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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing) - - Premio Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section



1/17/2012

"Men! You always want more, even when you're skinning the poor by tearing down a block of old houses to make nice new ones." - - Fortunata y Jacinta, Benito Pérez Galdós


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Cover: Detail from Chica in a Bar (1892) by Ramón Casas, 
in El Museo de la Abadía, Montserrat (Photo: The Bridgeman Art Library)

“. . . Since you tear things down, do you have any rubble, yes or no?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do. . .and some magnificent flint (slate).  Sixty reales (a unit of Spanish money) the cartful, all you want.  The rubble is eight reales a--Oh, I'm so stupid!  Now I know what it's all about.  The great saint (philantropist Guillermina Pacheco) is bamboozling you with stories about the orphanage she's going to build. . .You've got to be careful with her tricks, very careful.  Before she's laid a stone she'll have us all in the poorhouse."

"Shhh!  We all know how stingy you are.  I'm not asking your for anything anyway, you old miser.  You can have your carts of flint (slate).  They'll put them on the scales with you when the final accounting starts; you know, when the trumpets start to play.  Oh yes, and then when you see how much your stinginess weighs on the scales, you'll say, "Lord, take away these cartloads of stone and rubble that are plunging me into Hell,' and we'll all say, 'Oh no. Pile it on, because he's very wicked.'"

"All I have to do is put the money you've squeezed out of me on the other side of the scales and I'm saved," Moreno laughed, patting her face. 

"Don't humor me, my dear nephew. That won't get you anywhere, you big cheat, swindler, miser!"  Guillermina was smiling, and her tone was benevolent.  "Men!  You always want more, even when you're skinning the poor by tearing down a block of old houses to make nice new ones." - - Guillermina Pacheco in Fortunata y Jacinta, Benito Pérez Galdós's incredible novel of life and social commentary in 19th Century Spain, centered in Madrid.  The Penguin Books translation by Agnes Moncy Gullón is exceptional.
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