Thursday, December 24, 2009

I cheated

I'm no big fancy Catholic or anything, but I love me some advent calendar chocolate. There is just something about the fake chocolate goodness that is the surprise chocolate behind those little cardboard windows that gets my saliva going. Advent calendar chocolate is a treat. When I was in London I bought myself a fancy Harrod's advent calendar which, I'm unhappy to report, did not have any bells and whistles. The chocolate did taste as perfectly un-chocolate as the best advent calendar chocolate I've ever eaten, so I was happy with it. Like most children, I cheated and finished it early. It started out simple. Starting on about the 10th, I skipped a few days, so that on the 15th I could eat six pieces of chocolate. Then, for a couple of days I ate one every day. Then, on the 20th and 21st I slacked and forgot to eat any, but made up the difference on the 22nd. Last night, I did the unthinkable (to an adult it might be unthinkable anyway) and ate today's chocolate piece and finished the box of advent calendar chocolates early. This morning, I am depressed. I don't have any advent calendar chocolate to eat today and I feel like my whole Christmas is ruined.

Luckily for me and my funk, I saw a bunch of chocolate articles today that helped me feel better. Two are sad so I feel guilty about my cheating and therefore am happy to have had an advent calendar at all. The third makes me happy that people are using cacao refuse in ways other than dumping them in a, well, dump.

First, the sad chocolate:

The price of cocoa is rising, so it is believed that manufacturers of chocolate and chocolate artisans might be raising their prices or using more milk chocolate and artificial ingredients to make up the difference. For me, this just means that I will be able to buy the good chocolate less often, but I will stock up on Reese's peanut butter hearts and eggs when the time comes and create what I can only describe as a makeshift chocolate bomb shelter for when the chocolate economy crashes completely and I need my sustenance.

The shit is hitting the fan in the Ivory Coast Cacao World. There are cocoa regulators in jail right now for suspected embezzlement and their employees are not getting paid.

The happy chocolate news:

UK company Biomass UK Limited is working with Ghanaians to process cocoa pods for electricity and stuff for export. This news will surely make you want to sing Electricity, Electricity!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Piracy, of the Bio- variety

Many of you have probably heard of the GI (Geographical Indication) that can be granted to a food or product made in a particular geographical region. Some examples are Roquefort cheese, Corsican honey, Champagne, Parma ham, etc. In France, it is governed by the AOC. (The site is in French, obviously, so if you don't read French, pardonnez-moi!) This designation ensures that no one outside of a region can make a product similar to that region's product and label it as coming from that region. I've probably made the explanation more difficult than necessary, but I tend to over-write when I 'splain.

Anywho, I saw today in my fantastic google alerts that India (yes, the whole country) has started a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library in an attempt to stop, or slow, BIOPIRACY. The full story is here.

Basically, what they are doing is creating a database of traditional Indian medicinal, spiritual, and wellness recipes, cures, exercise, lifestyles, etc. to prevent patents being given mistakenly to incorrect Indian naturopathy.

Sounds dandy to me! In any event, I think the database is a good idea to store and maintain Indian natural and homeopathic traditions. However, I just hope that people don't go into the database and try things out without getting advice from their doctors first. Since I'm superwoman, I've been OK with taking whatever natural remedies I've wanted over the years, but I don't suggest the same for everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Good News, Bad News; Old News, New News

I'm not, and can't imagine myself ever becoming, a vegetarian. However, I go for days and sometimes weeks without eating meat. There are also times when I go for days eating meat every day. I try to eat a semi-healthy diet, but I don't put restrictions or rules on what I eat and I certainly don't punish myself for eating something that isn't exactly good for me. Anywho, I was reading an interview with Sarma Melngailis in the Village Voice and I appreciated what she said about not being strict herself and how she gets a lot of flack for not being a strict raw foodist or vegetarian. I've only ever eaten raw veggies before, so I'm really interested in trying her restaurant Pure Food & Wine. If a diet that is geared more towards raw food makes you feel better, I'm willing to try it.

We've all heard about Kirkus closing. The NY Times, ResourceShelf, LISNews, AdWeek, Poynter, and PW have all written about it. There's more, I'm sure, but the web is fairly incestuous and they all link to each other, so if you get on one the pages here, you can find the rest.

The BBC and the British Library are getting together to make a digital baby of their assets.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Je t'aime

My dream kitchen looks like a Parisian Patisserie - just like this one! The famous Angelina's has opened a shop devoted to sweets and I want to live there.

The British Library unveils its huge storage facility. Obviously I'm a fan of the printed word, so I'm glad to hear them say that the library "is all about preserving the knowledge of the past and the present for the future" and not just throwing everything out when they need room.

Interesting - an online Government Comics Collection! Who doesn't love government comics? The database is run by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Library