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January 13, 2005

Winter long

The holidays are over, but winter is still with us. Do I continue to seek out winter recipes to post on the site, or shall I begin the transition to spring? Most of the recipes I have been publishing are solidly in the winter category: soups, stews, baked winter squash, and lot's of so-called comfort food (like rich casseroles and heavy pasta dishes). Actually, there are not many spring-influenced recipe submissions in the database yet, but I expect we will start getting recipes for strawberries, peas, and lamb quite soon. I'm not ready for winter to be over. I have not even been snowshoeing yet!

Today's headphone musical selection is the three CD set on Deutsche Grammophon of Beethoven's late string quartets, performed by the Emerson String Quartet. I am particularly fond of the Quartet in A minor, op. 132. The intense and emotional ending of the third movement nearly brings me to tears every time! I went last night to see and hear the Emerson String Quartet perform live at Meany Hall on the UW campus. They played Bach's Art of Fugue, the subject of their latest CD, in the first half of the concert, and finished off with Beethoven's String Quartet in C sharp minor, op. 131 -- thus the inspiration for today's CD selection. The Bach was delicate and beautiful. I particularly liked the Beethoven, though. It really perked things up, especially the wild interplay of the plucked notes. On CD the Quartet is very smooth and elegant. Live, the players pushed and pulled, and sounded downright scrappy. It was a great show! Check out the Emerson at:

January 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

Let's get physical

I had my annual physical this morning. Apparently, everything is working smoothly, and, as a result of watching what I eat and exercising regularly, I have lost 8 pounds since this time in 2004. I have never had a weight problem, but sitting in a cubicle all day has never resulted in fab abs as far as I know! As I have mentioned, I am a vegetarian, but I have been trying to eat less cheese and to stop the random workplace snacking that always seems like such a great idea in the afternoons. I have also tried to increase my salad intake and reduce my sandwich intake at lunch time. For exercise, I stick pretty much to running about 4 times a week. I also walk a lot, and I have been trying to lift weights the past several months, but where's the fun in that? Running is actually quite popular here at Allrecipes, and several members of the team, including our illustrious CEO, actually go at lunch! I'd go during the day, but I'd have to start showing up a little earlier in the mornings.... Well, with all the good news about weight loss, I think it's time to prepare myself a late breakfast. I wonder if we have everything we need in the Allrecipes kitchen to whip up a batch of good old J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits ?

January 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005

Eat yerself fitter!

We have several new reference books here in the Editorial department at Allrecipes, and today I have been comparing entries on cannibalism. The Oxford Companion to Food merely acknowledges the topic, noting that in most cases human flesh was consumed in connection with various rituals, but that "there have, however, been cultures in which human flesh was consumed, straightforwardly, as food...." Disturbing and intriguing! The topic is treated more expansively by The Cambridge World History of Food in the section entitled "Food and drink around the world." The subject of cannibalism arises repeatedly during this broad study of various cultures, and is discussed in fair detail. For example, the debate as to whether the practice in Aztec culture originated as a result of protein deficiency is touched on, and it is noted that the Maoris practiced cannibalism as "a form of revenge...desecrating the victims beyond the grave by turning them into cooked food." I could not help but notice that, according to this study, only non-European cultures seem to have indulged in human flesh; however, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto points out in his Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food that "human bones snapped for marrow seem to lie under the stones of every civilization." Fenandez-Armesto's account of cannibalism is the most expansive, taking up nearly nine pages at the beginning of his inquiry into the role of food as "rite and magic." He notes the irrefutable evidence of cannibalism around the world, cites the eye-witness accounts of numerous European explorers, and also describes the role of cannibalism as propaganda tool: " was an extremely useful attribute to ascribe to one's enemies; for cannibalism...was classed as an offense against natural law.... With impunity, Europeans could attack them, enslave them, forcibly subject them and sequester property from them." He touches on Western society's occasional recognition of cannibalism as a necessity in cases of extreme desperation, as might occur after disasters at sea or air crashes. Finally, he addresses the problem of the meaning and place of cannibalism in our society, ending with the amusing statement: "Strangely, cannibals turn out to have a lot in common with vegans." Altogether, his treatment of the topic is the most lively and engaging presented in any of our new books. Not a pleasant subject, but one worth at least minimal mention in studies of human eating. Hopefully, we won't be receiving any questions on the topic from site users!

January 11, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 10, 2005

Snow Storm '05

The people who control the weather have been threatening Seattle with a significant snow fall for nearly a week. Well, on Sunday morning at 7 AM, upon lifting the shades on the patio door, I was greeted by a back yard filled with about 2 inches of lovely wet snow. The neighbors were out building a snow man. I went back to bed. Later, when me and the wife got up for real, we realized we were trapped in the house in the midst of the terrific blizzard of aught five with NO GROCERIES! Never afraid to scrounge, I searched the cupboards high and low and realized we had everything necessary to whip up a batch of always popular To Die For Blueberry Muffins. I used 1 cup frozen mixed berries (I had to chop the strawberries) in place of fresh berries, and just for kicks I replaced 1/2 cup flour with quick-cooking oats. I also used soy milk instead of regular milk, and reduced the sugar by about 1/3. Forty five minutes later we were enjoying hot muffins and coffee, and watching the melting snow sliding off the plum trees out front. A beautiful January morning!

January 10, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 07, 2005


I am one of only three vegetarians here at Allrecipes. Some folks think three is a lot! Being a vegetarian in Seattle is not particularly difficult -- most restaurants offer at least a couple meatless options, and there are many Asian restaurants serving a wide range of vegetarian fare. As for eating at home, no I don't sit around chewing on tofu all day. Just take a look at the Allrecipes vegetarian collection and you will get an idea of all the options available! I imagine in some parts of the U.S., eating meat-free is not quite as simple. The last time I visited my family in South Carolina they offered me and my wife beefalo as a vegetarian option! Hmm....

January 7, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 05, 2005

Cold day, hot food.

I started my morning by finishing off my delicious batch of Cinnamon Rolls II.

They smelled wonderful, even when reheated!

January 5, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)