Wednesday, March 11, 2020

another one for Charles

The following Bon Appétit episode is ostensibly about the making of "gourmet" pizza bagel bites, but most of the episode is specifically about bagel-making, which my buddy Charles might find interesting. If Charles has made bagels in the past, I don't recall eating them. Unlike the recent, and awkwardly bromantic, Babish episode about sourdough, this BA episode features my lovely girlfriend Claire:

ADDENDUM: check out Charles's latest essay over at Liminality, which deals with the concept of untranslatability. Now, Charles's post contains several postmodernist buzzwords that make my dachshund growl and morph into a giant tarantula (universality, othering, essentialism, Orientalism, etc.), but it's a good and interesting essay all the same. After reading Charles's essay, see what you think of the following video on French expressions that (arguably) have no simple, direct equivalent in English:

As I was reading Charles's piece, I thought to myself, "I just know he's going to bring up nunchi." He did, although he didn't explore it the way he did Korean concepts like ma-eum (hyphenated to avoid confusion with mae-um) and han. I think it was Gord Sellar who once wrote a piece on the Korean word jeong, which I loosely translate as "warm fellow-feeling." Gord's piece, from 2012, is a way-too-deep exploration of the concept, with over thirty lengthy and profound comments following his post. Give Gord a read if you dare.


Charles said...

I'll have to give these vids a watch later, but no, I have never made bagels. Honestly, I've never really had the desire to.

And dang, man, you must have read my post the second it went up! I will admit that I giggled with glee every time I used one of those buzzwords, imagining you having a conniption. But sometimes you just gotta use 'em when talking about these things.

And, yeah, I didn't want to get caught up in nunchi, or even han, really, as they weren't really the point of that whole rambling mess. There were a lot of things that I could have gone into that I didn't, including a deeper dive into the idea of the impossibility of translation that was cut for time.

Oh, my first thought on seeing the title of that second video: "Well, there are a lot of French words that don't exist in English--most of them don't, in fact. They are French words, after all, not English." Seriously, sometimes I think that people don't really understand how languages work. Or at least they suck at expressing themselves. (Although, if she's not a native speaker of English, maybe we should give her a pass.)

Kevin Kim said...

I blame the PoMo miasma at Harvard for your turn to the dark side.

Yeah, the French lady is no native speaker, but she's pretty good. I think she may do a better job in the video of explaining what she's trying to get at, which may be more on the level of concepts than of word-for-word or phrase-for-phrase translation.

A New Yorker who bakes, yet doesn't want to make bagels? I blame Harvard for that, too.

Charles said...

Hey, it's nice and cozy here over on the dark side, if you ever want to join me.

And it is precisely because I am a New Yorker that I don't want to make bagels. Don't get me wrong--I love bagels. But I know that anything I make, at least for a good long while, is going to pale in comparison to the real deal. And, truth be told, I haven't really been doing all the much baking these days anyway. If I'm going to do any baking, it's going to be something I'm familiar with and that I can do quick and easy. My unfamiliarity with bagels, and the extra step in the process, is a non-trivial barrier to entry.