As you know, I feel the English language is changing and not necessarily for the better. So when I find a person who has an excellent command of the language and an ample vocabulary, I thoroughly enjoy reading their work. One of today’s words is the adjective insouciant or insouciantly (the adverb).
I came across it over at Peter’s acookblog. He lives in the Hudson Valley of Canada and is always a good read not to mention cook. The post I found the word in was a recipe for White Bean and Escarole soup based on one he tasted in Italy. Here’s the sentence containing the word of the day. “To begin, the new batch of pancetta. A few rosy curls of this, insouciantly diced and gently rendered in a pan, begin the journey to greatness.”
I recognized it, knew how to say it but wasn’t all that sure of its meaning, so I looked it up online at Merriam-Webster.com. It means “lighthearted unconcern” or “nonchalance”. Now Peter could have used one of those words, but he chose a word that rarely appears anymore but is far more descriptive.
To me this just makes reading more interesting. When I volunteered at the library to teach reading in their literacy program, the supervisor suggested using the Daily News for reading practice. What horrified me though, was learning that the paper was chosen because it was written at a fourth to fifth grade level. I know there will be those who read this and think “big deal”. But it is a big deal since it further reduces us to a land of below average intelligence.
My, I seem to have gotten up on my soapbox there for a paragraph. Sorry, I’ll get down and back to words. Another example of an expanded vocabulary in action can be seen in the following: “The beans are spread on cookie sheets in front of a sunny window, drying for storage. I cadged a couple cups for the soup and parboiled them for half an hour or so until they were approaching tenderness”. Would you think of substituting “caged” for scooped up?
The author even pokes fun at the fact he’s going overboard being wordy, when he writes “the point of all this prolix prose”. It’s this kind of verbose writing that makes a piece of work entertaining. You could liken it to watching a comedy on U.S. television vs. the BBC. Your mind actually has to work!
While we’re on the subject of humor, I have to share the author David Thorne with you. I found him because my friend sent me this link. It’s a bit of a read, but worth it! 🙂 I was laughing more and more as I kept reading. Somehow the Shannon character reminded me of my little bro. Anyway, the rest you know is the inevitable history of one thing leading to another as in his blog and the fact he has two books out filled with his wit.
Enjoy and have a good day tomorrow!