2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
Jorge E Mateus weave a fusion of traditional Sertanejo, Forró and country influences combined with rock, pop and funk, lending itself to a style that is both highly danceable and melodiously infectious. 15 years since I last entered the Royal Albert Hall at the age of 10 to see the proms, it felt more like a Sambadrome Arena come Praça Da Apoteose tonight packed full of some 5,000 Brazilians grooving and singing along. I have been to many Anglophone-dominated shows but it is very rare to have the chance to be able to attend a show where 95% of the population are Lusophone. The hall was transformed and it had a very warm, festive atmosphere, and the energy was very special. The atmosphere was electric. I was fortunate enough to meet a couple of nice Brazilian girls who taught me a thing or two about the music, the dance and even the odd phrases in Portuguese!
One of the girls, Karena, explained that she loves the music because of the lyrics. Most of the time, song topics are about love and relationships, the songs telling anecdotes with which the girls can identify, such as the Beija-Flor (literally: 'kissing flower') which describes a hummingbird, a metaphor for guys who 'cheat' on their girls. At times, this makes her cry because it reminds her of experiences that she has had with two different boyfriends. Apparently, the guys are not so interested in these lyrics; they just want to dance with the girls, and to swagger in their cowboy hats, boots and chequered shirts. Indeed, looking into the centre of the hall, most of the dancing area was filled with young couples swaying closely. But both girls agreed that the pagode-infected rhythms make the music easy to move to. The sexy, Latin American beat soon kicked in and the Brazilians sure know how to shake it - the scene was incredible and heart-warming.
The performers themselves were relaxed and subtle, yet they had the audiences wrapped around their fingers with such ease. Some songs made everyone cry out in delight, the hall resounding with their voices singing the lyrics in unison. Even Amanda, who is not a fan of this music in particular, explained that because it contains so many influences - from rock, pop and tropicalia, to traditional country sertanejo and forró, to folkloric samba, pagode, to groovy funk and reggaeton - this hybrid form of music is universal in Brazil, because it expresses a lot of feeling and it can be danced to with not just a boyfriend or partner, but with any man. Apparently there are a lot of artists today who emulate this style today but Jorge E Mateus are at the top, there are simply 'no others like them'. And to accompany them was a fantastic orchestra packing a booming percussion ensemble, accordion and guitar-driven rhythm section, heavy bass-line and even a string section.
Upon exiting the ticket barriers at South Kensington tube station on my approach to the Royal Albert Hall, I randomly bumped into an intoxicated Amy (whether intoxicated by the music, the beer, the atmosphere or all three, who knows?) but her words "that gig was hilarious, just... hilarious... Get in there!" perfectly encapsulates how I felt about it too - you just had to get in there and party the Brazilian way, certainly a foretaste of the Rio Olympics in 4 years time. I even learned how to summarise these sentiments in Portuguese: Eu gosto muito iso!
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.