The word vexillum is Latin for sqaure flag and so vexillology is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags- basically anything flag-related.
December 11, 2019
December 4, 2019
The word etiolate comes from the French word for straw and refers to the practice of depriving plants of sunlight causing them to grow pale. The word can be used figuratively as well. Here it has been used to describe birdsong: “The song-thrush has a varied and rather etiolated though liquidescent call: listening to it is like following a small stream descending unevenly over pebbles and making twists and turns echoed in sound.”
Some more examples of the pallid word from literature:
“…I suddenly discerned at my feet, crouching among the rocks for protection against the heat, the marine goddesses for whom Elstir had lain in wait and whom he had surprised there, beneath the dark glaze as lovely as Leonardo would have painted, the marvelous Shadows, sheltering furtively, nimble and silent, ready at the first glimmer of light to slip behind the stone, to hide in a cranny, and prompt, once the menacing ray had passed, to return to the rock or the seaweed over whose torpid slumbers they seemed to be keeping vigil, beneath the sun that crumbled the cliffs and the etiolated ocean, motionless lightfoot guardians darkening the water’s surface with their viscous bodies and the attentive gaze of their deep blue eyes.”
― Marcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
“The past has no wholeness, it has been etiolated by revised explanations of it, trampled over by hindsight – all their lives.”
December 3, 2019
We spoke to Bridget White-Kumar about her food writing journey.
Bridget White-Kumar is a cookbook author and independent food consultant and trainer in Colonial Anglo-Indian Cuisine at Bangalore. She has authored eight recipe books on Anglo-Indian Cuisine and has put in a lot of effort to revive the old forgotten dishes of the Colonial British Raj Era. One of her books Anglo_indian Cusine – A Legacy of Flavours from the Past was selected as ‘Winner from India’ under the Best Culinary History Book by Gourmand International Spain, Gourmand World Cook Books Awards, 2012. She also conducts cooking training workshops for staff at large hospitality houses like J W Marriot, The Oberoi Mumbai, the Taj Connemara Chennai, etc,
Her repertoire covers a wide selection of colonial dishes sand she explains the history and evolution of Anglo-Indian Cuisine and how each dish got its special moniker. She is always ready to share information and talk about recipes and food. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her websites- www.bridget-white-kumar.com and www.anglo-indianfood.com.
Your book Anglo-Indian Cuisine- A Legacy of Flavours from the Past won the best culinary history book prize by Gourmand International Spain, Gourmand World Cook Books Award in the India category. Tell us about that experience.
I was both surprised and delighted when my book won the Best Culinary History Book from India Award in the year 2012. This award is like the Oscars for Cook Book Writers and books from all over the world enter the competition. It was indeed an honor to win it under the Best Culinary History Book category based on my account of the history and evolution of Colonial Anglo-Indian Cuisine. The awards were presented at a gala function in the Louvre in Paris in February 2013.
Your area of interest lies primarily with Anglo-Indian cuisine-how did you go about collecting recipes for this specific cuisine?
I am from the Anglo-Indian Community and grew up with this cuisine. I was always interested in cooking and I had a lot of handwritten recipes and old printed recipe books that my mother and aunts gave me. These old recipes were just written offhand with no specific quantities for the ingredients, etc. Moreover, many of the old dishes that were cooked by the older generation were becoming extinct as the younger generation was not interested in cooking them. It, therefore, became my passion to record these recipes and preserve them for posterity. I have been bringing out my self-published recipe books since the year 2014.
Tell us about the colonial influences on Anglo-Indian cuisine.
Anglo-Indian cuisine evolved over many hundred years as a result of reinventing and reinterpreting the quintessentially western cuisine by assimilating and amalgamating ingredients and cooking techniques from all over the Indian subcontinent. Thus, a completely new contemporary cuisine that was truly ‘Anglo’ and ‘Indian’ in nature came into existence. This cuisine was neither too bland nor too spicy, but had a distinctive flavor of its own. It became a direct reflection of the multicultural and hybrid heritage of the new colonial population.
Every European invasion left behind their legacy in Anglo-Indian Cuisine. It can be rightly said that Anglo-Indian Cuisine was the first example of Fusion Food in India. Many of the dishes have a unique history behind their existence. There is a certain glamour about Anglo-Indian cuisine with its quaint names like Railway Lamb or Mutton Curry, The Dak Bungalow Curry, Grandma’s Country Captain Chicken, Colonel Standhurst’s Beef Curry, Veal Country Captain, Bengal Lancer’s Shrimp Curry, Pork Bhooni, Chicken/Meat Jalfrezie, Devil Pork Curry, etc. All these dishes were a direct throwback to the conditions prevailing at the time of the Raj!
Describe your book Vegetarian Delicacies.
The book Vegetarian Delicacies is an Anglicised Vegetarian Recipe Books. I have included different recipes for Vegetarian Starters, Soups, Curries, Salads and Bakes. There are no mainstream veg recipes that are normally found in Indian cookbooks.
How do you keep track of your recipes – do you keep tweaking them or do you follow a standard method?
I believe in maintaining the authenticity of every recipe and hence I never tweak or make changes just to suit others palates. My recipes are those that have stood the test of time and endured over generations.
What advice do you have for writers who want to write and sell cookbooks?
Writing a recipe book isn’t easy. A lot of hard work goes into it since one has to get the recipe right after many, many trials and errors. Once a recipe is written, it will be the guide to be followed by many. Only when one has mastered the dish, can a foolproof recipe be written.
You’ve also written a book called Kolar Gold Fields- Down Memory Lane. What inspired you to write a memoir?
The Kolar Gold Fields of today is very, very different from the KGF of my childhood. I wanted to preserve for posterity a period of history when I was growing up in KGF as a young Anglo-Indian child. That period was the golden period of history where we had the influences of the best of old Colonial India and the new emerging and evolving India.
Describe your experience with self-publishing.
I have self-published eight cookbooks and a book of memoirs on KGF. Self-publishing isn’t easy as it involves a lot of work and investment. However, it’s very rewarding as it gives one the freedom to write and be creative and there’s no fear of an editor cutting out anything from the manuscript. It’s very rewarding to see one’s efforts in print.
Your favorite dish?
COLONIAL PEPPER LAMB CHOPS
Here’s the recipe:
A Colonial Classic – Succulent tender Lamb Chops, marinated in a pepper – garlic sauce
Preparation Time approx 1 hour
1kg either lamb or Mutton Chops
1teaspoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 large onions sliced fine
2 or 3 green chilies sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons oil
3 or 4 teaspoons fresh ground pepper or pepper powder
Salt to taste
Marinate the Chops with the pepper powder, vinegar and salt for about 30 minutes. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onions and green chilies for a few minutes. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and fry for about 3 minutes. Now add the marinated chops and mix well. Add sufficient water and cook till the Chops are tender and soft and the gravy dries up. Garnish with onion rings.
Thank you Bridget! We wish you all the best with your culinary adventure….
November 27, 2019
Non-refoulement is a legal term. While political asylum applies to those who can prove fear of persecution based on a certain category of persons, non-refoulement refers to a principle of international law that prevents expulsion or deportation of people, including refugees into war zones and places that pose a risk to life and freedom. It was the plight of the refugees during the Holocaust that caused the making of this legal concept.
If you are interested in this very relevant word, you may want to check this link.
November 19, 2019
This relatively new word is a combination of free and vegan. A freegan could be vegetarian or vegan or even meegan, meaning he eats meat. He eats food that is freely available to protest against the exploitative food system. This way of life involves eating discarded foods from dumpsters or wherever you get food for free. You can also use the word as an adjective- so you can attend a freegan wedding or receive a freegan package, which basically means food that is being provided to avoid wastage.
Learn more about freeganism here.
October 23, 2019
You must have met dreamers with their heads in the clouds and who face trouble with the practical nitty-gritty of living. The Yiddish language has a word for such a person- luftmensch, where luft connotes air and mensch means human being.
Found a quote featuring this word:
“Luftmensch—the impractical individual whose imagination has lifted him beyond the world.”
October 16, 2019
This tongue twister was coined by Coriat (1911; Simpson and Weiner 1992). The fear of the number thirteen has led to some strange numerical decisions- many high-rise hotels don’t have a thirteenth floor. The idea of 13 as evil has been associated with the 13 people present during the Last Supper. The fear of Friday the thirteenth is called dubbed paraskevidekatriaphobia.
Here’s an example of how Stephen King explained Triskaidekaphobia without mentioning it:
“There were fourteen steps exactly fourteen. But the top one was smaller, out of proportion, as if it had been added to avoid the evil number.”
October 9, 2019
Sotto voce means to lower the sound of your voice, not out of embarrassment or fear but more for emphasis. it’s a dramatic technique and also used in music and screenplay writing. I especially liked the Wiki reference to Galileo Galilei’s sotto voce utterance “Eppur si muove (And yet [the Earth] moves’.
Some more quotes from literature:
“I still can’t believe,” Michael said, sotto voce, “that you came to the Vampires’ Masquerade Ball dressed as a vampire.”
― Jim Butcher, Grave Peril
“Is it life-threatening?” they asked. They said it slightly sotto voce, but you could hear the thirst for sensation right through it: when people get a chance to come close to death without having it touch them personally, they never miss the opportunity.”
― Herman Koch, The Dinner
October 1, 2019
The word salvo has more military connotations but you can also use the word figuratively as in the case of opening salvo, which refers to the first in a series of questions or statements used to try to win an argument.
Some instances of this word in literature:
“Agnes shut her eyes, clenched her fists, opened her mouth and screamed.
It started low. Plaster dust drifted down from the ceiling. The prisms on the chandelier chimed gently as they shook.
It rose, passing quickly through the mysterious pitch at fourteen cycles per second where the human spirit begins to feel distinctly uncomfortable about the universe and the place in it of the bowels. Small items around the Opera House vibrated off shelves and smashed on the floor.
The note climbed, rang like a bell, climbed again. In the Pit, all the violin strings snapped, one by one.
As the tone rose, the crystal prisms shook in the chandelier. In the bar, champagne corks fired a salvo. Ice jingled and shattered in its bucket. A line of wine-glasses joined in the chorus, blurred around the rims, and then exploded like hazardous thistledown with attitude.
There were harmonics and echoes that caused strange effects. In the dressing-rooms the No. 3 greasepaint melted. Mirrors cracked, filling the ballet school with a million fractured images.
Dust rose, insects fell. In the stones of the Opera House tiny particles of quartz danced briefly…
Then there was silence, broken by the occasional thud and tinkle.
‘Ah,’ she said, ‘now the opera’s over.”
― Terry Pratchett, Maskerade
“It has been calculated that what with salvos, royal and military politeness, courteous exchanges of uproar, signals of etiquette, formalities of roadsteads and citadels, sunrises and sunsets, saluted every day by all fortresses and all ships of war, openings and closings of ports, etc., the civilized world, discharged all over the earth, in the course of four and twenty hours, one hundred and fifty thousand useless shots. At six francs a shot, that comes to nine hundred thousand francs a day, three hundred millions a year, which vanish in smoke. This is a mere details. All this time the poor were dying of hunger.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables