Eight Must Read Young Adult Books

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins “May the odds be ever in your favor.” This book is one of the most exciting books I have ever read. A long time ago, there was a war. Now every year each … Continue reading

History of Food: Pasta

The first form of food similar to pasta was in the writings of Horace where thin strips of dough were fried and served with spices in the 1st century B.C.E. A few centuries later, we see an ancient ancestor of modern day lasagna come out in the form of lagana. It was described to be consisted of sheets of dough with meat filling in between. In the second century, the dough started to be made with flour and water instead of juice from lettuce. Later, Arabs adopted a similar form of noodle in the 5th century and lead to the Italians making thin strip noodle pasta.

 

If we jump to the 15th century, dried pasta was very valued because it could be stored for very long periods of time.That’s why many exploring ships brought dried pasta to the New World. Believe it or not, tomato sauce was only invented in the 18th century! Before this, people would just eat pasta with their hands. Now, people eat it with forks because the tomato would get too messy without it.

 

Today, the average Italian eats about sixty pounds of pasta per year, while the average American eats about twenty pounds of pasta per year. Writings suggest it originated in Italy, but why is it popular in North America? It’s because Italian immigration to the Americas that we love pasta so much. Italians have also had a mass immigration to South Africa, making spaghetti and meatballs a major part of Italian cuisine.

 

Do you like pasta? How do you eat yours? Comment, if you want, I guess.

 

My Top 5 Favorite Book Series

I have read many books, which makes this blog particularly difficult to write.  This week, I am going to talk about my 5 favorite book series.  I really enjoy reading fantasy books and books about the middle ages.  So a few of them are all in that genre.  Warning: I will not give away the ending of any of these books, but I will explain briefly what the first book is about.  Skip a paragraph if you already plan on reading the book, and do not want to know even the beginning.

 

My 5th favorite, one I haven’t read in a few years, but I remember that I loved the Percy Jackson Series as a kid.  The first story, The Lightning Thief, is about a boy named Percy Jackson, who is the son of a Greek God.  For his own protection against monsters, he is taken to a summer camp where other demigods live.  There he learns that a lightning bolt was stolen from Zeus, the most powerful God.  Percy is swept into a quest where he risks his life many times to save Zeus’s symbol of power.  These books are action packed, and also a bit funny.

 

In 4th place is a very well known book, “The Hunger Games.”  It is about Katniss, a teenager living in the future after the city called The Capitol takes over all of present day North America.  The Capitol rules over 12 districts.  Each district has to send in 2 tributes to fight to the death in the Hunger Games.  When Katniss’s sister Prim is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place.  The Hunger Games is a trilogy, but I only really enjoyed the first book.

 

Halfway through in 3rd place is the Inheritance series, by Christopher Paolini, which includes four lengthy novels starting with Eragon.  It is very similar to the first place series.  It has the same sort of fantasy middle ages aspect that I enjoy.  Eragon is about a farm boy named Eragon who finds a dragon egg while hunting in the wilderness.  When he brings it home, the egg hatches for him, so he talks to an old man named Brom to learn about his dragon.  Eventually, Brom becomes suspicious, and brings Eragon on a quest to teach him how to become a dragon rider.

 

My 2nd favorite book series is the Harry Potter series, which is a very well known book series about a boy named Harry Potter who grew up with his abusive aunt and uncle.  Harry learns he is not only a wizard, but one of the most famous wizards.  He is accepted into Hogwarts School to learn magic.  All the other young witches and wizards are eager to meet the boy who, as a baby, survived an attack by an evil wizard, Lord Voldemort.

 

My favorite book series is The Lord of The Rings.  Frodo Baggins is a hobbit, a simple race of small man-like people.  Hobbits like to keep to their homeland of The Shire, but Gandalf the Gray, a wizard who had sent his Uncle Bilbo on a quest a while back, sends Frodo on his own adventure.  During Bilbo’s quest, Bilbo finds a ring, which he passes down to Frodo.  Now after Frodo inherits the ring, he must go on a quest to destroy it.  An old power is threatening the land of Middle Earth, and if The Dark Lord Sauron gets the ring all hope will be lost.  The ring has unnatural powers, because Sauron forged it.  Dropping it into a volcano in the heart of Sauron’s realm, is the only way to destroy the ring.  It is a dangerous place, and exactly where Frodo needs to go.  This Trilogy without doubt deserves the top spot, another book by the same author, J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit is about Bilbo’s adventure, and is also great background for reading Lord of the Rings.

 

Angkor Wat: The World’s Largest Religious Monument

Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia, is the world’s largest religious monument. “Angkor” comes from Sanskrit and means “city” while Wat is Khmer for “temple.” Cambodians are usually referred to as Khmer people and Thai are referred to as Siem. So, the name Siem Reap means “Thai Defeat,” but that’s another story. Angkor Wat also appears on the national flag of Cambodia.

Angkor Wat was originally built in the 12th century by king Suryavarman II as a Hindu temple. It was a dedication to Vishnu. Later, in the 16th century, Buddhism took over and Angkor Wat was converted to a Buddhist temple. The Buddhists tried to paint the giant wall mural depicting several scenes from Hinduism and in some parts, you can actually touch the carved stone on the mural.

Angkor Wat lies on an island 1km x 1.5km with a 1 km wide moat on all sides. There are two entrances: the front in the west and the back in the east. Angkor Wat, unlike most temples, faces to the west instead of the east to signify that Suryavarman was intending to be buried there. Inside the temple, there is a central point where you can see in all four directions, many intricate and sometimes unfinished carvings, and a big central tower which was the king’s tomb. The central has really steep stairs that you could be afraid of going up and down.

Overall, Angkor Wat is a great place and has a lot of extra history and details to it, and it is also a great tourist destination.

Hehe, It’s a Lizard!

I took this picture of a really cool lizard in Cambodia.

Gods Versus Demons

This picture was taken by the wall mural in Angkor Wat. If you look closely, the ones facing to the right are different from the ones facing to the left. The gods are facing to the right and the demons … Continue reading

Khmer BBQ

I took this picture in Cambodia of a Khmer hot pot barbecue. They give you all the raw ingredients and you cook them yourself.

Solid Palm Sugar

I took this picture in The Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. They take the liquid palm sugar from the palm fruit and cook it until it is solid like a sugar cube except all natural.

The History of Food: The Best of the Best: ICE CREAM!

The earliest known form of ice cream was in the Persian Empire when grape juice concentrate was poured on top of snow for a treat when it was hot outside. People have been doing this for centuries. Sorbet is said … Continue reading

The History of Food: Escargot

Ewwwww… escargot. These creatures are a treat for the French, but we think of it as being disgusting. These are snails that have gone through heliculture and have been stuffed back into their shells with garnishes. Years ago, in ancient … Continue reading