A blessing and a curse

Keep feeling fascination … and you end up with a blog.

If I could eat the Internet May 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 5:40 am
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There will be no hum-drum barbecue on the beach for us this Memorial Day, no way, no how. It’s a long weekend in Puerto Rico, Israel and China for this family — or at least some noshing at their wee little outposts in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages’ Ethnic Food Fair takes place Sunday, and I’ll be first in line for the plaintains, potato pancakes and pu-pu platter. OK, more like lo mein noodles in a cardboard cup, but still … it sure beats paying top dollar for the last half-melted popsicle from the ice cream truck.

What’s that?  You would like several more links pertaining to food-related topics? Well, it just so happens that I’m a giver:

  • India has its own take on the ethnic food fair, only its version takes place in Delhi every single day … and, well, the whole ‘international’ aspect is sort of lost on them. But I, for one, wholeheartedly support any offerings of exclusively Indian food, especially if it involves all the chapatti I can eat.
  • I would bathe in cilantro if I could, but to some people,  it quite literally tastes like soap. And for these people I am sorry. Truly, truly sorry. You have no idea what you’re missing. (Really? Salsa without cilantro?) But take heart: It’s not your fault.
  • I’m not sure I agree with the premise behind this article about how the Web is changing the way we eat. But I will admit that flaming a bad dining experience via Yelp takes some of the sting out of yeasty wine and the horror known as “avocado on pizza” (do you hear me, Borrelli’s?)
  • Bacon. Fruit. Cups. I don’t think there’s really anything else to say.
  • Would you ever eat six Krispy Kreme donuts in one sitting? Of course you wouldn’t. Then why are you drinking Rock Star energy drink?
  • Entirely unbeknownst to them, author Michael Pollan (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain have been battling it out for pole position as my foodie boyfriend (Michael’s got the brains, and Anthony has this). Sorry Mike, but Tony just pulled ahead in the rankings after Salon.com revealed your somewhat chauvanistic views about women in the kitchen (or out of it, anyway), and how they’ve ruined everything. Stick to farm bills, Pollan. They’re far sexier.
  • Even it comes in a cute little eensy weensy bottle and fits perfectly in the seat pocket in front of you, it’s still booze, and it will still give you jet lag. Skip the stuff, eat low-cal meals the week prior to your flight and the only time difference you’ll be noticing is how long it takes for an Irish toilet to flush (really.. they take an inordinately long time. Like, eons. And yes, this is the sort of thing I notice while on vacation).
  • This is how recipes should look.
  • Millions of people around the world have no choice but to live on a dollar a day. One couple from Encinitas, Calif. (represent!) decided to do so of their own volition (and wrote a book about it). Find out what they ate, and how food costs are related to the zombie apocalypse.


Bunsen-burning love May 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 12:32 am
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I like to consider my marriage a scientific experiment, complete with an oft-revised hypothesis (“If we have more sex, he will do whatever I say”) and a complex set of variables that include, but are not limited to:  Money,  kids, household chores, the mysteriously rage-inducing question of married couple in a tiny carwho will decide what we’re having for dinner.

As a matrimonial empiricist, I’m always eager to read any longitudinal study, personal essay or Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet that claims to offer the secret to a happy marriage, and lately there seem to be a lot of people writing on the subject. Of particular interest to my inner science geek was  Salon.com’s interview with NYT blogger Tara Parker-Pope, author of, “For Better: The Science of  a Good Marriage” (the title alone makes my heart go pitter patter).

Parker-Pope goes so far as to introduce actual mathematics into her equation for love, recommending that couples have at least five small positive interactions (smiling, touching, offering to don a HazMat suit to change baby’s diaper) for every negative one (and we all know what those are). Her admonition to be nice during fights might not be rocket science, but interestingly, she suggests that couples who must cope with snoring are more apt to divorce.

Also, I like her argument for why monogamy is not too much to ask of the human species:  “It’s true that monogamy and sexual fidelity are not common in nature, but it certainly does occur. There is no other area of human behavior in which we defer entirely to biology — if we did that, every woman would have 10 kids.”

As for my own marriage, I’ve kept a running list of experience-based outcomes, witticisms and advice that I hope to share with my children when their time comes to get hitched. But in the meantime, here’s a taste.  Lab coats on? Notebooks at the ready? Proceed:

  • “Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.” — Wendell Johnson
  • Before saying anything to your spouse, ask yourself: Is this true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
  • Don’t make assumptions … have the courage to ask questions instead.
  • For your wedding day (or for your anniversary), buy a new perfume or cologne that you adore. Post-nuptials, wear the same fragrance every once in a while to remind yourself of why you married the person you did.
  • Lead the least secretive life you can lead.
  • Never do anything that would embarrass you if anyone knew about it. Full stop.
  • When in doubt, take the high road.

Travel notes, straight from the armchair May 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 3:04 am
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With baby’s birthday falling the day before mine, I have grand visions of the two of us planning elaborate trips abroad to celebrate our special day.  A mid-January summer in Australia might be nice, or baby’s first snowfall in Eastern Europe.  Until then, it’s nothing but grand reveries for the two of us … and a few links to quench our wanderlust.

  • I am a stickler for packing light — a single carry-on and a messenger bag were all I brought on my honeymoon in Italy, and I assembled no fewer than 25 outfits from their contents. Yes, I’m awfully proud. These GoToobs from HumanGear are calling my name — the suction cup is brilliant, and they’re shaped for an easy fit in your TSA-approved ziploc bag. Plus, I like that they’re transparent and *also* available in a variety of colors for easy grab and go.
  • I might not be able to afford a stay in a posh New York hotel, but I can afford $39.99 for Taschen’s New York.
  • Feast on an authentic Italian meal in the home of an authentic Italian family? Yes, please.
  • National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveler blog has some consistently inspiring stuff about “the essence of place.”
  • Mighty Girl’s master packing list is very similar to my own … and I highly suggest saving one’s list as a document that can be updated and modified to reflect upcoming travels. Keep a copy in your suitcase to make it easy come check-out time … no more forgetting your eye mask in the nightstand drawer.
  • Steve McCurry, the man behind National Geographic’s most famous cover, has a blog with consistently beautiful travel photographs. I caught an exhibition of his at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts (where saw the photograph at right) and fell in love with his penchant for capturing color, emotion and story with the flick of  his index finger. It doesn’t hurt that I happen to agree with his empathetic worldview. There’s something to be said for getting out and interacting with the rest of the world — it changes a person the way nothing else can.