A visit to ERC

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

The other day, I paid a visit to Espresso Royal Caffe in the Back Bay to talk to some customers and employees about why they like it so much (ERC has a reputation for being a cool hangout for local college students). Have you been in ERC? If not take a look at my video. Even if you have, you should still check it out – the vibe of the crowd at ERC is always interesting.

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Apple Galette

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

A week or two ago I decided to make an apple galette (I would have made a pie, but I don’t have a pie dish) after I saw the abundance of local apples in the dining hall. It only took about a week of sneaking extra apples to get enough for the recipe, which I found at epicurious.com. I Googled around for the best recipe and found one that looked super easy. So here’s how it went:

Here are the ingredients: Sugar, apricot jam, pie crusts, lemon, and apples! Zester, knife and cutting board courtesy of my mom. Oh! And parchment paper, which is necessary (it’s on the left, on the sheet pan).

Slicing the apples… I remembered that acid keeps the apples from turning brown, so I hurried to mix them with the lemon zest as soon as possible.

Once the apples were mixed with the sugar and lemon zest, I arranged them in a concentric pattern over a pie crust smeared with apricot jam, but made sure to leave at least an inch border.

The recipe said to brush the folded-up crust with milk, except I didn’t have a brush, so I tried to pour almond milk carefully over it, but spilled (later my friend suggested that I pour it into a paper towel and rub it on, to which I replied: Don’t tell me about sensible things like that) and then I sprinkled the whole thing with sugar. Ready for the oven!

Hot and bubbly! Now you see why the parchment paper is necessary.

Mmm, ready to eat. This was a great treat at the end of the day, and even provided me with an opportunity for roommate bonding. Make this while it’s still apple season!

Corn sugar? Not so sweet.

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yikes! I have had a crazy two weeks filled with mountains of work punctuated by five-hour periods of light sleep. And so here is my attempt to get all caught up. Below is my post that should have been on Friday, Oct. 1.

Maybe about a month ago, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) renamed High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Now it’s Corn Sugar, or at least it will be in six months if the FDA chooses to approve the change. I first heard about this on the always entertaining Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! from NPR. And after a Google search, I found this nice blog post on it from The New York Times’ Well blog.

Now, before I write what I think about the name change, I want to first explain how I feel about HFCS in general. I think it’s bad. Why? Because Michael Pollan told me so in his book In Defense of Food. He said you should avoid food made from ingredients that were manufactured in a lab. And I wholeheartedly agree. Real Ingredients! That’s what real food is made from. But about a year after I read that book, I took a class about how the food we eats affects our environment and our health. And I learned that corn sugar was not, in fact, as bad as people made it out to be. It was demonized, and made the scapegoat for a whole host of health problems. And then I felt foolish for once having told my sister not to believe the commercials the CRA had put out trying to mitigate the terrible public opinion of their beloved product. But! But I still don’t like it. Why? Because it’s made in lab, and it’s the product of corn that get’s a disproportionately high amount of government subsidies. That said, I may, every so often, have something that contains the substance. But I try hard not to.

So back to the NYT blog post. It basically explains why the CRA wanted to change the name – because people were confused, it turns out HFCS isn’t really that high in fructose, it just has more fructose than regular corn syrup. The post also said that there are really no differences between HFCS and regular sugar.

So perhaps the CRA will get more public support for Corn Sugar. Good for them. (But still not so so great for America’s weight problem).

A day at the MFA

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

For a photo essay of the MFA, click on the picture above.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was full of patrons, students and art lovers on and overcast Monday afternoon. The museum is a mecca of cultural touchstones, a house of modern art, a place to pass the time.

“It’s a kind of magical place,” said Karen Taylor, a junior painting major at Boston University. “You can travel the world and travel through through time in the same place.”

Taylor had a drawing class at 10 a.m. and said she decided to stay to look at Greek and Roman sculptures, which are her favorite works of art at the MFA.

“Before I was a painting major, I was a classics major,” said the South Boston native, explaining her love of Greek and Roman art.

Marie Cruz was in the lower level of the museum looking at contemporary paintings by Kristin Baker.

“I don’t know this work but I am very excited about it,” she said.

Cruz said she is passing through Boston on her way to Philadelphia, but stopped at the MFA to look around. She liked an exhibit of RIchard Avedon’s photos, she said, and owns some of his work.

“I love the arts and I was happy to hear [the museum] was open on Mondays,” she said.

Monika Skiba, from Albuquerque, N.M., said she’s an art lover, too. She was in the African art wing, looking at a tribal mask.

“It’s so different – this mask … and the hair is like a wig,” she said.

She had just gotten to the museum and was on her way to the contemporary art, but said she wanted to view the earlier works of art first. This was her first visit to the MFA, and in two weeks she’ll make her way back home.

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