Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lost in Translation

Jim and I are planning a vacation. Part of the trip will be spent in Paris. We are both excited, and recently ordered a phrase book so that we could communicate in French. I won't be able to speak fluently, but I think its respectful to at least order a coffee and say how ya doing.
The phrase book arrived the other day and I decided to flip through and get started. As I was flipping through I noticed a few unusual phrases. It made me think, "Who in the honk would need to say this in any language, let alone a tourist just trying to get by using a foreign language?"

Here are a few examples of the phrases I am speaking about:

I am married but...
Um, really? Now this one isn't that odd, but I find it unnecessary to need this phrase. I mean, if you are buying a phrase book, you probably aren't going to carry on long conversations with singles. So, what do you just walk up to someone in a club and say "I am married but...."

Do you want to arm wrestle?
Seriously? This made me laugh out loud. Perhaps instead of the customary nod that guys use in the US to greet each other, the French arm wrestle. Or maybe the way you tell a chef the meal was spectacular is by challenging them to an arm wrestling contest. Thoughts?

I only eat insects
OK..this one is plain strange. Perhaps if you were an American frog this would come in handy. Otherwise, when would you ever need to know this phrase? Lets think about this, when was the last time you said to someone "I only eat insects"? I get "I am a vegetarian", "I am allergic to garlic", etc. But I only eat insects. That one baffles me

Did someone fart?
OK, sorry if this one is offensive to anyone. But here is the thing: We wonder why we get a bad rap as tourists, and I think I figured out why. We travel to other countries, can't ask for directions, but go around asking if they farted.

I am really excited for our vacation. I just hope I don't think I am ordering a latte and end challenging Jim to a duel with a local

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weighing in...

I have mentioned on more than one occasion that I converted to weighing ingredients when I bake. It is much more consistent and ensures accuracy with your baking. I resisted the idea at first, however after reading several cookbooks and articles (and with Alton Browns prompting), I realized this was the way to go.

It can be a bit tricky since not all recipes include weight. I was able to find weights for AP flour, sugar, and brown sugar. Now that I am making a switch to whole grains for baking, I will eventually have to find weights for whole wheat, and white whole wheat flour. Luckily "King Arthur Whole Grain Baking" uses weights.

To illustrate the benefit of using a scale, I conducted a little experiment. A cup of all purpose flour should weigh 4 3/4 ounces. I had Jim measure out 1 cup of flour (scooping out of the flour canister and then leveling off by sliding the knife across the measuring cup), I measured 1 cup of flour as I normally would in the past (same method as Jim), and I then measured 1 cup of flour using the scoop method recommended on websites and food blogs. This method tells you to fluff the flour, scoop it in to your measuring cup, and level it with the scoop.

We weighed each of the three measurements and here are the results:
Jims "cup" of flour weighed 5.3 ounces
My "cup" of flour weighed 4.6 ounces
My scooped "cup" of flour weighed 4.4 ounces

None of these weighed 4.75 ounces and my scooped cup weighed nearly one full ounce less than Jims.

Convinced? Give it a try. It really will make a difference in your baking.

Here is my scale. It was around $20. My recommendation is a scale with a tare function. This means you weigh your flour, hit tare and the scale goes back to zero. Now you can weigh the next ingredient in the same bowl. Keep weighing, taring, and weighing in the same bowl. One bowl is surely better than eight measuring cups to wash.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In just three minutes or less

I am back on Kathys Writers Workshop

I can......

Make a yummy latte. Technically Giovanni can, but he belongs to me so that counts as something I can do. (Giovanni is the coffee machine)

Empty the dishwasher

Tell a corny joke...Why was the math book so sad? Because it had a lot of problems!

Remind myself of things I should be happy and grateful for

Call my Dad and get cheered up (he is sweet, but he gets right to the point)

Leave a comment on a blog (subtle hint)

File my nails

Find something funny (and clean) on this or this

Remind you all that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. (Really, pay attention people)

Buy a new cookbook at Amazon that I am super excited about. King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. I'll let you know how the recipes work out after this weekend.

By the way..I really want to be friends with Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown as well. I love Giadas cooking, and her nails are awesome. Really, every time I watch I want her manicure. And Alton could answer all my food questions.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taking action

March is National Colorecal Cancer Awareness month.

My mom was just 39 when she lost her battle with the cancer that began as colon cancer and eventually spread.

In light of that, here is some information that take note of:

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. It is equally common in men and women. An estimated 148,810 people will be diagnosed in 2008, and an estimated 49,960 people will die from the disease. It is also one of the most preventable cancers, because it develops from polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous.


  • Men and women age 50 and older
  • People who use tobacco, are obese and are sedentary
  • People with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps
  • People with a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as long-standing ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
  • People with a family history of inherited colorectal cancer


  • Be physically active and exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains.
  • Consume calcium-rich foods like low-fat or skim milk.
  • Limit red meat and avoid processed meats.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Don't drink alcohol excessively.
For more information go to this site