Archives for category: Weekend Reads
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Photo credit: California Sunday Magazine

History is a subject that interested me in school, but I had trouble retaining the information. I’d read the text and listen to the lecture, yet when it came down to take the test my rewards for my efforts rarely reaped top marks.

I love history for providing a framework for why the world is, context for why it isn’t and a blueprint for what it could be. When history unfolds through the lens of food, its lessons stick with me much longer than a stubborn jar peanut butter. Even more so when I’m in an interactive experience, like the tapas tour in Madrid where I learned that the origins of the Spanish tapa may have began as a small snack to tide over field workers when they got too tipsy during their lunch break.

We soaked in this factoid while sipping a vermouth and chowing down on tostas at Los Gatos in the historic Huertas neighborhood, a more appealing environment than a sterile lecture hall by spades.

This weekend, I’ve rounded up a handful of nuggets that look at the origins of things using food as a flashpoint for historical, cultural momentum:

 

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Weekend Reads is an almost-weekly series on The Curious Passport and features a round-up of travel news, features and other related links (probably related to food, fitness or the outdoors) I’ve either found around the internet or has been sent my way by friends and family.

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Tinto de veranos in Madrid

In the weeks after my return from my month-long, mostly solo trip to Europe earlier this summer, I was met with a mixture of surprise, concern and awe when I mentioned that I ventured off by myself. Curious to get to the root of their reaction, I did what we all do when we have a question we can’t answer: I Googled it.

When I did, I  learned that I may have put the proverbial cart in front of the solo travel horse. My search results yielded more media articles and blog posts about why Americans don’t travel abroad than why we’re more hesitant than other countries to globe trot solo.

As it turns out, examining the country’s attitude toward travel in general may offer clues to help answer my original question.

So first thing’s first; why don’t Americans travel internationally?

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One late evening in Madrid’s Huertas neighborhood, three twenty-somethings spooned fro-yo dinners into their faces while they discussed the current state of the world. As visitors and new and fast friends from Istanbul, Lyon (hi Pelin, hi Tiffany!), San Diego we wondered if there was any one place that is completely safe.

In the weeks before I boarded an Air New Zealand flight bound for Europe, news broke of the Brussels attack. Shortly before that, Paris was under fire. And the terrible news hasn’t let up.

Days after my return, Orlando seized the spotlight. Most recently, my newsfeed has been filled with an outpouring of prayers for Turkey, Dallas, Baton Rouge, the list goes on. Hearts break, communities grieve, the living react with anger, anxiety, the list goes on.

Fear is a natural reaction. Flights are cancelled, destinations crossed off bucket lists; both logical decisions following news of conflict. Internally, we build walls to fortify ourselves from the chaos “over there.”

Life can be so arbitrary sometimes, and on introspective days I think about how much control we really have over our days and why bad, unfair things happen in this world to really good people.

In times of conflict, what do we do?

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