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Happy Blow Things Up Week, America!

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If it's the Fourth of July, it must be time for my traditional celebratory photo.

Marshmallow, meet the first amendment. First amendment, meet a marshmallow (homemade raspberry marshmallows with a layer of bittersweet chocolate in the middle, to be precise).

That thing in the background, btw, is my old military insignia, from when I swore to protect and defend the Constitution (of which the 1st amendment is perhaps my favorite part) from all enemies foreign and domestic. Nobody said a thing about protecting flags from flames and graham crackers.

Have a hppy and safe holiday, everyone!

Wordless Wednesday: Hardwood Floor 1, Knife 0

My-favorite-Oxo-Paring-Knife-Broken-Tip

My favorite paring knife. tiny sob

Padma Lakshmi May Have a New Gig

Padma-TB

Apparently, Padma has a new gig as the Stepford Vampire on True Blood.

No?

You sure? This photo has that scary undead-dead-eye thing going on.

Padma-lakshmi-lickthespoonThe truly sad thing is that this is a barely adapted real ad from the Top Chef / Bravo on crack PR people. The only changes were cropping, and a swap of text and the color of the chocloate/blood on her arm.

It's a "For Your Consideration" (Please, We Beg of You, PLEASE Give Us An Emmy) ad designed to sell the Emmy people on Padma as a...host, I guess...since that's the category.

Bravo, I do NOT want to lick that spoon. The majority of your viewers are probably also disinclined to lick that spoon. Hell, even Padma does not want to lick that spoon, although, according to Urban Dictionary, that expression may indicate that she has, in fact, licked that spoon well and good.

Since it's 2012 and we are all equal and stuff, where's Tom Colicchio's money shot? Yeah, that's what I thought. It's also why food is still a feminst issue.

Food Revolution Day: Make Your Own (Lower) Sugar Chocolate Milk

Chocmilk3
See that innocent looking glass of chocolate milk? It's public school enemy #1, at least according to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Seriously, they declared an entire week to fight against flavored milk in schools and it often seemed to be the defining issue in the school lunch debate.

This seems, to me, like an odd focus. Flavored milk doesn't even make my top ten list of problems when it comes to school lunches. Bad policies, processed commodity food, budgets and staff stretched to the breaking point, a lack of creative thinking at the highest levels, and kitchens without actual cooking equipment...those strike me as the real enemies.

Flavored milk, not so much.

Still, Oliver's enthuiasm about feeding kids better lunches is laudable, even if his approach sometimes seems to be more showman than scientist and I am sometimes left questioning WTF this or that stunt or statistic was about. I have both questioned and snarked while watching the spectacle, wishing all the while that we'd see more serious work from Oliver...less reality show and more reality.

Today makes me happy.

Food Revolution Day, Oliver's latest endeavor, is a day of food-focused activity designed to get people talking, teaching, cooking, and eating good, healthful food. It's about home cooking, getting in the kitchen with your family (If you need a cookbook, might I suggest mine) When I heard about that mission—and nary a word about banishing flavored milk—I couldn't help but jump in with both feet and a bit of a 'tude...

Continue reading "Food Revolution Day: Make Your Own (Lower) Sugar Chocolate Milk" »

Reflections and Shades Upon an Anniversary...

Seven years ago, kitchenMage was born into a rather small and snuggly online food'verse. Quirky sites like Belly-Timber (now sadly in eternal hiatus) could tell the tale of the Mighty Cheese Warriors (cached) to a crowd that was sufficiently inside to get the joke and Food Blog S'cool meant we didn't need no stinkin' conventions.

In 2005, agents and publishers had not yet begun to demand that their writers start a weblog. This is fortunate for me since I might have ended up writing about nothing but esoteric technical topics, government compliance, training and other things that, as one reader said, "makes your brain hurt." I still do that work but I have also written a cookbook and having food as an additional focus has been sanity-saving.

Anniversaries are time for reflection and renewal and this one is true to form. kitchenMage is undergoing a serious makeover behind the scenes; one that has been near-eternal, largely because a few months ago I decided that I needed to rework the structure and content as opposed to simply the look and feel.

For a variety of reasons, the last few years has left me reading a lot more than writing and it's been interesting. The food'verse has been utterly transformed since way back in 2005 and not always for the better. While there are a lot of really great web sites, they are increasingly hard to find amongst the self-promotional noise and assemblages of food-like substances.

Just today a twitter conversation led me to discover that "pie inside cake" gets 13.5k hits on The Google. Fortunately, fewer than 500 are images. On the other hand, most involve frozen pies and cakes from a box. The more ridiculous the combination, the more likely it is to garner attention and page views. I have found myself sighing a lot as I read.

Continue reading "Reflections and Shades Upon an Anniversary..." »

Noisy Jelly: Magical Musical Game

Noisyjelly
This thing looks like pure fun!

A couple of technomages in Europe have conjured up Noisy Jelly, this odd-looking device consisting of a box with electronic bits and gelled cones of agar-agar/salt solution. They describe it like this:

With this noisy chemistry lab, the gamer will create his own jelly with water and a few grams of agar agar powder. After added different color, the mix is then pour in the molds. 10 min later, the jelly shape can then be placed on the game board, and by touching the shape, the gamer will activate different sounds.

Technically, the game board is a capacitive sensor, and the variations of the shape and their salt concentration, the distance and the strength of the finger contact are detected and transform into an audio signal.

This object aims to demonstrate that electronic can have a new aesthetic, and be envisaged as a malleable material, which has to be manipulated and experimented.

Note : This project is a fully working prototype made with Arduino and Max/Msp, there are absolut no sound editing in the video...

Noisy Jelly press kit (from which I also extracted the photo)

I can see many of you nodding along with blank looks on your faces (me too at first) but here it is in action.

Is that the coolest thing you have seen lately?

From what I can see this is not likely to hit the store shelves any time soon but it is a fascinating and fun convergence of food and tech.

Creators:

Raphaël Pluvinage
Marianne Cauvard

More information:

Noisy Jelly press kit
Noisy Jelly flickr set 

By the way, this bit of wonder came my way via the Very Short List newsletter which delivers a blessedly brief bit of "cultural gems from a different curator every day." I only signed up recently and find it more interesting than not, which is saying something these days.

Cupcake Epiphany!

768px-Chocolate_Cupcakes_with_Raspberry_Buttercream_detail Photo courtesy Whitney in Chicago via Wiki.

As anyone who hangs out here knows, I have long had an antipathy for cupcakes. To my mind, cupcakes have represented what is most problematic with the world: Overpriced, tasteless, twee, empty calories mindlessly consumed instead of more usefull options. Not to mention that the sprouting of cupcake stores on every corner has not helped the US obesity crisis...well, except to help it grow.

Recent data sorting on my computer has turned up the draft of my The Manifesto
of a Cupcake Abolitionist. Last thing I did before shutting down my computer last night was move a copy of the Manifesto to my "Writing NOW" folder so I could find it.

Continue reading "Cupcake Epiphany! " »

Gideon's Kitchen ~ Key & Peele

This captures the emotional manipulation of cooking shows just about perfectly.

from Key & Peele

Photo Geotagging: Stop Giving Out Your Home Address on Twitter

Welcome BlogHer readers!

How exciting to be on the front page of one of the top 100 US web sites. Congratulations on the recognition of your growth, BlogHer! I remember when you were a tiny fledgling thing...my how you've grown.

If you are new to kitchenMage, thanks for clicking by. Perhaps you would be interested in a sampling of my most popular recipes: Simple, flaky biscuit recipe (1k+ Pinterest Pins and often #1 on Google!), Small Batch Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls, No-cook ice cream recipe (yes, with eggs. I also rant occasionally: Dear PETA, women are animals too... and I am sort of chuffed that I got into Wikipedia for a bit of humor Cooks Source Statement: Slightly Corrected.

Um, see that ad on the top of the sidebars? I wrote a cookbook Picture Yourself Cooking With Your Kidsstep-by-step photos of recipes using real food, a Cook's Primer that includes lots of food for thought, and loads of tips on getting your kids into the kitchen with you. (Enough self-promotion, on with the post...)

Updated 3.22.2012 Sometime in the last twenty-four hours, between when this was posted and this morning, the Instagram maps I discuss have disappeared. Instagram is oddly quiet, too. I have inquiries out and will update you when I know something but in the meantime I am feeling all internet powerful and stuff...

Walt statue
photo courtesy Darren Wittko

 “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Walt Disney

Walt died in 1966, years before the guys who invented Twitter were born, yet one look at a twitter stream will show you that Walt's words are still true today.

Twitter handles a staggering 22.5 million photos a day, according to twitter founder Ev Stone, about 25% of the 90 million total daily tweets. Media Bistro cites over 58 million photos were shared on Twitter in December 2011.

I know that those two statistics don't exactly add up but to be honest, statistics about twitter vary widely enough to make me doubt the specifics of all of them. My guess is that if I bothered to dig, Ev's numbers would reflect retweets while the second number counts photos, not tweets. In any case, the numbers are huge and that's somewhat beside the point.

Which is: What exactly are you sharing with the world when you tweet a photo?

Continue reading "Photo Geotagging: Stop Giving Out Your Home Address on Twitter" »

Vegetables: A song (chomp chomp)

Just the other day I was thinking, there are not enough songs about food, especially healthy food. The next evening, over a cup of tea, the Keepers of one of my favorite Happy Places said "You have to hear our latest song!"

Ask and you shall receive...

Vegetables (Beach Boys) presented here by Sunrise and Jessica Fletcher. Perhaps the only song with vegetables being eaten as percussive instrument—Paul McCartney sat in on celery on the original...how cool is that?

Apologies in advance for the earworm but it is worth it.

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All content on this site is © Beth Sheresh (2005-2012). Please play nice and don't take things that aren't yours.
See something you like and want to use? Drop me a note, kitchenMage(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm pretty agreeable when people ask.