Lost in Translation

22 09 2009

Ever wonder how different pastas got their names?  Their shape, of course.

Here is a list of pastas.  If you are a foodie, as am I, you will recognize the literal nature of each name.

Cannelloni: Large Reeds

Cappellini: Little Hats

Farfalle: Butterflies

Fettuccine: Small Ribbons

Linguine: Little Tongues

Manicotti: Little Muffs

Orecchiette: Little Ears

Penne: Quills

Ravioli: Little Turnips

Rotelli: Little Wheels

Spaghetti: Little Strings

Tortellini: Little Twists

Vermicelli: Little Worms (my personal favorite)

Dogs, by the way, came up with this first.  What subject in any dogs vocabulary is not directly based on the visual?  In English it’s squirrel; in Italian it’s scoiattolo.

Dogs call it like it is: scurrier.

Come to think about it, I’m betting both the English and the Italian were derived from the Dog.

Philologus narro, as it were.  Look it up.

Chow.





The Two Sexes

18 09 2009

An Indiana University study has demonstrated that when men listen, they only do it with the left side of their brain (where speech is located).

Woman apparently listen with both halves.

I suppose that this explains why, when a man says something, women hear much more than was actually said.

Me, I listen mostly with my nose.  Tone of voice means something, of course, but the aroma in the hand means everything…

Chow.





AH-Choo

14 09 2009

I hate sneezing.  

First of all, I don’t understand it.  It goes totally against all standards of wild behavior, after all.  Dogs who gave away their positions on the Savannah way back when simply didn’t make their mark in evolution….at least not in a way I covet.

Second of all, if one is targeting a flea in a difficult area of one’s flank, even a small sneeze will throw it off the trail.

What IS the reasoning behind this convulsion?  To clean the nose?  To scare the daylights out of the hegemony? To blow the fluff from the corner of my dog-dish?

All valid but none, necessary.

I fear the act may be going the way of Darwin: phased out over time as runny nosed dogs simply don’t survive.

Solution: give the sneeze true purpose.  Use it as an emotion, any emotion. Make it cute, like one’s presence at the dinner table, wide-eyed and ears perked at the possibility of a crumb.

After all, cute survives, no?

Hairless Chihuahuas not-withstanding….

Chow.





Rats

10 09 2009

The fossilized skull of a rat the size of a car has been found in Uruguay.  It’s about 4 million years old and weighed about a ton, so big, in fact, that it probably spent most of it’s life submerged in water: a giant Hippo with a long tail and pointy nose.  

They nicknamed it Mighty Mouse.

Apparently, the largest living rodent now is Capybaras at 60 kg fully grown…now, that’s a meal.

And here’s a new reason to travel to New Guinea:

Where’s my passaport0?

Chow.





Gathering Nuts

7 09 2009

The squirrels are out in full force up in the Pincio. There’s nary a nut to be found now.  They’re all squirreled away, if you will.

I sit and watch the dizzying creatures, mostly.  Chasing them is fun, but it becomes tiresome after a while.  Squirrel, tree, squirrel, tree, squirrel, tree.

So, I muse of other ways to use this rodent.  Below is one of my favorites.  It’s design reminds me somewhat of a machine Leonardo might have developed had he simply switched his obsession from flying a human

to flying a squirrel:

Then there’s the commercial amusement of providing the squirrel with a different take on an e-ticket Disney ride:

Either way, I want one of each, please.

Chow.





BYOB

4 09 2009

Dogs are ubiquitous in the bars and cafes of Italy.  

Who do you think cleans the floor? It keeps labor costs down and subsidizes the feeding of urban canines.

Brilliant, no?

But bunnies in restaurants?

Take a lepus to lunch? Bring your own bunny.

Chow.





Ciao, Ciao, Chanel.

1 09 2009

Chanel has died.  Not the fashion (even though it’s not Italian, it seems eternal) nor the designer, herself (Coco is long gone)—but the dog.

Chanel apparently was the oldest living dog at 21 years of age.  That’s 147 in dog years.  She lived in New York.  Her favorite dish was boiled chicken and rice, clearly a Manhattan thing.

No pastrami; no corned beef? And she called herself a New Yorker…

No pasta; no red wine?  Why even live to a ripe old age without the satisfaction of these staples, I ask?

Though I see the appeal of the pullet, rice is a bit like eating an old sock, and a clean one, at that.  At least pasta is sauced.

Now that Chanel is gone, a new contender has taken a stand: Max, a 26 year-old mixed breed Cajun.  I’ll bet his diet features more spice: Louisiana Rat Gumbo, Squirrel Etouffee.  

Now, that’s living.

Dinner tonight in Rome?

Pasta Puttanesca. My key to long life:

1 lb. Spaghetti, cooked and drained.

Saute 5 cloves thinly sliced garlic in 1/3 cup Olive oil until soft.  Add 2 teaspoons anchovy paste, 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes, 1-28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice, 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives. 2 tblsp. drained capers, pinch of sugar, 3/4 cup chopped basil.

Toss with hot pasta and serve 4-6 people with, of course, a glass of Chianti…or two.

Chow.








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