What’s on your plate is the simplest thing in the world: spaghetti alla bottarga - pasta, tossed quickly with local olive oil (through which a clove of garlic and a hot pepper have briefly been dragged) and the local salt-cured mullet eggs, which are the specialty of the region. There’s no explaining why this is so good. It just… is. The salty and frankly fishy flavor of the eggs cuddles up to the more subtle taste of the durum pasta - the tiniest notes of heat from the pepper - and the sharp yet lush tang of freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil.
You wash this down with a sneakily compelling Cannonau - the local red wine whose rough charms have lately got a serious hold on y ou. You don’t care about the big Bordeauxs any more. The high-maintenance Burgundies with their complex personalities. The Baron Rothschild could back his car up to the door, trunk full of monster vintages, he’s drunk and offering them for free - and you would decline. Here? Now? Mopping olive oil and a few errant fish eggs from the bottom of your plate, swilling this young and proudly no-name wine, there is nothing you would rather be drinking.
When you ask the proprietor where the wine comes from, he points to and old man sitting in the corner reading a soccer magazine, a cigarette dangling from his lips.
“It came from him,” he says.
From Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw, describing a scene in Sardinia.
I’m ready to book my tickets now
"Wealthy musician Amanda Palmer, who last year raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter to produce and release a record, recently used a TED talk to expand on the idea that artists should be willing to work for free. After relaying a story about how she used to be a street performer, Palmer, who is married to a very successful author named Neil Gaiman, told an audience of people who’d paid $7,500 apiece to be there that musicians shouldn’t “make” people pay for their work, but rather “let” people pay for their work. She also explained that she found it virtuous when a family of undocumented immigrants huddled together on their couch for a night so that she and her band could have their beds, because her music and presence was a fair exchange for the family’s comfort. After about 13 minutes of explaining why she is content with people giving her things, Palmer received a standing ovation."
— When People Write for Free, Who Pays?. I’m going to avoid listening to Palmer’s TED talk and just hope as hard as I can that this account isn’t true. (via ayjay)
"Again, while it is a great blessing that a man no longer has to be rich in order to enjoy the masterpieces of the past, for paperbacks, first-rate color reproductions, and stereo-phonograph records have made them available to all but the very poor, this ease of access, if misused — and we do misuse it — can become a curse. We are all of us tempted to read more books, look at more pictures, listen to more music than we can possibly absorb, and the result of such gluttony is not a cultured mind but a consuming one; what it reads, looks at, listens to is immediately forgotten, leaving no more traces behind than yesterday’s newspaper."
— W. H. Auden, Secondary Worlds (1967). Thanks to my friend and colleague Richard Gibson for reminding me of this great passage which I should never have forgotten in the first place. (via ayjay)