Food history?

about-food-historyIf I had unlimited time and resources, I might consider pursuing an education in the history of food. If you think about something like the history of architecture and building, it’s pretty easy to draw a line from the cavemen to the present. “Trees are hard and withstand weather, let’s use them to our advantage.” We haven’t come too far, in reality, from that basic principle, in building. But I’d really like to understand the history of how different foods were discovered and used. Shellfish. Plants. Fish roe. Eggs. Plant extracts. Spices. Yeast. It almost seems more of a form of alchemy than anything else. I think a more or less complete timeline on when and how different food basics, enhancers and processes were introduced into society, and how we got from there to here, would be an utterly fascinating document. Can anyone recommend such a volume?

Turgid vs Tumescent

turgidSome of us may have encountered these words in various places during our literary explorations. The younger folks have probably come across it in bad fan fiction.  Most of us know what they mean, or at least what they’re intended to mean in context. Let’s explore them.

tu·mes·cent t(y)o͞oˈmes(ə)nt/ adjective
  1. swollen or becoming swollen, especially as a response to sexual arousal.
  2. (especially of language or literary style) pompous or pretentious; tumid.
    “his prose is tumescent, full of orotund language”
tur·gid ˈtərjəd/ adjective
1. swollen and distended or congested.
      “a turgid and fast-moving river”
2.  (of language or style) tediously pompous or bombastic.
      “some turgid verses on the death of Prince Albert”
In context, despite the dictionary definitions, turgid comes across (to me) as more insistent. While tumescent is a condition, turgid is demanding something be done about it.
Interestingly, both of these words, in addition to the referenced “tumid,” which I don’t remember seeing before, have a latin origin, from different roots (tumescere, turgere and tumere, respectively).
all beginning with “tu.”
“Tu” is latin for “you” or “yourself.” Go figure.

Healthy Snack Choices

We have a well-stocked pantry at my office. At any time I can choose between literally dozens of choices. Today I was trying to decide between junk food and maybe something a little bit healthier. I picked up two items that couldn’t be farther apart. Or so I thought.

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Evil crack Doritos vs sweet bunny rabbit Garden Veggie Straws. Easy choice, right? Clearly the Doritos taste so much better than the Veggie Straws that the Veggie Straws MUST be much healthier, right? RIGHT?

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The joys of being a homeowner

This week has been a challenge. Our upstairs air conditioner has been down for several months — the compressor is shot, and that’s an expensive repair or replacement. As in several thousand.  On Sunday, the downstairs unit stopped cooling. We were worried that it would have a similar or equally expensive disability. I spent a few hours on Sunday in the heat playing amateur HVAC technician, and was pretty confident that it wasn’t the compressor. I thought it was either the contactor or one of the fuses in the outdoor disconnect. Monday a tech came out and confirmed my diagnosis. What a relief. Replacing a contactor is a hell of a lot cheaper than the other possibilities.

Then later in the week, the disposal became the focus of our efforts. It has had a minor leak for a while, I thought it was the drain pipes, and had tried a couple of times to adjust them. Finally the leak became much worse, and last night when I got home I started the diagnostic process on that. Turns out the leak wasn’t in the PVC drain pipe at all — the unit itself had developed a leak, I guess it rusted out over the years. I ordered a new unit today, replacing our 1/3 hp Kenmore with a 3/4hp Insinkerator Badger 900. Eve picked it up this afternoon, and I set out to perform the replacement when I got home. Didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and voila, no leaks. I do like it when stuff works.

I sometimes reminisce fondly about the good old days when I was renting an apartment and could just call the landlord anytime something went wrong.

BUSY BUSY BUSY

putting more of myself out there