Thursday, April 29, 2010

Watermelon brickyard hails from Japan

And now for something completely different: practical application of the square to the phenomenon commonly known as watermelon.  
These images were at the Huff Po today, of watermelons incubated inside cube-shaped glass boxes, conforming to confining angles as they grow. First available in Japan (where they once cost about $75 each), some growers are said to be trying this in Brazil and California. Square fruits take up less space in the ice box, doncha know.

I just have to say: that factory where the women sort, shrink wrap and label those bricks looks pretty depressing to me. 

Also over at the Huffington Post today, a rant about convenience foods by Michael Ruhlman and a recipe by Stephanie Bejar for vegan banana chocolate chip muffins.

Ruhlman was fresh off what looks to have been a fascinating IACP conference (for the International Association of Culinary Professionals) in Portland, Oregon, and he had this to say (in a somewhat hectoring tone) about that prevalent notion that "everyone seems to believe and propagate: that we all lead such busy lives that we have no time to cook. 

[B]ullshit. Maybe you don't like to cook, maybe you're too lazy to cook, maybe you'd rather watch television or garden, I don't know and I don't care, but don't tell me you're too busy to cook. We all have the same hours every day, and we all choose how to use them. Working 12-hour days is a choice."

Hear, here. Once you choose to loosen up and start to cook things, it can become a great stress reliever, a pleasure, a way to process your your life and the features of your day. Ruhlman goes on: "..spending at least a few days a week preparing food with other people around, enjoying it together, is one of the best possible things in life to do, period. It's part of what makes us human. It makes us happy in ways that are deep and good for us. Fast and easy has nothing to do with it." 

And when you don't want to cook anything time-consuming or complex, improvising with real food is in fact surprisingly fast and easy (dare I say?). Quick oats in little individually packaged bags, at outrageous prices? Regular oatmeal can be made in less than five minutes flat. Saute your ramps, eat an apple. Slow down and chew your food.

While you're at it (and while I'm dispensing commands): make sure that your melons stay round. Filling up every last inch of space in the fridge (or on the shipping truck) isn't high on my list. I do think those melons, in some sort of recyled material, might make a nice building material: their patterns remain quite reptilian and appealing.

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