Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lentil Hummus

Among our tiny social circle and beyond, it is universally recognized that no one makes hummus as well or as tasty as does Waldie. I recently got her to pass along her recipe, and immediately saw why. The rest of us poor saps start with chickpeas (ceci, garbanzo beans). Waldie starts with lentils. That’s where the extra flavor comes from!

So here’s her recipe:

1. Bring:
  • 2 qts of water and
  • 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt
to a boil.

2. Add
  • 1/2 lb. of lentils (~ 1 1/4 cups)
and simmer about 15 minutes (until the lentils are al dente).

3. Drain & rinse the lentils in cold water. Drain them well and chill for 20 minutes.

4. Make a garlic paste by mincing & mashing 5 cloves of garlic with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.

5. Purée lentils in a food processor.

6. Add
  • 1/2 c. tahini,
  • garlic paste (see above),
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice, and
  • 1/2 c. water
7. Add 1/2 c. olive oil in a stream.

8. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/4 c. more water.

9. Season with salt & pepper.

10. Serve at room temperature.

In my experience, this stuff is best if made the day before you want to eat it, and the texture is best if it’s not too smooth. But that could just be me. Also, the denizens of The House of Chez Casa will be using more garlic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Creole Garlic Soup

While I’m talking about garlic...

I saw this recipe a couple of years ago on another blog and not a week later made a batch. I can’t say for sure whether this soup speeds healing, but it certainly comforts. I am here shamelessly re-posting from ATD’s blog; the original post is linked to the title as well as to this sentence. From here, I am quoting wholesale.

~~~Begin stolen post~~~

My Gift to all who suffer or will suffer from colds

It has been brought to my attention that every year, people get sick with...colds. It’s an epidemic. Teachers, priests, co-workers, children, parents...the list just goes on and on. Something must be done!

So I have decided it’s time to share the cure. Yes, I’m quite serious.

A few years ago, I attended a party in which the soup served as the second course was “Creole Garlic Soup”. It was so good, most of us thought we could likely live on this soup for the rest of our lives, and I believe all of us wrote down the recipe before we left.

It was several months before I made the soup, but as summer turned into fall, the heat came on indoors, and the days grew shorter, I realized it was time to think about making soup. So during the week I gathered my ingredients, dug out the recipe and went to sleep Friday night with dreams of garlic cloves, rosemary, and thyme.

I woke up Saturday morning with one of the worst and most acute head colds I have ever had. But I still ventured out into the raw, cold, rainy November day to purchase the final ingredients for my soup.

Loaded up on decongestants, washing my hands until they were chapped, I joked with my roommate that I was going to cook up the cure for the common cold. So for a couple of hours, the warm cozy apartment took on the strong aroma of garlic, which even wafted into the hallway.

I do believe one of my neighbors was cured of something just by walking past our door.

I ate two bowls of the soup that evening, amazed I could even taste it. And the next day, my cold was quite literally 90% better. I had gone from misery to a small case of the sniffles.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for this wonderful soup.

DISCLAIMER: The ingredients are on the conservative end; adjust to your own taste, and don’t be afraid to add more garlic! But I would advise using the old adage “less is more” the first time you make it, but once you have an idea as to what it is like, you can better adjust according to your own taste.

  • 1/3 C. whole garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh basil or 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 4 cans of vegetable broth (or 2 32 oz boxes of Swanson’s vegetable broth) (( I recommend low sodium))
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 C. Half-and-Half (I use fat-free)
  • 1/3 C. parmesan cheese - shredded (Stizzy sez: try Locatelli instead!)
  • Creole seasoning
  • Day-Old French or Italian bread

1. Add onions and some of the garlic cloves to a large soup pan with the T. of olive oil. When the onions begin to turn clear or brownish (don’t over cook!), add the broth, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring this to a boil.

2. When the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.

3. In the meantime, make your croutons: Cube the bread, approximately 2-3 cups, and toast in the oven at 300 degrees. Remove from heat, place in a paper sack, coat with apx. 1 - 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and season with the Creole seasoning. (This is spicy— be conservative at first!). Set the croutons aside.


4. When the soup has simmered for the 40 minutes, add approximately 1 1/2 C. of the croutons and stir in with a wire whisk until they have mostly dissolved. At this point, the whole garlic cloves should be “mushy”.

5. Remove the bay leaf

6. Add the half-and-half and parmesan cheese and immediately remove the soup from heat.

7. If you have a hand-mixer, use this to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. You may also pour the soup into a blender.

8. Serve immediately and garnish with the remaining croutons, parmesan, and creole seasoning.

***the half-and-half and parmesan can be omitted (Stizzy sez: use the 1/2 & 1/2 but substitute Locatelli for the parmesan.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chaplainʻs Triple Chocolate Brownies

One of the science teachers at work has us doing a new thing this year, the upshot of which is that we end up eating a lot of cakes & snacks. A lot. Really. I expect the faculty to collectively gain a couple of tons. In the midst of all this snacking, the biggest hit by far has been this very yummy batch of brownies brought in by our chaplain. When we asked about the recipe, we were told that it was found one Christmas when chaplain and spouse made some fifty or sixty different recipes of brownies to give as gifts, and that this was the version they liked best. So this recipe was the best of fifty or sixty brownie recipes, and has now proven to be my co-workers’ favorite snack of the year. It arrived in my inbox today.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour an eight inch square metal pan.
  • In heavy saucepan, melt
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate,
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, and
  • 6 tablespoons of butter over VERY low heat.
  • Cool.
  • Add 3/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Add 2 large eggs, one at a time.
  • Stir in
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt,
  • 1/2 cup flour and then
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. A toothpick stuck in the middle will show wet crumbs. (N.b.: After first attempts were too dry, I made a couple of adjustments. I made a double recipe, but used only 2/3 the flour. It was just about perfect after 20 minutes in the convection toaster oven.)
  • Cool completely in the pan.
  • Cut into squares.
These freeze beautifully and the recipe may be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled. If you like, you may add any kind of chopped nuts.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


A retired friend and active riding buddy from the upstate passed along to us a bottle of his homemade Kahlúa. Tied to the neck of the bottle was this recipe:

[Jim’s] Kahlúa
  • 4 c. sugar
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 Tbls vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. Columbian dark roast instant coffee
  • 1/5 vodka (~750 ml. or 26 oz.)
1. Combine sugar and 3 c. water in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Mix coffee with 1 c. boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Thoroughly mix sugar/water, coffee/water, vanilla, and vodka. Pour into bottles and let stand 2-3 weeks.

4. Drink and enjoy.

The only step I’ve followed so far is step 4., but I’m thinking it may be time to try the other steps. Not having instant coffee, I’ll have to sort out how much 2 oz. of instant usually makes so I can do the equivalent with whole-bean dark roast. Oh, and I’ll have to come up with some vodka. I’m more of a scotch man myself (Oban, if you must know).


Update: I’m giving the thing a try today, and decided that I wanted a more molassesque flavor and so would use brown sugar instead of white/granulated. So I went down to the store to pick up another bag of dark brown sugar and to try to sort out how many servings of coffee 2 oz. of instant makes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at instant coffee. I don’t drink the stuff. Practically the only bit of modern Greek I know is a phrase that will get me Greek/Turkish style coffee at a café instead of the instant that American tourists are usually served in such places. So I was unprepared for the bewildering array of instant coffees on the shelves of my local grocer.

But I did learn two things. First, 2 oz. of instant makes 15-20 servings of coffee. Second, two purveyors of my daily-duty, pre-ground espresso (Medaglia d'Oro and Café Bustelo; nothing from illy on these shelves) sell instant espresso. Hmm. “Recipe calls for instant, I’ll use instant,” says I, grabbing a 2 oz. bottle of espresso crystals.

(As I typed the words above, my sugar & water mixture boiled over. I have to do some wiping up now.

Ah. All done. I guess I should work that interlude into my recipe.)

And when I got home, I discovered that a 32 oz. / 2 lb. bag of brown sugar presses down to four cups.

Having said all of that, here’s the procedure I followed today. I’m recording here because I’m willing to bet that I won’t remember in three weeks when the stuff is ready to try, and I know beyond certainty that I won’t remember when it’s time to make another batch.

  1. In a large saucepan, combine 32 oz. dark brown sugar (4 c.) and 3 c. boiling water.
  2. Stir until smooth and leave to simmer.
  3. Start updating a blog entry.
  4. Hear wife holler that something is boiling over on the stove.
  5. Take pan off burner and place it on a trivet.
  6. Clean up that sticky, syrupy mess.
  7. All of it.
  8. You missed a spot right over there.
  9. And under there.
  10. That’s better.
  11. Put the kettle on the newly cleaned & re-installed eye of the stovetop.
  12. Pour the syrup into a half-gallon container.
  13. In the saucepan, combine 1 c. boiling water and 2 oz. instant espresso.
  14. Stir until coffee is dissolved and a lot of that syrup mixture is off the sides of the pan.
  15. Add to the 1/2 gallon jug.
  16. Let the contents of the jug cool a bit, and then add 750 ml. vodka. and 2 Tbsp vanilla.
  17. Let stand three weeks.
I’ll know more later on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage

I’m repurposing an e-mail that I sent to a discussion list stuffed full of acerbic academics several years back. I was directly challenged to put my oar in by the man who was (at that time) the dean of the college in which I was teaching. And so I did. I look back on this post as an unpaid ad for a lively and useful grammar.


At 11:25 AM -0500 27/10/98, [Dean, The] wrote:
> It seems that no one will stand up for tradition anymore; it has
> become more important to avoid awkward sentences than to
> adhere to that which is time-honored and rooted in the Latin.
> Have you nothing to say, [Izzy]?

Ask and ye shall receive. But be warned, I am writing during a brief moment of lucidity between illness-induced naps. Any stains on the page are cheese/potato soup.

The sad fact is that most of our English sentence structure derives not from our learned Greek and Latin forbears, but from the hairy, smelly Saxons. Apparently, the winners get not only to write the history, but also to choose the language in which it will appear. Many of the tricks of clear expression that I hold dear have been artificially imposed on our beloved, syncretic language. And many of those tricks seem doomed to eventual rejection. Away they go, carried off with the bodies of native sons of a language once inflected. Alas, woe, and so be it. I may cringe a little every time I hear George Thorogood growl “who do you love?”, but there is little I can do to stop whom from being expunged from the language, or being relegated to use as a shibboleth among pedants.

My guide in such matters has for many years now been Henry Ward Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1st Edition 1926, 1st American printing 1944; Second Edition 1965; 3rd Edition... we'll come to that in a minute).

For those unfamiliar with Fowler’s, it is (was... we’ll come to that in a minute) a highly idiosyncratic, extremely funny, commonsensical analysis of the foibles of the English language as it is found on a small island across the big waters. In the first edition, the article on the split infinitive goes on for several pages, beginning thus:

Split Infinitive. The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know & condemn; (4) those who know & approve; & (5) those who know & distinguish.

1. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority & are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes....

So run the first one and a half inches of about 33 column inches of informative, opinionated, and entertaining text on the split infinitive.

The second edition of Fowler’s was edited by Ernest Gowers and published the year before Sir Gowers died. He wisely left the tone of the original Fowler’s intact and restrained his work to making a number of additions to the information contained in the first edition, and a very few changes where necessary. One such addition may be found at the end of the article “Whence, whither.” The original article ended:
If whither was too antiquated, the alternative was ‘to which place’, but occasions arise now & then, as in this sentence, to which whence & whither are, even for the practical purposes of plain speech, more appropriate than any equivalent.

Aside from the mechanical changes and the deletion of the word “place,” Gowers changed this article by the addition of a sentence that gets a hearty “amen” from me. Add to the above:
They [whence & whither] should be allowed to stand on their own feet: not even the examples that can be found in the Psalms and the Apostles’ Creed justify the use today of the tautology from whence.

It was from the pen of Fowler that I finally learned the difference between Which and That when used as English relative pronouns. I read Fowler’s for fun.

Copies of the first two editions turn up with alarming regularity at second-hand book shops. (Sorry about that, my diction seems to have been influence by Fowler. I meant, of course, used book stores.) In addition, the second edition remains in print as a paperback from Oxford for ~$10. Get a copy while the getting is good.

Toward the end of 1996, Oxford brought out a third edition of Fowler’s. No longer is it A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, by H.W. Fowler. It is now, rather misleadingly, called The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, edited by R.W. Burchfield. The tone and idiosyncratic charm of the old Fowler’s has been entirely erased. But what Burchfield has brought should not be overlooked.

Fowler (and Gowers after him) drew his examples from the pages of the local papers. Burchfield, as a long-time editor of the OED, draws his examples from literature, citing sources as he goes. He is also far more careful to set out not only the state of the language, but also a history of how the language got to be in its present state. So while the article on the split infinitive is still long (and even lively in its own academic, un-curmudgeonly way) it has been completely reshaped from the five sections into which Fowler organized his own discussion. I will quote here the first and the last paragraphs:

split infinitive. No other grammatical issue has so divided the nation since the split infinitive was declared to be a solecism in the course of the 19c. First, it is essential to clarify what is and what is not a split infinitive. A brief history of the construction then follows. Finally, a description of the present state of the split infinitive is given with numerous illustrative examples showing various types of split and unsplit infinitives.
[several columns of type snipped, including examples of split infinitives from the pens of such luminaries as Wyclif in the 14c, Byron, and Hardy in the 19c., and Amis and Keillor in the 20c.]
4 Preference. No absolute taboo should be placed on the use of simple adverbs between the particle to and the verbal part of the infinitive. ‘Avoid splitting infinitives whenever possible, but do not suffer undue remorse if a split infinitive is unavoidable for the natural and unambiguous completion of a sentence already begun.’ (Burchfield, The Spoken Word, 1981).

My advice, then? Go find an old Fowler’s and read it for illumination and entertainment. And when you need a more in-depth treatment and can stand the dryness, pick up a New Fowler’s. I understand that Modern American Usage is now out in a new edition as well (I think this year, but it may have been last), but I've never had a compelling reason to pick up a copy and see what it may be like.

to boldly go where no .... wait
boldly to go where .... hmmm, maybe
to go boldly where no ....

forget it, I'm just going back to bed.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beef and Stout Pie

What Williams-Sonoma calls their “Beef and Stout Pie” is actually a Beef and Stout Stew with a Stilton Pastry top. I can’t think of anything made in a 5 1/2 qt. dutch oven that should be called a “pie.” But “Beef and Stout Cobbler” just sounds gross.

Anyway, I’m copying the recipes here onto a single entry for my own convenience. The links above will take you to the various Williams-Sonoma pages. At least, they will until the next time W-S revamps their cryptic syntax. And today, their internal search engine is down, so I had to hunt this recipe up using a generic web search engine.

Why I want a copy of this is a mystery, even to myself. It looks very tasty, but I can think of no occasion when I could try it out. I have very few carnivorous friends, and this makes a whole lot of stew. I suppose that some cold day this winter, I’ll probably take my first whack at it, but will cut the proportions down. We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the cut-n-paste (or is that, cut-n-pastry?).


Beef and Stout Pie

This hearty beef stew is slowly simmered on the stovetop, then topped with Stilton pastry and finished in a hot oven.


  • 7 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. white button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups Irish stout
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 lb. carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • One 16-inch round Stilton pastry (see related recipe at left)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water


In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add one-third of the beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the liquid into a separate bowl. Repeat the process 2 more times, using 2 Tbs. oil to brown each batch of beef and deglazing the pot with 1/2 cup water after each batch.

Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the beef, stout, broth and reserved liquid, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 3 hours.

While that’s simmering, make the:

Stilton Pastry

A sprinkling of creamy Stilton cheese sets this pastry dough apart....


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks/250g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water
  • 4 oz. Stilton cheese, crumbled


In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse until blended, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 1/3 cup of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 Tbs. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and roll out into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cheese over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the cheese. Roll out the dough into a 16 1/2-inch square. Using a paring knife, trim the dough into a 16-inch round.

Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 10 minutes, then lay the dough on top of the beef and stout pie and bake as directed in that recipe. Makes enough dough for a 16-inch round.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Brush the rim of the pot with water. Lay the pastry round on top, allowing it to droop onto the filling. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang, and crimp to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture, then cut 4 slits in the top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the potpie rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creation & Art

“True art is made as if God were a lot of little cottage industries. Artists take up shapeless raw material -- paint or clay, or a blank sheet of paper -- and transform it into something wonderful that never existed before. This is such a joyous activity that I am at a loss to understand how an artist could ever be unhappy, and yet so many are. Perhaps, like God, they grieve when man ignores their handiwork.”

-- Roger Ebert, in his review of Robert Altman’s Vincent & Theo

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father

Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.

But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

On Screaming
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.

Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Complaints and Lamentations
O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, "Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know.

For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.


This lovely little essay is copywritten:
Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 1997; Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father; Volume 279, No. 2; pages 89 - 90.

The link in the title will take you to a page at The Atlantic Monthly where you can also hear sound files of Frazier reading sections. (I also once heard him read it on a Prairie Home Companion. RA file linked at that page.) There is also another format for the essay at The Atlantic Monthly that I find easier on my eyes, but with no sound file links. The essay is also available in a collection by that name. And don’t miss Frazier’s brilliant Coyote -v- Acme.

So with so much available, why am I copying the thing here? Because several times I have wanted to trot out this marvelous pastiche and it has been unavailable. For a while, The Atlantic even wanted one to pay to get access to their archives. Who knows when they’ll decide to do that again, and then I won’t have ready access when I want to trot this out for a class.

But do go to The Atlantic’s page and listen to Frazier reading this. And think what else you could be missing by not reading The Atlantic. And go read some more Ian Frazier, too; he’s a hoot.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Whose Blood is on the Altar in the Appearance of Wine

I’ve gotten a couple of questions about the inscription from St. Lawrence Outside the Walls. I’ll try to explain here what’s going on, and I’ll try to do that with my non-epigraphist friends in mind.

Let’s start with what I could actually see when I looked up at the slab. Here are a couple of snapshots I took while Professor Bianchi’s crew were setting up to take far better quality pictures. (For those keeping score at home, I’ll remind you that the date was Skylab Day, 11 July 2007.)

The slab of stone that has been set overhead has also been cut and inset with colored stone in a style and method known as Cosmatesque. There are several little floral decorations on this and the neighboring slabs, and this slab has also been inset with a large circle around an equilateral cross (like the cruciform halos seen in Christian art). The inset patterns have damaged an inscription. There are eight lines of Latin in the inscription, the last of which is partially covered by the horizontal bar of the cross. Whoever decorated the stone and set it in it’s current position (assuming that these actions were done at about the same time) apparently did not care about the earlier inscription.

In the inscription, the letters that I can actually read (in whole or in part) on the stone in our snapshots are these:







The square brackets that I’m using are a standard notation. They indicate that the text I’m giving you does not end naturally, that there are other letters in the original that I can’t physically see. In papyrology, the square brackets normally signal damage to the papyrus itself (e.g., a torn edge or a hole in the middle). Here, they indicate two things: the first, places where none of a letter can be seen at all because of the mosaic pattern inset into the slab; the second, the edges of the stone, where letters are hidden by the walls upon which our slab is now resting.

The right edge of the slab with our inscription is sitting right down on top of supporting stone, and nothing more could be read without damaging stonework. The left edge of the stone is also resting on supporting stonework except where the eight lines of text are; here, a relief has been cut out of the supporting stone, and had I a ladder, a flashlight, and a different angle, I might have been able to read more of the letters. I believe that this must be how the extra letters along the left edge have been read before.

Looking through the stuff Professor Bianchi sent me, I see that his is not the first publication of this inscription. It was originally published more than eighty years ago by a Jesuit scholar.

Original publication:
Felice Grossi-Gondi, “L’iscrizione eucaristica del secolo V nella basilica di S. Lorenzo al Verano,” Nuovo Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana, 1921, pp. 106-11.

And since that was so long ago, you can now nab a copy of that publication (one page at a time) for free off the interwebs. The six jpegs will cost you about 2.5 Mb of disc space, and the article is in Italian, and if your Italian was any better than mine (which is functionally non-existent), you wouldn’t have complained to me, but here it is anyway:
Original publication.

By the way, while looking for this article, I found it referenced here:

Another publication (which I have not yet seen):
Antonio Ferrua, Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae, vol. VII, 1980, n. 18324, pp. 164-165.

Fr. Grossi-Gondi recognized that the six lines of Latin start with a standard sentiment for an ancient epitaph. On headstones one will often read things like, “You who pass by and read this, have a kind thought for the poor sod beneath this sod. What you are, I once was; what I am, you will be.” We have something similar here. He also recognized that the Latin is in meter, and not in the usual (for headstones) elegiac couplets, but in the grander epic meter, dactylic hexameter (the form used by Homer and Vergil). So it’s not just an inscription, but a poem, and a poem that evokes epic rather than little ditties.

On p. 106, the first page of his article, he supplements the text that he can actually read with letters that he thinks are likely to be the correct ones. He has the advantage of knowing that whatever he puts at the beginning and end of each line has to fit the poetry; that is, his supplements have to scan properly. Here’s his solution:



4 - percipias gra]T IAM QVIS QVIS HÆC SACRA PERH[aurias


6 - ver]VS IN ALTARI CRVOR EST VINV̅Q [videtur


8 - unde]POTENTER AQVAM tRIBVIS BAPTI[smate lotis

(For those who can scan Latin poetry, yes there are some minor irregularities. For instance, the second syllable of navis in line two has been lengthened.

If you go to the link for his article, you’ll see, too, that he’s managed to get the page typeset so that the letters on the page line up more or less the way they are on the stone. You’ll also see that his supplement at the beginning of line four sticks way out in front, that it starts farther to the left than his other lines do. This seems a bit unreasonable.

And it’s one of the places that Professor Bianchi has printed a different solution. (Since I haven’t seen Ferrua’s 1980 publication (no JSTOR access in my life right now), I don’t know how much of this is his work and how much Bianchi’s; I’ll refer to the later variants as Bianchi’s for the sake of simplicity, but in any sort of scholarly discussion, one would want to be more precise.) For line four Grossi-Gondi has:

Percipias gratiam quisquis haec sacra perhaurias.
May you obtain grace, whoever would drink down these sacred things.

For line four, Bianchi has:

Dicat iam quisquis haec sacra perhauriat ore
Whoever would drink down these sacred things, let him now say aloud,

To my mind, this makes a better transition between the first three lines, which are clearly addressed to the reader, and the fifth line, which names the One addressed in the subsequent lines, even if it makes the theology of the inscription less blatant.

Another change printed by Bianchi that improves the reading while muting the theology comes at the beginning of the sixth line. Grossi-Gondi has verus in altari cruor est / true blood is on the altar. Bianchi has cuius in altari cruor est / whose blood is on the altar. Either way, the line is still transubstantiationist. ___ blood is on the altar and seems to be wine.

Allowing that line six could go either way, Bianchi takes a couple of other minor improvements and prints his Latin text (with abbreviations expanded and spelling for the most part regularized)

4 - (Dica)T IAM QUISQUIS HAEC SACRA PERH(auriat ore)
6 - (Cui)US [o: (Ver)US] IN ALTARI CRUOR EST VINUMQUE (videtur)

I’m not sure about the beginning of the third line. Bianchi is accepting a misspelling for dirige, and has supplied an altered vowel to match the one on the stone. He could just as easily have printed (Dir)ege, and I wouldn’t be surprised if an even better solution comes along later. But taking it as Bianchi prints it, I will supply the following pony (a “pony” in this context is a translation meant to explain the literal meaning of a foreign text; it is not meant to be a beautiful exemplar of clear, lucid English, but is meant to convey the sense and the ambiguities of the original):

1. Consider, you who pass by. Accept how brief life is
2. and
3. direct
2. your ship’s journey toward the shore of Paradise
3. to the place where you might make the face of the Lord your harbor.
4. Whoever would drink down these sacred things, let him now say aloud,
5. “Highest Glory, Lord, Light, Wisdom, Virtue,
6. Whose blood is on the altar and appears as wine
7. and You Who,
8. omnipotent, grant to those washed with baptism the water
7. of your side through a work of extraordinary mercy.”

One odd thing about ll. 5-8 is that they are all, grammatically, a direct address. All they are doing is saying good things about the person to whom the words are directed. They are an adoration:

O, Great Glory! (a bit stronger than merely saying, “o, Glorious One.” He is not merely characterized by glory, He is glory).
O, Lord!
O, Light!
O, Wisdom!
O, Virtue!
O, One Whose blood is on the altar in the guise of wine!
and, O, Omnipotent One who (through an act of wondrous mercy) grants the water of Your side to those washed by baptism.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask for more if you need it.

Feast of Corpus Christi, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I don't know why this tickles me, but it does. I haven’t had time to read my funnies, so I’m not sure what day this appeared. I found it in my inbox while using wifi before Mass in Floyd, VA. It was sent by my youngest brother.

who used to live a couple of blocks down the street from Dan Piraro in west Dallas

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Salmon with basil & mint

It’s almost time for our annual retreat to Rocky Knob, so SWMBO is at her annual conference at the beach and I’m cleaning out the fridge. We’ve had some basil on the verge of going off and I thought I’d combine it with a nice piece of salmon. Poking around to see what others have done with this pairing, I found a recipe (I forget where) for salmon with basil & mint. And we just so happen to have some mint left over from the juleps we had during the Preakness (go Big Brown!). Here's what I did.

No... better... Here’s what I'll do next time.
  • chiffonade about 1/6 c. basil leaves and 1/8 c. mint leaves for each salmon steak or fillet
  • wilt the herbs in a bit of olive oil over a medium heat & set aside
  • oil the baking pan & lay in the salmon
  • cover with wilted herbs
  • top with thin lemon slices
  • bake in convection toaster oven for 13 minutes at 350
Fast, easy, and surprisingly tasty. I also had some vegetables, but everyone knows how to...

Wait a tick.

Easy corn on the cob:
  • Shuck the corn & remove all the silk
  • wrap tightly in plastic wrap
  • roll into a tea towel
  • nuke on high for a scant 2 minutes
  • let sit for a few minutes (I put the fish in the oven, did the corn, and then unwrapped it right before the fish was ready).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Camembert & Caramelized Onion Quesadilla with Apple Chutney

The basic recipe is from the Food Network, with slight modifications for what we could get in town.

We had a tub of apple chutney, and I was wondering what to do with it all. So I did a web search for the phrase “with apple chutney,” and while most of the recipes called for pork of some sort (which SWMBO can not digest), there was one that looked pretty interesting.

Here’s what I used and how it came out:
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 4 Tblsp unsalted butter
  • 4 sweet onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, crushed in mortar & pestle
  • 9 (6-inch) low carb flour tortillas
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 4.5 oz. Camembert rounds, thinly sliced
  • apple chutney
Modifying the original recipe, I made twice the recipe of caramelized onions. Sliced ’em up, tossed ’em into a large pot with the EVOO & butter on medium heat, and settled in for almost an hour’s worth of stirring, cooking down, and talking to moms on Mothers’ Day. When they had cooked way down and were a nice light brown color, I cut off the heat and stirred in the thyme and the balsamic.

The local stores don’t really sell Camembert by the pound, so I ended up buying several rounds of Ile-de-France brand creamy Camembert at 4.5 oz per round. Each round made one double-decker quesadilla.

As the recipe asks, I laid out six flour tortillas. I split the onions into six little mounds and spread one mound on each of the tortillas. I cut up the Camembert and put half a round’s worth on each of the tortillas, then stacked them up in pairs and covered each pair with another tortilla. I then had three little ungrilled stacks that went (from the cutting board up) tortilla, onion, cheese, tortilla, onion, cheese, tortilla.

We grilled them on a panini press (locking the upper grill in place just touching the top tortilla so it wouldn’t squish all the cheese out). On our first attempt, I put too much chutney on top; I’ll use less tomorrow. But other than that, not bad at all. I’ll bet it would be even better with brie.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The True Blood is on the altar and appears as Wine

Last Skylab Day, SWMBO and I were treated to an impromptu tour of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls by Prof. Lorenzo Bianchi. We were there on pilgrimage; he, to photograph an inscription that may be the earliest known epigraphical evidence of the doctrine of transubstantiation.

Last Saturday, a package arrived in the mail from Italy. Prof. Bianchi had mailed me a couple of his books and a few articles, including an off-print of the preliminary article (March 2006) to the scholarly publication for which he and his crew were shooting pictures (forthcoming).

The earlier article (March 2006) is available online.

The slab in question is directly over these men’s heads as you head into the lower crypt:


One of our pictures of the thing (to give you an idea of position and scale) is here:


Prof. Bianchi’s text and Italian translation are here:

6. (Cui)US [o: (Ver)US] IN ALTARI CRUOR EST VINUMQUE (videtur)

1. Guarda, tu che passi, intendi quanto sia breve la vita,
2. e raddrizza il viaggio della tua nave all’approdo del Paradiso,
3. là dove il tuo porto sarà vedere il Signore.
4. Dica ormai chiunque beve queste specie consacrate:
5. “Tu sei la somma gloria, il Signore, il lume, la sapienza, la virtù,
6. il cui [o: vero] sangue è sull’altare e sembra vino;
7. tu, che nella tua onnipotenza concedi con un’opera di mirabile misericordia
8. l’acqua scaturita dal tuo fianco a coloro che sono stati purificati nel battesimo”.

I eagerly await the full publication.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

An obvious refinement

Two posts below I blathered on about LTLT and a caramelized white onion change in the onion confit (and, with the addition of raisins, a recipe heading out of the confit domain and into that of chutney). If LHLT is the method, what better tool than a crock pot? It seems obvious in retrospect, and so I had to try it.

This time, I made a full recipe -- 2 lbs. of onions to start with. We were out of chutney-esqe stuff for garnishing [1] and Vidalia onions (sweet yellow onions from a particular region of Georgia) are in season. And so I thought I’d try caramelizing the onions in the crock pot overnight. Slice & chop, into the pot, stir in some EVOO, cover, and turn on the pot. I let them go about ten hours on low. The limiting factor was that I had to leave for work the next morning, and so I went ahead and added the other ingredients before I left. Notes for future use:
  • next time, start this right when I get home from work so that they have about four more hours to caramelize;
  • use butter instead of EVOO; and
  • if the onions are just going to be used as caramelized onions per se, just do them in a large cast iron pot and keep stirring. (Music and a decent single malt will enhance the experience.)
Anyway, after about ten hours of cooking down, I added the tawny, white balsamic, honey, and raisins. I stirred it up, put the cover back on, and went to work. When I got home, I gave it a taste to see what I needed to add (nothing, this time), left the cover off, and turned the pot to high to start reducing the mixture. After 8 hours, it was almost thick enough. I think ten would have done the trick.

So the upshot is this: if I don't have the time to supervise, or if (like yesterday) there is a lot of other cooking that needs to happen and a chunk of the stove can’t be spared, the crock pot is a good solution. But it needs much more time than I originally thought. And the flavor of the caramelized onions is more intense if done more quickly over the stove.

BTW, the recipe cooked down to three pints (one quart jar, one pint jar). This would obviously be less if I let it reduce further.


[1] Or so I had thought. While I was simmering down the confit (or whatever it is), I asked SWMBO about a couple of plastic containers in the fridge. Turns out, one is an apple chutney. The other is also definitely in the chutney family, and much more sub-continent by the taste o it, but neither of us can remember what went into the making of it. So we're apparently set for chutneys at the moment, having a sweet apple chutney, and earthy onion confit, and some sort of curried chutney. Now we just have to cook things to put them on.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ut Unum Sint

One of the things that drew me to the Catholic Church was reading and rereading Christ’s prayer in the Garden (John 17). While I was mulling over His prayer that all Christians be one and that our unity be a sign to unbelievers, Pope John Paul II promulgated his wonderful encyclical Ut Unum Sint.

This morning I listened to and read along with Benedict XVI’s Address at the Ecumenical Prayer Service at St. Joseph’s Parish (Manhatten) from two evenings ago. Wow. It is clearly pastoral, and clearly heartfelt, but he minces no words. He does not outright call our divisions a scandal to the name of Christ, but he firmly finds fault with variance from what is truly Catholic, what has been believed everywhere, everywhen. Here is the paragraph that caught my ear:

Too often those who are not Christians, as they observe the splintering of Christian communities, are understandably confused about the Gospel message itself. Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called "prophetic actions" that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition. Communities consequently give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of "local options". Somewhere in this process the need for diachronic koinonia - communion with the Church in every age - is lost, just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23).
Go read the rest. And feel free to watch & listen (wmv) as well (link from this site; I'd happily post better streams).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Caramelized Onion Chutney

Two things here; first texture, then flavor.

Texture: LTLT (low temperature, long time)

I understand that the way to get really tender caramelized onions is to pile some thinly-sliced onions in a crock pot, put some butter pats on top, and let it go on low all night long. I didn't have that long, and I wasn’t preparing more than a single onion’s worth, so I used a cast-iron skillet over very low heat. I used a mandolin to do the initial slicing and then, because I was heading for a chutney, chopped the slices. Heated the skillet, melted a bit of butter, and tossed in the onion bits. Occasional stirring for about 75 minutes before the onion began to brown (the heat was that low), then another twenty minutes before the pieces were almost uniformly brown.

When I transferred the onion into a saucepan with the remaining ingredients, I again used a very low heat. It took over a half an hour for the sauce to start bubbling. It bubbled for over an hour before I had to add water (so it could keep bubbling and softening).

Low temperature. Long time.


I used the basic proportions of the red onion confit, but eyeballed it all instead of measuring (it was just one onion, after all). But the ingredients were modified to these:
  • caramelized yellow onion
  • honey
  • tawny port wine
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • raisins
I think this one’s a keeper.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun

The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I stuck a copy of this oft-quoted gem up here. Has anyone done a count of the number of other works that have been entitled from these lines (or from allusions to them)? At least two administration-authored reports on Iraq have taken their titles from this poem. (And just over a year ago there was a NYT op-ed piece pointing out the irony.) But no matter how you read it, its images and language stick.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

“Do You Love Me?”

(I think that this duet from Fiddler on the Roof is my favorite love song. I’m posting it in honor of the day and because our 25th anniversary is looming. I hope that the color-coding will be obvious; it’s not quite blue and pink, but you’ll get the idea.)

Tevye: Golde, I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel.

Golde: What‽ He’s poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!

Tevye: He's a good man, Golde. I like him. And what's more important, Hodel likes him. Hodel loves him. So what can we do? It’s a new world... A new world.



[Song starts.]

Do you love me?

Golde: Do I what?

Tevye: Do you love me?

Golde: Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married
And this trouble in the town

You’re upset, you’re worn out;

Go inside, go lie down!

Maybe it's indigestion.

Golde, I’m asking you a question:

Do you love me?

You're a fool.

I know.

But do you love me?

Do I love you?

For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes,

Cooked your meals, cleaned your house,

Given you children, milked the cow;

After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

Golde, the first time I met you

Was on our wedding day.
I was scared.
I was shy.
I was nervous.
So was I.

But my father and my mother

Said we’d learn to love each other

And now I’m asking, Golde,

Do you love me?

I’m your wife.

I know.

But do you love me?

Do I love him?

For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him,

Fought him, starved with him.

Twenty-five years my bed is his.

If that’s not love, what is?

Then you love me?

I suppose I do.

And I suppose I love you, too.

It doesn't change a thing,
But even so

After twenty-five years

It’s nice to know.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Glaring Across the Chasm of Flames

The Frick Collection is in the converted Manhattan town house of Henry Clay Frick. Much of the permanent collection is still arranged in living spaces, as if the family were going to move back in tomorrow. There are quiet spots for sitting and contemplating, tucked serenely between the walls of a house set down amidst the constant drone of New York’s Upper East Side. I was slowly sauntering from room to room when I entered the Living Hall and saw what is still my favorite group of paintings. The wit of the arrangement stopped me dead in my tracks and made me cackle so loudly that I was almost tossed out of the museum.

Inset into one wall is one of those large walk-in fireplaces. The mantle is just about head hight. To the left of the fireplace is the famous Holbein portrait of St. Thomas More, the Man for All Seasons; he looks to his left, across the great expanse of the fireplace. On the other side of the fireplace, looking to his right across the chasm, is a portrait of Thomas Cromwell also by Holbein the Younger.

Now, Cromwell was Henry VIII’s chief minister; it was he who was instrumental in organizing More’s martyrdom, questioning the Saint endlessly and trying fruitlessly to find or force a political justification for More’s execution. He was unsuccessful, but More was beheaded anyway, and now the pair of them, transported from their own island to this room in Manhattan, stare at one another across the flames, inviting us to guess which of the Thomases is on which side of the great chasm.

But that’s not all, for above the mantle, looking out at us from a height, is the famous El Greco of St. Jerome. He is elongated, dressed in red cape, and has his thumb plonked down into Scripture. His stern presence has been set as a judge between the two Tommys, but by his gaze and gesture he commands us to make our own judgement, and to base it on Holy Writ. Only the angle of his body within this grouping betrays his own choice, or (at any rate) the choice made by the person who had these three paintings hung together in this place.

The large fireplace, which would dominate most rooms, is subsumed by a fantastic and deliberate arrangement of portraits; the grouping uses it and gives it new meaning. It becomes a gateway to hell in an arrangement that reminds us of a notorious moment in history and tells us what the arranger thinks of the characters in the story.

And I suspect that there are similar stories to be read throughout the house, if only I had the wit and intelligence to discern them.

Get thee to the Frick.