woensdag 16 april 2014

Men Behind The New World Order

Under The New World Order I don't mean masonic conspiraties or any such thing, but the change which happened in the 18th and 19th centuries from Throne and Altar to popular democracies. Those behind the change were overwhelmingly men, some of them supported feminism, others didn't but they all believed in   fraternite, egalite, liberte at least to a certain degree.

Among those men there were some interesting characters which deserve a closer look. Last year I did a Wiki research on the origin of the story of Zorro for a film review and got immersed in a rather bloody history of Latin America that in the beginning of the 19th century was chiefly under the Spanish rule. I found out that the character of Zorro was probably partly based on Manuel Rodriguez (I may write about him when I have time, in the meanwhile you can check the Wikipedia article if you are interested), a school friend of Jose Miguel Carrera, a much more colourful person and a real life example of what they call an "alpha male".

Jose Miguel was born in Chile in 1785 to a prominent family, got educated at the best school of the country and was sent to Spain where he began his military career. He fought against Napoleon and received the command of a regiment. In 1810 he returned to Chile and together with his brothers took part in a coup d'├ętat which made him the sole ruler of Chile at the age of 26.

Carrera was a nationalist which caused a conflict between him and other revolutionaries who were planning to create a Latin American Union (sounds familiar). He improved the life of the common citizens by abolishing slavery, introducing newspapers and public schooling. At this point, Spaniards decided to retake Chile so Jose Miguel went back to war and at first was successful. He also married somewhere around this time. However, his luck temporarily left him and he was surrounded by the enemy troops, but escaped through the river.

He was relieved of his command and it went to a man who became an evil genius of his life, Bernardo O'Higgins. Carrera was taken prisoner by the Spanish, escaped from prison and made another coup. He and his brothers then had to fight the forces of O'Higgins during which time the Spaniards started advancing towards the capital. The rebels had to unite their forces but O'Higgins lost a very important battle and they all had to run for their lives, but Carrera still managed to have another quarell with O'Higgins during which he slapped him, which naturally didn't make O'Higgins love him any more than he already did.

They all landed safely in Argentina, but soon the power there was taken by the globalist friends of O'Higgins and so Jose Miguel had to leave. He went to the USA where he managed to raise enough money for a small fleet but when he returned to Argentina his ships were confiscated and he himself thrown into prison. His wife during his American adventures was living in abject poverty with her two or three children who were all girls.

With the help of an American diplomat, Carrera escaped from prison and went to Brazil where he reunited with his wife who was living there during his imprisonment under the protection of a Brazilian general. His brothers, however, stayed in Argentina, which was not really wise, especially after one of them had killed a close friend of O'Higgins during a duel. With Jose Miguel out of the way, O'Higgins got his chance to revenge and both were executed on the charge of treason.

Jose Miguel learned about their death from his wife and since that moment he becamed obsessed with the desire for revenge. He went back to Argentina, started the war against the government, won it and got enough money and troops from the new government to march on Chile to finally settle his account with O'Higgins who by that time also had managed to assassinate his best school friend Rodriguez.

Carrera's wife at the moment was pregnant with another child. She begged him not to go but he wouldn't listen. The campaign proved disastrous, Jose Miguel was betrayed by one of his captains, taken prisoner by the enemy forces, tried and found guilty of war crimes and made to face a firing squad.

He died a month short of his 36th birthday, never having a chance to see his son who was born after his death. However, Jose Miguel still managed to triumph over his enemies. According to Wikipedia, 
his children all married well, and as of now the upper class of Chile primarily consists of his descendants (there is a positive side to marrying early in life).

Carrera is considered one of the national heroes of Chile and they made a TV film about him which can be watched on YouTube. It was a low budget production so one shouldn't expect any Hollywood scale battle scenes and such but it was quite informative and the actor they chose looks very much like Carrera who was remarkably handsome. The negative point is that the film is in Spanish.

Since Wiki doesn't mention a lot of details, I had to rely on the information in the film, and according to it, Jose Miguel's participation in family life was chiefly restricted to occasionally coming home from another war and knocking up his wife. Despite this, his never being home, and the fact that she had married the sole ruler of Chile but spent most of her married love in poverty and exile, she was madly in love with him and never thought about other men.

One scene in the film especially is telling, when his wife, heavily pregnant, is trying to persuade Jose Miguel not to leave on the campaign which became fatal to him. He very calmly listens to her, then says something along the lines: "if you get a son, call him Jose Miguel," and continues to pack. The film ends with his widow bringing her newborn son to the church to be baptised. According to Wikipedia, they had five children together, but only three were shown in the film.

Carrera was obviously not a feminist, he was against globalism and for the nation-states, and he was a warrior who spent his whole life in the saddle and took part in some forty battles and I find him a sympathetic character, but I still don't understand how could a man of his education and abilities believe in equality and universal brotherhood. 

maandag 14 april 2014

Depression Style Cooking And Other Things

You can learn a lot by reading old magazines. The problems we are confronted with nowadays seem new, but in reality, every generation had to deal with them, more or less. Nowadays people complain about the rising costs of life, forgetting that we still live in the times of plenty compared to our ancestors. I'm always reminded about it while scanning through old ladies'magazines from the end of the 1930s.

They have a lot of useful advice on housekeeping, crafts and cooking, and weekly menues in two variants, for those with more or less money. I used some of them as a source of inspiration while planning my own meals. The difference with modern recipes is that ingredients were simple and inexpensive, while the cooking process was often complicated. Nowadays it's vice versa, the recipes usually require fancy ingredients, while cooking methods are very simple.

For instance, in Libelle n.13 which came out on the 29th of March 1940, there is an article about potatoes which discusses several possibilities of preparing them: potatoes stewed with bacon and onions, potato balls in tomato sauce, potato patties with cheese etc. Another article suggests housewives try several ways of making and serving an omelette.

I have a Granny who was like this, she seldom used cooking books but could make several dishes from mashed potatoes or cabbage. Here, for instance is a great way to serve cabbage differently: cabbage burgers. It's my own recipe, which was inspired by my Granny who just turned 90, by the way:

Chop the cabbage very finely (actually I think you are supposed to rasp it, but I was too lazy to bother), mix it with an egg/eggs, add salt and herbs to taste and enough flour to make a sort of sticky dough, roll in more flour to form small patties and bake on both sides until ready. I served it with homemade bread, baked sausage and tomato sauce (not shown)>

Old ladies'magazines published much more than just recipes, as they contained short stories, romantic novels and information on history and life in different countries. Libelle n. 17 from the same year, for instance, had an article about Dutch princess Wilhelmina and her daughter, who lived in the end of the 18th century.

Wilhelmina:

Though she was of the royal blood, Wilhelmina encountered all the problems modern mothers have. She lived in the times of the nearly complete lack of morals by everyone in society, while trying to raise her children well. Her daughter Louisa had to marry a German prince and her mother wrote several letters to her giving her advice about her future life as a married woman.

It's noteworthy, that according to Wilhelmina the happiness in marriage was the result of fulfilling your wifely duties, not of the romantic feelings. She also advised her daughter to flee temptation and not consider herself stronger than others as everybody can fall into sin if he doesn't take care.

Both hers and her daughter's family had constant financial problems so that they had to scrimp and save, for instance, Wilhelmina sent her daughter expensive tea from Holland but recommended mixing it with a cheap brand.

After her daughter's marriage Wilhelmina's other children left, too, and she became an empty-nester, so while her husband was away on business she entertained herself with reading books, doing crafts and painting. When her eldest son was planning to marry, it was Wilhelmina's task to see to the renovation of his future residence according to the modern standards.

The article (written by Dr Mrs Klijnhout) doesn't say that Wilhelmina was engaged in state business or in political intrigues, she seemed to be quite content being the wife and mother and doing usual feminine stuff, first raising children, then marrying them off and engaging in hobbies and crafts, and trying to practise economy yet she seemed content though she lived in the times of social upheaval. I think she is a good example to the modern women.

zondag 13 april 2014

More On Spring Fashions

Last year I took a solemn decision never to start sewing again, only to break it when I saw this magazine with latest spring fashions on sale:

I had problems with it in the past, but decided to give it another try, as I really liked some of their designs. Not trusting my own skill, I decided to begin with something very easy, like this skirt:

I thought it too long though and made the pattern shorter. I was planning to sew a summer skirt from light fabric, but got this one instead:



Luddite that I am, I did it all by hand and it turned out quite nice, imo. Next time I'll try something more complicated.

Animal Behaviour

That's how he used to look (Frodo under Christmas tree):

That's how he looks now (Frodo in nature):

His fur hasn't grown back fully yet, and there was apparently something in his eye, and yes, he fought again in the meanwhile.

My cat loves avocados. I discovered it yesterday as I was cutting one to make tortillas. He became very agitated and started scratching the cupboard which is a sure sign that he wants something (he ruined lots of books in the bookcase in our bedroom to wake us up so that we can feed him or let him out in the middle of the night). I was sceptical at first, but gave him a slice and to my surprise, he ate it all and asked for more.

Today I offered him a piece while making lunch and he not only ate it and many more which I gave him, but kept begging during lunch. My husband is worried he may turn vegetarian, but personally I don't think he is capable of giving up chicken, the great love of his life. Our previous cat, whom we adopted from the animal shelter, loved champignons and Chinese take-away.

For the dog lovers among my readers, check this YouTube video, it's truly hilarious (subtitled in English):




And this one.
 (It's amazing how intelligent they can be:)

zaterdag 12 april 2014

Personal


Just some recent pictures:

Lamborghini Aventador (not, it's not mine:)




Our renovated terrace (the table was built by my husband from two old ones):






Blijdorp (a zoo in Rotterdam):



Exploring a swamp:





Playing golf (OK, midget golf:)




I'm glad to report that I won the 2nd place in our private little tournament:)
Have a blessed Sunday!


vrijdag 11 april 2014

Gaelic Psalms

These psalms, sung in unaccompanied Gaelic, are a part of European cultural heritage. They are also stunningly beautiful:



donderdag 10 april 2014

Vanilla Cheese Cake






I thought it was time for another recipe, so here it comes: Vanilla Cheese Cake.

It was inspired by this magazine:

 I  changed the basic recipe to make it more economical so I think it's OK to post it.
.

You make the crust from crushed cookies+ melted butter.

Further, you will need 1kg of quark, 1 pkg vanilla sugar (8g), 1c brown sugar, 4 eggs and 4tbsp flour, which you mix together and pour over the crust.

I baked it according to the magazine's advice in the slow oven (+130*C) for 2 hours. Let it cool and serve with strawberry sauce (I used store-bought):

We just ate the last of it today.