9/23/2006

get in my head has officially moved to wordpress: thatswhatyouthink.wordpress.com. please update your bookmarks! this page will no longer be updated, and although all the posts have been moved over to the new blog you will still be able to access them here. thanks.

9/10/2006

another movie roundup:

the apartment (1960): one of shirley maclaine's big hits. a classic, but didn't really do anything for me. very weird to see fred macmurray (of flubber (the original) fame) as the baddie.

babes in toyland (1961): blast from the past. fun disney flick, apparently based on a victor herbert operetta. not one of the best, esp. if you don't have the added nostalgia factor, but there are some good moments/scenes inc. annette funicello as mary quite contrary.

chung hing sam lam (1994) (chungking express): wong kar wai. nice cinematography. in two distinct sections, one dramatic and one more comedic, with nothing really connecting the two. enjoyable, though, and i'd watch it again.

the devil wears prada (2006): fun summer movie. as most critics have pointed out: meryl streep lifts this up from the dreck it could've been. i couldn't decide how much anne hathaway was annoying me, though.

heisei tanuki gassen pompoko (1994) (the raccoon war): somewhat trippy studio ghibli flick (miyazaki was one of the producers). typically japanese quirkiness with some raunchy humor and a fairly downer ending.

howards end (1992): entertaining enough and has emma thompson in an academy award-winning role. not quite a keeper though.

i can hear the sea (umi ga kikoeru) (1993) (tv): another studio ghibli flick. this one's about a girl from tokyo forced to live in a small town because of her parent's divorce. has some nice insights into adolescence, particularly at the end, but didn't really resonate with me.

kind hearts and coronets (1949): alec guiness flick in which he plays multiple roles. fairly slow with little tension.

the muppet movie (1979): the first muppet movie. fairly slow and a slew of celebrity cameos that if you weren't around at the time are fairly unrecognizable, but some great scenes esp. with ms. piggy, kermit, and fozzy.

notorious (1946): hitchcock suspense classic. nice performances by ingrid bergman, cary grant, and claude rains, although the ending is a bit abrupt.

the palm beach story (1942): another highly entertaining preston sturges flick. not quite as memorable as some of his others, but still worth watching.

passport to pimlico (1949): odd little british flick about a village that finds an ancient charter that declares them to be an independent country separate from britain and the chaos that ensues. entertaining, but doesn't really move beyond the premise.

thelma & louise (1991): a classic, and still fairly novel today as a female "buddy movie". not always the most convincing, but a good direction (ridley scott) and a good pair of leads.

top hat (1935): fun astaire and rogers movie. wasn't much more memorable than the others to me, although apparently people single it out as the best.

whisper of the heart (mimi wo sumaseba) (1995) : once again miyazaki completely captures childhood in all its confusion, enthusiasm, and innocence. a truly beautiful film. this is on the level of classics like citizen's kane or all about eve but all the more amazing because it's a "kids" movie (although i imagine it's prob. too slow for a lot of kids, american at least). no fantasy elements, but completely enchanting.

9/06/2006

food tourists in the big apple.

this article in the nytimes dining section today spells out exactly what i find scary about cooking and eating in new york.

it's that cooking things in the time-honored way with full respect for fresh, local ingredients gets likened to marie antoinette playing shepherdess in the gardens at versailles. and i can understand precisely this attitude, even though it totally chaps my ass to read it in the local paper.

one of the things i'll miss most about italy when i return to the states is how easy it's been to cook for myself twice a day, every day. and yes, it's both the fact that i don't have any access to pop culture or commerce after 7pm (the commerce, not the pop culture; the latter is a 24-7 kind of lack) and that i like taking the long, pain-in-the-ass route for just about everything i do, but it doesn't seem particularly problematic or ridiculous for me to devote maybe three hours of my day to feeding myself.

"frivolous" is what gets me: what's wrong with us that we have turned cooking into entertainment, drudgery, a mere hobby or playtime for the bourgeois? maybe i'm reading too much into this or maybe i'm out of touch with the reality of the way most of us live today, but i just don't know how to make all this square in my head. or how it will square once i move back.

and it's this same attitude that extends to eating, this sort of keeping-up-with-the-joneses-in-the-loft-next-door sort of mindset, where making some elaborate "peasant" dish is another thing to check off that list of things that make you cooler, more cultured than what's-his-face jones, and going to l'atelier de joël robuchon is another thing to check off.

okay, getting off my high horse now.

9/04/2006

today was the first i heard about nautical antiques, pinback's "selection of b-sides and outtakes", apparently coming out tomorrow. spin.com has a small article about it. hmm. i guess i'll have to get it ...

8/31/2006

a life-changing book: getting off the corn.

my sister just finished michael pollan's omnivore's dilemma, which i had immediately foisted upon her after i read it myself. while she also cares about what she eats, she tends to be more of a skeptic when it comes to the muckraking (fast food nation, for instance, didn't really stir her into action, since she felt it was all stuff she heard before. and neither of us really can handle eating fast food anyway).

we both agree that corn's stranglehold on virtually ever consumable (whether edible or not) is scary. and we're both boycotting it however we can. an interesting email she sent today:

i think if we lived in the US, it would be almost impossible to avoid all these random corn products [including this, which might just prove to be an extra roadblock in weaning ourselves off corn]. i have never even seen a butcher in st. louis that wasn't connectred to a grocery store. the reason the EU bans all these preservatives and fake food flavouring is that they don't have any economic reason to need to sell/move it, whereas its within the US's 'best interest' to develop these crazy ways of using corn.

by the way, this doesn't make me want to shop at whole foods either. i bought a chicken at the butcher's on saturday and split it up into different cuts, made stock out of the carcass/scraps, shredded the meat i got from making stock. can you believe that meat/stock from the chicken has been used for about 12 meals? check out what i've made with it since saturday. then again, it was kind of a big chicken (and it cost £7)

3 x homemade chicken noodle soup
4 x some indian curry (using stuff from the spice box)
3 x salad with chicken, pecans, pumpkin seed, cranberries, apple, and balsamic vineagrette dressing
1 x chicken leg (thigh and drumstick) with soy/honey/green onion reduction
1 x chicken leg to be used tonight.

if you've not already read OD and you eat, well, anything, i urge you to pick it up straightaway.

8/29/2006

pepper lodged in your eye: or, what happens when you eat in space.

is it just me, or has the nytimes been especially quotable lately? first that article about colicchio's departure from GT:

Mr. Colicchio said the tepid critical reception for the Craftsteak restaurant he opened near the meatpacking district in May "was a wake-up call."

"I saw that I needed to pay more attention to what I'm doing there,'' Mr. Colicchio said yesterday on a cell phone from the eighth hole of Liberty National, a golf course near Liberty State Park in New Jersey. His fourth Craftsteak will open in Los Angeles in Century City next year.


and then this.

8/25/2006

u moru, and other corsican things.

there seems to be this weird tendency for everyone to avoid making any kind of connection between corsica and sardinia, but having seen both now, i feel like they couldn't be more similar. they even have virtually the same symbol.







like sardinia, there's the same sort of harsh mountainous terrain perfumed with all kinds of wild herbs and vegetation (maquis or macchia, depending on your country). corsica is a little less burnt looking and has probably a little more flora. and then




there's also that predilection for lamb and grilled meat and rustic cheeses. this is at the restaurant niobel in belgodere, near île-rousse in the north, where we were. la planche niobel: figatellu (pork liver sausage) is the dark thing in the back. there's lamb and pork or maybe beef on here and that slice in the front seems to be a large piece of bacon or something.




called pagliagju (yeah, i couldn't say it either) in dialect. to the right of the salad, there's lonzu, coppa behind that, salami further to the right, and cheese beignets on the end.


8/24/2006

i know what i ate last summer.

okay, summer's not over yet, but the travelling is, more or less. this summer, i went to rome, paris, bern, chiavari, nice, sardinia, sarzana, york, edinburgh and corsica. whew. i don't think i'm forgetting anything, but it wouldn't be so surprising if i did. i did manage to take some photos while away.

sarzana, a charming town right on the border of liguria and tuscany (the next town over is marble-capital carrara): i went for some beach time and a party, and of course ate some pesto while there:





testaroli, a stack of thin crêpes, each layer spread with pesto. you're supposed to roll up each layer and eat it separately. there's a crazy sarzana-dialect name for this forerunner of pasta that i've since forgotten.

in york, we ate like kings:





dave's mom made connie a birthday (carrot) cake. from a delia smith recipe. i am now officially a delia convert.





and when in york, one must stop at betty's tea room





for a fat rascal -- a monster anthropomorphosized scone.





and you've gotta have a proper sunday roast for dinner, with yorkshire pudding (in yorkshire!), natch. and while you're at it, you might as well drive out to tourist-choked yet quaintly lovely whitby (past beautiful rolling hills and picture postcard-perfect english countryside) for:





fish 'n' chips at magpie cafe. the wait in the takeout queue is really quite remarkable. you can forget about eating in the place itself if you're impatient. FnC definitely require a generous dose of salt and malt vinegar, i've realized.

8/22/2006

idle hands.
it's been a busy summer over here, even if little evidence of that has surfaced on this here blog. in the event that you thought i had abandoned yarncrafts forever or have just been twiddling my thumbs these past couple of months, i give you my latest completed knitting projects:



from interweave knits summer 2005, it's the dress on the cover (better picture here, halfway down the page). only mine's a better color (redheads + gray do not a happy combination make). made with phildar licorne on no. 4s. and yes, i got a haircut. reverting back to those skunk stripes i had in 2003. (if you're passing through edinburgh and need a haircut, i have just the person for you. petra might just be better than richard. but shhhhh, don't tell him i said so.)





like my buttons?



from interweave spring 2006, the prairie tunic. okay, this one looks better on the ectomorphic model. again, made with phildar licorne on no. 4s.



8/08/2006

new home.

we're (or i should say fred is) setting up new digs over at wordpress, and the formatting mess you see here is just a little hiccup we have to deal with before the transition is complete. sorry for the lax posting as well -- i have much to relate, but some technical difficulties and serious work dumpage is making it hard to do so. soon, soon. i promise.

8/01/2006

w/ my resurgence of nintendo obsession i've been thinking about starting a video game blog ... and it looks like it's finally happened. check out: video games rock where you can read all about how cool pokemon on game boy is. (in case you were wondering, geodude is the name of the coolest pokemon.) of more particular interest is the fact that i chose wordpress over blogger. although as far as i can tell you can't really edit the templates they provide, this is far outweighed by the benefit of having categories and sub-categories for your posts so readers can filter your blog by their interest. and the tags are used by blog search engines (some at least). also, wordpress has RSS feeds for posts as well as comments. i haven't looked too much into their features for group blogs, but they look good. so how about it, winnie and foo -- should we move our little house to greener pastures?

7/27/2006

okay it's time -- bring on the London eats suggestions! (also seems like the margin problems resolved themselves.)

parsleyed tomatoes with cucumber raita

I'm doing a three month internship which is much too far away from my house -- the commute is long by car and longer by transit/bike. this means i come home and pretty much am too exhausted to cook. but i did manage to sneak this one in over the weekend. summer csa box is amazing. this week: tomato(e?)s, basil, squash, green beans, onions, watermelon, potatoes, walnuts. corn is taking the week off. (did i break the format by trying to blog from flickr? suddenly the left margin is missing)

7/24/2006

two miscellany: carl posted an interesting survey of health care in massachusetts the new york times ran an article on the other big topic everyone seems to be talking about (the first being local vs. organic), and enlightened us on what you can currently expect if you want to use vegetable oil to run your car.

7/21/2006

paradise, found. we spent last weekend in sardinia, alternating between time at the beach: and time at the table (these are all homemade, by the way): utterly addictive crackly and sheet-thin pane carasau, made with a leavened dough that is rolled really, really flat and then baked twice. the first baking turns the dough into a giant bubble that must be skillfully cut in half to yield each disc. These are then baked again to get that crisp (amazingly humdity-resistant, i'm finding) texture. great to sop up juices from lamb, roasted on a spit in the ol' outdoor oven (what, you don't do this at home?). the traditional sardinian lunch. particularly good when followed by a nap. some spigola and muggine (and also orata, which was still being cooked and not pictured) that i stuffed with lemon , onions and rosemary and stuck on the grill. i also did some calamari with salt and pepper and let it just turn opaque. the sea offers up a truly incredible bounty of sweet flesh, it must be said. damn fine meal, this was (and separate from the lamb, in case you're wondering if i had to be rolled on to the ferry back to the mainland). no meal in sardinia is complete with cheese. and besides the pecorino and a local cow-and-sheep combo, there was also this pastry, sa sebada, made with savory dough and stuffed with cheese (provolone-style ones) and then usually covered with honey. but this one with sugar sprinkled on top gave the same kind of salt-fat-sugar rush that you get from, say, an elvis PB&J, and are reminiscent of that food-of-the-gods, funnel cake. but with cheese. please smack me if i ever complain about living in italy again.

7/19/2006

cheer up, zizou -- you've got some good eatin' over there. from nice, a couple weekends ago (because summer just doesn't feel right without a trip to the côte d'azur, sun-ravaged germans notwithstanding): the bio tomates guy at the market. tripes à la niçoise at lou pistou, with delicious, delicious chickpea fries.

7/10/2006

FORZA AZZUUUUUUUURRRRIIIIIIIII!! highlights: racing around town in a car trying to find the perfect game-viewing venue (and switching at half-time due to crappy reception) watching the second half in a football field with 200 italians all masticating pork chops, drinking wine out of little plastic cups, bleating away on their pressurized horns and high-pitched whistles and zealously waving their ridiculously oversized flags about watching italians everywhere near total breakdown just from the tension of it all italians cheering for every juve player that gets put on the field (this is piemonte, after all) italians cheering when zidane is red-carded italians cheering upon each successful penalty kick past barthez italians going totally apenuts when grosso makes the kick: screaming, hugging, laughing, jumping up and down, running around, waving ridiculously oversized flags about racing around town (sometimes at a standstill) in a car, honking the horn, hanging out the window and screaming like a hooligan (yes, i did this -- but only for a few seconds) listening to everyone else in town race around town, honk their horns and hang out the windows and scream like hooligans until 2 a.m. a sign, hoisted in the air: ADESSO VOGLIAMO LA GIOCONDA (now we want the mona lisa)

7/05/2006

independence day, in numbers. july 4 6 americans 1 australian 29°C 16 ribs 4 burgers 4 kinds of baladin beer 0 televisions 12 minutes into overtime 20 second search for nearest television 100 people in piazza dei caduti 30 meters from screen projection italy 2 germany 0 58,103,033 italians jumping up and down, kissing and hugging each other, running around screaming, throwing themselves on the ground and writhing, getting into their cars and driving around in circles and generally making a big ol' ruckus 3 close-ups of german fans in the stands shown crying on italian television 2 hours of general ruckus-making, outside my window: 1 lovely pavlova, australian-made and completely consumed: 1 glass each, grappa and irish whiskey 6 hours of sleep.

6/30/2006

small but perfectly formed and other oddities from the market today: it is, perhaps, unfair to group these plums under "oddities", as they're not odd at all, just little, like me. and really lovely, no? what with their jewel-like translucence. what is odd actually, is that i don't find so many of the conventional plums that are common to all american supermarkets (and here's where i could launch into a diatribe on how those plums, while large and perfectly formed, have not the generously juicy, honeyed, almost sparklingly bright and balanced interior, the luscious, yielding flesh that these do, but instead scrooge you with a thoroughly unpleasant acidity and either a consistency to rival sand or to make your stomach turn because of its sloppy, undercellulosed insides -- but there's no need, right?). here, we get all kinds of different plums (and were those gages i saw at the stand on wednesday?), and just about everyone i know has a ramassin tree in their backyard. they look just like cherry tomatoes. and speaking of tomatoes: i'm sorry to inflict the yearly close-up photo of cuore di bue tomatoes on you, dear reader, but 'tis the season (as we say all too frequently on this blog. we being me, i suppose), and nothing says summer like these ugly fatties: (this would be the bum shot.) this particular tomato has very special qualities, with a classic tear drop shape (seems like the other usual morphology for these guys is an elongated, bulbous ellipsoid), but also with a mug you just gotta love: (it was almost too tempting to deck him out, mr. potato head-style, but hunger won out and i ate him instead.)

6/27/2006

some boston/cambridge-related links worth noting: heyletsgo.com: looking for something to do? check this site out. list of MA farmers' markets: andy has told me about the cambridgeport one which is just down the street. will def. be going soon and reporting back. bostonist.com: one of the better boston blogs i've come across. arts, food, shows, etc. bradleysalmanac: another local. some fantastic live mp3s (inc. pinback's latest boston show), constantly updated. certainly, sir: a MA-based electronic duo that mike turned me onto. their site has a nice interface (a very media lab feel) w/ a lot of audio (inc. a track w/ ben gibbard on vox). will be checking them out this thurs. at 10 p.m. at the enormous room.

6/23/2006

pesca ≠ pesca. or, fishing and peaches: two sides of the same coin. for the brief period in which i learned italian semi-formally in new york, i remember asking at some point what the deal is with accents. which way do they slant? why is it perché and not perchè? and why, if it is the former, do some italians write the latter sometimes? my teacher at the time either didn't know the answer or didn't want us to worry about something she (very probably) considered less important than being able to conjuage the conditional properly. even when i pressed further, asking whether it signified some difference in pronunciation (as in french, differentiating between a closed and open vowel), she pretty much demurred and said there was no real difference. as it turns out, it is a matter of pronunciation (acute for closed, grave for open, though, as always, there are exceptions). well, this is not really that closely related to the title of this post, except that the word pesca means two different things, depending on the way it is pronounced. pésca (accents employed here to indicate pronuncation, as they are never used in writing) means 'fishing', while pèsca means 'peach'. and christ, if i didn't have enough problems memorizing where the stress falls or knowing whether to close or open my vowels, check this and this out. that whole preamble is probably not that important anyway, given that a) i've not been doing any fishing, and b) those aren't peaches below. but it's not too far off from the real point of this post, if i could claim that one exists. and plus, i just like that duality. let me explain: hi, my name is winnie, and i have a sardine problem. i just can't seem to stop eating them. i need to keep at least three tins in the pantry at all times to avoid feeling agitated or unprepared (for what, i don't know). when i travel to foreign countries, i have to buy every kind of sardine available to see if there's one particular brand that does them best. this is the result of my trips to bern and paris. from my arbitrary and only sort of extensive sampling i proclaim that the french in general seem to have the upper hand. that doesn't stop me from being equal opportunity, however. my mother noted, when the parents came to visit, that i seem to have a remarkable affinity for canned goods these days. (why, i don't know.) right -- as mentioned before, these above are not, in fact, peaches, but apricots rather. following christine ferber's instructions for bergeron apricot preserves (reducing the sugar by about half), i canned these guys from the market. i got two medium-size jars out of a kilo of fruit and a day and a half of maceration, simmering, straining, etc. i improvised a little and added some basil to one jar (not pictured here, as it's already been given away as a birthday present) before screwing on the lid, which, as intended, shook up the italians a little (but should be pretty nice once it has time to infuse the syrup a little). i left the skin on, though she suggested divesting the fruit of them, because i just couldn't figure out how, even if pre-simmered or blanched, they could come off without marring the flesh. the point being -- of the post, that is, not skin-removing -- is that yes, i do like canned food. bonus, for my italian-literate readers, a story (taken from an email i wrote today): di solito fa fresca nella mia casa durante la giornata, ma di notte, relativamente alla temperature fuori, fa più caldo, quindi devo a meno aprire la finestra. ieri sera, è venuta in mente l'idea brillante di aprire non solo la finestra nella stanza, ma anche quella nella cucina, per favorire un po' di ventilazione trasversale. alle 4 della mattina, mi sono svegliata improvvisamente da qualcosa che ha saltato sul mio letto (!). ero spaventata. e quando mi sono alzata, ho visto che c'era un gatto strano sulla copera. l'ho cacciato fuori la finestra e sono tornata al letto (dopo aver chiuso la finestra). quando ho toccato la coperta, ho sentito qualcosa umida, ma densa. e perché sono molto intelligente, l'ho annusato -- era il vomito di gatto! il che ho confermato quando ho acceso la luce. EEEEEUUUUUUGH. avevo -IO- voglia di vomitare. ho tolto tutto dal letto, cambiato tutto e ho lavato le mani (nell'ordine contrario). non potevo addormentarmi subito perché faceva così schiffo che mi sentivo malata. mi sento malata ancora. e adesso odio tutti i gatti. quando ne vedo uno, il mio stomaco gira. non posso descrivere la dimensione totale della mia ripugnanza. SCHIIIIIIFO.

6/18/2006

voter exhaustion I didn't vote in the primaries this month. This is the first election I've skipped since I've moved to California. I've probably voted more in the past two years than I have in my entire life. Not because I didn't used to vote much, but because they make us vote all the fucking time. I moved here in the fall of 2003, and I had to vote three times in the first three months. Gubernatorial recall, regular election, mayoral runoff. And everytime you go, it's a total ordeal if you haven't prepped in advance. There's the candidates, but then there's a slew of city, regional, and state initiatives with all sort of letters and numbers. We have to vote on things like parking lots and seismic retrofit and library funding and pre-k classes and minimum wages and reversing previous initiatives and the number of people that sit on some municipal board and who gets to appoint them. There are initiatives that go together, so if you vote yes on 68 it only makes sense to vote no on 70, but the ballet doesn't say that, or 71 has to pass in order for the result of 74 to even be considered. Don't I elect people to decide these things for me? Am I supposed to trust my fellow citizens to make the "right" decision on something as specific as how many people should sit on some obscure board? I don't have time to really research these initiatives, should I believe that other voters do? Do elected leaders do anything besides put initiatives on the ballot? The governator has been personally responsible for one or two trips to the ballot box, can't he solve his own political problems without getting me involved? I'm tired of democracy.