Savoring Kentucky

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Savoring Kentucky showcases the wonders of Kentucky's food, farms, farmers, restaurants, chefs, distillers, brewers, orchards and markets. We applaud local food, its producers and champions. We delight in news of improvements in food and food systems. We take pleasure in fine food. We thank our wondrous sponsors for supporting our work and local goodness all around.

Thanksgiving Outdoors, With Opera, No Food

I took a walk the day before Thanksgiving, a long stroll steeped in beauty. The peace of this walk stays with me.

People have worked hard and skillfully to offer beauty in our small city: curving porches, one chosen sandstone, a bird bath like an altar, oak trees and house paint singing to each other. Humans build beauty on nature's frame. Nature works over, under, beyond and through all we humans do, lifting eye and heart.

Fence and lichens, Miller Street.

Usually, Savoring Kentucky cannot begin to share everything that's bursting to be shared about Kentucky's food, farms and farmers. Today, though, we pause in that work and feed that ineffable part of us that hungers for beauty. Perhaps beauty always waits within reach, rewarding our regard.

If you like, enjoy the video slideshow below and its soundtrack, which features Leona Mitchell singing one of opera's most divine arias with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in 1993. Two minutes, 47 seconds. [Here's the link for email subscribers.]

And just to bring us back to this blessed earth, where tomorrow I'll be reporting on such pragmatic matters as dry-brined, spatchcocked heritage turkey—yep, foodie buzzwords will abound—enjoy, below, a translation of Puccini's lyrics from about.com.

The opera's one act offers utter comic silliness. Always go when it plays near you. And yet never in the history of the world has teenage drama sounded so sublime as when Lauretta rains down melody on her father, begging—yea, beseeching—him to help her beloved. It's one of the operatic wonders of the world, the heart-tugging sound that pours out in "O mio babbino caro," ("Oh, my dear father"). And it's all about a guy. Actually, the words are all about a guy. Perhaps if I spoke Italian, the aria would be about a guy, but because I hear the aria as liquid beauty, it can be about a memorable walk through my small city.

English Translation for "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini (1918)
Oh my dear father,
I like him, he is very handsome.
I want to go to Porta Rossa
to buy the ring!
Yes, yes, I want to go there!
And if my love were in vain,
I would go to Ponte Vecchio
and throw myself in the Arno!
I am pining and I am tormented,
Oh God! I would want to die!
Daddy, have mercy, have mercy!
Daddy, have mercy, have mercy!

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