Essential information about Luxembourg

Luxembourg2

  • Geo time: Luxembourg borders with 3 different countries (Germany, France and Belgium); it’s smaller than Samoa, but bigger than Réunion.
  • Luxembourg has 3 official languages: German, French and Luxembourgish. Yes, Luxembourgish is a language.
  • Last but not least, General Patton –the guy who failed capturing Pancho Villa– is buried in Luxembourg.
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The dark side of Brussels

We construct the building, we put the frame for the window, the bar… but ops, we forgot the window:

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Did I say I wanted a door here? Forget about it:

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Instead put the door over there, wherever you want:

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Aha, typical souvenirs from Brussels: mugs, dishes, coffee… coffee?:

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The 12th floor in the elevator, fine… but the building only has 7 floors. Is that heaven?:

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You love it, or you hate it, but you don’t try to understand Brussels.

Post FOSDEM

DSC03962FOSDEM 2008 is over, and what a pity! Choosing among 200+ talks turned out to be a sweet puzzle which required thoughtful planning. It’s been two days jumping from room to room with a broad variety of topics and a common characteristic: quality content and crowded rooms, this FOSDEM thing is really a big event… the problem now is to get time to review all the notes.

I liked specially the Mozilla developer room (it was too small the first day, great decision to exchange spaces with openSUSE on Sunday). The Mozilla people are developing really interesting things, not only Firefox 3, also Prism, the Calendar, Songbird… and I love their “please don’t hurt the web” campaign.

DSC03963The Drupal room was also pretty cool; finally I could put some faces to the names I’ve been reading these last months. I’m really looking forward to pushing Drupal contributions, it’s a pity I can’t make the Boston conference.

Not surprisingly, Pieter and Benjamin have launched a new wikisite on patents.

I’m glad to see that GNOME is plenty of activity (and glad to see people like Rodrigo and Ismael around). I saw a strong web component and I liked it. On the other hand the new desktop effects are neat, I hope to see this stuff soon mainstream.

DSC04034The lightning talks (15 min max) are a great idea, however I think I had bad luck with the ones I tried (like Alfresco). Or maybe I was too tired on Sunday afternoon: I didn’t get the sugar in CakePHP, and the idea of managing forum flames with Greasemonkey + Track was way too much!

The organization was impeccable; everything was well thought and deployed. The timetable was respected, and the stands were informative (and with nice merchandising ;-)) … you FOSDEM people rock!

À la prochaine.

¿FOSDEM?

Esta entrada va especialmente dedicada a la comunidad española, que a los belgas ya los tengo más o menos localizados. ¿Vienes a la FOSDEM? ¿Te vas a pasar por el pre-evento cervecero en el Delirium Tremens? ¿Tienes pensado asistir a alguna de las 228 charlas? Pues no te olvides que estoy por aquí disfrutando del exilio, prometo ser un buen anfitrión.

The mystery of the sauce andalouse

I’ve lived most of my life in Andalusia but I’ve never heard before of the sauce andalouse. I learned its existence as soon as I arrived to Brussels, the first time I ordered French Belgian fries. The thing is that they have something called Andalusian sauce than can be found everywhere. Not only in the fries, also as a dressing for salads and meat.

Sauce AndalouseBut if you go to Andalusia and you ask in any bar or restaurant anything with salsa andaluza I bet they’ll look at you like an alien. “¿Qué pollas dices?“, I’m afraid they’ll politely answer to your innocent question.

Life is made of this kind of enigmatic challenges, so I have conducted a serious investigation on the topic and the mystery is no longer a mystery. Ladies, gentlemen, it’s my honor to introduce you the recipe of the sauce andalouse:

Ingrédients

  • 1 tasse de mayonnaise.
  • 3 c. à soupe de pâte de tomate.
  • 2 c. à soupe d’oignons.
  • 1 c. à soupe de jus de citron.
  • piment vert ou rouge.

Préparation

  1. Mélanger avec conviction tous les ingrédients.
  2. Mettre au réfrigérateur.

OK, this was easy. Now we know the how, but what about the why?

I have no clue.

I have to admit that after a very dedicated research (approx 10 min in Google) I haven’t found any explication of its origin. All I’ve got is that something cooked à l’andalouse is “a French term describing dishes using tomatoes, pimientos and sometimes rice pilaf or sausage” and, in particular, the Andalusian sauce “refers to mayonnaise mixed with tomato puree and pimiento”. So, all I got is that it seems to have a French origin.

My theory is that the word andalouse actually refers to Al-Andalus, the Arabic name given to the parts of the Iberian Peninsula ruled by Muslims before the Reconquista. As you know, part of these territories became later the current Andalusia. Therefore, Al-Andalus influenced people in closer regions who eventually emigrated to France.

This could have happened for example with Tunisia, a former French protectorate with large Al-Andalus influence. But it can be even simpler. We know that the mayonnaise (necessary ingredient for the Andalusian sauce) comes from Mahón (in Spain), under French control at the end of the XVIII century when they defeated the British troops (who conquered Minorca during the war of the Spanish succession). Mayonnaise from eastern Spain got influenced from the western Al-Andalus heritage and then brought to France. And from France, to Belgium. Voilà.

Or I may be totally wrong, is there anyone in the room with better intel?

Well, with this deep reflection I’d like to close the 2007 blog edition. I wish you all a really fruitful new orbit around the sun! See you soon.