Friday, February 26, 2016

Batch of links

- Reading the March issue of Bon Appétit, I got angry over a comment made by Andrew Knowlton: “Here are a few things I ate last week: pho ga, xiao long bao (a.k.a. soup duplings), migas tacos, and a falafel sandwich. I wasn’t even jet-setting around the globe – it was just another average week of great meals right here in the U.S.A. How many other places on the planet can you eat this diversely? Zero.” Um, what? Just off the top of my head, I’d say Canada (Montreal alone has all those things), and I’m sure my readers could chime in with their answers as well. To me, this reeks of misplaced American exceptionalism, and it’s odd coming from a man who is actually well traveled (he mentions unsuccessfully trying to find an edible burrito in Norway and decent sushi in China). He goes on to talk about America’s melting pot and fusion cooking, but again, it’s not like the U.S.A. is the only country to experience that phenomenon. That’s pretty disappointing.

- I’ve never eaten at Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, for the simple reason that I don’t want to spend hours standing in line. Turns out, I could hire a middle-schooler to do it for me.

- Edible spoons, people. As the Engineer said, “Shut up and take my money!”

- Are you looking for good gluten-free breading? Try rice cakes!

- I never buy pre-grated parmesan cheese because in my experience, it sometimes contains lactose, even when the label says “100% real parmesan cheese” – I buy wedges of it, which are a bit pricier but totally worth it. So I was feeling very pleased with myself when it came out this week that the parmesan you sprinkle on your penne could be wood and might contain no real parmesan whatsoever, despite what the label claims.

- There’s a charity called Lucky Iron Fish that aims to end iron deficiency worldwide with a simple, affordable iron trinket to be deposited into the pot while you cook. Ingenious!

- McDonald’s new kale salad has more calories than a Big Mac, so don’t feel too virtuous if you eat it (though I’m sure it has more vitamins and minerals, too). I think this is only available in Canada for the moment.

- A history of dinner at the Oscars, because the ceremony is this weekend.

- Pantelligent is a smart frying pan that aims to help you cook better.

- I talked about Soylent before, but I thought I’d share this article written by someone who tried it for a month. To recap, Soylent is a balanced food replacement whose aim is “delivering brutally efficient nutrition.” This is something of which I’m aware mostly because the Engineer “eats” Soylent for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and it works for him. Soylent is now vegan and should become kosher again soon; they now deliver to Canada as well as the U.S. It certainly looks sounder, albeit less exciting, than the healthy ice cream diet.

- There is now such a thing as human libraries, where instead of borrowing books, you “borrow” humans – i.e. have a conversation with them. That way, if you’re trying to find out more about what it’s like to be autistic, immigrant, obese, chronically ill, etc., you can get it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

- Did you see Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue? There is a beautiful, curvy woman on the cover!

- You’ve heard by now that Barbie got a makeover last month: she now comes in four body types, and the skin and hair are customizable. Time had a great article about it (and if you don’t have access to it, you can check out the new Barbies in this article). My kneejerk reaction is that this is fantastic; however, as is explained on Epbot, we still have a long way to go. How is it that the “curvy” Barbie is still smaller than the average American woman, yet is perceived as fat? This is how Barbie would look like if she were an average woman. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you want realistic body types, natural looks, or dolls with disabilities, try Lammily, Tree Change Dolls (video here) or Makies, respectively. Also, see here for female superhero dolls. (To be clear: I grew up playing with Barbies, including my mother and my aunt’s vintage Barbie and Scooter, and I do have a soft spot for them despite their shortcomings.)

- An interesting article on Q-Tips (really). It’s “one of the only, if not the only, major consumer [product] whose main purpose is precisely the one the manufacturer explicitly warns against.”

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