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Everything posted by mizducky

  1. Oh, I've been caught, quite live, eating cold leftover Chinese takeout too many times to count. And I too enjoy cold chicken and pizza (though I very seldom eat pizza either hot or cold anymore...)
  2. Yay! Like many who did their college years in Boston, I remained in the area a good decade afterwards, so this is going to be a real nostalgia trip for me. I'm also enjoying looking at a classic New England winter without having to actually drive in it. Happy blogging! (Plus, as a freelance writer myself, I'm going to be checking out your blog with great interest!)
  3. Yay! That's terrific! I think I may have squeezed off an additional pound this past week, but I'll know better later on this week when I do my official weigh-in for my personal blog.
  4. Oops! Knew I was forgetting something! Probably because it's darned tricky photographing one's own hands. So I sorta-kinda cheated, by photographing my reflection in a mirror, hands included: Thanks for reading, folks!
  5. Oh. My. God. I almost forgot about that accident. You guys were on your way to or from school during winter break, right? Geez Louise. And I had my own share of near-misses with my first car, learning how (not) to drive on black ice on winter days, though maybe not quite as death-defying as that one--fortunately, my first heap was a Sherman tank of a car. Man, it's a miracle any of us manages to survive our youth. By the way, Mr. E has tried the Tillamook, and reports that, though it pains his Vermonter pride to admit it, it is in fact a notch above the Cabot in quality.
  6. Mr. E sometimes ... erm ... forgets to tell me about changes in his plans, including his meal plans, which I'm slowly but surely learning to be more laid-back about. So when he told me, while we were at church, that he'd forgotten he was going off to a potluck with friends this evening instead of dining with me, I simply thought to myself "No worries, I'll do something else with the chicken legs that I'd planned to make for our dinner--they're safely defrosting in the fridge anyway." By the time I got home, though, I realized I didn't want chicken for dinner. Or rather, my inner Lizard didn't want just a nice small healthy portion of chicken. You see, back in the bad old days, I was a bit of a binge eater; when my Lizard Brain would go into full effect, it wanted to consume mass quantities. Of course, these days I don't want to do that kind of damage to myself anymore. But instead of just trying to stonewall the Lizard Brain when it goes into a consume-mass-quantities rage, I have figured out some go-to meals I can do that are low enough in nutritional density that they can satisfy my Lizard's craving for mass quantities without blowing my regimen out of the water. (Just as well, since the chicken hadn't finshed defrosting. When it finally does defrost--probably by tomorrow morning, given the temperature of our fridge--I'll probably stick it in the slow cooker with some veggies and make a nice chicken stew ... ) Anyway, for dinner I decided to do a quick-and-dirty meatless mapo tofu. Then, while foraging in the fridge, I discovered the languishing bag of soybean sprouts, and an Asian eggplant I'd totally forgotten was in there, and decided to do something with those as well. Starting to assemble all my ingredients: Using my suribachi to grind up some Szechuan peppercorns (didn't bother to toast them first): Parboiling the sprouts, with the intent of making some kind of kong-namul concoction: The sprouts, drained, shocked, and dressed with Chinese dark soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a little crushed dried red chile: Getting the rest of the mapo tofu mise en place together--in the bowl are chopped salted black beans, minced garlic and ginger root, and slivered green onions (the white parts); in the measuring cup is a mixture of dark soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, toban jian, and enough water to bring it up to a scant 1/2 cup total. The aromatics went into the pan first, then the liquids; when the sauce was reasonably together, almost everything else went in: Put the lid on awhile to simmer until the eggplant was cooked through, then added the green parts of the green onion, the szechuan peppercorns, and some cornstarch slurry, and very shortly I was done: A bowlful of this got my Lizard Brain pretty well mollified. And if it wakes up again a little later, I've got the kong-namul to munch out on as well. (Edited to clarify that I'm not doing a biohazard with the defrosting chicken. )
  7. Oh yeah. It would have really sucked to get food poisoning on top of everything else.
  8. So today, like most Sundays, I went to go hang out with all my lovely granola-crunchy Unitarian Universalist friends. I grabbed myself a semi-hasty breakfast (note I'm eating the yogurt straight out of the measuring cup rather than flipping it into a bowl first): It's my experience that most religious groups tend, like armies, to run on their stomachs. When I got to church, I discovered there was even more of a three ring food circus than usual. Out on the patio, the religious education department was having a bake sale: Edited to add: every time I look at this photo, I break out in a huge grin. I love the young folks in our church. They've got tons of personality and spunk. Meanwhile, inside the social hall, there was a reception going on in honor of those celebrating their 50th anniversary of becoming members of our congregation. 50 years of membership in the same church! That is indeed pretty awesome! But of course, that meant even more food temptations: Maybe not as high-class as the reception Sandy attended, which may have been a good thing in that I wasn't so heavily tempted. But still, I was glad I could retreat to the relative safety of the patio, and have the healthier snack I'd thought to bring along: The rainbow flag on which this bar is lying is covering the info table for our church's Rainbow Action Group, our social action committee for LGBT folks and allies, of which I happen to be co-chair. I usually hang out at this table between services to be a visible presence to interested newcomers. Usually members of our group, plus anyone else who'd like to come along, head out for lunch after services, and today was no different. Alas for me, however, I was outvoted in terms of where we'd lunch today, and so we wound up here: Daphne's is one of those "fast casual" franchise chains; there are dozens of 'em, mainly in Southern California and Arizona. As these places go, they're ... ehhh ... inoffensive, I guess ... it's just that I'm so totally allergic to soulless chain restaurant concepts, especially when there are so many IMO much better places to go for the same price (or cheaper): But the important thing (I reminded myself strenuously) was hanging with my friends, so I sucked up my foodgeek courage and ordered the following: This is known as the Fire Feta Zesta Lunch. You're not any wiser for that knowledge, huh? Me neither. I had to ask the counterman what the hell it was before ordering. It's a pita folded around a filling of spiced-up feta cheese with the meat of your choice--I chose the gyros meat. The amount of meat was near microscopic--I probably wouldn't have been able to taste it even if there was more, because the spiciness of the cheese pretty much blotted out everything else. The salad and pilaf were forgettable. At least the six-buck price included a beverage. But especially when I consider that, for the same amount of money, I could have had a huge bowl of bun bo Hue at my beloved Saigon, I was to say the least underwhelmed. And still hungry after I ate this lot. Yeah yeah yeah. Whine snivel bitch moan. Like I said, I enjoyed hanging with my friends. However, I could tell that this unsatisfying lunch had irritated my inner Lizard, and there might well be hell to pay by the end of the day if I didn't get that scaly bastard mollified. (to be continued, once I upload a few more photos)
  9. Thanks Rachel, thats really sweet. ← Ditto! Y'know, if I were to do one of those "What Color Is Your Parachute" exercises, in which you ask yourself, if time and money and previous commitments were no object, what would you like to spend your life doing, these days I'd answer without hesitation that I'd love to be a professional full-time blogger. I dunno if there's anywhere one can be a fulltime blogger and get paid enough for it to live on, but if there was, I'd be burying them in resumes. Sometime in the latter part of this week I was really getting in touch with two feelings: that I really really really love doing this blogging thang; and man, is fitting in blogging around all the rest of my life and work commitments ever tiring!!! No wonder I was pounding the caffeine so hard by the end of the week ... but I digress. The important points are: yep, I love it; yep, in the best of all possible worlds I'd be doing this a whole lot more; and finally and most importantly, thank you to you, Rachel, and to my fellow bloggers, and to everyone who has said such beautiful and wonderful things, and otherwise participated in making this blog thang happen. But I'm not done quite yet. I've got today's food to post about...
  10. Yeah, well ... I would have envisioned Alice's Restaurant aging into something a little more along the lines of the Big Kitchen ... but hey, that's just my vision, what can I say? Actually, with a little creative Googling I have determined that Judy "The Beauty" Forman took ownership of the Big Kitchen in 1980, whereas Arlo Guthrie's friend Alice Brock did her adventure in restaurant ownership sometime in the mid 1960s (the Wikipedia article on the song is kind of vague on that point ... though it, as well as Allmusic Guide, agree that Guthrie first issued the "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" on his debut album in 1967, rather than 1970). So the BK hasn't had quite as much time to age as the restaurant formerly owned by Alice Brock--but I hope BK never gets too old to remember Jerry. I don't think Mr. E has even noticed the Tillamook yet. I'll see if I can get him to do a taste test before the end of the blog. But even if he does like it, I severely doubt I'll be able to persuade him that it's superior to his beloved Cabot--after all, he's a son of Vermont, and there are certain loyalties to be observed. Plus, even though I've assured him numerous times that orange cheddar gets its color from annatto seed and not a testtube, I can tell he remains skeptical--he's convinced that the Cabot cheddar, because it is not annatto-colored, is purer somehow. Oh well...
  11. So ... about that little hitch with the dinner photos ... it's called: getting so involved in talking and cooking and eating (and imbibing) that I forgot to take any photos. So I'll just have to paint you a verbal picture. Actually, I'm pretty excited about this--which is probably why my camera got neglected. Some months ago, my church did their annual "Dining for Dollars" fundraiser, in which various church members auction off dinners and other services to others in the church community. Not only does it bring in a bunch of cashflow for the church budget, but it's turned into a wonderfully fun way for members to get their food-geek on, and a great social outlet as well. Of course I couldn't resist putting together a dinner proposal for the auction--mine was billed as a "Pan Asian Fusion Feast" (code for "Ellen gets an excuse to cook all her favorite dishes from various Asian cuisines!"), for up to eight persons, to be served in the winning bidder's home. And guess who put in the winning bid on my dinner? My church's senior minister, is who. Yikes! The heat is on! So the Feast is scheduled for the end of this month. At some point I asked my minister if I could drop by his house in advance to scout the layout of his kitchen and dining room, and get an idea of how I'm going to stage this production. He responded to the effect that, as long as I was coming over, why not come for dinner? So that's what I did tonight. And just to make things more interesting, he asked me to give him some pointers on how to improve his stir-frying technique. I arrived to find him and his wife in their big roomy well-equipped kitchen, with an eclectic assortment of veggies already cut up and ready to go: onions, carrots, broccolini, scallions, green bell pepper, and cabbage. He also had some nice big shrimp (head and shells off), and an assortment of Asian condiments. I passed on all the more involved prepared sauces, and went with a few basics: soy sauce, hot chile oil, and some sherry, as they didn't have any Shaoxing or other rice wine on hand. Presently we got all the veggies into a reasonably hot wok (hurrah! they have a gas range!), got 'em all seasoned up nice, popped the shrimp on top and the lid on top of that, and executed a very acceptable stirfry/braise. We had that over brown rice, accompanied by a lovely sparkling white wine from a vinyard in Temeculah that they have a wine-of-the-month deal with. They offered chocolates and some very dangerous brownies for dessert; I had about a one-inch cube of brownie, and felt good about that. Dinner conversation ranged from congregational goings-on and current affairs, to my proposed menu for that upcoming Feast. That menu and other associated details, I think, would probably be a little too off-topic for this blog; however, once the blog ends, my intention is to start a new topic all about it. So stay tuned for further developments!
  12. Okay, I'm back from dinner ... and, uh, there was an unexpected hitch with the dinner photos ... but before I get to that, let me show you all what happened with the first part of my day. Mr. E had yet another group, this morning, meeting at a local coffeehouse at 10am. So since I was going to be out and about anyway, I decided to tack on a little food tourism for your enjoyment. I had a banana before I headed out the door, got Mr. E to his group, and then headed south down the I-805 to the Southcrest neighborhood, just north of where San Diego gives way to National City, and the home of one of my new favorite market finds, Gonzalez Northgate Market: Despite the similarities in name, this market is a very different kettle of menudo from North Park Produce. It is one of the latest outposts of a large and prosperous regional chain of Mexican supermarkets, and it is huge. As you probably have noticed by now, I am not the world's greatest photographer ... but I think the following shots give a hint of just how big and glitzy this place is. The produce department alone dwarfs that of a lot of mainstream supermarkets I've been in: They have a whole service counter just for ceviches and other prepared cold salad-type concoctions: Their own in-house tortilleria: A big taqueria/hot foods/take-out/dine-in area (note that pizza gets equal billing with carnitas and all the other goodies: Plus a huge meat and seafood counter, a bakery, and a full line of groceries both American and Mexican (not pictured because my shots didn't come out). Truly this has got to be the Disneyland of mercados. You can read more about the Northgate Markets, and the family behind them, here. I mainly dropped by here because I wanted to show this place off to you all, but I couldn't resist picking up a few produce items, plus a little something for the road: Man, there's nothing like blogging to reveal to oneself one's booming level of caffeine consumption! I knew I was getting more caffeinated than I had been in awhile, but this is getting kind of ridiculous. Anyway, I toyed with the idea of getting an early lunch from Northgate's takeout department, but decided that where I really wanted to grab a meal was back up north a little ways, at another of my favorite places: The Big Kitchen is a beloved institution, a breakfast/lunch joint with a hippy-dippy flair that serves as a kind of clubhouse for the artsy/alternative inhabitants of San Diego's South Park neighborhood. Alas, its proprietor, the irrepressible Judy "The Beauty" Forman, was out of town today, so I did not get to be greeted with her trademark "Tres bien!" nor serenaded by her to the tune of whatever rock'n'roll oldie was playing over the PA at the time. But I had my usual enjoyable time chatting with the friendly staff, and communing with the lifesize effigy of Jerry Garcia: All the walls of this place are plastered with photos, political bumper stickers, posters, clippings, paintings done by customers, and random other assorted gewgaws--including a photo of Whoopi Goldberg, who every single person who ever writes about this place feels obliged to namecheck, as she did indeed work here back before she made it big. What most writers fail to mention, though, is that Whoopi probably did not stand out all that much from the rest of the staff here, or from the regulars, for that matter. The whole lot of 'em are characters, like the cast of "Cheers"--that is, if Cheers had been the on-site watering hole at Woodstock. Oh yeah, also on the wall of the BK can also be found this: Yep, Ms. Yummo hit this joint during one of her Forty Dollars a Day jaunts. And according to the staff, she apparently did her usual thing and tipped lousy. And what did I have here, besides some nice chat? A lovely big bowl of lentil soup: Oh yeah, and more caffeine. The BK's coffee is nice and strong, and they keep your cup topped off till you holler "uncle." So, suitably fed and buzzed, I made my way home. Along the way, I happened to drive right by those side-by-side bars Sandy and I were discussing earlier, Bourbon Street and Lei Lounge--they're under a mile from my home. So I decided to grab a couple of photos of them, looking uncharacteristically quiet and peaceful this early in the day: By this point in the evening, they're probably both jam-packed and partying up a storm. So here's the stuff I bought at Northgate Market: The recently-started topic on parsley, elsewhere on eGullet, inspired me to have some new fun with the herb. Nothing complicated--I have in mind combining the parsley with the cucumber and Mexican green onions into some kind of salad. I'll see if I can get to that before the end of this blog--let alone before this bunch of parsley goes bad like too many of its predecessors have done before I could use them up. (The tangerines are more fodder for our fruit bowl.) I had some paid work I needed to tend to this afternoon, but in breaks between hunks of work, I grazed on some of the leftovers from last night's dinner at Saigon: And then it was time to head off for dinner ... (To be continued)
  13. I've got a bunch of photos from my day so far, but posting them will have to wait a bit because I'm about to run out the door to dinner. I'm not sure yet whether my host tonight will be too camera-shy to let me photograph his dinner, but I will attempt to be persuasive. See y'all in a bit...
  14. As I'm doing my part of this week's blog, I'm getting way too much in touch with how I reward myself with caffeine. Either a non-fat latte, or a diet soda, or a diet energy drink. Zip zam zowie kapow!!!
  15. I too have thrown out way too many half-used half-slimed bunches of parsley, so I'm definitely finding this topic inspiring! In fact, I was moved to buy a bunch just now, with a mind to do something more creative with it than just the occasional couple of sprigs in a soup or stew. I do also use in in tabbouleh, but up to now it's only been a small amount--I need to try putting a lot more in the next time I make a batch of that. I do also like to just munch on it plain, as-is.
  16. Oh yeah, I'd learned that about temperature and beverages somewhere along the way, by trial and error. In fact, I kind of prefer my beverages at room temperature or slightly cooler as opposed to ice-cold, with three exceptions: in cases like my ice-instant-coffee concoction, when I'm deliberately trying to mask the flavor ; when it's 90 degrees out and I'm trying to cool off; and when it's an alcoholic beverage that's supposed to be cold. Interestingly, my old Former Fearless Roommate a.k.a. Rockstar Bob taught me another thing about beverage temperature: ice-cold beverages are not a good thing to be drinking when you're about to use your vocal cords for something strenuous like singing (or public speaking, for that matter). I used to go nuts with making sure he had room-temp water at gigs--clients would duly note the line in his rider that specified a case of bottled water, but would miss the part that said ROOM TEMPERATURE in capital letters, and then look baffled when I told them they'd gone to the trouble of icing the water down for nothing.
  17. mizducky

    Bride Cake---

    I just flashed on a music video for an old Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tune--I think it was titled "Don't Come Around Here No More" -- the video was a trippy Alice in Wonderland scene, with Tom in big Mad Hatter hat presiding over a mad tea party in which a live Alice, her body turned into cake, was being served and devoured. Made a darn good trippy rock video. Not the fodder for your typical wedding banquet, though.
  18. mizducky

    Bride Cake---

    Wow. That's a darn impressive cake ... though I can't quite make up my mind how I feel about the symbolism of eating an effigy of the bride. Oh, and incidentally, I think the bride's dress (both real-life and likeness) is pretty spectacular too--I don't think I've ever seen a bridal gown like that, with that brightly-colored inset.
  19. For those of you who live in San Diego, this is not the IMO highly overpriced Saigon on Fifth in Hillcrest, but the much more modest, and much more keepin' it real, Saigon Restaurant on El Cajon Blvd. in City Heights. I love this place. I wind up eating here at least every other week, but usually come on my own and have just a bowl of bun bo Hue or one of the com tam (broken rice) or bun (rice noodle) combos. In fact, there's one waiter who knows me so well that I have to speak up quick or else he'll just assume I want the bun bo Hue. But tonight we were a party of seven, so we could try out a bunch of different things and share them all around. And what a bunch of stuff we wound up with! Mr. E and I got there early to secure a table (Saigon does not take reservations), and ordered some cha gio (crispy spring rolls) and goi cuon (rice paper rolls) to keep us occupied until the rest of our party showed: (By the way, many of these Vietnamese words have bunches of diacritical marks on them that I don't know how to reproduce, so I'm just going for the letters.) Once we were assembled, a couple of us put our heads together over the menu and came up with the following: Banh Tam Thit Nuong (char-grilled pork and shredded pork over rice noodles): Ban Xeo (crispy rice flour crepe filled with sauteed bean sprouts and other goodies, meant to be eaten by breaking it in pieces, wrapping a piece in lettuce with herbs, dunking in a dipping sauce, and devouring): Chicken and rice claypot (sorry, forgot the Vietnamese for this one and all subsequent dishes): Deep-fried boneless duck (oh man, this was so good--and the pickled cabbage on the side was lovely too): I think this one was called "Shrimp tossed in butter" in the English on the menu--garlicy salty shrimp with head and shells intact, fried until head and shells were crispy good. These were yum too. Actually, everything was yum! Oh, and because we felt we had to get a vegetable dish just to keep up appearances, we got this eggplant dish, which had an intriguing sweet-sour sauce with a sneaky delayed-onset chile kick: Our delightfully droll waiter was amused at how much food we ordered. But we seven did succeed in making a respectable dent in it all. I wound up taking home only a little leftover duck, most of the eggplant (it arrived last on the table when most of us were sated), and a tiny bit of leftover claypot rice. Best of all, even though this meal was one of my designated premeditated splurges, on reflection I did not eat an egregious amount of anything. I felt full, yes, but not overly or painfully so. Oh yes, Mr. E was quite happy with his share of the meal too. He found the chicken-rice claypot especially to his liking. And here's our happy well-fed party leaving the restaurant: From left to right: Candice, me, Dale, Mr. E, David, and Laura. Not pictured because he's wielding my camera is Doug. And now, from the sublime to the ridiculous ... I'm home, digesting this wonderful meal, while swigging away at one of my guilty pleasures: Some people find this stuff over-the-top in flavor and sweetness, but I love it. For some strange reason it's becoming really scarce in supermarkets around here--I hope that doesn't mean Pepsi's discontinuing it. I'd be bummed.
  20. I sure do, ("... red beans and rice for a quarter ..."), but then I'm a self-confessed fangeek, so maybe we should let somebody else have a crack at it.
  21. Today turned into a much more hectic day than I had expected, due to one of my contract clients phoning me and telling me they really really wanted me to participate in this teleconference that would be happening right in the middle of when I had planned to be out and about taking blog photos and getting errands done. Plus there was the prep for the teleconference that I suddenly found I had to make time for as well. So the photography and errands--and, incidentally, my meals--got kind of a little randomized. I had already been planning to eat relatively lightly today, to allow room for a splurgish dinner out I'd planned well in advance. But, well, I kinda wound up eating a bit more lightly than I had expected. Oopsie. But all's well that ends well, as you shall soon see. Anyway--having been blasted out of my leisurely morning wakeup by my client, I resorted to one of my brain-jolting habits from my college days: In the jumbo glass next to my morning bowl of yogurt is iced coffee, made with instant coffee and sweetened with stevia (in my college days, years before stevia was on the market, I would have used Sweet'n'Low or similar). If you put a lot of ice in it to get it really cold, it doesn't taste half bad ... but let's not kid ourselves: the raison d'etre for this lovely beverage is simply a means to pound as much caffeine as possible, as fast as possible. Properly jolted awake, I coped with preppeing for the teleconference, and then the conference itself (for a highly visual person like myself, a multi-person phone conference can be a real challenge). And then I looked at my watch, and realized I was really going to have to scramble if I was going to do my errands and be back in time for my dinner plans. So forgive me for the scarcity of photos for the grocery-shopping bits of this erranding. I zoomed out to my car, and then down to my post office box, and then over to the local Vons for some stuff that Mr. E had run low on: apple juice, milk, crackers, sandwich meat, a six-pack of mini-cans of lemon-lime soda, cheddar cheese (Vons does not carry Cabot cheddar, but I didn't have time to fight my way into Trader Joe's today, so I bought a package of Tillamook extra-sharp aged cheddar to see if he'd find it acceptable). Then I dashed about a half-mile down the street to one of my favorite local bargain veggie markets, North Park Produce. I did manage to squeeze off one photo there: For more pix and text about North Park Produce, check out this post from one of my previous blogs. Here I replenished our household fruit bowl with bananas and anjou pears, and also scored some whole wheat pita, lowfat yogurt, and a package of Laughing Cow light cheese, one of the very few "light" cheeses I've ever found that actually tastes good. Notice I haven't mentioned eating since breakfast? That's right, I let myself go over five hours since that rather modest meal, and man was I feeling it. Like I said, oops. So I hightailed it home, got the groceries put away, and finally found time to have myself a little snack so that I wouldn't go into Lizard Mode at dinner and vacuum up everything in sight: That's the leftover spinach from last night's dinner, along with another half a whole wheat pita, plus a couple wedges of the Laughing Cow Light. Suitably fortified, I scooped up Mr. E and headed out to meet the rest of my dining companions at one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in town, Saigon. (to be continued)
  22. That's a good point. For my part, I'm inclined to place at least as much blame on the relentless advertising ("Eat this! You'll have fun, and everyone else does it!") that permeates our popular culture as on the psychological issues. Or is that advertising barrage one of the psychological issues to which you refer? ← Oh yeah, almost forgot about the marketing barrage--that's not only a psychological issue for the individual, but a larger cultural and economic issue. As long as there are whole sectors of the junk food industry hellbent on making money by pushing product at kids, motivating them to eat more healthily is going to be an uphill battle, for sure. Education to help kids detect the bullcrap behind such ad campaigns--as well as the similar ones selling toys, clothes, etc etc etc.--would IMO definitely be a right-on move. I dunno about Weight Watchers points, but as a fan of Vietnamese food and a budding rice paper roller, I went searching to find out the calorie count for rice paper, and found this very helpful page. Just coincidentally, my evening's adventures involved some extremely tasty Vietnamese food, about which I shall be posting as soon as I get my photos organized. Am I the only one having trouble parsing this sentence? ← And they all lived in the house that Jack built, or swallowed a spider, whichever applies I got so carried away by that gorgeous cornbread, I totally missed this. And I used to be SO good at those problems where the truth-tellers wore red hats. ← It's all so simple! All you folks need to do is apply some Pretzel Logic. While I tend not to be a fan of those persnickety logic problems, I do share with Sandy a love of the works of Messrs Becker and Fagen. Tangential but still food-related factoid: There's been an off-again on-again project kicking around for years among the on-line Steely Dan fandom to do a Steely-themed cookbook. In fact, I kinda promised the owner of that site that I would contribute something, a promise I really need to get off my butt and do something about one of these centuries ... so many websites, so little time ...
  23. I wouldn't wish that sort of bullying and ridicule off on anyone, so I agree with you on that point. I would ask, however: how would you see such a program making things worse than they are already, with regard to finding scapegoats? If such ridicule still happens now (and I suspect it does), how would attempting to teach children proper nutrition, so they can stay more fit, be counterproductive? ← Oh, if it's implemented in terms of teaching all children, regardless of their weight and without drawing undue special attention to the heavier kids, about proper nutrition, that's a good start. I'm just worried that, without proper training and consciousness-raising of the teachers involved in implementing such a program, that some teachers' personal unexamined prejudices about weight/dieting will start slipping in--I can think of at least a couple of teachers I knew from my public school days who would have definitely sent out just the wrong message and exacerbated things no end. (A junior high phys ed teacher comes to mind, who made some lovely remark to our class about us kids, having just come back from summer vacation, having trouble fitting our "fat bodies" into our gym class uniforms. ) Even if all the teachers doing this training are totally on their game--and I also knew many excellent public-school teachers who would be in this camp--kids might still seize on the program as an opportunity to harrass those students they think the program is especially aimed at. So I'm hoping that such programs would also contain teacher training to nip that kind of thing in the bud, but am concerned whether that will be in the training. Mind you, I have no kids and am not up to speed with how this is in fact rolling out in our schools--I'm just aware from my own public school experiences that these kinds of sensitivities can get missed. Plus there's my conviction that, while nutrition education is undeniably important, the real action in weight management is dealing with all the psychological issues that drive one to eat unhealthily, even despite nutritional knowledgability.
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