How Far East was That?

2006.Dec.05 Tuesday · 3 comments

in Books & Other Media

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”

– Ambrose Bierce, Writer, Journalist, Editor

“Someone once said that war is God’s way of teaching geography, but today, apparently war or even the threat of war cannot adequately teach geography. More American young people can tell you where an island that the ‘Survivor’ TV series came from is located than can identify Afghanistan or Iraq. Ironically a TV show seems more real or at least more meaningful interesting or relevant than reality.”

– John Fahey, President, National Geographic Society

Buenos Aires – Norteamericanos regularly get lambasted by folks from other parts of the world on our lack of knowledge, geographical and otherwise, of the rest of the world. I’ve maintained for many years that this is not a uniquely “American” issue – it’s something that I’ve encountered from folks the world over. There are numerous areas of study that fall into the same category – I regularly hear about our, my, inadequacies in foreign languages – usually in a diatribe delivered to me by someone in unintelligible, badly accented, and grammatically incorrect English who insists that they, and their fellow countrymen, are, of course, fluent in the idiom. It’s one of the reasons that the editors of Cuisine & Vins, on deciding to have an English section, turned to someone for whom the language is native, myself, rather than having one of their own staffers write the section. Very smart on their part I thought – of course, I’m biased. On the other hand, I’ve read the English sections of other local magazines – and they clearly have too. Back to geography, and the November issue of the magazine – yes, I know it came out awhile ago, but the editor and I didn’t have time to get together, so I just got my copy. And that brings us to an issue dedicated to things Asian… from Japan to Malaysia, to India… and then my section, on Middle Eastern food. Admittedly, the Middle East, at least in part, is in Asia, but it came down to an interesting geographical communication quirk… a request that I focus on the oriente medio… rather than the oriente. So, the piece feels slightly out of place, particularly with its watermarked kanji in the background (though we did add in a paragraph on Barrio Chino and Coreatown). It also has the wrong wine bottle shown for the wine reviewed (I’d originally reviewed two wines, but space limitations eliminated one) – for which the editor has assured me the art director has been decapitated… I do hope he’s kidding…

Cuisine & Vins November 2006


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Almeida December 6, 2006 at 10:39


Congrats on landing the Cuisine & Vins gig! I actually haven’t been reading any of the magazines. Now I have an added excuse to start reading them again. My wife’s family is of Syrian – Lebanese decent so when I met them I was introduced to their food and was very pleasantly surprised. We are going to have to check out Cheff Iusef.

I am going to have to give you an address of a spot on Cordoba that serves bollos, esfighas, etc. Don’t hold me to the spelling of these please. But anyway, me daughters love their burrecas and won’t eat them from anywhere else. It’s a hole in the wall but you often find luxury cars with their blinkers on along Cordoba picking up their orders to take home, which is something that we do once in a while, minus the luxury car.

If I am ever in the area during lunch I will pop in and order a couple of open esfighas and eat at the bar.

dan December 6, 2006 at 11:03

So, we’re meeting up for lunch when?


Frank Almeida December 7, 2006 at 11:23

Hey that´s a great idea! I would love to. I just don´t know when. I was thinking about maybe today but today all of a sudden is shaping out to be an extremely hectic day for me.

Maybe on Tuesday next. Here is my cell: 15-5307-9467
What am I doing giving out my cell in a public forum? I give it out to everyone, I use it for business and I often forward it to other numbers as well.

While I am at it I am going to visit your restaurant web site and place a reservations as well. See you didn´t have to wait too long for that reservation to go through.


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