There’s a story I fondly recount, about the time my grandpa got me drunk on ouzo (sorry, Papou!). For those unfamiliar, ouzo is a clear, licorice-scented spirit that Greeks love to sip – straight or topped up with a little water to turn the liquid milky white, as if by magic.
One winter night we were engaged in a particularly animated gave of tavli, or Greek-style backgammon. I was maybe all of eight years at the time, and loved anything anise-flavoured: black jellybeans, licorice, Indian mukhwas (candy-coated fennel seeds)… suffice to say, I was keen to get my little hands on a thimbleful of ouzo. All the old men around the coffee table had a tumbler – some filled white and opaque, others with no-nonsense clear liquid – and the scent wafting from those glasses was cruel, cruel company to a licorice lover.
The details are blurred, but I eventually sweet talked a shot out of my Papou an drank it down like an especially potent juice… and then another from some unsuspecting old man too focused on tavli to realize I was tipsy. Before anyone could clink their glasses stin yia sas, a second-grader was vomiting her anise-scented dinner down the toilet.
For about 10 years Post-Ouzo, I couldn’t handle anything licorice. Those beloved jelly beans and my other grandpa’s coveted stash of bridge mix lost all previous appeal. My stomach turned and I was queasy at the very thought of anything with that horrid sickly-sweet medicinal scent.
My distaste wasn’t meant to last. Along the way, a delicious Krinos ouzo candy (the pungent little ones we serve at my folks’ restaurant) was popped in my mouth, and I was back. It’s been said that you’re born to either love or hate licorice, and I couldn’t deny my true self forever.
Teenage me would be aghast to learn my very favourite snack these days: cold, crisp fennel slices piled high on a plate, filling the whole room with a bright aroma. Fennel’s one of those neglected and overgrown supermarket specimens – braised beyond recognition or shaved into salads by Italian nonas. But it really shines on its own, where nothing masks its celery texture and snap of candy-like flavour. Fennel is incredibly cleansing, too, thanks to anethole, the aromatic in its essential oil that also makes it taste like licorice. Sidelined by a nasty bout of food poisoning these past two days, fennel was my antidote, the first thing I reached for. Cleansing and calming, it eased my whirling stomach.
I still steer clear of the ouzo for my own good, but any bag of jelly beans sent my way will be mysteriously missing the black ones before long.
Just making up for lost time.
Dear Mr. Sartorialist:
Sometimes we deeply disagree. Often I question the Olsen-esque ensembles you feature. We go through phases when I feel like this flow chart was secretly created and circulated by you. But these past couple weeks, I’ve gasped and sighed at your subjects too many times to count. Please keep taking such beautiful images.
(All images: The Sartorialist)
I love this poster and its sensible advice. My only question: how on earth did such sensible advice come from the United States Food Administration? Maybe because in 1914 the FDA wasn’t yet run by lobbyists.
Ah, simpler times.
1 – buy it with thought
2 – cook it with care
3 – use less wheat & meat
4 – buy local foods
5 – serve just enough
6 – use what’s left
don’t waste it
Thanks for sharing, Sameer.
I have a secret heart for fashion. Not, sadly, for wearing it since I long ago embraced that I’m 5’4 and busty and not 5’10 and spindly. But I love to study it and soak it in and live vicariously through the seasons.
Anyway, here are a few of my favourite collections from 2010 RTW at New York Fashion Week. And now my feed reader reverts to the mundane.
Oscar de la Renta
Is it tired to love de la Renta’s clothes almost every single season? Always so effortless and elegant and impeccable. I just can’t help but admire a designer who keeps me interested and wanting to dress up like a lady with each new collection.
3.1 Phillip Lim
I’ll pass on the really sparkly, baubly bits at Phillip Lim, but I loved so much of this show. The subtler embellishment and feminine details – especially the skirt-pleating, bits of crocodile-texture and great t-strap shoes – were so pretty, and pretty in a way that was even wearable. (Aside: I want to don that top-left dress when I hand out Hallowe’en candy…)
My favourite collection this season for two unexpected reasons: print and orange. She sent the best prints of fashion week down the runway, and has made me crazy about orange, a colour I usually am very ambivalent about. Burnished and sienna and tangerine and almost-persimmon. There was so much good orange in this collection.
Floating and minimalist and I keep zooming in to admire the detail, texture and painting of the fabrics. I think what I love most about Francisco Costa is how he subtly plays with gradients within the always-restrained Klein palate.
Silhouette! It was like he let out a big, deep exhale and with it came this collection. The clothes flowed in a very good way. I loved the zippers and barely-noticable seaming details but hated the shoes. Still – that grey silk dress at middle with a subtle circular print and billowing racer back was my favourite piece of all the collections this season.
[all photos: style.com's S2010-RTW coverage]
A while back over at Five Lovely Things, I wrote about some glorious French-style nougats I happened upon on Etsy from a little company called Have It Sweet. Well, this evening, a whole great box of them – three kinds – were waiting for me at the post. Pistachio, hazelnut and almond, to be precise, carefully wrapped in parchment, tied with butterscotch-pudding ribbon, tucked in tissue for safe keeping.
To this I say: my best friend is the most wonderful person in the universe and ohmygoodness you need to order this nougat for yourself. Immediately. Toothsome and chewy, not painfully hard, delicately floral, just sweet enough, almost airy, and brimming with fresh nuts, it’s the best nougat I’ve ever had. (And I’ve eaten a lot of nougat in my days – French, Greek, Lebanese, Italian – I’m well-versed in pillowy nut-studded candy.)
Thankfully, a box of nougat this heavy should last a very long time.