Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Maybe this is why I've been cooking less

In the course of my work, I come across a lot of strange scientific articles and odd study findings. The one about how spinning a baby in a chair may make them smarter, how animals - shocking! - might have feelings, etc.

The latest one to make me laugh out loud is in the British Journal of Psychology and titled "Does hunger influence judgments of female physical attractiveness?". (thanks to Dienekes for the heads up)

What were they trying to find out? Why male preferences for female body weight follows a consistent socio-economic pattern.

And what did they find? That 30 hungry men preferred female figures with a higher body weight and rated as more attractive heavier figures than 31 not so hungry males.

Monday, July 24, 2006

You know all those things you should do to keep your knives in top notch shape? Yes well, I don't do any of them. I mean to, but I don't. I use them on plates and countertops instead of the cutting board. I put them away without drying them. I use them to open bags of chips. I keep them piled up in a drawer.

And those long pointy things you're supposed to slide the knife up and down against before using? Yeah, it didn't do anything for me.

I figured that Lazy Ladygoat was destined to a life of being squirted in the eye by tomatoes and/or buying new knives every year.

And then ... I discovered the Professional Knife Sharpener.

Not too far from my house is man who sharpens knives out of his house for a living. It's at the top of two flights of creaking wooden stairs on a hill, darkened by many tall and imposing trees. When I first went to get a set of knives sharpened, I had to leave them on his porch, because was not to be at home. Thus the house was dark and especially spooky, and it occurred to me that this could all be a sinister ruse to trick the young and innocent into a chamber of horrors, unknowingly bearing the tools of their own tortuous murder with them.

No one jumped out from the shadows.

Nevertheless, I admit to being a little nervous when I went back the next day to pick the knives up. (Perhaps psychotic killers prefer to use sharp knives just as much as the home chef).

But no: he was really just a knife sharpener. And an excellent knife sharpener at that. It only cost me $20 to get four knives done, and the difference was amazing. They were like entirely new knives. Even the one with had had a sizeable dent in it from being smacked with a hammer (don't ask) was remarkably sharp and was now was one of the preferred knives in the kitchen and made chopping tomatoes amazingly easy.

So what is the lesson here? Get your kitchen knives professionally sharpened, of course.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An unstable pack leader

Having fortified himself with generous amounts of garlic salami and San Miguel beer, Foodgoat got down on the floor, eye to eye, nose to snout, with Sienna.

And from the quivering depths of his gut came a belch of such length and loudness as to register on the Richter scale.

Sienna jerked back, pawed frantically at her nose, and the normally calm and quiet dog barked irritatedly at him for a full fifteen minutes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Will Work for Biscuits

Mature dog seeks position in Cleveland area as therapy dog. Recently certified as a Canine Good Citizen by the AKC. Skills include Homeland defense and Kong cookie extraction and shaking hands. Extensive experience in retrieving Frisbees and sleeping and kitchen cleanup duty. Will work for snacks and belly rubs. No storm chasers need respond.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's another icky hot summer day here in Cleveland, when all I really want to eat is ice cream. We've been sampling the various ice cream novelty treats, from Klondikes to lemon ice to things on sticks, but so far I can't pass up a Drumstick. It's ice cream! In a cone! With a chocolate coating! Brilliant.

Most of them are coated in poison (Foodgoat tells me I'm missing something wonderful in the peanut-ice cream combination), so my personal range of choices from that line are somewhat limited. Still, I can have the cookies and cream flavor, and the mint looks very promising. Skip the triple chocolate though - I think just being near it causes diabetes, and besides, it lacks that chococate shell that's so satisfying to break through.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sorry, Moe's, but Pierside Seafood Restaurant has officially replaced you as my favorite place to eat in Pismo Beach.

Not only does it have a far more pleasant eating area with a shady but scenic view of the beach, but it has "Tubes and Tentacles" and "Tubes and Chips" specials on the menu, allowing me to have calamari as both an appetizer and an entree.

Who could turn down a dish with the word "tentacles" in it?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh Say Can You Calamansi

By far the most exciting find at the garden centers this year is the calamansi tree (labelled as a calamondin). It's native to the Philippines and makes bitsy limey-orangey things which are are the perfect size for squirting onto food. My little tree will never make enough to keep me supplied in calamansi juice (my sure-fire cure for sore throats, colds, and all that ails you), but for me, a calamansi tree is like a piano - a house isn't a Filipino home until it has one. So far it is happily fruiting in the backyard, untouched by the deer or the groundhog (luckily for them: hell hath no fury like a gardener whose calamansi has been pilfered). I was told it should do fine overwintering inside my cold house, but I'm not so sure, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Respect the boundaries!

After two years, four plants, many stubby stems, and an ongoing battle for resources with the local deer, I present to you the first, and thus far, only raspberry I have produced for our own consumption.

The cost-benefit ratio of home gardening is not working out in my favor.

Tonight Sienna and I begin a daily patrol around the property at dusk.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Well, how's a blogger supposed to follow that?

Before we dive headlong into a year or so of wedding pie selections and whether the lechon should be served at the reception, my week in California included other developments aside from the sparkly-sparkly kind. For one thing, my brother graduated from UCLA.

For another, while we were in town, I was introduced to Westwood's famous Diddy Riese Cookies.

Each time we walked by, there was a line at least fifteen deep that trailed down the street. But if you are patient, at the end you can buy one delicious, freshly made cookie for only 35 cents. Or you can get two cookies with ice cream packed in between them. Yummy.

Or you can get a cookie and a hot dog and have yourself a dinner for about a buck fifty.