A Philosophy of Herbs
New York Times
‘‘Mint!’’ he almost shouted at me. "Mint! Can’t be served with pasta!" I felt horrible for him, watching him redden. ‘‘Mint is for fish!’’ And his wet head fell into his hands. He was an herbal provincial. In his way of seeing, shared by much of Italy, to every dish — each olive-oil-marinated melanzana, each spit-roasted bird, each risotto, each plate of golden pasta and accompanying sauce — there corresponds a single herb, or at least an inviolable herbal boundary.
"What's in the charcuterie plate?," I ask a waiter. "Meat," she replies. Moments later she realizes, correctly, that we expect a more comprehensive answer, and she accurately guesses one of the platter's three components: prosciutto, an Italian ham that's supposed to be cut paper thin; here it's as thicker than the cotton on most oxford shirts.
The accidental innkeeper, Wetzel finds himself the ringleader of a tight-knit brigade of utterly earnest skateboarding, foraging, tinkering young cooks, servers, and farmers feeding two dozen people a night in a little dining room floating above the Rosario Strait like the prow of a ship.
Burmese Fishing Slave Makes Long Journey Home
The last time the Burmese slave made the same request, he was beaten almost to death. But after being gone eight years and forced to work on a boat in faraway Indonesia, Myint Naing was willing to risk everything to see his mother again. His nights were filled with dreams of her, and time was slowly stealing her face from his memory.
Capri Sun (pronounced Caprì, like the island, which is actually pronounced Càpri, America) has no flavor equal, which is not a compliment. The closest relative are those fruit-flavored syrups that pharmaceutical companies misguidedly promote as having pleasant taste. The total quantity of Capri Sun that can be drunk before getting nauseous is exactly a quarter of a sip, which is not possible. I advise drinking Capri Sun with a sparkling water chaser.
But there were still moments of shame and awkwardness too, particularly around the secret that made kimchi seem harmless in comparison. The rumors about Koreans eating man’s best friend. Fido. Snoopy. Arf arf. Or mung mung as they say in Korean.
Smells the Same
Sometimes, my dad would go out at three a.m. and come back with some halibut, or I would jump over a crab on my doorstep when running for the school bus (where I was greeted with other children chanting Pee-yew!). But for the most part, the fish market was something that happened while I slept, or while I wasn’t looking. It was a hidden world full of traditions, transactions, and a life that disappeared in the daylight.