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By E. M. Cioran

“In the very fact of being born there's such a lack of necessity that after you consider it a bit greater than traditional you're left . . . with a silly grin.”
E. M. Cioran confronts where of today's international within the context of human history—focusing on such significant problems with the 20 th century as human development, fanaticism, and science—in this nihilistic and witty number of aphoristic essays in regards to the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Touching upon Man's have to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the traditional Greeks and the depression baseness of all life, Cioran's items are pessimistic within the severe, but in addition exhibit a stunning walk in the park that renders them gentle, brilliant, and noteworthy. Illuminating and brutally sincere, A brief heritage of Decay dissects Man's decadence in a striking sequence of relocating and lovely items.

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The underlying intuition is nonetheless worth scrutinizing more closely. Raspberries in the middle of the summer have an acidity and water content that soften up the cheese, just as cherries do in the case of a clafouti. The lovage, which substitutes for a salad course, has a very strong anise flavor, with a hint of cumin, that enriches the flavor of the Camembert. The sugar in the fruit is anecdotal in a different way: it tames the flavor of the dish, offsetting the acidity of the raspberry without making it disappear.

IN PRACTICE A “perfectly” artistic dish? I’m afraid that would require a good deal more pretension than I’m capable of. Instead, let me give you an idea of how my treatment of a particular dish—in this case one involving pigeon— has changed over the years. As you will see, my style as a cook has evolved through the accumulation of small discoveries. If you happen to take a braised turnip and some pine nuts, for example, and wrap them with streaky bacon from Colonata, in Tuscany—this is what I call a discovery: suddenly, as if by magic, you are confronted with a very interesting combination of flavors.

And cut the langoustine in three pieces? The problem with this kind of restless experimentation, however, is that you’ve got to stop somewhere. Where do you draw the line? It was only in mastering my trade that I learned to refine and pare down, to stop adding and accumulating. At the time, food critics asked why anyone would want to serve langoustine with scallops and pigeon. The juxtaposition of what Americans call “surf and turf” is unusual in French culinary tradition; during my apprenticeship, for example, I was never exposed to the idea.

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