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December 17, 2009

Paarfi of Roundwood, author of the Quixote
Posted by Avram Grumer at 01:39 AM * 83 comments

Ever since high school, when I read Steven Boyett’s Ariel, I’ve been meaning to read Don Quixote, but I still haven’t gotten around to it, partly because I can’t decide which translation to read. (What I really oughta do is learn Spanish so I can read it, and Borges, in the originals, and to get back at Chris for knowing more Yiddish than I do.)

Today, I looked up a bunch of translations on Google Books, and compared their opening paragraphs. These all introduce Quixote, mentioning that he keeps old knightly gear (lance, shield, horse, greyhound), and describe the food and clothing that consume his money. The different approaches to describing Quixote’s food are striking, and seems to have been the subject of considerable scholarly effort.

Here’s Cervantes himself:

Una olla de algo más vaca que carnero, salpicón las más noches, duelos y quebrantos los sábados, lentejas los viernes, algún palomino de añadidura los domingos, consumían las tres partes de su hacienda.

Duelos y quebrantos, according to the Spanish-language branch of Wikipedia (helpfully translated into English), seems to be a dish of scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage, cooked together in a skillet. It’s often served in a clay pot. Taken word-by-word (according to Google Translate and Chris’s Spanish-English dictionaries), duelos means “duels” or “grief”, while quebrantos means “bankruptcy”, “breaking”, “discouragement”, or “heavy loss”. As an idiomatic phrase, it seems to mean “scraps”.

I have no idea whether that Wikipedia article is accurate. While the dish itself is not at all implausible, the page says that there’s no record of the dish being called duelos y quebrantos prior to Cervantes’s use of the phrase. Given its popularity in the region where Quixote was described as living, it’s not impossible that some (not much) later person assigned the egg dish to Cervantes’s phrase, and it caught on as a semi-tlonian item. I imagine this has been hashed out at length in Spanish-language historical and literary journals, but I’ve got no way of knowing.

The first English translation was made by Thomas Shelton, and published in 1612. Here’s an 1896 edition, The history of Don Quixote of the Mancha:

His pot consisted daily of somewhat more Beefe then Mutton, a little minced meate every night, griefs and complaints the Saturdays, Lentils on Fridayes, and now and then a Pigeon of respect on Sundays did consume three parts of his rents;

The delightful history of the most ingenious knight Don Quixote of the Mancha, is another edition of Shelton’s translation, published in 1909. I don’t know who’s responsible for the changes:

His pot consisted daily of somewhat more beef than mutton: a gallimaufry each night, collops and eggs on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and now and then a lean pigeon on Sundays, did consume three parts of his rents;

The Life and Exploits of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote De La Mancha, translated by Charles “Jarvis” (a typo; his name was actually Jervas), first published in 1742:

A dish of boiled meat consisting of somewhat more beef than mutton, the fragments served up cold on most nights, an omelet on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a small pigeon, by way of addition, on Sundays, consumed three-fourths of his income.

The Life and Achievements of the Renowned Don Quixote De La Mancha, published by Peter Anthony Motteux in 1712. Though the front matter of this 1908 edition claims Motteux as the translator, earlier editions credit it as “translated from the original by many hands”:

His diet consisted more of beef than mutton; and with minced meat on most nights, lentiles on Fridays, griefs and groans on Saturdays, and a pigeon extraordinary on Sundays, he consumed three-quarters of his revenue;

Here’s where things start getting serious. In 1749 (and I think Google Books might have actually scanned an original 1749 edition), a Mr Ozell took Motteux’s translation and revised it — The History of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated “by Several Hands […] Revis’d a-new; and Corrected, Rectify’d and Fill’d up, in Numberleſs Places, from the beſt Spaniſh Edition; By Mr Ozell: Who, at the Bottom of the Pages, has likewiſe added (after ſome few Corrections of his own, as will appear) Explanatory Notes, from Jarvis, Oudin, Sobrino, Pineda, Gregorio, and the Royal Academy Dictionary of Madrid”:

His diet conſiſted more of beef than of mutton ; and with minc’d meat on moſt nights, lentils on Fridays, eggs and * bacon on Saturdays, and a pigeon extraordinary on Sundays, he conſumed three quarters of his revenue

* Strictly, ſorrow for his ſops, on Saturdays. Duelos y Quebrantos ; in Engliſh, gruntings and groanings. He that can tell what ſort of edible the author means by thoſe words, Erit mihi magnus Apollo, Cæfar Oudin, the famous French traveller, negotiator, tranſlator and dictionary-maker, will have it to be eggs and bacon, as above. Our tranſlator and dictionary-maker, Stevens, has it, eggs and collops, (I ſuppose he means Scotch-collops) but that’s too good a diſh to mortify withal. Signor Sobrino’s Spaniſh dictionary says, Duelos y Quebrantos is peaſe-soup. Mr Jervis tranſlates it an amlet (Aumulette in French) which Boyer ſays is a pancake made of eggs, tho’ I always underſtood Aumulette to be a bacon-froiſe (or rather bacon-fryze, from its being fry’d, from frit in French). Some will have it to mean being fry’d with eggs, which, we are told by Mr Jervis, the church allows in poor countries in defect of fiſh. Others have gueſt it to mean ſome windy kind of diet, as peaſe, herbs, &c which are apt to occaſion cholicks, as if one ſhould ſay, Greens and gripes on Saturdays. To conclude, the ’forcited author of the new tranſlation (if a tranſlator may be call’d an author) abſolutely ſays, Duelos y Quebrantos is a cant-phraſe for ſome faſting-day diſh in uſe in La Mancha. After all of theſe learned diſquiſitions, who knows but the author means a diſh of Nichils!

“Nichils” means nothings, trifles, or nonsense. “Collops” are thin slices of meat, much like what Americans call Canadian bacon, and the English just call bacon. What Americans just call bacon, the English call streaky bacon. That’s the stuff in duelos y quebrantos.

In 1755, translator Tobias George Smollett fired back a volley of his own footnotes, taking Ozell’s “nichils” more seriously than Ozell may have intended, and coming to a rather dubious conclusion. The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote (1796 edition):

Three-fourths of his income were ſcarce ſufficient to afford a diſh of hodge-podge, in which the mutton bore no proportion to the beef,* for dinner; a plate of ſalmagundy, commonly at ſupper†; gripes and grumblings‡ on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and the addition of a pigeon, or ſome ſuch thing, on the Lord’s-day.

* Mutton, in Spain, is counted greatly preferable to beef.
Salpicon, which is the word in the original, is no other than cold beef ſliced, and eaten with oil, vinegar, and pepper.
‡ Gripes and Grumblings, in Spanish Duelos y Quebrantos; the true meaning of which, the former translators have been at great pains to inveſtigate, as the importance of the ſubject (no doubt) required. But their labours have, unhappily, ended in nothing elſe but conjectures, which, for the entertainment and inſtruction of our readers, we beg leave to repeat. One interprets the phraſe into collops and eggs, “being,” saith he, “a very ſorry dish.” In this decision, however, he is contradicted by another commentator, who affirms, “it is a meſs too good to mortify withal;” neither can this virtuoſo agree with a late editor, who translates the paſſage in question in question into an amlet; but takes occaſion to fall out with Boyer for his deſcription of that diſh, which he moſt ſagaciously underſtands to be a “bacon froize,” or rather fryze, from its being fried, from frit in French; and concludes with this judicious query, “After all theſe learned diſquiſitions, who knows but the author means a diſh of nichils?” If this was his meaning, indeed, ſurely we may venture to conclude, that faſting was very expensive in la Mancha; for the author mentions the Duelos y Quebrantos among those articles that conſumed three-fourths of the knight’s income.
   Having conſidered this momentous affair with all the deliberation it deſerves, we, in our turn, present the reader with cucumbers, greens, or peaſe-porridge, as the fruit of our induſtrious reſearches; being thereunto determined by the literal ſignification of the text, which is not, “grumblings and groanings,” as the laſt-mentioned ingenious annotator ſeems to think, but rather pains and breakings; and evidently points at ſuch eatables as generate and expel wind — qualities, as every body knows, eminently inherent in those vegetables we have mentioned as our hero’s Saturday’s repaſt.

John Ormsby (who described Motteux’s version as “worse than worthless”), translated Don Quixote in 1885, and took the idiomatic meaning of Quixote’s Saturday meal:

An olla of rather more beef than mutton, a salad on most nights, scraps on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a pigeon or so extra on Sundays, made away with three-quarters of his income.

An “olla” is a ceramic jar or pot.

The Life and Achievements of Don Quixote de la Mancha was edited by Mary Elizabeth Burt and Lucy Leffingwell Cable in 1902 out of Shelton’s and Alexander Duffield’s translations (I haven’t been able to find the latter online, except for just the second volume). Burt and Cable have (or perhaps Duffield has) come up with a novel take on the meal:

Almost every night he had a pot of beef or mutton soup for dinner and cold meat with onions. On Saturdays he had a pie that was not much better than garbage: lentils on Fridays and pigeons by way of a treat on Sundays. This poor living ate up three-fourths of his income.

This 2000 translation by John Rutherford, Don Quixote, gets the eggs right, and I think leaves the meat out to better convey the poverty of Quixote’s diet:

A midday stew with rather more shin of beef than leg of lamb, the leftovers for supper most nights, lardy eggs on Saturdays, lentil broth on Fridays and an occasional pigeon as a Sunday treat ate up three-quarters of his income.

(Update: Non-ASCII character correction thanks to Nicholas Whyte in comment #1.)

(Update 2: Also, be sure to scroll down and read ajay’s comment #40.)

Comments on Paarfi of Roundwood, author of the Quixote:
#1 ::: Nicholas Whyte ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:21 AM:

Hate to be a pedant, but you've used the wrong letter for the transcription - it's ſ, the old-fashioned 'long s', not ʃ, the IPA letter esh!

I read the Rutherford translation and greatly enjoyed it, though I left three years between reading the first and second volumes.

#2 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:41 AM:

Why are you sorry to be a pedant? If there's one place on the net where pedants can fly their flag proudly, it's here.

#3 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:10 AM:

Chasing up my recollection of the Borges story alluded to in the title led me naturally here, and thence to Pierre Menard, author of the Principia (pdf), a delight.

#4 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:16 AM:

"I imagine this has been hashed out at length in Spanish-language historical and literary journals,... "

Poor graduate students, subsisting on hash, expounding on literary debates about hash consumed by a poor scholarly gentlemen. Oy!

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:40 AM:

I like Rutherford's version. "Rather more shin of beef than leg of lamb" keeps the literal original, while making it clear that beef was the poorer option.

"Lardy eggs" is a good compromise, given that there's no way to get the full meaning of duelos y quebrantos into English. If it's eggs cooked with both bacon and sausage, but it's a poverty dish and its name idiomatically means "scraps," then I think it must be using the scrap-ends of cured meats to add fat and flavor to the eggs. "Lardy eggs" gets that across very economically, without making the dish sound more savory than it deserves.

(Duelos y quebrantos seems oddly similar to the contemporary English term "broken meats," which meant something closer to "scraps" than "leftovers." If, as Avram says, quebrantos signifies bankruptcy, breaking, discouragement, or heavy loss, then I imagine those would be thoroughly broken meats, down to the last poor bits and ends.)

Huh. I was just checking dates, and noticed that Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day: April 23rd, 1616.

#6 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:48 AM:

Within the last month, I listened to both parts on Recorded Books' CDs, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes; translated by Edith Grossman, read by George Guidall.

I was surprised at how accessible and fresh it is. Unfortunately, the specifics describing food escape me.

Cervantes is credited with coining many common phrases, but it was startling and delightful to run across them: when an irate crowd punishes Sancho Panza by tossing him in a blanket (which must have humiliating connotations far beyond the helpless indignity) they start inside the inn, but quickly decide to go outside where "the sky's the limit".

#7 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:50 AM:

If I were able to read Spanish, I'd read "El Club Dumas" by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and a ton of bullfighting history and technical books. I'd like to read untranslated Russian chess books and Japanese manga at S-5 proficiency. I've learned over twenty different computer languages, but have never managed to acquire a second human language (unless you count dialects like leetspeak).

#8 ::: Stan Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:04 AM:

This is the stuff of dissertations--literally. My dissertation analyzed different English-language translations of the plays of 19th-century German author Georg Büchner.

#9 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:04 AM:

It's been on my to-read list for years. I have a "Harvard Classics" version that is impossible to get through, though I've tried twice now.

I just saw the Rutherford translation mentioned as a very overlooked book; I put it in my Amazon basket, and then debated buying it and eventually left it alone. After browsing it on Google books, however, the language is delicious - I'll go ahead and get it. Third time's the charm, right?

#10 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:18 AM:

I'm fascinated that 18th-century English translators didn't yet know what an omlette was. I thought it was older than that as a concept. Though it looks as if there might already have been a difference between what we now think of as a Spanish omlette and the default (French) omlette.

If the interpretation of the name of the dish is right, its a good example of how translations need to work for meaning. "Bacon and eggs" probably sounds like a very reasonable dish for Saturday to British people. Mild luxury even. An indication of prosperity (or at least sufficiency) rather than poverty. It really is "too good a diʃh to mortify withal" (lovely phrase :-))

But then so does "beef most days". I wonder if Smollett's idea that Spanish thought of mutton as preferable to beef is in fact true? Its hard to imagine sheep-meat being more expensive than beef in those days and that climate.

But then maybe that's a joke as well. I really don't know.

#11 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:20 AM:

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden: Huh. I was just checking dates, and noticed that Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day: April 23rd, 1616.

A famous bit of trivia that I'm surprised you hadn't encountered before: Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date, but not the same day -- in 1616, England was still clinging to the old calendar, so Shakespeare actually died ten days after Cervantes.

Howsomedever, I see here that UNESCO has declared the 23 of April to be World Book and Copyright Day, as much because of Shakespeare as because of Cervantes.

#12 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:33 AM:

When I read Quixote for a project in my junior year of high school, I followed Clifton Fadiman's advice, as follows:

[If] you use ... a complete translation, do some skipping. Whenever (or almost whenever) you come to a goatherd or shepherdess, some drivel lies ahead. Skip...the interpolated pastoral yarns....Skip every bit of verse you meet; Cervantes is one of the world's worst poets....[Do] not be put off by an occasional tedious passage or chapter in Part 1. Persist to Part 2. It is by far the greater.

He says more at the link that I didn't want to retype, and he recommends several (mid-century modern) translations, one of which, the Cohen, was the one I read, and it's fine, if a bit sloggy. I'm allergic to long novels, though, so it might be just me.

I will also note that Fadiman notwithstanding, most of the really famous bits, like the windmills, are in Part 1.

#13 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:53 AM:

I've always preferred "griefs and groans on Saturdays," always thought that it was wonderful in describing his food budget to include a night in which he can't even afford to eat. It sells the poverty so much more strikingly than a simple list of cheap foods.

#14 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:09 PM:

Chris @12, that's the sort of advice that could lead one to skipping the delicious political satire bits in Morgenstern.

#15 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Avram@14, I heretically (at least according to Lydy), think of the movie as the "good parts" version of the book.

#16 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:01 PM:

David @15, what, you didn't like the Zoo of Death?

#17 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:18 PM:

Something I forgot to mention: The English dish bubble and squeak is, I suspect, similarly hard to translate.

#18 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:28 PM:

B.W. Ife Don Quixote's diet:

"We know that his staple diet before the first sally consisted of five elements: 'olla', by which we may assume is meant the classic slow-cooked stew made with beans and sausages known as 'olla podrida', eaten as the main midday meal; 'salpicón' or cold meat sliced thinly with onions and vinegar for supper; 'lantejas' or lentils on Fridays; 16 'duelos y quebrantos', probably some form of omelette, on Saturdays; and the occasional pigeon on Sundays. We may assume also that, in real life, Alonso Quijano would have supplemented this diet with bread and wine, and he may possibly, but not necessarily, have also eaten some fruit and vegetables; 18 the conventions of literary analysis, however, do not allow us to take into account what is not in the text....

"Several things about this analysis require comment. Firstly, such a diet would have left Don Quixote seriously deficient in energy; his calory intake is only about a quarter of that required by a 50-year-old male with even a sedentary lifestyle. The consequences of long-term malnourishment of this order would be wasting of the flesh and loss of muscle tone. Secondly, he is below the recommended daily amount of all nutrients, but is especially deficient in Calcium (8%), Vitamin C (6%) and Vitamin E (10%).

"The calcium deficiency is extremely serious and would lead to osteoporosis... and inhibit blood-clotting. It would also account for the poor state of his teeth, frequently commented on in the novel. Vitamin C also helps wounds to heal and keeps bones and teeth strong. His low dietary intake of vitamin C probably meant that he was suffering from scurvy, a disease that causes weakness, slow healing of wounds, and extreme soreness of the gums and joints. The very low intake of vitamin E would also result in weakened red blood cells and neurological dysfunction, causing loss of muscle coordination, and vision problems. Vision problems, from which it might be said Don Quixote suffers throughout at least the first part of the novel, are also caused by deficiency of vitamin A, which at 23% of recommended daily amount is also among the lowest percentages in the analysis.

"However, there are other reasons for concern about Don Quixote's diet, which go beyond basic concerns about malnutrition, and they have to do with the 'duelos y quebrantos' he had every Saturday. As Rodríguez Marín points out, the earliest authorities define this dish as an omelette made with brains, brains being one of the parts of an animal permitted to be eaten on days of semi-abstinence. However, there is contemporary evidence that the consumption of brains was regarded as a danger to mental health. In his Libro de cocina of 1525, Roberto de Nola gives an infamous recipe for roast cat: 'Gato asado como se quiere comer'. In preparing the cat for cooking, Nola is at pains to stress that the head should be cut off and thrown away because 'se dice que comiendo los sesos podría perder el seso y juicio el que la comiese.'

"This is an interesting observation in the context of any study of the physiological origins of mental states, and could provide a further explanation for Don Quixote's unstable mental condition: the regular consumption of offal, and more particularly brains, on days of semi-abstinence. Recent experience in Britain, and the development of public policy on the production and consumption of meat products offers a thought-provoking parallel with sixteenth-century Spain. Cats do suffer from a form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and Spaniards in the sixteenth century clearly thought, quite rightly, that human beings could go mad from eating the brains of animals.

"Now, I am not seriously proposing that biochemistry can be used for character analysis in literary texts. But what I am suggesting is that Cervantes has constructed a credible continuum between Don Quixote's social and economic status, his lifestyle, diet, physical health and mental condition, and that all these factors combine to produce patterns of behaviour which are convincing and consistent. What is more, Cervantes must sustain this continuum if Don Quixote is to retain his essential character once he leaves behind his sedentary habits and hits the road as a knight errant."

#19 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:39 PM:

I read Don Quixote a few years ago. The library had three translations available. The first was one of the older ones. The second was more modern, and had a translator's preface where the translator explained that they had worked very hard to make everything modern and colloquial for English speakers; the problem being, for me, that Don Quixote was originally written by a Spaniard of his time. The third, which was the Edith Grossman translation, seemed to strike a balance between making it readable and approachable, while still keeping it rooted in its place and time. I know I'm explaining badly.

For reference, from the Grossman translation:

An occasional stew, beef more often than lamb, hash most nights, eggs and abstinence on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, sometimes squab as a treat on Sundays—these consumed three-fourths of his income.1

1. Cervantes describes typical aspects of the ordinary life of the rural gentry. The indications of reduced circumstances include the foods eaten by Don Quixote: beef, for example, was less expensive than lamb.

A translator's job is not an easy one.

#20 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:36 PM:

KeithS @19, maybe the second was a translation of Menard's Quixote.

#21 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:52 PM:

TNH @5, "eggs and meat-scraps" would probably work to both accurately describe the ingredients and convey poverty.

It seems to me that this phrase gets at the thing Borges was trying to describe with his essay. A modern Spanish-speaker (especially one native to Spain), hearing "duelos y quebrantos", probably thinks of the egg-and-bacon dish. A Spaniard living in a time when the dish's name had been coined recently would be unable to keep the literal meanings of the words from coming to mind.

#22 ::: DaBarr ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:04 PM:

"Griefs and complaints?" Bacon and eggs? Perhaps -- the grief over the dead pig and the squawking of the chicken as she lays the eggs? Wouldn't that fit the Spanish sense of humor?

#23 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:04 PM:

I looked into this once, and I have found Duelos y Quebrantos recipes that include a variety of things. One of the most common recipes for it has lamb brain and kidneys in it: here

Others have bacon scraps and chorizo. I've had this, and the caloric intake is murder.

#24 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:06 PM:

I don't follow you, DaBarr. Explain further?

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:07 PM:

Quebranto is definitely bankruptcy, but also the state of being busted. So Teresa's point about "broken meats" seems to me valid.

(Why is it that when I want something it vanishes. I can't find a Spanish dictionary right now. My Galaxia Dictionary of Uses and Difficulties of the Galician Language defines the verb quebrar as "Romper, fragmentar, despedazar" [Break, fragment, delapidate]. It notes that both Castillian and Portuguese had this verb in the Middle Ages.)

Duelo, apart from "suffering," means "mourning."

#26 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:33 PM:

I'd love to know how many eggs customarily went into that dish.

#27 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:56 PM:

It sounds like a Quixote Quookbook would be pretty quool.

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:22 PM:

TNH 5: Huh. I was just checking dates, and noticed that Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day: April 23rd, 1616.

OOOOoooo. Crackpot conspiracy theorists, take note!

Paul 11: A famous bit of trivia that I'm surprised you hadn't encountered before: Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date, but not the same day -- in 1616, England was still clinging to the old calendar, so Shakespeare actually died ten days after Cervantes.

Aw, you're no fun. But I suspect the crackpot conspiracy theorists will ignore that bit of history. Or...he faked his death in Spain, then rode a fast horse to England where he faked his death there to make sure the dates matched. He put all his good poetry in the English bits, and slogged off the crap in the Spanish bits!

Earl 27: You'd need to include a pronunciation qui. And when quooking from it, you'd have quarefully quipe the quats away from the quettle.

#29 ::: Eduardo Ramirez ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:34 PM:

When I studied Quixote in high school in Puerto Rico, our teacher stated the phrase was a reference to trying to live as a new convert from Judaism in Spain. Someone just recently converted to escape prosecution or still secretly jewish would 'feel aches and pains' when eating pork, in the process going against centuries of tradition. Our teacher even pointed that out as something that few translations ever pick up on.

#30 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Eduardo, #29: That has all the hallmarks of a spook etymology, but it's a very creative one! No disrespect intended to your teacher, who probably picked it up from somewhere else -- that's how those things tend to work.

#31 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:29 PM:

"Rather more Spam than beef, ramen on most nights, rice and beans on Fridays, a Hot Pocket on Saturdays, and an occasional excursion to McDonald's on Sundays, consumed three-quarters of his income."

(Don Quixote brought up to date, with apologies to Cervantes.)

#32 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:41 PM:

Quick and exotic dishes are quixotic?

#33 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Bill, 13: Perhaps Cervantes was aiming at a pleasing ambiguity with his choice of words.

Fragano, 25: My references in the apartment, including the Diccionario Larousse del Español Moderno, all tie "bankruptcy" to quebrada, not quebranto. I just called my mother to have her look it up in her Velázquez, and it doesn't have that as a definition, either. Maybe it's a Latin American idiom, not an Iberian one?

Additionally, Ma said when I told her what I wanted her to look up, "oh yeah, Mama (my Venezuelan grandmother) used that word when somebody was a little bit sick." So it's apparently also idiomatic for minor illness, or at least it was in early-20th-century Venezuela.

Eduardo, 29: The Spanish Wikipedia article Avram links to in the main post refers to that interpretation. Quixote is a hundred years removed from the Alhambra Decree, but maybe there is some validity to the idea.

Wesley, 31: I've eaten like that! A package of ramen noodles with a little can of sardines in tomato sauce was a favorite supercheap meal - about 75 cents altogether and five minutes to make. It was a ton of salt, though, and I can't eat like that anymore. I still like ramen without the flavor packet mixed with sardines in water, but it's not as inexpensive and needs jazzing up with scallions, peas, sesame oil, etc.

#34 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:02 PM:

But isn't ʃ indeed a real form of "long s" ? After all, it's what's used as the integral sign, because an integral is a ʃummation.

#35 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:06 PM:

Don't understand the reference "Paarfi of Roundwood"

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:13 PM:

A pass through Google references it to Lyorn and Dragaera. It also turns up a lot of references to this post.

#37 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:14 PM:

Chris Quinones, #33: When I first moved into my own place my grocery bills were around $25 a week. I no longer have even the slightest idea how I managed that.

Erik Nelson, #35: Paarfi is reportedly the author of the Phoenix Guards novels (actually written by Steven Brust). Paarfi is based on Alexandre Dumas, and, like Brust, he likes writing about food. Paarfi, were he real, would love discussions of characterization through diet and the fine details of historical meals.

#38 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:28 PM:

Eduardo @29, Quixote as crypto-Jew? Intriguing! It might be significant that Quixote has his "grief and breaking" on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, which he'd be forbidden from celebrating openly.

Wesley @31, nice! Maybe "income" should be a pension check?

Erik @35, do you mean that you don't recognize the name of the narrator of the Khaavren Romances, or that you don't understand the relevance of that name to my post?

#39 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:15 PM:

Chris @ #33: One of the utter fabulosities of language is being able to plant opposing ideas in a reader's head with a single expression. The picture I am left with is of a man who eats and yet he eats nothing but misery, so very evocative of the paucity of poor food.

I once dramaturged a Büchner play, and ended up referencing four different translations from different decades, and an old German-English dictionary. When you start looking at translations through the customs and mores of different times, and then bring all of them to bear on the original words, a fullness of the ideas within the words blooms in a very interesting way.

#40 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:22 AM:

"Rather more Spam than beef, ramen on most nights, rice and beans on Fridays, a Hot Pocket on Saturdays, and an occasional excursion to McDonald's on Sundays, consumed three-quarters of his income."

A great deal of scholarly effort has been devoted to translating this sentence. The first Interworld translation (Wu, 2415) cites the Avalon Orbital University Dictionary of Historical English, which gives "spam" as "unsolicited commercial email; hence, advertising material, unwanted rubbish, surplus" and suggests that Don Osam's diet is best given as "rather more offal than good meat". Mandella (2591) instead suggests that, in 2009, "spam" still had the original connotation of commercial advertising, and that Don Osam was in fact eating "more free samples than proper meals". But Sutjiadi (2601) points out that "beef" was also used metaphorically to imply "argument" or "the logical core" (as in "what's the beef?") and that the phrase "Rather more Spam than beef" refers instead to Don Osam's reading habits - i.e. frivolous pulp novels aimed at the mass market rather than anything with intellectual heft.

The term "Hot Pocket" is still obscure, but clearly makes some reference to money (cf. phrases such as "out of pocket") - is a Hot Pocket one in which money is, metaphorically, not going to be comfortable; in other words, the idea here is that any money Osam had on Saturday would be spent very quickly?

The inclusion of "ramen" is the most disturbing of all, and has led many translators to assume an error in the original manuscript. The 2009 text postdates by some years the authorship of the Holy Trilogy by the Most Blessed Orson, which clearly defines "ramen" as "strangers from another species who are capable of communication and peaceful coexistence with Homo sapiens" - unless Don Osam is accusing himself of xenocannibalism, it's difficult to see this as anything but an error.

#41 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:33 AM:

Brad @18, while that piece you quote is certainly intriguing, when it comes to the BSE connection, once you get away from such variations as Kuru, which involved cannibalism, it's extremely rare. It isn't needed to explain the character's state of mind, and I suspect the past beliefs mentioned are essentially magical thinking.

Checking the dates (You have to check the author's list of publications), the article was originally published in 2001, and the BSE scare was very recent news, maybe still active news when the article was actually written.

But the rest seems reliable food science. If I remember, Cervantes probably knew of what he wrote, with his character's diet and state of mind. Ah yes, prisoner of the Algerians for five years.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:27 AM:

ajay @40:

*faints at your feet*

#43 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 11:04 AM:

Ajay, I love your post.

#44 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 11:17 AM:

ajay, *applause*

#45 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Would it be useful to search for "Duelos y Quebrantos" among Google Books published before a certain year-- taking care to avoid the pitfalls of Google's wobbly metadata-- to see whether other Spanish texts shed any light on the phrase?

This is something which would have been difficult for earlier scholars, but is easy for us, given a newly-digitized corpus of books.

#46 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:14 PM:

#2 David
The pedant pulls down the flag and stomps on it....

Cervantes was mocking the florid involved fantastical romances ubiquitous prior to the publication of Don Quixote.

I don't know which translation I attempted to slog my way through, but the work was very heavy-handed, and I eventually gave up--the turgid prose style and pages and pages of description, were probably accurate in intent. There was, for example, the scene in which Don Quixote, aspiring to a state of exaltation (not quite the word I want, but the one I want to use my neural net is being recalcitrant/slow in accessing...), takes a purgative and requires Sancho also to partake of the same stuff... they have rather different emotional reactions and experiences emotionally consequent to the physical effects manifesting. Don Quixote immerses himself in embracing the joys and self-actualization of cleansing of body and soul via expulsion of sordid material; Sancho is merely miserable and annoyed and vexed.

Don Quixote accomplished the goal of ending the era of florid overblown fantastical romances, and turning literature to a more realistic, gritty, germane-to-daily-life direction.

As regards food and dietary knowledge--today's contemporary world has investigate equipment and analysis methodolodies and scientific bases for investigation and comprehension, that Cervantes' time lacked. Cervantes' time had the tools of folklore and observation and experiential analysis. "A happens, then B occurs." B may or may not be a consequence of A, often there is a C which effects A, and predisposes toward B happening also--and C is something only modern investigation modes can detect directly and assess.

Kouru/kuru was the result of ritualistic cannibalistic ingestation of the brains of a dead associate--in effect mad cow disease acquired from eating homo sapiens brains, rather than infestation by prions somehow gotten into cattle which then got into people (the original suspicions of how the chain got started, was protein from scrapie-infested sheep being fed as dietary supplement to cattle, and the prions being passed on from cow to cow--the contamination spreading not only by eating brains, but through perhaps fece, e.g.

"J Infect Dis. 2008 Jul 1;198(1):81-9.

"Transmission and detection of prions in feces.
Safar JG, Lessard P, Tamgüney G, Freyman Y, Deering C, Letessier F, Dearmond SJ, Prusiner SB.

"Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.

"J Infect Dis. 2008 Jul 1;198(1):8-9.

"In chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids and in scrapie in sheep, prions appear to be transmitted horizontally. Oral exposure to prion-tainted blood, urine, saliva, and feces has been suggested as the mode of transmission of CWD and scrapie among herbivores susceptible to these prion diseases. To explore the transmission of prions through feces, uninoculated Syrian hamsters (SHas) were cohabitated with or exposed to the bedding of SHas orally infected with Sc237 prions. Incubation times of 140 days and a rate of prion infection of 80%-100% among exposed animals suggested transmission by feces, probably via coprophagy. We measured the disease-causing isoform of the prion protein (PrP(Sc)) in feces by use of the conformation-dependent immunoassay, and we titrated the irradiated feces intracerebrally in transgenic mice that overexpressed SHa prion protein (SHaPrP). Fecal samples collected from infected SHas in the first 7 days after oral challenge harbored 60 ng/g PrP(Sc) and prion titers of approximately 10(6.6) ID(50)/g. Excretion of infectious prions continued at lower levels throughout the asymptomatic phase of the incubation period, most likely by the shedding of prions from infected Peyer patches. Our findings suggest that horizontal transmission of disease among herbivores may occur through the consumption of feces or foodstuff tainted with prions from feces of CWD-infected cervids and scrapie-infected sheep"

It didn't require isolating prions as the cause of the disease to notice that a disease existed, and was dire, and spread. Slaughter of entire flocks/herds of animals in a contaminated flock or herd, and quaratines of people or even entire cities or regions afflicted with plagues, are methods applied throughout human history.

Noticing that people who ate certain things, had tendencies to certain sorts of ill-health, is also folkloric information.... (Alas, modern medicine deprecates anecdotal evidence.... ironically, the sample sizes for a surprisingly very large percentage of medical trial tests, are small, and don't pay attention or particularly care about such things as time of day differences, genetic differences, etc. There is gross attention sometimes, such as "if you are allergic to eggs you probably should not get this vaccination" or "if you are allergic to milk all those exhortations to drink milk don't apply to you...."

#47 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:23 PM:

ajay #40:

I must disagree. The term "Hot Pockets" most likely refers to the well-attested folk belief that money burns a hole in one's pocket. Therefore, when we are told that Don Osam had "Hot Pockets" on Saturday, the reader was being told that his weekly income arrived on that day, and he had money in his pocket, which would allow him to visit a farm the next day.

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:36 PM:

ajay, #40: Fabulous!

#49 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:49 PM:

47: the halakha follows R. Macdonald.

#50 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:20 PM:

ajay @ 40/49 and James D. Macdonald @ 47:


#51 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 03:56 PM:


(Me likey, in other words.)

#52 ::: Sylvia Sotomayor ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 04:41 PM:

ajay #40:

Oh, wonderful... and ties in with the description later of the Don's reading habits "until the lack of sleep and the excess of reading withered his brain, and he went mad." doubt due to reading tweets and blog comments all night long.

#53 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:49 PM:

... So, how far do I have to read into DQ before it quits sucking and starts being more than "ho ho, foolish Don Quixote got battered and bruised again!"

Because on my 2 or 3 attempts, I haven't gotten that far.

#54 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:08 PM:

Chris Quinones #33: You're right that the use of quebranto for bankruptcy is a Latin Americanism, rather than an Iberianism. Trying to keep my Spanishes straight is a chore. I hadn't heard the word used for a minor illness. Something at the back of my head keeps suggesting a broken-down cart.

#55 ::: qiihoskeh ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 07:06 PM:

I suppose then reading a translation can be as tricky as trying to read the original, which to me would look like:

A jar of something more cow than ram, hash most nights, duels and damage on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and some palomino horse in addition on Sundays were wasting the three parts of his ranch-house.

#56 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 07:59 PM:

I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me till just now to see what the various online auto-translators do with the passage.

Google Translate: "An olla of rather more beef than lamb, hash most nights, eggs and abstinence on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, sometimes squab Sundays, consumed three quarters of his income." Not bad. I'm disappointed; I was hoping for something more absurd. I suspect the Googlebot isn't actually constructing a translation itself, but just looking up a human translation from somewhere.

Yahoo! Babel Fish is more like what I was expecting: "A pot of something more cow than sheep, salmigundi more the nights, duels and breaks Saturdays, lentils Fridays, some palomino of addition Sundays, consumed the three parts of their property."

#57 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:15 PM:

Avram @ 56:

Last I checked, Google tries for a statistical approach. If a word or phrase in one language is habitually accompanied by a partner in another, it concludes that that's probably a good match. I think they have an FAQ about it somewhere.

The part that reads "hash most nights, eggs and abstinence on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays," is the same as the Grossman translation that I quoted. Other parts look similar to other translations quoted here.

Babelfish is a traditional machine translation.

#58 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 09:12 PM:

Fragano, 33: You're right that the use of quebranto for bankruptcy is a Latin Americanism, rather than an Iberianism. Trying to keep my Spanishes straight is a chore. I hadn't heard the word used for a minor illness.

This is the first I heard of that myself. But it isn't the only unusual word Grandma used; she called eyeglasses espejuelos (little mirrors), which I still think of as the word for glasses even though I have since learned how atypical it really is.

#59 ::: j ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 04:52 AM:

The "quebrantos y duelos" plate was solved in "El yantar de Alonso Quijano el Bueno" (The food of Alonso Quijano The Good; Alonso Quijano was the name of the gentile landowner before he became mad out of reading too much adventure books and adopted the nom-de-guerre Don Quixote de La Mancha). Quebrantos y duelos was eggs and bacon omelette, a trefl plate eaten on Shabbath in "Old Christian" homes, to show in public their Christian faith and "pureza de sangre". Also the absense of meat on Friday shows the strict Christianity of the Quijano household.
Thus, in a few words Cervantes describes an old fashioned rural household of the Quijanos, and Old Christian small landowner family. The property was not managed (the owner lived in the world of the Caballeros Andantes, the Roaming Horsemen, saving pretty widows from evildoers), so the rent was minimal, enough for a decent, almost comfortable lifestyle. Spending 75% of one's income on food in the hungry La Mancha in the 16th century does not signify that the Quijanos lived in penury.

#60 ::: pedro ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 06:47 AM:

Borges himself read Don Quixote first in English translation, and if I remember correctly, he enjoyed the translation more than the original.

I read it in Spanish first, but heard it in English on audiobook, and I enjoyed the translation more. This is perhaps because the translation I heard used more contemporary English, and the Spanish version I read was closer to the original.

#61 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Wesley Osam@31: "Rather more Spam than beef, ramen on most nights, rice and beans on Fridays, a Hot Pocket on Saturdays, and an occasional excursion to McDonald's on Sundays, consumed three-quarters of his income."

The noodles and McDonalds and Hot Pocket (whatever that is!) and maybe the Spam look a bit plebian for a faded minor aristo like Quixano. Also (exept the Spam) a bit up to date - isn't he meant to be deliberately rather retro?

How about (from a British point of view):

"More frozen lamb chops than cheap mince in his meat and two veg, leftovers with instant gravy most nights, sardines on toast on Fridays, bubble and squeak on Saturdays, and now and again half a cold roast chicken from Tesco's for Sunday lunch..."

#62 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 12:20 PM:

Ken Brown, #61: Hot Pocket (whatever that is!)

It's less a food item than something with which you would load a trebuchet during a siege. I was thinking he could throw them at the windmills.

#63 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 01:37 PM:

Wesley Osam #62: something with which you would load a trebuchet during a siege

With the added benefit that you can boast how your attacks make the enemy's bowels loosen... "they all shall run before us!" (Made them run, gave them the runs, same difference!)

#64 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 02:11 PM:

Because a lot of people seem to be wondering: Hot Pockets are a frozen-fast-food take on empanadas. A sealed-up crust around a little bit of meat or vegetable filling and gravy.

#65 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Lee @64, request permission to append, "-- whose distinguishing characteristic is that they're no worse heated in a microwave than they are cold."

They have their own Wikipedia entry.

Fragano @54:

Trying to keep my Spanishes straight is a chore.
One of the cleverer author-vs.-copyeditor dodges I ever saw was the author specifying in the style sheet that the Spanish used in his novel should only be checked against a particular New Mexico Spanish dictionary. The odds that any copyeditor would be in a position to do so were extremely low. What it did was keep him from having his Spanish queried and interfered with by a copyeditor with three semesters of high-school Spanish and a paperback Spanish-English travel dictionary.

Ajay @40, that's not on the front page because I try not to mess with my co-bloggers' entries.

#66 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 11:22 AM:

What it did was keep him from having his Spanish queried and interfered with by a copyeditor with three semesters of high-school Spanish and a paperback Spanish-English travel dictionary.

Translators get this all the time from their perfectly bilingual clients. The ones who want to know why tête-à-tête wasn't rendered as "head-to-head" and why déjà vu was left in the text.

#67 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 01:24 PM:

TNH #65: I recently had to explain to a copyeditor that I did, indeed, want the name "George Seymour Seymour" rendered that way in the text. It was not an accidental repetition. It was actually the man's name. He was locally famous under that name, even for some time after his death.

Pendrift #66: The cure for that is to ask them to translate an idiomatic English phrase like "on the phone" into French. If it comes out as "sur le telephone" you can point out the problem.

I believe an edition of Fowler pointed out that a hapless translator rendered "esprit du escalier" as "spirit of the staircase," suggesting, the learned grammarian said, "a goblin lurking in the hall clock."

#68 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 03:10 PM:

Pendrift: I once attended a lecture by a gent whose company produced dubbed feature films. He'd been hired by whoever had the rights for Kiki's Delivery Service to do a dub (Never released: the distribution contract ran out before the dub was completed). This was shortly after the HORRIBLE "Warriors of the Wind" script and was the reason Mizyaki and Studio Ghibli came up with their "nothing can be changed without approval" contract that Harvey Weinstein so loathed when Disney turned Princess Mononoke over to him to release (Weinstein, of course, wanted to remove half an hour from the film). Ghibli had an English Language script they'd gotten, rather than an American Language script, and would not accept that there was a difference and was convinced the dubbing company was trying to screw them over the way the WOTW outfit did. The dubbing studio had to do two different versions of the film on video and show them to two different audiences off the street before Studio Ghibli agreed that "Lady, you dropped your pacifier!" worked better than "Lady, you dropped your nipple!"

Fragano Ledgister: "L'esprit du escalier" is pretty well known, although based on Fowler's comment I wish I'd seen more of that translation. I want a clear explanation of "For to craunch the marmoset." Good luck in finding the French and Portuguese dictionaries Jose da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino used to bend that one up...

#69 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 03:21 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #68: Me, what I want is an original copy of an opera program handed to unsuspecting members of an audience in, I believe, Genoa some years ago. The English version of the synopsis of Carmen described Escamillo as a "ballsfighter" and mentioned an aria containing the words "Toreador! Toreador! Hail to the balls of a toreador!"

#70 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 04:17 PM:

Fragano Ledgister: Don't forget the Wednesday edition of a paper in the Eastern United States (Boston? Pittsburgh?) where the Home/Society section ran a banner headline a few months after VE and VJ Day that said "The Bachelors Are Back With Their Wonderful Balls!"

#71 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 06:05 PM:

Things to load a trebuchet with during a seige.

Throw ram parts over the ramparts?

#72 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 06:55 PM:

So "Hot Pockets" are just a mass-marketed pasty.

#73 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 69: I recently had to explain to a copyeditor that I did, indeed, want the name "George Seymour Seymour" rendered that way in the text.

See also Edwin Abbott Abbott.

#74 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 09:29 PM:

Ken @72: Yes, only nastier.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 09:33 PM:

I miss the pumpkin empanadas that they used to sell at the Starb*ck's in my building, in the fall. Tasty (the filling is lightly-sweetened mashed pumpkin, not like pumpkin pie).

#76 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 09:50 PM:

Ken Brown #72: Yeah -- they're sold frozen but pre-cooked, you heat them for a couple of minutes in the microwave, with aid from a "crisping sleeve". As I implied before, they have a nasty reputation for causing the runs -- I find it unwise to eat more than one a day, and not every day. (This is possibly a side-effect of making them "crisp-able".)

#77 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2009, 11:47 PM:

There are two reasons I haven't tried Hot Pockets - all the flavors seem to have meat in them, and they're made by some Nestle subsidiary anyway (insert last 30 years of Nestle boycott history if you care, plus they keep buying up more and more companies.) Otherwise, they always looked like something that ought to be a step or two above microwave burritos, which I've been known to indulge in when there's nothing more interesting around.

#78 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 10:28 AM:

I'm actually kind of fond of Hot Pockets on an occasional basis. But I officially have No Taste.

#79 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 10:56 AM:

I'd like to have a Beef Wellington Hot Pocket.

#80 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Bill Stewart, 77: I don't eat Hot Pockets in part because they all seem to have cheese in them. I like cheese OK, but not in everything!

There are frozen burritos and empanadas that have no cheese, and I happily eat those.

It's not a good-taste issue; I haven't tried eating frozen White Castle belly bombers (no cheese, natch) in years, but the only reason I'd avoid them is if they gave me really bad indigestion.

#81 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 04:31 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #70: A newspaper, published in Kingston, Jamaica, which was, much later, to have the misfortune to count me among its employees had the following headline during World War II: RUSSIANS PUSH BOTTLES UP 10,000 GERMANS. Truly an atrocity.

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Paarfi of Roundwood expunges spam.

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