The Beer List: English Pale Ales

It’s been a while.  Too long, I know.  In these weeks leading up to the start of Cornell, I’ve been trying to immerse myself with as many food facts and philosophies and I possibly can.  I figure the more complete my foundation, the more informed my path will be while in Ithaca.  Of course, the result of this inundation has been a mental flooding of sorts, and trust me, nothing grows on soggy ground.  But while I let everything soak in for a couple more days, I figure there’s one topic that I can still definitely address: Beer.

I recently took on a string of English Pale Ales.  With the weather warming up I was in the mood for something crisp and light, but not quite with the summery connotations of a pilsner or wheat beer.  In one way, I got what I was looking for with the English Pale Ales – they were bubbly and moderately light.  What I hadn’t realized was how broad a category EPA was and how little I knew about them in general.  Continue reading

Playing God: A Double Book Report

Question: Did you know we’ve genetically engineered salmon to grow at twice their normal rate?  Or that we’ve similarly altered the genes of crops, making potatoes that produce their own pesticide and tobacco that glows in the dark?

Next question: Are you at all surprised?  Whether or not you knew about these particular achievements, the fact that genetic codes are looking more like K’NEX sets shouldn’t be all that shocking.  I mean, Jurassic Park was released over fifteen years ago.  Still, besides just knowing about these genetically engineered (GE) foods, should we care?  Further still: should we be freaked out?    It’s not an easy answer (and many have already responded “YES!”), but a couple of books I’ve been reading have helped to frame the GE issue more responsibly, if not solve it totally.

The first is Michael Specter’s Denialism.  Denialism (the book and the philosophy) starts with a simple premise: when faced with a complicated issue, most of us would rather a blanket answer than a complete one.  In other words, in the world of public opinion, the mob has triumphed over the jury.  For this reason, Specter argues, society has come to demonize modern science.  By fixating on a handful of isolated incidents – Ford’s neglectful engineering of their ill-fated Pinto, or Merck’s shoddy testing of its wonderdrug, Vioxx, for example – we’ve dealt corporate science a scarlet letter impossible to see beyond.   Continue reading

An Ode to Teeth

Blame it on the Vicodin…

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An Ode to Teeth

In the ignorance of youth

I may have overlooked the tooth.

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Naivety and pride convinced me

They’d be always at my side.

Affixed to bone and hard as stone

They’d function, be it hock or hide.

And yet, this faith I’ve always known

Has, in their absence, been belied.     Continue reading

My Wisdom Tooth Diet

 

By the time this gets posted, I will be under the knife.  Or pliers.  Or, I suppose, wrench.

I can’t run forever, and the day of reckoning has finally come for my wisdom teeth.  I guess it’s no big deal (though the idea of a dry socket remains chilling).  Still, the biggest question mark of this whole operation is the recovery food.  Yogurt, soup, ice cream – these are all on the menu so far.  But what else out there is delicious and post-op certified?  If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!

The Beer List: Lagunitas and the Funk of Dogtown

Lagunitas is one funky brewery.  Let me prove it.

Magee dropping some education.

Exhibit A: Tony Magee, the brewery’s founder, dropped out of college to play guitar in a traveling reggae band.  Music is still central to Magee (who plays blues guitar at bars around the San Fran area) and his brewery (which, for a tap room, has a really impressive live music calendar).   On top of the propensity for performances, the brewery began releasing a series of limited edition beers marking the 40th anniversary of each Frank Zappa album.  Funky.  Continue reading

Club Foodie

There’s no question that foodies are in vogue.  Farmers markets, food trucks, cupcakeries – all crawl with the gastronomic elite, paying a premium to stay on the front line of food fad.  That these people are thrilled by the experience of eating is great.  The problem is their foodilosophy is as much driven by their need for social acceptance.

Want a tomato? Better make it heirloom.

The world of the foodie is basically a tree-house club.  To get the rope-ladder tossed down, you’ve gotta know the whereabouts, the secret language, and (of course) be able to pay the dues.  Would you, say, drop five-fifty for a dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, agave-sweetened vegan spelt-cinnamon bun?  You would if you wanted in.  Lucky for members, the uncultured masses would rather stay at ground level.

For anyone that knows me, my bash of the Foodie Club is pretty hypocritical.  Simply put, I’ve got my own blog and I had that aforementioned cinnamon bun last week.  Still, there’s an opportunity to rise above, and I think it needs to be taken. Continue reading