Basic shares much with basement: It’s the bedrock, the beginning, the building block. The computer uttered its first words in BASIC. The classic dress comes in basic black. Garlic, chemically speaking, is basic.
Basic is being abased. Not for its link to debased or base, as in lowly. But simply for its simplicity. Among the young, basic has been sharpened into an insult slung at the banal. Catching on to a trend once it’s over, as this column does, is basic.
But basic isn’t bad. Consider spaghetti with red sauce: basic. By slow-roasting tomatoes and garlic in olive oil and emulsifying them into a clingy cloak for pasta, the cook can fashion a sumptuous — and simple — meal. One that’s basically bliss.