Issue No. 039 “Tails from the Bookworm” Ode to the Elements

mother earth


2017will go down in history books as a time of great change and not necessarily all for the better. This will be a year of reflection , of resistance , of uprising and showing up to knife fights with enormous guns . Because if none of this happens we will soon be one of the last generations to live freely on this beautiful planet that we call Mother Earth , as humans we have raped , abused and taken for granted the bounteous gift of the land we stand on and the precious commodities that this great Lady has given us with only one condition that we cherish what we have . Earth is made up of several states of physical matter which the ancient Greeks defined as the elements Earth, Water, Air and Fire , there is a fifth element which is a little more metaphysical , Aristotle called it Aether in Hinduism and Buddism its name is Akasha and describes that which was beyond the physical world . The fine balance of these elements is a requisite for our planet’s survival without them we animals will also rapidly perish , the earth could care less if we exist on it or not and doesn’t need us , we on the other hand rely on its existence , you get the picture .

Great writers of years gone by often paid homage to a particular  subject with a lyric address called an Ode, typically meant to be sung or recited with a certain song-like meter . This issue is my  Ode to those  Elements , my usual drink wrangling  accompanied by  five  revered wordsmiths and their literary interpretations . Sing it loud, I’m an Earthling and I’m Proud !

 

Emily Bronte – Ode to Earth

Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee

Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee
Shall Nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving—
Come back and dwell with me.

I know my mountain breezes
Enchant and soothe thee still—
I know my sunshine pleases
Despite thy wayward will.

When day with evening blending
Sinks from the summer sky,
I’ve seen thy spirit bending
In fond idolatry.

I’ve watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway,
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.

Few hearts to mortals given
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet none would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.

Then let my winds caress thee;
Thy comrade let me be—
Since nought beside can bless thee,
Return and dwell with me.

Emily Bronte  was an English Poet and Novelist best know for penning Wuthering Heights, a polarizing  tale controversial at the time of its publishing for depicting mental and physical  cruelty as well as challenging the Victorian ideals of morality , religion and inequality , or so says the Wiki folks . Bronte only published a slim volume of her poetry before she died too early at the age of thirty , her young life was subject to abuse whilst at school as detailed in her sister Charlotte’s story of Jane Eyre .

The poem Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee speaks of a gloomy spirit that is no longer interested in the beauty of the natural world , the narrator in the piece is possibly  nature or Mother Earth herself , the words  reflect on Bronte’s deep love of the natural world and its ability to sooth a troubled spirit .

earth

The liquid Ode here comes from bounty plucked from the Earth itself, golden beets, red beets, carrots, ginger root and that most precious of chemical elements , Gold. The earliest sign of beet cultivation goes back about 4, 000 years it is high in nutrients and has a plethora of health benefits , calming blood pressure and Anemia  to name a couple , ginger adds a lovely digestif kick rounded out by Gold for its therapeutic qualities, rumored by ancient Egyptians and Chinese to prolong life if ingested, Chinese peasants to this day still cook rice with a Gold coin in the pot.

Should you not wish to keep this mix totally Holistic my spirited  suggestion would be to add either Mezcal for its earthy flavor or dry Gin for its complementary aromatics .

 

earth 2

2 oz golden beet and ginger  juice ( ran through a veggie juicer- a small amount of ginger goes a long way )
2 oz of chilled ginger tea ( a strong infusion of 2 tea bags per cup of hot water works best- for the boozy version steep the tea in Mezcal or Gin )
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz honey syrup
2 drops gentian root  tincture ( from most health food stores)
1 oz red beet juice for the float
Aftelier Shiso aroma for spritzing over ( an optional luxury )

Add all ingredients except the red beet juice to a shaker tin and she for 3 seconds with 5 ice cubes.
Strain into a chilled glass filled with one large rock cube
Using a speed pour fitted onto a bottle filled with the red beet juice slowly pour the red beet juice onto the top of the ice cube, the speed pour will allow the juice to come out slower than being poured from a pitcher and pouring onto the ice cube will stop the juice from mixing into the rest of the drink .
Add your optional spritz of Shiso aroma at this point
Garnish with carrot flowers ( slices of carrot cut out using a flower shaped cutter) and a sprinkle of
food grade gold dust .

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Ralph Waldo Emerson – Ode to Water

Water

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson , an American Scholar , led the transcendentalist movement of the 19th century and was seen as a champion of the individualist. He moved away from the religious beliefs of his contemporaries  and formulated a philosophy that explored the connection between the human soul and the world surrounding it , extolling  freedom and the idea that humankind has the ability to achieve almost anything .

Here Emerson  celebrates the gift of water and its ability to both give and destroy, to cool and to heal us but too much of it for example  storms, melting ice caps and Tsunamis can wreak havoc on civilization .

My watery offering uses coconut water, clarified pineapple juice , Seedlip  Wood spice  ( a pot distilled non-boozy spiced tonic and that water loving single celled organism Algae or Spirulina , packed with Iron and minerals a superfood of epic proportions .

water 2

1 1/2 oz fresh coconut water
1/2 capsule of Blue Majik Spirulina
1 1/2 oz clarified pineapple ( recipe below )
1 1/2 oz Seedlip Wood spice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup ( more if you prefer sweeter)
1 oz aguafaba or chick pea water ( literally means bean water,  the water that chickpeas are cooked in )
Silver disco dust ( optional as garnish )

Add all ingredients to your shaker tin with one small ice cube and shake for 5 seconds until you can no longer hear the ice cube banging around in tin. This will wake up the aguafaba and make the drink light and fluffy .
Add 5 more ice cubes and shake for a further 3 seconds
Strain immediately into a glass of your choice ( Inspired by a fellow LA Bartender Ryan Wainwright ,I used a shrimp cocktail glass that comes in two parts , in the bottom I added  dry ice and water to create the smoky effect ) the bowl section of the glass is where I strained my drink into.
Sprinkle the remaining half of Blue Majik Spirulina into a line on top of the drink . Using a straw or skewer draw a concentric circle into the surface of the drink to create your swirl pattern .
Finish with a pinch of silver disco dust .

Clarified Pineapple

4 cups of freshly juiced pineapple juice ( juiced through  veggie juicer )

Add juice to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and allow to come up to a simmer, do not stir, the aim is to get the pulp separated from the liquid , if you stir it will be mixed back in
Remove from heat and strain through a chinoise strainer , allow it to drip through without being agitated
Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

 

*******


Emily Dickinson – Ode to Air

Banish Air from Air

Banish Air from Air –
Divide Light if you dare –
They’ll meet
While Cubes in a Drop
Or Pellets of Shape
Fit –
Films cannot annul
Odors return whole
Force Flame
And with a Blonde push
Over your impotence
Flits Steam.

 

Emily Dickinson an American Poet is perhaps one of the most original writers of all time, she challenge the definition of what it meant to be a writer , like writers such as Thoreau and Whitman  she experimented with expression and crafted new types of persona for the first person. She saw poetry as a double edged sword both liberating as well as un-grounding .

Miss Dickinson uses symbolism and similes in Banish Air from Air, its possible she’s referring to someone’s death , who no longer breathes or adds air to the air , impotence denotes helplessness and inability to act . She lived in a time when Tuberculosis had taken several of a her friends and the window which she sat by whilst writing overlooked the cemetery where they had been interred, air the life giver sucked from their lungs by this vicious disease .

My personal Ode to air is a much lighter affair , using Japanese citrus and Cilantro that was then carbonated Via Perlini magic a CO2 chargeable cocktail shaker , the drink is finished with Li-Hing flavored light as air cotton candy from the folks at Sugar + Spun . For a boozy addition I would add briny Manzanilla sherry or an Aged Cachaca like Avua.

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3/4 oz Yuzu Juice
3/4 oz cilantro simple syrup ( recipe below )
2 oz clarified pineapple juice as in previous recipe or 2 oz Manzanilla sherry
2 drops vanilla extract

Add everything to your Perlini shaker with 5 ice cubes , screw on top and carbonate .
Allow to sit for a few seconds before pouring into a vessel of your choice and garnishing with cotton candy and flowering Cilantro sprigs if available .

Cilantro Simple syrup

4 cups cool simple syrup 1:1 ratio of cane sugar to hot water
bunch of cilantro leaves ( pick off the woodier stems )

Add everything your trusty blender and blend on high for 20 seconds
Strain through a chinoise strainer
Store refrigerated in an airtight container .

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Jane Hirshfield – Ode to Fire

Sonoma Fire

Large moon the deep orange of embers.
Also the scent.
The griefs of others—beautiful, at a distance.

Jane Hirshfield a modern day award winning Poet , her work influenced by both Western and Eastern traditions and from well known writers such as Dickinson and Whitman to lesser known Eskimo and Native poetry . Her work is constructed using spare lines , short forms and careful imagery she explores themes such as perception and awareness . A reviewer says of her work : “It’s about how to negotiate the difficulties of living while, at the same time, paying homage to what life has to offer. The poems are penetrating; they reveal a quick intelligence and an even quicker intuition.”

Sonoma Fire has characteristics of a Japanese Haiku traditionally constructed so that two opposing ideas are placed together , the beauty and the horrific destruction of a fire ,  however it does not have the traditional 5, 7, 5 layout of 17 syllables in total , the imagery is vivid , colorful and yet all consuming and visceral just like the flames themselves .

The drink you should be sipping on whilst contemplating fire is a combination of smoky Lapsang tea, vibrant orange , chocolate Frankincense and optional peaty Islay Whisky , activated charcoal that by product of fire is added to the drink for a Gothic twist of color.

fire 2

fire

2 oz chilled Lapsang Souchong tea
1 oz Paige Mandarin cordial  ( recipe below )  or  3/4 cordial and 3/4 oz Islay Whisky
1 oz paige Mandarin juice
3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chilli bitters
1 activated charcoal capsule
pinch black pepper
Aftelier Frankincense aroma or a Frankincense smoked  glass ( optional )

Add everything to your shaker tin, including charcoal.
Allow charcoal to absorb into the liquid, it can interact with medication if you are taking any pretty much cancelling it out ,  so its better to let it do its job of absorbing before enjoying this drink .
After 10 mins or so add 5 ice cubes and shake hard for 3 seconds .
Strain into your smoked glass and top with a spritz of Frankincense aroma
Serve with a stick of smoldering Palo Santo .

Paige Mandarin Cordial

1 lb of Paige Mandarins
4 cups of weak  simple syrup 2:1 ratio water to cane sugar
2 cups vodka ( optional )
1/2 vanilla bean

Strip peel off mandarins and juice , set juice aside
Add peels and 1/2 of the  juiced mandarin shells to a large canning jar or if using sous vide add to a ziplock bag
Add vanilla bean and liquid
Seal jar and shake , store in fridge for 2-3 days or seal bag and add to water bath with immersion circulator set at 50 degrees C for 2 hours
When ready strain off peels etc and allow to cool before using
Store refrigerated in airtight container until ready to use.

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T. A Rosenbaum – Ode to Aether

Aeonian Aether

Where the soul meets the sky
All is aether, never why
And in its favor is a place
Where is no sorrow, only grace
In its arms from deep to high
Is where the soul meets the sky

Past the moon, into the night
Which holds the earth in its flight
Darkness folds upon itself
Drinks existence to its health
And there sits beauty’s highest high
Past the moon, into the night

In the abode of Aeons old
Where flaming hearts count untold
No song of earthly tone may sing
Yet echoes of creation ring
There no lies have ere been told
In the abode of Aeons old

Where ages sleep and eternities lie
Where Gods may breathe and stars may die
They sigh, beautiful, poetic weeping
Their tears into the cosmos streaming
Into a Genesis or a Revelation nigh
Where ages sleep and eternities lie
Is where my soul meets the sky

There is not a whole lot of information on modernist Poet T.A Rosenbaum online , as a Metaphysical artist she or he felt it inappropriate to include a Bio on the page where I discovered this poem .  Needless to say if we are not careful this wisp of smoke or aether   is all that will be left of our glorious Planet if we are not more concerned or careful with its health and wellbeing . And in a true existential frame of mind think on this , if there is no Human , Animal or Earth left to remember will any of it have ever existed ?!

aether

 

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