Archive for the 'quote of the day' Category

Quote of the Day: CONFLICT

October 11, 2021

At the dinner table, before the thrown
plate, but after the bitter claim,
in that one beat of silence
before the parents declare war

their child, who until now had been
invisible, but who had learned in school
a catechism, speaks: “Would you like me
to help solve the conflict?” Silence.

They can’t look at each other. A glance
would sear the soul. A wall of fire plots
this Maginot line across the butter plate
splits salt from pepper, him from her.

So their child speaks: “Three rules, then:
One—you have to let each other finish.
Two—you have to tell the truth. Three—
you have to want to solve the conflict.

If you say yes, we will solve it.
I love you. What do you say?”

–Kim Stafford, “Mediation”

Quote of the day: CREATIVITY

October 1, 2021

CREATIVITY

Creativity is conceived as a reproductive act with a tangible result — a child, a book, a monument — that has a physical life going beyond the life of its producer. Creativity, however, can be intangible in the form of a good life, or a beautiful act, or in other virtues of the soul such as freedom and openness, style and tact, humor, kindness.

– James Hillman

illustration by Jason Stout

Quote of the day: MAYONNAISE

September 1, 2021

MAYONNAISE

Mayonnaise, real mayonnaise, good mayonnaise, is something I can dream of any time, almost, and not because I ate it when I was little but because I did not. My maternal grandmother, whose Victorian neuroses dictated our family table-tastes until I was about twelve, found salads generally suspect, but would tolerate the occasional serving of some watery lettuce in a dish beside each plate (those crescents one still sees now and then in English and Swiss boarding houses and the mansions of American Anglophiles). On it would be a dab or lump or blob, depending on the current cook, of what was quietly referred to as Boiled Dressing. It seemed dreadful stuff—enough to harm one’s soul.

I do not have my grandmother’s own recipe, although I am sure she seared it into many an illiterate mind in her kitchens, but I have found an approximation, which I feel strangely forced to give. It is from Miss Parloa’s “New Cook Book,” copyrighted in Boston in 1880 by Estes and Lauriat:

Three eggs, one tablespoonful each of sugar, oil and salt, a scant tablespoonful of mustard, a cupful of milk and one of vinegar. Stir oil, mustard, salt and sugar in a bowl until perfectly smooth. Add the eggs, and beat well; then add the vinegar, and finally the milk. Place the bowl in a basin of boiling water, and stir the dressing until it thickens like soft custard. . . . The dressing will keep two weeks if bottled tightly and put in a cool place.

On second thought, I think Grandmother’s receipt, as I am sure it was called, may have used one egg instead of three, skimped on the sugar and oil, left out the mustard, and perhaps eliminated the milk as well. It was a kind of sour whitish gravy and . . . Yes! Patience is its own reward; I have looked in dozens of cookbooks without finding her abysmal secret, and now I have it: she did not use eggs at all, but flour. That is it. Flour thickened the vinegar—no need to waste eggs and sugar . . . Battle Creek frowned on oil, and she spent yearly periods at that health resort . . . mustard was a heathen spice . . . salt was cheap, and good cider vinegar came by the gallon. . . . And (here I can hear words as clearly as I can see the limp wet lettuce under its load of Boiled Dressing) “Salad is roughage and a French idea.”

As proof of the strange hold childhood remembrance has on us, I think I am justified to print once, and only once, my considered analysis of the reason I must live for the rest of my life with an almost painful craving for mayonnaise made with fresh eggs and lemon juice and good olive oil:

GRANDMOTHER’S BOILED DRESSING

1 cup cider vinegar.
Enough flour to make thin paste.
Salt to taste.

Mix well, boil slowly fifteen minutes or until done, and serve with wet shredded lettuce.

Unlike any recipe I have ever given, this one has not been tested and never shall be, nor is it recommended for anything but passing thought.

–M.F.K. Fisher

Quote of the day: LIBERATION

August 15, 2021

LIBERATION

The Gay Liberation Front that was founded after Stonewall named itself after liberation movements that were its contemporaries around the world, anti-colonial movements that were resisting European control. And what the word liberation meant was re-imagining the world so that the ways that we relate to each other were liberatory instead of oppressive. And that meant that sexual relationships, economic relationships, racial relationships, interpersonal dealings, identifications of gender, ways that we expressed ourselves politically and emotionally — that we had a dream, a utopian dream that they could be more open and so that human beings could be more individuated and yet more within a collective, and that the purpose of the collective is to create more space for the individual voice.

–Sarah Schulman, interviewed by Ezra Klein

Quote of the day: MISSION

August 2, 2021

MISSION

The word “mission” comes from the Latin for “send.” In English, historically, a mission is Christian, and means sending the Holy Spirit out into the world to spread the Word of God: a mission involves saving souls. In the seventeenth century, when “mission” first conveyed something secular, it meant diplomacy: emissaries undertake missions. Scientific and military missions—and the expression “mission accomplished”—date to about the First World War. In 1962, J.F.K. called going to the moon an “untried mission.” “Mission statements” date to the Vietnam War, when the Joint Chiefs of Staff began drafting ever-changing objectives for a war known for its purposelessness. (The TV show “Mission: Impossible” débuted in 1966.) After 1973, and at the urging of the management guru Peter Drucker, businesses started writing mission statements as part of the process of “strategic planning,” another expression Drucker borrowed from the military. Before long, as higher education was becoming corporatized, mission statements crept into university life. “We are on the verge of mission madness,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 1979. A decade later, a management journal announced, “Developing a mission statement is an important first step in the strategic planning process.” But by the nineteen-nineties corporate mission statements had moved from the realm of strategic planning to public relations. That’s a big part of why they’re bullshit. One study from 2002 reported that most managers don’t believe their own companies’ mission statements. Research surveys suggest a rule of thumb: the more ethically dubious the business, the more grandiose and sanctimonious its mission statement.

–Jill Lepore in The New Yorker

photographed by Kayana Szymczak for the New York Times
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