Archive for the ‘Language and food’ Category

Annals of sweevory food: my Japanese Valentine

February 12, 2019

On the Japan Times site on February 9th, “Say ‘I love you’ a different way with Kourakuen’s chocolate ramen” by Patrick St. Michel”:


Gin and glassware

February 10, 2019

Back on the 7th, at Dan Gordon’s restaurant in Palo Alto: server explains they are out of Tanqueray gin, apologizes, offers me a taste of Junipero gin (not familiar to me, though it’s a San Francisco thing), which arrives in a glass of interesting shape, also not familiar to me. Being a linguist of inquisitive bent, I ask what that kind of glass is called. Server thinks it’s a Nick and Nora (unfamiliar to me as a glassware label, though I got the allusion and understood why the name would be used for drinkware). Bartender shouts out that, no, it’s a Glenn Caron (well, that’s what I thought he said, but I was puzzled about what the connection was between glassware and the tv writer / director / producer Glenn Gordon Caron or his most famous show, Moonlighting). Much later I discovered it was a Glencairn glass, designed for (Scotch) whisky.

Now, the replay, with more detail.


Cowboy casserole

February 4, 2019

On Pinterest this morning, this Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole:

(#1) Two stages in preparation and the final product

Ah, the N + N compound cowboy casserole. Clearly not an Ingredient compound (‘casserole made from cowboys’), but instead a Use compound, roughly ‘casserole for cowboys (to use)’, or — most likely — an Object compound, roughly ‘casserole of the sort that cowboys (like to) eat’.


Mandolin Orange

February 4, 2019

Alerted by NPR this morning and entertained by the band’s name, I checked out Mandolin Orange and really liked what I found.

(#1) Mandolin Orange recording “Wildfire” 11/2/16 at Paste Studios in NYC

And they’ll be playing at the Fillmore in SF next month:


Another family food holiday, and alternatives to it

February 3, 2019

The Hi and Lois cartoon from 2/7/16:


Super Bowl Sunday — today, this year — joins Thanksgiving and Christmas as a holiday that serves as an occasion for gatherings of family and friends plus a spread of characteristic food. A family food holiday, for short.

The SBS holiday crucially involves the Super Bowl football game, for the NFL championship: this year, SB LIII  (El Ay Ay Ay!), New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta GA (6:30 ET).

While much of the US population gathers around tv sets for the game, its half-time show, and its ads — virtually emptying out many public spaces —  others seek out alternatives. (I myself have an unbroken record of studied inattention to the game, from SB I in 1967 on.) Alternatives that are cultural, recreational, commercial, and even sexual. (This posting will devolve into tales of SBS mansex, but I’m putting that material at the end, so kids and the sexually modest can enjoy the rest of this material and then bail out when the gay guys strip and go at it with one another like weasels in heat.)



February 1, 2019

The rooms in the grade school of my childhood — West Lawn Elementary School in West Lawn PA, west of Reading — had high ceilings, and all the rooms had, I believe, reproductions of artworks above the blackboards, where there was plenty of space for them. Uplifting artworks on patriotic, social, or religious themes (yes, religious; every day started with recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the Lord’s Prayer).

One classroom — my third grade, I think — had Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners:


The significance of the painting, we were told, was that just as these women were gathering food in the field, so we children were extracting useful knowledge — gleaning it — from our lessons at school. (This is a specialized metaphorical sense of the verb glean: ‘[with object] extract (information) from various sources: the information is gleaned from press clippings‘ (NOAD)). I don’t think anyone ever explained to us who those gleaners were or what they were actually doing, so I recall being surprised when, more or less by accident, I came across the details in my World Book Encyclopedia.


Crusty salmon shortcakes

January 25, 2019

On Pinterest this morning, from the website “aspic and other delights (a blog dedicated to gastronomic atrocities of the past – curated by vanessa jane & lyall)”, this Betty Crocker recipe card from fifty years ago:



Annals of goofy kitchenware

January 6, 2019

At some point, someone looked at an ordinary soup ladle, probably one with a hooked end for hanging it up, like these stainless steel spoons:


and realized it looked rather a long-necked animal (with the bowl as its body and the hook as its head), perhaps a long-necked dinosaur — a terrestrial brontosaur or apatosaur, or (since the bowl dips into a liquid) a marine creature, say a plesiosaur:


Or, even better, the folkloric creature Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster:


Rice and beans for New Year’s

December 31, 2018

Yesterday I felt impelled to cook rice and beans for the New Year’s holiday — some association with Hoppin’ John (Carolina peas and white rice) for New Year’s Day, I guess, though back in the old days (the 60s through 80s in Columbus OH), Ann and I mostly did red beans and (white) rice, with fried cornbread, on New Year’s Eve; and I had Moros y Cristianos (black beans and white rice, served at spring festivals in Spain, re-enacting the expulsion of the Moors — African Muslims of Arab descent — from Spain in 1492) in mind as well. What I produced wasn’t any of these, but a multicultural extravaganza I think of as Black and Brown: dal (Indian black lentils) and brown rice, cooked in miso soup. Yesterday I served it with tuna fish, fresh lemon juice (bounty from neighbors suffering from the annual December citrus glut), and (French) spices. Raw material for today’s version, whatever that turns out to be:

(#1) Black and Brown, in a Chinese bowl


Annals of everyday objects: Anchor ovenware

December 26, 2018

A continuing series on well-designed everyday objects: serving their function well, handsome to look at. In this case, a piece of cobalt blue Anchor ovenware, a square baking dish 8 x 8 x 2.25 in. (2 qt. capacity). Seen here posed on top of another well-designed object, a Blueair air purifier (the top, or exhaust, surface, with a rayed pattern of circular holes):