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eat the cup 2010, part 8

ah holland, it seems that i've underestimated the power of orange. after all, ,i cooked dutch food early on, expecting that i was merely giving you the chance to play a role in the cup festivities and yet somehow, here i am, still reverting back to your cuisine, having now forgotten more about dutch food than most north americans will ever know. here you are, fit and tough as ever, about to move on to the final of the world cup for only the second time in my lifespan (and let's face it, i really wasn't paying attention the first time). no, you won't get to take on your former nemesis germany. but you'll be staring down the iberian eyes of the spanish inquisition as you make a quest for your first-ever world cup title. if you win, i'll make a batch of brownies in your honour.

of course, in honour of you hanging tough and fighting your way through the semi-final, i figured i'd cook up a dish that, strangely, was buried somewhere in my memory of searching for dutch recipes either this year or four years ago (i don't look that often). i had to make sure i was right about the origin of it and, lo and behold, i was. (the memory loss hasn't started yet.) so for dinner i made a lovely dish of cod with mustard cream sauce. normally, i'm not a fan of putting sauces on fish. call it part of my maritime heritage, but i'm a little suspicious (you might say i turn a fishy eye towards it) of any dish that buries the lovely, delicate taste of fish in something heavy, because to me, it means someone's trying to hide the taste of not quite so fresh fish. but hell, i live in montreal now. i no longer know what fresh fish means. so i decided to compromise just this once, because the sauce sounded tasty and because i love mustard. yes, mustard. as in "cut the mustard", which is certainly what you've been doing, holland. it's been lovely getting to know you and your ways with seafood.

(fyi- the rice you see with the dish is not strictly speaking dutch, but indonesian. rice with corn is often served as part of a tasty table of appetizer-portion dishes called a "rijstaffel", or rice table, once it's translated from dutch, the people who adapted the traditional festive meal and then gave it their own name, still used internationally to this day.


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mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…