Sunday, July 12, 2015


As happy as the kohlrabi made me, I think that the Score of the trip would have to be the gooseberries from Stillman's Farm. It's very rare that I see these anymore, and *love them.* (Used to forage them, along with all manner of other berries, on a bit of property my mom had out near Lockport, NY. Oh, the fruits we'd find! Almost worth the gas station sponge baths with Fels-Naptha soap afterwards.)

Anyway, gooseberries are this wonderful combination of tart and sweet, which made me wonder about their name in both English and French.

The Frenchies call these fruits Mackerel Currants (or groseilles à maquereau) and I've usually seen them as a relish / complement to mackerel, which is a pretty oily and *tasty* (gamey?) fish.

Given that goose might be the poultry version of mackerel, could this tart/sweet combo have been used to offset the fatty/gamey tendency of that bird?

Hit the farms today; so pleased to see the literal cornucopia at our favorite truck farm's stand.

Let's see:

Spring Brook Farm is where we get our meat, treats and the occasional trinket. Today's basket contained:

- four 1 lb pkgs of ground beef

- two london broil steaks

- a couple pounds of sweet eye-talian sausage

- a pound of bacon

- a large package of chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

- one kohlrabi, both the bulb and leaves. These were insanely inexpensive, and I regret not taking all three plants. Love this stuff.

- a package of dried vegetable chips.

Stillman Dairy Farm was so cool inside, we were looking for excuses to hang around, chatting and petting Roscoe the beagle. We weren't up for any scones (they have awesome baked goods) and hot coffee, so ended up pushing off after returning the milk bottles from our last visit, and picking up what was on the grocery list:

- five quarts of heavy cream ("Making your own ice cream?" we were asked)

- two dozen eggs

- a pound of unsalted butter

- a pint of raw honey from a farm in Townsend - a couple towns away; still pretty local.

- a summer sausage from a Vermont company that makes delicious, delicious cured meats. They make awesome jerky, too, but that seems to either be selling out quickly or out of stock. (Hopefully we'll find it again soon.)

Stillman's Farm stand is only open on Thursdays and Sundays, so we have to kind of schedule things (not always easy). Though they opened up for business in June, this is only our first time visiting this season. Was so nice to see everyone again, especially Spencer the Border Collie, who was alternating between patrolling the fields, taking a dip in the pond, and accepting belly rubs.
What did we get?

- lots of summer squash (yes, I'm growing it here. Still, they have some beautiful examples in all different colors)

- Sweet peppers in an array of colors

- a bunch of scallions

- a head of curly-leafed lettuce

- a bunch of Tuscan kale (the flat leafed kind that you can happily eat raw)

- a couple small cukes (for dinner tonight)

- a bunch of French Breakfast radishes, because mine never produced this year, and I really had a taste for them.

Housemate got a whiff of the basil; That's our current kitchen bouquet. I'm thinking of making both a caprese salad (we aren't lacking for tomatoes) and a pesto (for the surprisingly noodle-like zucchini ribbons).

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Does Language Affect Personality?

In some subtle ways, yes, I do think so. The English - speaking Beverly, at her foundation, is still the same Beverly as the French - speaking one (or the German - speaking one). Folks in one context might not recognize her in the others, though, due to a few factors:
First: Cultural Underpinnings. There are different codes / rules of engagement in each environment. I don't even bother trying to fit into the different milieus, but have probably subconsciously picked up some of the more important points during my various stays.
Second: Memories in the different environments. The Paris Beverly differs from the Grenoble Beverly, the Geneva Beverly, the Brussels Beverly. She's also a different animal from Herodotus Beverly (the Beverly who gets her fix of the Atlas Mountain Accent in "No Go Zones" that she manages to find during her peregrinations). She's only just briefly touched on Acadia, and would like to learn more about that, perhaps with the help of her Carthaginian Transplant friends.
Third: How the language itself structures reality. Beverly grew up with a hybrid of Polish / Russian / German / etc thinking that it was German. As no German classes were available in her High School, never got to sort things out until much later. (Thank heavens for Latin! Else, she'd not have been the B student she was in that language in college.) Learned a serious appreciation of the organisation of both languages; it's a Spartan Beauty.
As for French, you'd be surprised at how much of a reality shift it is to go from "wondering" to "asking one's self," or from "dropping something," to "making something fall."
Then there's the whole question of Time (the far past, the simple past, notions of the future), both in reality (with or without conditions) and how one's feeling about things. There's always going to be a struggle with the subjunctive and preterit in English; Latin languages make this a positive dance. German's a Whole 'Nother Animal.

During the first run of my Coursera course on the bilingual brain, a student asked whether changing languages leads to people changing personalities....

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I've spent most of my life trying to tailor my understanding of people vis a vis what was called arrogance by the Heimatsstadt's familien.
Understood: I am far more intelligent than the Average, even by Boston, or Paris standards.
Not Understood: the projection on me that I am Arrogant. (What am I doing wrong? I am a Language Person. My life is about figuring out puzzles, fixing things, and finding the combination of words to help folks do the same.)