Monday, January 30, 2012

Becoming A Casteller

Ever since I first moved to Spain I've fallen in love with the idea of being a Casteller. Castellers, if you don't remember from the post I wrote back in November, are people who build human towers called "castells" (castle in English). The word Casteller itself essentially means castle builder in Catalan. Human castle building is a Catalan tradition, which goes back at least 150 years, where teams called Colles (koy-yahz) stand on each others' shoulders to see how tall and complex the structures that they build can be. I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by them but I think it has something to do with wanting to be involved in an activity that's both physically and mentally challenging while also being uniquely Catalan.

I had first seen a Casteller practice about a year ago with the first real public display during the Diada de Gracia festival (same link as above). One of the groups that build castles that day were the Castellers Del Poble Sec, which is the colle from the neighborhood where I live. I went to join the group back in December and was able to practice with them for only one evening because they break for the holidays. After I returned from Christmas in Philadelphia, I went back during their first practice of the new year full of energy to part of this unique group and activity.

During our three-times-a-week meet-ups, the group practices building different castle configurations. Because I'm a newbie, I'm pretty much limited to being on the ground as part of the base support structure called the "piƱa". On a few occasions, I was part of the tower itself, meaning having people stand on my shoulders, as well as being up on the second level a couple of times (and with someone above me once when I was on the second level). This photo shows us getting the start of the second level in place (I'm off towards the right side with my hands raised):

There's been a few challenges to joining the group. First, almost everything the group says including 95% of the instructions are in Catalan, which I still don't understand very well. I am learning the Casteller vocabulary and instructions fairly quickly and folks have been great about speaking to me in Spanish and/or English to make sure I understand. It's also challenging to "break into" an established group that's been practicing together for some time. Again, the leadership and a bunch of other folks have been super gracious and welcoming. In this photo, three levels are in place and the fourth is on her way up:

It's funny because, while the majority of people are local to Barcelona, there are a handful of people from a bunch of other countries like Canada, the United States, France, and even Pakistan. I guess the desire to be part of the local culture isn't uniquely mine. :-)

I'll write more about my experiences as a Casteller as I learn more and have more chances to interact with the group. So far, it's been a lot of fun to learn something new and to be a part of such a warm and welcoming group.

Friday, January 27, 2012

No Pants Subway Ride

Every day millions and millions of people all over the world take mass transit. They take the bus, trains, and subways to work, school, or to wherever. Pretty much no one thinks anything of it because it's such a part of the daily routine. About a year-and-a-half ago I learned about an improv group in New York that had been shaking up that daily routine a little. The group, Improv Everywhere, who does all sorts of public improvisational activities, picks one day each year when they "invade" the subway to ride with no pants!

Each year it has gotten bigger and bigger, spreading to more and more cities around the world. This year's event took place on January 8th in a record 27 countries with pants-free groups riding metros in 59 different cities, including one in Barcelona. The Barcelona group was organized on facebook and started its "mission" at Plaza Universitat right in front of the Universitat de Barcelona:

After about five minutes of introductions and some general information and advice given, the main group of about 70-100 people broke into two smaller groups and went down into the metro to each go in a different direction. It was funny to watch the reaction of the attendants who work for the TMB wondering why there was such a big group of people all entering at the same time. They definitely looked nervous.

Diana and I followed one group onto the L1 Red Line. Once on the metro and after about three stops, the group stripped down to their underwear. As is their tag line, We Cause Scenes, Improv Everywhere is very vocal that people not go naked as their goal with the whole event is to "cause a scene" and not get arrested. Watching the reactions of the people who just happened to be on the metro that day was priceless.

Improv Everywhere gives a lot of advice on how the mission should be done. Their goal is that the people with no pants blend in with regular commuters, ignore each other, and act like everything is normal. If they're asked where their pants are, the "actors" are told to respond something like "I forgot" or "I'm more comfortable this way". The group in Barcelona wasn't so nonchalant but they still had a great time and people's reactions were the best.

The event took place on Sunday afternoon but the metro was surprisingly crowded. From this angle, it's almost impossible to see that there are about 20 people in their underwear on this car:

The group we were with changed lines a couple of times and made sure to walk through the longest interchanges possible while in their chones. Again, the best part of the day was watching the surprised reactions of the people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I know you're probably asking so, no, Diana and I didn't do the no-pants thing. We just tagged along with the groups and enjoyed the show. I was surprised by my reaction to the spectacle. As much as I wanted to, I was unable to take photos of people in their underwear on the metro. I'm still not sure why. As I've said a bunch of times before, Diana, fortunately, has ZERO fear of doing anything so she took the majority of photos that you see here.

There were a few notable "actors" that day with this guy "winning" best costume for his carrying a large painting with him everywhere he went and for playing the whole nonchalant role very well:

No matter what, Improv Everywhere has definitely put their spin on the day-to-day commute. If you get a chance, check out some of their other missions. They do some great stuff like Black Tie Beach, The Mute Button, and, probably my favorite, Star Wars Subway Car. Who knows, maybe next year I'll go all in and do the no-pants thing. Or maybe mix it up and go as a no-pants Darth Vader or something. I don't know. I guess we'll see.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rosca De Reyes

The final part of the whole Three Kings (multi) Day celebration was going to share a Rosca (or Roscon) de Reyes with friends. It was my job to bring the rosca to the party and this is the one that I bought:

The rosca, called a Tortell de Reis in Catalan, is a traditional, round bread-like cake that has candied fruit on top. It's eaten with family and/or friends to celebrate Three Kings Day. Since it's also a tradition in Latin America, I've have eaten it before back when I lived in both Mexico and in California.

There are two special treats hidden inside each Rosca. The first is some sort of item that represents the baby Jesus. I've seen mini Christmas trees, small baby statues, and even a little plastic baby bottle. The second item is a dried fava bean. Fava beans are probably best known by Americans for their being a part of one of Hannibal Lecter's favorite meals.

The rosca is cut into slices so that everyone has an opportunity to find a prize. Leiris did the slicing honors this year:

As it's an honor to get one of the two hidden surprises, I've seen two different approaches that seem to be popular when picking a slice. The first is the "oh-I-haven't-eaten-carbs-since-grade-school-so-please-give-me-a-little-piece" option and the second is "it's-a-holiday-and-I-love-me-a-tradition-so-give-me-a-huge-slice" option. This is Victor going with the latter:

So what's up with the Cracker Jack-style surprise, you ask? Well, in Spain, the person who finds the baby Jesus becomes the king or queen of the party and gets to wear the Burger-King-inspired crown that comes with the rosca. The tradition in Mexico says that the person who finds the baby Jesus has to prepare a feast for everyone else who they ate the rosca with. The person who finds the bean, on the other hand, has to pay for the cake. I'm not really sure who found the bean but I "ended up with it" since I had already brought the cake.

I didn't get to wear the crown this year but I know my luck will be better next time. Here's this year's Three Kings queen, Elisabeth, wearing her crown and showing off her prize:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Barcelona Three Kings Day Parade

As I wrote in my last story, Three Kings Day is the celebration of the Epiphany here in Spain. The day celebrates when the three wise men came to give gifts to the baby Jesus. These days, for many people in Spain, it's a holiday that's shared with family and when kids receive their "Christmas" presents. If you'd like a little more background, you can go back and read that story.

Even though I'd had left my shoes outside the night before, there were no presents for me when I woke up. I guess I'm lucky though since I didn't get coal either. It allows me to believe, no, hope that, because I'm still relatively new in Spain, that the kings "just forgot" me this year. Other than the not-so-great start, the rest of the day was great. Our friends Carol and Juan came over with their kids to have dinner with us, which was a lot of fun. After dinner, we walked about five blocks to watch the big city-wide Three Kings Day parade.

The parade was similar in theme to the Poble Sec one that we went to the night before but, being the official city-wide one, everything was bigger and more deluxe. The kings came back for an encore performance but this time, their rides were even more spectacular:

The parade had a feel sort of like something out of a mini Cirque du Soleil with lots of fantasy-style costumes and complex equipment designs. It was at the same time very unusual and very cool. These are African drummers who are being pushed down the street on tall carts while they play:

There were a few different groups that had objects raised up high on long sticks. In this case, it was a flock of birds that "flew around" as the people walked along. A bit surreal...

I mentioned the overly complex machinery that seemed like something that an aspire-to-be Cirque du Soleil designer came up. Some of the floats were built on top of buses that had had their roofs removed and others were built on semi-trailer flatbeds. This float had a fairy character who was suspended about 20 feet out in front of the main vehicle, which was a very-large industrial cherry picker:

One thing that I forgot to mention in the last story is that every group and float that goes by throws candy out to the people who are watching the parade. The goal is to scramble and grab as much candy as you can just like someone beat open a pinata. The big difference with this version is that you're trying to scramble for candy among parade floats the size of buses, horses pulling carriages, and about a million people competing with you. Yeah, a bit scary...but...some person who's much smarter than me came up with the idea to mount catapults on top of some of the floats. With the catapults, the candy-distribution folks can launch candy way back into the crowd away from the dangers in the street. Unfortunately, there's a small risk of loosing an eye but who cares! It's fun!!!

There are a lot of similarities between how Christmas is celebrated in the United States and how Three Kings Day is celebrated in Spain. As in the Christmas carol Santa Claus is Coming to Town, these guys, who are standing on top of rolling ladders, are reading off the names of the Catalan kids who have been naughty or nice this year:

My favorite float of the parade, well, besides the grenade/candy launcher, was the coal-production one. On this one, younger folks were dressed up in their best Mel-Gibson-post-apocalyptic-slash-Willie-Wonka-Oompa-Loompa garb and were dancing to way-too-loud music. Following behind the float were members of the coal crew who were carrying lit flares, which you can see casting a red glow in the photo below. This photo in no way does what was going on any justice:

Going to the parade reminded me of parades that I've gone to in the past (way before this blog was even a bad idea). Some day I'll have to go to and write about the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena California and the Mummers' Parade in Philadelphia. Both are New-Years-Day parades that are different because of their somewhat unusual themes.

Thanks for the fun time and for coming out and celebrating with us Juan Camilo, Ana Maria, Carol, and Juan:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Three Kings Day And Poble Sec Parade

After returning to Barcelona and just as I thought that the holidays were finally over and that I could start to work off some of those eggnog calories, along comes the Three Kings Day celebration!

Three Kings Day, The Epiphany, or as it's known here in Spain, El Dia de los Reyes, is the celebration of the day long ago when the Three Wise Men, or, as I lovingly call them, The Three Wise Guys, gave some gold and two crappy gifts to the baby Jesus. The celebration takes place twelve days after Christmas on January 6th. (It's believed that these were the OG twelve days of Christmas and the commercial version that we have now, which takes place before Christmas, is probably a more recent "tradition".) On this day, the kings, who represented Europe, Africa, and Asia, arrived into Bethlehem on Camel Airlines, Air Horse, and Elephant Airways (I think they were airlines) after being guided by a particularly dramatic star sighting.

The celebration of Three Kings here in Spain starts the night before when everyone in the family leaves their shoes outside so that the three kings know who lives in the house. The kids then leave snacks for the kings and their camels...just like our Christmas traditions... And after everyone's gone to bed, the kings stop by at some point and, according to shoe size and quality, leave some gifts, which hopefully lean more towards gold and less towards the frankincense and myrrh (even the spelling of these words suck!). And again, just like in the "western" tradition, coal is left for the bad kids. Over time, of course, due to The Simpsons and other evil western influences, people in Spain are somewhat confused and some celebrate both Christmas and Three Kings, and others, who are not good people and don't want to shower the kids with gifts twice, celebrate one day or the other.

The two days of festivities kicked off for me with a Three-Kings eve neighborhood parade that winds its way around the area where I live, which is called Poble Sec. As with all proper parades, this one is led by some questionable Harley-types:

The three kings each has his own ride and all three have bunch of local kids with them. This is the "main" king with his court on a truck-based float:

One of the other kings was brought in via horse-drawn carriage. This shot is taken in the plaza in front of El Molino Theater:

The full parade was probably about 10-15 minutes long with a variety of floats and groups marching. A surprisingly large number of people were out watching it go by. Just a thought...the kids were visibly excited just like you'd see in the U.S. on Christmas eve. I wonder if their parents want to kill their kids by the end of the night too? Nah, probably not. They're way too cute in their little king outfits, right???

Pretty much every outdoor event I've gone to in Barcelona has had at least one drum group made up of teenagers. The wear T-shirts with devil logos (or other evil characters) and beat the living crap out of their drums. I'm guessing it's good for getting energy out of them but I can't imagine where they practice.

Like I mentioned above, the tradition of bad kids getting "a lump of coal" is part of the Three Kings Day tradition too. But, unfortunately, as part of the new European Union and Spain austerity measures, they've begun to use child labor to extract the coal. It seems somewhat ironic to have kids mining coal that will be given to other kids, or maybe to themselves if they haven't been good. It brings a tear to my eye...

The parade ended in a small plaza nearby where a long line of kids...

...was waiting for the three kings to arrive:

Just like millions of kids in malls do each year, they wait in line with their "letters to the kings" for their chance to sit on the king's lap and tell him what they want for Three Kings day.

On a side note, the king who was seeing the kids that day did an amazing job. He was very patient, put up with the crying babies without blinking an eye, and really seemed to be engaging each and every kid that came up. I was impressed. The whole event was a nice way to kick off yet another Spanish holiday.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Center City Philadelphia

On one of our last days in Philadelphia, we went to breakfast with one of my longest-time friends, Joey, who I've known since I was a freshman in high school. Joey and I meet up for breakfast every time I'm in town at my favorite Philadelphia breakfast spot, Sabrina's, which is located in the heart of the famous Philadelphia Italian Market that I've written about before. I really like the food because of the variety of ingredients they use but, really, the portion sizes are scary! I took this photo of Joey, my dad, Diana, and I right after we ate but before we all slipped into food comas!

After breakfast, my dad dropped Diana and I off down the street from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence (from England) and the Constitution of the United States were both written and adopted. It's also the where parts of the unfortunate Nicolas Cage movie, National Treasure, took place. Regardless, it's cool to go inside to see how they've recreated the main meeting room to look just like it did when they signed the Declaration.

Across the street from Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell pavilion. The Liberty Bell, originally hung in the tower of Independence Hall, was made as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of William Penn's (the founder of Pennsylvania) original constitution for the state. We didn't end up going inside during this trip because there was a HUGE line of people waiting to get in so I'm using a photo from when we were there last Thanksgiving (note that, at the time, Independence Hall, in the background, was undergoing renovations):

After leaving the Independence Mall area, we walked down Chestnut street all the way to Penn's Landing. From this spot, you can see the temporary ice skating rink, the Delaware River, the Ben Franklin bridge, and New Jersey on the other side:

Diana and I had visited many of the local sites last year so we didn't really have a plan of what to see and do during this trip. From Penn's Landing, we walked over to the Philadelphia Mint, which is one of the locations where they make U.S. coins. I had never gone to the Mint so I was excited to finally get to go in.

The tour is just okay with lots of displays of old coins, which I guess is appropriate, but the highlight, for me, was being able to look down on the production floor of the factory. You can see the incoming rolls of raw materials, the stamping operation where the blanks are made, the machines where the images are pressed into the blanks, and the finishing operations. Unfortunately, they don't give out samples AND you can't take photos inside because I guess they don't want people to be able to make their own money or something... Who knows. Oh, and yes, it was COLD that day.

We then walked up to the Reading Terminal Market, which is a large food market located in an old train terminal. It's similar to, but a much larger version of, the Lancaster Central Market. Every time I go there it's packed with people eating lunch, buying food, or just checking out the scenery. We were still stuffed from breakfast but not enough to avoid eating some cookies from the Famous 4th Street Cookie Company, which you can see on the right side of this photo:

By this time, it was getting later in the afternoon and we needed to get to the train to go back to my dad's house. On the way, we went through City Hall, which houses some of the city government of Philadelphia. When growing up in Philadelphia, I never noticed the architecture of the building but, after visiting France, and Paris specifically, I now appreciate the French-style architecture.

What's not readily apparent in the photo above is that there's something special about the statue of William Penn on top of the tower. If you stand in the nearby J.F.K. Plaza and look up, you'll notice Willie is quite the man:

Across the street from City Hall is J.F.K. Plaza, which is more commonly known as Love Park for the famous LOVE sculpture that you'll find there. I wrote about Love Park after visiting a similar park when I was in Peru last year. Oh, and my mom worked in that brick building just behind the sculpture for many years.

Thanks to my dad, family, and friends for making our visit to Philadelphia such a good time. We love and miss you guys a ton! See you soon!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two Years Of Where Is Darren Now

Two years ago today I was just south of Tel Aviv (Israel) writing the first post of this blog. I was there for the wedding of my friend Ruma's brother. Has it really been two years already??? Oh, what a trip it's been!

Let's review, shall we?

First, the easy stuff. The biggest change this year is, of course, that I got married to an amazing person. Diana has changed for the better how I view the world. She has a warm heart, a sharp mind, and absolutely no fear. I'm a better person for sure for knowing her. Thank you Diana for allowing me to be a part of your life. I'm definitely NOT perfect and I make waaaaay too many mistakes but you keep loving me anyway. I love you!

What else? all seems like a blur! Well, since starting this blog, I've written 260 stories including this one, which works out to about one every three days. I love that 49 (almost 20%) of them have been about food! To see some of the "best-of" stories from everything that I've written, check out this "7 Posts" story I wrote for a blog carnival. (Note that the posts that are the Most Popular and Most Successful have both changed since I've written it.) Regardless, I can't believe how much there is and how much I've enjoyed writing it all. The people I've met, the places I've been, and the things I've seen have been breath taking. They include stories about my visits to:

Canary Islands (okay, part of Spain, but still...)

People often ask me what my favorite place's been so far. It's a really hard question for me to answer because it depends on what you mean. For example, if you're talking in terms of overall culture or food, it's got to be Japan. If you're talking about the place that surprised me the most then it's Colombia. The place where YOU should go and you've never even thought about it then it's China. Best place to move to/live in/retire to would probably still be San Diego, Hawaii, Barcelona, or maybe Colombia, or maybe southern Mexico, or maybe Antigua in Guatemala. Argh! Too many good choices! See, it's difficult as they've all been my "favorites" in one way or another because I've met so many people and have learned so much in each place.

As I wrote while in Israel that day, "This blog is a place for me to record my experiences, memories, and what I've learned during my time traveling." So, what have I learned? The lessons that I've learned can be somewhat summed up in the following three ways:

1-Experiences are way better than stuff. I'd rather go to a new place, meet a new person, eat a new food, or so on than buy a "thing". Stuff "costs" so much in so many ways that I'm amazed at what I "spent" to maintain it for so long. I'm so much more content that the things that I need all fit into two suitcases and weigh around 100 pounds or so.

2-After that, it gets much "higher level". It's that the people around you are what's most important - family and friends - the people that you know and meet every day. If it wasn't for the people around me I don't know where I'd be.

3-Finally, the other lesson that is soooooo hard for me to actually incorporate into my life and brain is that I can't change what's happened, that I have to live in the present moment, and can only influence the future. I'm still working on this one every day and it's a tough one.

If you want to read more about why I originally left San Diego and what I've learned since, I recommend reading the story called "Done" that I wrote last summer. I think it's probably the best thing I've written and, for the most part, it's still very true for me today.

What's next? Diana and I are weighing our options. She's finishing up her PhD this semester and we'll be free to go and do what we want where we want. We're both looking for full-time gigs, and, if you've got any ideas and connections, we're open to hearing about them (hint, hint!). I know that for both of us we love living in Barcelona but the force (of family) is strong with these two (say it like Yoda). I guess we'll have to wait and see where life's path takes us.

I'd like to take a moment to thank all the people who have supported me on this journey. If you've: shared a meal with me, taught me about your life and/or your culture, talked with me, let me sleep at your place, invited me to a party, held my hand while I cried, played soccer with me, had a laugh with me, let your kids hang out with me, drank some wine with me, took a walk with me, or were just my friend, thank you! Without your love and support I would have never been able to make it this far. I'd also like to pause to remember those who are no longer with us. I miss you and still think about you each and every day.

Thanks once more for spending your time reading what I've been writing. I still hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I am living and writing it! What a wild ride!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lancaster County & The Amish

What do you think of when you see this sign?

Peeps from the Philadelphia area will probably know but for anyone else, there are people who live about an hour-and-a-half (via car) west of Philadelphia referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch (also known as the Amish although they are just one group that makes up the PA Dutch). The "group" is made up of people from a variety of protestant religious groups and they live in and around Lancaster County. They're probably best known to non-Pennsylvanians from the movie Witness, which starred Harrison Ford as a cop protecting an Amish boy who witnessed a murder.

A couple of days after Christmas, I had the chance to go visit with some of my uncle's family who live near Lancaster so we left early and went to see some of Pennsylvania Dutch country, which is full of beautiful scenes like this one:

The Amish originally moved from Germany and Switzerland to Philadelphia in the late 1600s to gain religious freedom. As the city grew around them, they moved their farms west towards the city of Lancaster (and to other places in the United States), where many of the approximately 250,000 living in the U.S. can be found today. Ironically, Lancaster has become sort of an "edge community" of Philadelphia with folks commuting in towards the city and closer-in western suburbs. Every time I've been in Lancaster during the last ten years, I've heard at least one person remark on how the buggies block traffic on the local roads. The very lifestyle that the Amish tried to move away from!

I've always been intrigued by the Amish as they live "simply" and without many modern conveniences such as electricity. Actually, life on an Amish farm reminds me a lot of life on the farm in Chiquinquira except that in Colombia there's electricity. :-)

They prefer to not have their pictures taken, especially face-on, because, for them, it focuses too much attention on the individual whereas the Amish are a group-centered people. I tried to be respectful and took this far-away photo of one younger guy who's moving a buggy. I think it gives you a sense of their style with things like the straw hat and clothes as well as his full facial hair indicating that he's married (unmarried men shave clean). The cart he's pulling is painted in traditional black and gray, which is standard for the carts in this region, and is from a (for-tourists) buggy-tour operation.

Photo of me inside one of the buggies where you can see some of the what I'd consider to be fairly fancy interior fabric:

The Amish-owned farms in the area tend to be fairly distinctive for the clothes drying outside during the day. As with the majority of the world, they don't use clothes dryers.

The Amish's clothes also reflect their lifestyle and tend to be black and unadorned. If you look at the above photo, you'll see mostly non-patterned black clothing but there are some brighter colors too. Men mostly wear black and white and the women have a few other colors thrown in such as some blues and purples. Kids get a couple of more color choices such as green, yellow, and pink. For the most part, each local group sets its own limits for what's acceptable for the group in terms of "fashion", buggy styles/colors, behavior, and other life matters.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm up in Lancaster is to stop at some roadside stands that are set up by the Amish. Most of the stands sell homemade foods such as veggies, cheese, and homemade jams and pies like this farm that has "sho-fly" [shoofly] pies (but only on Friday and Saturday!):

Diana was amazed by the "trust" system that they've got at some of the stands. Because the Amish prefer to avoid the non-Amish for the most part, they leave their items for sale and have a container to put money in and to make change. This particular stand had a tablet of paper where they asked customers to write down what they were buying and how much money they were leaving. The white bucket was for the money. We picked up some Apple Butter, which is an apple-sauce like food, that cost about $2.50 U.S.

Another attraction that gets attention in this part of Pennsylvania are the old covered wooden bridges, which are similar to those featured in the movie (and book) The Bridges of Madison County. Although the movie takes place in Illinois, there are a bunch near Lancaster. Most aren't used any more and some, like this one just east of the city of Lancaster, are now on private property:

Our last stop before going to see my family was at the Lancaster Central Market, which is an indoor farmer's market. The market is the oldest farmer's market in the U.S. that's still in operation (over 250 years) and it's now housed in a 160-year-old beautiful brick building right in the heart of town. It was cloudy and rainy by the time we got there so the photo doesn't give it justice:

Inside, the architectural details of the building are just as nice as the outside. There are about 70 different stands that sell everything from fresh local meat and veggies to arts-and-crafts gifts. Yep, there's even a stand selling lattes although I didn't see eggnog ones on the menu.

The winning item at the market wasn't some strange fresh cow's head or even some cutsie arts-and-crafts thingamombob. Nope, in what reminded my of my friend Bruce, I present the bacon maple donut of Lancaster's Central Market, which can be yours for the low, low price of one U.S. dollar:

Unfortunately, I didn't buy didn't want to ruin my appetite before going to lunch with my family... Yeah, that's why. In retrospect, I probably should have as they look good! :-)