Bom Apetite! A Bunch of Brazilian Bites

Since my first visit to Brazil in 2007, it occurred to me that I still didn’t know much about the culinary landscape in that massive country.  Sure, there’s the crowd-pleasing açaí, and the churrascaria that makes you walk at a 90-degree angle after indulging a bit too much, but what else is there?  A second visit to Brazil in 2016, via Manaus to visit Iguazu Falls and Rio de Janeiro, helped me learn just a bit more about the vast Brazilian culinary landscape.

Manaus, Brazil - Cupuaçu Juice
How nice of them to place it in a measuring cup; is that how nutrition labels are done in Brazil?

As I mentioned above, my layover in Manaus – the largest city in the Amazon basin – was not only long, but also from 22:30 ’til about 05:00.  With those hours, and without having visited the city before, I decided to wander around the mostly deserted streets looking for snacks to check off the list.

Finally, I ended up at some casual late-night outdoor cafeteria with a welcome list of tropical fruit juices and shakes.  Though acerola was tempting, it’s rather easy to find added to drinks in Japanese convenience stores.  So, cupuaçusem/não açúcar (without/no sugar, as usual) was the easy choice.

It wasn’t a terribly memorable flavor though.  Somewhat creamy, slightly sweet and sour, but nothing too inspired.  What the heck, Amazon??  Even the Brazilian tap water had more going on.

Next.

Pão de Queijo Manaus Brazil
Pão de Queijo, Manaus Airport, Brazil

Pão de queijo, aka cheese bread, usually made from cassava flour and Minas cheese.

This is by no means an ad for the above chain; it wasn’t good.  However, it’s my only surviving photo of pão de queijo, taken at a time where sleep had been missing from my schedule for nearly 36 hours.

In short, they’re savory.  They’re addictive.  They’re unhealthy.  Demorou! (Heck, yeah!)

No wonder they made it onto the list.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Brigadeiro
Brigadeiros desserts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

BrigadeirosSupposedly, they were created at a time when fresh milk and sugar were hard to come by, so someone decided to mix sweetened condensed milk, butter, and chocolate.  But then, what was in the chocolate?

In any event, these too, are difficult to stop eating.  If they were all mashed together into one giant pie, I wouldn’t have even tried them this time.  Damn their convenient take-away size.

Tapioca Vegetarian Sandwich Açai Shake
Tapioca Vegetarian Sandwich and Açai Shake, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A couple of friends had mentioned that I should check out a casual Rio chain called polis sucos to have a glass of açaí.

After trying it a few times during that trip, I really didn’t take to açaí. The flavor transported me more to the Pacific Northwest of the US – which is usually a good thing for food – than to anywhere tropical, though it was by no means as dull as the cupuaçu.  Also, the tapioca sandwich was grainy and probably has a cousin in sandpaper.

Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil - Churrascaria
Churrascaria (Brazilian All-You-Can-Eat), Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Thankfully, the exchange rate between US dollars and Brazilian reais was still favorable.  Consequently, I had to try one of the all-you-can-eat barbecue places.  In addition to the numerous cuts/types of meat, they also had some Lebanese/Syrian and Japanese items, likely due A) to the influences on Brazil by immigrants from those countries, and B) to common places of origin of tourists.  The drink is cashew apple juice.


Do you think a comida foi na moral (the food was better than expected)? What would you try?

Kvint Brandy, Transnistria’s Most Popular Culinary Export

Sadly, Transnistria has been in the news lately vis-a-vis the heart-wrenching conflict in Ukraine. I’ve written this post simply to introduce to you Transnistria’s chief export, Kvint brandy, which is so popular that it even makes an appearance on their currency.

While traveling through Eastern Europe a few years ago, I ended up in Chisinau (or Kishinev), the capital of Moldova.  It’s a small but busy city in the former Soviet republic, in which Romanian and Russian are the principal languages– Romanian due to its ethnic and historical ties to the region of Bessarabia, and Russian for its annexation by the Soviet Union.

Using Chisinau as my base, I looked in to possible day trips; after a brief search, one particularly unique locale popped up: Transnistria.

It was an anachronistic trip to Transnistria’s capital, Tiraspol, given the Soviet-era monuments and buildings, but this is a blog about food and drink, right?  Indeed…and it’s time to introduce Transnistria’s most famous culinary export, Kvint brandy.

KVINT -an acronym which translates to “divins, wines, and beverages of Tiraspol” – was founded in 1897 as Moldovan producer of wine and vodka.  Divin is an abbreviated way of saying brandy (from the Romanian phrase “distilat de vin), with a pun taken from the Romanian word divin signifying “divine” or “marvelous.”

KVINT introduced brandy to its collection in 1938, and has since formed quite the formidable presence in Transnistria, accounting for 4-5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP)!

The company is now owned by a local conglomerate called Sheriff, which runs everything from supermarkets to the recently successful football club Sheriff Tiraspol.

To show its national appreciation to KVINT, I guess, the central Transnistrian bank added its headquarters to the back of its 5-ruble banknote:

To add a personal anecdote to the backgrounder, when I first made it to Tiraspol, I went to a Sheriff market looking for a bottle, having been tipped off to the brandy from a nice hotel worker in Chisinau.

Long story short, a few older women chuckled at me as I wandered the streets of the Transnistrian capital, brandy in one hand, camera in the other.

Four Eats – and One Beer – in Antwerp, Belgium (VIDEO)

Since my last visit to Belgium was in 2007, I figured that it was time to go back to the land of fries, chocolate, and although I rarely drink it, beer.

antwerp belgium train station facade
Antwerp Train Station, Belgium: Very Cool Façade

With just a couple of days in Antwerp — home of a beautiful train station, massive diamond trading, and court portrait artist Anthony Van Dyck — I had to make tracks in my food quest.

How many stone do I weigh now? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Belgium once again proved that its chocolate, fries, and beer are a dangerous trifecta too good not to want to try.

Need proof?

Maple Water (Latvia)

I do love the flavor of maple. Freshly poured as a syrup on pancakes or pain perdu, or as maple taffy, butter, or even maple sugar. The aroma of maple syrup is equally tantalizing, though I have been fooled once before. An Amman, Jordan bakery got the best of me when they used fenugreek in a dessert; apparently, when fenugreek is processed in large quantities, a compound called solotone is released, emitting a maple-like scent.

To make syrup and other byproducts of sap from the maple tree, it’s not only laborious, but it also happens for a short time during the year. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the best time to tap that sap — that sounds naughty — is when temperatures drop below freezing during the nighttime, and then rise to the 40s in the daytime. Even then, an average of 40-60 gallons of sap creates just one gallon of maple syrup! No wonder the price point for the real stuff is high.

However, if you’re in the camp that finds maple syrup too sweet, but still want the maple flavor, Latvia might have a solution: maple water. For a suggestion of where to get it, visit the Central Market of Riga, the capital of Latvia, and home to a rather anachronistic set of buildings:

riga latvia central market
The former German zeppelin hangars of the Riga Central Market, Latvia

Built in the 1920s, Riga Central Market’s giant structures first housed German zeppelins, or airships. By the 1930s, they had formed one of Europe’s busiest and largest retail markets, only briefly stopping to serve the public during Nazi occupation in World War II. Although the pandemic seemed to have quieted much of hubbub, fortunately, I was able to locate maple water (kļavu sula in Latvian) this time.

maple water bottle riga
A bottle of home-tapped maple water, Riga Central Market, Latvia

Per Sig, maple water is the maple tree sap in its rawest form, consisting of ~98% water; only after boiling it do you get the much more well-known maple syrup. Consequently, the vendor told me that it should be consumed within two days of opening, as it has a very short shelf life.

Health benefits of maple water include significant amounts of antioxidants, polyphenols, and electrolytes, but it’s also a diuretic, so you may not want to chug it before an operation, or at a sporting event.

Adjaruli Khachapuri, aka Georgia’s Bread Boat, and Tarragon Soda

Often translated as “cottage cheese bread,” khachapuri might be the most well-known home-grown meal in Georgia. Though many regional varieties of khachapuri exist — one Georgian site estimates no less than 53 types throughout the country — one version in particular has claimed my heart, and not only for its unhealthiness.

mountains batumi marina
A view of the Batumi marina with Mtirala National Park in the background

In the western Georgia city of Batumi, the mountains of Mtirala National Park provide a spectacular contrast to the calm Black Sea, newfangled and bizarre apartment complexes overshadow their older, dilapidated counterparts, and bread boats are a dime a dozen.

I’m talking about Adjaruli khachapuri.

adjaruli khachapuri cheese bread
A plate of Adjaruli khachapuri at Porto Franco restaurant in Batumi, Georgia

Hugging the Black Sea coast is the region of Adjara, of which Batumi is the capital and largest city. Due to its littoral location, Adjara’s most famous khachapuri comes to us in the shape of a boat; I always thought it resembled a kayak, with the irony being that after you eat it, you won’t be able to fit in  a kayak.

Sulguni, a briny cow’s cheese, eggs and, of all things butter combine make the “passenger seat” of the boat an exceedingly delicious one, yet also one that all too easily erupts. According to the BBC, the egg is supposed to represent the sun, and the cheese, the Black Sea.

Given that Adjaruli khachapuri was one of many, many dishes on my must-eat-in-its-native-habitat list, I further added to the craziness by having it with a bottle of tarragon soda. Although tarragon originally hails from Siberia, it has been a popular ingredient – and soda flavor – in Georgia for decades.

And now, here’s the video for part 2 in the Georgia food series:

A Very Brief Introduction to Food in Chinatown

Some of my favorite neighborhoods in any city are the Chinatowns.  Since childhood, not only have I been curious about the Chinese characters, but also the grocery stores, wet markets, and traditional Chinese medicine dispensaries.

Even though I’ve spent a significant time in China and Hong Kong, I still get a kick out of how easily one can find certain products a short train ride away.  So, here’s your crash course on some staples – and specialties – that might be at a Chinatown near you.

Chinese dates
A Pile of Chinese Dates, Changsha, China

Jujubes/Red Dates (红枣/hóng​zǎo)- I can’t get enough of them…the dried version, that is.  In fact, I rarely saw the fresh kind, but the dried is a nice snack, not so much if you forget that there’s a pit inside.  In China, jujubes can also be found in soups, milk and yoghurt, the latter two styles being frequent cravings of mine.  They often hail from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.   Slightly smoky, somewhat sweet and nothing like the Deglet Noors and Medjools commonly seen in the US.

supermarket jellyfish
Jellyfish for Sale, Supermarket, China

Jellyfish (海蜇/hǎi​zhé)- This is the edible variety; in other words, steer clear of the 水母 (shuǐ​mǔ)!

I’ve only eaten jellyfish a couple of times, with the first being somewhere in Manhattan in the late 90s.  It was colored orange, and you could slurp the tentacles much more skillfully than spaghetti.  Unusual texture to be sure…salty lanyard, maybe?

salted eggs
Chinese Salted Eggs, China

Salted Duck Eggs (咸蛋/xiándàn)- Looks like I was taken to one of those scam-riddled gem shops, doesn’t it?  Probably not.  Even worse, it’s a bunch of preserved duck eggs packed in moist, salted charcoal.  Because that’s a thing now.  If this hasn’t already whetted your appetite, you’ll find that the egg has become gelatinous and holds a firm, bright yolk, perfect for representing the moon.  In mooncakes.  Nasty, but only when when a salted duck egg rears its unwelcome self in the middle of one filled with taro or coconut.

Which reminds me, I’ve eaten a slew of possibly unusual foods, but a durian mooncake stuffed with a salted duck egg sounds like the edible equivalent of eating sashimi on the banks of the Ganges.

supermarket kelp
Two Types of Kelp, Chinese Supermarket

Kelp/Brown Algae (海藻/hǎi​zǎo)- more and more, I’m seeing this in health food stores, and it’s likely due to kelp’s high iodine content.  In other words, it’s possibly beneficial to your thyroid.  In other words, good for metabolism, hair and skin.  Which is to say, in ten years, this will probably be disproved, but most importantly, kelp wouldn’t know that.

turtle shells market
Turtles and Turtle Shells for Sale, Yueyang, China

Turtles (龟/guī)- A symbol of longevity, but that’s history.  Just like the turtles that used to be in those shells.  So it could then be a picture of a 鳖 (biē), a soft-shelled turtle.

Turtle shells were used historically in China to predict the future; the carapace (shell) would be heated, with the resultant cracks being interpreted by fortune tellers.  Furthermore, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM/中药/zhōngyào ), the shells are used to “tonify” the kidneys and liver.

lotus pods seeds
Lotus Seeds, Chinese Street Food, Wuhan, China

Lotus seeds (莲子/lián​zǐ)- it’s a bonus photo, because I only found these on the street.  Seasonal yet plentiful, lackluster yet crunchy and generally not worth the small effort needed to be enjoyed.  Cheap though, and could tide you over until your next kelp turtle sandwich.  All you have to do is visit a city park and start picking away at the lotus pods.


See anything you like?

Exploring Indigenous Mexican Drinks: Tejate and Pozontle

As much as I trumpet Mexican food, I don’t often write about Mexico’s drinks.  Specifically, given the biodiversity and varied topography throughout the country, I’m also curious about what everyone was drinking before the conquistadors.

On the topic of indigenous and Prehispanic beverages, let’s look at a couple – tejate, and pozontle – which both originate in the present-day state of Oaxaca.

tejate drink Oaxaca market
Woman Preparing Tejate in Oaxaca, Mexico

Yes, tejate, the first of today’s two Pre-Columbian (before Christopher Columbus) drinks, is often seen in vats at markets and bazaars in Oaxaca.  Centuries before the Aztecs, the Zapotec peoples  – mostly the upper class  – of what is now the state of were enjoying tejate.  Its ingredients include water, toasted corn, pixtle (ground roasted mamey pits; incidentally, pitztli means bone or seed in the Aztec language Nahuatl), fermented cacao beans, and cacao flowers.  The cacao was most likely introduced to Oaxaca from Chiapas state in Mexico through early bartering.

Generally, tejate is served in a bowl made of jícara, an inedible fruit from the calabash tree:

mexican jicara tree
The Jícara Tree, Valladolid, Mexico

I consider tejate a light and very frothy drink, a bit bitter and not too sweet.  Though there are indeed, differences in flavors, I had a similar opinion regarding the less well-known pre-Hispanic Oaxacan beverage, pozontle.

pozontle vendor oaxaca
A Glass of Pozontle in Oaxaca, Mexico

On a visit to a random market in Oaxaca, I stumbled upon La Pozontoleria, a small kiosk serving up this foamy and slightly sweet “shake” more easily found at rural wedding ceremonies, baptisms, and during the Day of the Dead in traditional hillside Oaxacan pueblos (towns).

Pozontle’s four more recognizable ingredients are water, panela (unrefined cane sugar), and ground specks of cacao and corn.  The cacao and corn are rolled into little spheres, which are then dissolved in panela water.  The fifth ingredient, called cocolmécatl, is a vine in the Smilax genus that when ground, causes the rest of the pozontle mixture to foam.


Many of us might be quite familiar with Mexican dishes.  But when it comes to Prehispanic drinks, that’s an entirely different world equally worth discovering.

Ski Inn: The Lowest Bar in the Western Hemisphere?

A few years ago, I took a weekend trip to Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea, in Southern California’s Imperial County.

The Salton Sea was formed in 1905 from the spillover of a badly planned state irrigation system, and quickly became a weekend getaway from SoCal residents.  With a growing population, farming activity greatly increased in the region.  By the 1970s, however, agricultural pesticides and other chemicals contributed to the demise of the man-made Salton Sea, creating an incredibly saline – and dystopian – point of interest.

Scattered Fish Skeletons Form Today’s Bombay Beach Coastline of the Salton Sea

In addition to being on the coast of the United States’ own Aral Sea, Bombay Beach, in the former “Winter Tomato Capital of the World” of Niland, California just so happens to house another unusual claim-to-fame: the Ski Inn.

Sign at the Ski Inn, Niland, California

The Ski Inn – named for water skiing in the heydays of the Salton Sea -opened in the 1950s, and bills itself as the “lowest bar in the Western Hemisphere.”  Unless a bar opens up in Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, the Ski Inn, at 223 feet below sea level, might actually own that record.

It’s one of the last remaining vestiges of the once prosperous Salton Sea resort area, and has an unusual collection of dollar bills taped around nearly the whole interior of the bar.

If you’re ever in the area, you’ll be glad the Ski Inn is still open.  Shops and their hours of operation are limited, so go on in, pay the friendly folks a visit, and grab a burger and a brewskie.  Directions are here.

My Top Tastes of Twenty-Twenty One (Sorry, 2021)

We’re nearing end of the Ugo Boncompagni calendar, which means I will be sharing my favorite meals of the 2021.  Though 2020 understandably didn’t get much love in terms of culinary travel, 2021 flipped that pandemic fear around a full 180°.

Without further ado, let’s go eating around the world – fine, two continents – and discover the best of 2021.

Sopa de Lima, Jugo de Chaya, Sikil P’aak, Ix Cat Ik, Tradicional Cocina Maya-Valladolid, Mexico

Ix Cat Ik, Valladolid, Mexico

You might be thinking, he’s talking about the soup.  He loved the soup.

Actually, whereas the sopa de lima – Yucatan lime soup, and jugo de chaya – a Yucatan variety of spinach – were good, the star of the show was the sikil p’aak, a pumpkin seed and habanero salsa.  Both the pumpkin seeds – pepitas – and habaneros were roasted, and mixed with fresh tomatoes and chives from the restaurant’s garden.

I had a lot of salsa this year, but this one might be the winner.  Fortunately, tens of other salsas are all tied for second.

Aguachile, Tlaquebagre, Tlaquepaque, Mexico

Tlaquebagre, in Tlaquepaque, Mexico

From the city of Guadalajara, I took the metro to its satellite city of Tlaquepaque, hoping to see its famous upside-down umbrellas.  Nope, sorry, not this time.

However, the day trip wasn’t a complete loss, as I had stumbled across a real hole-in-the-wall by the name of Tlaquebagre.

Seafood was the name of the game, and I was craving shrimp.  I ordered an aguachile – “chili water” – a Mexican dish in which shrimp is prepared with lime juice and serrano or chiltepin chilies, and served immediately.  Add in avocadoes and red onions, and you’ve got yourself a delectable puddle of briny heat.

Seafood Picnic, Mc-Fisher, La Paz, Mexico

Mc-Fisher in La Paz, Mexico

Eating seafood on the beach in Mexico.  Yep.  And I’d do that all day long…eat seafood, that is.

Mc-Fisher, unusual name notwithstanding, was something else–  Stingray soup, octopus with melted cheese tacos, marlin tacos, a taco with all three of those ocean dwellers, SHRIMP and beans.  My only complaint was that the tortillas were meh, but I was pretty sure that the rest of the country could make up for that.

If you want good seafood, you want Mc-Fisher.

Smoked Salmon and Sweet Potato Tots, Calumet Fisheries, Chicago, USA

Over the summer, I had a long layover in Chicago.  Having already tried the adopted Chicagoland favorites –  deep dish pizza, hot dogs without ketchup, and my pick, giardiniera – I looked up hyperlocal spots.

Enter, Calumet Fisheries.

All the way in South Chicago, Calumet Fisheries opened in 1948, and became known for smoking fish on oak logs, in a smokehouse adjacent to their shop.

An order of sweet potato tots complimented the deliciously smoky, melt-in-your-mouth hunk of salmon that I ended up eating as if it were an apple.  It needed no extra flavoring, and would be most welcome as a Christmas gift sent directly to my plate.

Eggplant Tostada and Mixed Seafood Tostada, Contramar, Mexico City, Mexico

Contramar, Mexico City, Mexico

Don’t get me wrong, that mixed seafood tostada on the right was a treat.  It’s Contramar, after all, one of the more well-known seafood restaurants in Mexico City.

But I must say that their eggplant tostada – tostada de berenjena – was my vegetable dish of the year.  Or, berry dish?
It was buttery, yet you could still discern the mild sweetness of the eggplant.  Specifically, I ordered it since I seldom notice eggplant on menus in Mexico.  If Contramar, or any other Mexican eatery would do a grilled eggplant/meat combo, that would likely be on my list for 2022.

Eggplant, Shrimp and Ricotta Pizza, Broadway Pizza, White Plains, New York, United States

Broadway Pizza, North White Plains, United States

Shrimp on a pizza, what in tarnation???

(On closer inspection, there’s no meat on this list.  That has to change.)

The cashier said they don’t “normally allow shrimp as an add-on,” so I reminded me that they worked on tips.  A fistful of dollars later, and I had my slice of the year– breaded eggplant, shrimp, and ricotta cheese.

Next time, I will see if they could put all of that stuff in a calzone.

Flaky Buttery Excellence?, Blé sucré, Paris, France

Blé sucré, Paris, France

It’s my first time in Paris in 23 years, what am I going to eat?

Cheese, butter, and pastries, obvi.

Hey Paris, where’s “the best” pain au chocolat?  Hard to say, but Blé sucré is one recommendation.

So, I take my walk to the 12th arrondissement – district – and queue up for my first ever Parisian pain au chocolat.

Sold out.

However, as I stared at the empty space where that would have been, a baker whips out a tray of something even more tantalizing (in the photo, on the left).  I don’t know the name of it – perhaps you could help out – but it was a flaky, buttery, frangipane-filled viennoiserie.

Was there a more decadent dessert eaten in 2021?  Perhaps.  Was that decadent dessert more delicious?  It’s not on this list, now is it?


What were your top meals of 2021?

Can I Eat It? Language Oddities in the Food World, Part 1

As much as I love eating food, I also like to learn where things in the culinary world come from, and even the etymology of ingredients.

Of course, there are a number of edibles in every language that stand out, and I’m not referring to their taste or health benefits.  I’m talking about the food’s name, and how similar it can be to a subject completely unrelated to the food world.

You know, the homophones – words sounding alike, homographs – words written alike – and homonyms, which encompass the two.

Other languages will follow in a later post, but for today, I will focus on a few standouts from English.

Mother

Here’s a good time to ask “what’s in a name?”

To make apple cider vinegar, yeast is added to apple juice, which begets the breakdown of sugars, turning them into alcohol.  Thereafter, certain bacteria are added, to convert the alcohol into acetic acid, eventually becoming vinegar (acetum is Latin for “vinegar.”)

Some believe that it is the bacteria – which causes the vinegar to be fermented – to be reason the term mother was adopted.  Others say that the mother is the cloudy sediment in unpasteurized vinegar which wasn’t fully fermented.  That latter story is backed up by the Middle Dutch word modder, referring to “dregs and lees.”

No matter which – ehem – old wives’ tale you believe, the mother is purportedly the healthiest part of vinegar, containing a greater concentration of probiotics to promote a healthier digestive tract.

Rye/Wry

Rye Field (Photo by Andrea Stöckel)

How do you go from rye, a cereal grass popular in delis across the US, to wry, an expression of disgust or disappointment?

Simple: when they’re out of pastrami.

Bread/Dough

In Turkish, ekmekistan means “land of bread”

Exercise equipment can be expensive.  To all of those in the anti-carbs bloc, would your opinion change if you had a lot of dough?  How about a lot of bread?

Consider that decades ago, there weren’t nearly as many choices for eats are there are now.  Bread was more of a necessity for survival.  Thus, having bread meant having money.

Pea/Pea Coat (and no, not that other similar-sound word)

Source: https://www.heddels.com/2015/12/the-history-of-the-peacoat-from-navy-to-normalcy/

Peas, the oft-derided legume of many a Western childhoods, haven’t gotten a break even in many folks’ adulthood.  (Pea ice cream, pea protein powder, pea…salmon?)  I’m a fan of peas – particularly those from Nando’s – but admittedly I look askance when they try to invade my frozen desserts.

Still, why did the pea coat borrow that word?  Another easy one.  The Dutch invented the pea coat in the 1800s, when they had one of the world’s strongest navies.  The Dutch word, pije (the “j” sounds like the “y” in yes), refers to a coat made of coarse wool fabric.

Ham Radio

Radio (Photo by Wellford Tiller)

An amateur radio operator is called a ham.  Why?  I’ve got a tricky – and perhaps disingenuous – answer for you.

According to this ham radio fanpage, it stems from a group of three radiophiles – whose last initials spelled out HAM -at Harvard in 1908.  More likely, it comes from clumsy telephone operators being called “ham-handed” in the late 1800s, soon after the telephone was invented.  Still another possibility was the British English pronunciation of amateur, which sounded more like “hamateur” to US English speakers.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Did you know that apples originate from present-day Kazakhstan? (Photo taken in Almaty, Kazakhstan)

This phrase doesn’t include a homonym; rather, it’s more of a euphemism.

Though reports of the phrase “how do you like them apples?” date back to at least 1895 – in that case, the reporter was gloating that one particular cotton vendor outsold every other – the phrase was popularized during World War I used mockingly to demonstrate levity. German troops fashioned grenades and mortar shells out of apple and plum tin cans, which led to US and British soldiers calling those improvised devices “toffee apples” and “plum pudding.”


There are certainly many more examples , but these were the first ones that came to mind.

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