You might think he's doing something else. But in reality, he's learning how to sit/stay, and not doing a very good job of it (he eventually learned how to do so beautifully ... sort of ).

lunedì 4 luglio 2011

Hey baby, it's the fourth of July

On the stairs I smoke a
cigarette alone
Mexican kids are shootin'
fireworks below
Hey baby, it's the Fourth of July
Hey baby, Baby take a walk outside

Thank you, John Doe. Thank you, Exene. Oh, thank you X, and may those of you who have that blessed album blast that song loud and clear today. Happy Independence Day! Sadly, the only fireworks we’ll have here are those inside our heads. Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse in the sky from our men and women at the nearby U.S. base at Camp Darby. Here’s hoping.

It’s the first Fourth of July for the Puppers, who turned eight months old yesterday. They will celebrate by watching us eat bbq’d ribs and a delicious pasta salad concocted by Canadienne Red (who has a new moniker: Impeccable Housekeeper). They will listen to me read the Declaration of Independence aloud to a resigned Scallion (this is an annual ritual; he’s used to it). Hopefully, Pups and Puppers will understand the relevance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Goddess knows they have all three.

Did you know that an Italian called Filippo Mazzei, friend to Thomas Jefferson, and long-time lover of liberty, helped him out with a phrase or two in that most marvelous document? Filippo’s family had been producing wine in the greater Carmignano area (west-ish of Florence) for about four hundred years when he and TJ became pals; Filippo’s descendants continue to produce seriously good wines in the greater Carmignano area (and elsewhere) ‘til this very day. (Indeed, I shall hoist a glass of their eminently drinkable, eminently affordable (3.19 euro at any Esselunga) Cappezzano later today.)

This from wiki:

In 1773 [Filippo] led a group of Italians who came to Virginia to introduce the cultivation of vineyards, olives, and other Mediterranean fruits. Mazzei became a neighbor and friend of Thomas Jefferson. Mazzei and Jefferson started what became the first commercial vineyard in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They shared an interest in politics and libertarian values, and maintained an active correspondence for the rest of Mazzei's life. In 1779 Mazzei returned to Italy as a secret agent for the state of Virginia. He purchased and shipped arms to them until 1783.

After briefly visiting the United States again in 1785, Mazzei travelled throughout Europe promoting Republican ideals. He wrote a political history of the American Revolution, "Recherches historiques et politiques sur les Etats-Unis de l'Amerique septentrionale", and published it in Paris in 1788. After its publication Mazzei became an unofficial roving ambassador in Europe for American ideas and institutions.

This contribution was acknowledged by John F. Kennedy in his book A Nation of
Immigrants, in which he states that: “The great doctrine 'All men are created equal'incorporated into the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, was paraphrased from the writing of Philip Mazzei, an Italian-born patriot and pamphleteer, who was a close friend of Jefferson. A few alleged scholars try to discredit Mazzei as the creator of this statement and idea, saying that "there is no mention of it anywhere until after the Declaration was published". This phrase appears in Italian in Mazzei's own hand, written in Italian, several years prior to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. Mazzei and Jefferson often exchanged ideas about true liberty and freedom. No one man can take complete credit for the ideals of American democracy."

"Tutti gli uomini sono per natura egualmente liberi e indipendenti. Quest'eguaglianza è necessaria per costituire un governo libero. Bisogna che ognuno sia uguale all'altro nel diritto naturale.”

[“All men are by nature equally free and independent. Such equality is necessary in order to create a free government. All men must be equal to each other in natural law."

Happy Fourth of July!

And to any siblings/cousins who read this, shall we meet at Springers?

Canadienne Red found this recipe lying around at a YMCA somewhere in Chicago. She provides us with the recipe, and then her marvelous adaptations.

Canadienne Red’s Most Wonderful Orzo Salad

Official Recipe:

4 garlic cloves
4 medium carrots, peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T. extra v olive oil
½ lb. orzo
3 cups chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste

Finely chop garlic in a food processor. Add carrots & pulse into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo & stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot/garlic mixture and stir to blend. Pour in 2¾ cups broth and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Simmer & stir over low heat until orzo is tender and broth is absorbed, about 12 minutes.

This recipe makes a risotto-like side dish.

My version follows in next message. Put the two together the way you choose, Baby.

This is my first version (as a salad): I blanch the carrots almost whole first. Then chop them up to suit the size of the pasta and place them aside. Next, I cook the pasta (orzo/semi di melone/ puntalette/riso) to al dente, drain, and then add a bit of olive oil to make them slippery. Then, I saute the garlic and some finely chopped sweet onion, adding cumin, coriander, cardamon (all ground) Add the cooled ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste (of course!) and add necessary flavours olive oil for sure, sale/pepe, perhaps a bit of lemon juice and/or zest, maybe a touch of sesame oil? Very good & Excellent!

And my twist on hers: I toasted the cumin and coriander seeds, and then mortar’d and pestle’d them.

Canadienne Red's second version: I sort of followed the original recipe, but I added a 1/2 cup of white wine to the pasta after it had browned and let it reduce before adding the broth. Sauteed the sweet onions with the spices and added them after the "risotto" was cooked. Then added sale/pepe, lemon zest, lemon juice, more olio, more sale.


Lyrics to “Fourth of July” by X. for facts on Filippo Mazzei.

For fun, go to, click on “Just for Fun,” and do today’s quiz.

5 commenti:

  1. Before Thomas Jefferson was President he tried to bring the olive industry to the parts of the east coast where olives had previously grown. He sent trees to South Carolina and asked them to share the trees with Georgia. Few of the trees were planted, if any. Frustrated, Jefferson tried to grow different varieties of olive in his South Garden at Monticello. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful, but now olives grow for commercial purposes on the east coast of the U.S. Part of Thomas Jefferson's vision has been realized.

    Mary Squires

  2. Thank you so much, Mary! I did not know.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful, post, P! Just curious, how long does it take to read the Declaration of Independence aloud? And orzo, I never think about cooking that but that will be dinner tonight.
    So I can blame Thomas Jefferson for me being here in Italy. If only his olives had grown in Atlanta, perhaps I would've been less enamored of Italy.....

  4. I agree with papaya--if we had cheap, excellent quality wine in the U.S. why would we be here???!!!

    I remember visiting Monticello and being impressed with the great bushes of basil--decendants of the ones Jefferson planted himself (perhaps he craved a nice insalata caprese during those hot Virginia summers).

    Enjoyable and informative as always, P.!

  5. I found Mary's comment really, really interesting. @Papaya: about 20 minutes. Last night the Scallion opted to read it, which was great, because it allowed me to cry, freely. TJ's language is sublime: documents don't get much better than this. It's literature of the highest order. @Campobello: thanks, as usual. How cool that you've been to Monticello ... someone told me (Mary, perhaps correct me if I'm wrong) that Monticello has always had Italian gardeners. If we had cheap, affordable wine in the United States? Gals, what do you think???