Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Music, cuisine to set the mood

Winter is blowing at our doors and sliver-mooned mini-skirted bottoms. Or in the case of hombres, summer pants that should have been put away in September — except you keep wearing them because “you can tell girls they’re Prada.”

Mijo, you need to expand your juego (game), beyond one pair of pants. Mija, you too (the one wearing the mini in 10-below weather). Gato is here to give you loaded dice and hidden aces — dinner for two.

Not every tryst results in spontaneous combustion–by-ecstasy. Gato wants to deliver his readers an affair that causes embarrassment upon meeting the permanent partner a decade later.


This epiphany is not achieved with partners who respond to grunted lines like, “Nice ass, let’s hook up.” That kind of boorish mating is relegated to Cro-Magnon men like Michigan State football players.

So now you say, “Gato making a complicated dinner is beyond me, I’m just a kid from Green Bay.”

Gato understands how you feel because Wisconsin is essentially New Jersey, only not next to New York.

To those who would take an axe to the social ladder Gato cries, “Damn all nose-in-air Chicago-burbians with second homes! Woodfield Mall is not exactly Dubai, U.A.E.”

But first, dinner for two is only “mission accomplished” with the right music and Gato only provides good intelligence.

Gato’s selection is the new enhanced DVD documentary/album by Latin superstar Ricardo Arjona. (Enhanced DVDs are part of a new industry strategy to combat file sharing.)

Before Arjona toured the U.S. in 2003, Gato had the chance to interview the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter for another publication.

Because Arjona was traveling in Guatemala, his people in LA had difficulty reaching him by Gato’s deadline for his Madison Square Garden show.

Gato interviewed Arjona anyway. The release of his new DVD documentary “Solo/El Documento” gives Gato that chance to bring Arjona as a secret mood-setting weapon for more worthy readers.

Arjona’s songwriting is like Spanish coffee. His music tastes dense, smoky, syrupy sweet, and goes down smooth. Moments later, like a Cuban cortadito, his lyrical observations hit like liquid Ephedrine.

To engage Arjona’s music is to understand the mind of modern Latin America — one foot in indigenous sandals, the other astride a VW Passat.

Discussing Arjona as a mirror of Dylan, misses the point — he’s heir apparent.

Guatemalan Arjona divides time between Mexico City and coastal Vera Cruz.

“Why do I call El Ciudad (The City) home? I love danger,” he said laughing.

“I also love Paris and New York. To me, like Mexico City, they are all lugares emocionante,” stating these places are mental/emotional cities as much are they are concrete terrain, all repeatedly used as settings for his lyrical narratives.

Despite harsh criticisms of U.S. policy and the Catholic Church, Arjona gains airplay on close-to-censorship Spanish radio because he can’t be ignored.

“All my songs are just products of experience, what I read, what I eat … ” he explains, seeing simplicity in his multi-layered folk–pop.

Surrealist painting is Arjona’s chosen allegory encapsulating his work. Outside the hopeless romanticism of Andres Segovia-tinged guitar melodies are lyrics sprouting multiple signifiers from one Spanish word. Native speaker, translator or “solo un poquito,” all listeners need a dictionary to unravel his poetry.

“If you see the influence of Garcia-Marquez in my songs, it’s simply that Marquez has created a certain way of forming words. I just use his form as a base,” Arjona said.

Atop slabs of political outrage rendered with a palette knife, are the washes of his love songs — often affairs filled with a type of sex that leaves a pungent scent on the soul.

Si el Norte Fuera el Sur, (if the North Were the South) from 1997, is the first novel newcomers should absorb.

Within the narratives of rebellion and desire, ironic consequence is the happiest ending Arjona’s fleshy protagonists get. In his salsa hit, “El y Ella”, a blonde-haired Republican UCLA grad and Black Marxist Cuban prostitute fall in love in Havana but move happily-ever-after to Paris, escaping ideology and history.

Out of all his releases, Arjona states he is most satisfied with “Galleria Caribe.” To him, “Caribe” most accurately captures the universal internal existence he tries to convey in all his songwriting.

“New York is the embodiment of our internal cities that we create,” Arjona said. “It’s like Paris with the foreboding of Mexico City, The [title] song, taken literally, is about a Dominican immigrant but really, the song is about the immigrant that we all become as we reconcile living between our internal, emotional and physical cities.”

Packaged stars in Español predate N’ Sync. In Latin America, however, superficial pop has been served as diet soda for political suppression. Arjona sitting at number one on the Latin Billboard charts for 11 weeks with his Grammy winning “Santo Pecado” represents greater victories.

“My music has been banned on the radio and I’ve had problems entering several countries, particularly around the time Si el Norte Fuera el Sur was released,” Arjona relates. “‘Santo Pecado’ has actually been an exception but I don’t concern myself with these things. If you do, as an artist, you become a fashion victim.”

With that, Gato reminds readers that they need to be fashion perpetrators, not victims.

Dinner’s served

Gato’s recipe for spinach puttanesca sauce is based on a recipe from the famous il Cucino in Philadelphia. Gato started respecting vegetarians after he found out Toby Maguire will never eat Seabiscut’s barnyard friends. Therefore, one can serve this dish with or without filet mignon.

For carnivores, Regent Street co-op sells filet for $7.99 a pound.

Preparing beef, texture can change at a moments notice. Filet is hard to overcook to not-Coach leather.

Before asking your amorous TA over for this meal, make a run-through for a friend, ideally, the one who wears Pucci goulashes.

For the pasta, Gato recommends the soft pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery.

Start by scoring each filet with a light criss-cross on both sides. Rub cuts lightly with olive oil and fleck with small bits of garlic. Let marinate while your pay attention to the sauce.

For sauce, you’ll need: 12 to 16 roma tomatoes, fresh basil, 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, spinach, red peppers, olive oil. Choose a skillet with a handle that can go in the oven.

Chicos, say you can’t cut garlic properly? Recall one jail scene in “Goodfellas”? Real-life mob chef, Angelo Buddha’ Lutz swears by this method, except, use a sharp knife, not a razor blade.

If you just exclaimed “Hmm, haven’t seen that movie,” Gov. Arnold is launching an anti-girly-man (or anti-too-damn-girly-girl) missile attack. Anyway …

Slice vegetables accordingly: tomatoes widthwise in 1/6″ rings, red peppers in long, 1/8″ strips, and for spinach, bunch it up in a fist, slice it at 1/4″ intervals. While slicing, set oven to broil. Both the sauce and meat will start on the stove then you’ll move it to the oven.

First cover base of pan with olive oil, add garlic sliced paper thin, Heat on medium until garlic starts to disappear.

Turn burner to high, toss in tomatoes and add more olive oil until they are saturated. Stir constantly until tomatoes can be mushed with spatula then add spinach and peppers. Keep on stove until peppers are lightly softened. Remove from stove, cover and let cool.

Now start the meat on the stovetop. Cook filet evenly on both sides until brown outside then immediately transfer to your boiler. This trick helps keep the meat tender. After cuts are cooking for 3 to 4 minutes put sauce in boiler as well.

At this point, you should place noodles in already boiling water. Soft pasta cooks in 3 to 4 minutes.

Check on sauce and meat in boiler after 5 to 8 minutes. Once peppers have a slight roasted tinge and meat has gained a bit of firmness, everything is ready.

Finally, combine drained noodles with sauce right in pan. Serve filet on plate alone, let the romanced choose the amount of sauce.

… And if you talk about the election that happened when Cro-Magnons walked the earth, all will taste like pigeon ca-ca and your wine will turn to hemlock tea.

Gato is going to shut up now because it’s time for “Shhh, no more talking.”

Next week: Holiday shopping with up-and-coming designers, order new plastica now. Contact Gato at [email protected]

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *