5 Stunning Gothic Cathedrals

Cathedral of Santa Maria, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca Catedral de Santa María
This sandstone Cathedral is both the pinnacle of Majorcan architecture and an orchestra demonstrating the glory of religious handiwork. It appears like a fortress on the hillside, absolutely glowing with Spanish sun. It was built on the foundations of a Moorish mezquita (mosque) and sports massive external buttresses. The support system’s elegance and practicality lend historians to believe that Catalan master mason Berenguer de Montagut (known to have worked on the Catedral de Manresa and at Santa María del Mar in Barcelona) was summoned for this island cathedral’s construction.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral, England

This Cathedral, built ca. 1337-60, was presumably built by the royal master mason Thomas of Canterbury. It was formally a Benedictine abbey church and the Benedictines residing there were interested in keeping as much of the original building as possible. The master mason used lattice work with vertical and horizontal lines to satisfy the abbey’s wishes, and is, in fact, a continuation of the Decorative style. However, what makes the Gloucester Cathedral special out of Decorative Gothic architecture, is that the motifs were entirely standardised. This style was continued well throughout the 14th century in England because of the architectural possibilities.

Marienkirche LübeckMarienkirche, Lübeck, Germany

Unlike other parts of Europe, the Gothic architecture of Northern Europe, including the Germanic regions, is often structurally more simple, yet colossal. The Marienkirche is no exception. It has bright turquoise towers, menacing in their almost minimalist lack of decoration. The spires are incredibly steep, and the entire floorplan of the building is surprisingly wide. A gorgeous Cathedral with much gold plating, the interior is spectacular, yet without ostentatious architectural decoration.

Milan CathedralMilan Cathedral, Italy

As we all know (pfft!), Milan was the seat of the Lombardi rulers during the Gothic architectural period, and as connoisseurs of the arts, the Lombardis funded the building of gorgeous structures such as the Milan Cathedral. It was built in the late 14th century, around 1387, and sports a double aisle structure that allows for a wider floorplan and the aesthetic depth of multiple rows of columns. There were severe issues in building this Cathedral because of the dimensions and weight distribution necessary for it to be as tall as it was wide. While it was completed in construction in 1572, the final additions of decorations were added in the 19th century. While you can’t see it well from the pictures I provide, I urge you to look at the windows of this structure, especially along the choir and transept. They have organic, Elven-esque patterns that are stunning, even in photographs.

Albi Cathedral

Albi Cathedral, France

Formally known as the Cathedral of Ste.-Cécile, this gorgeous Cathedral (shown above) was built in 1287, and it doesn’t look like much but a large sandy block from the outside. But when you walk inside, one notices the immense amount of handiwork, not to mention architectural splendor of this magnificent construction. While it appears much like a keep from the outside, almost bulky and clumsy, the interior has vast, breathtaking painting and gold lining.

If you’re interested in any of these Gothic pieces, I urge you to go visit them yourself! Of course, not all of us can enjoy this luxury, so consider investing in the book Gothic, by Könemann, for an in-depth look into Gothic architecture, sculpture, and painting. Almost all of the structural information I’ve noted here has been from this book, and it contains breathtaking photographs that cannot be found on the internet.

-A.

 

Photos Courtesy of:

Quirky Victorian Etiquette

First off, my technological problems are solved!! Yippie! Not having a computer for a few days really made me realize how dependant I am on it (even though I like to think I scarcely use it). As always, this thought led me back to thinking about the “olden days” before computers and cell-phones, which led me to thinking once more about one of my favorite topics – Victorian Etiquette (yay for trains of thought!).

Victorian Etiquette has become a modern fixation through movies and books. We are quite familiar with it, but there are also many quirky rules that have captured my attention. Today I’m going to share some of those with you. (Some of these are from the Edwardian Era too…)

Do not beat “the devil’s tattoo” by drumming with your fingers on a table; it cannot fail to annoy everyone within hearing, and it is an index of a vacant mind. (Hill)

As the [married] couple pass out of the front door it is customary for the guests to throw after them, for luck, rice, rose leaves, flowers, old shows, ect. (Green)

A bride does not usually dance at her own wedding, but she may join in a square dance I she chooses (Hall)

It is evident, therefore, that although a man may be ugly, there is no necessity for his being shocking. (Gentlemen)

If you have any defect, so shocking and so ridiculous as to procure you a nickname, then indeed there is but one remedy – to renounce society. (Gentlemen)

No lady worthy any gentleman’s regard will say “no” twice to a suit which she intends ultimately to receive with favor. (Young)

It lies with drivers to keep clear of pedestrians. All persons have a right to walk on the highways at their own pace. Dogs, chickens, and other domestic animals at large on the highway are not pedestrians, and if one is driving at a regulation speed, or under, one is not responsible for their untimely end. (Levitt)

Be careful not to be over-nice, or you will impress people with the idea that your life began in vulgarity, and you are now trying so hard to get away from it, that you rush to the opposite extreme. (Gentleman 2)

Some people prefer children to dogs, principally because a license is not required for the former (Graham)

The skin should be cut off [a banana] with a knife, peeling from the top down, while holding in the hand. Small pieces should be cut or broken off, and taken in the fingers, or they may be cut up and eaten with a fork. (Green)

-C

Bibliography:

Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society by Charles William Day (1843)

A Dictionary of Etiquette by Walter Cox Green (1904)

Social Customs by Florence Howe Hall (1887)

Laws of Etiquette, or Short Rules and Reflections For Conduct in Society by a Gentleman (1836)

Our Deportment by John H. Young (1882)

The Woman and the Car by Dorothy Levitt (1909)

The Perfect Gentleman by A Gentleman (1860)

The Bolster Book by Harry Graham (1910)

A Dictionary of Etiquette by Walter Cox Green (1904)

Photo Credits:

http://mistercrew.com/blog/2010/09/29/victorian-era-style-1872/

http://abedofroses.com/tag/bb-etiquette/

http://www.victoriana.com/bridal/prints/bridalprints.htm

http://www.victoriana.com/Mens-Clothing/mens-clothing-1868.html

http://cottageinthemaking.blogspot.com/2008/11/victorian-childrens-etiquette.html

Euro Sandwiches and Cucumber Wraps

Always the connoisseur of easy and quick, I thought I might provide you with another tasty treat after Sunday’s Chicken Soup. This time, for a light, fast, and economical lunch idea that even the kids will love, I’m going to introduce you to the world of open face sandwiches and cucumber wraps. Prepare to be amazed!

Tartine Open Faced Sandwich

Open faced sandwiches, appropriately nicknamed Euro Sandwiches, are a great way to show off your culinary sophistication in under 6 minutes. I’m going to walk you through the steps to making amazing Euro sandwiches that will leave both your guests and your family asking for more – more – more! Restaurants such as Le Pain Quotidienne sell these on large white plates; you can go casual or formal just by choosing your cutlery.

Firstly, the secret is always good bread. Find a tasty, crunchy-soft ciabatta, reliable French baguette, locally baked loaf, or sour rye. Use Parmesan toast (butter and Parmesan cheese, shredded, then toasted in a broiler) or cherry-hazelnut bread for a more exotic and sophisticated palette.

Secondly, spread the bread with some sort of condiment. Mayonnaise, guacamole, butter, jam, or salsa can all be used based on the nature of your open faced sandwich. Savoury or sweet, don’t be afraid to try sour cherry jam under turkey.

Open Faced Sandwich  But that’s not even all! Next, you’ll want to add some sort of meat. Cold cuts that you use for double-faced sandwiches will do. Turkey and ham are staples that most people will enjoy, and this is a great way to use old chicken.

And then, toppings! A thin slice of cheese, diced tomatoes, cut avocadoes, sliced cucumbers, apple thins, pepper strips, roasted pine fruits, pecans, and even sprouts and chick peas are all acceptable ideas. Match up a dijon with avocado and taste the interesting combination. Or perhaps try hazelnuts with that cherry-turkey combo I suggested.

From there, it’s whatever you make of it! For a more breakfasty style, go with a fluffy white bread (always use one with a stiff crust, since it will need to support the toppings without the help of the upper bread piece Americans are so accustomed to having), a jam with nuts and sour green apples. A dollop of Nutella, anyone?

To accompany your tasty Euro sandwiches, throw together some Cucumber wraps. These simple little vegetable groups can be made of the same ingredients used in your sandwiches, and are perfect for appetizers or colourful sides. Start out by chopping off a large (4-5 inch) slab of cucumber and then cutting it very thinly along the grain, so that you get a stripe of seeds.
Cucumber WrapsNext, fill these thin strips with pieces of vegetables (perhaps even meats!), such as strips of pepper, as demonstrated, avocado, pine fruits, apples, mangoes, more cucumber, sprouts… Add a dollop of peanut butter with a few raisins for picky, confused eaters.

If you’re having trouble getting them to stay in rolled-up form, try removing a few items and then sticking them through with a toothpick. They should stay for a while, and throwing one on a large plate next to a stylish open faced Euro sandwich makes you look like you’ve got the French bistro style down pat! If you used a jam, water it down a bit and spiral a large white plate with the new raspberry sauce, then put your minimalist, light, easy lunch down and amaze your friends! Serve with a cappucino or other beverage.

-A.

Photos Courtesy of:

Sorry!

Hi! So, I’ve been experiencing horrible technician difficulties over the past few days, and wasn’t able to post yesterday. I planned on posting today, but now it appears that my only technological device working is my phone – which is impossible to write a decent post on. I just wanted to let you guys know that I haven’t forgotten and have decided to just continue with my post on Saturday (my tech guy is coming out tomorrow to fix everything). Thank you for your understanding!!
-C

Wagamama Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup

I have done some researching online and it was simply disappointing. This is another one of my die-for recipes, a grandchild of Wagamama’s Chicken Ramen, which I call Asian-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup. So you can combine the names however you’d like, just know that I’m not affiliated officially with Wagamama and if you don’t like it, that’s not my problem. But I’m not quite sure how you couldn’t like it, because it is damn good soup. As in, you will never go back to normal chicken soup again, even when your sinuses drip is making your stomach flop!

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Wagamama Inspired Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 4 packages ramen noodles with spice packets
  • Chicken broth, egregious amounts
  • 8 tsp soy sauce
  • 9 tsp sake
  • 8 tsp mirin (a ricewine vinegar)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • fresh spinach or seasonal greens
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  1. Mix the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar , then coat the chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Grill or sear the chicken breast until it is firm, brushing frequently with the sauce while cooking.
  3. Steam the spinach.
  4. Boil the noodles.
  5. Heat the broth, add 1 tblsp of soy, sake, and mirin.
  6. Arrange cooked noodles in the bowl. Slice the chicken and pour in broth. Add greens, then garnish with peanuts and spring onions.

Asian Chicken Soup Wagamama Chicken Ramen

This is the specific “Wagamama Ramen” that Wagamama differentiates from average chicken ramen in its book “The Way of the Noodle.” (The above chicken soup recipe was altered from one from this book as well. You do the same steps, but it includes more seafood, so I’ll just leave you with the toppings so that you can alter the original recipe if you’d like.

  • Half of a boiled egg.
  • Spinach
  • Naruto Fishcake
  • Prawn
  • Teriyaki chicken
  • Crabstick
  • Deep fried tofu
  • Menma
  • Reconstituted wakame

Enjoy!

-A.

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