New Years’ dinner: a new tradition?

Last night, Lisa and I took it easy on dinner (after a holiday week with ham, turkey, seven fishes, pork tenderloin, and stuffed flank steak), with a “light” dinner of lemon risotto and grilled shrimp.

Tonight, by way of compensation, we, um, went whole hog. I wanted to use lentils and pork, combining southern and Italian traditions. But I didn’t want to do pork for the main meat. So the final version: Leg of lamb, lentils with pancetta and prosciutto, and asparagus. The lamb was rubbed with garlic, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest, and sea salt and roasted medium rare; the asparagus, steamed, then dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. The lentils took a little longer. I rinsed them in cold water and drained them, then cooked pancetta and some prosciutto (aside: prosciutto ends for less than $5? priceless), added onions, stirred in the lentils, then slowly cooked them while the lamb roasted.

With a 2002 Bordeaux from Rothschild: fabulous.

And, omiofriggindio, am I heading back to Weight Watchers after this is over. Although, I only gained a pound and a half over the holidays.

Agrippa makes it to the big time

The New York Times reports on a new exhibit of letterpress books from the 1990s at the New York Public Library. Among the books listed is William Gibson’s legendary (to some, anyway) book-length poem, Agrippa (a Book of the Dead). This collaboration between Gibson and artist Dennis Ashbaugh, produced in an extremely limited edition, featured photosensitive prints and the text of the poem on a self-encrypting floppy enclosed with the book; the poem could be read once, in theory, and then never read again.

I remember at the time Agrippa came out, when I was in undergraduate at the University of Virginia and a habitué of Usenet, that it was fairly shortly after the publication of the book that the text of the poem was available on Usenet; in fact, it’s still on my hard drive, three Macs later. Gibson himself isn’t complaining: “there seems to be some doubt as to whether any of these curious objects were ever actually constructed. I certainly don’t have one myself. Meanwhile, though, the text escaped to cyberspace and a life of its own, which I found a pleasant enough outcome.” His official website has an official electronic text of the poem, including my favorite section of the poem, the transition between the first two stanzas:

“Papa’s mill 1919”, my grandfather most regal amid a wrack of cut lumber,
might as easily be the record
of some later demolition, and
His cotton sleeves are rolled
to but not past the elbow,
striped, with a white neckband
for the attachment of a collar.
Behind him stands a cone of sawdust some thirty feet in height.
(How that feels to tumble down,
or smells when it is wet)


The mechanism: stamped black tin,
Leatherette over cardboard, bits of boxwood,
A lens
The shutter falls
Dividing that from this.