27 January 2009

Aren't these cranberries gorgeous?

I don't actually like raw cranberries that much. They are too sour for my taste. I did, however, make an amazing Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake last month for an employee holiday party. It didn't have just orange or cranberry or cornmeal, either--which, for the record, are all beautiful ingredients. It had ricotta and maple syrup as well. It was a mix between corn bread, cheesecake and a cranberry orange muffin and one coworker wanted the recipe plus the leftovers. Thanks Luisa from The Wednesday Chef!

Today I found out that President Lincoln was a poet. I got to introduce Ronald C. White Jr. for his new book A. Lincoln and Dr. White explained and read aloud some of Lincoln's key speeches. He compared some lines written by someone else to the words Lincoln actually used. The audience, me included, began to understand the poetics that Lincoln employed in his speeches. In fact, this speech that someone else helped him write was for his Inaugural address and it was the only speech Lincoln did not write entirely on his own. This discussion renewed in me an admiration for words and all the beautiful and fun things you can do with them. Even White's lecture was eloquently constructed.
Here is a small example.

Lincoln's one-time speech writer suggests saying: I close.
Lincoln decides to say: I am loathe to close.

Say it out loud. Ronald White made the audience do it. I am loathe to close elongates the phrase and loathe and close are so rhythmic together.

I too am loathe to close, but writing about words makes me want to spend time with my ever-expanding stacks of books.

Oh yeah, and Happy 200th Lincoln, I know it's coming up!


  1. You have inspired me to get myself properly introduced to A. Lincoln's speeches and the way he used the language (all the better for a non-native English speaker as myself) . I have a pleasant feeling of anticipation that I might be on to something. Thank you!

  2. I saw an author of a book on Lincoln interviewed by Bill Moyers on PBS Friday night. It was interesting how much Lincoln's understanding of race changed over time. This was due to meeting Frederick Douglas and other black leaders; before he was president he had hardly talked to a black person.


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