Let me be the first to admit, I am no intellectual giant. Neither am I intellectual pigmy! When I first saw the word, "Salmagundi," I figured it was someone's name. Did I feel stupid when I found the definition? Nope! I just considered the source, from where it came, a thoughtful friend, who goes, "Aw gee-whiz," when you say, "He's the publisher of this on-line magazine."
I am always stumbling on words, which I don't know. I guess that is usual. It can be overwhelming, depending on what you do about it.
I guess the measure of a character might be to what he or she does with the new word or information. Does he or she nudge it aside for lack of enthusiasm to find out the definition? Does she or he make it a learning experience? It's an interview issue.
My first action, when stumbling on a new word is to pull out my trusty sidekick, my dictionary. The one I always carry in my briefcase. Alas, my sidekick didn't contain the word, Salmagundi. I went directly to my on-line gold mine of discovery, "Wikipedia," and searched.
Here's what I found, in my words. A salmagundi is salad dish, originating in early 17th century English. It's made of cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers, dressed with oil, vinegar and spices. Except for the meat, my friend is a vegetarian; it's what you'd expect from him, besides the best Bill Hicks imitation anywhere.
Salmagundi does not refer to a single recipe, but to the grand presentation of a large plated salad. It's made of many different and disparate ingredients. These may arrange in layers or geometrical designs, on a plate, or mixed. The ingredients receive a dressing. The dish aims to produce wide range of flavours, for a flavourless 17th century as well as colours and textures on a single plate. Often recipes allow cook to add various ingredient, available, producing many variations of the dish. Often included are flowers from the Broom and Sweet Violet.
My thought was, "what a great title for a column." But there was a problem. My veggie friend already used the word as title for a hodgepodge of articles, not grouped or linked by a common theme. That's where I found the word myself, a contributor to Salmagundi. Therefore, that is my difficulty.
Why Salmagundi, you might ask? Why would that make a great title for a bunch of random articles, with little continuity? First, that is exactly why, it is a collection of all kinds of subjects that are meaty, tasteful, with various bad smells. Some might "stink," such as those by my friend, and others may be sweet, such as those by me. Some might be off colour, and let's hope so. Others might be blue and maybe total white lies.
Why Salmagundi? It most precisely describes the salad bowl and mix of my eclectic and scattered thoughts. That's what you are gonna get from me, from now on, a not-necessarily mix, I hope entertaining and information.
JR Hafer writes from his home in central Florida.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.