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What Do They Eat in Canada?

August 31, 2010 by  

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Canada is so much more than igloos and icicles. We’re talking about the second largest country in the world, after all. Canadian food reflects the tastes of a people living in a landscape as varied as it is massive. There are foggy fishing villages on the eastern shore, towering, razor sharp mountains to the west, and a breathtaking expanse of plains within the heart of this great country. Peppered with about two million lakes, there’s no end to the wildlife and fish available. The country is experiencing a similar real food movement to the United States, celebrating local produce, farmers and manufacturers in an effort to support local economy. The effect on the food scene includes restaurants featuring many farmstand delights, such as local cheese, fruits and vegetables, like sweet blueberries, tart cranberries, and juicy summertime tomatoes. Some prized locally grown products include wild rice and fiddlehead ferns. Canadian wild rice, black as night, and at least three times as long as regular rice, carries nutty, whole grain flavor. Bright green, tightly coiled fiddlehead ferns also make their way into many Canadian dishes, from stir-fries to soups. Once only a…

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MDG: Do YOU know what it stands for?

August 31, 2010 by  

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By Amanda Stone In this video produced by The New School Milano program for Management and Urban Policy in partnership with the United Nations, graduate students take to the streets of New York City as part of a social media campaign to educate the public about the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In 2009 the total number of malnourished people rose above 1 billion. (photo credit: Bernard Pollack)
In September of 2000 after a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together to adopt the eight MDGs, which range from halving extreme poverty to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing primary education universally by 2015 to meet the needs of the world’s poverty. But UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admits that the implementation of these goals has “been unacceptably slow.”  In fact, in 2005-2007, the number of undernourished people had actually increased from the initial benchmark, with the total exceeding one billion in 2009 after the 2008 spike in food prices due to the financial crisis, according to the 2010 MDG report. To galvanize support for reaching the goals, the United Nations created the MDG Awards Committee, a nonprofit…

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Hotels with “Free Internet”

August 31, 2010 by  

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This may be just an artifact of my personal experience, but I think I’m finding that the hotels offering “free Internet” are more often the low-priced hotels than the more expensive ones. At least in Paris and London. It’s not uncommon to find a hotel over 250€ per night that has a 15€ or higher charge for Internet access. But in the hotels I frequent—I’m fine with just a bed with barely enough space to move around the edges, a shower, and Internet connection, for just over 100€ a night—it seems to be more common to have a free Internet connection included. Perhaps this is a reflection of younger travelers looking for less-expensive hotels and being attracted like flies (there is one buzzing around my head at this instant here in Paris’ 5eme where I am connected while sitting in the hotel lobby preparing to take the metro to a meeting) to hotels that provide connectivity. And the true boon is that Skype on my iPhone can connect to the free wi-fi Internet and I can make Skype calls without…

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What Do They Eat in Cameroon?

August 31, 2010 by  

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Wild bush meat and French pastries. If you’re going to stereotype Cameroon, that’s just about the best way to do it. This unusual food combination stems from Cameroon’s origins, in 1961, when this African country formed from the union of two colonies, one British and one French. Like most coastal African countries, the people on the shore towns of Cameroon rely on fish, serving them up grilled, fried, steamed in banana leaves, or stewed with plantains, corn, yams, or beans on the side. Further inland, dinnertime gets a little more bizarre, as mice, snakes, and monkeys are hunted in the bush and stewed with a little water, tomato or peanut sauce. Most meals are served with fu-fu (soft, starchy mixtures pounded into a paste – often cassava), millet, or rice. Peanuts, called groundnuts in Africa, are particularly plentiful in this region. They make their way into sauces, stewed vegetables (like bitterleaf greens), breads and desserts. Spicy peanut sauces are poured over fried fish, chicken, and meat. Perhaps the most addicting way the urban Cameroonians eat peanuts is spread on baguettes or in croissants, then heated in the oven until warm…

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Pierrot’s Pig in the South of France

August 31, 2010 by  

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One of my closest friends lives in Orange, in the south of France. Each August, I spend a week or so with him and his family while I’m enroute to the Riviera for a vacation. In France, even we chomeurs (unemployed) take vacations, but that’s another story. My friend, Herve, took over his dad’s Peugeot dealership a few years ago, but his dad and mom still maintain an apartment over the dealership. Herve’s dad has a war buddy, Pierrot, who lives in the centre of town with his wife, daughter, grandson and pig. That’s right, a rather large, ugly pig (have you ever seen an attractive one?).
Pierrot & his truffle-sniffing friendPierrot & his truffle-sniffing friend
The pig’s main purpose in life is to sniff out black truffles, a rather pungent cousin to the mushroom that is an expensive and much sought-after prize that is native to this region. This pig had no shortage of awards for his talents, most of which are proudly displayed by Pierrot on the walls of the family parlor. One of Pierrot’s other talents, and a remarkable one at that, was in the making of Marc, a potent liquer that is quite common in…

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Silicon Valley Culture and Burning Man…

August 31, 2010 by  

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{Rebecca Kaplan and team built the above 20-ft metal sculpture for Burning Man which traveled to San Francisco.) There's a strange hush around San Francisco and the Bay Area. There's fewer people around, there's a little less traffic, and there are parking spots where there are normally none. This week is the week of the Burning Man festival — a celebration of abundance, creativity, the arts — set within one of the most inhospitable places on earth, a place where NASA might test its Mars Rover because of the extremes of temperature, wind, solar radiation and dust storms. About two hours drive outside of Reno, Nevada, a city of about 50,000 rises up from the bed of an ancient alkali lake where nothing grows. For about a week it is one of the largest cities in Nevada, and then it disappears, leaving no trace. Residents of what is known as Black Rock City build incredible buildings and art installations. The creativity and ambition of many of the projects is breathtaking. Yet there is no commercial involvement or commerce allowed at the event beyond being able to purchase ice and coffee from a central location.…

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Calpis/Calpico

August 31, 2010 by  

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Calpis is a popular Japanese drink that is sweet and milky but at the same time light and refreshing. It’s a shame that it that never really took off in the United States. It’s probably because of it’s name, although in Japanese it’s pronounced “Ka-ru-pi-su.” Years after it was first introduced in the United States, it was given a name suitable for the US and is also known as Calpico. I’m guessing the marketing department of the company finally caught on. It is available in many forms, a concentrate that can be mixed with water, premixed in soft drink cans, and premixed and carbonated. My favorite is carbonated calpis but concentrated calpis is the most versatile. You can even make carbonated calpis with it so I wanted to introduce it as an ingredient that can be used for many thing. It is also available in many fruit flavors such as grape, strawberry and mandarin orange. Concentrated Calpis/Calpico.
Calpis_concentrated Concentrated Calpis is a sweet milky white syrup.
Calpis_Milky white The original Calpis drink mixed with carbonated water.
Calpis_carbonated water Calpis kakigouri (shaved ice) is also a great way to enjoy it during the summer.…

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The Guest

August 31, 2010 by  

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Antony, 28 Aug, 2010


It’s finally happened. An acquaintance from the states came to Paris, and actually wrote an asked to stay with me. I tried to explain that I lived in a rather scary area, with no particular tourist value, but my acquaintance, probably out of a need for frugality, had no problem with that. At least until he arrived.

Typical American Tourist relaxing in Paris


Day One – the arrival.
I pick him up at the RER commuter rail station in Antony. He’s easy to spot because of the deer in the headlite look. Plus, he’s the only non-Algerian in the station, besides me. Only he’s not used to that. He’s obviously waiting for someone to blow up next to him. But my landlord hasn’t returned from jihadi camp in Pakistan yet, so he’s safe, I assure him. I note that he’s attempting to nonchallently keep his thumb hanging on his wallet pocket.

We get back to the house, where the smell of stewing lamb parts permeates the air, which is filled with the whining sound of Algerian love songs from the apartment below us.…

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