Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back with a Bang

It's been a few months, but I'm back . . . with a link to the best thing I've ever found on the internet. This is not an exaggeration, people. One sunny afternoon, I was following my typical schedule - one hour of afternoon blog reading to avoid dissertation work - and I stumbled upon Public Collectors, a website that allows people to share digitized collections online or post an inventory of a collection which can be visited in person.

Of course, I noticed a digital collection titled "Food Songs" right away! Click here to experience the magic. Someone named Matt Bua has put together a huge list of songs relating to food. (Which makes it an appropriate topic for this blog, right?!) My personal favorites include 'Too Much Pork for Just One Fork' and 'That's What Makes My Baby Fat.'

Make yourself happy today - listen to some music about eating!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why is winter so long?

My mom called me this morning to tell me that it was -11 F with a windchill of -20.  We don't see temperatures like that here, but winter does seem to be dragging along this year.  Oh, mid-winter.  It's that time of the year when you feel like spring is never going to arrive and you're just tired of the cold.  While my parents freeze away in the snowy, barren landscape of the Midwest, I at least get temps in the 40s and, as an added bonus, slightly longer days. I can't cook or think about food all the time, so here are the things I have been doing to while away the winter days:

1) Working--reading documents and writing fascinating things about them. I just chose this image randomly, but it's one I have to read for my current chapter.
 2) Knitting--Finally finished these wrist warmers that I promised a friend more than a year ago I would make for her.  No one has ever accused me of being punctual.
3) "Gardening"--I re-potted a dying mint plant a few weeks ago.  I think the root system had outgrown the pot.  It gives me hope that I'll see more green things soon.
4) Running--I officially have a wool obsession.  I've worn this top for almost every run since I got it in December.  Niek laughs, because I get a little sad when it's too warm to wear.  Love, love, love wool running gear.  I don't look quite so pensive when I wear it, though.  I look much more like a dork than the model does.

5)Reading--Okay, yes, this is all cooking related.  Ottolenghi is one of my friend's favorite restaurants in London, and I think we were all disappointed that they were booked full during the week Niek and I were in London in November.  I got both of the cookbooks for Christmas this year, and I have a new cooking magazine subscription.  Oh, the inspiration!  Just looking at this picture is making me hungry.
I can't wait to see what Regan posts about her winter in L.A.  I'm pretty sure it's not cold and dreary there.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Morning Reading...Mark Bittman

This isn't a real post, more like a drive-by posting...
While looking over the NYT website's top articles, I saw Mark Bittman's latest opinion piece.  As some of the comments say, the list, while not particularly original, gives you something to think about.  While I find the overall tone nicely optimistic, it takes on that paternalistic flavor, which always seems to rankle my nerves, when it calls for educating the public on how to eat.  To be fair, I don't have any ideas about how to change food culture, so I suppose I shouldn't be too critical.  His comment on "food deserts" did remind me of the piece I just read by another blogger about the myth of the food desert in Detroit.  Perhaps America's urban inhabitants aren't as addicted to cheesy poofs and Red Bull as the press would like us to think.  Also worth reading if you feel like perusing the internet.
While the American media continues to give us all warnings about the obesity epidemic in the U.S. that will probably kill us all in some way or another, issues surrounding processed food and overweight youth get very little press here in The Netherlands.  Good thing?  Bad thing? At the very least something I'm going to need to think about more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Rejuvenation

Regan and I were talking last night, and we both decided that it is high time that we get this blog up and running again.  Of course, it won’t be quite the same, now that Regan is back in Los Angeles and I continue to feel less and less like a visitor in Amsterdam.  We’re both doing our best to write our dissertations without losing our sanity, and if I could speak for both of us here, starting the blog back up will provide both of us with some very nice “break” moments (aka procrastination) when it feels like the cycle of researching/writing/editing feels like a little more then either of us can bear. 

The last few months have been a little rough as I struggled to finish a chapter that should not have taken as long to write as it did.  It felt like a terrible weight hanging over my head, and for some reason, I didn’t make any forward progress on it for months and months.  It made me pretty unhappy, and it certainly didn’t please my advisor.  Feeling stuck can be a pretty common feeling among grad students, as I have only recently really acknowledged.  Even as I recognize I’m not the only one this has happened to, I’m not sure what the solution to the problem is.

But then somewhere around November, some switch got flipped and I started to actually want to do my work.  I knew it was really better when I started putting in more miles on my runs and I felt like reading cooking blogs again.  Maybe it was the start of Bokbier season or the fact that pumpkins were available at the market.  I don’t know, and I certainly can’t explain why during the shorter, cold days of winter I feel like working again. I can’t explain it, but I’m happy about it.

So, while I continue to go crazy writing three more chapters and two conference papers, Regan and I will once again amuse ourselves with our blog.