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eat the cup 2010, part 9

my sports predictions are like weather forecasts. i don't really know what i'm talking about and if they're right, it has more to do with dumb luck than anything else. for instance, last world cup, i thought spain was going to go all the way. instead, they got bounced early on by eventual runners' up (and should have been champions) france. so what did i do this time? i figured i'd just been too early in my prediction and went with them again. and you know what? it looks like i might have been onto something. ok, this is not a risky bet, because they were co-favourites to win the tournament after winning the euro 2008 (against germany, who they eliminated from the semi-finals this year). however, the spanish team has been known to implode under world scrutiny and just look at what happened to that other favourite, brazil. (in fact, their elimination at the quarter final stage mirrors their performance last time, where france shocked the world by taking them out, much as holand has done this year, and france ended up in the final against italy, the team who had defeated germany in the semis. if you believe that history does repeat itself, bet on spain to win the final.)

i don't know which team is going to come out on top, but i'm happy to have the opportunity to cook a spanish meal because, as one who loves cooking, spanish food is really fun to work with.

take, for instance, gazpacho. to most north americans, it's known (if it's known at all) as the alternate dish lisa proposes to barbequed meat in a classic episode of the simpsons. her description "tomato soup served ice cold" hardly does the dish justice. after all, true gazpacho bears little resemblance to the ketchupy stuff that comes out of a campbell's soup can. it's basically like eating a garden, bursting with flavour, with a delightful aroma of olive oil throughout.

of course, that's only traditional gazpacho and since traditionally, spain has fared poorly at the world cup, it makes sense to try one of the many other varieties of gazpacho that the country has to offer.

so in honour of their semi-final victory and in acknowledgment of the fact that a heat wave bringing temperatures of over 40C/ 100F makes cooking into something forbidden by the geneva convention, i prepared a big batch of white gazpacho. rather than using vegetables, this version uses almonds to make a creamy, delicious and incredibly rich meal. you're not missing much because of the lack of a photo. It looks like a bowl of milk. but it tastes like a bowl of manna, as long as you assume manna is spiked with enough garlic to kill at twenty paces. it's quick, it's delicious, it's even vegan, for those following such a diet. what's not to love?

so, while i wouldn't put much faith in my predictive ability, it does look like i'm going to stick with my original thought this time around, for the entire tournament. soup to nuts (or nuts to soup).


as long as you're here, why not read more?


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.

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 …

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…