Category Archives: Food

The Binturong

Chances are you don’t know what a binturong is, and that’s exactly how they like it. The binturong is nature’s reclusive, creepy curmudgeon who lives down the street in the house with all of the junk piled out front who only comes out of his house to pick up the paper and scare the local kids. The binturong isn’t elusive because it’s endangered (because it isn’t) or because it’s stealthy (because it isn’t), but because it just doesn’t like other animals or people. It wants to be left alone so it can nurse both its aching war wound and its seething bitterness. And it would thank you very much to stay the heck off its lawn and let it live its own life in peace.

So jealous is the binturong of its own privacy that everything about this creature is designed to mislead and misinform so that, hopefully, no one will ever find it.

This binturong is just a cub and yet it already appears to be smoking.

Starting with its name, binturong is Malay for “bear cat” even though it is neither a bear nor a cat. If its name doesn’t confuse zealous girl scouts and Census Bureau volunteers enough to keep them looking for bears and/or cats and away from its front door, there is yet another layer of deception hidden within the binturong’s monicker. In Malay bear-cat is the word for binturong, but in Chinese it’s the word for panda. And it just so happens that the binturong is native to China just like the panda. This is no accident. The binturong is pretty much banking on more than a few pandas being snagged in a case of mistaken identity.

If a binturong isn’t a bear or a cat, what is it? It’s a relative of the civet and the genet. And what in the name of great Caesar’s ghost are civets and genets? Exactly. No one’s really sure. And I mean no one. If I had to describe either a civet or a genet, I would say it looks like the cross between a bear and a cat. Seriously.

A civet

And that’s the brilliance of the binturong’s defense techniques. If someone is bent on selling the binturong a subscription to Viverrid Monthly, or killing it and selling its meat and fur at a market, they would be sent around in circles until they gave up. If a person started looking for a binturong based on its name, they’d end up knocking on the door of every bear or cat in the phone book until they might eventually stumble upon a civet or a genet instead. If they realized they’d been duped and they tried to figure out what the heck a civer or a genet is, they’d eventually end up right back at bears and cats.

Eventually, though, a binturong needs to drive to the local gas-n-go to grab another 40 ounce and a pack of smokes. And every once in a while, one of them gets caught and taken to a zoo. The binturong isn’t a dangerous animal when considered on the grand scale of dangerous animals – with bears and dolphins at the most dangerous extreme, and pandas and sugar gliders on the other. Any danger a binturong poses isn’t because it’s fierce as much as because it’s just plain ticked off. Binturongs are even known to pace around cages in zoos angrily grunting to themselves.[i] The look on a captured binturong’s face also resembles less a deer in headlights and more Nick Nolte’s mugshot.

A binturong's mugshot

Nick Nolte's mugshot

The best part about the binturong is also the fakest sounding part: the binturong smells like popcorn; like real, buttered popcorn. And I more than half suspect it’s nature’s way of making sure the binturong can’t be too much of a recluse. The fact that nature’s crankiest loner smells so huggably delicious is entirely fitting. If movies and TV have taught me anything at all besides crime pays and only hot people[ii] crash on islands, it’s that curmudgeons might have a tough exterior, but they’re all lovable softies on the inside. You see, the binturong isn’t a bad or evil creature by any means. It’s not a fierce man eater. It just projects an image of wanting to be left alone when in truth this is only because it doesn’t know how to reach out and be friends. But God has caused this creature to smell like buttered popcorn as a sign of the golden, gooey heart that beats within its off-putting, red eyed exterior.


[i] It’s really true. They do.

[ii] And the occasional fat guy.

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Bee Fears, Bears and Beards

I had intended to write this post about the etymology of the word carnival, because it’s quite an interesting one. This got me researching useful carnival terms like the fear of clowns, coulrophobia, and the fear of bears. But wait. Five or six consecutive Googlings, in which I employed the sum of my knowledge from almost fifteen years of search engine experience, netted not one single credible source for a term meaning ‘the fear of bears.’

Terrifying. Utterly terrifying.

This could mean several things, all of which confuse and concern me.

It could mean there is no confirmed psychological condition for the fear of bears (if there were it would probably be called ursophobia, and so we will call it henceforth). After all there is a veritable plethora of fake or medically unverifiable phobias drifting about the internet these days. Hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia — purported to be the term for ‘the fear of long words’ — is a prevalent find, though I have serious doubts about the medical credibility of the term, which itself appears to be nonsense (hippopoto- coming from the Greek for ‘river horse,’ the literal translation of hippopotomus, and by extension a synonym for ‘big’; monstro- coming from the Latin root for ‘monstrous,’ also by extension a synonym for big; and sesquipedalian, a real English word meaning ‘pertaining to long words,’ literally ‘foot and a half long’ in Latin.) and more than likely a mean-spirited joke at the expense of people who have such a fear. So maybe ursophobia is just another fake phobia. But that’s the problem. The fake phobias are just as easy to come by on the web as the real ones. Fictional phobia or not, a search for ‘the fear of bears’ should result in more than just a few unfounded conjectures on forums suggesting the existence of such a condition.

It could mean people, on the whole, don’t fear bears at all. The idea that there is no psychological condition called ursophobia is a reasonable one. That’s where a great deal of these fake phobias come from: people have a fear of something that doctors have not observed and confirmed as a psychological condition, so people make a word for it themselves. My, admittedly so-unqualified-it’s-ridiculous, understanding is that a phobia is more than a fear or distaste for something, but an irrational, crippling fear or hatred. And that’s why it makes sense that there wouldn’t be a real ursophobia: because it’s completely and solidly rational to fear bears.

I don’t trust animals that 1) can walk on their hind legs, 2) recognize themselves in a mirror, or 3) have thumbs. As scientists learn more about the mysteries of animal intelligence, it becomes clearer and clearer all the time that we humans might just be holding onto our position as the dominant species by our fingernails[1]. Bears are one of the few animals that can walk on their hind legs. That should scare us enough, especially if they ever learn how to carpool and wear suits. But they’re also much, much bigger than humans, with giant claws and teeth that could tear us to shreds in a matter of seconds. Don’t let the fact that they eat berries mislead you. Don’t be fooled by their beguiling cuteness and huggability. These are adaptations designed to trap their human prey. Bears are stone cold killers whose very nature it is to hunt down and eat people. There’s probably a bear watching you right now. Whatever you do, don’t look him in the eye and don’t rub his belly, no matter how much his lovable smile makes him look like he wants you to. It would be the last thing you ever did.

And so, if we want to keep our job as the dominant species on this planet, we need to fear bears. It’s right and rational for us to.

Which brings me back to the first issue raised: why isn’t there a phobia of bears? There are so many other zany phobias out there. And I mean real, medically documented phobias. Take linonophobia, which is, I kid you not, the fear of string. Not the fear of rope (or hanging by one), not the fear of chains, not the fear of whips, garrotes or wires. The fear of string. Then there’s pogonophobia, which is the fear of beards, a word many foreign people confuse readily with bears, but still — it’s not ursophobia.

And speaking of confusing bears with other words: melissophobia. Despite it’s appearance, melissophobia is not the fear of women named Melissa, though both words have the same root. It’s the fear of bees.[2] But if one Googles the phobia of bears, melissophobia comes up most frequently. That’s because people are stupid; another reason we need to watch out for bears and other ambitious species who might exploit our intellectual failings. In fact, I’m willing to bet money it was a bear who posted the misinformation about melissophobia in the first place.

I am officially a honeybeephobe.

You might be asking yourself ‘what’s so awesome about any of this?’

Well, it’s awesome that enough people have the good sense to fear clowns that we had to coin a word to explain it. Clowns have lost the element of surprise. That means we’re safe from clowns taking over as the dominant species, at least for now.

It’s awesome that melissophobia is a real condition, and it may just be the key to protecting us from a unified ursine power play. Everyone knows bears love honey. It’s like catnip, crack and coffee for bears all rolled into one. Bees have stingers, in part, as a means of defending the honey from animals such as bears. For their own survival, bears have adapted to become melissophobes. If the human race learns to use this to our advantage, we can deal the bears a blow so crippling, they’ll never recover. If we fail, it could mean the end of us all. And I fear the bears may have struck first. They are, after all, the most likely culprits behind the mysterious deaths of honey bees. That should tell us something about their resolve; that bears are willing to give up their favourite addiction forever in order to win the great Urso-Human Wars.

We could all learn something from the bears.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Even those we share with other primates, who meet all three of the aforementioned criteria above, earning my eternal mistrust.[i]

[2] Ironically, honeybeephobia is the fear of women named Melissa. The scientist who named these two phobias is a direct descendent of the Viking in charge of the Greenland/Iceland debacle of ’86 (886, that is).

[i] or is it distrust?

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Independence Day

Independence Day marks the anniversary of the day the United States of America adopted the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, forming its own fledgling nation. It is also the first in what eventually became a whole slew of National Days in July, when more than twenty sovereign nations, and more than a few dependencies, celebrate their nation’s formation. Independence Day ranks as my third favourite National Day in July, behind Vanuatu on the 30th and Kiribati on the 12th, and just ahead of the Canada-Burundi-Rwanda triple entente on the 1st.

234 years ago on this very day, the Founding Fathers of these United States of America signed their names on the Declaration of Independence, thereby declaring war on the most powerful empire the world had ever seen. If they succeeded, they would have accomplished the impossible, like modern-day Davids slaying a rather posh and well-bred Goliath. If they failed, they essentially signed their death warrant that day. But it was a risk these brave men were willing to take, because they understood the importance of providing for posterity a day when Americans could purchase and use explosives in the comfort of their own yards and consume excessive quantities of low-quality beer and fattening meats. The Founding Fathers understood that the people of this land had certain inalienable rights, and no government — no king upon the throne — had the authority to strip them of these rights. They understood that the American people had the rights to life, liberty and the purusit of happiness; even if it meant high cholesterol and obesity rates. Only a government of the people, by the people and for the people could possibly govern this land in justice; and therefore, it stood to reason, the bigger the people of America become, the more democratic the government will be. Or so Thomas Jefferson is believed to have written in an earlier draft of the Declaration.

The debate over whether the Revolution can be justified will rage on long after the United States of America ceases to exist, but one must admit it was remarkably foresighted of the Founding Fathers to look to a day when the people of America could ignite explosives and launch rockets in peace, eating themselves to an early grave without interference from tyrants on foreign thrones. So when you light up the grill today, breathe deeply that smoke and remember that aroma well. For that, gentle reader, is the smell of freedom.

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Saltine Crackers

blog-saltines

Salty paper, anyone?

The makers of saltine crackers must be practicing some form of black magic, because there’s just no explanation within the realm of conventional human reasoning to explain how saltine crackers are as good as they are. If black magic is not responsible, then they must have found a way to harvest manna from heaven. I haven’t checked recently, but I should see if my current box of saltines gets old and full of worms by morning (except on the Sabbath). It’s also possible, I suppose, that the makers of saltines climbed to the summit of Mt. Olympus to harvest ambrosia from the gods themselves. What I will not — nay, what I cannot — consider is that saltines are as good as they are naturally.

As dry as Canadian humour, as salty as a sea captain, with all the flavour of air and all the excitement of the colour beige; they suck all the moisture out of your mouth and leave a lingering aftertaste only moderately less annoying than coffee, without any of the benefits of that divinely inspired brew. Saltines simply shouldn’t be any good at all. And truth be told, it’s very hard to pin down what exactly it is about them that’s appealing even as one can’t stop eating them. And yet these bland little squares are as addictive as crack.

This awesome-comendium-monger has never — I think I can safely say without exaggeration — in his entire life managed to eat less than an entire one of those plastic packets they come in. They taste great with cheese, peanut butter, jam, air, and pretty much anything else you can imagine putting on a cracker that tastes like a salt lick/cardboard combo but scratches a culinary itch you didn’t even know you had.

Sure, the inexplicable goodness of what has to be the most unimpressive cracker next to matzoh (which I’m pretty sure is actually just made of water held together by a generous portion of tradition!) concerns me more than just a little. There must be a terrible price to pay for the instant satisfaction saltines give me — just like we’ll one day regret handing over our privacy to Google just so we can laugh with our friends when we see our cars parked in front of our old houses on Google Street View — but until that day, I’m going to keep sucking down those salty, boring snacks and surrendering my privacy to a megacorporation which promises not to be evil. Because the ones who insist they aren’t evil never are, right?

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Future Week, Part IV: American Cheese

American cheese isn’t delicious, appetizing, or even cheese, for that matter. But oh, boy, is it American! American cheese isn’t just another post-industrial processed food-like product. It’s a microcosm for the determination, ingenuity and spirit of the American people. And that makes it awesome.

Americans don’t like to be told they can’t do things, especially by Europeans. For some reason, Americans seem to have this idea that Europeans have been “pushing us around” for eons. And that’s what the Revolution was all about: stopping King George III from pushing them around. In reality, the Revolution had more to do with Great Britain leaving America alone long enough to develop their own identity, so when the Crown started to reassert its own authority, everyone got angry about it. Regardless of the reasons for the Revolution, it happened, and Americans were determined from that point onward not to be pushed around by anybody.

Don't Tread on Me

Even the flag is the colour of American Cheese.

And pretty much every decision America has made as a nation since then has been to ensure that someone can’t push someone else around; and the culture as a whole is characterized by this confident defiance in the advertisements, movies, television, news, clothing, cars, professional sports, and food which seems to say, “don’t tell me what to do.” And nowhere is this more evident than in American cheese.

Europe makes better cheese than America. Everyone knows it. It’s something Europe won’t let America forget about. In fact, when you drive across the border to France the sign says, “Bienvenue en France. Mieux que l’Amérique du fromage!” which means, “Welcome to France. Better cheese than America!” Americans have never been too concerned about consuming high-quality cheeses the way Europeans do, anyway. Aging cheese is just too long a process for the typically convenience-driven American people. And besides, Americans only really want to use cheese for a few things, the most important being putting it on cheeseburgers.

And that’s where Europe decided to stick its cheese-loving nose into America’s business again and tell them what they can’t do. They said that you can’t put good cheese on a hamburger. And they were right. Good cheese tends to growshard and crumbly when aged, making it difficult to slice and stack on a hamburger. The protein and fat in cheese separate when melted, making a greasy, lumpy, unappetizing mess. Cheese also re-solidifies after a time, but never in the same appealing form it had when first used.

American Cheese

But the Americans were not to be put off. Rather than give up on the dream of a delicious cheeseburger, they rolled up their sleeves, dug in their heels, and did what America does best: they forced nature into compliance. They invented a new kind of cheese that slices and melts nicely on a cheeseburger, but isn’t technically a cheese at all. American cheese has cheese in it, and many of its ingredients are cheese-related items, making the result a cheese analogue that replicates many cheesy qualities while avoiding many of its drawbacks. American cheese is basically cheddar mixed with vegetable oil, whey, milk protein, milk fat, enzymes, chemicals and food colouring. Unlike real cheese, American cheese is able to be formed into any shape desired, including pre-packaged, sandwich-sized slices perfect for putting on cheeseburgers. American cheese doesn’t separate into fats and proteins like real cheeses often do, so what one gets when one melts American cheese is a smooth, evenly melted product with little mess. Once melted, American cheese never really re-solidifies. It always stays kind of melted, which is also great for putting on burgers. The cheese keeps the same consistency at the end of a meal that it had at the beginning.

American cheese might not sound that awesome. And, admittedly, on a purely culinary level, it isn’t. But cheeseburgers are delicious, and, while this awesome-compendicronologist prefers his burgers with real cheese, In-N-Out and Five Guys burgers just wouldn’t be the unspeakably delicious guilty pleasures they are without American cheese. The Food Quality section of the In-N-Out website even proudly proclaims, “Our American cheese is the real thing.” And who am I to argue with In-N-Out?

American cheese might not sound that futuristic either. But what it comes down to is this: America faced a problem – how to efficiently and deliciously melt cheese on burgers – and they solved it by defying the very laws of nature; using science to create a new form of cheese that never existed before; a cheese made in a lab that comes wrapped in sterile plastic sheets. That’s about as futuristic as things get. Besides, I’m pretty sure with the crazy shelf life American cheese has, and its unnatural properties, it will long outlast the human race, and any Zombie Apocalypse, Alien Invasion, or Nuclear Holocaust, to infinity and beyond.

<Future Week, Part III Future Week, Part V>

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Umami

In zoology they have something called a keystone species, which is a species that has a positive impact on its surrounding ecosystem disproportionate to its small population. In other words, in spite of a keystone species’ small numbers, it is a vital factor in sustaining several other species around it. This is a concept awesome enough to warrant its own post[i], but for now we have more savoury fish to fry – an idiom which will make more sense shortly. As in zoology, occasionally a thing comes across so awesome it creates, sustains or explains many other awesome things, giving it an awesomeness far greater than the sum of its parts. Henceforth, I will be referring to these awesome things as verendic keystones, or just keystones.

Today’s keystone is umami. Simply put, umami is one of five basic flavours the human tongue can discern, corresponding to the English word savoury. Throughout most of human history, foods have been described as tasting like one or a combination of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that a Japanese scientist named Kikunae Ikeda did research into this fifth flavour, giving it the Japanese name umami, which means “yummy.” It took another 90 years or so for the West to catch up when, in 2002, scientists finally found the evidence they needed to confirm that the human tongue really does detect a fifth flavour. They named it umami in honour of Kikunae Ikeda.

But what is umami, apart from not-sweet, not-sour, not-salty and not-bitter? The easiest way to put it is that it’s the flavour that makes meat meaty and cheese cheesy, among other things. And it is, in this awesome compiler’s humble opinion, the source of nearly all that is delicious in this world. It’s a subtle and hard-to-pin-down flavour,[ii] but it’s present in the background of some of the most delectable foods in the world, and its presence often enhances and enriches the other four flavours. Umami is responsible for the flavours of the bacon, the cheese and the beef in cheeseburgers. Umami is what gives cheeses their rich, multi-layered flavours. It’s the addictive, indefinable taste in potato chips none of us can walk away from once we’ve grabbed a handful. It’s the thing in Cheez-Its that makes “Get your own box” the most apt slogan I’ve seen a company develop in years. It’s the element in tomatoes that makes it ideal on a sandwich, delicious in salsa, and absolutely perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich. French fries, tortilla chips, asparagus, calamari, green tea, and mushrooms are all rich in umami. In short, umami is responsible for just about anything on this earth worth eating.

Umami would be awesome in and of itself just for being the long-lost fifth flavour. Its elusiveness evokes the alchemists’ chimera, the fifth element, lending it a primal appeal which is downright elemental.[iii] Ever in the background, umami was content throughout history to let the other four flavours fight it out for the spotlight, while it silently weaved its magic on the human appetite. After all, umami well understood, there are people out there who have their sweet tooth; there are people who prefer salty foods; there are even the occasional people who like sour or bitter foods, but these are all foods of craving. The foods people need – the foods people cannot live without, both for sustenance and pleasure – those foods are rich in umami. And that’s what warrants a special recognition for umami as an awesome thing. It’s not just a delicious food. It may very well be the foundation of delicious foods.[iv]

And that, people, is awesome. Now I’m going to go make myself a grilled cheese, dip it in a rich, savoury bowl of tomato soup, and give thanks to God above for umami.


[i] And there will be one at some point.

[ii] As evidenced by the fact that it’s taken the human race a good three thousand years to agree it even exists!

[iii] Or at least reminiscent of Luc Besson-directed sci-fi movies. “Multipass,” anyone?

[iv] I will admit that I never have had much of a sweet tooth. I love a lot of sweet foods, but with few exceptions, every dish that has stolen my heart and not just my palate, is umami.

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Espresso, Part IV

Da Vinci arrived on the scene of history during the Renaissance – the time of a unique and unparalleled convergence of ideas and developments; between Antiquity and the Future. The revival of ancient Roman technology gave da Vinci access to the ideas of men such as Hero of Alexandria. Modern science enabled da Vinci to imagine new applications of such technology. And so it was, I propose to you, that the first espresso machine was conceived; Leonardo’s lost prototype was purportedly made entirely of wood, had what looked like spinning helicopter blades on top, and was encoded with all kinds of secret messages about Mary Magdalene.[i]

But as with many of da Vinci’s ideas, it was ahead of its time. The technology simply didn’t exist to bring his dream into fruition.

It would take more than Renaissance brilliance to make a functioning espresso machine. It would take a combination of da Vinci’s vision, Hero’s not-so-heroic steam engine, modern industrial science, and that most Roman of desires: to be the best at something no one else ever thought to be the best at. And that’s exactly what happened. Italian inventors, explorers, and artists pooled their efforts into the project of realizing da Vinci’s insane dream of steam-powered coffee. Politicians, Princes and Popes threw whatever temporal or spiritual weight they had behind the project. Referring to espresso, Niccolo Machiavelli said that the end, namely a functioning espresso machine, justified whatever means necessary to arrive there. He’s been taken wildly out of context ever since then. Lorenzo de’ Medici is said to have diverted the equivalent of millions of dollars of funding into the espresso machine project, on the conditions that it would be called the de’ Medici and installed in every chapel in Florence when completed. Pope Leo X himself granted full indulgence for any engineer able to finish the machine. He even went as far as to declare the espresso project a Crusade.

While all the rest of Europe was risking lives, riches and kingdoms to explore the world looking for spices to put in their food, Italy had already found its culinary Holy Grail: espresso. And so, for the next 400 years Italy basically disappeared from the world scene, choosing instead to remain at home; struggling, seemingly in vain, to prove the lunatic imaginings of an aging da Vinci true. Finally, in 1901, after four centuries of blood, sweat and tears, the first version of the espresso machine was invented, and it was an instant hit.

Fueled by their recent success with the espresso machine, Italy once again turned its attention to imperialism, but with a decidedly coffee-centric bent. Under the leadership of Benito Amilcaro Andrea Mussolini (Musso-weenie to his friends), the Fascist Party came to power in Italy in 1922 and tried to revive the Roman Empire. And guess what country they decided to take over: Ethiopia.[ii] The place coffee was invented. Sending a clear message to the other powers of that age: “Make no mistake. Coffee now belongs to Italy. All will cower before our mighty espresso machine.” No one really knew what they were talking about. Shortly after conquering the birthplace of coffee, the Italians went to work on a newer, more powerful espresso machine, incorporating all the latest technology.[iii] After a humiliating defeat in World War II and millions of lira[iv] in research, the espresso machine was finally perfected in 1945, and, in a shocking display of ingratitude to da Vinci, was dubbed the Gaggia, after Achille Gaggia, the inventor of the piston-driven espresso machine. Italy’s loss in World War II can doubtlessly be attributed to their preoccupation with espresso, but it wasn’t a total loss for Italy. In fact, as far as the Axis Powers go, Italy made out pretty well.

First, when the Allies occupied Italy after the fascists’ defeat in 1943, the American soldiers flocked to the Italian bars, cafés and nightclubs where they were introduced to espresso. Unable to handle the strength of the Italian coffee, the soldiers diluted it with water, inventing a drink the Italians mockingly named the Americano. Eventually, thanks to their exposure to Italian coffee after the war, espresso made its way over to the United States, where for decades it was consumed largely (if not entirely) by the turtle-necked, the bespectacled and the pretentious. That is, until Starbucks made it cool to drink espresso and it became a cultural staple in the United States, earning Starbucks the nickname “Mussolini’s Revenge” (which most people agree is much more pleasant than Montezuma’s Revenge).

Second, and more importantly, espresso has made Italy a better place. Somehow in that 400-year-long hiatus from trying to rule the world, while Italy sought to perfect the espresso machine, they were changed by the whole experience. When they announced the completion of the first espresso machine in 1901 and returned to the scene as a colonial power, they weren’t the same Italy they used to be. Even in their fascist years, they weren’t all that effective at being fascists. In fact, the Italians decided to kill Mussolini themselves so they could get back to enjoying the better things in life. And that’s exactly what they did. But what brought about this remarkable transformation? What made the once-mighty Rome, center of military and spiritual power in Europe since 44 B.C.; what made Renaissance Italy, the driving force behind the greatest cultural upheaval in Europe since the advent of Christianity abandon its old ways? Espresso. We may never know for sure what went on in those 400 years between da Vinci and Mussolini, but I like to think that while the rest of Europe was learning the hard way that what they sought could not be found through murder and plunder on foreign shores – and that blood does not easily wash off one’s hands – Italy learned that what one most desires in life is often found right in front of one’s own face. They didn’t need all the spices and gold the world had to offer when they had what they were seeking right there at home. They set out to improve the preparation of coffee, but in the end they improved themselves.

And isn’t that the true meaning of espresso? Let us learn from the Italians, dear readers. Relax. Love life. Ride a Vespa to work, even if it is slower, just to feel the wind through your hair. Kiss your friends on both cheeks to let them know you care. Order up a frothy shot of espresso at your favourite corner café and savour the moment. Because life, the Italians have taught us, is indeed beautiful. We have espresso to thank. And that’s awesome.

Ciao.

< Espresso, Part III


[i] And the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa’s body. Remarkably prescient, but not very useful in making a cup of coffee.

[ii] Called Abyssinia at the time.

[iii] Meanwhile, the Allies were working on a project of their own called the Manhattan Project.

[iv] About $43.

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