5 Favorites from Dappered Arts & Culture Correspondent Ben Madeska
Sure it’s just stuff. But stuff can make life easier, more enjoyable, etc… Every so often we ask one of our favorite people to rattle off their five favorite things. This is the stuff they’d grab if the house was burning down.
Ben Madeska currently holds the title of Arts and Culture Correspondent for this site. Pretty fitting for a guy who’s studied frescoes in Italy, knows more than a few phrases in Swahili, and has pointed us in the right direction on everything from rum to books.
“This has already been covered here before, but it’s worth mentioning again. This has been the workhorse of my kitchen for the past six or so years. It’s rare that I make a meal and don’t use it for something – searing steaks, frying bacon, sauteing vegetables, scrambling eggs, roasting chickens, frenching toast (is that the proper verb?). I’ve even baked bread in it. It heats up well and evenly on a burner and can then be thrown in the oven to finish. I long ago stopped putting it away after use and just leave it on the stove because I know I’ll just be pulling it out again soon.”
“At the risk of being this guy, I really like these pens. My first day of grad school I stopped at an office supply store on the way to class and bought a notebook and a cheap bag of twenty pens, figuring that should get me through the better part of the semester. After going through four pens in two days – because they wouldn’t write or they leaked or somehow failed me – I picked up a Jotter from Parker for less than $5. One pen lasted through the next two years of intensive note taking. It’s durable, reliable, precise, and there’s no cap to lose. When it finally does run out ink, the cartridge can be replaced. Simply the best pen for the price, and not so expensive you really mind if you lose one. I prefer it in red.” (Jotter Photo Credit)
“Riesling is more versatile. Champagne is more of a crowd-pleaser. Sauternes is simply more delicious. But gun to my head, have to pick one wine for the rest of my life, I’m going with Nebbiolo. It’s the grape used for Barolo, Barberesco and Gatinara. Other places have attempted growing it, but so far Piedmont, Italy is the only place it flourishes. Certainly not the most approachable of wines, but I think it’s the most rewarding. It can be tight and astringent (it’s one of the most tannic wines out there), but at it’s best it’s elegant and nuanced. Tar and roses are the classic descriptions (cigarette ash is a less popular one), but also cherries, violets, crushed herbs and spices. Like Burgundy, it’s the type of wine that tends to make wine writers unbearable. It really should be drunk with food to fully appreciate it, especially roast or cured meats. Travaglini makes a solid Gatinara that can be drunk now or aged for a few years. Vietti produces an excellent, very approachable, affordable Nebbiolo.“
“Ok, I hate the name – I just discovered it’s called ‘The Earl’ when I looked up the link – but I love these shirts. Vintage without looking like someone’s grandpa died in it, and distinctive without being flashy. And it has a slim fit that I find very comfortable. They’re durable too. I have one that’s held up for years of sun and washing with very little fading or fraying.”
#5 Chef’s Knife by Big Rock Forge
“Scott A. Roush is the blacksmith and he makes each knife by hand. It’s really just a tremendous knife and a work of art. The blade is 8″ long and it feels like you’re cooking with a machete. My hand was actually tired after dicing a few onions. I have a 6″ light weight knife that I use for most vegetables, but this one is pretty excellent for meat and any sort of tougher veggie. It really feels more like a weapon than a tool.”
You can read more from Ben (and specifically, about things he’s read) in our every so often feature called… appropriately enough, “The Read.” For more on his work visit his website. Follow him on twitter too.
Very Top “5” Photo Credit: Gunnar Bangsmoen