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The Daily Bite, April 2011

Archaeologists uncover the remains of a prehistoric transgender male. Kate and Will get hitched. MiNDFOOD reports.

The Daily Bite, April 2011

28.04.11

As royal wedding fever reaches new heights, stories detailing the lengths people are prepared to go to to catch a glimpse of Kate and Will on their special day are starting to emerge. And although John Loughrey proved his worth as a top-notch monarchical fan by camping outside Westminster Abbey a full five days prior to the big day, I don’t think anyone can argue that the prize for the most committed supported goes to Estibalis Chavez.

The 19 year old Mexican royalist has hit the headlines of late for a number of reasons. First, there was the 16 day hunger strike she completed on the steps of the British embassy in Mexico City back in February, which came to an end when Octavio Fitch Lazo finally bought her a ticket to London. Extreme, yes, but a success story for the girl, nonetheless, who happily boarded her plane earlier this week.

British immigration, however, had other plans for Estibalis. Commitment to the royal family aside, the Mexican teenager arrived in London with nothing: no money, and no accommodation plans, leaving immigration officials with no choice but to turn her away.

Now in Madrid, and with only one day left until Kate and Will exchange their first wedded kiss, Estibalis remains hopeful she will make it to London. Let’s just hope she doesn’t have to further starve herself in order to get there.

20.04.11

From what I hear, most men suffer a reasonable amount of pre-wedding nerves prior to their big day. It’s only natural. Most grooms, however, do not have the added pressure of the British Press to contend with.

Imagine waking up, one week before your wedding, only to discover that most women (one in ten, according to a poll of 2,000 people conducted by YouGov) do not, in fact, want to be your wife. It can’t have done much for Prince William’s ego, let alone his nerves, that’s for sure.

To add insult to injury, of the one in ten giddy ladies openly envious of the future Mrs Windsor, only 20 per cent admit their envy boils down to having a Prince for a husband, the majority pining after the money that comes with the man.

But it’s not all bad. An admirable 28 per cent of those surveyed would turn the Prince down due to the public scrutiny and media attention Kate will continue to endure. I just wonder if those 28 per cent would also mind the public scrutiny and media attention that comes with being married to, say, George Clooney? Answers on the back of a post card please.

Lizzy Wood

18.04.11

Being in the publishing game, we’re used to the pressure of print deadlines, not to mention the excitement of seeing your finished product: there’s no sweeter feeling than holding in your hands the tangible result of all that hard work. Bearing this in mind, it’s also easy for us to imagine the pain felt by the United States Postal Service, who recently discovered their most school boy of errors.

Having sent to print three billion copies of a new postage stamp bearing an image of the Statue of Liberty – perhaps New York’s most illustrative icon – Reuters reports it wasn’t long before a stamp collector approached them with a seemingly strange question.

Was it intentional, the collector enquired, for the stamp to feature not the famous statue in New York Harbour, gifted to the nation by the people of France, but the somewhat less famed replica positioned outside a Las Vegas casino and made of Styrofoam and fiberglass?

“We certainly regret having made the error” Roy Betts, a spokesman on behalf of USPS confirmed.

Regret, however, is far from the minds of MGM Resorts International, who own the New York-New York venue promoted in the stamps. After all, it seems their marketing budget will go a little further this year.

Lizzy Wood

15.04.11

During my youth, I spent several years as a vegetarian (notably not a vegan – I didn’t have the will power). Put off meat by an unfortunate dinner of what at least looked like baby rabbit’s feet, I spent the next few years enjoying plenty of tasty, not to mention healthy, recipes cooked up by my mother.

What I didn’t enjoy about being a vegetarian, and potentially one of the reasons I no longer am one, was the plentiful supply of food pretending to be meat. Vegetarian sausages, for example. Vege-burgers were just as bad and, worst of all, vegetarian bacon. Crikey, those were desperate times.

I used to believe, and still do, that if you choose to be a vegetarian, you should not try and replace meat with, well, something that looks (but very definitely does not taste) like meat. What’s the point? Just cook something incredibly delicious, such as this amazing looking eggplant burger. I can guarantee it’ll taste a darn site better.

I digress.

What reminded me of my exploration into vegetarianism was a story posted yesterday on QuarryGirl, where it was revealed that VegNews, reputedly America’s premier vegetarian lifestyle brand – has, on occasion, used stock photos of meat dishes to represent plant based alternatives. Embarrassing, to say the least.

The fact that, up until now, no one noticed, leads me to think, however, that the quality of vegetarian produce replicating meat has somewhat increased in the past decade. Believe me when I tell you there is no way you would have mistaken the vege-bacon of my youth for the real thing.

Lizzy Wood

14.04.11

Imagine being one of only two people left on the planet who speak the same language (this may sound somewhat fantastical, but please bear with me). Now imagine that person deciding not to speak to you. Suddenly you’re left alone in the world, trapped, with no means of communication.

But the stuff of fantasies this is not. It seems tempers in Tabasco, a southern state of Mexico and home to Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez, are just as firey as the sauce.

The language of Ayapaneco has been spoken in Tabasco for centuries, and has survived its fair share of history, overcoming as it has wars, floods and famines. However, just like the DoDo before it, it seems this illusive language is destined for extinction, as the only two people left who can speak it fluently refuse to talk to each other. Apparently, “they don’t have a lot in common”.

Which leaves anthropologists with something of a rush on their hands to reignite enthusiasm for Ayapaneco and document the language in the form of a dictionary. A task made harder by the fact that neither man agrees on a single version of the language, which no doubt hinders their relationship even more.

13.04.11

Being British, there are many things that please me about living in Australia. One in particular is the fact that Australia is home to The Happiness Institute: a group of no doubt unendingly happy people who simply aim to teach as many people as possible to be happy. As they say, life’s too short not to be happy.

But it seems my home land has caught on to the fact that several thousand people are fleeing its shores every year, and has launched its own quest for happiness. And I, for one, could not be more thrilled (although don’t get me wrong, you won’t see me packing my bags any time soon).

Action for Happiness, which launched this week, encourages meditation, hugging, and random acts of kindness. You may be surprised to learn, too, that the group is not being led by tree-hugging hippies. Rather, it comprises eminent economists, politicians and academics. Even David Cameron, PM, has pledged his support, stating “it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general wellbeing”.

But in a country blaming its unhappiness on economic depression, it’s interesting to note that history shows us money can’t buy happiness, with levels of wellbeing in the UK and US remaining static over the last 60 years, despite escalating bank balances.

Instead of money, Action for Happiness is looking to touch as the answer. In a world driven by technology, we are starved of human contact “Young people and people who work remotely don’t have enough contact with other people” Majella Greene, a happiness supporter, was quoted as saying.

I don’t know what makes you happy, but tomorrow, why not give it a go? Hug away.

Lizzy Wood

12.04.11

It’s likely that, on April 29th, the British public will be divided between London, where they will be soaking up the wedding-fuelled atmosphere, and their living rooms, where – along with the rest of the world – they will be transfixed to their TV screens. The nation will stand still as Prince William weds his beautiful bride.

That is to say, most of the nation will stand still.

Because some members of the public remain disillusioned by the impending nuptials (perhaps they should subscribe to this blog in order to garner some enthusiasm). So much so that the campaign group Republic plan to spend the day celebrating their very own ‘Not the Royal Wedding’ party on the streets of Covent Garden. Or they were planning to, up until Monday, when a north London council banned the party from going ahead.

Although Camden council based their decision on  the failure of Republic to provide a management plan or consult residents about their party plans, Republic remain convinced the decision is politically motivated and have confirmed they “will challenge it all the way.”

Fortunately, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stepped in to confirm “there’s nothing in health and safety law to prevent anyone from celebrating the royal wedding”. Given the description of Republic as an “anti-monarchy pressure group”, however, I can’t say I blame the council for pulling the plug.

Lizzy Wood

11.04.11

I’m not (yet) married (my use of brackets implies this event surely will, nay must, take place soon). However, if I ever do get married (and I will, soon), I am certain that I will not be inviting any of my ex boyfriends to the happy event. Not a single one. Come to think of it, nor would I be overly thrilled if, perusing the guest list, I discovered my soon-to-be-husband had invited any of his ex-loves.

Kate Middleton, however, seems to be far more accommodating than me (a reason, perhaps, why she has the ring and I, as yet, do not?), allowing as she has Prince William to send a gold-leafed invitation to not one but all, yes, all of his ex-girlfriends. Amongst others, Jessica Craig, who is rumoured to be Wills’ first true love, will be gracing the lavish wedding, along with Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, whom William is said to have pursued as recently as 2004. Completing the quartet is Arabella Musgrave, who dated William the summer before he went to St Andrews, and William’s first girlfriend Rose Farquhar.

Although this turn of events displays a trust between the two you can’t help but admire, it’s satisfying to learn that Kate, too, has upped the anti, inviting two of her own former flames.

Lizzy Wood

08.04.11

Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the remains of one of the world’s first gay (or transgender) men. And it wasn’t down to the clothes he wore. No, this conclusion has been drawn based on the way the prehistoric man was buried.

The body in question – estimated to be around 2,900 and 2,500 years old – was uncovered lying on his side, facing east – a position typically reserved for women, with men being buried facing west. (I’ll be telling the Village People to revise their lyrics).

To add further fuel to the fire, the body was buried alongside objects considered somewhat effeminate, including domestic jugs — at odds with the much more manly and rugged stone battle axes and flint knives archeologists were expecting to find.

“From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously, so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake,” lead archaeologist Kamila Remisova Vesinova told the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

Although some remain unconvinced by these assumptions, one thing’s for sure: I’ll make sure my partner goes to his grave with a lawn mower and a six-pack, rather than an iron and an apron.

– Lizzy Wood

08.04.11

A good few years ago – ten, to be precise – I stood in a Church (it’s a rare occurrence these days, forgive me), and listened to a New York Priest bless my brother’s marriage. Considering how regularly I attend Church, it’s a credit to this gentleman’s speech as to how well I remember what was said. Contentment was the running theme: he prayed that my brother and his wife remain “content” with each other, throughout their marriage. Which, I believe, is as much as anyone can hope for when entering into matrimony in today’s world.

Not so the Church of England, who have today issued a prayer for soon-to-be-weds Kate and William (Middleton and Windsor, if you hadn’t already clocked) to remain faithful to one another. Forgive me, but isn’t it a little early to be predicting infidelity? Perhaps not, given the misdemeanours of Wills’ immediate relatives (Kate’s remain a closed book).

Me, I prefer to follow in the footsteps of my New York Priest and wish upon them contentment, and hope that being faithful is the natural result. 

– Lizzy Wood

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