October 22, 2004
I think improvising is really important in cooking. It's obviously good to have a lot of cookbooks (and I do - Nigel Slater's "Appetite" just arrived via Ebay today), but I think you've got to be able to whip something up from random ingredients too. I had a friend in college who took the idea all the way to the extreme - I once went over to have dinner with him, only to get a plate of pasta tossed in soy-sauce, a few peeled and sliced grapes, and a chopped roast plum - "I see now why the Italians chose tomato", he said. "It makes more sense than plum".
In any case, I think the way you start figuring out food improv, like a lawyer, is to reason by analogy. I had seen a mozzarella and pesto sandwich at the "Au Bon Pain" chain a few months ago, and thought it sounded intruiging. Goat cheese isn't so different than mozzarella, except that it doesn't melt and is made from a different milk - at least, it does go with Pesto. Parsley is like basil, in some ways, and pecorino not so different than parmesan. A walnut is a nut of sorts, like a pine nut, and releases the same kind (if not taste) of oils when roasted, of course. So I made a parsley pesto, chopping everything finely with my newly sharpened Global brand japanese chef's knife, and rubbing it together on my wood cutting board. I took half of the dough starter and made a pizza dough, and put that aside to rise, and pulled it open thin when it was done. Then it was just a matter of slathering the false pesto on the dough, topping with thin slices of cheese, adding a few grindings of pepper, and tossing the whole thing in the hot oven for about twelve minutes. It came out blackened, and steaming, and crisp -and it was delicious. A job well done, I think. And not a beet in sight.
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With many thanks to Will and the gang, I am pleased to have a comfy place to blog about obsessions other than Blakely v. Washington and sentencing law and policy. I warned Will that my own "brand of pseudo-intellectual pageantry" centers around sports, though politics and pop culture may also find their way into my postings this week.
To combine some of these themes, I have been thinking about the fact that the two biggest stories in sports — the Red Sox's amazing comeback in the ALCS and the Patriots' amazing winning streak — come from Kerry's home state. Though the blogsphere has given Kerry some negative buzz over an earlier effort to tap into Red Sox nation (see here; but see here), I have to think it would be good for Kerry's national image to closely associate himself with the scrappy Sox and the record-setting Pats.
I suppose with the Cardinals battling the BoSox in the World Series, wearing the team colors might hurt Kerry in Missouri. But Mizzou is not really a swing state anymore, is it? And probably 95% of the country outside of New York — which is already safely Kerry's — was celebrating the Red Sox's defeat of the hated Yankees. Plus, highlighting the success of the Sox and the Pats might serve as a subtle reminder that, with the Astros now vanquished, Texas teams in both baseball and football are not victors.
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Yale's fall break begins, and I am off to the big cities for a week or so. In the meanwhile, all of my co-bloggers may or may not post something. Furthermore, Professor Douglas Berman, the now-famous proprietor of the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog will be visiting Crescat for the week.
Unsurprisingly, he's got things to talk about other than Blakely. I hope you all enjoy his posts.
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A smattering of interesting mail over the past week or so:
One reader writes in to complain about Judge Fletcher and the whales:
(Y)ou shouldn't be surprised by the whales ... Judge Fletcher has long been an advocate of extremely permissive standing rules. See The Structure of Standing, 98 YALE L.J. 221 (1988). His views are almost certainly at odds with established precedent, but that doesn't seem to dislodge his conviction on the matter.
(I just want to remind readers other readers that while Judge Fletcher was more favorable to whales than I thought he would be, he still did not let them sue.)
Another reader ruminates on gourmet ketchup:
It's stranger than you think. Lots of people I know can't live without this particular stuff, and they aren't even Oriental. I'm a confirmed addict, myself.
A similar substance actually exists in my fridge, and it's no ketchup.
Also, a reader takes issue with Richard Posner's case against law reviews:
First, from a practitioner's perspective (based, lamely, on my 10 weeks of being a quasi-real lawyer), I would say that law journal articles would be infinitely more helpful if they had even more citations. When an article is plagued with oodles of citations, that saves practitioners a lot of time and energy. The cites may seem obvious to professors well-acquainted with their particular field, but if I'm looking for the newest theories in bankruptcy law, I want to see lots and lots of cites. Note also that it's really, really expensive to Lexis search on one's own (if one's client is picking up the bill), so journal articles can be a great source of ready, cheap case law research, if they've been well footnoted.
Second, Posner falls victim to a reasonable mistake for Posner (and perhaps only Posner) to make: the comments journals provide may be wasted on him, but for the fallible among us, there's probably some value-added (Lindgren's experience to the contrary). I'm sure professors hate to admit this, but it's true in some cases. And in the others, this is nothing more than a minor annoyance, since the author is never required to accept the journal's edits. It seems like a case where journals can't do much harm, and they stand a chance of doing some good, so why not let suggest substantive edits? Again, if you were to ask professors who hadn't submitted 25 articles a year for publication (and therefore know exactly how to format an article and argument), I'm thinking you'd get some more positive responses. Based on my limited experience selecting journal articles, Posner's certainly right that law reviews don't know how to pick the best of the best. But then there's also something to be said for having non-repeat players select journal articles. Students have the benefit of being anonymous (so there's no fear of retaliation from peers) and relatively free from quid pro quo that might otherwise infect the process.
Further, if a journal article must be accessible to a third year law student (that is, if its contribution must be obvious), that has its benefits too; after all, the frequent readers of journal articles are generalists (professors, students, practitioners) - it's not so bad to have a few pages of exposition explaining why the theory contained therein is interesting. Again, for prolific writers I can see that this is an annoyance, but it may also have its benefits (which Posner, lacking in empathy, seems to neglect).
I've also received a great deal of mail on racist juries, but I hope to deal with it when I return to New Haven. Readers are encouraged to harass me into doing so.
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