Never Mind the Bullocks…Where’s the Passion Fruit?

coke in the third world

Never Mind the Bull, Where’s the Passion Fruit?
by Vago Damitio

For the bulk of the existence of the human species, men and women have not kept pets nor tended gardens in the ‘modern’ sense. Neither have they ranched livestock, planted fields, nor built houses in one spot and put a mailbox in front with their family name emblazoned across so that their local postal worker could find where to bring birthday cards and cell phone bills.

Of course, some of this is painfully obvious. After all, not all cultures celebrate birthdays so it would be silly to think that such things as birthday cards existed in prehistory. As hard as it is to believe, many anthropologists, historians, scientists, and Christian fundamentalists are in agreement that in the remote past, there was probably a time when the bulk of calories needed in the day to day activities of all human Dicks and Janes came from somewhere other than a farm, ranch, grocery store, or five star restaurant perched in a romantic setting. The technical term for the lifestyle that this sort of diet entailed is variously known as hunter/gatherer or gatherer/hunter depending on where the person spouting the theory believes that most of the calories came from; hunting or gathering.

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Tourism and Reality in Southeast Asia

roasted bugs on sticks

Tourism and Reality in Southeast Asia
by Vago Damitio

While watching the food channel the other day, I came across a disturbing thing. Initially, what caught my attention was a bald man in a southern China marketplace looking at the various foods being offered on a street vendor’s barbecue cart. I wasn’t disturbed by this, it was what made me pause from my neurotic channel surfing.

Several years ago, I had been in southern China and had eaten from many similar carts. The hardest part of eating from the carts was deciphering what the individual items were. My traveling companion at the time was shocked to realize that these were all meats from familiar animals, they just weren’t the parts that we were used to seeing cooked.

The man on television was pointing out the same thing. On the cart were chicken heads and feet, dog tails, cow eyes, and other Chinese delicacies. I wasn’t shocked by the foods, I was shocked by the manner in which the fat, bald, white, narrator was presenting cultures that I had both enjoyed and admired. The show was called something like “The Disgusting Foods of Southeast Asia” and while I’m sure that there was pork somewhere on the cart, the most obvious pig was the host of the show.

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The Time of Rice

Time for Rice. Rice Time. The Rice for Time. Timing Rice. by Vago Damitio

It is easy to forget that time is a human construction. Not to say that things didn’t happen in a way that could be described as ‘time’ before humans were measuring it, but this is a very different thing than the way we think about time. In our world, we think of time as being measured and broken into bits. It has been said by philosophers that the past is always done, the future never arrives, and in reality, all we ever have is the now. Now is also known as the present. Some people even go so far as to say it is called the present because it is a gift. What we humans do with the gift of the present depends on where we live and what we have been taught to value. Throughout the world and particularly in parts of Southeast Asia, rice is one of the most valuable aspects of life. It too, is considered a gift. It is for this reason that many rituals, festivals, activities, and belief systems in this region are connected with the planting, transplanting, tending, and harvesting of rice.

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Real Moroccan Food – Beyt Wa Matisha

beyt wa matisha

One of the hardest things about Morocco for me is the complete lack of understanding for the individualistic, go it alone, American attitude. As most of you know, I have lived by myself quite happily and generally when attempting something new or challenging, I prefer to go it alone without anyone else interfering. This is not really a possibility here for most things. A good example are the god damn couscous balls that happen on Fridays here.

The way Moroccans eat couscous is by grabbing a handful and gently letting it form into a ball that you then pop into your mouth and eat. It’s harder than it sounds because the couscous is hot and if you are too sudden in your movements, the couscous crumbles. Well, every friday we eat couscous and every friday, I try to make these damn little balls much to the amusement of Hanane’s family who watch and offer all kinds of advice, so much so that I can’t really think about what I’m doing and my chances of making the balls disappear.

Then out of sympathy, her mother and father start making couscous balls in their hands and handing them to me with such rapidity that I no longer have the time required to make them on my own. I finally had to tell them to stop, even though I think it was fairly rude of me, but they still persist. In any event, I’m a temperamental person and sometimes it’s hard not to fling the couscous balls against the wall, but so far, I’ve avoided this. If we were drinking, I’m sure there would be couscous in every direction, luckily, this good Muslim family has nothing to do with the booze and thus, neither do I. Whew!

I’ve decided to try to take as many pictures of all the food we eat here and create a Moroccan home cooking food porn bit.

Bayd wa Matisha. They call it B.M. which I find to be pretty funny. It means eggs and tomatos, the quickest and easiest. It is made of olive oil (zeet) with tomato, onion, garlic, and cilantro all fried up and an egg cooked in the center. Then we sit around the pan at the table and eat it with bread. The tea is ubiquitous with every meal and quite probably the reason so many Moroccans are missing teeth. It is green tea brewed with a full cup of sugar. Sometimes there is mint thrown in, sometimes not. Sometimes it is poured over mint in a glass, sometimes not. The whole family thinks I’m crazy for drinking black coffee with no sugar or milk, but I bet my brown teeth will last longer than their white ones.


  1. Isn’t boredom a wonderful incentive to meditate and relish the moment? Don’t worry, once you two are married and have a child you will never be bored again (or at least not for the first 6 years).

    That food looks delicious. I think I’ll try cooking it. Good going with the black coffee no sugar/cream. Tea is full of antioxidants but I’m pretty sure all of that sugar counter balances it!!

    Why isn’t paypal working for me? I click the link and it takes me to a 404 address. Yes I am technically inept.

  2. How do they make that bread? It looks good. Is it whole wheat?

    How do they make the coffee? Filter, french press or something?

    Bored eh? Lol…didn’t someone say all wars exist because mankind can’t stand to sit silently in a room? I’m rootin for ya, but good gawd, there’d be some couscous on the wall even if I had to throw it when no one was looking.

Real Moroccan Food – Lentils and a Chicken Sandwich

Okay, I’ve been forgetting to take pictures of every meal, but here is a between lunch and middle dinner meal. Fresh made bread stuffed with fresh killed and cooked chicken and some lentils.

My pictures aren’t great, but they will do. For now anyway. Looks delicious, right?

Real Moroccan Food – Lentils and a Chicken Sandwich

Okay, I’ve been forgetting to take pictures of every meal, but here is a between lunch and middle dinner meal. Fresh made bread stuffed with fresh killed and cooked chicken and some lentils.

My pictures aren’t great, but they will do. For now anyway. Looks delicious, right?