Stupid instruments

Because I didn’t go all the way to Ecuador to find reasons to be rude about the US, let’s be rude about something Ecuadorian: pan pipes.

The fact that people can produce tunes with them at all is a minor triumph for human ingenuity, but let’s be honest, they’re a rubbish instrument. They make the penny whistle look nuanced and sophisticated. I feel rather the same way about steel bands: I don’t care how typically local and evocative they are, I don’t want to have to listen to them on holiday.

The steel band thing may be influenced by the fact that every Christmas on Oxford Street there are some annoying bastards playing fucking Christmas carols on the steel drums, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a tune played by a steel band that wouldn’t have sounded better on something else. Ditto pan pipes.

World Cup food blogging – Trinidad and Tobago

Thankfully, we did manage to beat T&T, despite the fact that Peter Crouch just isn’t good enough to play for England and Sven seems to have sucked all the creativity out of the players like some Swedish football-vampyr.

Anyway, I cooked some Trini food today to mark the occasion. The recipe was from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian Cookbook which I think is excellent despite being non-veggy myself. The idea was something caled ‘doubles’, which is a Trinidadian fast food consisting of chickpeas in a sandwich between two deep-fried flatbreads (like puri). The breads are called ‘fry bakes’ in Trinidad, apparently, because they’re fried instead of baked. I didn’t feel like deep-frying bread today, so I made some T&T-style roti instead.

There were actually two Trinidadian chickpea recipes in the book; both are obviously based on Indian food, but the one I did was probably the less distinctively T&T of the two. The other one used rather un-Indian ingredients like thyme and chives; this one was made with chickpeas, onion, garlic, green chillies, tinned tomato, cumin, coriander, ground ginger, curry powder and turmeric.

The roti were made from half-and-half plain flour and bread flour, some baking powder, water, and a smidge of turmeric for colour.

So, roti and chickpeas. Have ’em with some mango chutney and pepper sauce. I rolled my roti into a burrito-y thing, which was messy (though delicious), but I didn’t get a picture of the rolled version.

Soccer, soca, and similar

I was getting antsy waiting for the footy (an hour and twenty minutes build-up before the match clearly isn’t enough, dammit), so I thought I’d try and buy some music from each country England plays in the World Cup.

I already have a fair bit of Swedish pop, thanks to Catchy Tunes of Sweden. Trinidad and Tobago was easy enough; the team nickname is the ‘Soca Warriors’ after all, and so I looked up soca on Wikipedia and bought a few tracks from iTunes, some old (Lord Shorty, The Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener), and some new (Shurwayne Winchester, Machel Monatano).

Paraguay, on the other hand, seems a bit tricky. Calabash, everyone’s favourite fair trade world music mp3 shop, doesn’t have anything from Paraguay. Wikipedia was useless. iTunes mainly offers me traditional harp music which, to be honest, I’m not getting enthusiastic about.

Can you tell I’m killing time here?

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