Archive for the ‘Language and food’ Category

The cheese of my forebears

June 20, 2018

Having Kim Darnell working on the Switzerland and Swiss things Page has tossed me into a pit of Swissness, from which I might not emerge for months: over a dozen Swiss and/or Zwicky topics for posting have popped up in the last few days. Here’s one that appeared when I started investigating Swiss cheese, the name of a specific American cheese somewhat remiscent of the Swiss cheese (in the fully compositional sense of the nominal Swiss cheese) Emment(h)al(er).

That brought me to a list of Swiss cheeses ‘cheeses of Switzerland’, including Gruyère, raclette, Appenzeller, and — sudden rush of memory — Schabziger, which I know under its American brand name Sap Sago. The cheese of Canton Glarus, where the Zwickys come from. A hard, green frustrum of a cheese cone, colored and scented by an herb, used grated like parmesan or Romano.



Annals of appalling food

June 20, 2018

Chicken fried steak is a thing. So is chicken fried chicken, closely based on chicken fried steak (but essentially chicken Schnitzel or chicken Milanesa, an entirely reasonable culinary adventure). And now: chicken fried bacon, similarly based on chicken fried steak, but with no justification I can see beyond wretched excess for its own sake. The photo:

Chicken fried bacon with cream gravy from Snook, Texas in 2002


Return to the E. Zwicky grain mill

June 18, 2018

Kim Darnell has been preparing a Page on this blog linking to my postings about Switzerland and the Swiss. This has caused her to discover still more Zwicky-related sites — thus giving me still more things to post about. The great cycle of posting.

First up is a return to an old topic, the E. Zwicky company that makes, among other things, Zwicky muesli. See my 10/17/16 posting “More Zwicky postings”, with image #1 of muesli from the E. Zwicky AG [‘Ltd., LLC’] mill, with brief copy about the company. But now more detail, starting with the company’s logo, which involves both a stylized Zwicky signature and the company mascot, a little gnome:



Why? Why?

June 17, 2018

Because we can. And we think it’s clever. And cute.

But why try to read the minds of people who do these things? Just sit back and admire their artisanal pigs in blankets. On a Pinterest board:


Background foods and food discoveries

June 15, 2018

The spur: this brief moment from the NYT obit for chef, author, tv personality, and social critic Anthony Bourdain, by Kim Severson, Matthew Haag, and Julia Moskin, on-line on the 8th as “Anthony Bourdain, Renegade Chef Who Reported From the World’s Tables, Is Dead at 61”, in print on the 9th as “Anthony Bourdain, Renegade Chef, Dies at 61; Showed the World How to ‘Eat Without Fear'”:


He first became conscious of food in fourth grade, he wrote in “Kitchen Confidential.” Aboard the Queen Mary on one of the family’s frequent trips to France, he sat in the cabin-class dining room and ate a bowl of vichyssoise, a basic potato-leek soup that held the delightful surprise of being cold. “It was the first food I enjoyed and, more important, remembered enjoying,” he wrote.


Midnight in Cuba

June 14, 2018

From Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown: “Miami” (S5 E2, 5/3/15), as quoted in the site‘s “19 best quotes” from the episode:

4. [Bourdain] On the medianoche sandwich: “Many of you watching who are dimly aware of Miami and this sandwich thing they call a Cubano that you may or may not have had before, you’re thinking, ‘Yes, a Cubano sandwich.’ But you’d be wrong. This, is not a Cubano sandwich, strictly speaking. This, my friends, is a medianoche. Close. A cousin. Like a Cubano, it’s got roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and a little mustard. And like a Cubano it’s pressed until hot and runny inside. But:”

5. [Miami chef Michelle] Bernstein, interrupting, on the medianoche sandwich: “You see the bread? It’s darker and it’s sweeter, so you have a real contrast with the salty pickles and the pork, and the bread.”

Una medianoche, uno Cubano. Not the same, because the bread is different (and maybe the kind of pork or the kind of ham or the pickles or the mustard). I can get uno Cubano at my local Whole Foods (and often do) — “slow roasted pork, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard” — and it seems to be pretty authentic, except that it’s on a French roll. Best not to argue names and ingredients and authenticity.


Another moment between Parody and Pastiche with Raymond Zippandler

June 12, 2018

Today’s Zippy takes us again to a hard-boiled noir-tinged land of allusion:


Very much, as the title says, the wrong goodbye; none of the Raymond Chandler allusions are to The Long Goodbye — mostly from “Red Wind” and The Big Sleep.


Rainbow moments

June 10, 2018

For Pride Month, and looking forward to the SF parade two weeks from today, four heterogeneous items: Jungle Flossers for kids, in rainbow colors (and they’re fruit-flavored, wink wink nudge nudge); another inclusive alternative to the 6-color Pride flag; rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches at The Melt; and rainbow cock rings. Dental hygiene for children, community politics, food, and sex. Just another day on AZBlog.


The possessed and the damned gather over cheese dip

June 8, 2018

A 1969 Velveeta ad:

Ingrid Superstar is obviously possessed, perhaps as a consequence of the entire company of the damned dipping into her chafing dish.

With a little lesson in pronouncing Spanish, and of course a celebration of the processed cheese product Velveeta, which has been beguiling the unwary with its silky smoothness since 1918.

Plus the inventively crude sexual slang dip into s.o.’s chafing dish.


The rose and the flames

June 3, 2018

(After some extended moments of reflections on religious belief, this posting will venture into the sexual wilds, and the later material will not be suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Two design drawings by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky (from a set available to the public in an Instagram file): one a rose window (alluding indirectly to such images at Stanford’s Memorial Church, which serve as potent Christian symbols); and one suggesting tongues of flame / fire (alluding to those that figure in the Christian religious holiday of Pentecost, which fell this year on Sunday, May 20th). Two religious symbols, with associated linguistic expressions (rose window; tongues of flame/fireto speak in tongues).

First, things: the rose, and flames.

Then, these things serving as symbols in Christian ways of thinking (actually, each can have several different symbolic values, even within this specific sociocultural context).

Then, these symbols, with these values, deployed in art, music, film, and fiction, and even in food and in plant names.

Then, the original things — rose and flames — serving as symbols in other sociocultural contexts: in particular, as sexual symbols, for body parts and for sexual acts.