Sunday, November 04, 2012

Meeting Nick, Alec's socks and spice rack.

1. It occurs to me that if I finish up my run by going past the butchers, we might just meet Nick -- he likes to be the one to pick up the weekend meat because Speaight's is a mancave on Saturday mornings. He is just stepping out of the door as we bump up the kerb. "Shall I take the pushchair?" he asks.

2. I think my favourite part of today was Alec turning from furious tears to laughter because he noticed the ends of his socks waggling as he kicked his feet.

3. When I was studying Catullus at A-level, we learned a line about the "sand grains lying on silphium-bearing Cyrene between the shrine of sweating Jupiter and the tomb of ancient Battus". We were told that silphium* could be translated as asafoetida, a spice also known as devil's dung because of its pungency. Being a spice geek, I've been rather curious about asafoetida ever since. Yesterday I picked out a recipe that calls for it, and I finally had an excuse to go out and buy some.

*It turns out that silphium isn't exactly asafoetida, but the spice was a cheaper substitute and the word as a translation gives the right sort of exotic feeling. Silphium has its own fascinating story, though, which is worth reading.