Thursday, September 29, 2011

Java Justifies!

We're always trying to justify the things that we know are wrong so that we can convince ourselves that it's OK to do it again and again. For instance, eating a giant bowl of ice cream after a long hard day at work because, "I worked hard all day! I deserve this treat!" Or the one I do every so often, "There's beneficial flavonoids in this dark chocolate which are good for my blood vessels." Sure the same flavonoids are found in other, much more healthier foods, but my justifications help me a little when I need that boost of chocolate.

One food that people always assume is a "bad food" is coffee and consequently feel guilt after drinking their morning cup(s) of java. We were always told that coffee is bad for the body, but we as society need the coffee to get us going in the morning since we live these hectic lives that destroy our sleep patterns and leave us lethargic. Our justification is that coffee is needed to get us through the day.

Well I have a new justification for you! I read in the Boston Globe this morning that coffee may decrease a person's risk of developing depression. Doesn't that make you happy?

...get it?...happy?...depression......

What's cool about this is that they're saying that long-term use of caffeine (10+ years of more than 1 cup a day) is affecting brain receptors associated with depression, and that these are the same receptors involved with Parkinson's disease. There's tons of research going on that caffeine can reduce one's chances of getting Parkinson's, which is amazing.

I just want to sum up by saying that coffee does not dehydrate like we all were led to believe and does not cause heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Coffee actually counts towards our daily total water recommendations (2.7L for women and 3.7L for men) and it is not the problem here when it comes to the other health problems. It's the giant dollops of cream and sugar that people add to their mugs when drinking it that contributes to the onset of heart disease and diabetes. If you need helping reducing your intake of cream and sugar from your coffee, read this and see if you can try it for yourself. I did! I no longer put sugar in my coffee and it makes me so happy to be able to accomplish that - even though it seems so little, it's a pretty big deal for me.

I love coffee. I drink it for the taste and not the caffeine buzz that most people crave to get them on with their day. My main problem with coffee is that I need to find proper justification for the amount of money that I spend at Starbucks. The addiction lives on.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seed Stereotyping

Here is an interesting story that I read this morning that really made me sit back and think about human nature and what strangeness is happening in the world. The world's largest sperm bank, Cryos International, is no longer accepting "donations" from red-headed men. Apparently the demand for red-headed babies is so low that the company has decided to just stop taking donations that may produce a baby with red hair.


I keep having to stop typing and think about what I want to say on this subject because I guess I just find it so strange that this is even happening. I mean, a part of me definitely understands it in some ways. If a single woman who had really dark hair and eyes wanted to have a child on her own and the baby came out with super red hair and light light skin then she may feel that since the child does not look like her and there was no father to prove where the colouring came from, then she may not feel she has a physical connection to that child. But on the flip side of that, I bet that having a baby grow inside of you for 9 months would create a rather strong connection to that baby, no matter the colouring of hair or skin. Plus there are women who have red hair who are either single or cannot have children with their husband/partner and want a child that resembles herself or her partner so the red-headed donor would be very much needed.

The article also talks about how people with red hair are stereotyped in a negative way (like they have no soul, are untrustworthy and/or have bad tempers) and they do not wish to inflict this reputation upon their child. But then they turn it around and say that when asked, people with red hair would not change their fiery mane if given the chance because it is a part of their identity. Plus there are the good stereotypes that come with being a red-head too! Whenever I think of red-heads I think of my childhood friend Amanda who is this amazing, fun-loving silly person who I just adore. Plus I was envious of her dark red head of hair. Those the the qualities I first think of when I think of a person with red hair. Back in high school I was so angry at her when she put large blonde chunks in it because it took away the uniqueness of her hair.

I also feel that not having a child in fear of him/her being teased or stereotyped is senseless considering people get teased no matter what! A person can be tall, short, fat, thin, big nosed, small eyes, large forehead, flat chested....etc..... People are mean and have low self esteem and they will unfortunately always find fault in other people. Depriving the world of physical diversity is not the answer. It's trying to cure the ignorant that should be dealt with first. I say deny the ignorant and prejudice people from donating well before the Gingers. Cause, I mean...where do you draw the line at who can and cannot donate their sperm?

"I'm sorry sir, but it seems that you eyebrows are a tad too bushy to donate here. We wouldn't want children to resemble any character from Sesame Street now would we?"

Lastly, my boyfriend is a red-head (a very stealth one, but still a red-head) and I think he's super sexy. There are tons of sexy Gingers in this world and I think that a HUGE amount of people would be devastated if they slowly disappeared from society. Hello? The disappearance of Christina Hendricks alone would destroy so many men's fantasy lives. So there!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday night I started my new serving job at Holland College. It was a banquet for about 220 people and it was a huge change from the kind of work I have been doing lately. It was so fast paced and there was so much to get done before the event started. Plus everyone was all flustered since the school was juggling this event and one of the dinners for the Shellfish Festival which they were also helping to cater for. It was a 5 course meal which included 4 different wine pairings. So much cutlery to many wine glasses so clean! But the guests were incredibly appreciative and the night got a raved review (plus a standing ovation from the crowd).

The following night was a big wedding of 230 guests and I really enjoyed this event a lot. I was feeling really run down since I didn't get out of there til quite late the night before and was dragging my feet considerably when the tables all had to get set and the glasses all needed polishing; but once the reception started and people started to come and the atmosphere lightened up, I was able to have a good time. Plus I recognized some of the faces in the crowd and was able to chat with a few of the guests during the pre-meal appetizer/drink mingle before the bride and groom arrived (I was walking around offering people Moonshine Punch). During the main reception meal, we are not allowed to clear any dishes or really do anything when any speeches were being given, so after standing around and listening to speech after speech and story after story about the newlyweds, I started to get all emotional as though I knew these people and I had shared these precious moments with them. I think it was somewhere after the home video slideshow that I started to become related to these people. I found myself laughing at jokes I didn't even get just because everyone else seemed to know the punch line. I'm lame.

This was my favourite part of the speech of the Father of the Groom - "When we drink we get drunk. When we get drunk we fall asleep. When we fall asleep we commit no sin. When we commit no sin we go to heaven. So let's all get drunk and go to heaven." It's a famous Irish toast but I'm not Irish so I've never heard it before.

I think my favourite part of these two nights is the time spent in the kitchen in which I got to watch the culinary students and their instructors prepare and plate up the meals. It took me back to when I was in culinary school and we were putting on these giant events and having to over-plan and over-prepare every single detail of the night. Would people suddenly indulge the important detail of having an allergy? Or would there be an extra vegetarian meal needed? Or maybe the lady on table 23 suddenly decided she didn't want any garlic in her food. Then what would we do? I remember the feeling of having to have everything look and taste beautiful and the apprehension of not knowing if people would enjoy the part of the meal that you were in charge of. And your chef barking orders and wiping splashes off of plates and telling everyone to step it up! Or keep up the good pace!

I remember one event in which I was in charge of the dessert and I made over 250 cream puffs which were in the shape of swans. Each little swan was placed in a pool of vanilla cream and strawberry sauce was spread around the pool as well. Was it Valentine's Day perhaps?? YES! Because we also made tons of red tuile hearts to place on the plate as well. Anyway, I made an enormous mistake and well under-estimated the amount of vanilla cream needed, or someone had used too large of a ladle when measuring. Either way, I had no time but needed several liters of this cream made up. So myself and another student made 2 huge bowls of instant vanilla pudding to use as the cream pools because the real stuff needed hours to prepare. The problem with this is that we needed to use hot water for this particular pudding mix, so to get them chilled at an accelerated rate we sat in the walk in freezer with the bowls on our laps and whisked and whisked until our arms nearly fell off. No literally. My arm nearly disconnected from my body.

I guess I went off on a bit off topic there with my walk down memory lane, but the point of the story I guess is to share that I appreciate and truly understand all of the hard work that people in the food industry do to have these amazing functions go off successfully. Those who attend rarely know the amount of coordinated time, energy, talent and man-power needed and what really happens back in the kitchen. I love that I have been on both sides of the table, the cooking/plating and the serving, because it makes me respect it that much more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Without Warning

Autumn has arrived on PEI. I constantly made the joke that Mother Nature decided to go from Spring and skip straight into Fall, which is what seemed to have happened. The locals I have talked with agree that this was the rainiest and dreariest summer they have seen in a long long time, and there are plenty of other areas of Canada that had the same kind of summer months. BC had a horribly wet summer as well (worst in 20 years I think I remember reading) but they are fortunate enough to be hit with some hot hot weather now to make up for some of it. Thirty-five degrees sounds pretty nice right now. When September hit, PEI went from 23 degrees to about 12 overnight and stayed well under 20 ever since. Sigh. "Summer" is done. Bring on the snow.

On a happy note, I got a part-time job doing some serving at Holland College a few nights a week. All of our hours at the restaurant got cut back since tourists have all headed home and the restaurant business never thrives much in the off-season. I felt that finding a little extra work might be helpful for that reason. I feel a bit out of my element with this new job considering I've only been a server for a little less than a year and am now going into full-on formal dining in a few days. We're working a 270+ wedding on Friday night which should be a bit of a gong-show but I am looking forward to seeing how it all works out. I'm still having no luck with finding jobs related to my very expensive university degree which is making me re-think my entire life plan these days. I would hate to think that I wasted 4 years of my life going to school only to have to go into a different field because no one wants to give me a chance and even offer me as little as an interview. I also don't want to go back to school for another 4 years to get a new degree because I love nutrition and I think I'm pretty good with it. But, money rules the world and the only way to get money is to get a job and the only way for me to get a job is to get an education that people want to hire for.

Ugh. Woe is me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Operation Gas Formation

Today I went on a personal mission to solve a major mystery and I am disappointed to announce that no answer was discovered within the vast research I conducted via the highly reliable and educational Google. Sigh.

Why do apples make me burp?

I am not a burper. I bet most people in my life who see me on a daily basis can count the number of times they have heard me burp on one hand. In fact, I bet most people cannot recall a time in which I have burped in their presence. I am a bit of an oddball since I do no like to burp whereas most people find it profoundly relieving to release that excess gas. I do not enjoy it and for some reason I do not do it very often.

Except when I eat an apple. Within about 30 seconds after consuming this delectable fruit, I always have an uncontrollable burp. Just one, but it's always there.


I read that apples tend to generate more gas in the stomach due to their sugar content which causes burping, but my burp is always a one time deal and immediate after consumption. Would this reaction really happen so quickly?

I am perplexed with this question. I mean, it's really no big deal at all, but the fact that I can't find a scientific explanation is driving me a bit batty. Help?!?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Did You Know?

I had a fun day today.

Here's a couple things you may not have known about me, and in one case I did not know about myself as well! The other one I did know but had forgotten about until today.

1) I am a surprisingly good roller-skater! One of my best friends here recently became a Roller Girl, meaning she entered the local Roller Derby in PEI. Don't know what a Roller Derby is? Watch the movie Whip It and you'll get a pretty good idea of what it's all about. Today we went down to the water front where there is a large track where most people run or walk, and she let me strap on all her gear and take a trip around and around the track. I used to roller-skate lots when I was a very little person but that was a very long time ago and I was very rusty on the experience. How little you ask? Well my last pair of roller-skates had Barbie on them. I have ice skated and roller-bladed lots and lots since growing out of the Barbie skates, but roller-skating is a whole different experience. But I did really well and did not fall once! It was so much fun and a great work out. Now I really want to buy my own but with the season getting cooler already I am thinking that the investment in all the gear won't be worth the amount of time left til it gets too cold to skate outside. Anyway, I was very proud of myself for getting some good speed and even learning a couple key moves in the derby world. Yay me!

2) I really enjoy going to scrap yards, or auto-wreckers as I call them. It's something I used to do a lot when I lived back in BC because I dated a guy who had multiple cars that needed multiple parts on a regular basis, so we would always check out the auto-wreckers in mad search for that needed piece. Plus he had cars such as Jags and old VWs so the parts weren't the easiest to find. Anytime we would travel out of town, like Vancouver or Victoria, we would hit all the yards because selection was so much better than local places. And I always really enjoyed these trips even though it was sad to see hundreds and hundreds of cars torn to pieces. I think it was the not knowing if we would find something great or just a bunch of junkers that have had all the good pieces stripped away already. Anyway, today we headed out to a local scrap yard to find a hub-cap for Chris's Toyota and entering the yard brought back these forgotten feelings of nostalgia. It was nice.