rare that man are choking due to the oxygen deficiency. Owing to the smog which is produced by twenty million people in Mexico city no one is able to tan. Of course, the vicinity of Popokatepetl volcano provides more smog as well.

We were already about consuming the dessert, (a lot of ice cream, fried bananas and honey) when Luis told me that he spent his childhood in a Jewish colony of Mexico city, where people lived happily together with other smaller ethnic groups. His grandfather, whom he revealed it later was related, was the cousin of Bela Kun. He lives there and runs a coffee shop.  I still had a few more questions to ask, but unfortunately we had to go back to the college, so I hailed the waiter to get the bill. The Chinese restaurant owner showed up soon, holding two small cups of plum wine, with the gift of the house. And I don’t know what happened to me, might be the Chineses put some potion into the wine but I couldn’t resist to crack a  joke about  Bela Kun, which is usually fired when we make a toast, but I asked Luis appology in advance, saying that I do not want to offend him, and I agree with that that the great-grandchildren are not responsible for the sins of the grandfathers, unless trying to excuse them, so here’s the joke: “Cheers!” I said in English, then I asked whether he knows  the respond to this by Béla Kun. Of course he did not know, “Well go into the body! – (means join to the governing body ) hahaha and Luis laughed at the punch line which was well spoken in English.

Our  third meeting was not a coincident because I did not trust to the chance, but I went ahead and invited Luis to a dinner. The party which I threw from my apartment turned out very well, because nice company energizes me very much. Around late night after midnight most of the guests had already departed, except Luis, perhaps because in Mexico they start for dinner later, or just he felt good, (I hope so), so we remained threesome, my husband, Luis and I, and of course, in the company of a nice dessert wine from Hungary, we returned to our roots again. We were just curious about the fact that how did the ancestors of Luis’s escape to Mexico. But he couldn’t track anything back at all what he had known was that his father was the offspring of Kun Bela’s ancestors.

But we started to google together and revealed the next: In the twenties, there were two large waves of emigration in 1921 and 1924, when in the United States adopted two laws on immigration, which tightened the Eastern Europeans to settle. The emigrants, who often did not have a permanent residence permit, it is related to the ethnic Hungarian migrants also, had to leave USA and  fled to Mexico, Latin America or other countries. Probably the descendants of Bela Kun immigrated at the same way to Mexico.

So, do you want to visit Hungary one day? –I asked from Luis when he was about leaving.  Certainly-answered he because on the one hand the roots!- added he with a great smile –but on the other hand my grandfather asked me to look around in Hungary well, because he would like to open a restaurant in Budapest. He thinks that the Hungarians live fantastically well!-Hm. it was already too late to analyze the economic situation of Hungary. However, based on Luis who said just a half an hour ago, it seemed to me that the Hungarians who are living in Mexico might be richer, because in Mexico most of the Hungarians are living in the middle class. But a small number of Hungarians, in Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia live within the elite, they are highly trained doctors, engineers. In Brazil, Argentina, are living in the less educated Hungarians, the peasants. They are more likely had wandered through many countries before they decided what country they could establish.

PS: I recently read on the internet that there is a Spanish-language home page for Hungarians who live in Spanish spoken countries, and there they can inquire about relatives living abroad. Everyone is able to search his or her own families.

 

Sea Peoples -“Are we related?”

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Introduction

 A non-expert theory by István Nagy

A few years ago I visited the British Museum and I came across the name of Sea Peoples. As there were most of the tribe names similar to modern Hungarian geographical, tribe or family names I got interested. Browsing the internet, Wikipedia and reading couple of books about them I felt that most of the trials to find an origin of them weren’t kosher. However on Wiki I found under the” Sea Peoples – Invader hypothesis” the following sentences:

Invader hypothesis

The term invasion is used generally in the literature concerning the period to mean the documented attacks implying a local or unspecified origin. An origin outside the Aegean also has been proposed, as in this example by Michael Grant: “There was a gigantic series of migratory waves, extending all the way from the Danube valley to the plains of China.

Such a comprehensive movement is associated with more than one people or culture; instead, a “disturbance” happens, according to Finley:

A large-scale movement of people is indicated … the original centre of disturbance was in the Carpatho-Danubian region of Europe. … It appears … to have been … pushing in different directions at different times.”

So, I started to put things together on a comprehensive way and I ended up with the thoughts below. Instead of an introduction on the historical background I copied here the photo I took in BM on Sea Peoples description, and I refer the reader to Wikipedia – Sea Peoples.

  1. It is pretty much overlooked by many historians that Rameses III donated the title to himself “ruler of the Nine bows” after defeating the Sea Peoples. The explanation for this might be the following: it is known that, Oguz or Ogur nations divide their tribes by arrows (the word oguz comes from ok (arrow) with z as suffix). The Bulgarian Turkic word ogur developed from oguz. It is important to note that the word Onogur (the name of one of the ancestor nations of modern Hungarians) means ten tribe (ten arrows), while the tribe name Kutrigur means Nine arrows.

     2.   Modified table after David Rohl: The lords of Avaris (2007, Century) to compare the tribe names of the Sea  Peoples found in ancient descriptions to modern names and Hungarian geographical, tribe and family names

Egyptian Ancient Greek Hittite Modern Name Hungarian
Peleset Pelastoi   Philistines PalócPalástiJász
SekeleshShakalasha Sikeloi   Cilicians Sicilians Székely/Székely
Taruisha Tursenoi Taruisha   Thurzó
Shardana Sardanoi   Lydians from Sardis, Later Sardinians Sárd(i)KülsősárdBelsősárdKun,Kumán?
Weshesh, Wasesha Ashiyoi Ashuwa Asians VasVasas
Khara Karioi Karkisha Carians KerkaKerkáskápolnaKarka
Lukka Likkioi Lukka Lycians Luka(fa)
Denyen, Danuna Danaoi   Danaans DunaDinya
Tjekker Teukeroi   Teukrians Teker(es)
Ekwesh Akawasha Akhaiwoi Akhiyawa Acheans IkvaEkevas?
Dardany Dardanoi   Dardanians Dárda(i)

In Hungarian “s” is equivalent with English “sh”.

The Hungarian names listed in the table either reflect tribe names, family names or geographical names. Interestingly the geographical names are concentrated in a relatively small territory of West Hungary. These names can be derived from river names like Danube (Duna) Kerka, Ikva, Tekeres and Rába and the mountain Vas (after which the county is named). For Lukka and Shardana I found only village names like Lukafa and Külső- and Belsősárd (Outer-  and  Innersard) on the banks of river Kerka close to Lenti. The “fa” in Lukafa means tree or village an extent for many other villages of the region. The extension –as,  -es,- os at the end of noun transforms a word to adjective, like in English for instance mud and muddy (in Hungarian sár and sáros), while a “d” at the end of a noun is a locativus expressing that it is somebody’s territory.  It is also well known that nomadic nations or tribes of the steppe are also distinguished by river names, where they live. The most well known example is the Kozaks of the Don. It is tempting to speculate that Wheshes were named after the mountain Vas, the Karkisha after the river Kerka, the Ekwesh after the river Ikva, the Tjekker after the river Tekeres, the Danuna after the Duna (Danube) and the Labu (Rebu) after the river Rába (I refer the reader to the slide show inserted below).

Seapeoples map

I do not want to write too much about the Sekelesh (Székelys) as there is a pretty exhaustive chapter about them in Wikipedia. It is an anthropological/historical fact that they lived on the territory of Moson-Danube until the Hungarian king let them move to their recent location in Transylvania. Besides, there is a saga that Székely’s lived in nowadays Őrség (in close vicinity of river Kerka).

The Peleset (Philistei) are the most well known tribe of the Sea Peoples. The Hungarian equivalent of this tribe might be the Palóc. Here I cite from the book” Bridges on the Danube” by László Rásonyi to give some introduction to the origin of this name: “In the year of 1399 Pope Bonifac IV mentions “Cumani, Philistei, Tartari” and still in 1428 Michael de Katha is called as “universorum Cumanorum, Philisteorum necnon Tartarorum regalium judex” in context of tribes had moved to the Big Hungarian plain. From these texts now we are interested only in Philistei.  The name Philistei is the archaic name of nomadic tribes of alan/osset (Iranian) nations (in modern Hungarian they are called Jász). A small group of them moved together with the Cumani (Turkish type nomads) to the North part of the Hungarian plain maybe in the beginning of the 13th century.  Nowadays there is a group of people called Palóc in the vicinity of this region. The two names Palóc and Polovec should not be mixed. Polovec is the Russian name of the Cumani which comes from the Turkic name of this tribe (ku: pale, yellowish).  Interestingly another Turkic/Hungarian name for these people is “sári” (pale, yellowish) which might lead to the tribe sar(d) like nowadays Sari Uygurs “Yellow Yughurs” of Western China are distinguished from the rest of the Uygurs. There is vague information about the presence of Cumani on the Apennini peninsula in the time of Etruscans whom they helped in time of troubles. If we accept that Shar(den)s and Cumani are the names of the same nation than it is very likely that Cumani (sharden) were living on the island Sardinia. The connection between the Etruscans and Cumani can be enforced if we accept that the Etruscan city name Tarquinii equals the Turkish/Hungarian name Tárkány (meaning black smith). Other city names of the Bronze Age Mediterranean that might reflect Turkic/Ossetic inhabitants are Iassos (Jász- Philistei), Cumanea (Kuman, Sarden), Avaris (Avars). The personal name Akish (the name of the Philistine Lord of Gath) is very similar to the Hungarian name Akus (and still used nowadays as Ákos) can also be derived from Turkic Akish meaning invader. The other maybe authentic Philistine’s name is Padi. This can be compared to the Persian Padishah, Padshah, Padeshah, Badishah or Badshah (Persian پادشاه Pādeshāh) which is a superlative royal title, composed of the Persian pād “master” and the widespread shāh “king” (Wikipedia).

There are not too many words known that can be related to Sea Peoples therefore it is crucial to find meanings to them. The Sea peoples called their land troops as “teher” soldier. In Hungarian/Iranian word “teher” means load, which might indicate the logistic nature of the land troops. The world Karka is an ancient personal Hungarian name and it can be derived from Turkic language, meaning Corvus. Another explanation for Karkisha can be as follows: “They /the Hungarians/ have for their first chief the prince who comes by succession of Árpád’s family, and two others, the gylas and the karchas, who have the rank of judge; and each clan has a prince. The karchas Boultzous is the son of the karchas Kalis, and Kalis is a proper name, but karchas is a dignity, like gylas, which is superior to karchas. —Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De administrando imperio.”

Wheshesh (Vasas).  In Hungarian  ”vasas” means iron works or iron worker originating from the noun “vas” (iron). The Bible describes that the Philistines had monopoly in iron manufacturing therefore it might be an important point to notice. These people had known iron manufacturing and this might have been the secret of their military success over the Middle-East countries.

I believe it is important to mention that the Sea Peoples had a good relation to the Phoenicians. One of the outcomes of this relation might be the overtaking of the Phoenician alphabet which was adapted to their own language(s). “The Old Hungarian script (in Hungarian known as rovásírás, or székely rovásírás, székely-magyar rovás; for short also simply rovás “notch, score”) is an alphabetic writing system used by the Hungarians in the Middle -Ages. Because it is reminiscent of the runic alphabet, the Old Hungarian script has also popularly been called “Hungarian runes” or “Hungarian runic script”. The script is thought to be derived from the Old Turkic script, and probably first appeared during the 7th century. The Hungarian Runic script is not directly related to Germanic Runes: the only tie between them is that both derive from the Phoenician alphabet (if Old Turkic indeed does).  The Hungarians settled the Pannonian plain in 895. When the Kingdom of Hungary was established in AD 1000 and Christianity was adopted, the Latin alphabet was adopted and the script fell into disuse. In remote regions of Transylvania, however, the script remained in marginal use by the Székely Magyars at least into the 17th century, giving it the name “székely rovásírás”.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Hungarian_script)

There is an old legend in Göcsej (a territory on the East bank of Kerka river) that the ancestors of the recent inhabitants were the Palóc, who inhabited the area already before the invasion of the Huns.  They greeted Attila as their relative and asked him to help them out to fight their restless neighbors. Interestingly, on the Western bank of Kerka lies Hetés, which word resembles to Hattusas the Hettita capitol. In the book “The Lords of Avaris” by David Rohl on page 406 there is a photograph on the chieftains of defeated Sea Peoples in a row: a Hettite, an Amorite, a Tjekker, a Shardana, a Sekelesh and a Teresh – supporting the connection of the Hungarian geological names and the Sea Peoples. Another photo from this book on page 448 shows a warrior among the Shardana with a clear Mongoloid face (in an unusual hat). These two observations reminds me to later large scale destruction of the” civilized world” by Attila the Hun, and Genghis khan, who were also masters of the steppe, and forced their captured enemies to fight for them (just like the “civilized world” forced the captured Barbarians) .

3. To summarize my thoughts:

  1. In this short review I tried to correlate the origin of Sea Peoples with Turkic, Ugric and Iranian tribes. I correlated the tribe names, personal names and sparse words used by the Sea Peoples to geographic names, personal names, tribe names and words of recent Hungary and Transylvania.  My linguistic and historical knowledge is limited but I think this theory makes at least as much sense (even if not more) than others.

    2.    I suggest taking into serious consideration that the Sea Peoples were a confederation of tribes living on  the  Eurasian steppe (including the Carpathian basin) like centuries later confederations ruled by Attila the Hun, or the Avar, Bulgarian, Magyar, Cuman, Mongol etc. confederations which included Turkic, Ugric, Slavic, Germanic, Iranian, etc. elements.

 Whether if they were originating from the Carpathian Basin, or they were settling there after their lost battles (or both) if at all, remains elusive.

Hungarian scone “pogacsa” recipe

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Hungarian scone “pogácsa” recipe

The pogácsa is a type of savory scone-patty in Hungarian cuisine. The Hungarian word derives ultimately from the Latin panis focacius, i.e. bread (panis) baked on the hearth or fireplace (focus), via the Italian  focaccia and, more directly, south Slavic languages (Serbo-Croatian pogača). The word, and to a greater or lesser degree the food itself, is related as well to the Turkish poğaça, the Greek μπουγάτσα, and the French fougasse. Pogácsa is also a typical product of other cuisines in the Pannonian Basin. It is known by similar names by the people of these regions like the Austrian German pogatschen, borrowed from the Hungarian.

Pogácsa, in Hungary are made from either short dough or yeast dough. As with scones and biscuits, eggs and butter are common ingredients, as is milk, cream or sour cream. Many traditional versions exist, with size, shape–the most common is round– typically 3 to 10 cm in diameter- and flavor variations in each region/city of Hungary. A dozen different ingredients can be found either in the dough, sprinkled on top before baking, or both: medium-firm fresh cheeses, aged dry hard cheese(s), pork crackling, cabbage, black pepper, hot or sweet paprika, garlic, red onion, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or poppy seeds. They are traditionally eaten as a snack or with soup specially the bigger ones, with a stew such as goulash or bean soup.

The imagery of a young boy or young man off to see the world with fresh “pogácsa baked on cinder” in his knapsack is a common scene in many Hungarian fables and folk stories.

The recipe:

Ingredients: 2 cups or 500 grams all-purpose flour, 1 pinch of sugar, 20 grams of yeast, 100 ml milk, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 8 tablespoons or 300 grams butter, 1/2 cup or 200 ml cream, 2 large eggs, 200 grams cheese such as Emmentaler, Maasdam

Directions

  1. Add yeast into the lukewarm milk. Don’t forget to add 1 teaspoon of sugar! Wait until yeast is raised.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, raised yeast-milk, baking soda and salt. Add butter or margarine into flour mixture, and using clean hands, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal (mixture should resemble coarse meal).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk cream and egg until smooth. Add egg and cream into flour, and mix until dough holds together.
  4. Grate cheese and add to dough.
  5. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together).
  6. Cover and let it grow for about 2 hours. Then roll the dough with a rolling pin.
  7. the dough
  8. Preheat oven to 400 F or 220 degrees. Form dough into round balls with the pastry cutter.
  9. Place scones on a lightly buttered and floured surface or nonstick cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper). Make a crosshatch design by pressing the back of fork tines on top of each scone. Scones should be spaced about 1-inch apart. Smear scones with egg white or oil.
  10. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes, or until scones are pale golden. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
  11. The pogacsa is ready

Carnival feast

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Carnival, the  exciting time of the year is coming in two weeks!

Preface: The official beginning of Germany’s carnival season, the so called “Fifth Season” is on November 11th, at 11:11 a.m. The “Council of Eleven” comes together throughout Germany to plan the events for the upcoming carnival festivities. The official hats of the councils’ members this year is the Colorful fool’s caps with little bells. The real deal though won’t happen until March 7-9, 2011; in this year Germany’s costume balls and street parades take place between March 7-9, 2011, so mark your calendars and start planning!

Almost every German city celebrates carnival and organizes a street parade in its city center, but the best and most traditional carnival festivities take place in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Münster, Baden-Würtemberg, Aachen, and Mainz.

The celebrations kick off with “Women’s Carnival” on Thursday before Ash Wednesday. So ladies, this is your day: You can kiss any man you like after cutting off his tie.

The next highlight is Rose Monday: Marching bands, dancers, and floats parade down the streets, throwing confetti, sweets, and toys. The elaborate floats often show caricatured figures mocking politicians and other personalities. Thousands of dressed-up Germans are flocking the streets every year to watch this spectacle.

On Shrove Tuesday, costume balls are held all over Germany, while the quiet Ash Wednesday marks the end of the frenzied fun.

Carnival can not be celebrated without eating donuts (Krapfen in German). The name Krapfen comes from eaten on “schmaltzy Saturday” as “Schmoizana Samsda”, and arose from the custom of that day a large supply of fat noodles and donuts to bake, which had to reach up to Shrove Tuesday – following the motto: “It is funny the Fasenacht if the mother Kücheln bacht, but if they do not bacht, I whistle on the Fasenacht.

 So you do not desire to “Fasenacht” passes, we have to put together some recipes for the schmaltzy temptation.