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The Night Café

Guacamole on Bacon Strips

By Tim Hazell

Internal clocks in humans regulate how we respond to environments that consist of darkness and light and heat and cold. Impulses to seek shelter, nourishment, sleep, and labor are triggered by innate mechanisms that may be located within the nucleus of the hypothalamus center of the brain. Our internal clocks that regulate our autonomic and voluntary responses are referred to as circadian timekeeping systems.

Humans are diurnal, or daytime organisms, as opposed to nocturnal organisms. Still, however, within the generalities of diurnal classification, many anomalies have led to an awareness that there are distinctions among people, such as someone being a “morning” or “evening” type. People whose modalities suggest combinations of nocturnal and diurnal rhythms are referred to as intermediate, or “crepuscular.”

A “night owl” is an individual who tends to stay up late. Employers have learned to increase productivity by respecting “body clocks” through flexible working hours. Recent studies have shown that night owls may be more driven and more likely to get high-paying jobs than early morning people. Night owls may be more proficient than early birds in intuitive intelligence tests, creative thinking, and inductive reasoning.

For example, The Night Café is an oil painting created by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh in September 1888 in Arles, France that was painted in a night-owl fashion. The establishment it depicts was run by Joseph-Michel Ginoux and his wife, Marie. In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh said that Ginoux had taken so much of his money that it was time to take his revenge by painting the place:

“Today I am probably going to begin on the interior of the café, where I have a room, by gaslight, in the evening. It is what they call here a ‘night café,’ staying open all night. Night prowlers can take refuge there when they have no money to pay for lodging or are too drunk to be taken in.”

In the first days of September 1888, Van Gogh sat up for three consecutive nights to paint the work of art, sleeping during the day.

People who work night shifts, especially artists who often put in long creative hours after dark, have to take their nutrition seriously. Traditional guacamole served on crisp bacon strips is a recommended “quick-energy” food for “La Vida Nocturna!” Here is a quick and easy version of this snack to keep your creative energies up:




1/4 small onion, finely chopped

2 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped

3 large sprigs coriander, leaves only, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp salt

2 avocados

1 tomato, chopped

Bacon strips



Cut the avocados in half. Remove the pits, scoop out the flesh. Mix roughly with the other ingredients, except the tomato and the bacon, in a bowl. Stir in chopped tomato. Adjust seasonings.

Cook bacon strips as desired until crisp. Break into bite-size pieces. Spoon chilled guacamole on top, or dip bacon pieces into the mixture as if corn chips.


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