Later On

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Archive for March 20th, 2021

Experimental ratatouille

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To my surprise, when I was picking up some more bricks of chopped frozen spinach, I spotted a bag of frozen roasted vegetables: zucchinii, eggplant, red onion, red pepper, yellow onion, yellow pepper. Those are exactly what I roast to make my version of ratatouille, so I thought I’d try a bag and see what they were like.

The ratatouille is cooking now in the 4-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan. I used that instead of cast iron because I planned to simmer acidic ingredients at some length — plus it has good capacity. I sautéed a red onion in some olive oil with a small pinch of salt, and when the onions had cooked and softened and almost started to brown, i added chopped garlic (the cloves from 1 head of garlic) and 4 dried chipotles that I had cut up (including the seeds). After the garlic had cooked a couple of minutes, I added a small can of no-salt-added tomato paste and cooked that until it changed color (darkened).

I then added the bag of roasted vegetables, an 18-oz can of diced tomatoes, a 10-oz can Ro-Tel Original, about a dozen small domestic white mushrooms halved (quartered if they were larger), and about a cup of pitted Kalamata olives, along with:

• About 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 6 or so good dashes fish sauce
• about 3 Tbsp Mexican orgeano
• about 1 Tbsp dried thyme
• about 1 Tbsp dried marjoram
• about 1 Tbsp cracked dried rosemary
• about 1 Tbsp black pepper
• about 1 tsp hickory-smoked paprika
• 1 tsp liquid smoke (for more “roasted” flavor)

It’s simmering now. I’ll have it over kodo millet with a teaspoon of Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on top.

Written by Leisureguy

20 March 2021 at 4:17 pm

Post-Covid America Isn’t Going to Be Anything Like the Roaring ’20s

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John M. Barry wrote a wonderful book (included in the list of books I find myself repeatedly recommending) about the influenza pandemic of 1918, The Great Influenza, and it’s well worth reading. Zack Stanton interviewed Barry for Politico:

The excitement is palpable. Vaccines are being injected into people’s arms, schools are reopening, Instagram feeds are flooded with “Fauci ouchie” selfies, the weather is heating up, the sun is out past 7 p.m., and the promise of a post-pandemic summer has Americans frenzied with the anticipation of a 6-year-old waiting to go downstairs on Christmas morning.

If you believe the hype, we’re in for a “Roaring 2020s,” with all of the frivolity, excess and licentiousness of the 1920s, when a wave of euphoria washed over much of the world after the ending of both the influenza pandemic and World War I.

But what we’re about to face is likely to be quite different, says John M. Barry, author of The Great Influenza, the definitive history of the 1918 flu pandemic. Perhaps we’ll have the post-pandemic economic boom, but there will likely be less of the excess that defined the Roaring ’20s.

“It’ll probably be without the sense of disillusionment, without the wildness, without the fatalism, without the survivor’s guilt, without asking ‘Why am I alive?’” Barry says. “I don’t think anybody who goes on a cruise ship next year is going to be wondering, ‘Why am I alive? How come I made it?’ Psychologically, that was all part of the Roaring ’20s.”

Behind the flappers, bootleggers and Gatsbyesque decadence was a hard-won fatalism that came from the level of loss and devastation wrought by the war and the flu, which, unlike Covid, disproportionately killed younger Americans, contributing to a sense among some who survived that since they could die young, they might as well live hard.

Where the Covid pandemic has stretched on and on, with Americans mostly staying at home for the better part of a year, the flu swept through most cities in a matter of weeks but exacted a much heavier toll. Where Covid has killed roughly 2.7 million people worldwide, the influenza pandemic of 1918-’19 killed 50 million to 100 million people at a time the global population was less than one-fourth its current size.

“The world had come apart. Everybody knew people who died — everybody. And in most cases, they knew a lot of people who died,” says Barry.

Barry also notes that the influenza pandemic disproportionately affected young adults, whereas older people have suffered most from Covid. One study by Metropolitan Life found that during the 1918 pandemic, 3.6 percent of all industrial workers ages 25–45 died within the period of a few weeks. “That’s not case mortality; that’s mortality,” Barry says, adding, “In 1918, the deaths among young children were astronomical.”

One similarity between then and now: Like the influenza virus, the novel coronavirus isn’t going to simply disappear. It doesn’t actually depend on human beings in order to survive; it’s ambivalent about whether mankind exists at all.

“This virus seems to pass between people and other mammals very, very easily. That was also true in 1918,” Barry says. In that sense, coronavirus is not unlike the 1918 flu virus, parts of which live on in the seasonal flus we experience every year. It’s a rather sobering reality, says Barry: “This virus is here to stay.”

What can we learn from life after the flu pandemic? What do we get wrong as we salivate about the prospect of another Roaring ’20s? And how do the flu pandemic’s lessons differ from the takeaways of the Covid era?

To sort through it all, POLITICO Magazine spoke with Barry this week. A condensed transcript of that conversation follows, edited for length and clarity.

Q: Right now, with vaccines being distributed and the Covid-19 pandemic seemingly in the endgame stage in the U.S., a lot of people are pretty vocal about their hopes for the summer. There’s been speculation about a “roaring 2020s” 100 years after the actual Roaring ’20s. What does your research on the end of the great influenza pandemic tell you about what we’re likely to see in the years ahead?

John M. Barry: Well, it’s an area where I don’t think the 1918 pandemic is necessarily a great precedent. I think we will probably get into a Roaring ’20s type of situation, but it will have a very, very different mood.

Metropolitan Life found that [during the influenza pandemic], 3.6 percent of all industrial workers between the ages of 25 and 45 died in a period of weeks. That’s not case mortality; that’s mortality. It [disproportionately affected] a targeted demographic: young adults. It’s a different experience than what we’ve gone through.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

20 March 2021 at 10:14 am

Posted in Daily life, Memes

Wilkinson woad shave stick with the Plisson HMW 12 and an Edwin Jagger razor head

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Wilkinson’s shave stick is not actually woad but shaving soap, but because Wilkinson is an English product and because one’s face is blue before the brush brings forth the lather, the woad connection comes to mind. From the Wikipedia article at the link:

Melo and Rondão write that woad was known “as far back as the time of the ancient Egyptians, who used it to dye the cloth wrappings applied for the mummies.”[5] Skelton informs us that one of the early dyes discovered by the ancient Egyptians was “blue woad (Isatis tinctoria).”[6] Lucas writes, “What has been assumed to have been Indian Indigo on ancient Egyptian fabrics may have been woad.”[7] Hall states that the ancient Egyptians created their blue dye “by using indigotin, otherwise known as woad.”[8] . . .

Celtic blue is a shade of blue, also known as glas celtig in Welsh, or gorm ceilteach in both the Irish language and in Scottish Gaelic. Julius Caesar reported (in Commentarii de Bello Gallico) that the Britanni used to colour their bodies blue with vitrum, a word that means primarily “glass”, but also the domestic name for the “woad” (Isatis tinctoria), besides the Gaulish loanword glastum (from Proto-Celtic *glastos “green”). The connection seems to be that both glass and the woad are “water-like” (lat. vitrum is from Proto-Indo-European *wed-ro- “water-like”).[14] In terms of usage, Latin vitrum is more often used to refer to glass rather than woad.[15] The use of the word for the woad might also be understood as “coloured like glass”, applied to the plant and the dye made from it.

Due to this and other Roman accounts of them painting (or possibly tattooing) their bodies, northern inhabitants of Britain came to be known as Picts (Picti), meaning “painted ones” in Latin. Gillian Carr conducted experiments using indigo pigment derived from woad mixed with different binders to make body paint. The resulting paints yielded colours from “grey-blue, through intense midnight blue, to black”.[16] People with modern experiences with woad as a tattoo pigment have claimed that it does not work well, and is actually caustic and causes scarring when put into the skin.[17][a]

The lather was good, and the razor did a good job. I used MR GLO as my pre-shave rather than Grooming Dept pre-shave, and I did notice a bit more blade feel and the final result is not quite so smooth as yesterday’s shave using the same head design, though today’s shave is indeed quite good. The difference is small and may be due simply to variation from shave to shave.

A splash of Barrister & Mann’s Fougère Classique, and we are now into Spring, the equinox having occurred several hours ago. They no longer offer this aftershave, which is a shame. It’s the best fougère I’ve tried.

Written by Leisureguy

20 March 2021 at 9:03 am

Posted in Shaving

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