Saw Marlen Khutsiev’s I Am Twenty at the Cinémathèque yesterday. Nothing like ending your movie with soldiers marching in front of Lenin’s mausoleum to keep the audience from clapping at the end of what is, after all, an excellent film.
(The clip here is obviously the beginning.) I am speaking of the uncensored version, mind you. I have nothing against the nearly final speech involving potatoes – it came across as honest and in-character. However, one possible way to (not) end matters at that point is to ask: yes, but what follows?
This may cause the girl from the movie to rightly slap me, but I feel obliged to document that I tried out a third kind of potatoes for causa today. (I stupidly forgot to label the bag, but I think they may be of the sirtema variety.) They took a bit of work to mash, and plenty of lemon juice was needed – both for that and for taste. (The potatoes were flavorful, but with a certain mealiness that seemed to ask to be compensated by means of acidity.) The result was rather good – the right texture (modulo a certain chunkiness) and a very acceptable taste, even though I haven’t got chili peppers yet.
There are two ways to follow up on this (keeping, again, the movie in mind!). One is to do a bit of a mea culpa and discuss how an obsession with amateur cooking has become one of the hallmarks of that part of the professional class in wealthy countries as has a bit of time in its hands. Cue: no association of kitchen work with (nonexistent) domestic help; do-it-yourself as a form of conspicuous consumption (of time); is it obscene to turn into a pleasure that which for many others is a singular need?
Another option is to ask for references on the following matter. Peru, as some of you know, did its own mediocre bit on the allied side during World War II. (Mediocre, in that (a) unlike Mexico and Brazil, it did not send troops, not counting, of course, about fifty volunteers on the losing (=antifascist) side in the Spanish Civil War; (b) it broke diplomatic relations with the Axis only in 1942; (c) it officially declared war on it only
in 1945 in 1944. A fair bit (most?) of oligarchic opinion was, if not openly pro-Axis, at least pro-Franco.) I have heard it told many times (by the same person) that Peru provided some much-needed seed potatoes from uncommon varieties to the Soviet Union or some other beleaguered allies. Can anybody find some confirmation of this story? So far, the only thing I’ve been able to find online is one brief side remark (in Spanish).
(If this turns out to be true, then perhaps I can have license to experiment with causa…)