Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sancho on "eating alone"

From Laudator Temporis Acti, one of my favorite blogs.

Cervantes, Don Quixote, Part I, Chap. XI (tr. Walter Starkie):

"Many thanks for your favor," replied Sancho, "but I must tell your worship that provided I have plenty to eat, I can eat as well and better on my feet and by my lonesome than if I was perched up on a level with an emperor.

To tell you the honest truth, what I eat in my own corner without fuss and frills tastes far better, though it's nought but bread and onion, than turkey at tables where I have to chew slowly, drink but a sip, wipe my mouth often, neither sneeze nor cough even when I'm dying to do so, nor do other things that a man is free to do when he's alone."

I leave to your imagination what other things a man is free to do when he is dining alone. Bread and onion are proverbially the diet of the impoverished.

Spanish proverbs referring to the two foods eaten together include the rhyming "A falta de polla, pan y cebolla" ("In the absence of chicken, bread and onion") and "Contigo pan y cebolla" ("With thee, bread and onion," i.e. "Provided that you are by my side, bread and onion are enough").

Of course, in my case eating alone is usually shredded wheat and bananas, though I have been dutifully gnawing away at the remains of our Thanksgiving turkey. Hannah informed me it would become "Danger Turkey" by tomorrow so I'm looking forward to throwing the rest of it to the crows.



At 4:40 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

You brought to mind : ''A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou beside me...'' I prefer the bread and wine combo to the bread and onion teaming., I am hungry for a sandwich. We didn't have turkey this Thanksgiving...My daughter made a chicken and barbequed ribs !!! We had leftovers, too.

At 10:16 PM, Anonymous sylvia said...

Two more great dichos for the collection. Don Quixote was one of my father's all-time favorite books. I think it might be time for a re-read. Thank you so much for posting the quote, it's really quite lovely.


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