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FOOD POLITICS - September 2018 Sybrand Veeger

The Holy Grill: A Poem For Carne Asada

Written by Sybrand Veeger

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The Holy Grill

The Kingdom of Meat stretches from the southern Amazonic jungle,

West to the arid Andean range,

And south, profoundly, to the Antarctic precipice –

Where the world ends in fire and ice.

   

The Carneal Kingdom honors the holy method of nourishment:

Grilling, “Asado”, in Argentine.

Politics and commerce are circumstantial here,

Even superfluous; rather,

Gastronomics and aesthetics are the spheres of influence, in Argentina – the land of “argentum”,

The land of silver, of the silver grill.

   

Argentina’s meat obsession, or fetishism,

Can be explained

(Across space and time):

Geographically and genealogically.

   

The genealogy, the roots, of the holy grill are emphatically Mediterranean.

A gastronomical instinct, with an aesthetic accent,

Landed in “Argentina” –

Sometime in the last four centuries –

Spaniards first, Italians second,

Brought their food and music,

To make Asado and Tango! –

A double aesthetic movement I like to call

Silver Mediterraneanism…

   

The geography of the asado has three dimensions:

The Pampean plains, proclaimed the cow’s Eden garden;

The Andean mounts, where the blood of Christ is preserved;

And the Patagonian desert, where only Mosaic strength survives.

These three geographical dimensions produced a method

Of potential perfection – the silver grilling.

   

Silver, or Argentine, grilling requires:

Utmost respect for the produce,

The mastering of fire making,

And a musical sensitivity to detect the symphony of crackle.

Respect, mastering, and music – ontologically fundamental to the silver meat griller.

   

To the Mediterranean genealogy and privileged geography I must add genuinely Argentine genes:

The aristocratic landowners of Buenos Aires and La Pampa;

And the neo-nomads, the Pampean-patagonic gauchos.

A curious combination of aristocratic grandiosity and gaucho simplicity made way for a unique carneal spirit (from the fusion of agriculture and nomadism):

“EL ASADO”.

   

“El Asado” is no less than a cultural institution,

Nay, a religious institution, upon reflection:

It happens normally on Sundays,

Friends and family gather for a gastro-spiritual

Shared experience.

Pious and ritualistic for most –

The revered idols are:

Chorizo, blood sausage, chinchulines, tira, vacío, molleja, and mayba bondiola:

These are pork, chicken and cow meat cuts,

A priori categories I must say,

That give substance to a socially undiscriminating food religion.

   

Asado mass lasts around eight hours,

Come at four, leave at twelve –

In between you talk, eat, talk, drink wine, eat, drink fernet, talk, talk, laugh, have dessert, drink, leave.

   

Asados punctuate friendly and family ties,

El Asado is religiously spiritual

And institutionally concrete,

Requiring technique, wine, love and meat –

No wonder conventional politics fail in Argentina:

The silver Kingdom is but ruled by food…

Contributing Writers DRUGS - February 2018

How Drawing Stoned Enriched Me

Our final submission for this February’s Drug issue comes from Miriam Schröer who shares with us her some weed inspired art and the story behind it.  
 

Written by Miriam Schröer

I remember I liked drawing a lot as a teenager. However, I gave up on drawing sometime during my last years of school. I didn’t notice the practice of drawing vanishing from my life. Yet, if reflecting back on it now, I think at that time I was much too focused on delivering only the best of me. I’ve always been a person who likes control (or the illusionist feeling of being in control of things). I only would have continued drawing if I had expected to become an excellent artist. Drawing would have demanded a lot of time and energy, and I would have needed to invest a lot of discipline and practice. But my life plans didn’t paint me as a painter.

Today, I feel confused about the extent to which I fell victim to a notion of optimizing my life, and accordingly my activities. When I moved to Amsterdam and got into the habit of smoking weed occasionally, I noticed how my mind could liberate itself from this notion of perfection.

I have stuck to keeping a diary pretty much all my life. When I smoked joints, I started making little sketches in my diary again. It came naturally. I let go of my perfectionist expectations. To just draw and see where it went felt like a rediscovery of knowledge I had when I was younger, but that got lost somewhere along the way.

It was an unexpected reconnection to the act of enjoying just doing stuff without expecting a specific outcome. I could find great sense in the act of drawing in my diary and wasn’t bothered by the fact that I didn’t find the drawings particularly meaningful – or even beautiful – when looking at them again the next day.

This picture is a visualization of what the joint does to my mind. I tend to feel free from my linear self-critical thinking and societal expectations about what to do with my life and how to behave. The joint gives me ideas that feel closer to my most genuine conscience.

I don’t think smoking joints every day would be a good idea for me, but adding ideas that I have when stoned to my sober ideas has been an enriching practice for me. When a joint makes me feel at ease making sketches in my diary, my sober self can tolerate doing fun stuff like that more easily.

So thank you, weed, for letting me embrace the pleasure of taking it easy.

Contributing Writers DRUGS - February 2018

The Epidemic in Tijuana

As we near the close of this month’s issue, it’s worth remembering that every drug statistic is an aggregate of individual lives. In the following poem, Dinora Escobar shares the story of a young woman living with drug addiction far from home.


Written by Dinora Escobar

Tijuana, a famous city on

the border of Mexico and California, USA.

An area known as Zona Norte, by the Tijuana Arch.

The Arch is well known. At the entrance of Tijuana, right in the heart of Zona Norte.

It’s like a little Vegas”, as many tourist say, but much more poor and dangerous a place; full of drugs,

prostitution, crime, poverty. A place where everything has a price, even your freedom.

Law enforcement is corrupted, a place where many come to fulfill their fantasies, and go home like nothing

ever happened. But what about those that this is their reality. A fast lane life, a place that, to many is a fun,

tourist place and to others this is home. A place to survive.

A place to easily get caught up and lost, where many end up like Ieesha Shiann.

Ieesha Shiann, is a female aged 24, born in mid east of the United States.

She resides in the “zona norte”

located at 1st and coahuila.

Ieesha, living life day by day.

To support her drug habit and to get by she is also a worker of the streets, prostitution. She uses heroin and crystal methamphetamine, also known as “criko”or ice” on the streets.

Ieesha has a story that no one knows. A lot of people wonder, but don’t understand her due to the language barrier, and that she’s mostly in her own world of hallucinations. It is hard to get a full story or even a full sentence without distractions.

I asked Ieesha if I could interview her. She seemed a little scared, uncomfortable with the idea of it, but then she agrees.

Ieesha where were you born?

In Minnesota with the snow and where I lost my babies.

You have kids?

Yes two and I lost them.

How did you lose your kids?

The system took them from me and put them with another family and I don’t know where they are.

Why and how did you start doing drugs?

I lost my kids, don’t know where they are.

How did you end up here?

If you’re not from here?

He left me here.

Who?

A men we got high. I was so high on drugs I can’t remember, but we were here together getting high. High, for a couple of weeks and one day he left, I couldn’t find him I didn’t know what to do.

How long you been here?

I think three years

Where’s your family?

Don’t know I need to contact them, someone to let them know where I’m at.

What do you consume and how do you get by as far as financially?

You want sex?” That’s all I say to get “globo”.

Globo means balloon in English. A word that is used for the little plastic containing the drug.

Where do you sleep? Shower?

If I have money motels sometime, or a client will pay for a room all night and if not I sleep like the” dogs and cats”.

What does that mean?

Wherever I can lay down on the streets. If is cold or rains I can use boxes to shield myself from the cold.

Ieesha has asked me in the past if their are any Rehabilitation Centers here in Tijuana.

Yes there are but as private organizations. So there’s a fee.

At times I just wonder about Ieesha. She comes in sayshi”, she stares around. and she cries. Cries and she only speaks of what I believe is a constant memory to her, in her head. What she can still remember and acknowledge; her kids that she lost and a man that left her here.

Why don’t you cross the border if you’re a USA Citizen?

I never go to border or cross. Nope never cross.

Why? You can get help out there.

Is too late. Where do I go?

Like many others Ieesha randomly sleeps in the streets and hopes for shelter.

She goes around to the local stores at times to ask for food, including my work place.

Many people that know her will hand out clothes to her. They say she wasn’t like this at first.

She was a normal, healthy, young girl,

but drugs have made her lose herself to the streets.

Ieesha