Tag Archives: everyday creativity

Musical Wine Glasses

26 May

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musical wine glassesIf music be the food of love, play on. That’s how Shakespeare used to define music in The Twelfth Night and I couldn’t agree more being an amateur musician. I’ve tried to use music as a weapon of seduction, but my skills simply were not there; so I tried with my cooking skills, but there are just not many burnt-flavoured food lovers out there; so I decided to rely on my ability to tell anecdotes on those failed attempts.

If you’re looking for an idea to hit the right note for an at-home dinner date, musical glasses may just be your cup of tea. They’re basically wine glasses with light gradations on the side indicating the level to which it should be filled with wine to hit the desired note. Just rub gently the rim of the glass with your wet fingertip in a repeating circular motion and notes will ring out; or alternatively you could gently knock the glass with a knife like you would a xylophone.

In a nutshell, with an expense of £39 you can have a set of two musical glasses designed by Douglas Potts and Jasmine Lau of Nostalgics design studio and turn each sip of wine into a symphony. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: it’d make a lovely Christmas present, but hurry up, it’s already been selling like hotcakes on Luna & Curious!

So, if you want to make sure you strike a chord with your very special guest at your next soiree, try with a pair of musical glasses. If nothing else, you’ll have an excuse to keep filling up his/her glass!

English flag

Idioms

Abbiamo già parlato dell’uso delle espressioni idiomatiche in inglese e di come spesso siano collegate in modo metaforico a cibi e bevande. L’argomento del post di oggi si presta a qualche esempio di idioms collegati alla musica, ad esempio:

to hit the right note = toccare il tasto giusto

to strike a chord = toccare le corde giuste

Ma anche:

to sell like hotcakes = andare a ruba

(not) to be my cup of tea = (non) fare al caso mio

In a nutshell = per farla breve

Attenzione!! Così come in italiano, le espressioni idiomatiche sono tipiche del linguaggio parlato, ma è bene usarle con moderazione per evitare un effetto un po’ posticcio e falso.

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Made in Hamburg

21 Jun

Sono stata assente per qualche giorno, ma era per una giusta causa, lo giuro! Ho fatto un salto ad Amburgo, Germania, per scoprire se la tradizione gastronomica tedesca è solida quanto i loro bund! D’accordo, la verità è che sono partita con un pregiudizio da fratello minore sfigato, con la prospettiva di assaggiare qualche misero salsicciotto abbrustolito con senape e crauti e poter dire con orgoglio “almeno in questo siamo i numeri 1, tiè!”

E invece… sì, i salsicciotti abbrustoliti ci sono (e non sono neanche così male come credevo!), ma la cucina tedesca mi ha sorpreso per la qualità delle carni e la varietà delle salse che le accompagnano. Per non parlare di sua maestà Kartoffel, regina degli ortaggi, preparata in ogni forma contemplata dalla geometria euclidea e tipo di cottura.

Vabbè, ma vuoi mettere i vini italiani? Il limoncello di Sorrento? Il Passito di Pantelleria? Cavolo, almeno nelle bevande saremo i numeri 1, no?

fritz-cola

Non dico che non siano tutti prodotti unici e dal gusto inconfondibile, ma c’è tanta gente curiosa e creativa lì fuori, come Mirco e Lorenz, i due giovani inventori della fritz-cola, la risposta tutta amburghese alla celebre bibita americana. Ad Amburgo la servono in tutti i bar e ha riscosso così tanto successo da superare in pochi anni i confini nazionali ed affermarsi come degna bevanda da servire nei pub accanto alle storiche Weissbier. Giovani, con capitali limitati, ma tanta determinazione e un’idea forte: questa è la vera ricetta da copiare, altro che Coca-Cola®.

Mirco and Lorenz met each other when they were both boy scouts. They decided to work for themselves during an InterRail tour in 1999 and jotted down their ideas in a notebook containing possible business models that ranged from opening their own bar to managing a cleaning company. It had to be something that could offer a fun lifestyle and allow them to spend a lot of time in comfy cafés. One day, sitting at their kitchen table over frozen pizza and cola, they came up with the idea of creating a cola drink that was better than the leading brand on the market. A cola with lots of caffeine, a little less sweetness and a twist of lemon.

Step two was emptying out their saving accounts to get an initial capital investment of around €7,000 to start their project. After extensive research into a new cola recipe, the two managed to obtain the necessary ingredients from pharmacies around Hamburg. There were a few minor drawbacks, but with a little help, they finally created the ultimate recipe for their new drink.

The logo and name of fritz-kola was the result of very pragmatic considerations. There wasn’t enough cash to design a logo and make sure that it met legal requirements, so the two friends used their own faces as a logo instead. As regards the name of the cola – which of course had to be catchy and positive – they simply thought to ask people. A survey was carried out in front of a shopping centre and the friendly North German name ‘Fritz won the race.

In January 2003 the first order was placed and 170 crates of fritz-kola were produced. At first, the crates were stored in their parents’ cellars, in their backyards and in the laundry room, until in 2004 a major milestone was reached: the bottles were moved into a warehouse in Ellerbek, near Hamburg.

Two years later, fritz-cola launched two new products (sugar-free and coffee-flavoured colas) and the drink made its debut in Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, this paving the way to the Fast Climber Prize which was awarded to the Hamburg company in 2010.

Tattooed bananas

19 May

Manca ormai poco all’inizio della finale di Champions e sento uno strano fermento nell’aria. Non che mi importi di calcio, intendiamoci. È solo che riconosco i segnali nell’ambiente circostante. Lattine di birra disseminate qua e là, un pacchetto di patatine al bacon, manovre ingegneristiche per assicurarsi che l’antenna non venga meno sul più bello e una massiccia occupazione del divano come a dire “stasera questo è il mio castello”.

So che tra poco inizieranno gli urletti eccitati, le frasi di incitamento e gli spergiuri infuocati contro qualche ragazzo in pantaloncini. Adesso si è aggiunto anche il rumore di un martello che picchia nell’appartamento al piano di sopra: non escluderei che anche lì si stia svolgendo qualche rituale pre-Champions.

E allora, prima che lo spettacolo abbia inizio, meglio provare ad evadere cercando rifugio in qualcosa di surreale. Cosa c’è di meglio delle banane tatuate per alienarsi dalla finale di Champions?

The American artist Phil Hansen – already known for his multimedia works of art – has been creating a buzz lately with his tattooed bananas. Using banana skins as canvases, Hansen reproduces some of art history’s most famous masterpieces simply by using a pushpin. Then the magic takes place! As the banana naturally turns brown, his work of art appears under our mesmerized eyes! Now, that’s cool! An effective example of what Hansen calls “everyday creativity”: creativity that stays with you all the time, that takes you from the ordinary to the unknown by fusing together different processes to create unexpected outcomes.

You can find more about his technique, projects and mission in his book due out next month, Tattoo a Banana: And Other Ways to Turn Anything and Everything Into Art.

Now, I bet you’re thinking about that single banana left in the fruit bowl on your kitchen table, aren’t you?