Argentum Vulgaris is, of course, a pseudonym, but it is and has been what I am know as across the internet, I see no reason to change that. Besides, I do tend to play rough sometimes. I have said that I am not here to be nice and so I don’t pull any punches whether they are aimed at governments or companies, or indeed, people. A degree of anonymity is necessary for self preservation.
Argentum Vulgaris is Latin, it literally means ‘common silver’ and is used to refer to small change. Small change is not important, neither am I.
The real me, well I am old; sixty last birthday (2011). In Portuguese I am a velho caduco, a grouchy old man; every neighbourhood has one. My avatar represents me, far more flattering than my real self.
I have, by virtue of my age, seen and done a lot in my lifetime; more than most. I didn’t complete secondary school (Americans would call me a high school drop-out). I failed in English, I failed in maths, I excelled in sciences and the things I wanted to do. Of course, I realise the folly of that pig-headedness now, but as a teenager I was pretty much normal.
At the age of forty I decided New Zealand was too small. I don’t mean in size rather, I refer to attitudes and I decided to travel, Europe was my destination; I never got there. A ten day stopover in Brazil and I never left. I have since traveled over much of the South American continent and learned far more about life than I ever dreamed possible.
I have in recent years, with the advent of the internet, become more than politically aware. In the same way as I have become more aware of the fact that our tenure on this planet is increasingly fragile; and that is what brings me to this point.
The Chef in me
My first attempt at cooking, or rather baking was a chocolate cake. I was eight years old at the time, it was a Sunday morning, early, our parents were sleeping.
On their waking, I proudly presented them with my fruit of my labours.
My fathers comment, “If we had more of these we could build a new house!” tells the sad outcome, yes, my cake was more like a brick. I was deflated.
Over my teenage years, away from home, I was presented with other than Mum’s home cooking. I began to experiment with food. Such things as black pudding which my mother would never have let in the house. I also inherited some food preferences from my father, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, oysters and pigs trotters.
I cooked professionally in Bolivia and then Peru. It was in the latter that my boss once introduced me to a client as ‘his chef.’ I corrected him, “I am a cook, I learned to cook honestly.” I had never had any formal training. Later he said to me, “The way you put a plate together, you are a chef, and make no mistake.” My boss, incidentally, was a highly qualified chef having cooked for royalty, governments and all over Europe.
So there you have it.