Wednesday, 30 March 2022


plotto: the prolific, formulaic writing of William Wallace Cook—see also  

harry lime: a Third Man tour of Vienna—see previously  

pinscreen: Claire Parker and Alexander Alexeieff animate Nikolai Gogol’s short story The Nose (1963)

anti-social media: Facebook organised a smear campaign against TikTok through a GOP shill—via Waxy 

zone: Dyson to offer noise-cancelling headphones that also creates a pocket of purified air  

the fauvist: the art of Marguerite Zorach, an early proponent of Modernism in America—via Messy Nessy Chic 

love me, feed me, don’t leave me: the strange saga of a Garfield-themed restaurant  

floriography: cryptological communication by means of floral arrangement through their symbolic and emblematic meaning

Monday, 20 September 2021


fallout boy: the legacy of Albania’s seven-hundred-thousand bunkers  

al forno: Barilla (previously) sponsors an annual contest to solicit for innovative designs for its 3D pasta printer  

mathmos: how lava lamps are manufactured—see also 

stowaways: butterfly researches in the ร…land islands accidentally introduce a parasitic wasp that relies on the caterpillars as well as a hyperparasitoid that the wasps host 

 รฎle flottante: a boat camouflaged as a rock tours the coastline of Marseille—via Everlasting Blรถrt

Thursday, 12 August 2021

la borsetta

We had noticed this handbag in the style of a Barilla pasta package circulating for a few days, and finally took the time to check it out, learning the inspiration for this limited edition leather mini-purse grew out of the tedium of night after night of trusty but monotonous fare during the height of lockdown and the antecedent panic-buying that perhaps left many cupboards stocked with a surfeit of penne.

Saturday, 8 May 2021


take-away: flatpack pasta designed to morph and fold into containers when cooked  

bogland: photographing the marshes and alluvial plains of Belarus 

baby’s breath: biodegradable face masks blossom into wildflowers  

private issue new age: a soothing 1984 ambient recording that’s a psychoacoustic catalyst designed for release of spiritual and emotional energies 

children’s television workshop: the creators behind Sesame Street’s Teeny Little Super Guy  

forced perspective: giant Bidens and tiny Carters were keeping us awake—an explanation of the confluence of factors via Miss Cellania’s Links 

tableau muet: visualising history and charting epochs with Antoni Jaลผwiล„ski’s “Polish System” 

baibaojia: make your own thread book for safekeeping of sewing items, notions and other small treasures

Sunday, 28 March 2021

stringozzi o prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale

Privileged to have recently witnessed the birth of an innovative new noodle to add to the vocabulary of pasta shapes, we enjoyed being introduced to a series preserving the heritage of artisanal pasta-making traditions of Sardinia and Italia through watching and learning from venerable nonne—and possibly a few nonni too—the patient art of making some of the world’s rarest varieties. From the delicate spiralling andarinos, only produced in the village of Usini to the fabric like su filindeu—the yarn of God—whose warp and weave has been mastered by few, passed down over the generations. Much more from Messy Nessy Chic correspondent Valentina Peana, including videos and recipes, at the link above.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

spaghetti images

As Kottke reports, determination and engineering designed to optimise the surface area for sauce saturation has paid off with the debut of a speciality, niche past shape called the cascatelli—Italian for little waterfalls, a success for Mission: Impastable. There is so far no indication whether or not this creation will be soon joining the ranks of other speciality, utilitarian and decorative shapes (see previously here, here and here) but we can nonetheless appreciate the intention and would be eager to try a forkful alla puttanesca with parmigiana reggiano.

Thursday, 11 February 2021


penne, named for the nib of a quill: a trilingual exploration of past etymology—see also 

i’m live—i’m not a cat: kitten-filter mishap for attorney’s teleconference is could become this era’s poster image 

so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause: the honourable senator from Naboo was the deciding vote that allowed the Palpatine to become Emperor as explored scene-by-scene by a group of screenwriters constructing the finest Star Wars story that will be never made

opmerkelijke zaken: mushroom bricks, bricks reinforced with plastic waste plus more from the peripatetic Pasa Bon!  

pelagic zone: winners of the 2021 Underwater Photography contest announced 

cosy web: the Multiverse Diary project, a collaboration that celebrates the old school blog and wiki aesthetic for branching out  

pov: Ancient China on Rome, the Islamic world on India and other historical perspectives narrative on Voices of the Past 

uunifetapasta: where the phenomenon of TikTok Pasta came from and where it might lead

Sunday, 26 July 2020


you gotta eat them plums: an arcade version of William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say” (see previously)—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

op art: more on the Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (see previously, born Gyล‘zล‘ Vรกsรกrhelyi, *1906 – †1997) whose work informed the movement

earth for scale: ESA solar probe finds new “campfire” phenomena on the Sun

manhatta: a 1921 short considered America’s first avant-garde experiment set to the verse of Walt Whitman

slob serif: awful typefaces (not this one) for awful protests—via Memo of the Air

primary pigments: more colour stories (see also) from Public Domain Review

hasta la pasta: the history behind linguini, fusilli and every variety in between

Thursday, 4 June 2020

usage rights

Via Pasa Bon! and their latest curation of remarkable things (opmerkelijke zaken—bijou, incidentally, was long considered to be a Dutch word since it was inconceivable that that forbidden letter combination might be valid in English and the French borrowing is pendantically spelt byou in Holland), we enjoyed this gentle lampoon of the domineering stock image distributor, though they probably deserve worse for their rather infamous cases of copyfraud and overreach in watermarking and demanding payment for public domain photographs. The idea is fun—nevertheless, and makes me wonder about what very niche variety of stock photos I could furnish up, royalty-free.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

swiss spaghetti harvest

If these pranks and hoaxes suggested by a neural network (previously) are a preview of what artificial intelligence thinks would be entertaining and appropriate for April Fools’ then I think we have legitimate reason to fear the Internet of Things. Granted, the data-set that the machine had to draw from was limited, some of the practical jokes are outright metaphysical:

Conference call two people then, when your kid asks what it is, say “Dinner.”

If you rip up a toilet paper roll, then leave them a ransom note.

Hide an alarm clock in someone’s keyboard who isn’t a very good typist.

Check out the entire list and let us know your favourites and how you might pull them off.

Monday, 17 April 2017

leeked memo

It never occurred to me that Bรคrlauch—the leaves of which we’ve gathered in the woods before—signified anything else but a kind of wild garlic but it translates quite literally (reflected too in its scientific Latin name Allium ursinum) to bears’ leek for bears’ taste for these plants. Also known as buckrams, I guess the closest equivalent outside Europe to this broad leaved plant is chives. It makes a good base for pesto and with a few other ingredients, makes an excellent, fresh spaghetti dish.

For two servings, one will need:

  • Approximately 225 grams of dry spaghetti noodles
  • 150 grams of fresh Bรคrlauch leaves (washed, and use extra caution if one is gathering them oneself as they can be easily mistaken for poisonous plants that thrive in the same setting)
  • One dried chili pepper or one tablespoon of ground 
  • Salt, black pepper for seasoning 
  • Vegetable broth 
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish 
  • 100 millilitre of good olive oil for cooking 

Following the directions on the pasta packaging, prepare the spaghetti to al dente consistency in a pot of vegetable broth (this is a way to make all pasta dishes a little more flavourful). In the meantime, dice the garlic, the chili pepper (use caution as this can make one’s meal very spicy) and the Bรคrlauch leaves (without the stems) and fry in the olive oil for approximately two minutes (the garlic ought not to brown). Drain the pasta and serve immediately topped with parmesan.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

in season: butternut-salmon lasagna

There was a bit of confusion, mincing terms, when it came to identifying a Butternut squash (Birnenkรผrbis, “pear-squash”) distinct from a pumpkin (Kรผrbis) and the gourds (Winterkรผrbis) and the weirder varieties of bumpy and pie-faced squashes used to decorate stoops and storefronts for Autumn. Kรผrbisse are more generic (and diverse) than I thought, referring to any member of the Cucurbita family, native to Central America and separate from their European analogues of beets and turnips, including zucchinis and cucumbers, but once that was cleared up, we were ready to try something new.
For this dish to serve 3 to 4, one will need:

  • A medium casserole dish
  • A large Butternut squash, enough to get 1½ pounds from (600 – 750 grams), minus the skin and seeds (a slender squash, as compared to a dumpy one with wider squash hips tends to have less seeds) 
  • A bit of butter, flour (about 4 tablespoons each) and salt and pepper and fresh dill (chopped) and nutmeg (Muskat) for seasoning
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of cream
  • 2 cups (500 ml) of vegetable stock or bullion 
  • A 9 oz (250 g) package of smoked salmon (fresh or from the refrigerated section)
  • About 7 oz (200 g) of grated cheese (gouda or mozzarella) 
  • A 4 oz (about 100 g) package of lasagna pasta 
  • A large onion

Begin by shelling the squash and removing the seeds, and then slice the squash into small cubes and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 400° F (200°C). Peel and dice up the onion, frying it in a large pan until glassy in some butter over medium heat. Add a few pinches of flour to the pan (about a tablespoon in all) then pour in the broth and the cream, reducing the heat, and add the graded cheese, seasonings and garnish with the bundle of dill. Mix and leave on low heat for around five minutes. Take the uncooked lasagna noodles and arrange in layers in a casserole dish (grease with a bit of butter) apportioning slices of the salmon, squash and a dousing of the sauce, three layers deep. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, spinkling a bit more cheese over it, and allow to bake for about 45 minutes. Enjoy with a fine Moscato white wine.

Monday, 11 June 2012


This year, more than in years past, we have been taking full advantage of the Spargel (asparagus) season—now transitioning from the more familiar white Spargel, which is starting to become woody this long after the harvest, to the green variety. I am not sure why but the green seems a little more versatile, though taking well to the classic way of serving it as well, and we tried it as a pasta dish that was fun and easy to make. For two people, one needs:
  • 500 grams of green asparagus—about 16 spears
  • One medium onion, finely chopped
  • 250 grams of cherry tomatoes
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping
  • About 300 grams of egg noodles
  • Olive oil, muscat, salt to taste, dried or finely chopped basil and thyme
Rinse and then chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces; dice the onion and set aside. Measure out the pasta and cook the noodles according to instructions. Next in a large sauce pan with a liberal amount of olive oil, letting the oil get hot, sautรฉ the asparagus and onion. The vegetables will take about ten minutes, and if one times it right, that will take about as long as the noodles and a good rule-of-thumb with the pasta is to fill one serving bowl to the brim with noodles to determine how many it will take for two. Half the tomatoes and add to the vegetables in the pan just long enough to warm them up a bit. When the noodles are cooked, drain and season with muscat and fold into the vegetable mixture, stirring in the spices and seasoning. Service with a dash of grated Parmesan and enjoy with a refreshing beverage.

Monday, 2 April 2012


H made a quite delicious dish for dinner the other night, a casserole that was pretty involved and managed to bring together different casserole strata on a foundation of gnocchi that seemed like at first wouldn’t mix too well. It turned out especially tasty, however, and had a very geologically varied texture.

To make two large portions:
200 g of jarred mushroom slices
150 g of firm (a touch underripe) cherry tomatoes, quartered
3-4 leeks, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tomato past
1 tablespoon of flour (or substitute)
200 g of crรจme
600 g of gnocchi, fresh—or from the refrigerated section
Butter to coat the casserole dish
100 g mozzarella, cubed
100 g shredded cheese—like Gouda
Salt, pepper and oregano to taste

In a bit of hot oil, sear the cherry tomatoes and season. Set the tomatoes aside but reuse the pan with a bit more oil to fry the leeks and garlic. Add the mushrooms and allow them to sear. Add the tomato paste and flour, letting them sit for a moment before mixing all the ingredients together. Put a pot of water on a free burner for the pasta and preheat the oven to about 200° C (about 400 ° F) Next dollop in the crรจme and the whole mixture takes an Indian air and add the oregano. Cover and let the pan lightly simmer for about five minutes. This should be just enough time to prepare the gnocchi, according to the package but usually is done fairly quickly. Once the gnocchi is finished and rinsed in a colander, layer the pasta in the casserole dish (buttered) and cover with the tomato and crรจme sauce. Add the cubes of mozzarella next and cover the whole thing with the shredded cheese. Allow the casserole to bake for about half-an-hour. It’s lava hot, so allow to cool a bit and enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

fusion cuisine

Having watched coverage of the Middle East protests continuously, my mother was curious about the mention of an Egyptian national dish: spaghetti-rice as it was called from time to time. I thought it was quite interesting to pick up some cultural tidbits on the side, especial considering the open pledge drive for pizzas for the workers’ sit-in in Wisconsin in the States. Benefactors from Egypt donated $1000 worth of it to feed the movement. After a little research, we found the simple dish was kushari and a real staple of day-to-day life. I experimented and improvised a bit. The presentation is aesthetically not too pleasing but it was easy to make and boasts a lot of potential.
The ingredients that I chose were based on cooking time (the particular kind of pasta and rice could be set to boil and be done in the same time) but I am sure a lot of other variations, depending also on what is at hand, would be equally as good.

1 cup (about 100 grams) of Basmati Rice
1 ⅓ cup Penne Pasta
1 cup diced tomatoes (I tried Rotel)
1 ⅓ cup lentil soup (drained)
Hot Madras Curry Power
Ground Cumin
Garlic (clove)
I started the rice first, which required about twelve minutes on low boil, but started the pasta, with a bit of salt and olive oil at the same time. Then, removing the extra liquid from the tomatoes and lentils—dried lentils surely would have been better but take an hour to prepare and the bits of onion and peppers in the soup gave the dish some added texture, and as I vegetarian, I was sure to get lentils without Bauchspeck (pork belly) which is a challenge to find but I am sure kushari is great with lamb or chicken (schawarma it’s called, like Dรถner meat) as well—I added the spices, generously, and chopped garlic with the mix in a sauce pan, letting that simmer throughout. Everything was pretty much ready at once. Gently, I mixed together the rice and the pasta and then smothered it with the tomato and lentil sauce. It turned out to be really delicious, and I think it might come out better with the crunch of some caramelized onions or those crunchy, French-fried onions that have their only foothold in green-bean casserole, and also topped with garbanzo beans (chickpeas). One is meant I think, however, to go with whichever of the stock items one has in his pantry. This was a good meal for two, and though so much of my cooking is a one-off affair, I think I might try making this again.