Tarija, Bolivia: Passion Fruit Mousse

Meet Martha Tárraga Hevia y Vaca. She’s from Tarija, Bolivia, a city that chapacas singers used to call Tierra Andaluz or “Adalusian land” because of its wondrous rivers. Ever since she moved away from her birthplace, first to go to college in La Paz, and later to follow her father in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Martha misses home. She remembers her childhood’s orange trees, the tangerines, the grapefruits, the apples, and the peaches. Pomegranates, figs, and plums surrounded her parents’ house. Oh, and the flowers! Amancayas, daisies, and roses enchanted Young Martha. Today, she owns a garden almost as lovely as the garden of her childhood. The Mousse de…

READ MORE

SUR: Maria Zanutti’s art collection

In the work of Bolivian artist Maria Zanutti/Alejandra Barbery, the magic holds even as the shapes and vibrant colors spin out of control—or is it precisely because they spin out of control? There is something brutally honest about a piece like Sor Maria Jesús de Agreda: a nun reimagines her world to cast away boredom—she surrounds herself with shapes of all sizes and colors, and the general bah-bah-boom we get is reminiscent of the distorting mirrors in a fun house where nothing is as it seems. The piece also seems to look down on perfection because, after all, we’re just human. There is, however, somehow, order in the chaos…

READ MORE

Majadito: Bolivia’s Treasure

El “Majadito” is one of the most famous dishes of Bolivia. It comes from the eastern side of the country, from the very heart of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. This dish was created during the pre-Columbian era when people mostly depended on meat, cassava, plantains, rice, and other grains. The word “majau” means smashed meat; -ito is a Spanish diminutive suffix. El majadito has become a traditional dish found in all nine departments of Bolivia. The traditional ingredients for this succulent dish include rice, jerky, chopped onions, urucu seeds (to color the rice), eggs, plantains, garlic and cumin. However, nowadays, el majadito can be prepared in many ways. Some…

READ MORE

Laura McDermott: Scenes from the Rearview Mirror

_______________ 1. Barreling through the Everglades on the 85 mile stretch of two lane highway linking civilization to civilization a land bridge of asphalt, you, Lover, appear there beside me, bumming off a ride. For the loveliest words I wished you’d say are the words I have not said. This flat road stretches like the highway of the mind leaving garages full of soundless engines, their silence threading a tunnel, etched with the cold moisture of a solitary wildflower, whose delicate fists bursting in fuchsia without a direction, as gentle signs emerging from the ashes of a recent burn in the pine. Those words ashy as they float…

READ MORE

Fitzgerald and Hemingway had the Dingo Bar. We have the Marguerita Parlor.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. At Sir Francis Café, on Monseñor Rivero Ave., I ponder my inner struggle of wanting to belong, to find a place to feel at home. I am deep into my thirties and some of my life priorities are changing, and maybe my perspective, too. I‘m waiting for Paola Senseve.   Writers—singular, lonesome creatures—always find each other. We fraternize because we recognize how much our (re)created world matters.  We’re fellow travelers, willing to let our characters take us away from our normal lives, and yet paradoxically bring us closer to reality, because the emotional world of stories unfailingly bleeds into real life, adding…

READ MORE

The Florida Book Review gets a new home!

Update your bookmarks! The Florida Book Review is currently moving into its new site, at FloridaBookReview.net. Founded by Lynne Barrett and Susan Jo Parsons, The Florida Book Review features reviews of books with Florida settings or subjects, as well as interviews and essays about Florida’s literary scene. Editor Lynne Barrett was one of my mentors at Florida International University. She is the award-winning author of  the story collections The Secret Names of Women, The Land of Go, and Magpies. She co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion and The James M. Cain Cookbook.  Her work has appeared in Delta Blues, A Dixie Christmas, Miami Noir, One Year to a Writing Life,Simply the Best Mysteries, A Hell…

READ MORE
%d bloggers like this: