Tag Archives: linguistics

Current Obsession: Roasted Broccoli

Obsess!  I love it!  

RCR came over a month or so back with a giant head of broccoli and suggested I roast it.  I thought, yeah, sure, whatever.  I’m pretty into getting healthy, but broccoli is just always a bore.  NOT SO!

I’ve become COMPLETELY obsessed with roasted broccoli over the last month and even sold my family on it while in soothing Nevada City!  Amazing.

How to:

Preheat oven to 400.  Place broccoli florets in a deep baking dish, drizzle with your favorite olive oil (or not), salt and pepper (Maldon is of course recommended), and bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on what type of pan you use and how much broccoli you are roasting).  Serve hot.

brocolli

Amazing because you can simultaneously get the softness of a boil with the crunch of a roast.  I just love it when the broccoli gets that bright chartreuse color in the stem and dark, almost brownish affect in the tips of the florets.

I’ve been so all-over the roasting of florets that I’ve moved onto Trader Joe’s Broccoflower, just for variety, but discovered that the texture is not optimal, and on the dry side compared with broccoli (I would argue similarly about cauliflower, specifically w/r/t this preparation, though it is fabulous in many other ways). 

I’m still experimenting with how to incorporate cheese into this fantastic snack/side dish.  

In the mean time, every time I serve broccoli I. tells the story of Albert Broccoli, the original director of the James Bond films.  (FYI I. pronounces the name Broccoli with a long o on the second syllable). “Hmmm,” he says to his avid listeners, “sounds a lot like the vegetable don’t it?”  And they all agree, because no one would ever disagree with I.  “So you think he might be named after the vegetable right?”  [Muttering agreement] “Welllllll, it was actually Albert Broccoli’s grandfather who bred cabbage with broccoli rabe, thus creating what we commonly know and refer to as broccoli.”  I.’s audience ooh’s and ahh’s in wonder of his vast and specific knowledge, with which he pays equal attention to vintage football stats, and, apparently, horticulture and the etymology of plant names.  I have had to listen to the story upwards of twenty times over the past several years.

I’ve had to listen to the story even more times since my recent obsession with roasted broccoli arose.  I’ll admit I complained vociferously.

But I thought to myself, “Self, you should give I. a little credit when you blahghe about your current obsession with broccoli.”  

Armed only with my fingertips and the fascist state that is Google, I began researching Albert Broccoli (with whom I had no previous fascination nor any with Bond in general) and the plant commonly known in the U.S. as “broccoli” in hopes that I could share the most accurate and well-researched knowledge with you, my beloved readership. 

What I found might surprise I. and his disciples.

The origins of the name for the plant commonly known as broccoli is not, has not, and will never be attributed film director Albert Broccoli’s grandfather nor any of his ancestors.  

For all of our edification, the name broccoli, for the plant that is in the same “cultivar group” as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts, comes from the Latin bracchium, meaning strong arm or branch.  The plant was named as such for its many strong branches that grow from one main stem.  If anyone would like to challenge me, please see this Google search with references.  

Oh, and if you are interested in the pronunciation of Albert Broccoli’s name, please see this link.  It is pronounced the same as the vegetable, no long o.  Also from an obit:

In the late 1950’s, Mr. Broccoli (pronounced like the vegetable) and his partner, Harry Saltzman, bought the screen rights to the novels of Ian Fleming, and proceeded to make Mr. Fleming’s character, James Bond Agent 007, a household name. The 17 Bond films Mr. Broccoli was associated with were reported to have earned $1 billion world wide.

Anyone have any conflicting reports on the pronunciation of Albert’s surname?

I also discovered a fun site called “Clement’s Mind Your English” with a pronunciation guide that includes broccoli the plant, and of course Merriam-Webster’s definition of broccoli the plant with a free wav file to guide your pronunciation.

We might have to go all the way to the OED on this one.

Over and out,

Saddleshoos

Additional References:

Albert Broccoli on IMDB

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Thoughts on the VP debate

What’s up with Republicans not being able to pronoun the word nuclear?

They say:  nuCUlar: noo-kyoo-lhar

Do they send you a pronunciation guide when you give $5 to the GOP?  Perhaps A Rockridge Life reader should try this and see.

For all you GOP-ers out there, I know you’re just trying to be “down” with the middle class, but check it out: 

nu·cle·ar        [noo-klee-er, nyoo– or, by metathesis-kyuh-ler]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s More Than a Decimal System

I’m spending a lot of time with John Dewey these days.  While I had read about him in text books many times before, now is the first time I am becoming acquainted with the man through his own words.  It’s a pleasure.  I’m reading “Experience and Education.”

I also appreciate the man for his use of the term “in toto,” which I originally learned from my Southern mother.  She used to say things like, “you can’t reject the idea in toto!”

Definition:

in toto: Totally; altogether: recommendations that were adopted in toto.

I like the way the phrase “in toto” sounds ridiculous and completely pretentious at the same time. !

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Don’t you want to know why I want to be a teacher? Part II: REVISED

Reading and writing are important because they are the roots of power in the modern world.  We as individuals and communities can use reading and writing to obtain power for ourselves and to challenge power structures that are currently in place.  Reading and writing are the major tasks of the discipline of English and Language Arts.  The third component of English is speaking.  Your voice, in addition to your power to comprehend words and put thoughts into writing, will empower you in ways beyond your imagination.  To be “literate” in English is to be able to make meaning from texts, both narrative and expository.  To be “literate” in English is to be able to convey your ideas in writing.  To be “literate” in English is to be able to communicate with others in conversation.  Schools as systems do not take into account our individual differences and the many cultures we as learners bring to the classroom.  Schools as systems have not traditionally given us opportunities to express ourselves, and to get closer to realizing our individual passions.  In this class we will approach reading and writing as tools to do the work that schools too often fail to do.  Through our reading of the world and our writing of ourselves, we will get closer to our true selves and each other.  This is progress. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Don’t you want to know why I want to be a teacher? Part II

Reading and Writing Rationale Statement: Limited to 1 Paragraph

Draft

Why do I believe reading and writing are important? 

Reading and writing are important because they are the roots of power in the modern world.  We, both as individuals and communities, can use reading and writing to become empowered and to challenge power structures that are currently in place. 

Why are reading and writing important in the discipline I teach?

Reading and writing are the major tasks of the discipline of English and Language Arts.  In addition to reading and writing you must speak.  Your ability to comprehend words, put thoughts into writing, and use your voice will enable you to express your ideas  to those around you.

What does it mean to be “literate” in the discipline I teach?

To be “literate” in English is to be able to make meaning from texts, both narrative and expository.  To be “literate” in English is to be able to convey your ideas in writing.  To be “literate” in English is to be able to verbally communicate with others. 

How do I explain the importance of reading and writing in terms that are meaningful and accessible to students?

tbd

 —

This paragraph should be something you could include in your course syllabus or first day handout to students and parents.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hare or Hair -Brained?

When I was writing “Smells Kind of Fish-y,”  and characterizing Stanley Fish as “hare-brained,” I had to look up the word harebrained, because I don’t really know it.  If “knowing” is to have the capacity to use a term to create meaning, then I, in this sense did not know “harebrained.”  It was not because I had never used the term “harebrained,” and not that I had never looked up the term.  In fact, I had.  But it was so recently, and so few times, that the meaning hadn’t really sunken in.

I reflected on the fact that I have never fully understood or employed the term “harebrained.”  The fact is that to this day I have been confused: is it “hair” brained (as in a brain full of hair, and therefore little brain matter?) or “hare” brained?  The latter would make no sense to me…but why?

***

Why? Because this is the image of a Hare that I grew up with:

Now, it would be nice if I had a larger image, but this will work.  That is a hare, specifically Brer Rabbit.  Brer Rabbit is cunning, Brer Rabbit is smart, Brer Rabbit outfoxes his predators, and Brer Rabbit protects his family.  In this publication and related ones in the same series he is given to smoking, sitting at a dinner table in a chair, and wearing overalls and suspenders.  He is a hare.  “Hare” or “hair” -brained people are supposed to be lacking in cognitive abilities right?  Sort of irrational right?  Well, here is a hare who cares for his family, models correct dinner table manners for the youth, and wears snappy outfits.  Now, given these realities I find it perfectly reasonable that a woman with a year of post-graduate study under her belt and more in process would be confused over the odd and colloquial term, “harebrained.”  Based on my observations of Brer Rabbit, and my observations of “hare” or “hair” -brained individuals, I deduced that the term “harebrained” for dense individuals couldn’t possibly be correct!  You must mean HAIRbrained!  As in a brain the size and thickness of a shaft of HAIR!

***

Brer Rabbit comes down to us through West Africa, the Gullah, Black slaves, the white man Joel Chandler Harris who published his stories into a book, and the Disney studio, who in 1946 made the stories into a motion picture called Song of the South.  The different tellings and different tellers have all added layers to this melting pot of a story, and I do mean melting.  Because these days, our image of Brer Rabbit is not dictated by one or the other, but is rather a creolization, a cycle of imitation, reflection, and reiteration.  Now, I was about to say, as dictionary.com says, that “harebrained” is to be giddy or reckless, and that Brer Rabbit is neither of those things.  But, perhaps in the imaginations of the youth more exposed to cartoons than Joel Chandler Harris, Brer Rabbit is a fool, though he was never one to me.  But I digress.  To clear things up I felt the need to go beyond the internet crutch that is dictionary.com and Google the term.  [I know, you’re thinking, well what did that take, an entire click of the tab key?].  But I did, and I was enlightened.  For “Bartleby,” [like the Scrivner?  I love Melville] the online version of the American Heritage Dictionary, lays it all out for us.  

Their definition is “foolish; flighty,” which is consistent with dictionary.com BUT interestingly enough, ADH provides some historical context:  

USAGE NOTE: The first use of harebrained dates to 1548. The spelling hairbrained also has a long history, going back to the 1500s when hair was a variant spelling of hare. The hair variant was preserved in Scotland into the 18th century, and as a result it is impossible to tell exactly when people began writing hairbrained in the belief that the word means “having a hair-sized brain” rather than “with no more sense than a hare.” While hairbrainedcontinues to be used and confused, it should be avoided in favor ofharebrained which has been established as the correct spelling.

 

It appears that the term hair/hare -brained PRE-dates our furry friend of the middle passage.  According to AHD, my Scottish ancestors, who immigrated to the New World in the 17th century, were still using the spelling “hairbrained” well into the 18th century! AND they may have believed that the word means “having a hair-sized brain!!!”

I am vindicated of my ignorance.  Saddleshoos triumphs again! [Draft version…Saddleshoos to explore European/white/Scottish ancestry, intersection with African cultures, creolization, narrative, etc. to follow on a non-school night]

***

Please investigate the Gullah, Joel Chandler Harris, the book called Jump! The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, Jump! the album by Van Dyke Parks, and the illustrations of Barry Moser.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized