We’re already halfway through August (how did this even happen? I demand an explanation!), and the farmer’s markets are brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables at their peak of flavour. Continue reading
Every Sunday for the past year I’ve been the happy recipient of a free dinner at my neighbour’s house next door.
She’s an old lady with no one in her life but me, so although the free grub suited me, my presence and good humour suited her as well.
See how I said “suited” and not “suits”? There’s a reason for that. I don’t want to visit her anymore and I most certainly don’t want to eat her so-called food either!
It used to be so perfect. Before each dinner she’d take me out to her garden to admire the flowers and birds that would come to visit. She’d talk about her germonias and her berganiums and I’d pretend to pay attention because honestly? Flowers don’t interest me all that much.
She did something kind of sweet each time we’d walk around the garden. She’d take me by the arm and say, “Oh, dah-link, vat shtrong muscles you haff on your big, manly arms!”
I took this as a compliment even though I’m a woman. I’m pretty jacked, and I’m not afraid to show it.
She would tell me she had to finish off the final touches on our dinner and would ask, “Do you mind feeding the pretty little birdies that were visiting zat day?”
Small price to pay for some food, so I’d stand out zere…I mean there, pelting the birdies with bird seed. Whatever. They seemed to like it.
After a year of doing this, I was pretty good at it. I used the bird feeding time to practice my aim, hurling seed high up into the trees and scattering it far and wide. The old lady’s garden was the most popular in town for birds, I’d say.
She had hummingbirds. The ones with red on their chests. The ones with blue peaks on their heads. I even saw a peacock come in one day. But she had the boring gray ones too. I kinda liked them after a while, and named them after famous birds.
Actually I only know two famous birds, so they were all called either Tweety or Donald. They didn’t seem to mind.
Anyhoo…last Sunday I came in to dinner, sat down and started to dig in. I loved the old lady’s cooking, don’t get me wrong, but it was always the same every week. Chicken, chicken, and more chicken. Big ones, small ones, some with different stuffing, but always chicken. “101 ways to prepare a chicken”: she could write a book, I swear.
But hey, it was free, right? I wasn’t going to quibble.
I told her everything tasted delicious and we discussed our day, as we always did. I commented that there weren’t as many birds visiting us this week and she smiled at me, put down her knife and fork and said brightly…(I bet you know what’s coming, right?)…
“Oh, dah-link, you fed zem before, and now zey taste delicious!”
I think I threw up a little. I was eating either Donald or Tweety. Or Donald and Tweety. The horror, the horror!
I tossed down my fork, spat my food into my plate and ran out of that hell-house, vowing never to return.
Now that I’m safely at home, I’ve decided: I must warn future Tweety-pies and Donalds from flying near that madwoman’s house. What can I do to make them steer clear and continue on their flight path?
Help. The birds of the world depend on me!!
Our hearts are touched, they really are. And anyone who knows us can tell you, it takes a great deal to touch our hearts. Sometimes our pool boy, Jesse, manages it with his special martini/foot massage combo, but most of the time we lounge about, completely untouched, except possibly in the head.
That’s a metaphor, dear, don’t trouble yourself.
Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Touched hearts.
You see, when we first opened your letter, we expected the usual round of whining and moaning: “Oh, the old lady is boooooring! Oh, the old lady never gives me second helpings! Oh, the old lady makes me work for my supper, aren’t I hard done by?”
We receive this kind of bilge on a regular basis, and we were preparing ourselves to make the usual stern rebuke: “Get your finger out of your nose and your mind out of neutral, you ingrate!” Or words to that effect.
But you have taken us by surprise: your concern for the darling little Tweeties and Donalds of this world is heartwarming in the extreme. In fact, hang on a moment while we dab discreetly at our eyes with our lace handkerchiefs.
There now. Much better.
All right, here’s what you must do, if you wish to save the wee birdies: you must set up your own Bird Feeding Depot in your back garden. You must build the birds a giant birdbath, and scatter seeds and bits of fruit around; and you must learn the lost art of the bird-call, to summon your tiny friends to your oasis. You’ll find that birds follow their stomachs: they’ll quickly forget about your beastly neighbour’s garden if you offer them a higher class of accommodation.
You must devote yourself fully to this task, but we have no doubt you’ll be able to pull it off.
And once the birds are used to dining chez vous, you may eat as many of them as you wish. We suggest a nice hollandaise sauce, or perhaps a fricassee. Do let us know, as we’re always up for a good feed of Tweetie. Or Donald, as the case may be.
One of the great things about belonging to the blogging community is that we get to meet so many fascinating people, and discover the passions that drive them. One strand that fascinates me are the food blogs: it’s like being invited into a friend’s kitchen, learning tips and tricks that you might not pick up in a standard cookbook, and finding out what food means to them.
For this week’s Saturday list, then, I’ve put together a collection of some of the cooking and food blogs I’ve been reading lately. They’re a diverse group, ranging from the über-healthy to the ultra-decadent, with a few stops in between. From an “urban forager” who finds foodstuffs in the most unlikely places, to a pastry chef who’s earned her living creating yummy treats, to a “recipe renovator” who adapts recipes to meet special dietary needs…they’re all here, and each one is worth a read.
I hope you’ll take the time to poke around a little, check them out, and maybe even try a recipe or two.
As with every Saturday list, you can vote entries up or down the list, add your own comments, and even add your own suggestions—in fact, I’d love to hear which food and cooking blogs turn our readers’ cranks!
We all know the "big" food sites, but there are so many little gems waiting to be explored...
At Baking in a Tornado, Karen combines observations and musings about daily life with her recipes--the food tends toward the rich and delicious, but everyone needs a special treat now and then, right?
It's an interesting thing about words that they don't just have meanings but connotations. We have dictionaries for definitions but many words, when heard and when used, are interpreted more in the context of what they mean to us personally. I've had this conversations recently with my older son in terms of words that segments of our society consider derogatory.
Nancy Fox runs Skinny Kitchen--as you'd guess from the name, this site is all about cutting the calories...but not the taste. Each recipe includes Weight Watchers points, for those of us who keep track of our eating that way.
All breakfast foods in one hearty, super delicious dish. I can't wait for you to taste this luxuriously rich casserole! Perfect for the holiday weekend. It's so easy to make since using shredded frozen hash browns. I'm also adding bacon cooked on paper towels in the microwave to remove most [...]
Ava Chin is an urban forager: she knows where to find incredible edibles...right under your nose! Her website is fascinating, diverse, and entertaining.
In celebration of #NationalEatYourVegetablesDay, this summer, I'm going to showcase some of the most sustainable wild vegetables that are available and growing all around us, most likely in your backyard, garden, or local park. Wild edibles are higher in phytonutrients-that's antioxidants, and good, old-fashioned nutrients that are inherent to the flora-than most vegetables found in [...]
K Cochina brings together the tastes of Latina cuisine, traditional Brazilian recipes, and more standard fare. Gorgeous photos!
K Cocina: Bringing Sabor Into Your Life
Deborah Smikle-Davis' Urban Naturale covers more than just cooking, but her approach is fresh and healthy, and her Meatless Monday suggestions offer great meat-free meals for those of us who are trying to create healthier lives.
Like many of us, I used to drink a lot of coffee but now I prefer green tea. In fact, I love green tea so that I have become a big green tea drinker. On most days I have at least 3 cups of green tea in the morning and sometimes I will have a cup in [...]
Mindy Klapper Trotta is a baker par excellence--she calls herself a "potato chip loving pastry chef," but we've seen nary a trace of chips in her delectable recipes. Granted, the blog is about more than cooking, but Mindy's recipes really are to die for!
Browned Butter puts its pale yellow, insipid cousin to shame. It is butter that's gone on a vacation...to the tropics...and it's come home all tawny and burnished, and smelling goood. It's a little wild, a little flirty and sputtery, so it needs to be watched carefully as you melt it down.
Stephanie Weaver's blog is all about taking recipes and adapting them for those with special dietary needs--vegan, diabetic, migraine-friendly, paleo, and so on. It's a neat approach, and the results look pretty awesome, melding healthy with delicious.
Is it hot where you are? This giveaway is hot! Our June giveaway features the four cookbooks I reviewed this month, a chile prize package, frozen Hatch chiles from New Mexico, a beautiful recycled cutting board from Epicurean, and bonus gifts of delicious dried raspberries from Stoneridge Orchards and a copy of The Unforgettable Photograph [...]
For cooking with a healthy twist, look no further than Lisa Lin's Healthy Nibbles & bits. Her Vegan Asian Cabbage Wraps caught our eye, and we'll be trying them ASAP!
A medley of fresh corn kernels, zucchini, carrots, and tofu wrapped in fresh savoy cabbage. These delicious wraps double up as the perfect side or main dish! Yesterday, I woke up at 6:50 a.m. for a morning jog. Bleh! I work out in the morning a few times a week, but my morning sessions begin at 9:00 a.m.
Adriana's site is a visual and gustatory delight--with a Latin flair.
Top source for cooking recipes.
Have a great weekend, and happy browsing!
Have you ever wondered, “Gee, what would it be like to never have to eat again?”
Yeah, me neither.
But apparently the question occurred to a 25-year-old guy named Rob Rhinehart, who wanted to escape the hassle of shopping for, preparing, and eating food so he could concentrate on more important things, like working on software and stuff. He started researching the nutritional needs of humans, sent away for the various raw chemical components, and started building the perfect human food.
Ultimately, he came up with a powdered substance that he mixed with water (and in a later iteration, with oil) in a blender, and hey, presto! He had a glassful of something that has been described as a cross between thin pancake batter, cream of wheat, and Metamucil. And then he decided to live on it.
He had invented…(wait for it)…Soylent.
Yes, you read right: just like the 1973 Charlton Heston sci-fi flick, Soylent Green. Except that Rhinehart’s version isn’t actually made of human flesh. Imagine my relief.
Here’s part of his account of his first month living exclusively on Soylent:
I feel like the six million dollar man. My physique has noticeably improved, my skin is clearer, my teeth whiter, my hair thicker and my dandruff gone. My resting heart rate is lower, I haven’t felt the least bit sickly, rare for me this time of year. I’ve had a common skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris since birth. That was gone by day 9. I used to run less than a mile at the gym, now I can run 7. I have more energy than I know what to do with. On day 4 I caught myself balancing on the curb and jumping on and off the sidewalk when crossing the street like I used to do when I was a kid. People gave me strange looks but I just smiled back. Even my scars look better.
My mental performance is also higher. My inbox and to-do list quickly emptied. I ‘get’ new concepts in my reading faster than before and can read my textbooks twice as long without mental fatigue.
Rhinehart is now selling Soylent, in elegantly simple packaging, via a Shopify store (which is only of interest to me since Adrian is one of their ops guys)—apparently you can purchase it via subscription, and it’s selling pretty briskly.
I should be clear that I’ve never tasted Soylent, and I have absolutely nothing against it. While the concept—of creating a food out of chemicals rather than plant and/or animal matter—is interesting, I’m left to wonder what it would be like to simply forego “real” food for the rest of my life, in favour of Metamucil-tinged pancake batter.
To be fair, Rhinehart says he only drinks Soylent most of the time. Every now and then he indulges in “recreational food,” which he says he enjoys all the more because it’s a novelty. Well yeah, no kidding.
I think if I were living on a steady diet of grainy pancake batter, I might look forward to the occasional respite, too.
Fortunately, I don’t have to, because a brave young man from The Guardian has done it for me: here’s his video account of a week on Soylent. His verdict: he was hungry, irritable, and gassy, and couldn’t wait to finish his self-imposed Soylent-only diet. Well, sign me up!
Although I’m not really keen to give it a go, I’m fascinated by the Soylent phenomenon: what would compel some people to decide that acquiring, preparing, and eating food is just simply too much bother? Rhinehart predicts that we’re undergoing a separation between “food as recreation” and “food as utilitarian,” and I can see where he’s coming from.
What do you think? Would you be willing to stop eating food in favour of the convenience of a “meal in a glass”?
Enquiring minds want to know!
I’ve been thinking a lot about downsizing lately—not that we have imminent plans to move into smaller digs, but I do have an ongoing (though somewhat intermittent) project that involves divesting ourselves of a lot of the stuff we’ve acquired over the years.
Getting rid of stuff is one half of the equation, but the other half is making do with less, and that’s where this list comes in. Each of the items has to do with living well with less, whether it’s less space, less stuff, or just less new stuff.
As well, I’ve gathered up some ideas for recycling, salvaging, mending, and generally taking better care of the stuff we do have.
I’d love to hear your ideas on the subject—after all, when you moved to London, you found yourself in a much smaller space, right? You can vote these posts up or down in the list, add your own comments, or add links to other resources…it’s all fair game here!
Ideas to inspire us to use what we have, fix what we break, and live better with less.
Some great ideas for making use of those odds and sods you've accumulated...." If you're like me, you probably have a lot of old stuff just lying around your house. It's not doing anything but taking up space, but you're either too busy (or lazy), sentimental or just have more important things to deal with."
DIY mending is in again! Why throw away a piece you love, when it can probably be salvaged? When Make Do & Mend ("we make things and mend things," says Pippa Bray, the shop's owner) opened its doors in 2002, they had expected to be reasonably busy. That turned out to be an understatement. They weren't just busy, they were inundated, getting busier all the time.
One way to do more with less is to downsize. These tiny houses take that a step further: how tiny can you go? Small house designs with big impact (by SmallHouseBliss)
Buying cheap clothing seems like a bargain, but cheap factory-made items carry hidden costs you might not even know about. Emily Hundt 16 May 2013 Riding home on the tube yesterday, I saw two women clinging to their oversized paper bags, stamped with the Primark logo, bulging with that day's haul. Since moving to London, I have reluctantly got very used to this sight. But I wasn't expecting to see it this week.
This writer has taken the tiny house challenge, and won! "In 2009 I moved into a 200-square-foot cottage. The rent and location were awesome, but there was one problem. Half my stuff didn't fit in the place. So I got rid of it. Furniture, old clothes, books, shoes, art. And you know what? I haven't missed a..."
One part of simple living: wasting less. Much less. Here are some tips to help. There are 5 simple ways to help us all waste less of the food we buy and avoid throwing away millions of tonnes of precious water at the same time It's already causing environmental damage through the use of water, fuel and energy to grow, make and transport our food, and on top of that it rots in landfill when we then throw it away, generating climate changing gases.
This blogger takes frugal living to heart--not sure if I'd like to be quite this spartan in my lifestyle, but they make some good points! "Confession time: I'm a cheapskate. Some would say frugal, which sounds much more positive, but in reality I can be a real cheapskate. I am fairly frugal (though not always), but sometimes I take it too far: I have T-shirts with holes in them, I never buy new clothes, we're shopping for a new couch because our current one has holes in it, and I ran my current pair of running shoes until the soles fell off...."
Carol Cassara has put together a list of home remedies you can try yourself for minor ailments. As she says, "PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor. These home remedies are not medical advice. Please consult your physician before embarking on any new course of treatment or use of any natural remedy.
What's old is new again, it seems, and some of the natural remedies that date back hundreds of years - if not ...
I love to garden, and some of these recycled plant containers make it just that much more fun! Top 10 Recycled Plant Containers We know -- working in a garden filled with the same old standard clay or plastic planters can get really boring. If you're dreaming of breathing a little more life into your greens, just look to the materials you already have in your home.
Ana shares her DIY projects and makes them look completely do-able! She says, "Of course, I'm partial to all things made of wood - but really, the same basic skills that help you make wood projects nice, translate to other mediums - like tile!"
One part of doing more with less is making sure you get the best deals on anything you do buy. Sometimes "warehouse stores" look like the ideal place to pick up great buys...but this article warns that you might be getting less than you bargained for.
It's completely possible to make most, if not all, your own beauty and personal care products. Here's how: "Now that we make all of our own personal care and beauty products, I keep a lot of the ingredients on hand in bulk ( from here). I looked at the numbers from last year, and we actually saved money doing this!"
Another great gardening tip, that uses up your old soda bottles, saves water, and nourishes your plants at the same time! Soda Bottle Drip Feeder is a great DIY Project Drip feeders are great for a variety of different vegetables. Most vegetables prefer the moisture at their roots rather than overhead sprinklers which can encourage some leaf problems. There are many retail products available but this Soda Bottle Drip Feeder makes use or recycled materials and works really well.
Over-50 fashion blogger Pamela Lutrell knows a Goodwill bargain when she sees one. Here are some of her great finds... Whenever I enter my local GOODWILL locations, I always begin the same way... First, I check Julia's Attic...the top fashion selections.... Second, I check my favorite clothing racks and accessories.... Third, I never leave without looking over home decor!
About CashInYourLaptop.com: Sell Laptop for e-cycling CashInYourLaptop offers you a Golden Opportunity to sell your used and broken digital gadgets like a lapt...
Hope you have fun, and let me know what you think!