Monthly Archives: July 2009

Kelp? Really?

Humans can aptly be described as opportunistic eaters to a certain degree.  Our diet breadth is undoubtedly stunning.  We ingest almost everything we encounter.  Few things are immune to our virtually insatiable all-purpose stomachs.  Not even kelp.

Kelp, seaweed, and algae are largely interchangeable, though some kelp is not seaweed but all seaweed is algae.  It’s a bit of a tricky relationship, really.  Now, obviously there are a plethora of different kelp varieties, and we are not so bold as to have tried ingesting them all.  A particular type of kelp, however, has been quite popular for some time now to the point where it is cultivated in large quantities and holds commercial significance.  I am, of course, referring to kombu (昆布), dashima (다시마),  or hǎidài (海帶), which is a group of edible kelp species including saccharina japonica.

Saccharina Japonica

Saccharina Japonica

Continue reading

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Japan & Asia

Classic Bluth Recipe

When all else fails, there’s always a can of ham and some boiling hot water.  If the Bluths can do it, so can you.

It's that easy - Lindsay's doing it.

It's that easy - Lindsay's doing it.

Video demonstration, here.

2 Comments

Filed under Arrested Development Recipes

What’s stainless steel, again?

Knives have been in circulation since the time of Oldawan stone technology.  From flint and obsidian to iron and titanium, knives have featured a variety of blade materials, regardless of their intended use.  Today, high-carbon stainless steel is the material of choice for blade-crafting (for kitchen knives, that is).  High-carbon stainless steel, in essence, synthesizes the benefits of both regular carbon-steel, which, despite being able to create a sharper edge, is noticeably more brittle and prone to discolouration, and plain stainless steel, which is more difficult to shape.

A Henckles high-carbon stainless steel knife set.

A Henckles high-carbon stainless steel knife set.

Lately, a new type of knife material is receiving quite the buzz: zirconia, or a more developed version of ceramic.  Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sablefish, meet black cod

Believe it or not, fish eating is very much a trend-driven activity.  So it should be no surprise that certain fishlebrities get their 15 minutes and then seemingly disappear off reputable menus.

It's a little more complex than that.

It's a little more complex than that.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Dining, Micro-G Style

It is a remarkable achievement that we are able to travel beyond our blue sky into the vast dark frontier of space.  To be given an opportunity to embark on such a trip would no doubt be exhilarating.  There is so much to be excited about, save, perhaps, for the fare.

astronaut

They don't have a food court on board the ISS. Image by NASA/© Getty Images, Stone.

While it is obvious the goal of a space mission isn’t even remotely related to enjoying good food, it is undeniable that space cuisine is most definitely an underwhelming experience. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Window-eating

Eating out in Japan is ranked highest out of all leisure activities (National Geographic, 2010).  In Tokyo alone, there are some 160,000 restaurants (National Geographic, 2009).  Whether it’s a traditional 料亭(ryo-u-te-i) experience, a quick bowl of 醤油ラーメン (sho-u-yu-ra-me-n) at a noodle stand, or a Michelin-acclaimed contemporary French bistro, Japan is a true mecca for food enthusiasts.  Going-out to eat for the “eater” is most definitely a fun experience, yet for the food providers, attracting customers is no easy task.  However, for over 70 years, Japanese food retailers have adopted an appealing mode of menu advertisement that is now standard no matter where you go in Japan: サンプル(sa-m-pu-ru) or plastic food displays.

An impressive array of plastic ice cream flavours at a vendor in Tokyo.

An impressive array of plastic ice cream cones at a vendor in Tokyo. Image by George W. Banagan, the Image Bank.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Japan & Asia

Pollan!

Michael Pollan is the author of several illuminating books that depict and assess the growing detachment people have to the food they eat.

Michael Pollan - an American activist-jounalist teaching at University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Pollan - an American activist-journalist teaching at University of California, Berkeley.

His more well-known titles include: The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food.  They may give you a different perspective on how food exists in our world today.  They’re not academic sounding, and his logic is quite easy to follow, meaning they are not strenuous reads.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Snail

is the official logo for Slow Food.

The snail is the logo for Slow Food.

The snail is the logo for Slow Food.

The Slow Food movement sparked off in Italy against the invasion of multinational fast food chains.  The movement’s primary aim is the preservation of local, culture-inspired cuisine and the associated food assets within an ecological region. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

口痕

or “mouth itch” is an expression commonly used in Cantonese to describe the urge to snack on something.

This is a happy child addressing his "口痕".

This is a happy child addressing his "口痕". Image by Seiya Kawamoto , Lifesize.

I frequently have this urge.  And fortunately or unfortunately, it often turns into something more than a snack.

Leave a comment

Filed under Japan & Asia

Phở versus the Hangover

Everyone dreads the infamous hangover.  Yet the answer isn’t to simply stop drinking, is it? That’s hardly a viable solution.

There are numerous recommendations floating out there that claim they can prevent the unwelcome morning after.  Unfortunately, whether or not you have a hangover and how obnoxious it is depends on a myriad of different, seemingly mundane variables (including what you ate that morning to how you’re feeling when you’re inhibitions have all but taken their shirts off and puked off a balcony).

hungover in tub

Drinking is fun; the next morning isn't. Image by Steve West, Stone.

In other words, without going into the precise science of it, a hangover is something quite complicated that is not so easily predicted.  Thus, the option for a decisive pre-emptive strike is unavailable to us, but there are still strategies to alleviate the strain we all suffer through the morning after:

A scrumptous grease-feast featuring oil-saturated sunny-sides, fat-envelloped bacon, a butter-drenched bagel, and of course, a delectable deep-fried hash.

A scrumptious grease-feast featuring oil-saturated sunny-sides, fat-enveloped bacon, a butter-drenched bagel, and of course, a delectable deep-fried hash. Image by Cal Crary, Photonica.

No.  Not that.

We all know the merits of a grease-feast like that, but coupled with the 2023956792938476 beers we had to drink the night before, that gut will hit its third trimester in no time.  So for a likely cheaper and more body-rewarding alternative, I happily endorse my most successful morning after food to date: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Japan & Asia, Uncategorized