Initial Impressions from the Inauguration of President Barack Obama: or, When the Hispanic won’t Panic.

Plenty more of substance to be said about the inauguration ceremony, no doubt, but here’s the initial ricochet off the old mellon:

Yo-Yo Ma is one of the happiest men anywhere, in the history of the world, ever. American slaves didn’t just pick cotton, they also picked lettuce. Who knew? A good portion of President Obama’s speech consisted of making promises to the world in a winning and sympathetic expression of manifest destiny and the Pax Americana. We should indeed pray for the day when tanks are pounded into tractors, not to mention when the Red Man can get ahead, man. But for now, pick up the (half)White Man’s Burden.

For HS: Judging by Appearances

Contrary to popular opinion, appearances do not generally deceive. Instead, they are an indispensable feature of the way things are and serve as our first contact with the world. The world reveals itself first through the way it can be sensed and felt, by means of our eyes or ears or by touch or taste. Art helps us see, sense and feel the world in novel ways by revealing new angles and fresh perspectives.

– Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin

More Cardus coming at you. Q & A with Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, aesthetic philosopher extrodinaire.

Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

I apologize for the long absence. Busy as the proverbial bees, and without my laptop for two weeks (a story for another time, perhaps). While I may not have been writing recently, I have certainly been reading. I expect some of my readers (those of you who have stuck it out through the lean winter months) may be interested in the work of one Heidi Swanson. She is an artist and blogger from San Francisco who has recently published a book Super Natural Cooking.

Super Natural Cooking is stuffed full of simple, reasonable recipes with ingredients that seem neither scary nor obscure and which have gourmet-looking results…Its contents alone are enough reason to love the book, but Super Natural Cooking’s construction, layout, and photography will delight any lover of good design. This is a book you want to hold in your hand and carefully read…

Swanson also presents healthful eating, not as a negative stop-gap to avoid disease, but as a toothsome celebration of the age we live in, where we can make food from all different cultures with the ingredients from our grocery shelves—food that is aesthetically pleasing, delicious, and good to serve to friends, family, and guests. This is not a book filled with “healthy” versions of old standbys, but creative foods that take advantage of their ingredients’ natural properties to create something new, beautiful, and altogether good.

Read the entire Cardus review here.

Also linked in the above quoted review is Ms. Swanson’s excellent cooking blog 101 Cookbooks, which you best check out.