Sunday, September 21, 2008

You are what you eat

Thank you Anthromama for this fine blog topic. I am at my wit's end -- for more reasons than I can begin to enumerate -- and this is a worthwhile amusement.

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Below is a list of 100 things that every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you don’t recognize everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61.  S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wow, I guess that's not bad: I scored 59 out of 100 for what I have eaten; there are quite a few things that sound terrific, but yet to encounter; and there aren't that many things I won't try, but I'm not an offal kind of person so that ruled out a few items right off the bat.

I think that DH and I have benefitted from travelling. Here in NZ, we are fortunate to have outstanding Thai and Indian cuisine (did you know Curry is the most popular take-out food in the UK?). It simply does not compare to the mediocre versions we tasted in America. I was disappointed not to be able to say Yes to the 3-star Michelin restaurant. I just looked up our best tasting dinner ever and the restaurant (The Water Grill in Los Angeles) just rec'd one star.

Of course, before I crow too loudly, I should mention that my waistline has suffered for our food indulgences...., alas, ya win some ya lose some.

Gotta go do stuff to get my family on a plane in only 4 days.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Success! The Birthday Party

First, let me admit with shame that --  when it comes to birthday parties -- I have often been that over-doer of a parent, the one who spends too much and has too many people and it's all so big that we don't even have a chance to visit with our friends. Some of this has been as a result of the business, and a need to invite patients who have known the girls since birth; some of this has been my inability to choose just which friends to invite; and some of this has been because my husband and daughter share a birthday and I can never pick just one person as the birthday kid.

But this year, I managed to create a terrific party, if I may say so myself. :-) In attendance were 15 children representing only 7 families (including our own), and 10 adults. Guests arrived while Biggie, Littlie and Dad were a-wandering, and they hid as the birthday girl approached. Boy, was she surprised! Soon thereafter, the fairy arrived to entertain the munchkins for one hour. That was all a bit of a blur as I was trying to play hostess.

Then the fairy left and fun began. Instead of just handing out favour bags, the kids had to solve clues to find their favours. This was designed as a rainbow, apt for a seventh birthday, and these were the findings:

hail to birthday 181

Each item was wrapped in a silk and contained a clue for the next item. I worked to be frugal with this party -- especially given my recent ticket purchases! -- and I really pat myself on the back for being able to come up with alot of stuff from items on hand. The blue bags were burlap from some random project of pre-kid years. The little books are from origami paper that's been hiding on the craft shelf. The silk ribbons were made from our food-colour dyed silk fabric and beads and skewers on hand. The matchbooks were in the house, as was the scrapbook paper which covered them. My two expenses were the agate slices and peacock feathers. They certainly didn't cost a ton compared to traditional plastic doodads (I spent about $40 and have extras left over), and when these parcels were discovered, the children were ooohing and aaahing galore. 100% worth it!

As for the food, for the first time I felt like I had the right amount: fruit plate, pita/veggies and dip, sushi, popcorn, and some lovely sandwiches brought by a friend. Instead of one big cake to cut and distribute, we served dozens of these wee cakes. Biggie had recently picked this pan from the store and fell in love with it, and it proved to be most convenient since all the little hands could just reach for their "piece" instead of my having to use a thousand napkins and such. Pluuuus, the cakes were a nice accompaniment to the chocolate fondue and strawberries that were meant to be for the grown ups but were devoured by wee munchkins.

All in all, we tho't the party an absolute success, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention two important factors. First, the house: it made all the difference! The kids were able to play outside and run and tumble and just be free to be children. We haven't had that option for many years and I am grateful for this opportunity to host Biggie's friends. Second, and far more important, the quality of the families: 15 children and all happy, cooperative playing. No clique-ish-nesh (new word for the occasion), no nastiness, just alot of nice-ness. The older kids were tolerant and generous with the little teeny ones (some of the younger siblings were just toddlers). How fortunate we are to live/think the way we do! For all the days that I am sad for our minority status, today was a day that I was reminded that our way of life produces kind, happy children.

Today was a day that I felt very happy to be a Waldorf mom. Happy Birthday, Biggie!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Feeling our Weirdness

I have a thousand things to share, all delayed as a result of no internet connection for the past week. I'll get to those things tomorrow, but for now I had to take a moment and talk about our evening's entertainment.

We attended the local public elementary school's play, supporting a friend who was in the play. Minutes into it, I realised just how different we are, and how our way of looking at the world has changed in the past year. As I watched those beautiful wee children dancing hiphop (suitably attired, of course, in sideways caps and big gold medallions) and rapping about humans polluting the oceans (no shit, the play was a statement about abusing the planet), all I could think was, "Where is the beauty in this?" There was nothing nourishing, nothing touching; it was cold hard facts and lots of loud stereo music. I was actually heartsore upon leaving because these lovely little children are being taught by people who have no idea what children really need. I tho't back to our little Waldorf stories and dramas and the philosophy of education as it relates to soul development....I saw how education of the brain has been removed from any sense of caring for the whole person.

I must say, loud and clear, I fault neither the parents nor the children. I praise those littlies for doing a terrific job at exactly what they were instructed to do. But I am sad that instead of being surrounded by warmth, love and beauty, these kids are being taught like automatons, soulless information machines. I left feeling 100% okay with my choices AND, knowing that the play was written by one of the elementary school teachers, I felt a confidence in my story telling skills as never before. Oh yeah, and I prayed that my kids took in very little of what they had seen.....I don't think I could work breakdancing into our circle time.

Now, I have Biggie's birthday party in two days, so I need to go finish those tasks. I'll tell you all about it asap, but for now, I am patting myself on the back for 1) not spending too much money (yep, I'm notorious for too-big parties), and 2) creating a special quest for the guests, who'll find lots of handmade and natural treasures hiding in our garden. (Funny story: I walked into the crappy two dollar store the other day looking for balloons and the smell of plastic almost made me gag. Hehehe, a sign of change, I am sure.)

Off to construct.