Pefect Stencil Damask

May 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm (Uncategorized)

This is a perfect damask motif in stencil format! Love it!

I made it into a vector! Go here to download it vector in Illustrator .ai format or .svg format! I uploaded it to this filesharing site.

http://www.4shared.com/u/vspsztsq/c6076d60/Sykora.html

Larger image versions available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flickrsy/4640284314/sizes/o/

Enjoy!

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“Foodie” – Yet another opinion of the oddly controversial title

March 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm (My Propaganda, Of interest to Foodies, Rants) (, , , , )

Tattoo pic by Lady Luck tm on flickr, "Taking Photo" pic by adactio on flickr, "Baked goods smell awesome" pic by fd on flickr, "Cheese bread and grapes" pic by fd on flickr.

Tattoo pic by Lady Luck tm on flickr, "Taking Photo" pic by adactio on flickr, "Baked goods smell awesome" & "Cheese bread and grapes" pic by fd on flickr.

So the food-loving online community is apparently in an uproar over this little word. After poking around, I’ve concluded there are 3 main camps:  

1: Those who wear it as a badge of slightly-silly honor, “I love good food, and I think knowing about food is neat!”

2: Those who think the word “Foodie” is too silly. “Why are we putting -ie on the ends of words? Goofballs.”

3: Those who’ve come to know the word in a negative light. “Saying you’re a foodie is saying you’re a horrific food snob.”

I belong firmly in the first group, and kind of stare in surprised wonder at the other two. Camp #2 doesn’t upset me much. The existance of camp #3 bothers me quite a bit. Clearly, there have been some obnoxious and stuck-up people in certain parts of the country walking around calling themselves “foodie” and it’s tainted the word for huge swathes of the population. Shame, I say! Shame!

Early on in the word’s popularity, I looked up the definition on the web. It was difficult to find these same articles now, since there has been a veritable explosion of discussion on the topic, but I finally rooted them out for reference in this post.  http://www.slashfood.com/2006/02/10/what-is-a-foodie-anyway/ A rather long quote from the above short article:

“To be a foodie is not only to like food, but to be interested in it. Just as a good student will have a thirst for knowledge, a foodie wants to learn about food. A foodie will never answer the question “What are you eating” with “I don’t know.” There are some basic traits of being a foodie, as there are basic traits that come with all labels. Generally, you have to know what you like, why you like it, recognize why some foods are better than others and want to have good tasting food all or certainly most of the time. This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat “Flaming Hot Cheetos” every now and again, but it does mean that you don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s a nutritionally balanced meal.”

This was published in 2006.  Here is an excerpt from http://www.foodieprints.com/item/167/catid/22 , published in mid-2007:

“Like gourmets, foodies collectively can make or break a restaurant. They have created a large complement of blogs, wikis, and even magazines where large online and off line communities pour over reviews. However, foodies will embark on activities that gourmets will not. For instance, foodies will spend time looking for the “perfect” taco or hamburger, honest everyday foods. Whereas, self-identified gourmets find such pursuits beneath them.”

I consider this to be the essence of the matter. A gourmet, just like a foodie, COULD  be a snob. Doesn’t have to be! He or she may simply be well-off and addicted to the traditional finer foods available in high-end restaurants, and be a super-nice person. But it’s possible for a foodie to be inappropriately aloof also. Just the same as anyone. I don’t believe that any of the words in question:  gourmet, foodie, epicure, etc. should immediately bring bile-inducing snobbery to mind. foodsnob

Anyone can be a snooty jackass, their love for food is not an indicator one way or the other.  I am not aware of a term that refers only to the snobby sector of food lovers. But as commented in the above quotes, gourmets are more interested in traditional and ‘refined’ food, for the most part, whereas the Foodie is interested in a wide range of food topics, to include both Smoked Salmon Pate and/or the most fabulous tasting elephant ear at the fair and what type of oil is used to fry it.

In my opinion, foodies (And gourmets, for that matter) may or may not be occupied with the actual preparation of foods. You don’t have to be skilled in food prep to be either one. But it is often the case! I’m good with cooking and baking, and it seems that many Foodies are. After all, if you have an opinion about the right way to do something… and if you want something done right…. you do it yourself! Heh.

Here is a blog post about the title “foodie” and why this chap has decided that he doesn’t like foodies, or the term. It seems like he’s determined that the amazingness of food should be played down, and that social and economic concerns in developing countries should prevent westerners from romanticizing and writing cookbooks about said country’s cuisine. He’s clearly got a lot more going on than just disliking the term “foodie”, but it is a good example, I think, of the stigma that a lot of people feel is attached to the title. http://mightyminnow.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/dawn-of-the-foodies-americas-most-obnoxious-clique/ Here’s an excerpt:

A superb example of "How not to be", weather your passion is organics, or just good food in general.

A superb example of "How not to be", whether your passion is organics, or just good food in general.

“Of course, you will never see a foodie at the local Sudanese joint—which, by the way is where I spend most of my time—banging on about how zesty, moist, and tender the lamb is. You will catch a foodie nowhere near the Sierra Leonean place asking whether the fufu is made from yams, plantains, or cassava (my favorite), and which of the three is best. No! The foodie would not be caught dead anywhere near where real people eat.”

I find these statements to be completely off the mark, because not one foodie I know (or have heard of online) wouldn’t leap at the chance to try Sudanese food, or, if they had the blessing of knowing the various ingredient variations of fufu, wouldn’t cheerfully ask which was used, and subsequently devour it with relish! Being a foodie is about being hungry to know more about food, and cuisine that comes from a different culture is treated with special respect and particularly keen interest!  It’s also interesting that the foodie definitions he cites at the bottom of the article, though, do not seem to strongly support his assertions that foodies are melodramatic ethnocentric snobs.

So.

Camp #3: Simmer down some! It’s very likely not your fault that you have a bad impression of the word. But this is something that a great many people consider to be great fun (Fresh new title!), a friendly and bright interest that involves zero snobbery, and if the word is a tad silly sounding, hey – – We’re cool with that, you know? (Camp #2, that bit’s for you guys!)

I am a foodie. I’m proud to wear the title, even if I risk being assumed a snob by some, -I truly hope the stigma will wear off with time. In the meantime, I will do my best to model the correct, accepting, and fun-loving meaning of the term.  Thanks for reading!

Foodie definition What is a foodie What does foodie mean

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Mango Mochi: First time success!

March 1, 2009 at 9:58 pm (Of interest to Foodies)

I needed to make a snack for a thing I was going to, and I decided to make mochi. I’ve never made mochi before. I don’t even like mochi.

But the day before, I’d seen a mochi recipe that actually looked like it might be sorta good (even though I don’t, as a rule, enjoy most mochi) [ Mango Mochi Recipe ] , so I made a snap decision to give it a try.

Mochi is a very very popular confection/pastry/type-thing in Japan and China, and probably other places, too. It’s a little odd by western standards. It can be plain or filled with a red bean paste/fresh fruit/ice cream/other filling. It’s definitely a beautiful treat:

dept-store-mochi

strawberry-mochi

wood-mochi

mochi-case

 

The dough that it’s made of doesn’t taste funny or bad, it just doesn’t taste much. At all. Like anything. But it’s  very very chewy. So that’s…… weird, for westerners. My goal with mochi, then, is to make it as flavorful as possible, and use great fillings, to make it more palatable for first-timers (read: folks who didn’t grow up with this treat).

I used the recipe on the above site (Which is think is flawed, the rice is measured in g, while the liquid in mg, and, extrapolating from other mochi recipes, the amount of sweet rice flour to liquid is supposed to be about even.) I added equal amounts, by weight, of the rice flour, and the liquid ( I used mango nectar, mango-orange juice and fresh squeezed lemon juice!), and it was waaay sticky. Like a very very thick dry ball that couldn’t be mixed. The picture on the website, however, showed a thin batter. Hmm. I added a whole lot more liquid, until it vaguely resembled a batter, then popped it into the micro for 5 minutes, loosely covered. 

I tried to make the mochi while the mochi was still warm – bad move. I made some more later when it was completely cool, and it was tons easier. The stuff sticks to EVERYTHING! Fingers, knives, plastic wrap, tables, you name it. After a couple of failed attempts to use plastic wrap to shape them, (it stuck to the plastic wrap like you can’t believe) I tried to look online to see if there was a proper way to handle the goop to get it to behave. I didn’t find anything helpful. OK THEN, time to come up with my own idea. I lightly oiled a piece of plastic wrap (quite lightly) and tried it that way. The dough didn’t stick to it! I made the first mochi, and found that the slight oil that clung to the mochi didn’t prevent the coconut from sticking to the ball. Whew. Repeat x30! 

I’ll have to make this again, and take more careful note of the ingredient amounts. I am very interested in making a mochi that first-timers will enjoy very much, and to my mind, that means making the dough as flavorful as humanly possible! I’ll have to share, next time I make it. 

Here are the pics from the process!

Coaxing the Mochi dough out with a knife ( I should have used a plastic spoon for this)

Coaxing the Mochi dough out with a knife ( I should have used a plastic spoon for this)

Dallop of mochi dough on VERY LIGHTLY oiled saran wrap

Dallop of mochi dough on VERY LIGHTLY oiled saran wrap

Wetting fingertips, this stuff is sticky as heck.

Wetting fingertips, this stuff is sticky as heck.

Stretch #1

Stretch #1

Stretch #3 or 4 - it's flat enough now. I wetted my fingers often.

Stretch #3 or 4 - it's flat enough now. I wetted my fingers often.

Mango chunk!

Mango chunk!

Working the mochi dough around filling from safely beneath the saran wrap.

Working the mochi dough around filling from safely beneath the saran wrap.

Enclosing going well...

Enclosing going well...

Success!

Success!

Gently rocking from side to side, to help the edges stick well and not break open

Gently rocking from side to side, to help the edges stick well and not break open

Thank goodness for that tiny bit of oil...

Thank goodness for that tiny bit of oil...

Plopped into the coconut

Plopped into the coconut

The final product! Upper one has cornstarch on it instead of coconut.

The final product! Upper one has cornstarch on it instead of coconut.

 

Bitten Mochi!

Bitten Mochi!

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