Food, glorious food

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The Honey & Co food talks are my latest favourite podcast for listening on days when reading in the morning is just too much. Their interviews have covered Fuschia Dunlop on how she got to know Chinese cuisine, the regional delicacies she fell in love with and how Wi-chat revolutionised the research process, Olia Hercules on Ukraine’s eastern identity and summer houses, and several of the guests including Nazrin Rooghani on the relationship between identity and food.

If you’re still hungry after this, then head over to Castaway Buffet for what will become your new quiz with friends of what foods you can take to a desert island (and for the seriously hardcore, what five kitchen tools). Expect much laughter, firm views on the temperature of tea and Harry Potter fanfic.

Achille Castiglione

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An Italian designer who would have been 100 in February, his studio in Milan is one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen.

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He collected objects endlessly, getting a sense of how they worked, of how they could be stretched or improved and what the most practical next steps would be.

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All photos April 2018.

Feed of the week

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While @arthusiast could easily just be another insta-formula-friendly meme, what this post doesn’t show isn’t the thoughtful, erudite and lightly-written intros to the work of each artist featured in the shot. It’s this that pulled me in and kept me coming back for more. I also like the fact that she doesn’t post a huge deal, which reinforces for me the sense that it’s real passion behind this feed.

If you like this kind of learning and fancy more, then also try @katestrasdin for textile history, @sophia_stories for world literature and poetry and @disraeli81 for the British aristocracy.

Endurance

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As the Advent pilgrimage season continues, here’s some stunning photos from @martinrhartley’s Instagram feed. Martin seems to specialise in capturing Arctic expeditions and as well as these incredible images, his text is worth reading. He outlines how just standing still will kill you even though you might be in full protective gear, how an arctic explorer is also a mother of four in a classic “man pulling shed” shop, how clipping the corners off food packets and unnecessary zips and mosquito nets in a tent can save vital kilograms, and how salt leaches into the ice making it ironically very difficult to find ice to melt for drinking water. Fascinating and with no trace of self-pity.

Bread and ashes

Tabasarn, in south-eastern Daghestan, spoken by about 90,000 has, I was once assured by a tipsy linguist, eight genders. Scholars, he assured me, enjoyed introducing new, unfamiliar objects to the Tamasars to see which gender might be assigned. Apparently a samovar was unanimously assigned to the seventh gender, though no one could say why.

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A typically hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy type intervention from this delightful book that talks you through the politics, landscape, history and languages of this region, along with a good smattering of rollicking travel tales (Tony’s friend Chris generally sleeping upright in his green sleeping bag like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, and staring at the local cheese trying to decide whether it would make his hangover better or worse.)

Here’s some more on the local linguistic melting pot:

Many languages here have a prolix proliferation of cases: one analysis of  Tsez identified forty-two different locative case markers, which can describe precisely what space someone or something is in, at, under, by, near, away from: a hollow space, a flat space, a space that might be a trifle uncomfortable or sadly lacking in alcohol…Abkhaz, a notoriously difficult language, has fifty-eight [consonants] ; one of its dialects, Bzyp, has sixty-seven…Essed Bey insisted that Tabarsarn was so difficult that the Tabasars…preferred to speak an easier, neighbouring tongue.

Bridget Payne Watson

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Really enjoyed both this interview with Bridget, and Rachel Harrell’s illustrations for Bridget’s book The Secret Art of Being a Grown Up.

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It covers everything from reasonable expectations to how to open champagne to going to bed on time (yes, it works).

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Everyone would have their own list of life wisdom, but I liked Bridget’s calm tone and witty illustrations.

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Blog of the week

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I was searching for something else which will feature on the blog soon when I came across the blog Ornamental Passions, dedicated to noticing all those small details on buildings’ windowframes and doormantels, carved plaques and now-baffling statues that London teems with. To my delight, one of the first posts I read shed light on this statue that I often pass in Lincolns Inn Fields.