I am a licorice lover. And by licorice, I mean black licorice. Preferably Dutch black licorice, which is not so much sweet as pungent and even slightly salty. I find black licorice addictively delicious, but other colors bland and boring. Licorice, in its purest form, is the root of a perennial plant loosely related to beans and native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. Black licorice is heavily flavored with this root; red licorice contains none at all.
Notes From All Over
I spend a lot of my work hours with bottles. Buying bottles, selling bottles, moving bottles, arranging bottles. Lots and lots of bottles. And as long as I am not counting the bottles, I'm ok with that. I love my bottles. But frequently, the people behind the best bottles are as fascinating as the liquid within. Prime example: Oscar Arrivabene, winemaker at Domenico Clerico. Passionate about his work, and steeped in the wines of Barolo, Oscar is like a walking mini-seminar in all things Piemontese, so I was delighted that he could stop by the store last week.
Words matter. In any situation, you can use a 'meh' word, and it will communicate just that: meh. You can use a standard, ordinary word, and it will communicate that: ordinary. But if you use the right word, the perfect word, the word or combination of words calculated to make your exact point, you will communicate exactly what you wanted to say.
"She learned to read quite early, and at an incredible rate."
-Sarah Stewart, The Library
The above quote describes Elizabeth Brown, the protagonist of children's classic The Library, but it could also easily apply to me, whose dad once remarked that it was a lucky thing toilet paper wasn't printed because, well...I'll leave the rest of that thought to your imagination. I cannot remember a time when I didn't possess a violent affection for the written word, ergo libraries and bookstores will forever be My Happy Place. I love them all- but I love some more than others.
In beer, bubbles = good. Nobody wants stale, flat beer. But right now, the craft beer scene might be facing a different kind of bubble: a saturated market that's beginning to seem ripe for a shakeout. According to a recent Boston magazine article, in 2012 there were 47 breweries in Massachusetts. Today, there are 197, with at least 22 more scheduled to open before the end of the year. And that's just Massachusetts. Many other states are experiencing the same boom; the collective effect is that we are awash in beer.
A couple balmy days notwithstanding, as I write this we're back in the deep freeze. Hat and mittens to walk the dogs in the morning, windshield-scraping, car-warming, and yes, please to that mug of hot coffee. Just another winter in New England. If only all that cold were serving some greater purpose-and it may be! According to an Atlantic article, exposure to cold temperatures may help humans lose weight and maintain weight loss.
One night a few weeks ago, as I was driving home via Franklin's Elm Street, two deer dashed across the road, followed by four coyotes in hot pursuit. To a native of the Plains states, this was perplexing. Coyotes don't-generally-hunt in packs. But these four were definitely cooperating for the kill, behavior more associated with wolves. And there's the rub: this IS strange behavior for a Western coyote. But Eastern coyotes have been intermingling with grey wolves and timber wolves in Canada.
Relax. I absolutely promise not to subject you to details about giving up cheese or going to more yoga classes. (And on another note, SO not giving up cheese.) Nope, as always, these are liquid resolutions-all about what we think is awesome. We'll probably spend 2018 telling you about these, so in no particular order and without further ado:
1) Drink more 'other' French bubbly. Cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant d'Alsace. Sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Seriously delicious bubbles at non-Champagne prices. What's not to like about that?
Happy Holidays! Relax and enjoy this magical time of year! That is, relax and enjoy this magical time of year, as soon as you have baked 9 dozen cookies, shopped for, wrapped, and possibly shipped countless 'perfect' presents, written a thoughtful note in a teetering tower of holiday cards, cleaned and decorated the house, trimmed the tree, planned a delicious multi-course holiday meal, and...the list goes on.
For me, the Christmas season does not begin on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even Giving Tuesday. It begins on the evening when Brown University holds its annual Latin Carol Service at Providence's First Baptist Church.
I was not a Latin major. I do not currently live in Providence. I am not a Baptist. But sitting in those ancient pews, while the lights of the city gleam through soaring windows and the pipe organ's majestic tones blend with words of a beautiful language long dead, I feel a wake-up call to the glory of the season.