Saturday, December 26, 2009

Films as a Reflection of Daily Me

As I mentioned in my last post, more & more people nowadays seem to want the fast way out - only receiving knowledge served up in bite-size easy-to-understand summary form.  The comfort of the familiar, coupled with the ease of understanding, has trumped over the need to expand the horizon for many.

With consumers spending more time with media than sleeping, how is the quality of information they are receiving?  If the Daily Me concept is true, I would say that it's probably more of the same.  According to Cass Sunstein, people who are only tuned in to other like-minded ideas is a threat to democracy.

Democracy might be a pretty big topic to talk about.  So maybe we can talk about the impact on something most people are familiar with - films.

I am a self-proclaimed semi film buff, always on the hunt for movies that are different.  And yes, I even occasionally participate in a film group called "We Don't Do Mainstream".  I am lucky to live in Toronto where there seems to be an endless number of film festivals showing fairly good quality films that are not in wide distribution.  (I heard someone mention we have over 80 film festivals in Toronto each year!)  However, it is still a sad state that some of these fabulous films never got the audience that they deserve.

Instead, looking at the 2009 box office, it's hard to miss a pattern of top grossing films (which I presume means they are watched by a large number of people) are what I would call entertainment-oriented films.  Many of them are sequels to previous films or adaptation of books.  Many of them have heavy emphasis on actions, special effects and computer animation, with some comedy thrown in.  And the pattern for the 2008 & 2007 box office results?  More of the same.  The supposedly-not-based-on-anything-blockbusters?  Some of them are still more of the same.

Worst part is people actually like these films.

According to the imdb top 250 films chart, which is determined by netizens' votes, people seem to like these recent films a lot.  If you look at the AFI 100 top movies of all times chosen by industry jury, it's not difficult to notice that the 2007 revised list, after expanding the selection criteria to films released up to 2006, only contains 1 addition from after year 2000!

The proliferation of B2C2C reviews like the prediction algorithms developed for Netflix are only going to make people more reliant on other like-minded individuals.  Peer reviews have their place & benefits - they serve as great first hand information, and definitely more trustworthy than official marketing materials.  But with people's tendency leaning towards the fast & easy, it's not hard to imagine people taking the summarized "5-star" recommendations as-is, without understanding why, and without understanding themselves.

What happened to our sense of curiosity & adventure?  Where are some of the films from award winning films from around the world? Short films? Documentaries?  As the Internet becomes a more viable & cheaper channel to deliver films to their audience, we need better ourselves in making informed decisions, and not be dictated by mechanical algorithms and marketing dollars.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fast Knowledge

I recently read an article about açai berry, not so much its health benefits, but the changes it has made to the lives of Brazilians.  This reminded me of the many discussions recently by some environmentalists advocating for going vegetarian.

My observation is that many people in the modern age not only live in an age of fast food, they live in age of fast knowledge.  After all, knowing something being good or bad is much simpler than understanding why it is so.

Many ancient cultures are rooted in a sense of balance.  To achieve balance, one must understand the reasoning behind the good and the bad, the fact that everything has its good and bad sides, and knowing when to apply this understanding.  For example, knowing my body type and some basic traditional Chinese medicine information, I will stay away from chicken & beef & a host of other foods when I sense the early symptoms of irritated throat, and most of the time it helps me prevent getting sick.


With the fad in all the health food phenomenon (not to mention in self-help, business, etc.), it shows we are becoming a society of shortcuts.  If enough media says something is good for us, it must be.  It's not only poisoning our bodies with roller coaster eating routines (remember Atkins diet?), but also hurting the environment with poor farming practice for corporations to make a quick buck by fueling these types of extreme diets.

If we as a society value knowledge and analysis on a personal level, not leaving the thinking to scientists, perhaps then we will stand a chance to becoming healthier and being more sustainable at the same time ... 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chicago Trip Planner

This is part of the retrospective on pieces I have written in the past that still seems relevant today.  This post was posted on Facebook on October 22, 2008 at 12:17am.  I will edit in the future with some photos that was in a separate Facebook album.

Sitting in front of Gate C32 of Chicago O'Hare Airport. This is likely my last hour in Chicago for a while. 

2008 is my Chicago year ... at least between August to October. Of the last 73 calendar days, I spent 21 days in Chicago! Some of my friends now ask if I am in Toronto or Chicago as the first statement. Even Facebook is pumping out Chicago ads on my home page!

With all the assistance from Sue, Cat & Kristian, I think I got some bearing of the city from my past 3 trips. Chicago has tons of very diverse interesting neighbourhoods to explore. In case you are considering visiting Chicago in the near future, below are some of my memorable moments trotting around these neighbourhoods.

Note: Most neighbourhoods I have listed below are accessible with public transit, if you don't want to deal with the hassle of traffic & rental cars. It does take some time to travel via 'el' (elevated train) & buses, so plan your day accordingly. You can get visitor day passes from the airport or the Water Tower visitor center downtown if you are planning to go to more than 2 neighbourhoods in a day.

Uptown (Red Line Lawrence/Argyle): I spent quite some time in Uptown as this is where Sue so graciously let me bunk at her place. It's an ecletic neighbourhood with lots of beautiful architecture, especially around the intersection of Lawrence & Broadway. I spent a lot of time just staring & admiring the decorative details on buildings like Aragon & Uptown. I had the opportunity to see a Tegan & Sara concert at Riveria, which is a beautiful but run-down theatre. Green Mill, frequented by Al Capone at some point, is in this neighbourhood if you are in the mood for some good jazz in a godfather-time-warp club. (My colleauge Howard does think it has lost part of its charm with the no smoking legislation now.)

Andersonville (Red Line Berwyn): A short walk away from Uptown is the commercial strip in Andersonville along N Clark. There are a lot of interesting independent boutiques like Women & Children First bookstore, Foursided and the large Gethsemane Garden Center. There are also a number of interesting places to eat & drink. My personal favorites include beer at Hopleaf, wine at In Fine Spirits, pastries at Swedish Bakery, cinnamon buns at Ann Sather & coffee at The Coffee Studio. The Middle Eastern food at Reza's is also very good, although I had my Reza's meal at the Oakbrook Terrace location & not Andersonville.

Lincoln Square (Brown Line Western): Lincoln Square is a German heritage area, although it is now very gentrified (like many other neighbourhood). The Chicago Brauhaus is supposed to be a good spot for sipping beer & hanging out, although I did not have the chance to do so. The commercial area is not large but nice to stroll along on a lazy day. Take a walk & have a coffee at The Grind. If you are looking for good brunch, don't miss Over Easy. It is slightly off the main commercial strip, but the Sassy Eggs are worth the travel! Not to be totally over-fed & under-read, make sure you check out the concert schedule at Old Town School of Folk Music. The auditorium is intimate with excellent acoustic. I went to a Latin / South American music performance by a local group called Mosaico. (I must be the only person in the hall that do not know Spanish!) The community atmosphere with the crowd dancing to the music was truly amazing!

Lakeview / Boystown (Red Line Belmont): Lakeview is quite a large area where I went on 3 different occasions - night show in Boystown, dinner/drinks, and baseball game at Wrigley Field. Boystown spans a few blocks, which is quite a bit larger than the Toronto Church Street gay village. I roamed around somewhat "early" in the night, so it does not seem as crowded as a Church Street weekend night. The Center on Halsted is an amazing community center that makes our very own 519 almost looks shabby. When I went to dinner on a separate night, I passed by the store front of my favourite t-shirt place Threadless, and the Intelligensa coffee shop that I unfortunately do not have the pleasure to go to throughout my stay. I did get a chance to eat some very flavourful Korean style fried chicken at Crisp! They mixed up our orders, and we (Sue, Cat, Kristian & I) ended up with 23 pieces of fried chicken of 3 different flavours in front of us! I'm a die-hard Plain Jane fan, while the others enjoy the Crisp BBQ & Seoul Sassy flavours more. It's interesting having Korean pickled vegetables as sides to the fried chicken in addition to the North American traditional coleslaw. After that, we went to Cat's favourite pub Jake's. It may look like a regular neighbourhood bar from the outside, but you can a great selection of domestic & import beer both on tap & in bottles. Nothing beats hanging out with friends on a weekend night at a dog-friendly neighbourhood pub. 



[Note: I have since then visited Intelligensa in the loop & tried their clover coffee.  I must say I was disappointed at the taste of the coffee.  The place is also decorated quite mainstream so not much of an ambiance.]

Wrigley Field (Red Line Addison): Many thanks to Sue for her organization & to Kristian & Cat for accommodating my travel schedule, I managed to take my mom & aunt to see a Cubs game (vs Astros) at the historic Wrigley Field. This is my first time seeing a non Blue Jays MLB game outside of Skydome / Rogers Centre. What a difference it is! The park was packed with 40000+ fans, none too shy to cheer for their beloved cubbies. The atmosphere from the enthusiasm and seeing the sea of fans both inside the park and outside on the rooftop bleachers were breath-taking. Sue brought some tacos from Carmella's to help my tacos craving, and what is a ballpark experience without a famous Chicago dog? (I did cheat & got a bratwurst instead.) Although it was hot & muggy that day, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience! 


[Note: I have since gone back for another cubs game at Wrigley, on a cold sunny day.  This time I had cheese fries & although it's processed food galore, the combo was really tasty!]

Lincoln Park (Red Line Fullerton): If you are in Chicago in the summer, make a point to visit the Lincoln Park Green City Market on a Saturday. It is quite a large green market with all sorts of fresh local produce. It is right beside the zoo and the beach if you want to take a walk to enjoy some nature. Taking the free trolley from the el station is a good way to see the neighbourhood. I went on another occasion to the Apollo Theatre to watch Baby Wants Candy improv. It was very funny, particularly the improv rap. Before the show, I got some nice Japanese food at Ringo. Everyone knows I am a BIG fan of sticky rice related products. I am so happy to find mochi yaki at Ringo!

Logan Square / Bucktown / Wicker Park (Blue Line Damen/Western): This area is a nice shopping area with mostly smaller label shops. There is one area on Damen that has a few brand name stores like Marc Jacobs, Club Monaco & LeSportSac. Don't miss the Kidrobot Pirate store until Dec 2008, and the Boring Store along Milwakee! I especially love the concept of the Boring Store - I wish I can some day run such a fun yet meaninful operation. If you are hungry while in this area, you are in luck for some truly unique ethnic foods. My favourite is the jibarito at Borinquen Restaurant in the nearby Humbolt Park. If you know me, you know how I love plantains. Combine that with juicy tender steak and I am converted to this Chicago delicacy! If you are still hungry after that, consider getting a Middle Eastern influenced burrito-looking pita-esque "taco" at Cemitas Puebla. I did not have their famous cemitas but I was drooling when they were served to the next table. For the less adventurous of ethnic foods, brunch at Lula's over at Logan Square a few blocks down is a good choice. 


[Note: I went back to try the cemitas & I really love it!  The 3 different salsa / hot sauces provided were all exception, although my favourite would be the one with some smoky adobo sauce.]

Loop: The best way to see the amazing architecture around the loop is on an architectural boat tour. Loop art tour is another interesting way to visit some of the famous buildings and art pieces, including the Bean & the Fritzker Pavilion at Millenium Park. I was lucky enough to catch the opening of the jazz festival playing at the Fritzker Pavilion. The acoustic was great for an outdoor venue, and the atmosphere of people having a nice picnic while enjoying top notch jazz music made it one of the best jazz experience I have had. I was also lucky enough to see the Jeff Koons' exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art during my stay. Even though the Art Institute was under expansion, it took me over an hour to walk through the exhibits. Nighthawks seems to be the pick of my colleagues; I like it too, along with Van Gogh's The Drinkers and Irish Question. I did not do much shopping along the Magnificent Mile - My biggest shopping spree was getting bacon chocolate (yes you heard that right!) and sugar free fire hot chocolate bars at Vosges.


[Note: Forgot to mention a great steak dinner at the original Morton's.  Enjoyable & less pretentious than I imagined.  Of course it helps when someone else is picking up the tab!]

Pilsen (Pink Line 18th Street): I am a BIG fan of Mexican food. For my first trip, Kristian helped organize a taco trot around town. One of the stops is to savour some juicy carnitas in Pilsen at Carnitas Uruapan. Get a pound to share with a crowd, and you will find yourself in pork heaven! To walk off some of that, check out the National Museum of Mexican Art in the neighbourhood. Or roam around to shop for a pinata. If you are there on a warm sunny day, be sure to get distracted by the paleta guy on your way. The flavour choices can be overwhelming for a paleta newbie - nudge nudge for coconut, mango & tamarind depending on how full you are at the time.

Chinatown (Red Line Cermak): Coming from the densely Chinese populated Toronto, the Chinatown in Chicago seems very quiet and old school in comparison. It is predominantly centred around restaurants & grocery stores, although I have been told the quality of Chinese food is not really comparable with that in Toronto. If you come to this area, don't forget to check out the nice park where the water taxis dock. For those who have lived in Hong Kong, this is one of the few neighbourhoods in North America you can find people having the HK style iron gates on their front door instead of a storm door!

University of Chicago / Hyde Park (Green Line Garfield then bus to near E 57th St/University): If you are interested in historical architecture or just seeing one of the top education institution in US with alumni like Friedman, have a stroll around the U of C campus. Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House while you are there. And maybe get a coffee or ice cream at Bonjour Bakery, where Obama goes to eat. (At least according to the servers' t-shirts, he does.)

Special Mentions: As a foodie, there are a few other memorable food places that may not be as easily accessible by el, but worth checking out if you have a car. First one is Hot Doug's, a specialty hot dog place. I had their kangaroo sausage, crawfish/pork sausage & the Marty Allen along with duck fat fries, all very tasty. Beware of their long line up and short operation hours so budget plenty of time to enjoy your dogs. Another 2 places I want to mention are all up in Arlington Heights, a suburbia neighbourhood north of Chicago. There seems to be a concentration of Japanese people in this area. I stumbled upon a great Japanese izakaya restaurant called Kurumaya. They made the most wonderful garlic fried rice that I have never had elsewhere. Their hand drawn menu was unique & was quite entertaining and educational to read through. Mitsuwa is a large Japanese department store close by. I used to frequent Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa when I worked there. This one has the same familiar layout. I was very happy to pick up some nice sake while there. 


[Note: I have since then accumulated a few more Chicago fav chow - Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza, Portillo's Italian beef sandwich (which apparently is also a Chicago invention like jibaritos), and Superdawg Chicago dog & onion chips.  There is also a large Korean population in Niles - I was quite impressed with the H Mart in the area but have not yet had a chance to try any Korean food yet.]


Enjoy the windy city!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

25 Things About Margaret

This is part of the retrospective on pieces I have written in the past that still seems relevant today.  This post was written on March 19, 2009 at 2:28pm.  This was a popular "chain letter" type activity on Facebook at the time.
 
1. I am a soup monster, particularly with Chinese herbal soup. I was given various soup with medicinal value by my nanny when I was a baby, and I liked it so much she has to wrap the bottle in dark paper when giving milk to fool me into thinking it's soup so I will drink from the bottle. (This is according to my mom. If it's true, I suppose I'm not a very smart baby.)

2. Speaking of nanny ... I've had 3 nannies from when I was born to when I was 5. (Again according to my mom,) I was not very fond of my last nanny (probably because we shared the same bedroom). When she got into an argument with my grandmother & eventually got let go, I asked her while she was packing why she had not left yet. I am regretting that now because she's a really good cook & I could have learned lots of tips & tricks about grocery shopping & cooking from her ...

3. I suppose you figured I like food by now. The most adventurous I've been with food was when I went to Cambodia in 2007. I had a spider (about the size of 2 fingers) and various insects on that trip. Yum yum extra protein!
Various ready-to-eat insects at market


4. I have yet to find something I don't eat. I wish I never would.

5. If I could have my way, I would make everyone get their coffee / lattes / cappuccinos / mochas / at small independent cafes with real baristas serving fair trade organic coffee with organic milk / soy / chocolate milk. My favorite hang-out at this time are The Common & Mercury. The crappy baristas at Starbucks or other chain stores who have to use a thermometer to figure out if they are frothing properly just don't make the cut. 

[Note: My favourite coffee place at this time has switched to Ezra's Pound on Dundas West, Mercury & Zoots.] 

5. Ok, so maybe life is not all about food. Chinese people believe there are 4 aspects in life - Clothing, Food, Dwelling, Transportation. Loosely following my food addiction is my love for cars. My dream since my teenage years is to own a 1971 (year I was born) British roadster like an MGB, hunter green with tan interior & black soft top. * drool *

6. My foreseeable next vehicle is likely a scooter - not the electric mobility one though. I am considering a restored vintage Vespa (surprise surprise!), although I might go for a sportier, more powerful modern version with proper storage for my giant laptop bag.


[Note: After considering that I have to use a manual motorcycle with a larger engine for the eventual motorcycle licence test, my eye is now set on a used naked Suzuki GS500(E).  Any good leads?] 

7. Dwelling is also a love of mine, although I have my ebbs &  flows. I was addicted to HGTV & home related shows for about 10 years after graduating from university. My favorite show for the longest time was Home Day (Thu) of CityLine.

8. My proudest home renovation moment was when I re-did 4 bathrooms of the townhouse I once owned. I spent almost a year researching every part that went into the bathrooms, and almost 3 months working with the contractor (mostly from Vancouver when I was doing a project there) on the renovation. Each room was designed with a theme that suit its purpose - clean chrome & slate that reflect my likes in the master bedroom, modern farmhouse to show some warmth in the guest bathroom, dark wood & stainless steel in the main guest powder room to match the living / dining room, and zen garden in the entrance powder room to match the family room. My proudest "invention" is using a small rectangular planter as the sink in the garden themed powder room - The contractor specifically waited for me to come back from Vancouver so I could watch him drill the hole & connect the pipes.

Garden-themed powder room vanity - planter box with ceramic planter


9. Even though I owned the townhouse for about 7 years, I really only lived there for about 2 years. The 2 jobs I had while living there required a lot of travelling - I was mostly away from Mon to Fri, and if I was working on a project in a fun city like LA, SF & Vancouver, I would stay over some weekends. I also spent a year while I "lived" in the townhouse in Kingston studying for my MBA. Fun times ...

10. The scariest moment I had in the house was when I woke up one day, and saw a squirrel at the end of my bed. I did not have my glasses on so I only saw a fuzzy brown object that occasionally moved. Once I put my glasses on, we stared at each other for almost a minute, scared of what each other might do next. Within seconds, the squirrel disappeared from my sight. The wildlife people eventually came to setup a trap. What I did not expect was that they did not come to collect the trapped squirrel right away. It ended up spending 2 days in the trap on my balcony.

11. Moving from the townhouse to Calgary was one of the most traumatic moment in my life. Long distance moving - enough said.

12. I know I need to get a will and a living will / power of attorney done, particularly after witnessing the chaos when my aunt passed away in 2007. But I am lazy getting paperwork done. (And according to Mandeep, this should go into #12 in the list because it's a constant in life - Don't ask me why.)

13. Clothing ... Even though of the 4 aspects in life clothing is the one I am least interested in, I actually have a long history with clothing. Both my parents work in the garment industry - My dad owned a factory that produced mainly denim & flannel clothing, and my mom both owned a garment factory as well as worked for other garment manufacturers.

14. The end result of growing up with people who know a lot about garments is that I have a strange way of shopping for clothes. While most people pick up a piece of clothing they like to take it to the fitting room, I pick it up to look at the content label & whether the patterns match at the seams.

15. My fondest memory of spending time in my dad's factory has nothing to do with garments. I liked to play with the cardboard cylinders left over from the rolls of fabric. How do I play with them? I used them like staff used in Chinese martial arts, and beat up the rolls of fabric until the cardboard breaks. Pretty fun, eh?

16. Speaking of fashion ... Can I make a plea for people who wear sandles to follow sandles etiquette? i.e. Clean & trimmed toe nails, no sweaty discolored foot print on the sandles, and no socks. Please.

17. It's taking me forever to write this note because I need to always be doing several things at the same time. When I was a kid, I frequently listened to music charts on the radio, watched cartoons on TV and did my math homework at the same time.

18. I love cartoons, mostly Japanese manga (comics) & animes (animation). I still watch them online now, although I am definitely not nearly as up to speed as when I was in my teenage years. My all time favorite is Macross, the original TV series.

19. I know a little bit about a lot of different things. And with things I don't know, I research them to death when I need to know a bit about them. Some people at work call me "Moogle" ... powered by Google. PS: I am very bad at trivia pursuit.

20. Inertia plays a big part in my life. It's hard to get me started doing something. And once I start, it's hard to get me to stop.

21. I watch a lot of films, although not a lot of mainstream Hollywood production. I like watching films from different countries, indie productions, and documentaries. The 3 film festivals in town I usually frequent are Hot Docs, InsideOut & Reel Asian. (That's right - Not TIFF as most people would guess.) My record film watching experience is in 2007 when I got an all access pass to Reel Asian - I spent 4 full days watching over 20 films!

22. People, like online dating sites, often ask me "what's your favorite / top x ?" That's a really difficult question for me to answer. So next time if you want to ask me that, consider asking me "what do you appreciate of ?" instead.

23. That is not to say I am not a loyal person - When it comes to people, I am quite loyal - friends, colleagues (that I like), and not to mention life partner.

24. Over the 30-some years in my life, I have met 3 people whom I have considered as possible life partner. 3 is a lucky number for Chinese people. Hopefully my luck will hit with number 3.

25. Mandeep coached me on writing these 25 things. Otherwise I would still be stuck at #5.

[Note: Mandeep is my colleague at work who has a keen interest in getting to know other people.]

Maximal Food Minimalist?

This is part of the retrospective on pieces I have written in the past that still seems relevant today.  This post was written on April 4, 2006 at 11:54am.
 
I made a delicious breakfast this past Saturday.  As I ate, it dawned on me how silly the breakfast will sound if I were to put it on a menu:
 
Poached antibiotic-free egg with certified organic kale sauteed with double-smoked Mennonite bacon served with certified organic kefir with maple syrup and organic 7-grain bread, and organic fairtrade coffee with organic soy milk
 
But it was just a simple breakfast!
 
It is laughable that we live in an insane era when eating natural products has become an "alternative" behaviour.  Just as decluttering & minimalism has become a snobbish interior design style, back-to-basics food has become a "new age" trend (hopefully not fad).
 
I think the main barrier to popularize natural food products is the cost.  It is obviously more costly to farm organically, which logically translates to higher food costs.  What I don't understand is where the higher administrative overhead and transportation costs have gone to.  Since many of the organic products do not have long shelf life, they are generally available in small batches in local farmers market.  Without the middleman and high transportation costs trucking products across the continent, why is the retail costs still so much higher?
 
[Note: After learning more about the subject since then, I have learnt that most part of the cost comes from lower unit yield.  Commercialized organic food has also become popular where the traditional supply chain & transportation costs are still there if not more to better transport food that is more easily spoiled.]
 
One time when I was browsing around at T&T, a giant Chinese supermarket chain, I saw a few organic products for sale.  They are sold at comparable prices to similar products, and "organic" is not even prominently displayed as a selling point.  (Case-in-point: My favourite organic non-GMO soy milk Sunrise at $2.99 for 2L.)  How are these companies able to provide these products at such competitive prices?  Products like these make the decision-making process very easy.
 
I dream of one day having a neighbourhood grocer that sells environmentally-responsible natural products just as they are - eggs, bacon, kale, yogurt, 7-grain bread, coffee, etc.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crush the fine dining worship!

This is part of the retrospective on pieces I have written in the past that still seems relevant today.  This post was written on March 27, 2006 at 3:38am.  (Interestingly, I also had a pot luck earlier tonight.)

My main motivation for this blog comes from an observation this past weekend while doing grocery shopping.  I greatly enjoy browsing grocery stores, from big box mass market ones to local green grocers.  To prepare for a potluck, I ended up visiting three different grocery stores within a day.  One of them is a bargain grocery store, "every day low price" kind of place.  I was struck by how much pre-processed instant food there is at this bargain store.  Even more amazing is how cheap these boxes of "stuff" are selling for.  It is not that big a stretch to see that these boxes offer not much more than filler to eliminate one's hunger.
So people on a budget do not deserve healthy, nutritious food?  I think the "fine dining" culture in North America is the worst enemy for promoting healthy eating habits.  Yes, this sounds counter-intuitive ... don't most fine dining chefs / restaurants support local suppliers, and some even socially responsible foods (like organic farming)?  It is precisely this type of exposure that leads to an image of healthy food = expensive and laborious.

If you look around the city, many places, especially ethnic ones, offer healthy home cooking at affordable prices.  I am talking about below $10 including taxes & tips for a sit-down, served meal.  For a small household, some of these meals are more affordable than buying the raw ingredients.
And if you want to eat at home?  Ingredients are so very easily available and affordable.  Being Asian, I shop a lot at ethnic grocery stores.  You think health food is a specialty?  Many ethnic groups consider these items basic diet.  Organic soy milk?  Rice crackers?  Pomegranate juice?  Easily 25% or more cheaper at ethnic places.  Stews, soups, even salads can be prepared the night before and be ready to eat coming back from work.  New kitchen appliances like vacuum pots (but no, not microwave) also contribute to home cooked meal with minimal supervision.

I'm sorry ... I can't see why busy schedule & budget can be a reason to eat junk food.  People have to come to a realization that good food is not a privilege of those who can afford.  Being on a budget or in a hurry is not a justification for poor diet.  Only then we as a society can support healthy food production, preparation, and ultimately consumption.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let's fika!

A new home in cyber space, a new commitment to becoming an active contributor to the web of content.

As great books start with great preface, here is a blurb a wise hermit once wrote for me about my blog:

To my dearest read, you are about to embark on a journey very few have taken and seldom have continued on.  Within these hallowed confines of cyber space you will delve into my world of every day life filled with love, laughter and tears.  I may even reveal the location to a great restaurant, drop a hint about an excellent recipe or revel in a great vacation.  So I ask you with due haste to join me.

Now, let's fika!