Category Archives: Impressions

Quick thought pieces, often in response to something I’ve recently read.


Some thoughts on learning together

Most of what I’ve learned about both cooking and woodworking I’ve learned on my own, from books, from the internet, occasionally from television, and from experimentation. There’s been a lot of what I’d not uncharitably call hacking. Much of it … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning and the immediacy of correction

Comedy in the sense of a happy ending, not because mistakes are always funny. (Image courtesy of The British Library.) I want to follow up on what I said in my previous post about the importance of errors in learning … Continue reading

Posted in Historical Gastronomy, Impressions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Physical skills, intellectual instruction, and the complexities of egg-beating

A few years ago I left off my research into historical gastronomy when it became clear that I was onto an idea bigger than the project could contain — a set of interlocking ideas, really, about craft and the body. … Continue reading

Posted in Historical Gastronomy, Impressions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Conserving our self-image

I like birds, as you may notice if you read much around here. I find them fascinating. I’m alternately amazed by and fearful for the complexity of habitats and migratory patterns; I worry about the impact on them of things … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tools, adaptation, and seriousness of work

The stuffed wingback chair in my office puts me at eye level with my woodworking books, which was not deliberate but maybe not entirely accidental either. Last week I noticed a book I’d forgotten I’d bought: The Village Carpenter, written … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smart tools, dumb craft

I have a new microwave, or rather I have an old microwave that is new to me. I don’t like it. It is bigger and more powerful than my old microwave. I didn’t need a bigger and more powerful microwave, … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The devil of false precision

Eating lunch today I noticed on my bottle of soy sauce the words expiration date on label and, an inch away, a dot matrix stamp: 2019.03.28 14:48. I expect that the stuff was bottled on March 28, 2016 at 2:48 … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Further perils of authenticity

Completely by accident awhile back I ran across this ad from Life magazine: Heinz ran that ad in August 1958, at the height of the popular interest in Pennsylvania Dutch food, when that cuisine was being made over in the … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ethical sales, selling ethics

NPR’s Natalie Jacewicz asks whether Millennials are hypocrites when it comes to chocolate: In a survey of participants ages 18 to 35, millennials reported caring about ethical issues like environmental sustainability and social responsibility in chocolate production. But when choosing … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Corrupting the youth

I have four bird feeders in my small urban yard (tube, thistle, platform, hummingbird) but can’t see any of them from my second-story study window, which is veiled by a maple tree far taller than the house. So I fixed … Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment