Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

March Madness isn’t my thing. I’m not much of a basketball fan, only a fair-weather Georgetown fan, but once again they choked and bowed out early. Instead of NCAA brackets, I made my picks on the beer brackets at Draft magazine. Check it out, you could be a lucky kegerator winner. My other bracket site, Art Madness, opens tomorrow at Modern Art Notes. If that doesn’t do it for you, you could select the best presidents in the National Constitution Center’s brackets.

Here’s an unfortunate story about two of my loves – art and craft beer. Epic Brewing used a photo of the Spiral Jetty on their IPA label. The Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture created by Robert Smithson in the salt flats of Utah. Now the owners of that piece’s copyright, the Dia Art Foundation, is threatening legal action for copyright infringement since it’s being used for commercial purposes. Isn’t there a way to make everyone happy? Perhaps the brewery could donate a percentage of its IPA sales to conservation efforts since the Spiral Jetty does face an uncertain future.

Today is Day 12 of Jay Wilson’s Lenten fast: only four Doppelbock beers a day plus water. He’s lost about eleven pounds so far but hasn’t lost his spirit. I’ve really enjoyed following along via his daily blog posts.

beer basho march madness japan

Andechs Abbey - Benedictine monastery and brewery - by Merian

Since we’re on the topic of beer, I recently learned about the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple in Thailand. It was built with more than a million recycled glass beer bottles. There’s even a mosaic of Buddha made out of bottle caps.

This type of story frightens me: A Dubious Alliance of Food Giants. Slashfood writes,

We guess alliances like the Snack Food Association and the Council for Biotechnology Information (whose megacompany members include BASF, DuPont, Dow, and Monsanto) felt they just weren’t big enough or strong enough to convince Congress and consumers that big ag is good ag. So now 55 of the big-boy alliances have bonded together to form what might be called a supersociety, the new Alliance to Feed the Future.

I feel my political cynicism turning into something darker.

Is it strange to want to learn even more about a culture, or to celebrate a culture, during their time of crisis? I found myself browsing through an old National Gallery of Art catalogue the other day, Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868. I’m looking for recipes for Japanese dishes. I searched in vain for a book I thought I still had by an American writer who traced the steps of Basho, a 17th century haiku poet-monk, across Japan. Basho is revered for reviving the haiku. Here’s one:

Wrapping the rice cakes,
with one hand
she fingers back her hair.

And another,

Sadly, I part from you-
like a clam torn from its shell,
I go, and autumn too.

basho beer spiral jetty epic brewing march madness

Basho by Sugiyama Sanpu

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