Lacrimi si Sfinti by Mircea Dinescu
Lacrimi și Sfinți (Tears and Saints) is an unusual romanian restaurant with a modern/contemporary kitchen. Recipes as old as 100 years are reinterpreted and rearranged, lost flavours, invented flavours, all in one place. Mircea Dinescu rediscovers and reinvents more than food and dishes in the Lacrimi si Sfinti kitchen, he rediscovers and reinvents a native culinary culture almost lost, or, best case scenario, a culture ignored for over a century. Every product in the menu is prepared with local, organic ingredients only: the fish is fresh, the birds are free range raised, the pigs and calfs come from individual small farms.
The restaurant set up is entirely made of reconditioned wood. Every piece of wood in Lacrimi si Sfinti is at least a couple of decades old.
The kitchen windows come from an abandoned house in Comuna Perișorul, Dolj County, the kitchen door comes from the old medical unit in Cioroiași, Dolj County, the front door comes from a house in Sighișoara, the joints on the ceiling from an old barn, the closets from Mureș area (each of them from a different house), there are over 50 chairs gathered from all sorts of areas, the floor is recovered from shed wood. The new objects are also made of recovered old wood. The lego for decorations comes from Copenhaga Lego Storea and over 16000 pieces were used. All the kitchen ware has been created by different artists from: Vâlcea, Harghita, Sighișoara, Mediaș.
Early life and poetry
He was born in Slobozia, the son of Ştefan Dinescu, a metalworker, and Aurelia (born Badea). Dinescu studied at the Faculty of Journalism of the Ștefan Gheorghiu Academy, and was considered a gifted young poet during his youth, with several poetry volumes published.
In August 1988, Dinescu was invited by the USSR Union of Writers in the Soviet Union and on August 25, he gave an interview to the Romanian section of the Voice of Russia. During the interview, he expressed his support for the Glasnost and Perestroika policies of the Soviet Union.
After returning to Bucharest, he invited some friends (including Gabriel Liiceanu, Alexandru Paleologu and Andrei Pleșu) to write a protest against Ceaușescu’s policies that were destroying Romanian culture and villages, but they failed to reach a consensus on the text and Dinescu decided to write his own protest. The members of the group were then visited by the Securitate, which argued that their actions were done under KGB orders as an attack against Romania, not against Ceaușescu.
On March 17, 1989, he was fired from România Literară literary magazine, as a result of an anti-totalitarian interview against President Nicolae Ceauşescu, which Dinescu had granted to the French newspaper Libération in December 1988. According to him, the reason for dismissal was “receiving visits from diplomats and journalists from Socialist and capitalist countries without permission”. He was expelled from the Romanian Communist Party, held under house arrest, with his house guarded 24/7, all visits banned; he was allowed to go outside just for shopping, but always flanked by two Securitate officers.
Dinescu got support from seven writers (Geo Bogza, Ștefan Augustin Doinaș, Dan Hăulică, Octavian Paler, Andrei Pleșu, Alexandru Paleologu and Mihail Şora), who wrote a letter to Dumitru Radu Popescu, the President of the Writers’ Union, asking him “to undo an injustice”. Despite the original authors’ secrecy (they didn’t publish it abroad), six of them (all, except for Geo Bogza, a veteran socialist) were forbidden to publishing. He got additional support from poet Doina Cornea, literary critics Alexandru Călinescu and Radu Enescu, and, in November 1989, a collective of 18 young academics and writers, who also wrote letters to Popescu.
Despite being isolated, Dinescu noticed that with a handful of exceptions, the writers did not protest against the oppression of the regime. On November 11, he wrote a statement in which he attacked the Romanian intelligentsia for their sycophancy for Ceaușescu, the Romanian Orthodox Church for being “trade unionists in religious vestments”, journalists for being ‘apostles of the personality cult” and writers for being “trusted handmaidens of the party”.
In December 1989 he took a preeminent part in the Romanian Revolution, taking part in the occupation of the National Television building by the people of Bucharest. According to popular rumors, his fellow revolutionary Ion Caramitru, unaware that he was being filmed, said to Dinescu something that was taken to be “Mircea, fă-te că lucrezi!” (“Mircea, pretend you are working!”); this was to be proof that the Revolution was a carefully staged front for a coup d’état. According to the investigation of Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Caramitru actually said “Mircea, arăţi că lucrezi” (“Mircea, it seems you’re working [on something]” – while holding Dinescu’s booklet in front of camera), to which Dinescu replied “La un apel” (“[I’m working] on an appeal [to the people]”) – which was indicative of their ill-preparedness and preoccupation in quickly drafting a single revolutionary proclamation on the spot.
Journalist after 1989
After the fall of Communism, he co-founded Academia Caţavencu, the most famous Romanian satirical magazine. He quit the publication in 1998 and went on founding his own publications, Plai cu Boi (loosely translated as “Land of the Dumb”) – a satirical Playboy-style magazine and Aspirina Săracului (The Poor Man’s Aspirin – a humorous reference to sexual intercourse) – a weekly satirical magazine.
He invested a part of the money he earned from the books published into agriculture, his estate makes the wine sold under the name Vinul Moşierului (“Landlord’s wine”) – the name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to an ironic comment President Ion Iliescu had made about Dinescu’s social status.
Dinescu remains a strong and charismatic voice of the civil society. As member of Consiliul Naţional pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securităţii (National Council for Studying the Archives of the Securitate), he is particularly concerned with exposing the former officers and collaborators of Securitate. He is also a strong critic of Communism and of Romanian leaders that had connections with the Communist regime.
In May 2005, in collaboration with the journalist Cristian Tudor Popescu, he started a new newspaper called Gândul, with an initial circulation of 100,000 copies, but he sold his shares in July 2006. He and Stelian Tănase host a talk show on Realitatea TV (Tănase şi Dinescu).