I was celebrating New Years with friends and family, eating pizza and salad. The greens were presented and a friend at the table asked what was in the salad. I said, “It’s an arugula salad” and he retorted, “I can’t stand that stuff, it’s bitter.” I thought he was joking but he went on and on about how a restaurant put arugula on his veal Milanese which he loves, but the bitter licorice taste of the greens messed up the dish for him.
He then said an interesting thing, “Why would you want to eat something bitter that you have to mix and season just to make it taste edible?” A reasonable question.
I suggested the example of mustard as a food that is used to make people vomit when they eat a poison, but with a hot dog it’s perfect. “I love mustard, it’s not like arugula,” he muttered.
The salad was served—a fresh combination of the bitter arugula coated with a nice olive oil, pear flavored balsamic vinegar, lemon juice from the backyard tree, salt and pepper and slivered almonds. I absolutely loved it, but the arugula hater would not touch the bitter leaves.
I thought of my friend and the arugula as I considered my first “Editor’s Note” of 2010. The past year has definitely been bitter. Business vanished, jobs evaporated and homes fell into foreclosure. Everybody but pawnshop owners suffered. It was a year of ruination in the machining world. I tasted the bitterness of letting good people go, cutting back magazine issues and listening to the wails of readers and advertisers.
The bitter leaves of a brutal 2009 still fill my bowl, but I am dressing my salad with gusto going into 2010. The new Web site Noah Graff put together along with our Today’s Machining World Swarfblog email blasts are bringing thousands of people to www.todaysmachiningworld.com online every week. People are reading us on their Blackberrys and iPhones all over the world.
Ten percent unemployment and 10 million-car years are still bitter stats to live with in our industry, but the survivors get to flavor the foul tasting leaves with creative touches as we taste the New Year.