Thursday, January 22, 2009

l'arte d'arrangiarsi....or the joy of a bowlful of beets

I love when I stumble upon a word or a phrase in a foreign language that perfectly describes an idea or a feeling in a way that my own language does not. I could fill an entire (long) blog post listing such words and phrases, but today I am contemplating just one of them: l'arte d'arrangiarsi.

The art of making something out of nothing.

As our nation (and world) faces economic and environmental crises, I find myself, coincidentally, serendipitously and necessarily, growing more and more fascinated with cultures that live much more simply and intentionally than we (as U.S. Citizens) tend to do. I read recently in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia , where I also have learned literally every Italian word I know, that Americans pursue not pleasure, but entertainment.

This rings true.

So tonight, in pursuit of pleasure (while my son pursues entertainment by watching the Matrix Reloaded), I celebrate the simplicity of a bowlful of beets. For $2.49 at Whole Foods (a store that always makes me feel stylish and good looking, even when I stumble over there in my fleece jacket, sweats, and pirate boots), I purchased a bunch (3) of beets, locally (well, SoCal) and organically grown. I drizzle a little olive oil over them, stick them in the oven at 400 degrees, leave them there for, oh, an hour and a half or so, and then eat them, in their blood red, nutty glory, sans spices, sans fancy cooking technique, and loaded with iron, vitamin A, and potassium.

l'arte d'arrangiarsi...

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