avrelia: (indeed)
I love reading http://jezebel.com/. They find the best stuff.

This is my favourite find of the day:

http://jezebel.com/5344988/birthers-want-to-see-obamas-penis

I am all weirded out by the thought process of birthers.
avrelia: (Reading is cool)
I love cookbooks. Do you? I loved to leaf through it and imagine myself cooking an unlimited number of simple yet delicious or outrageously complicated meals. I don't have to read a cookbook from cover to cover to get a proper enjoyment out of it, no do I have to actually cook. I love the color photos of prepared meal, but much more than that I love the description, the tone an author set when she or he is talking to you and the whole feeling you get out of it that cooking is not a grueling task, but an enjoyable time for everyone involved. I don't even have to cook anything to get this peasant feeling, but reading a good cookbook often makes me go and do something edible.

we had several cookbooks when I was little. Some were full of executable recipes and important information, but they feel.. prosaic. Probably because of that. There were cookbooks that read like books of magical spells - because it would have been just as difficult to get ingredients for them as for for enchantments. I still remember some of them: roasted wild hog, violet ice cream... I feel kind of weird knowing that all of them can be made in reality. Where has the magic gone?

One book I remember well was Domovodstvo - Housekeeping. It was a thick tome full of advice on everything from raising children to making smoked sausages, from cooking and preserving to sewing fashionable clothes (fashionable in 1950s, that is). We used only the cooking and preserving part, but the whole book was fun to read, probably because it wasn't very applicable to our life.

I also remember "The Book about Delicious and Healthy Food." We didn't have it, there were not many who had - it was out of print for several decades, but it attained a legendary status in USSR, reminding of the times of mystical plenty that were and were gone. The book was reprinted later, of course. and it was a very large and good cookbook, but the legend was gone with the USSR.

I have now several cookbooks at home, some are purely practical, some are more for imaginary cooking than a real one, some are with pretty pictures, some are with pretty test. Of course, there is also the Internet. and still, I am on the lookout for something else, and from time to time I pick up books from the library or hang at the cooking shelves in bookstores.

Points of WTF?

1) Recently I picked up a book called Girl Can't Cook from the library shelf. I skimmed it, and the recipes seemed interesting, even if the seemed to pretentious and Fabulous for me, and then I got to the chapter called "Jewish Holidays". Here happened my first WTF moment, because this chapter actually had dishes of Russian and Ukrainian cuisine. I mean, I know that many Jewish Americans' ancestors came from Russia or Ukraine, but, seriously? Call me culturally insensitive but I kind of thought that chapter on Jewish holiday cooking would include, well, Jewish dishes, and not, say, Ukrainian that are habitually cooked with pork. Strange. Or is it me that totally clueless? I am not even mentioning that the familiar dishes lookes really weird to me. lelt's call it adaptation, but I couldn't quite trust their Asian and Italian recipes after that, as well.

2) Economist has recently had an article on cookbooks. It most was fine and intersting, but it had one passage that I just have to share with you.

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12795620

By 1944 Irene Veal was advising women how to cook with dried eggs or even with no eggs at all. Her recipe for mayonnaise is one of the most heartbreaking passages ever written in English:

"Melt 1oz of margarine in ½ teacup milk, and when the mixture is warm put through a cream machine—the five shilling kind which many of us bought before the war and still, I expect, possess. In about 2 or 3 hours' time add very gently to the cream 1 teaspoon made mustard and 1 tablespoon each salad oil and vinegar. Beat well and serve. If the oil is not available, it does not greatly matter…"

In that brief aside "I expect" is summed up the misery of wartime cooking.


This is my second WTF moment on cookbooks. First of all - this is one of the most heartbreaking passages ever written in English? I had a better notion of English language, really. Or maybe the author of this article hasn't read that much. Second, pardon me, but my grandparents survived WWII as well, and judging by everything I know, if one had ingredients to cook mayonnaise and a pastime to contemplate cooking it at home, one wasn't that miserable...

on the happier things: when people ask me to recommend a cookbook for beginners, I don't hesitate. I always suggest Evelyn Raab's Clueless in the Kitchen, which I dearly love. It's fun, easy, and though it is addressed to teenagers, it's never condescending. There are also Clueless Vegetarian and The Clueless Baker.
avrelia: (The Rock - smacketh)
Lots of people are idiots. Toronto being a rather large city has its fair share of them. Here is the latest specimen I encountered.

I am riding the subway to work and back home. The ride is not long - four stations only, so I don't mind standing. Of course if there are any free seats available, I sit happily, but when people offer me their seats (moved by my giant protruding belly) I thank and usually refuse. I do need to find a good balance and stand firm though, so I prefer to stand at side of seats near the door - there I have some protection against sudden stops and moves. These sides are not very wide and usually they are all taken as well as the seats. Anyway.

yesterday I managed to find an empty side and situated myself comfortably as not to bother people entering and exiting the train, as the guy squeezed between me and the door. A guy about indeterminate age and look - between 40 and sixty, white, thin, slightly shabby. He apologized profusely and said that he was going to stand there if I don't mind. I answered that I mind because I already am standing there and he makes me uncomfortable. He said that he said that it's okay because he is going to stand there anyway, and it's only for couple of stops. I said that the train has plenty of space and he could go and stand anywhere he wants. He smiled humbly yet happily. For the next two stops we were silent. I was not very uncomfortable - there was my massive handbag between us and I had plenty of room, but I started to get VERY pissed (some work stuff didn't led to much happy feelings). So I decided to use my bag as a weapon and make him as uncomfortable as I could. Which has worked because he started mumbling that I am mean and all that. I answered that I have to make myself comfortable and find a good balance not to fall down and he can go stand anywhere he wants. he said he stays there and some other annoying stuff I don't remember. The train stopped and he did leave, thanking me for being so gracious. I told him to fuck himself and I felt much better that. When I walked home though I almost with I didn't make a scandal over that for all the train. But I would feel even more stupid for making a scandal. And he was just a random idiot you meet every day in a city.
avrelia: (Default)
I am getting the boatloads of old comments, but the new ones are not coming. I am waving emphatically to the great powers of HUH?
avrelia: (Default)
It is strange how everyone is talking about Ukraine on TV and newspapers nowadays. I am not sure Ukraine existed for most people a week ago.

But since it is a hot topic, I decided to talk about it, too. To be honest, I don’t care either for Yuchshenko or Yanukovich. Not at the very least. I don’t know who will be the best choice for Ukraine and its prosperity and general well-being. I do care about Ukraine, but not having followed the situation in the last years there, I cannot say what was going on there. My grandparents hated the current president, Kuchma, and that’s all I know on the subject. I can see, however, that neither of contenders are fluffy bunnies, and I guess, I would prefer someone with a cleaner past, but why should I decide who will be the president of Ukraine?

And this is the problem with these elections. Because one is the Russia-supported candidate and another is the Western-countries-supported candidate, and there are all kinds of political technologies and PR campaigns at play, and the popularity cards, and all stuff that has more to do with games than with people of Ukraine. And that is wrong.

This is old good imperial thinking – that my country has a right to rule other countries, because my country is so much better, richer, more powerful, and has more rights to do so. This thinking doesn’t belong to some one country. Everyone likes to play this game. I would say I have a smidge of imperial ambitions myself – I am not that humble – but I am of the philosophical ideal that ruling other people’s countries is wrong (even if my country is the best thing in the world.)

By the way. The divide in Ukraine on Eastern and Western parts isn’t new – it is a historical divide that existed since… I am not sure about exact century, but believe me it was long ago. Maybe always. The history of that region is fascinating, but not really a point of this post.
avrelia: (kbwater by teh_indy)
Today the phone rang. I picked it up - my father. I wasn't really surprised by the call, but apparently, he was. As he explained, he didn't call me, he called his brother in Kiev, Ukraine. He sounded genuinely surprised when he heard my voice, sure, but he is well-known for his practical jokes and ability to tell nonsense with a straight face, so the possibility that nothing really happened is great. But it is also possible the he did call to Kiev - he called from the cell phone, not ground line, may be that had to do with it. Or not. The call - all the technical noises around it were slightly unusual...

Mind boggles.

Another one: I did some icon hunt today - and I cannot access memories of any user, but myself. WTF? Did it happen only to me?

I want to do something with the look of my LJ. Any suggestions? I like the layout and the background picture, but I am not entirely satisfied with the whole thing. Have you seen it? [livejournal.com profile] avrelia
avrelia: (jay and slent bob)
UFOs were neither aliens nor Russians.

It is torn out of context, where, I suppose, it had more sense, but the juxtaposition itself amuses me to no end.

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