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October 2006

October 22, 2006

The only thing better than pie...

Tied up with a project and down with a bug is not a good combination, but when you add in a freezer that is being slowly denuded of all but the most basic of options — we ate half of the last baguette last night — it starts looking downright dire. And yet, sad to say, this is the state of affairs. The dwindling of the usual stockpile of homemade food comes with a couple of weeks to go on the book: no homemade cookies, no baguettes, no cinnamon rolls, no marinara, no soup. We're making chili tonight and I'll probably make some bread starter. If I stop sniffling, I may even get to cookies tomorrow. But there are chapters with my name on them and they have priority over baking, no matter how theraputic. I need a cookie fairy to deliver a few dozen cookies to my door, preferably something with chocolate.

Continue reading "The only thing better than pie... " »

October 14, 2006

wcb: At least she's not *on* his lap!

Clare and Kiri from eat stuff organize weekend cat blogging to provide us with an excuse to bring on the cute...and we're all happy to oblige... Clare's been MIA for a bit so the WCb home has been floating around the 'net, with Rosa's Yummy Yums collecting the adorableness this week...


Some pictures really don't need much description. I believe this was about three days before River had the kittens of madness and doom. She was tired. So am I. And I have to be up many hours before noon tomorrow. As if. So I think I shall go sprawl, hopefully a bit more delicately than River is, and zone for a bit myself.

October 12, 2006

Think before you pink

Pinkdogwood Like many of you, I have friends and family who have died from cancer (or the treatment for cancer, but that's another rant) and wish that 'they' would find a cure. If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we cure... (...what's that? We've not put a man on the moon since way back when I was in a child? Well, maybe that's the problem, let's put some more folks on the moon! I've got a list we could start with...)

But I digress, let's get back to cancer and the pinking of marketing. October is apparently "Buy overpriced pink crap for cancer" month. Largely driven by the Susan Komen foundation, and flogged all over the Internet (which is neither plural "Internets" nor tubes) seemingly by everyone with the exception of a few nay-sayers like me, this month brings us all things pink. Pink kitchenaid mixers, pink knives, pink M&Ms, even pink hard drives to complete the Barbiefication (ouch, that word is gonna cost me!) of your life.

Why does this marketing of cancer bug me? Let me count the ways:

Percentage of profits that goes to actually fighting cancer, and specifics on where that money goes, is often vague. Most companies don't bother to say how much they give, leaving one to wonder exactly how much of their money is being funneled into research v. going into corporate coffers.

When you can find the data, donation per item is generally miserable. Other than Avon, which seems to actually donate a significant chunk of the income (sometimes 100% of net) from pink products, if you can find someone giving 10%, that's a lot. (Avon balances the large % of pink sales donated with this oh-so-tacky 'anti-domestic violence' bracelet...a blue hospital-style it to remind us that some 'blue' people put some 'pink' people in the hospital because they beat them?) As the wonderful site "Think Before You Pink" points out, you would have to eat three containers of Yoplait yogurt every day (10 cents per returned container lid) of the promotion to donate $36 to the cause. And that yogurt might be made from the milk of rBGH "enhanced" cows. That would be the same rBGH that might cause cancer, breast cancer no less. (as a fan of irony I should like this, but I'm less than amused...go figure) American Express gives a penny a purchase, regardless of the amount of the purchase. A penny. How. Appallingly. Cheap.

While we're on the subject of tax-deductible corporate largesse being used to disguise corporate malfeasance — we weren't talking about that? well, now we are — can we talk about the number of cancer-causing (or suspected cancer-causing) agents in the stuff that's being wrapped in pink? Cosmetics companies, like Estee Lauder, wrap pink ribbons around products containing parabens (chemical preservatives) and phthalates, both of which disrupt normal hormone function when absorbed into the body; hormone disruption has been suggestively linked with increased breast cancer risk. (suggestively linked sounds an awful lot like a Foley thing, doesn't it?)

But the big thing for me is that this is just another excuse to tell us to go shopping. Just like after September 11th, when the Dubya told us to act normal and go shopping, it seems that searching for 'the cure' is simply another angle in a world gone marketing mad. Plus it is all designed to reinforce the notion that women shop, cook, and play dress-up. Because that's what the overwhelming majority of the pinkStuff is: traditional girly things.

If you really want to help the search for better treatment, and perhaps even a cure, for cancer, write a check to a group that's doing the work. There are many such groups out there, pick one that relates to the sort of cancer you care about. If you want to do more, get a degree in a field that will allow you to go do the work yourself.

On the other hand, if you want an all-pink kitchen, go buy it now. Because now is the time to be pink. And you would be amazed at how pink you could be.

Just don't buy an all pink kitchen because you think it's helping find a cure for cancer. Because it's really not.

October 07, 2006

wcb extra: t3 is ready for his closeup

Clare and Kiri from eat stuff organize weekend cat blogging to provide us with an excuse to bring on the cute...and we're all happy to oblige... Clare's been MIA for a bit so the WCb home has been floating around the 'net, with The Hidden Paw collecting the adorableness this week...

t3oct Yeah, I know I already put up my WCB post for this week, but Farmgirl asked how her kitten was and I figured I'd share the cute. T3, also on the car during a break in the rain.

btw, Farmgirl, this furling needs a real name and if he's yours, you really should give him one. (ooooh, naming rights!) My primary requirement is that it doesn't end in a diminutive (i.e., "___ie") and it cant be more embarassing to yell at 2am than "C'mere Trubble!" because someday I will end up in the local paper's gossip column as "the woman who is out late at night looking for trouble..." (why yes, we have a gossip column in evenTinierTown's paper, doesn't yours?)

wcb: trubble takes advantage of a "sun break"

Clare and Kiri from eat stuff organize weekend cat blogging to provide us with an excuse to bring on the cute...and we're all happy to oblige... Clare's been MIA for a bit so the WCb home has been floating around the 'net, with The Hidden Paw collecting the adorableness this week...

trubble on the car It's getting on towards fall round these parts and that means rain. Lots and lots of rain. Some niches of my little burg get something like 120 inches of rain a year! Yep, ten feet! If I didn't live here, I'd have a hard time imagining it myself. Luckily for the fuzzlings, today brought a break in the ongoing sprinkleDrizzlePour cycle that is October. Trubble takes advantage of the momentary cessation in precipitation and heads for high ground. 

october strawberries

Just to add to the cusp of the season confusion, look what I spied in one of the herb beds today!

October 04, 2006

Cupcakes at Burning Man

No, this is not a post about munchies at Burning Man, although that would be an interesting topic to explore. This is about these cupcakes. Cupcakes that can really move you.

October 03, 2006

Five things to eat...

It's been a while since I've been tagged for a meme (maybe because I only do them intermittently) but Tara of the Three Tarts pinged me for this and it's one of the more useful memes I've seen in a while. Besides, I have a slightly different take on my answers so I'm going to play. Melissa of the ever-tempting Traveler's Lunchbox has asked for everyone's lists of five foods to eat before you die. The meme has been circulating for a month or so and the collected responses are...holy crap! I just went to grab the URL and it's at 1550 items to eat before you die!  That's one new thing a day for FIVE years! You no longer have an excuse for being bored with your food, go pick something off the list. Then go do it again. And again. And again. And again.

Cookies that you baked with a monstrrr (that would be a child for those of you without crib notes), especially if it's their first time baking their favorite cookies. I've made a point of telling visiting monstrrrs that we can bake any kind of cookies they want, even make something up if they'd like, and it is one of the surest hits ever. I've had twenty-somethings remind me of the day we baked their very special cookies — all of which end up named after the kids, "Kara's extra-cinnamon Snickerdoodles" and "TashiaDoodles" (since perfected on her own time) and such — and what we drank, and how the conversation has stuck with them years later. This is about so much more than cookies, they are simply the vehicle for awakening the knowledge of the wealth of experiences to be had when making and breaking bread with those we love. Plus, you often get a new cookie recipe out of it.

Something slightly unlikely with someone very special. One of my latest examples of this is vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries. It's not exactly gourmet — although there are no doubt restaurants selling french vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries for 7 bucks a serving (or would that be freedom vanilla with patriot berries?) — nor is it even unlikely in and of itself, but it was pretty unlikely at the time. And the perfect thing for the moment. The moment being 3am, which found the two of us, having just sent off chapters for the current book project and having a moment to relax, picking the berries by flashlight while some very confused kittens ran circles around our ankles.

Way too much of a favorite food. This is another thing that is perhaps best done with a child. I have fond memories of a couple of childhood food indulgences: strawberry shortcake dinners on the first day of strawberry season, a flat of Bing cherries on the first day of cherry season, the birthday child's choice of dinner and dessert. Oddly enough, we ended up with the same cake several times a year as one child after another chose "that chocolate cake, you know the one"...and we did know "the one" because it was the same as always. I should note that when I had a chance to have "the cake" at the Nut Tree Restaurant, which is the source of the recipe, it was just about identical to the one that we made.

A child's invented dish that makes you go "ick" Every kid has concocted something that they absolutely love and would eat every day that makes their parents retch. theKid's was hot dog and sharp cheddar omelettes with jelly; it had to be cheapish hot dogs (no hebrew national kosher for her) with Tillamook sharp cheddar (black label extra sharp if she could get it) and jelly, not jam. There is some aspect of this that totally squiks me out; maybe it's the insistence on jelly...or the cheap hot dogs...but ewwww, ick! I did have this once, well I had ONE bite of this once, and have managed to escape a repeat performance. Luckily for me, someoneElse was more cooperative and used to make two at a time so he could eat one with theKid...usually while I hid in another room.

Something that stretches your cooking skills  I almost made this 'homemade bread' but that's second nature for some folks and that's so not the point. Think of a food you really love but would never try making, then make it. Having been raised to be utterly fearless in the kitchen, I still find some pastries intimidating and have had to twist my own arm to make myself attempt them. Having lost my fear of danish and pie crusts, I'm moving on to something else...those gorgeous molded chocolates are looking more appealing lately, even though tempering chocolate seems tricky. But tricky is good. No tricky=no feeling of accomplishment.

Maybe you can see a pattern here. For me, food is about much more than food. It's about creation, sharing, indulgence, validation of individual quirks (even the ones that make you go ick). And if you help inspire a child to cook and enjoy good food you are doing a doubly good thing.

I'd tag someone but I am late to this party so most of you have already done this. Oh wait, Miz D. has been moving and busy, I'll be mean and tag her! And Cherry because she has more energy behind her collection of blogs than I can imagine.

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