Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rhubarb to you

As I have been immersed for a while now in deep and serious topics (to say nothing of a brief exchange on another site on the use of explosive rhetoric in the discussion and analysis of contentious issues of global politics), I feel the need to rebalance and recalibrate. And nothing assists the recalibration of one's reality sensors more effectively than the mundane and the superficial.

A friend recently baked what she called a 'cottage pie' (potato topped mince-meat pie); my family calls it a 'shepherd's pie'. What do you call it?

In my mother's family it was a Monday-night dish made with left-over meat from Sunday's roast lamb. My maternal grandmother - not a stickler for accurate nomenclature - rather unhelpfully called it 'potato pie'.

Which reminds me of something in Willard Van Orman Quine's account of his childhood. He referred to 'pie plant' growing in the garden - "rhubarb to you," he wrote.