Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The word of the day is ancillary:

< Latin ancillāri-us (more correctly ancillār-is) of or pertaining to a handmaid, < ancilla: see ancilla n.
 A. adj.

 1. Subservient, subordinate, ministering (to).

 2. lit. (after Latin.) Of or pertaining to maid-servants. rare and affected.

 3. Designating activities and services that provide essential support to the functioning of a central service or industry; also, of staff employed in these supporting roles. Now used esp. of non-medical staff and services in hospitals.

 B. n.
 1.a. One who acts as an assistant or servant. Obs.—1

 b. An ancillary worker. See sense A. 3.

 2. Something which is ancillary; an auxiliary or accessory.


Robert Frederick:  And why are researchers so interested in this?

David Grimm: Well, Rob, one of the things was just to really settle this debate about where the moms came from. But, sort of an ancillary finding here is this whole idea that we’re actually learning a lot about human culture by studying these horses.

 - 8 October 2010 Science podcast

Not quite sure if "ancillary" is really the word he wanted there: "auxiliary" probably would have been better, or even "additional".

Monday, November 29, 2010

We stopped at Spro in Hampden before going to see Harry Potter at the Senator yesterday afternoon.

We had actually been to Spro last weekend, where we first noticed its existence after having lunch at Little Grano (#38 on the Baltimore Sun's list of best restaurants).  I'm pretty sure it wasn't there in October when I took my parents to Hampden.  That day, I glanced at the menu, saw the first item (Santa Barabara Estate, $9.00), and thought, "Oh, that must be the coffee by the pound", and then just ordered a latte because that seemed simpler.

It wasn't until after I sat down that I realized that, no, that wasn't $9.00 per pound, that was $9.00 per cup.

So we came back, determined to experience Spro as it was meant to be experienced: high end coffee.  (To be fair, the barista was very nice even in the face of my ignorance, and did not in fact sneeringly direct me to a Starbucks, as I might have been tempted to do, had I been in her situation.)

Unfortunately, their Vac Pot was broken, so I couldn't get the Santa Barabara Estate.  So I tried the Finca La Tinta (Honduras, "Another powerhouse from Fabio Caballero and Moises Herrera starting off with aromas of licorice, violets, and cherry vanilla ice cream followed by notes of cooked apple and caramel.  Medium bodied finishes off with lingering spice on the palate.  Roasted by Ecco Caffe, Santa Rosa, CA - Aeropress"), whereupon I learned that I cannot distinguish $4.25 coffee from $2 coffee.  I could tell that it was better than the coffee at school, but beyond that, it just...tasted like coffee.  It certainly wasn't bad, and I was happy to drink it, but no, I could not detect any cherry vanilla ice cream.  I undoubtedly would have been just as happy with the $2.00 Yirgacheffe Natural.

Morgan got the Mexican Chocolate, which was very good (and the perfect temperature), but unfortunately cannot live up to the nostalgia of the Med or Moonstruck.

So we didn't find out whether I can distinguish $9.00 coffee from $2.00 coffee (the goal of the outing), but the preliminary results aren't promising.
Saturday morning I made for breakfast the Baked Sweet Omelet from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.  I didn't bother to separate the eggs (because in my experience, the product after folding in the beaten egg whites is indistinguishable from the product made from whole beaten eggs), but mine was not nearly as poofy as the ones pictured, so maybe it's time to try separating eggs again.

Then we walked to Whole Foods and picked up some dried white beans, kale, mild Italian sausage (it was on sale, so even better), heavy cream (there was only organic, not conventional, so that more than offset any savings we might have had from the sausage), gingersnaps (they only had gluten-free, but they were really quite good), and ricemellow creme (since that was all they had, no marshmallow creme: but this was just as well, because it turned out there were vegetarians at the potluck after all).

When we got home, I made the sausage and kale variation of White Beans, Tuscan Style from How to Cook Everything (because it was on his list of 100 Make-Ahead Recipes, which I figured would be good candidates for a potluck), which is slightly different from described there in the following ways:

Add six cloves garlic with the sage.
While the beans are cooking, cut the Italian sausage into one-inch slices and brown well in a skillet (in its own fat).  When the beans are starting to get tender, add the sausage and one cup finely chopped kale.
My recipe also called for four cloves minced garlic (instead of two tsps), and two tablespoons olive oil (instead of one).

While the beans were cooking, I made Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Trifle from Every Day with Rachael Ray.  I've made it a couple of times before, once for Thanksgiving, and once for Christmas Eve, and it always goes over well, although it never looks quite like the picture (maybe I chop the gingersnaps too finely?).

While I was folding together the mousse, I took my eye off the beans for perhaps five minutes, and whereas they had been cooking for about two hours without changing at all, in those five minutes they turned to mush.  I don't think it was a disaster; it was just quite unexpected.

Morgan said he liked the beans, but I'm not sure I'd make them again.  They weren't difficult, but did take a lot of time (if I could adapt the recipe to a slow-cooker that would be less of a deal-breaker), and just weren't terribly impressive.  If I were to make them again, I might ease off the garlic (the ten cloves were enormous), and cut the sausage into smaller pieces.  Or just leave out the sausage.

The pumpkin mousse was appreciated (possibly because it was the only dessert there), but I would say the hits of the potluck were Rachel's chili and Amanda's quesadillas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The word of the day is pukka:

[< Panjabi pakk{amac}, Hindi pakk{amac} cooked, ripe, mature, thorough, substantial, permanent < Sanskrit pakva cooked, ripe, fully developed. Compare CUTCHA adj. in the opposing sense.]      A. adj.
    1. Esp. in South Asian contexts: (of a weight or measure) full, good; the largest possible; (in extended use) complete, in full measure. Now rare.
  Often applied to the larger of two units or weights of the same name. With reference to coins, H. Yule and A. C. Burnell Hobson-Jobson (1886) s.v. pice says: ‘The distinction was sometimes between the regularly minted copper of the Government and certain amorphous pieces of copper which did duty for small change (e.g. in the N.W. Provinces within memory), or between single and double pice, i.e. {oneon4} anna-pieces and {half} anna-pieces.’
    {dag}2. S. Asian. Of a fever: severe; malignant. Also in extended use. Obs.
    3. a. orig. S. Asian or in South Asian context: sure, certain, reliable; genuine, bona fide, correct. Hence more generally: real, not sham; (of information) factually correct; (of persons) authentic, not pretended; proper or correct in behaviour, socially acceptable (cf. ECHT adj.).
    b. Brit. slang. Excellent, superb; ‘cool’.
    4. S. Asian. Of a building or other construction: permanent, solidly-built, esp. made of stone or brick and mortar (opposed to CUTCHA adj.); (of a building material) high-quality.
    5. Reliable, persistent, perennial; (of a position or appointment in South Asia) permanent. Now rare.
    {dag}B. n.
    1. A building material of a permanent nature, esp. a type of solid mortar. Obs.
    2. A copper coin (short for pukka pice: see quot. c1816 at sense A. 1). Obs. rare.  (OED)

"But the play is broadest and best when it parodies the different styles of repertory drama: the Confederacy play (John misses his cue); the French Revolution play (an offstage fan blows the tricolor in Robert’s face); the Russian play (John parks Robert in a wheelchair upstage, away from the inevitable samovar); and the British drawing-room drama (in which the actors, mustachioed and with dreadful pukka accents, face two problems—claiming the paternity of a child and dealing with a malfunctioning cigarette lighter that makes the smoking of a ritual cigar an impossibility)."

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

I'm going with "proper or correct in behaviour", here, unless anyone has any better ideas.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The word of the day is orotund:

[Shortened < classical Latin {omac}re rotund{omac} ORE ROTUNDO adv., perhaps after ROTUND adj.
  N.E.D. (1903) states that ‘This some have essayed to alter to ororotund, for ore- or orirotund’, apparently to reflect more closely its etymology. Evidence for these forms appears to be lacking except in the compounds OROROTUNDITY n. and OROROTUNDOISM n., the latter suggesting an altered form ororotundo.
    A. adj.    Originally (of a voice, speaker, or utterance): imposing, clear, resonant; such as is suited to public speaking, reading, or recitation. Now freq. in contemptuous use: inflated, bombastic; pompous, magniloquent.  (OED)

"Robert (Patrick Stewart), an orotund veteran, swaps tales and advice with John (T. R. Knight), his up-and-coming, youthful cohort."

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

Friday, November 26, 2010

The word of the day is panjandrum:

[Apparently <PAN- comb. form + an arbitrary second element. (Any deliberate echo of PANGERAN n. seems unlikely.)
  The word is supposed to have been coined in 1754 or 1755 as part of a farrago of nonsense composed by Samuel Foote (1720-77), actor and dramatist, to test the memory of his fellow actor Charles Macklin, who had asserted that he could repeat anything after hearing it once. In the first published version the relevant passage (attributed to Foote) reads as follows:
  1825 M. EDGEWORTH Harry & Lucy Concl. II. 153 And there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the Grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top.
  The composition of the passage has also been attributed to the actor James Quin (1693-1766): see N. & Q. (1850) 16 Nov. 405.

    1. (A mock title for) a mysterious (freq. imaginary) personage of great power or authority; a pompous or pretentious official; a self-important person in authority. Also Grand Panjandrum, Great Panjandrum.
  In quot. 1825 in extended use, of a particularly showy flower.
  Quot. 18252 follows shortly after the passage quoted in the etymological note above, of which some quotations are extended echoes.

    2. Ceremonial fuss or formality; rigmarole. Now rare.  (OED)

"Swiftness is part of his triumph and of his character’s blinkered, annihilating aggression. As Elomire, on the other hand, Hyde Pierce is a master of the slow burn, a sort of panjandrum of pique. His suffering is terrific to watch; it lends oxygen to Rylance’s astonishing linguistic pinwheeling. Dazed by Valere’s marathon of conceit—it runs to about four hundred and fifty lines—Elomire sinks beyond boredom, into a deep and infuriating loneliness. He twists his handkerchief into knots, slugs wine from a decanter, and briefly leaves the stage to bang his head against the wall, in the sure knowledge that Valere won’t notice."

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The word of the day is tatterdemalion:

[f. TATTER n.1, or more prob. TATTERED a., with a factitious element suggesting an ethnic or descriptive derivative. The earlier pronunciation rimes with battalion, Italian, stallion, as shown by the frequent doubling of l.] 
    A person in tattered clothing; a ragged or beggarly fellow; a ragamuffin.  (OED)

"Valere is a fabulous creation, and Rylance—in bohemian tatterdemalion and pheasant-plumed cap, and sporting a set of false choppers that give him a scary smile—inhabits him to the limits of wonderful."

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

Still not entirely sure what he means here, since the definition's for an adjective, and he's using it as a noun.  In the kind of clothing that a tatterdemalion would wear?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The word of the day is moue:

[< French moue (see MOW n.2).  Not fully naturalized in English. Compare MOW n.2 for earlier borrowing of the corresponding Middle French word.
    A pouting expression, often conveying (mock) annoyance or distaste, or used flirtatiously. (OED)

"Nothing he says nourishes or illuminates, but the very speaking of words gives him confirmation that he exists.  (Silence represents an existential terror for him, a vacuum that Rylance immediately fills with Jerry Lewis-like spasms and tongue-wagging moues.)"

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The word of the day is deracinate:

[f. F. déracine-r (in OF. desr-), f. dé-, des-, L.
DIS- + racine root; see -ATE3 7.] 
    trans. To pluck or tear up by the roots; to uproot, eradicate, exterminate. lit. and fig.  (OED)

"On the surface, the setup seems the predictable folderol of a comedy of manners; by degrees, however, the characterizations become an extraordinary metaphor that resonates with our own noisy, deracinating moment."

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The word of the day is prolix:

[< Middle French prolixe (French prolixe) (of a discourse, text, etc.) longwinded, lengthy (c1224 in Old French as prolipse), (of an illness) of long duration (1480), (of a writer) characterized by longwindedness (1493), physically long (1495) and its etymon classical Latin pr{omac}lixus extended, long, lengthy, copious, probably < pr{omac}-PRO- prefix1 + the same Indo-European base as classical Latin liqu{emac}re to flow, to be liquid (see LIQUID adj.)] 

    2. a. spec. Of speech, writing, vocal music, etc.: tediously lengthy; using or containing too many words; long-winded, wordy, verbose.
    b. Of a person: given to or characterized by tedious lengthiness in speech or writing.  (OED)

"Civil discourse is strained; understanding is regularly trumped by hectoring - a folly that has a hilarious correlative in the prolix clown August Valere, the main character in David Hirson's jeu d'esprit "La Bete" (in revival at the Music Box, directed by Matthew Warchus)."

 - John Lahr, "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker

Friday, November 19, 2010

The word of the day is bosky:

[after It. boscoso.]

Consisting of or covered with bushes or underwood; full of thickets, bushy. (Also transf.) (OED)

"If further pressed, they may acknowledge that the area's boskiness is largely the result of city planning. The stands of live oaks, valley oaks, pines, redwoods, and mulberries are all as artificial as Lake Cascade, which was created in the nineteen-twenties to irrigate the local golf course. The trees in this former grassland arrived with the houses, and kept on arriving."

- Tad Friend, "Blowback: The great suburban leaf war", 25 October 2010 The New Yorker