“Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni”
Well not exactly macaroni as we know it. Even though American patriot Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing macaroni pasta to Philadelphia circa 1790 (he became a fan while touring Northern Italy in 1787), the macaroni in this Revolutionary War song was not made of semolina.
In the 1700’s “macaroni” was a LOL term used to describe a group of aristocratic men who fancied themselves as fashionable and dandy. They dressed in the “macaroni” style with flamboyant ruffled clothes, tasseled walking sticks and tall, powdered wigs with small tight curls.
Jefferson was not an ostentatious “macaroni”. His connection with the term was purely culinary. He was fascinated enough with the pirated noodle to invent a pasta machine of his own and used it
Jefferson’s Pasta Machine
to make a patriotic pasta for his guests at Monticello calling it “Macaroni Pie”. Made with grated American or English cheddar cheese and then baked, it was the prototype of today’s mac and cheese.
Good ideas like ground coffee don’t last very long. Coffee-maker importer Jack Grieve talks about the Rule of Threes -“Green beans last for three years. Roasted beans last for three weeks. Ground beans last for three minutes.” Fresh ground beans make all the difference in the quality of the coffee but their aroma and flavor don’t last very long.
So what about good ideas – how long do they last? According to Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation, our creativity sometimes grows in leaps and bounds. So if you have a good idea or intention, don’t let it sit around too long. Take it to the next step. Models of organizational leadership show that a lot of us spend time working on a good idea and then take very little time working out the best way to implement them.
Gone off ideas don’t move us forward and stale beans don’t make good coffee.
The 2012 Summer Olympics are about to begin.The London Olympics unlike those of Rome in the summer of 1960 will be fully free to shake, rattle and roll the world of sports. In the 1960 games, athletes were just beginning to change the world of competitive sports with the first Summer Games covered by U.S. television. CBS bought the rights for $394,000 stirring up an interest in the mass media and mass marketing of sports.
Today the political and social changes of the 1960 Summer Olympics are part of history although the most controversial might have been about the 1960 Summer Olympic logo which was considered by some to be a rather troublesome depiction of imperial Rome. The logo was a rendering of the female Capitoline wolf suckling Romulus and Remus who were said to have founded the city of Rome. Underneath them is 1960 spelled out in Roman numerals.
Thumbs up or thumbs down in the Coliseum of Olympic logos? The 2012 Summer London logo has been getting its share of negative feedback but then again it’s all in the London eye of the beholder.
Espresso (320 X Magnification)
Having taken a fair number of microbiology classes as an undergraduate, I was intrigued when I read a post about an artist /barista/bartender with an interest in photography and the detail of drinks . . . as in microscopic detail.
Treating the world’s top five most consumed man-made beverages like scientific specimens, Arizona artist William LeGoullon took photographs of dry samples of beer, wine, cola, tea and coffee using a microscope. The result; a series of photographs called Fingerprints of Drinkable Culture.
This blog is supposed to be a written shot of espresso to inform, excite and encourage you to experience Italy in 30 seconds or less but sometimes I get carried away and occasionally 30 seconds becomes a little more. But I hope you’ll bear with me. After all, in Italy time is relative and more relaxed than it is in the States and it seems it has always been so.
For example when I was in Pienza visiting Palazzo Piccolomini, the summer residence of Pope Pius II (1405-1464), time lingered as I walked through the elegant open courtyard into the gardens that overlook Tuscany’s stunning Val d’Orcia.
Halls of period furniture and memorabilia led me into a room with a huge medieval clock called the More or Less Clock. It seems it’s called that because it works in 15 minute increments instead of seconds! Now, I began to understand the Italian sense of time and why my Italian cousins were always 15 minutes late.
It’s my excuse to justify this blog entry being a little longer than 30 seconds . . . more or less.
The kitchen catwalk has a new model, La Sorrentina; elegant, polished and cool to the touch. Inspired by a fashion icon from the late 1940’s, La Sorrentina is a “premium” reproduction of the classic stove top espresso machine known as The Atomic. Originally designed in 1947 by Giordano Robbiati, The Atomic literally was “the bomb” of its time. Ultra-modern, ergonomic, sculptural with an aluminum body that was totally state-of-the-art. A product of the atomic age (1945-1960), The Atomic took the science of the Italian caffettiera and made it sexy.
Although kitchen fashionistas tout La Sorrentina’s haute design and ability to operate under a higher pressure than most moka pots an improvement to your brew. The 75 year-old doyenne of Italian caffettiere, Bialetti’s Moka is still used by millions of people around the world. Her bars may be lower (according to the Italian Espresso National Institute and the Specialty Coffee Association of America, an espresso must be made using a precise extraction pressure of 9 bar; a Moka pot achieves 1.5 bar) but the crema of this little macchinetta del caffè is still respectable. Ageing gracefully.