Friday, April 26, 2024

Ask Amy

The letter to Ask Amy from the mom of a 4-year-old girl that described how her daughter cut her own bangs and then lied about it1 reminded me of my own hair cutting incident.

I was sick and tired of how my mom’s friends would fawn over my eyelashes.  “Oh, how long and pretty they are!”  “I’d give anything to have eyelashes like that!”  And so, you guessed it, I cut them.

At the dinner table, my mom noticed immediately and reacted strongly: “Did you cut your eyelashes!?  Why did you do that?  You could’ve poked your eye out!”  And so on.

Frankly I was surprised and insulted.  Surprised because I thought they were my eyelashes; why should it be anyone’s business?  And the “poke your eyes out” remark was utterly insulting.  I was anything but a klutz.  I was a “Little Professor” type of boy, always carefully coloring inside the lines, and I (literally) had excellent hand-eye coordination.

Two takeaways here are: children rarely are given the credit they deserve; and showing overt attention to a child can have unexpected consequences.


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Carne y Pablano Quesadilla

I enjoy preparing my own food, usually in a large cast iron pan.

I call one of my favorites “Carne y Pablano” because I cook “chop meat” with Pablano chiles as well as other vegetables, such as onion, garlic, carrots, fresh turneric (which I add to everything) and maybe maitake mushrooms (frozen, from Woodstock), red pepper, plum tomato, parsnips and/or whatever I find in the fridge.

The cooking process starts with adding diced onion, carrots and chiles to a hot, well-oiled cast iron pan.  I use only EVOO or ghee; ghee is preferred because EVOO tends to smoke too much at medium high.  Once they’re cooked, I’ll add the garlic and mushrooms.  I don’t put the garlic in the pan at the very beginning because it will burn and turn bitter.  And the mushrooms would get tough.

After a minute I’ll turn the heat all the way up and add the beef.  I break it up and turn it continuously until it turns from red to pink.  Then I turn off the heat, and mix in about a teaspoon of sea salt, half that of fresh-cracked black pepper and a very small pinch of cayenne pepper powder.  Chopped plum tomato goes in now, too, if available.

This tastes great on its own.  But then today I had some organic corn tortillas and cheddar cheese, so I made a Quesadilla.  After it was assembled and melted shut, I spread Mother-in-Law's fermented gochujang garlic chile sauce1 on top and then drizzled a spiral of Kewpie mayonnaise.2

This is one of the most awesome creations I’ve ever made.



Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Star Fruit Experiment

So far I’ve written about my first experiences with Dragon Fruit and Passion Fruit. This time I decided to try Star Fruit.

Preparation was a bit different compared with the other two fruits, although I washed it as before. The piece was in great shape when I bought it, but I put off eating it because I wanted to take photos. Therefore, it got a bit over-ripe and damaged in spots. So I cut away the brown edges of the “fins” before slicing it into star shapes.

I pushed a few of the seeds out; I didn’t need to since they’re harmless and lack taste. But some of them were starting to turn brown, so I decided to avoid those. The flesh was resilient and juicy, with a balance of sweetness and tartness. It was a bit like grapefruit, with similar texture but not as bitter.

I didn’t experience any allergic reaction whatsoever. Nor did my digestion rebel at all.

These are priced by the piece rather than weight. They were more expensive than apples or bananas per serving size.

Wikihow has a good write-up on the Star Fruit1 and has a few creative suggestions about how to serve it. It also warns folks with kidney problems to avoid it because it contains a neurotoxin; it cites Snopes as the source.2



Sunday, March 17, 2024

The Passion Fruit Experiment

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my first experience with a Dragon Fruit.  I decided to try other “exotic” foods.  This time I bought two passion fruits.

Preparation was the same as with the Dragon Fruit.  After washing it, I just cut it in half lengthwise.  The hull was very resilient – somewhat like leathery cardboard.  Once it was halved, I scooped out the interior with a metal teaspoon and ate it.

Crunchy tart seeds dominated the sweet pulp and juice.  Some reviewers recommend adding sugar, but I did not feel it was necessary.

I didn’t experience any allergic reaction whatsoever.  Nor did my digestion rebel at all.

These are small and priced by the piece rather than weight.  So I got very little fruit for the money.

The next exotic fruit will be Star Fruit.

Left: Whole; Center: Sliced in Half; Right: After Scooping

Monday, February 26, 2024

Wednesday Weigh-In 20240226

My goal is to keep my weight below 170lb. I've got blueberries and grapes to snack on. And I plan to immerse myself in other activity besides eating. I have only one pair of larger pants, so I especially need to keep my waist from growing. But lately I get bloated even when I drink water -- must be some sort of mild intestinal bug.

Waist = 40.25"
Height = 5' 7"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Balance Body Composition Bath Scale
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Dragon Fruit Experiment

In honor of the Year of the Dragon, I’ve finally decided to try a Dragon Fruit.

It was simple to prepare.  After washing it, I just cut it in half lengthwise.  Then I scooped out the fleshy interior with a metal teaspoon and ate it.

Dragon Fruit on cutting board:  Left, whole fruit; Center, two halves after cutting lengthwise; Right, one half with teaspoon scoop

The taste was unremarkable and not unpleasant, neither sweet nor tart.  But the texture was nice, with plenty of juice and little bits of gentle crunch from the black pips that were smaller than chia seeds.

I didn’t experience any allergic reaction, which I was prepared for.  I read that some folks compare its taste and texture to kiwi fruit, which can provoke severe allergy1.  I do react slightly to peaches and mangoes, so I had my inhaler ready.  There was just a mild laxative effect; at my age that’s more of a benefit.

My fruit preference includes apples, pears, blueberries, grapes and pomegranate.

Mostly I eat apples, which seem to be ripe when I buy them and stay edible for a week or more.

Pears on the other hand, cannot be eaten right away and need to ripen.

Pomegranate require more work to open, and they’re messy, but otherwise great.

Flavor-wise, blueberries and grapes are marvelous.  But I’m a fanatic about washing produce.  I prefer to use a soapy nylon brush and scrub an item vigorously; merely rinsing things off won’t deal with germs or other residue.

I can buy a few apples for the cost of one Dragon Fruit, so apples will remain my go-to fruit for now.

Have you tried an unusual food item recently?  How did you like it?

1See for example:

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Wednesday Weigh-In 20231213

My wife and I mailed out our Christmas / Holiday cards already. There were about fifty this year. I usually start right after Thanksgiving.

In previous years, I've ordered photo cards, which lately featured our cats. But this year, my wife and I bought printed cards.

Waist = 39"
Height = 5' 7"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Balance Body Composition Bath Scale
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.