Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dumplings, zeppole, and "vegetables"

Yesterday, Gowers was in Princeton to give a fascinating talk about quadratic Fourier analysis, an event that it would be worth reporting on. And on Monday Ahmadinejad was at Columbia to deliver his comic routine, not quite managing to keep a straight face when, asked about the death penalty for homosexuality in Iran, he said "we don't have homosexuals in Iran, I don't know who told you that" (go to 3:40 in the video).

But that's not what I am going to talk about, because I realize I haven't written in a while about the favorite topic of most readers.

Last Sunday I was on my third trip to Chinatown for xiao long bao (above) and it happened to be the last day of the Feast of San Gennaro in nearby Little Italy. San Gennaro is the patron saint of Naples, known for "The Miracle." A vial supposedly containing the dried blood of the saint is kept in the Naples cathedral, and brought out a few times a year, when it usually liquefies during the mass. The phenomenon has been replicated with various substances, but it's unclear what exactly is in the vial.

In New York, the San Gennaro festivities run for nearly two weeks, and close off several blocks of Mulberry street.

Many stands sold zeppole (fried dough), which looked appetizing, if not sanitary. Other stands sold stuff that looked neither appetizing nor sanitary.

Here is the border of Chinatown and Little Italy. Note the "Birra Moretti" umbrellas in front of the store with the yellow awning.

Finally, as an illustration of the difference between the "for all" and the "there exists" quantification, here is an excerpt from the menu of the Indonesian restaurant next to the Birra Moretti place.