Lao Tsu’s journey of a thousand miles, and squash soup

Lao Tsu’s phrase ‘a journey of a thousand miles…’ crops up frequently, although I wish it was quoted with the other two lines. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching, translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1972.

Deal with it before it happens
Set things in order before there is confusion

A tree as great as a man’s embrace begins as a tiny shoot
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet has multiple translations & a nifty side-by-side comparison

I’ve taken the daughter to a couple of galleries in the last couple of days. Yesterday we caught the Fruitmarket exhibition ‘end of the line: beyond drawing’. Upstairs there were a number of drawn reproductions of posters, and she pointed out a WWII Russian soldier bayonetting a caricature of Hitler. The Russian was drawn boldly — solid blocks of black — at the top of the piece, and Hitler, craven and wizened at the bottom of the page. I was explaining how the Russian was destroying Hitler and she asked whether that destroyed the Russian too.

What others teach , I also teach; that is:
“A violent man will die a violent death”
This will be the essence of my teaching

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 42.

Today, we went round the Gallery on the Mound. When talking about Van Dyck’s Saint Sebastian bound for martyrdom, I noted that Sebastian would soon have arrows in him. And the girl asked what an arrow was…

In other news, Crown Prince squash is pretty amazing. I’ve roasted it with some other veggies for tea and it has lovely honeyed flesh. I also roasted some slices, cut the flesh from the skin, and made simple squash soup:

  • sauté shallots, add some caraway seeds, bung in chunks of roasted squash, add stock to cover
  • simmer
  • blend

But these fantastic flavours are balanced by the squash having dense flesh and really tough skin. I’m definitely going to grow squash this year, but I don’t know whether this is the variety I’ll choose.