July 27, 2004

SPREZZATURA Great writing, great cooking, seemingly natural born gifts for some of us capture my attention and admiration. The Italians would call this sprezzatura. What a word when said with the embellishment of gusto of a native speaker. I came across this word in this Sunday's Boston Globe Ideas section in reference to a new cultural publication entitled, n+1. The newspaper describes the journal: Newsstand browsers will immediately notice the journal's longing for that halcyon era in which the anti-Stalinist left joined high-modernist litterateurs in the pages of Partisan Review. The stark red cover of n+1, which advertises such essays as "Against Exercise," "Palestine, the 51st State," and "Philosophy of Pop" in sans-serif type, is itself a self-conscious homage to the postwar American moment. But to read the contents of the journal -- "The Intellectual Scene," for example, knocks both The New Republic and The Weekly Standard and denounces Dave Eggers and his crew at McSweeney's and The Believer as a "regressive avant-garde" whose stylistic innovations mask a prissy moralism -- is to recognize that the sweet science of the literary brawl has been revivified. I was more intrigued by the lack of sprezzatura with the use of the word. So feeling humbled I went in search of a definition. In short it means "an assumed air of doing difficult things with an effortless mastery and an air of nonchalance. The longer academic rambling I found on the Washington State University literary arts section refers to the Castiglione Baldassare the writer...
Arrr Matie After consistent days of listening to the sound of a foghorn through the gray, wet fog that seems to have dampened everyone’s spirits here in the City by the Bay I started to think of an antidote for the summer blues. Fruity umbrella cocktails of an island nature were on my mind. Rum, a spirit initially made by Spanish colonists from the juice of sugar cane plants in Puerto Rico in the 1500's is one of the leading alcoholic beverages sold in the world. Bacardi, with the signature bat on the neck is by far one of the frequently recognized brands. It’s also been one of the largest producers and distributors since 1862. The center of the rum producing world is the Caribbean but Barbados, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, and other warmly suited climates also produce unique blends and styles. There are white, golden, dark, spiced and aged rums. Rum is created by distilling the by products of sugar making with water. Fermented sugarcane juice or molasses, a by-product of sugar-making is most commonly employed. It’s often aged in barrels that previously contained bourbon or cognac. Caramel is often added to aged rums. Flavored rums such as, Bacardi Limon (citrus), Cruzan flavored rums, Captain Morgan Spiced (vanilla) and Malibu (coconut) account for roughly 39% (2002) of total rum sales. I had a surprisingly tasty vanilla mojito here in the City at the new hipster spot LIME. White rum is clear, typically light-bodied, and is perfect for mixed drinks. Today white rum...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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