Monday, December 29, 2008

Cast Iron (Wo)man

I have a serious love/hate relationship with my cast iron skillet. I love its evenness of temperature, ability to sear a steak like nobody's business, that it is non-toxic, non-stick, super inexpensive ($14) and it will probably last my lifetime with proper care.

The care constitutes all of the hate part. Proper seasoning of the skillet prevents the steel from rusting and keeps food from interacting with the metal (which could affect flavor, iron content, and corrode the metal if the food is really acidic, e.g., tomatoes). But its a multi-step process involving elbow grease, grease and hot water. And I'm still not sure if its safe to use butter (since it can go rancid).

Now if you are still using Teflon-coated cookware, please consider switching over. A NY Times article about unusual pets led me to dig deeper when it mentioned that fumes from a Teflon-coated pan can kill a bird. Pans can also cause flu-like symptoms in humans when heated at high temperatures (Wonder if my old roommate Tom is still frying meats in my old Teflon-coated wok that he pretty much ruined to flakes).

DuPont maintains that Teflon is completely safe and agreed in September 2004 to a $107.6 million settlement with residents of the communities around Parkersburg that is funding two major studies of C8's health impacts., DuPont could also be due for another $235 million payout for medical testing costs if a link to illness is proven. DuPont also installed treatment systems to get the chemical out of local water.

C8, a chemical used in the production of its cookware has been linked with severe birth defects
DuPont has a history of flouting safety regulations. Most recently "allegedly failing to provide information to the EPA about the health effects of a pollutant one of its plants spilled into drinking water." Nice job, guys, of course I trust your health claims!

I bought my skillet at my favorite local cookshop, the Brooklyn Kitchen. But really, you can find them at most well-stocked purveyors of kitchen goods.

Sources
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/4716.php
http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/200812050678
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/14/business/14shortcuts.html?pagewanted=print
http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2072815/

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Turn sour milk into delicious yogurt in just 8 hours!

I'm not sure where I picked it up, but as a child, I remember hearing that you could cook with sour milk. Once I got to cooking age, that no longer seemed to apply, and friends would be unsympathetic when I would tell them about drinking milk past its expiration date because it didn't taste sour—but was definitely past its prime as evidenced by my discomfort.

Well, finally, I get to say I told you so. Turns out sour milk is perfectly drinkable, albeit in its raw, unpasteurized form. (And it should go without saying, from a healthy pastured animal.)

In fact, leaving milk out to sour was a common way to preserve the milk before pasteurization became the order of the day. Soured raw milk actually tastes sour because of the increased amounts of acid—not an unpleasant taste, especially if you're accustomed to and enjoy the tanginess in sour cream, yogurt or goat's milk. But unlike pasteurized milk, where the sterility opens the floodgates for any number of harmful bacterias to proliferate, raw milk never spoils. It sours, then curdles and separates, but even then, it contains many beneficial nutrients and bacteria.

Which meant my week-old souring milk was just ripe for making yogurt.

Recipe for raw milk yogurt.
  1. Heat the milk just before the point it's too hot to touch (you should be able to swirl your finger in it without discomfort), which is around 100˚ Fahrenheit.
  2. Pour into a clean mason jar.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt (I used Hawthorne Valley).
  4. Cover and set it in the oven with the oven light (and pilot light) on. It needs to be maintained at about 95˚ for 8 hours. Or put it in a cooler with some hot water bottles.
  5. Cool it in the refrigerator.
  6. Mix in some fruit and honey for a delicious breakfast treat or enjoy plain.

And yes, raw milk is illegal to sell in New York. But you can join in a cow-share, or buy direct from a farm. Find more info at realmilk.com.

Trial and Error
I think I overheated the milk slightly and it came out a little chewy...more like a cottage cheese. But it's still pleasantly tangy and yummy.
Link

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giddy for Raw Milk



I have been trawling the internets looking to get my hands on raw milk delivery. You've seen it on TV, the glass bottles, the milkman in his starched whites, the little icebox truck. Well, now, me too! I found a co-op that delivers in NYC and now I will be the envy of all my eco-foodie-nerd friends.

Nutritional benefits of whole raw milk are many:

Contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) present in pastured (that's grass-fed) cows helps:
  • fight cancer
  • build lean muscles
  • boost immunity.
(It's also present in chicken skin of pastured chickens...no wonder moms always made chicken soup for colds.)

  • The rich butterfat contains vitamins A and D which help you better absorb the calcium and protein in the milk.
  • It's rich in fatty acids which protect against disease and stimulate the immune system.
  • It contains glyco-spingolipids which prevent intestinal distress (many more adults and children are susceptible to diarrhea from pasteurized milk which kills all this good stuff).
  • A and D vitamins re-introduced post-pasteurization are measly substitutes for the real thing.

Why do factories homogenize milk? So you won't have to see all the white blood cells, bacteria, blood and pus settled at the bottom as a result of sickly, overworked cows (gross).

Many health advocates (and cow farmers) have promoted its consumption to treat ailments such as:
  • allergies
  • obesity
  • arthritis,
  • asthma, digestive/gastrointestinal problems
  • PMS
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • psoriasis
  • poor digestion
  • inflammation
  • skin conditions
  • bronchitis
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney disease, etc. (Nina Planck: Real Food)
  • boost immunity
  • build lean muscle
  • cure tuberculosis,


Raw milk is rich in enzymes and contains all 22 of the essential amino acids, the building blocks of life1, including phosphate. Phosphate is essential for the absorption of calcium and is plentifully present in raw milk but is completely destroyed by pasteurization. Prosphatase is an essential agent to the proper development of a strong skeletal structure.

The enzyme lipase is also present in raw milk. Lipase aids in the digestion of fats. It is destroyed by pasteurization as well. Lactase, an enzyme that helps with milk digestion and in the digestion of lactose, is in raw milk.

Dr. Joseph Mercola said on his web site, In my opinion raw milk is the finest source of calcium available. ";
Raw milk is also an excellent source of vitamins particularly vitamin B12, a necessary vitamin that is difficult to find in non-meat sources

1. Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland found that raw milk contains 2 1/2 times more of the enzyme lgG than pasteurized milk. This important enzyme inhibits rotavirus organisms that cause diarrhea in infants. Natural vitamin C is 33% higher in fresh raw milk than in pasteurized milk

2. Many people don't realize that vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and enzyme inhibitors that kill pathogens are all destroyed by pasteurization. 2 Francis Pottenger, M.D. proved that raw milk reversed scurvy.
Raw milk naturally has enzyme-based pathogen killers. These enzymes include lactoferrin, xanthine, oxidase, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and nisin. Research has shown that when pathogens were added to raw milk they would not grow. The salmonella could not be found after less than 24 hours. The listeria and the E. Coli would not grow either.

3
Thus, research has shown that raw milk contains enzymes and antibodies that make milk actually less susceptible to bacterial contamination. Dr. Crew used raw milk therapy on people with advanced cases of pulmonary tuberculosis and they improved rapidly. John Fowler M.D., Worcester Massachusetts, reported relief of muscle cramps in pregnancy. He said that raw milk therapy was very effective, and in no instance where used faithfully, were the muscle cramps in pregnant women a cause of discomfort.
(http://mysite.verizon.net/jsschleh/gardenhomefarm/id18.html)

Send me your email, and I'll send you the number of my delivery people

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ScaryAss Bitches at Lord & Taylor

I found myself with a couple hours to kill after work a couple weeks ago and wandered into Lord & Taylor for some casual browsing. Immediately, a hooker make-up girl pounced over to tell me a national renown make-up artist was at the store and wouldn't I like to try out some stuff. I felt game and said, Yeah! The enthusiasm, of course, wore off in about point two seconds.

She sat me down and asked me what make-up do I wear. I told her, Oh not much, just some mascara and lipstick, and actually, I'm wearing the worst color does she have any suggestions? But she had her agenda and wanted me to try on some YSL moisturizer, because despite the price, it would last a WHOLE YEAR and look how young it made her look, now she actually got carded at places she never got carded before. Which.... I found difficult to believe because her face was totally busted . But already she was lathering on moisturizer. On My Face. Without even asking and kept poking me in the eyes, like wtf?! And then already she was spackling on foundation, and I was like, WHOA, I'm not really comfortable with that, I don't really want that on my face. And the whole time I'm sitting there, she is every once in a while pressing her pubic bone right on my knee and I'm feeling very uncomfortable and trapped and worrying I'm going to have a panic attack right there and how do I get out of there?

She calls over the National Make-up Artist. Hi, he yawns, I'm Braaad. And he's already whipped out a brush and is sweeping bronzer all over my cheeks and my eyelids and holding up the mirror, How does that look? Um, okay, I guess, yeah, it looks okay. And they discuss my lipstick color, and he comes over and meticulously applies a fresh coat (this takes about 5000 eternal minutes), and I look and say, No that color is Awful, Brad. So he tries another, and I say, Uh, missed the mark again. And he is getting annoyed, Well what color do you want, you said you wanted a wine-y color and this is wine.

The little bubble of panic in my chest is threatening to break.

So he goes and looks for a different color. And suddenly, reason sets in, Of course I can just get up and leave at any time. And I grab my phone out of my purse. Oh Look, I say, I'm meeting my friend, sorry, gotta run.

And Brad is standing there, head tilted, an invisible hand on his hip, Well don't you want to buy anything. No. Well, he says, How about the bronzer at least?

And I say, No. Like hello, I already told you bitches, I don't wear that crap.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm sorry!

I'm sorry, I'm sorry I did not take a picture of the hot dog salad my sister made me for breakfast that I so rudely ignored. Sorry! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm busy! But I can still dream about my favorite author.

Borges loathed mirrors for their ability to reproduce realities. The puzzle I dreamed last night expanded on that idea. In the dream, a man was being interrogated for treason under a false name. The narrater spelled out the dilemma: If the man told the truth, there would remain two realities, the reality of the man and the reality of his alter ego, Nicolaus Krazinksy. And if he denied the truth, he would multiply the number of possible realities. My waking mind had to write it all down to decipher. 

The conclusion I finally came to: If  he lied, the realities number four. The reality of the man, the reality of Nicolaus, the reality of the man who lied about who he was, the reality of Nicolaus Krazinsky lying about who he is. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

What People Are Saying


Posted By: Fred H

If God wanted us to stop global warming he would have given us solar panels and hybrids. But He didn't give us that, LIBERALS did! God gave us coal and oil and nucular [sic] power to burn because God's breath is strong enough to blow away more pollution then the liberal windmill generators can. And those wind things are stupid because they don't spin fast enough to blow anything away!* Smog will always be there like it or not! Catalytic converters don't make LA cleaner! But they make cars S L O W. When I was your age we didn't have computers and catalytic converters and things were just fine. Now everything costs more because of global warming laws and unions. But in my day things were cheap and nobody went around saying oil was running out. But the kooks in the EPA want to make money so they LIE and use FEAR to take our minds of whats really going on and that the de-Christianizing of the world. Thats what greenies, liberals, satanists and islamics have in common! Dont you see what they are trying to do?


Posted on: 7/28/2008 2:31:27 AM


*This is my favorite part!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strangers and Elders



So, in one month, my sister Sang Hyun will be visiting NY/and the US for the first time....for a whole month. As promised, I will be posting a regular Korean primer for her imminent arrival.

There are no difficult tonal or glottal sounds to worry about in the Korean language. If you see a as the second letter (as in Hyun), it is pronounced like the y in you not like the vowels i or e. So Hyun is pronounced like "yun" with the "h" sound prefacing it. 

As you may already know from various ethnic (and offensive!) jokes, there is no r or l in Korean, but rather a letter somewhere in between. The tongue is not quite as curled back as for an r, but not on the tongue either, like for an l. It can sometimes sound like "d."

Okay anyway, so here are some words. 

Small chat.
An-yang-ha-seh-yo hello (ha-say-yo is the formal ending used
for strangers and elders)

Peg-oh-pah-yo? Are you hungry? Pretty much the first 
question Koreans ask when you enter their 
home/meet you. Always appropriate to ask.

Peg-oh-pah-yo. I am hungry. (Changing the intonation 
makes a question a statement—like English).

Mah-shi-ssuh-yo?/. Is it delicious?/It is delicious.

____jju-seh-yo. Give me___ (polite way for request.)
Mek-chu jju-seh-yo.  Give me a beer (polite).

____iss-suh-yo?/. Do you have___?/I (we) have___.
Kimchee iss-suh-yo?/. Do you have kimchee?/We have kimchee.

Cho-ah-yo. I like it.

cho-gum a little
Cho-gum peg-oh-pah-yo. I am a little hungry.

mah-nee a lot/many/very
Mah-nee peg-oh-pah-yo. I am very hungry.

Numbers.
Koreans always ask how old you are. It will probably be the second thing they ask you after "are you hungry." Oh yeah, since the language is very hierarchy-based, this kinda makes sense. In which case, most of you, my friends, will only really need to count to 30ish.

Also, Koreans use Korean and Chinese numbers. Korean for hours and ages, Chinese for minutes, months, money. I don't know why.

Noh-nun, myuh-sal-ee-nun?  How old are you? (Literally: You, how many years have?) 
Na-nun ___sal im-ni-da. I am ____years old (polite).

(Korean)
1 hana
2 tul (like "tool" but shorter vowel)
set (soft "t," like "seh")
4 net (soft "t," like "neh")
tasa
6 yoh-sol
7 il-gohp
8 yoh-dohl
9 a-hope
10 yol
11 yol-hana
20 suh-mul (like mool, but shorter)
30 soh-run
33 soh-run set
39 soh-run a-hope
40  ma-hun
50 swin
60 yeh-sun
70 ee-run
80 yo-dun
90 a-hun
100 bek

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da!  Thank you!

And if anyone knows how to create columns in this thing, let me know!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What Is Wrong With Kids Today?




Fire on Newel. Bright spot on left is the truck on fire. Fire truck lights to the right. You can see plume of smoke in top photo.

First the warning, don't walk down there, there's a fire. Just barely visible, I hadn't even noticed right away. The warner's phone was failing her, and her apartment was right there, so I made the call to 911. Fire on Newel, between Nassau and Norman. It's visible, believe me you don't need an address. Ohmigod....(As something explodes, and the fire engulfs the truck.)

My dog was with me. So left him tied to a railing. Ran up for closer inspection. A red truck, and underneath, a mattress on fire. Quickly gaining. In another second, and internal explosions could be heard, grey smoke plumed like a factory smokestack.

I ran up to one building, rang the bells, pounded on doors. Eventually I remembered I had a voice and timidly at first, yelling fire, I woke the slumbering neighbors, now in their barest sleeping clothes. That's what you do, you yell fire. But I'd almost forgotten.

I wanted to watch and see, would anything else happen. But I had the dog, and his safety was a concern, but only because someone else and their dog thought of it first. I hurried home with smoke in my lungs and clinging to my hair. All along wondering, The fuck is wrong with kids today?

This is Kate Bryant, reporting live from Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Take-Out City



I'm not sure what the actual figures are for the take-out waste the city produces, but there are approximately 10 million people living in New York. Let's say just a quarter of those people have full time jobs that require them to work off site (not from home). And from my experience working in offices, usually 75 to 98 percent of my coworkers bought their lunch daily. But for our purposes, let's say 50 percent of those 250,000 get take out. That means we'd generate waste upwards of 125,000 take-out containers, forks, spoons, chopsticks, and plastic and/or paper bags in a single day. And how many of those folks also get a coffee and roll in the morning? A midday iced coffee?

Sure you can reuse your containers, but considering recent reports of toxicity levels in plastics, who really wants to do that? So the only real solution would be to not use those take-out containers in the first place.

I've often wondered if there was some way to create reusable universal containers that every restaurant would use. Universal sushi bento boxes, universal noodle bowls, universal pizza boxes—you get the picture—with the idea that you could return said container to any participating restaurant. Alternately, they would come pick it up the next time you got a delivery.

I remember getting chajangmyun delivered in Korea several years ago. The delivery guy would pull up on his bicycle or moped with a very utilitarian metal case strapped to the back. From within, he would haul out our noodles and sauces and panchan all wrapped in plastic or metal bowls. A generous couple hours later, he would return to collect the dishes. Like room service, but on a much bigger, better, cheaper scale.

Okay, now you're going to say something about the gas consumed for the two round trips? Well, then, I guess you could always go pick it up, then drop it back off later. Of course, I doubt they still deliver the old-fashioned way now anyway.

Houdini Strikes!

the dog who ate everything
Gazooks! Someone broke into the kitchen. How did he did do it?? Secret surveillance camera shall be hooked up tonight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Breakfast!

beef, blueberries, grated squash, brown rice, cooked Swiss chard

Monday, July 7, 2008

A CSA Journal Entry

Saturday was the second pick-up from my CSA farm share and my first (and only) volunteer shift. (I split a half share with a friend which we collect every other week—although next year, I'm thinking it wouldn't be so bad to split a full share.)

This week's vegetable selection included two kinds of beets, summer squash, zucchini, kohlrabi, swiss chard (basically a top-heavy beet turns out!), mescaline mix, and arugula. Fruit included a quart of cherries, and a pint of plump little blueberries.

I also get an egg share (dozen every other week) and a flower share. I chose a bouquet of snapdragons and Sweet Williams. During the shift, I also picked up some knowledge on some other flowers I hadn't known the names of before. There were alyssum and the aforementioned Sweet Williams, as well as names I'd forgotten: cosmos, Queen Anne's lace, thistle, zinnia and black-eyed susans. Also cornflower, mums and wild grasses.

The challenge with a regular order of produce, of course, is to use it all before it spoils—which I didn't do as good a job last pick-up and ended with a quart of rotten strawberries and a sad, wilted rhubarb. So naturally I was determined to do some serious prep work at the beginning of this week.

Saturday afternoon, I trimmed, rinsed and packed all the greens. The berries looked like they would last as they were, so I just rinsed them to eat raw through the week. And I shopped and prepped around the ingredients I had. Over the past couple of days I picked up some sweet potatoes, pecans, sour cream, mint, a whole organic chicken, a hormone-free, vegetarian feed steak (the only option at the Greenpoint Met); and also cooked up a half bag of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans (which yielded maybe 3 or 4 cups).

Saturday was dinner at Wendy's. I made bean pâté with about a 1.5 cups of the beans. I fried up half an onion, chopped finely, half a pepper (which I inadvertently ended up macing myself with :( ), minced garlic, some salt, paprika, and black pepper. Then threw everything in a food processor. I used some of the reserve bean liquid to thin the paste, but it ended up being too watery, so threw in some chopped almonds Wendy had left over from making crumble topping. Came out pretty awesome and was even better on day two, with avocado.

Sunday, I separated the chicken parts, a leg, wing and breast meat for my dog Arlo. And made teriyaki chicken with the remaining limbs. I browned the chicken on medium high heat. Reduced temp to medium for glaze: equal parts tamari, mirin (I used half honey, half water), a spoonful of brown sugar, a couple drops of whiskey and waited for it get briskly bubbly. I returned the chicken to the pan and at the end also threw in some kale I had lying around. (And removed the livers and froze the leftover chicken carcass.) Served it with brown rice, beans, sweet potato. (Arlo had pretty much the same meal, less the teriyaki and oil). With luckily enough left over for lunch today.

Today, I started the brown rice as soon as I got home so it could cook while I walked Arlo. Then upon return, I scrubbed some sweet potatoes (lately the basis of Arlo's meals) and the beets (already trimmed the greens Saturday, remember?). I also started some garlic and onions cooking in a stockpot to make chicken stock from the chicken carcass. With the roots in the oven, and the chicken now browning, I sautéed some more onions in a separate pan for the chicken livers. Once the stock meat started browning, I added water, a few whole allspice, peppercorns, bay leaf, and maybe a quarter cup salt. After half an hour or so, I added all the leafy CSA cooking greens (Swiss chard and beet greens) which would add flavor to the stock as they cooked. And squash right at the end.

By this time, the livers were done, so I tossed them along with the garlic and onions in the food processor with a little sour cream. Didn't yield a ton from just a couple of livers, but enough for a quick snack tomorrow.

I also flash-broiled some of the beef for Arlo's dinner, and cut off a piece to marinate for tomorrow in some tamari, red wine vinegar (lacking rice wine), molasses, onions, garlic, miso and whiskey. Not sure how it'll taste, but I'll keep you posted!

Once the stock finished, I picked off the last bits of chicken—enough for a supermodel-sized taco, and will eventually strain and fill up a couple ice trays with it once it cools.

Total cooking time: 2.5 hours. Not bad for preparing two meals (four if you count Arlo's) and prepping for several more. Dinner was rice, greens, bean pâté, arugula. Arlo had half the beef, rice, whole beans, sweet potato, avocado and actually a few of the greens too.
(Total writing time, however, 45 minutes—not nearly as efficient.)

Tomorrow's lunch is greens, beets (to which I'll add sour cream and mint), sweet potatoes with butter and pecans, and rice.

Arlo has breakfast and dinner for tomorrow, and my steak will be ready to go tomorrow night—with a side of mescaline green, cherry tomato and arugula in a lemon-miso dressing (lemon, miso, honey, tamari).

Shew, ready for bed now.

Friday, June 27, 2008

From The Etch-A-Sketch Film Archives

video
A video I made as part of a Black Sabbath music video collage, October 2006.
Technical note: for some reason it sticks in the middle. Use the scrubber to get to the next frame and it should proceed fine for the remainder. Thanks for watching!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
Terminally fascinating. Among other things, I learned that I am what is referred to as a "developmentally retarded" smoker. And teenagers take up smoking not because *smoking* is cool, but because *smokers* are. And there you have it, folks. I don't know about you, but I sure feel like having a cigarette.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, 1950-2008


Photo: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Just five months away from an historic election, with record number citizens tuning in for political coverage, who could possibly fill his shoes.
Rest In Peace.

A Week In The Life Ch. I


Sweltering Sky
The humidity steamrolled in, leaving no brow undampened in its wake. As well, it hampered ambition; perched a sweaty arm on the rooftop just above my window. Ninety two degrees swollen to feel like a hundred and two. My tiny desktop fan, though an earnest fellow, did little more than escort in the suffocating air.

Arlo sprawled on the floor, panting recklessly. I lay near comatose on too hot sheets, rummaged my brain, thankful Arlo hadn't passed out from heat stroke while I had earlier run out to an appointment. A cool place... For the both of us... Natch. We should head to the Dog Bar aka Brooklyn Ale House, champion of four-legged barflies. Of course I would bike. Arlo setting the pace next to me. That's how we roll.

We took the best shaded streets, creeped on at snail's pace, took frequent water breaks. Not five minutes in, we're accosted by a self-righteous screecher. She clamors out of a sleek black SUV, You shouldn't be bicycling with your dog! I thanked her and continued on. You idiot, you're abusing that dog!

It was one of those all too familiar situations we catch ourselves in. Two blocks later, my mind floods with all the things I should've said; put her in her place. But lo! She's actually looped around to scold me again. You idiot! I should call someone. That is just abusive. ABUSIVE. You're an idiot. IDIOT. THIS IS ABUSIVE. This time I'm armed with my reply: Well, do you want to give us a ride? You need to get off your bike. We're kinda going at a snail's pace. I think I know what my dog is capable of.

She's still screeching at us while we cruise halfway down the block. I'm wondering if she's going to drive around yet again to berate me some more, but we've already reached our destination, and the cool air inside awaits.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Eat Safe





Because it's not like you don't have enough to carry with you, but if you're a guilt-ridden paranoid consumer like me, you might find these handy grocery wallet guides useful. (Although you could just load it up on your iPhone too.)

The fruits and veg guide lists the foods most likely and least likely to contain pesticide residue — to stretch those organic food dollars. And the fish guides are great for avoiding stocks that are over-fished or high in mercury content. Bon appetit!

Monday, June 2, 2008

On Tenterhooks


Chewhound in unrare repose.

In the hasty minutes following my departure two nights ago, Arlo snuck to the cupboards. The wafting scent of a cooling vegetable pie fingering his hound nose, tugging at a never-sated hunger. Not so out of reach, he easily shifted loose the glass dish, disturbing its equilibrium. The subsequent crash sent shards scuttling to every corner of the tile floor, bespeckled ravenous morsels.

I came home to find the corpse remains of crushed cherry tomatoes among the broken plate, dried crimson footprints. Frustration and anxiety poisoning any rational thinking on my part. And there he is running up all too happy to have me home. And is he all right? And do I call a doctor? And why did I leave it there? And why did he eat the one thing I was planning on snacking on?

But thankfully, two days later, the glass left his system without episode. Anger turned into relief. The miracle of dog bellies.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

1979



There was blood on the chicken. Us standing there in the Six Flags parking lot eating a home-cooked lunch. Just eat it, mom snapped, it’s fine. My stomach lurched. My six-year-old heart grated against my chest. I nibbled delicately around the tiny rivulet of blood trailing down the bone, the pinkening flesh. A thick grey sky hanging above. A sea of cars blurring into the horizon. An island of uncertain trust. Her verbal whip checking any protest. My father and stepbrother politely not intervening.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Arlo's Dopple?


I mean, he's kinda got that mouth thing going...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

There's My Guy Making Friends


From Don's flickr page.

Free Air Conditioner or How I Became an Architect

Part I: Dismay
Indiana, I just didn't appreciate you enough. Never then while living in a multitude of apartments historic and modern did I ever once consider that my apartment could be better designed. Not because I was too naive or wasn't looking—I did notice that the courtyard steps at my dorm were oddly spaced so that you had to take two very long strides or three very tiny ones—but because Indianians, it seems, actually cared about the relationship between the apartment and the people who functioned inside of it. And when something works well, you don't notice it because it works well effortlessly.

Not so with Brooklyn. My past few domiciles have been one lesson after another in bad design—my current apartment being a prime example, why not start here. The thing is, it looks pretty nice from a glance. Shiny wood floors, wood-frame windows, a deep cognac finish on the sleek kitchen cabinets. As it is anywhere I suppose, it's only after moving in that you notice the flaws. The floorboards (newly laid probably less than five years ago when the building was new) don't quite meet up and gape everywhere. And they shine because they're caked with varnish. The beautiful window frames require Herculean strength to close and latch. The wideness of the kitchen cupboard doors means you have to step back every time you open one. Also, there are no drawers. And the sink is the bane of my domestic aspirations. Set in a corner, with a very short faucet, I have to crook my body uncomfortably every time I want to rinse off a vegetable or wash a dish. Even though the sink sees the most action of anything else in the kitchen, the designers tucked it in the farthest reaches of a recessed corner.

Nothing about the apartment is plumb and level. Not the floors, cabinets, towel racks, bathroom sink, not the windows.

There was the apartment four years ago. My bedroom encompassed an enormous 14 by 17 space, yet the builders only whittled a tiny 2 x square for a closet. A closet so shallow that I had to hang my clothes at a 30 degree angle if I wanted to shut the closet door. Like the mythical library someone designed but forgot to account for the weight of the books, so the library sank half an inch into the ground every few years. Oh right, that was my university library...

So you see, it doesn't take much to get a building approved. I've found my new career path. Envision if you will, a kitchen sink that doesn't hurt to use, windows and closet doors that shut willingly, floors that last a lifetime, a clean and simple functional space. That's what I want to make.

Part II: Bus to Greensburg, Kansas
Here it is mid-spring in the new apartment and having kept track of the shifting in the sun's path by the light it casts on an adjacent wall, I am already anticipating the unbearable heat of summer as the rays become more and more direct.

Not to say I don't prefer my view Manhattan skyline over the neighboring pizza joint, but it's making me realize that better design would really come in handy to lower my cooling bills and keep it sunny in winter. If my windows faced more south than west, the apartment would receive direct sunlight in winter when it needed it most, and be shaded in summer, when it's the hottest.

I'm witnessing the mass exploitation of "sustainable architecture," but how many designers actually take into account the relationship of the building with its surroundings? (Okay, here's one.) Back in ancient Greece—I think it's Greece (this is me summoning up ten-years-ago college course material)—builders would angle buildings to take full advantage of the sun's warmth in the winter and the cooling breezes in the summer. The design aspect that most interests me, however, are the clay vessels used as a natural air conditioner. These giant porous pots were filled with water and set in front of entering winds. The water in the pot would cool the air flowing in thereby lowering the overall indoor temperature.

I've long wondered if something like this could be implemented for modern buildings. A giant clay pot. Gallons full of water. Sitting precariously in your window. I can already hear the lawyers gearing up as inept contractors try to install those guys...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Longest Distance Between Two Points





If I haven't been keeping up with my blog, it's because I'm spending way too much time on trains. Commuting to and from East Norwalk, Conn. for a freelance job. That's four hours a day. On a train. Four, people. And I haven't made any commuter friends yet to take advantage of Metro North's bar car which makes it even sadder.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hello Sunshine!


Volunteer!
I just signed up for two projects with Taproot Foundation. They're in dire need of designers. But, of course other skills are also appreciated....

Do It Pro Bono – Volunteer Your Professional Skills

Are you interested in:
· Using your professional skills to help strengthen local nonprofits?
· Sharpening your skills in a new environment?
· Meeting new people?

Get involved with the Taproot Foundation! The Taproot Foundation organizes and manages teams of professionals who volunteer about 100 hours over the course of a 5-6 month project to provide pro bono marketing materials, IT projects, and human resources programs to nonprofit organizations in need. Taproot's flexible project model accommodates your work schedule, enabling you to leverage your volunteer time effectively to have a real impact on the success of a local nonprofit.

If you are interested in learning more, visit www.taprootfoundation.org. Join your industry peers and get involved today!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Local Yokel


(Editor's note: on Patrick's suggestion, we attempted to cram as many iconic Williamsburg-specific markers into one picture as possible. Can you spot all six?)

Name: Patrick Bower

Occupation: Copywriter, rocker

Relationship status: In one

Neighborhood/Borough: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Why you moved to NYC:
Indiana, though admirably flat and gray, was also dull and lifeless.

What you love about your nabe:
I'm spoiled. Since all my friends pretty much live in the 'burg, I feel like I'm still in college. And since I work from home, I get to experience the tranquility of McCarren Park on Tuesday afternoon. I recently spotted a Red Tailed Hawk there. I'm also two blocks from a great video store, with the foreign section arranged by country. (Videology).

Favorite restaurant:
I'm always at Taco Chulo on Grand and Havermeyer. Two words: Cucumber Margerita.

Favorite grocer:
Marlowe & Sons has a great little shop during the day. It's the best place to get condiments from Istanbul.

Favorite local designer:
My friend Vera. You can find her jewelry at Catbird locations on Metropolitan Avenue or Bedford Avenue.

Favorite NY band: Jon Wiley.

Favorite corner to people watch:
I like the coffee kiosk on 1st and 1st. The coffee is really strong, and you can sit outside almost all year 'round.

Signature karaoke song: Ashes to Ashes: David Bowie.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Photo Op and Op and Op and Op and Pizza Party


Give a drunk girl a camera and even hands slick with truffle oil can't stop the madness. Why did I take so many pictures? I don't know. (That set is such a tiny fraction of the photos I took. Tiny.)

Except there was booze involved. Ample ample ample.

Last night was the second ever Gothamist/SliceNY pizza party held at Fornino in Williamsburg. Home to Michael Ayoub's much salivated over Tartufo pie laced with crack, I mean black winter truffles, fontina, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil, and crack.

In addition, he generously adorned spoonfuls of white truffle cream with black truffle shavings and a drizzling of white truffle oil. Viva la decadence!

Ayoub also presented an encore of his mozzarella demonstration. Then served the subtly sweet and tender morsels with a plate of red Hawaiian sea salt.

A round of house-made gelato completed the debauchery.

I Want My Pitchfork.tv



Today marks the launch of Pitchfork.tv. Because the M in MTV now stands for Mediocrity.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

This is Kind of What He Looked Like


Because what's the point of suffering through awkward situations if you can't exploit and laugh about it later; let's talk about my recent online date. I shall call him Brisket. I met Brisket at Huckleberry in Williamsburg after a few email exchanges which weren't exactly scintillating but — having only recently gotten back into the dating scene — I felt buoyed enough about potential romance that I thought, oh what the hell, why not! It's a numbers game after all, right?

Well.
I arrived shortly after he did and it was quite apparent from first glance that a) I wasn't attracted to him physically, and [a few minutes later] b) we weren't going to have any funny or interesting conversation. But at that point, a drink was being ordered and I was feeling adventurous enough to humour this guy through one round at least. And you know, there was still the possibility that he could surprise me.

Much awkwardness ensued. I tried to keep my cool, but eventually, my anxiety won out and I was completely unable to generate any sort of false enthusiasm or interest, and apparently, it showed because a few wine gulps later, he turned to me and said, you know Kate, I didn't have a lot in common with the last girl [his first online date], but at least there was some sort of connection. But...I don't think there could be any less of a connection with you.

At that point, I laughed. A big, hearty, genuine exhalation of relief. Finally, the pressure of Making This Work was completely gone. Now we could just talk about whatever and kinda laugh about the whole tedious affair of dating in the city and move on to other funny, but related topics — oh but wait. Let's get back to Brisket. Because he wasn't laughing. Not At All. Rather, he looked quite offended that I was. Because — he was saying — not only was he unhappy that this date wasn't going well, but he felt traumatized enough by it to swear off online dating forever. This, this awkwardness, was exactly what he'd imagined. And that was definitely not what he was looking for.

So I tried to make light of the situation and interjected with my standby, well, it's a numbers game—

Brisket: No. This clearly isn't for me.

Me: Oh, well, but it's kinda funny if you think about it.

(beat)

Brisket: You can go if you want.

Me: Oh, okay.

(beat)

Brisket: No, really, you can go.

Me: Well, I'll pay for my drink.

Brisket (dismissively): No, it's fine.

Me: Ohhh kay.... Well, I guess I'll see you around —

Brisket: NO, YOU WON'T.

Me: Well, I just meant, you know, the same neighborhood and —

Brisket: Right right.

Then Brisket turns his attention to the bar and shoos me away with one hand. And I think to myself, whatever LOSER. Anyway true to his word, when I checked the personals later, he really had removed his profile. It was THAT BAD.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Apple vs. Apple



Those douchebags. I mean seriously, yes it's an apple, but why does Apple feel it has to stake a claim on the Big Apple's new green apple infinity logo? They say it's "likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception in the minds of consumers." But it looks nothing like the other apple logo. I mean I know, I'm looking at it right now, on my computer, as I type this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Dodos

We trekked over to Death by Audio on S2 in Williamsburg last night to catch The Dodos who hail from San Francisco. I'm reluctant to make "sounds like" comparisons, because I'm afraid it will only be a sad revelation of the rather meager music knowledge I have compared with serious music bloggers like Soundbites or Brooklyn Vegan. Nonetheless, I'm gonna throw out there that they sound like a beautiful meandering between the likes of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and Panda Bear. Would that be so off? Lush layers like you're running through thickets of forest brush, playing Indian in the barest of clothes, under the filtered rays of the midday sun. Check 'em out.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Local Yokel



Name: Kate Bryant

Occupation: Copywriter

Relationship status: Left blank intentionally

Neighborhood/Borough: Greenpoint

Why you moved to NYC: It was love at first sight.

What you love about your nabe?
I can have pierogis for breakfast, authentic tacos for lunch, and a pretty decent pad see ew all in one day. Also, the scenery ain't too shabby. And all my friends are here.

Favorite restaurant:
Dumont Burger, the taco joint on Grand (dunno name), Snacky for their kimchee hotdogs

Favorite grocer:
Proud member of the greenpoint/williamsburg CSA. Also, Arlo is a fan of the $1.50 lamb bones at McCarren farmer's market.

Favorite local designer:
Toss up b/t Mociun & Sunshine and Shadow. Oh, and Devotte.

Favorite NY band: Free Blood, The World Without Magic

Favorite corner to people watch:
N6 and Bedford. Sitting on the bench in front of NY Muffin in the afternoon sun. (Summertime where are you?!)

Signature karaoke song: Dancing in the Dark



Sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but my two would-be respondents have yet to return their questionnaires!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lull


Illustration by Julia Kim
In the tender hours of twilight, I watch until the last traces of pink and purple fold into the transparent grey that substitutes for night. In the wee hours before dawn, I hear the gate below creaking in the slow wind. And in the sleepless hours in between, I listen to the mechanical tick of some unknown device keeping irregular time, my upstairs neighbor's unsteady shufflings, tight-lipped yelps as my dog warns his dreamland companions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Weekly Local Yokel

Name: Ryan Sovereign

Occupation: Designer

Relationship status: Single

Neighborhood/Borough: Willamsburg

What brought you to NYC?
Some college friends had an extra room in their loft/garage.

What you love about your nabe?
I can buy anything I want on the sidewalk, the girls all wear boots and have bangs, I can eat at a different Thai restaurant everyday of the week, and of course the morning commute on the L train!

Favorite restaurant:
I've never been to Marlow & Sons and not said, "This is the best thing I've ever had! Even dessert. But that's probably no surprise. There's also something special about a hanger steak and a beer at Radegast on a Sunday night.

Favorite grocer:
None, but Topps on the Waterfront has a walk in cooler and cheap 12 packs of Schaffer. Both Great in the middle of summer.

Favorite local designer:
Octopi! Anyone who can make yellow faux fur hot has to be #1 in my book.

Favorite NYC band:
Cheeseburger. They never cease to amaze live and the drummer is hot as hell.

Favorite corner to people watch:
N12 and Bedford. Turkey's Nest drunks, tennis players and cute dogs in the park! All at once.

Signature karaoke song
Rock Lobster? I do a killer Fred Schneider and duets/crowd participation songs are always best! Especially when you get to make sea animal sounds. ooo-wwaaaaahhh

Friday, March 14, 2008

Viva Los Huaraches!



I like how I'm addressed as "Dear Citizen."


dateFri, Mar 14, 2008 at 3:43 PM
subjectFood Vendors of Red Hook Park
mailed-byparks.nyc.gov

Dear Citizen:

A year ago, you wrote to us to share your love of the huaraches, pupusas, tacos, and other Latin American delights available each summer in Red Hook Park. At the time, we told you that we were obligated to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in order to comply with the regulations for concessions that were established by the city charter.

I am pleased to inform you that this week we awarded a permit to the longstanding Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park. Thanks to the joint efforts of many elected and appointed officials, the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park, and the support and enthusiasm of people like you, we will be enjoying some of the finest food to be found in New York City – or anywhere, for years to come.

I have attached a press release with more information about our announcement. Thank you again for your support, and I look forward to seeing you in Red Hook Park this summer!

Sincerely,

Adrian Benepe
Commissioner

image care of Roboppy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Whitney!




That headline was a geography test. If you immediately thought Biennial! then you live in New York. Proceed to Go.

I guess the Biennial is supposed to be some kind of litmus test for what is hot in the art scene right now. So let me pare it down for you:

HOT
Bird droppings
Inspiration walls as gallery installations
Cheese
Shiny and metallic
Vinyl-sheathed "paintings"
Trash
Cinder blocks
Broken heart
Sharded glass

If you're working with any of these mediums right now, your due for a Biennial entry has passed, because it's already been done. SAWRRY.

The 2008 Biennial is unique in its use of newly commissioned art, so while several pieces fell short on insight or execution (ahem, inspiration walls and giant litter boxes seriously?), there were enough pieces to set into flight a sense of possibility and wonder that only seeing something new and beautiful can do. So yes, go, even though you can find all those images online.

Topping the list of faves was Eduardo Sarabia's storeroom installation "The Gift." Like if you crossed a Mexican bodega with Chinatown souvenir shop then meticulously dusted and polished everything (including the cardboard boxes) into high gloss. Then hired Martin Burney to measure the placement of each freshly glazed artifact on the shelves. Perfection! Is it a commentary on commercialism? immigration policies? the whole weird concept of stores devoted to gifts? you tell me.

There were plenty of video installations to round out the entries, but for some reason, I can never really get into videos in a museum setting. For many reasons. Stepping away from the brightly lit displays into a darkened room, interrupting and being interrupted, walking in on a middle, since if it's going to be a narrative I want to catch it from beginning to end; and the complete inability to sit still when my idea of a gallery tour resembles a Sunday drive in the country: slow, leisurely, contemplative, but always moving.

However, I did find myself rather transfixed by Mika Rottenberg's video installation "Cheese," a ramshackle plywood construction, where you enter and stand in any of several viewing nooks to catch a septuplet of real-life Rapunzels (the famed Sutherland Sisters?) in various stages of an elaborate procedure for rendering one square block of cheese, not the least of which is funneling water from a waterfall back to the farm through a simple garden hose. The background noises of goat's milk spurting into a metal pail, chickens clucking, and the restless head-butting and kicking of kids fall into a mesmerizing rhythm sustaining the bucolic fairy tale atmosphere.

Exiting the viewing area, I found several women and girls furiously scribbling notes in front of Ms. Rottenberg's artist statement — perhaps suddenly inspired into feminist reverie...and failed to see any other artist garnering nearly as much attention for theirs.

Thumbs up also for other-worldly bird dropping-inspired sculptures, sugary cement blocks edged with glitter and Ry Rocklen's nail-studded bedspring.

"Cheese" image taken by Libby Rosof.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Arlo's New Organic Dog Food


When that stupid pet food recall swept the nation last year (this is in keeping with my thus far blog's theme of topics that were newsworthy before 2008), I'd initially felt some relief that I'd wisely invested in premium "natural" dog foods for the most part. Oh how easily they dupe me, because apparently "premium" just translates to "better marketing" to lure in anxious pet owners like me. Not that I was all that surprised.

And so I shopped for alternatives, eventually weaning my dog completely off dry kibble. While I'd experimented with raw food diets and other more expensive approaches, I wasn't really in a position to completely switch to homemade meals or anything — not everyday anyway. What I needed was a balance between cost effective (and convenient) cheapish food vs. real whole foods. And damned if my dog was gonna eat better than me.

I mean, what did dogs eat back in olden times, or on farms? (I frequently find myself mulling over these same such scenarios when faced with a larder full of mismatched items; i.e., How would a vegan make this quiche? What if i was lactose intolerant? How would Iron Chef prepare a dish of beets, miso paste and spaghetti noodles...? You get the picture.)

So we switched him over to a variety of canned dog foods like Merrick, Abady, Wellness, Avoderm, but none were really, you know, being digested all that well.

But Lo and Behold, just a few weeks ago, do I stumble upon a new dehydrated dog food produced by a company called The Honest Kitchen out in California (I know, shipping fuel, sad face). Just add water, and presto! A meal of "hormone-free chicken, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, apples, alfalfa, organic kelp, honey, zucchini, green beans, cabbage, bananas, papayas, yogurt, basil, garlic and rosemary" can be ready for your dog in ten minutes for just a little more than what it costs to feed the guy premium canned. And he seems to have acclimated to it pretty readily with no ill side effects, i.e., diarrhea. (Sigh of relief. Capital D smiley face!)

Added bonus, I no longer have to worry if the corn-derived lining in cans is harming him since dogs (I've read online) cannot digest corn. (I have Michael Pollen to thank for that latest bit of paranoia. Thanks.)

What can I say, I'm also kind of a sucker for their "natural" packaging.

Also, if you were wondering, it tastes like a low salt version of Lipton chicken & veg soup. Arlo told me.

I found the stuff at District Dog in Greenpoint. Word.

Tender Patch of Spring Shoots

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Be Kind, Rent Local

About a year ago, the New York Times published this piece on Movie Place, one of the last relics of that dying breed — the local video rental store. Shouldered out by rising rents and the Blockbusters of the world, these independent shops were beginning to take on a familiar modern-world patina — manufactured obsolescence — set to take their place alongside electric cars, family farms, scripted TV shows —...

Oh, but wait. Maybe we're on to something here. With the recently re-invigorated consumer obsession with all things green (sick of that word yet, don't worry, this year, it's all about the Blue), perhaps there's hope yet for mom and pop Videophile.

Even a hazardous guess at the amount of energy that goes into delivering one Netflix dvd should spur any guilt-ridden consumer into re-strategizing their video-borrowing habits... The fuel for the truck that delivers it to and from your home, the single-use (okay, double-use if you want to get technical) mailers, the tens of thousands (I presume) of new release dvds that fade from memory after a few months and thus must be liquidated or tossed out or refashioned into ugly works of "art."

Compare that to walking down to the corner to rent your movie, then walking back to the store to return it, with the dvd(s) all in the same packaging that gets used over and over by subsequent renters. Plus, you also support the local economy by reinvesting your dollars back into the community. And let's not overlook the simple pleasures in browsing the titles by hand or chatting about films with the store's other occupants or the smug sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing the bad choices that other renters make.

Of course there are benefits to a Netflix membership not to be discounted. Twofold for me (without even factoring in the price difference); it assuages any anxiety I might have of keeping a movie out too long, and well, there's the convenience factor. Here it comes, in my mailbox. And there it goes, dropped off in any number of mailboxes near my home, or work, or wherever I happen to be.

Convenience lulls us into a common complacence, sure. But with the green/blue/blue-green movement rapidly reaching critical mass, perhaps we'll be more apt to consider the myriad hidden costs it accrues. And as the old villager in Kurosawa's "Village of the Watermills" might ask, what's so great about convenience anyway? I mean, a few blocks ain't so bad now, is it? Just trying to keep it all in perspective...


Remember Kim's?
6 St. Mark's Place
89 Christopher St.
144 Bleecker St. (where I signed up for my first NY video store membership...ah, the memories)

More convenient for me, though, is:
Videology at 308 Bedford, Williamsburg
which is where I rented Kurosawa's Dreams

I'm sure there's one near you too.