It’s breakfast time.  I’m writing this entry with a cat (Draculily) on my lap, cup of tea in hand, tissue in the other.  Another plug for flu shots–get yours.  This was the only year I didn’t go for a shot…and the only year I have the flu.

I grew up eating tortillas (remember I grew up in Texas).  This is way I have several tortilla recipes in my recipe book and why if you ask me what my favorite breakfast food is, I’ll have to answer:  egg and potato taquitos.  Here are some photos of tortillas in process.  I like to leave them in the pan a little longer until some of the bubbles get burnt.

Photo by priscillakittycat

Photos by priscillakittycat

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Samba Lesson # 4 (Part 1)

Bezerra da Silva is great!  I like his voice and the topics of his songs.  His songs are about social issues, corruption, drug trade and gang violence.  According to Wikipedia Bezerra de Silva was called the Sambandido (samba bandit) and he didn’t like that term.  He was known for recording sambas from unfamed composers who led difficult lives in environments where criminal activities were a way of life.

Samba Lesson # 3 (Part 2)

Zeca Pagodinho is the artist for Lesson 3.  He is from Rio (all the good ones are) and his songs sing about the Carioca lifestyle.  Cariocas are what we call people from Rio.  The word Carioca has its origins in the Tupi language (Tupi Guarani Indians) and means white man’s house.  The name Carioca was given to people in Rio by the Portuguese.

Now back to Zeca Pagodinho.  His songs talk about the maliciousness of Cariocas and their wheeling and dealing ways.  A Carioca outsmarts any other Brazilian and can find his way around the rules.  Cariocas are also carefree and easy going.  Their biggest worry is whether their soccer team is winning or whether the rain will clear up in time for a game of frescoball on the beach.

One important note about Zeca Pagodinho.  He was known to bring his own cooler of beer everywhere he went…I suppose just in case the person or place he was visiting ran out of cold beer.  That’s also a big worry for Cariocas.  If you ever host a Carioca, make sure your beer is ice cold:  “Geladinha”.  By the way, when I say “he was known” it doesn’t mean Zeca Pagodinho is dead.  He’s very much alive.  Heard he quit drinking, though.

I have some stories to tell you about one of my visits to Rio…but let’s save that for later.  We need to catch up on our samba lessons.

Samba Lesson # 3 (part 1)

It has been a while since our last lesson.  You probably thought I gave up on teaching you how to dance the Samba.  I wouldn’t give up on you.  Remembee, I’m teaching you to dance because I love my heritage and want you to appreciate it as much as I do.  I also want you to see that dancing is no difficult.  It comes easier for some people but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn.

My apologies for the delays in posting the last part of Lesson 2 as well as Lessons 3 & 4.  When I recorded Lessons 3 and 4 I mention in one of the videos that my body was feeling a little heavy, maybe because I had just prepared and indulged in a large bowl of vegetable soup–will post this photo and recipe, too.  It turns out my craving for soup had more to do with my body saying: “I need this”.  Our bodies can tell us a lot if we just listen.  The day after I had the soup…and recorded Lessons 3 & 4…I was hit with a fever and a sore throat from hell.  I’ve had the flu for a week, thus the absence of posts.  I’d like to put in a plug for flu shots.  Get your flu shot every year.  This was the first year I didn’t get my shot…and the first year I come down with the flu.

Today my body says, “You need to move”.  As I write this post I’m prepping for our next Lesson….Lesson # 5.  Meanwhile, my mom is in the background saying I need to do something about the aweful cough.  I saw my doctor on Thursday and he said I’ll survive.  Last night I was  high on cough syrup and slept very well.  So the response to mama is:  “It’s time to Samba!”

Samba Lesson # 2 (part 2)

Demonios da Garoa (Demons of the Light Rain) is the oldest real band in existence that is still active.  They’ve been mentioned in the Guiness Book of records.  They formed in 1943 and were extremely popular in the 50s and 60s.  Unlike most of the bands we’ll feature in our lessons, Demonios da Garoa is a band whose music describes the lives of Paulistsas, people from Sao Paulo.  The people described in their songs are the corrupt Portuguese of Sao Paulo and mafiosos of Italian descent.  Sao Paulo has a huge italian population.  My aunt (mom’s sister) married an Italian…whose last name is Ferrari.  When I listen to Demonios da Garoa, I picture a good-looking guy with italian features, hair slicked back,  leaning against a wall, talking to his girl…telling her he can’t stay.