rosemary

An herb of distinction and great flavour, long known as Rosmarinus officinalis, but now – following on the discovery of an ancient family connection – Salvia rosmarinus. Yes, rosemary is a sage, too. But a sage with a difference!

Rosemary was first known to me as one of my babysitters, so from early childhood I have known it as a name for a friendly, bright-cheeked, hardy, organized, fresh, likeable person. I have yet to have reason to change my image of the name, and I have met many Rosemarys since. Fans of horror movies may think differently, of course.

But there is Rosemary and there is rosemary. While Rosemary transparently has rose, the angora cat of flowers, and Mary, the rose of Biblical ladies, and just incidentally has a whiff of its eponymous herb, the lower-case rosemary drags you straight into the kitchen and the forest; it is royalty among herbs, and just incidentally nods at its namesake ladies. But as a rose has its thorns, and Mary of the manger is also maris stella, the star of the sea, rosemary has its unexpected sides, both heavenly and lost in the mist.

A branch of rosemary looks like a branch of pine, but with style: smart stripes down the middle. Take a needle – a leaf, all the cookery manuals assure us, but I find that a bit persnickety for something so stabby – and bite it and chew it. Suddenly you see (I mean taste and smell) the family resemblance to sage. The classic alpine scent of rosemary gains tastes of eucalyptus and other sage things and, um, soap. Very expensive soap. You are in a spa, in the dense scented mists of a steam room, and you are being beaten by evergreen branches that just happen to be in your mouth.

And unlike sage, rosemary is hardy: even when dry, the needles retain much of the flavour (and gain even more of the stab). It remembers how it was in its salad days. Smell is memory, and rosemary has plenty of it. Remember Ophelia, in Hamlet: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray, love, remember.”

(Pray, Love, Remember. Wasn’t that a book and then a movie? I skipped it for Eat, Drink, Sleep.)

But remember what? Where are memories? Où sont les neiges d’antan? Where are the snows of yesteryear? Gone like the mists of the sea…

Which, by the way. If you look at the name of this herb in other languages, you see a pattern: Spanish romero, French romarin, German Rosmarin, Italian rosmarino. (The Portuguese alecrim stands out; it comes from the Arabic name اَلإِكْلِيل‎ [al-ʾiklīl], which in turn comes from a word for ‘garland’, which gets us from Rosemary to Judy, but that’s another movie.) The Latin rosmarinus that those are all cooked down from does not come from rosa ‘rose’ plus Maria. It comes from ros marinus, where marinus means ‘marine’ (which is to say, ‘sea’) and ros means ‘dew’.

So, yes, sea-dew, or sea-mist, I suppose. The fresh dew of the morning just seems to show up, and so does this – but in reality it descends from Heaven. From a rose may come eroticism, but from ros comes a rhotacism: the turns to and we get the verb rorare, which means ‘behave like dew’, as in the Advent liturgical chant: “Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.” That can be translated (as Wikipedia offers) “Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just”; however, Anglicans know it as “Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.” Meanwhile, cooks know it as a righteous and heavenly seasoning for any season.

But why is this plant “sea mist”? It has had many uses, but it’s not especially salty and is as likely seen in arid environments as by the humid shore – in fact, it does not like being too wet. Ancient Egyptians used it for burial, and there’s little that’s as dry as a mummy.

Dioscorides, a Greek physician in the Roman army, wrote a book in AD 70 called De materia medica that mentions the herb:

Libanotis the Romans call rosmarinus and those who plait wreaths for the head use it. The shoots are slender, around which are small leaves – thick, somewhat long, thin, white on the inside, but green on the outside, with a strong scent. It is warming and cures jaundice. It is boiled in water and given to drink before exercises, and then he who exercises bathes and is drenched with wine. It is also mixed with remedies for the removal of fatigue, and in gleucinum ointments. (translation by T.A. Osbaldeston and R.P.A. Wood)

“Bathes and is drenched with wine…” If this isn’t a recipe, I think I might like to try it. (If it is a recipe, I already have tried it, and it is good.) But while sweat is salty, it’s not sea dew either.

So… ship to shore, what can you do help us see how it is sea dew? Alas, it is gone like the snows of yesteryear; no one seems to remember, which is all the more ironic, since rosemary is indeed long associated with memory, not just symbolically but medicinally: boil it and inhale the fumes through your nose, and you will regain vigour of your brain and it will all start coming back to you. Oh, yes, and you are to boil it in wine. Always wine. I think Chianti or a nice rich Malbec will do. Merlot will be too much the silent servant; Shiraz will talk over it; and if you use Pinot Noir a nasty fight might ensue, each raking at the other with stilettos.

You can always cook with rosemary, of course, but older recipes that use it are not so easy to find – it was for a long time used mainly for health, garlands, and such like. But here is one for salad from our old friend The Forme of Cury:

Take persel, sawge, garlec, chibolles, oynouns, leek, borage, myntes, porrectes, fenel and ton tressis, rew, rosemarye, purslarye, laue and waische hem clene, pike hem, pluk hem small wiþ þyn honde and myng hem wel with rawe oile. lay on vynegur and salt, and serue it forth.

You can probably make that out, but just in case:

Take parsley, sage, garlic, green onions, onions, leeks, borage, mint, scallions, fennel, and cress, rue, rosemary, purslane, lave and wash them clean, pick them, pluck them small with your hand and mix them well with raw oil. Lay on vinegar and salt, and serve it forth.

Are… you supposed to eat that? Raw? And, you know, talk to other people after? Well, I guess if you had all been bathing in wine, it wouldn’t be so bad. But I would certainly remember it.

And I would remember this, too, from A Proper New Booke of Cookery (well, it was new in 1575):

To make a dishefull of Snow.

Take a pottel of sweete thick creame and the white of viij. egges, and beate them altogether with a spone, then put them in your creame, and a saucer full of rose water, and a dishe full of suger withall, then take a stycke and make it cleane, and then cutte it in the ende foure square, and therewith beat all the aforesaide things together, and ever as ut riseth, take it of, and put it into a Collander, this done, take an apple and set it in the middes of it, and a thicke bush of Rosemarye, and set it in the middes if the platter, then cast your snowe upon the Rosemarye, and fyll your platter therwith. And if you have wafers, cast some in withall, & thus serve them forth.

(I don’t need to translate that, I think, except that “viij. egges” means eight eggs.)

And there at last you have them: the snows of yesteryear, with the sea mist at their heart.

Some old theatre

Aina and I pulled out some old VHS tapes and have started digitizing them. I found two of me in my twenties performing in plays, for those who are curious and have some time to waste.

The first is a great British farce, One for the Pot. I’m the lead, playing three different characters. I was 21 years old. It was a community theatre production at the Walterdale Theatre in Edmonton. As I watch it now I can see plenty of things I should have done differently, but it was pretty funny nonetheless, and it had a good cast overall.

The second is a workshop performance of Othello adapted into Jingxi (Beijing Opera) style, not including the vocal technique – just aspects of the movement and plot devices. It was the output of a summer course at Tufts University in 1994, when I was 26. It was directed and taught by Fan Yisong and Sun Huizhou (William Sun), and it included Balinese performer I Nyoman Catra plus a few people who are now professors of theatre. I played Cassio. I don’t think I was very good, frankly (the Othello and Desdemona were much better). But it’s worth watching at least the beginning (after the introduction by Laurence Senelick) so you can see what I looked like when I was very skinny and had very long hair.

plummet

A plummet, as you may know, is a little bit of lead (hence the name: from plumb, from Latin plumbum ‘lead’, plus diminutive –et) used to weight a line for sounding depths or determining vertical. It is also a word for a stick of lead for writing with. We have had the noun since the 1300s. The verb plummet first (in the early 1600s) meant to use a plummet to sound the depth of water; more recently (from the mid-1800s) it has meant to fall precipitously – like a plummet being dropped, I guess. It has nothing to do with plums… except when they fall from the tree, of course.

Here is a poem. I hope it goes down well.

If you would lead, then bring your lead
and take your soundings from it—
you need not heed what’s in your head;
just stop and drop your plummet.

If to the object you object,
don’t seek to overcome it;
your sense is suspect, I suspect—
don’t guess the depth, just plumb it.

When you have read what you must read
from bow or bridge or summit,
then learn what’s plead and once more plead,
and look before you plummet.

sage

 

Salvia officinalis: kitchen sage. One of many kinds of sage (many kinds). A plant of purple whorl flowers and soft, textured, furry, spear-shaped leaves. An herb to help make you healthy and wise (wealthy is at your discretion). The ancients noted it for its many and varied medicinal effects and so named it from salvus, ‘whole, healthy’.

Sage has many seasons. It can be soft, plush, and green, or hard, dry, and brown – and, if dry, it may be whole leaf, rubbed, shredded, or powdered. Use it to season meat or take it for medicine: healthy for the stomach, the joints, the skin, the heart, the mind.

Take a leaf of fresh sage, a soft, caressing pointlet of dense green, ready to be petted. Set it on your tongue like the light touch of a glove. Allow yourself to chew it. Instantly you are in a spa in the evergreen countryside for a weekend of massage and seclusion. There is mint and scents of the mountain, then camphor and eucalyptus, thujone (the bitterness of wormwood and absinthe), tannins, lavender, juniper, and others you will never name. And, at the end, an aftertaste of white vermouth. Relax. Have another martini and, one the wiser, lie face down and become a rubbed sage.

Take a taste of dry sage, the dust or the little twigs and mummified leaves, and you will know it right away: it is the characteristic savour of turkey stuffing, needing only onions, bread, butter, and some pepper and salt.

The flavour of sage is not dominating, and yet it is not dominated.

the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.

The sage does not act, and so is not defeated.
Tao Te Ching, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

Does this seem fair, equating sage with the sage? The identity of form is deceptive: sage meaning ‘wise’ traces back to Latin sapere ‘know, be wise’; sage the plant traces to salvia, as we have seen. The transformation came in France: in the Savoie, Saintonge, and the centre of France, salvia – classically said like “sal wee a” and later “sal vee a” – seems to have softened the “lw” or “lv” to “w” and hardened the “ee” to “y” to “zh,” for the word became sauge, with that softest of “soft” g’s. Borrowed into English as sawge, it saw the aw become “aa” and then, over time and with the shifting of the vowels and the firming of the consonant, we gained our modern sage. In many other languages it has stayed variously closer to its origins: German Salbei, Hungarian zsálya, Polish szałwia, Portuguese sálvia, Italian salvia. Like the herb, the word has many seasons.

Some things are not favored by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.
Tao Te Ching, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

And as the word rode into the purple and moved from health to wisdom, the herb it named shifted not to the sapient but to the sapid: it became more chiefly an ingredient in cookery to season many things. In truth, there has always been an overlap; it has long been used in cooking and is still used for medicine. But the emphasis has definitively slid from one to the other.

Sage has yet other seasons as well. It is, for instance, a name for a person. There are a few Sages of note, but the one that I picture is Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart, a young and remarkable photographer who has a wise taste for the many and varied flavours of modern life; see her work at sage.myportfolio.com. (See all of it. Be aware that what you see is what there was: she stood in that cold pond with those swans for hours each day over several days; those are real raccoons biting real bread she is really wearing. Let that be food for thought.)

But whether for Weltschmerz or any other Schmerz, we can still use this soft herb to assuage our ailments. If you are unwell in almost any way, there is evidence that sage can help. Pharmacological findings for Salvia officinalis include (per Ghorbani A, Esmaeilizadeh M, Pharmacological properties of Salvia officinalis and its components, J Tradit Complement Med 2017 Oct; 7(4): 433–440) “anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive [that means it makes you feel less pain], antioxidant, antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antidementia, hypoglycemic [thus good for diabetics], and hypolipidemic [good for your cholesterol levels] effects.” Mind you remember that it has also been found to improve memory, mood, attention, and cognitive performance. “Cur moriatur homo cui salvia crescit in horto?” said the mediaevals (“Why die when sage grows in your garden?”).

And at the same time, sage helps animals that are already dead, or anyway it helps us to enjoy eating them. Here is a recipe for “Salsa bona a carne de castron o de capreto” (“Good sauce for goat or kid meat”) from a Venetian cookbook of the 1300s or 1400s:

La meiore salsa che fare se pò a questa carne alesse o rosto. Toy de la carne magra ben cocta e ben batuta e pesta in lo mortaro cum arquante cime de petrosemolo e menta e salvia e rosmarino e altre bone herbe che tu poi avere e maxenale con questa carne e mitige cenamo e garofali e pever e distempera questa salsa con el piú fino aceto che tu ay.

Allow me to make my best effort at rendering that:

The best sauce that you can make for this meat boiled or roasted. Take the lean meat well cooked and well ground in a mortar with enough leaves of parsley and mint and sage and rosemary and other good herbs that you may have and mix them with this meat and put in cinnamon and cloves and pepper and temper this sauce with the finest vinegar that you have.

(“And other good herbs that you may have.” How many teaspoons of that, please?) Here is a brunch recipe called “salviate” from the 1520 Catalan cookbook Libre del Coch, by Ruperto de Nola, translated by Lady Brighid ni Chiarain(I do not have the original):

Take some sage leaves, and grind them quite vigorously; and take a good quantity of eggs, and beat them and mix them with the sage; and then take a frying pan, and cast in lard in such a manner that after melting there is a finger’s breadth or more in the frying pan; and if there is no lard, take common oil which is sweet and very good, the same quantity; and when the lard or oil boils, cast in the eggs with the sage, and make of them an omelet which is well-cooked; and this omelet should be two fingers thick, or more.  And when it is well-cooked or fried, cast it on a good plate with much sugar above and below; and this omelet should be eaten hot.

And here is a recipe for “Sawgeat,” from The Forme of Curie:

Take Pork and seeþ it wel and grinde it smale and medle it wiþ ayren & brede. ygrated. do þerto powdour fort and safroun with pyner & salt. take & close litull Balles in foiles of sawge. wete it with a batour of ayren & fry it. & serue it forth.

Which is to say,

Take pork and boil it well and grind it small and meddle it with eggs and bread, grated. Add strong powder [a mixture of ginger, pepper, and other sharp spices] and saffron with pyner [pine nuts? it seems uncertain] and salt. Take and close little balls in leaves of sage. Wet it with a batter of eggs and fry it. And serve it forth.

(Unless your sage has larger leaves than my sage, those Balles will be litull indeede.)

Sage has its seasons and its seasonings; it has cared for us, and we for it. I care to have it more often, and more often fresh: I shall turn over a new leaf, and eat it.

The sage does not attempt anything very big,
And thus achieves greatness.
Tao Te Ching, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

trebuchet

This is a word that can really throw you.

I don’t just mean its object, that butch tree, that brute tech, that better-than-catapult that can hurl large stones, small cars, and any old piano or organ through the countryside:

That machine certainly illustrates the value of a good pitcher’s arm, in a warped way. (I may mean warp in the old sense of ‘throw’ – that’s what the Old English word weorpan meant, a sense preserved in weaving; it gained our current sense apparently thought reference to the twisting one may do when throwing, as a pitcher does, not that they had baseball back then. On the other hand, speaking of pitchers and pots, throw – in its Old English version, þrāwan – originally meant ‘twist’ or ‘turn’, a sense preserved in pottery; its sense went deasil where warp went widdershins.) But there is a thing about letting trebuchet loose from your tongue that may throw you off.

Let us trace its trajectory to its current landing. English has had the word since the 1200s; we got it from Old French, which spelled it the same as we do. Old French put it together from two parts: the tre is from Latin trans, while the buchet is a derived from Old French buc meaning the trunk of the body; that word in turn came from an old Germanic root that has come down to modern German Bauch ‘belly’. Put the loose Latin with the hard German and you get something meaning ‘topple’.

And since we got it from French, we say it like French, right? Not so fast. We got it from Old French, in which trebuchet was said with the last syllable identical to how we say Chet as in Chet Baker. And since that works equally well in English, that’s how it got enshrined in our language.

But we went a long time without using these things in war, having discovered other less amusing but more destructive machines (with better range, too). So in modern times, when we encounter one (typically built for amusement), and encounter its name, we see a French word – it really does look French, doesn’t it? – and say it like a French word. Specifically, like an English-accented rendition of trébuchet, which is the modern French descendent of trebuchet, meaning the same thing and said as you would expect.

Now, there are various –et words we got from French that we might think we should say to rhyme with “bay” but actually rhyme with “bet”: Moët, for instance (as in the champagne), which is an old French name that has always had the t pronounced in French; or claret, which was taken long ago from French clairet but is thoroughly anglicized in form, sense, and sound. Trebuchet may seem more like the latter but is actually more like the former (fitting, since a Moët can throw a cork a long distance, whereas a claret cannot). But there is a difference: Moët is still said with the in French. We have, in general, decided to keep up with modern times, pull trebuchet out of the garage and pay homage to the modern Gauls, and say it to rhyme with “bay.”

“We” does not quite include some dictionaries, though. Which is why, as this little detail has been discovered, a movement is afoot to get Merriam-Webster to add the most popular current pronunciation to its entry.

And where do I stand on this?

I think that I shall never say
A word more swash than trebuchet
(Unless I say it “trebuchet”
[Please be aware I haven’t yet])

But is it art?

Originally published on The Editors’ Weekly, the blog of Editors Canada

Is writing art?

And if it is, what is editing?

If we say writing is “artful,” or “artistic,” or “an art,” we mean that we appreciate it aesthetically and admire it for the skill it evinces. But if we say not “writing is an art” but “writing is art” – or “this text is a work of art” – we connect it to an identity that is simultaneously nebulous and overloaded.

Everything has an aesthetic aspect. Though we don’t always focus on it, we do care how our car, toaster, toothbrush, and computer look. But in our culture we have decided, thanks to romanticist and classist ideas, that whatever art is or isn’t (and we argue about it a lot), an artwork must be aesthetic nobility, not working-class. If something serves an ordinary function, many people won’t accept it as art, whatever its aesthetic qualities may be. A bit over a century ago, Marcel Duchamp made the point by displaying items such as a bottle rack and a urinal in a gallery, and – in some eyes – Cinderellaed them into artworks by changing them from implements to conversation pieces.

Our romanticist ideas also construct the artist as a lone genius, producing a work of art through individual inspiration and effort: the painter paints alone; the sculptor chisels alone until the statue has been revealed from the marble; the solitary writer types out a work of perfect genius. This is actually a load of hooey – artists have always had workshops and assistants and patrons with opinions, and have typically made preparatory sketches and multiple versions… and of course writers are edited. But the ideals exist, and they push against any editorial role: if a book is a work of art, then it is not up to anyone but the author to shape it!

Most writing, of course, is overtly functional. But, like everything else, all writing has aesthetic effects. The choice of words and phrasing sets a tone. For some purposes (a parking ticket, perhaps) it can’t be too pretty or people won’t take it seriously; for others (a fancy invitation?), if it’s not pretty it’s disappointing.

Authors ought to be well-attuned to the aesthetically influential aspects of their words – smoothness, roughness, crispness, relative rarity (preciousness!), associations with certain contexts, resonances of other words. Some are better at it than others, but even those who are good at it can benefit from an audience who can assess how well they’re achieving their desired effects. And that is an important part of an editor’s function.

All writing is communication, and communication is always for effect: you want the readers to feel the right way about what you’re saying. The right editor can help the author achieve the right structure and aesthetic effect, whether in a novel or an annual report. Even something no one reads for pleasure can be a pleasure to read, and often it requires only small adjustments to sharpen the sound, rhythm, flow, and imageries. I’m not suggesting we replace “PARKING TICKET” with “VEHICULAR MISLOCATION MULCT CITATION,” but we can sometimes nudge “It is desirable that all document aspect functions exceed expectations” towards, say, “We would like all aspects of the text to work splendidly.”

We are not here to make art, whatever that may be. But we are here to help writing be as appropriately artful as possible.

parsley

Petroselinum crispum, an herb both savoury and ornamental, in some cuisines seen fit to be a principal ingredient, as in tabbouleh; in some to be a key seasoning, as in its role as a component of a bouquet garni and as one of the four axiomatic herbs of English folk-song; and in some to be a garnish appended to a plate of steak and tomato and returned to the kitchen most often uneaten, therefrom perhaps to be recirculated.

Petroselinum has nothing to do with selenium but one thing to do with petroleum: the rocks of the Greeks. Its etymon is πετροσέλινον, petroselinon, from πέτρα, petra, ‘rock’ (whence petroleum, ‘rock oil’, and Peter and petrichor and so on), plus σέλινον, selinon, ‘celery’. To the ancient Greeks, parsley was just another kind of celery, and if you had to be specific, it was the kind that grew on rocks. (The taxonomic Latin name appends crispum, which means not ‘crispy’ but ‘curly’, and I would like to think that I do not need to explain why.)

But petroselinum is a mouth-full, and one seldom wants a whole mouth-full of this plant; although it is, we are informed, packed with vitamin C, when fresh it has a flavour best characterized as aggressive – not just green and pert but, with the volume up, argumentative; when it is dry (as it can be bought in large jars), though its flavour is tamed (meaning murdered), it is… dry. Who wants a mouth-full of dry parsley flakes. My goodness.

So even the later Latin speakers, finding petroselinum articulatorily impertinent, wore it down a bit to petresilium (which Oxford calls “an unexplained alteration” of the original, but you see I have just explained it, and if you try to say petroselinum with your mouth full you, too, may well get to petresilium). The French, whose great linguistic tradition has been to cook Latin down to where it may be easily had with a glass of wine, soon enough made that persil. Meanwhile, the German tongues made Petersilie (which is not to be confused with silly Peter), which transferred unaltered to English until we formed a greater taste for the French. Medieval English cookery-books often called it persil or persel – and they called it often, as it was an herb most regularly used. Here you see it in a recipe from The Forme of Curie for pygges in sawse sawge, which is to say pigs in sage sauce:

Take Pigges yskaldid and quarter hem and seeþ hem in water and salt, take hem and lat hem kele. take persel sawge. and grynde it with brede and zolkes of ayrenn harde ysode. temper it up with vyneger sum what thyk. and, lay the Pygges in a vessell. and the sewe onoward and serue it forth.

Here, allow me:

Take scalded pigs and quarter them and boil them in water and salt, take them and let them cool. Take parsley and sage and grind it with bread and hard-boiled egg yolks. Temper it up with vinegar somewhat thick, and lay the pigs in a vessel, and then so on and serve it forth.

(I would like to write a cookbook in which I could put “and then so on.”)

Older English cookery has no recipes centring on parsley, as a little goeth a long way. But Henry VIII was known to like parsley sauce, which was – and is – a simple white sauce flavoured with parsley. If, however, you head the other way from Greece and cross over the Mediterranean to the Levant, you will find tabbouleh (or any of several other spellings of تبولة‎ tabūla), in which the star ingredient is parsley – which in Arabic is called مَقْدُونِس‎‎‎ maqdūnis, meaning ‘Macedonian’ (from an original form calling it Macedonian coriander).

Parsley can also be seen dancing on top of many a dish throughout Europe, where, as everywhere, it packs a pretty punch. In Russia it is called петрушка, petrushka, and in Poland pietruszka, which are homonyms for the puppet character we know as Petrushka, who is sometimes presented as a sad doll but is really the Slavic version of Punch (as in and Judy). The homonymy is a coincidence, we are assured; it is just because of that Greek Peter connection. In Hungary, our plant is petrezselyem and is often the only green thing in sight as it floats in your paprikás; in Sweden, persilja may flavour the potatoes on your smörgåsbord. You can also have your prezzemolo in copious amounts in Italy as part of salsa verd eand gremolata, and if you come over to Brazil you will get your fill of perrexil in cheiro-verde. And in France, you cannot season a good sauce without a bouquet-garni, and you cannot make a decent bouquet-garni without parsley.

In the United States and Canada, however, for a long time, parsley was hidden in sauces or presented on plates as a garnish. Although those who prefer to cook with it generally prefer the flat-leaf kind, the curly kind is especially popular for ornament, and I can say, as someone who has always eaten the parsley that comes on my plate (even as a child treated to what passed for decent dining in 1970s Alberta), that the flavour may take your tongue to the mat, but the spiky little curls will nail it down.

I must be fair: the American orbit is not the only place parsley is seen as prettification. Although (as noted) Italian cuisine makes good use of the flavour of prezzemolo, there is a diminutive form, prezzemolina, that is sometimes used to refer to pretty women serving ornamental functions (as on some television shows). I do not endorse this, naturally, but it is apposite in that parsley is much stronger and has much better taste than many of the things it is used to ornament, and those who refuse to take it seriously are probably going to live an unnecessarily insipid life and drop dead all the sooner from their insalubrious habits.