Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007


My experiment with being PDAless didn't last beyond the first hour of work today Monday, 11/05/07. Can anyone guess why? Of course, DST trumps PDAless every time. The first time I had to log into an obscure video switching system to set its display clock to/from DST... required my PDA and its encrypted list of obscure passwords. Sheeeeeesh.

Although DST is common in Europe and North America, most of the world's people do not use it.      DST used      DST no longer used      DST never used
Although DST is common in Europe and North America, most of the world's people do not use it.
DST used
DST no longer used
DST never used

Open Kitchen

Restaurant Spending

According to the National Restaurant Association's report Restaurant Spending -- 2004:

  • The typical American household spent an average of $2,434 on food away from home in 2004. Per-capita expenditures on food away from home averaged $974 that year.
  • Households with incomes of $70,000 and over spent an average of $4,308 ($1,390 per capita) on food away from home in 2004. Close to half (47.6 percent) of the total food dollar in these households was spent on food away from home.
Citing speed, convenience and variety Americans are spending "Close to half (47.6 percent) of the total food dollar in these households was spent on food away from home." To me this means two very important things: first, Americans, particularly young people, are not practicing their cooking. Second, the American family is spending even less time in what should be the most revered and honored room in the house, The Kitchen.

When we stop upholding the value of food in our daily lives. When we relinquish the skills of preparation and presentation. When we give up the communion of family meals then we throw ourselves at the feet of the Food Processors.

My children were both fascinated with and horrified by Soylent Green. They it saw it through new eyes. They, who are only interested in microwaving instant meals, couldn't understand the import of a stalk of limp celery. They, who have yet to live for weeks on end eating rama noodles, didn't recognize the succulent, evocative implications of eating strawberry preserves one salacious spoon- licking bite at a time.

It is time to get back to the Sacristy of the Kitchen before it is too late.

Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
"repository of sacred things," 1601, from Anglo-Fr. sacrestie, from M.L. sacrista, from L. sacer "sacred" (see sacred).

BONUS LINK: Soylent Green T-shirts (not for the faint of heart).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Homemade chocolate chip cookies

...need I say more?

Open BTUs

Originally uploaded by william_meloney
I have had the luxury and the privilege of traveling outside the US. I have been allowed to visit remote villages both in Mexico and in China. I was very surprised by the similarity of the two.

A rice paddy is drained and allowed to dry to just the right consistency. It is then scored into brick shapes, roughly 8"x 14" x 4". The bricks are removed from the paddy and allowed to dry further. I am not sure if they are "fired" but judging by the deterioration of old structures I do not believe they are. Then the next home is built. But "home" is to restrictive a label - home/barn/stall/pen/silo/hay loft/warehouse/et al.

Only subtle architectural detail differentiates the mud homes in China from the mud homes in Mexico.

Pictured here is the People's Home of rural China. This is a standard 5 room house. The central room fronted by the porch in the middle and is flanked by two rooms on either side. Above is a open loft.

In one of these homes that I visited the cooking area was inside. I did not find any inside plumbing. More often than not one of the five rooms contained livestock.

The Tobacco barn, picture at the top, is of particular note. Applied to the walls surrounding the hearth are "fuel" patties. A mixture of coal dust and organic material, primarily cattle dung is formed into patties and then slapped against the wall to dry. Later they will be peeled off and use in the hearth to cure the tobacco hung in the tobacco barn.

Below is an excerpt from the EIA's statistics of World Energy Consumption. What is of significance is the disparity of energy use verses population. China with an estimated population of 1.3 Billion people use 20% less energy than the United States with an estimated population of approximately 301 Million people.

This large table shows world energy consumption by region, from 2004-2030, for OECD countries and Non-OECD countries. For more information, contact: National Energy Information Center at 202.586.8800.

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