Sunday, March 21, 2010

Peer Response to Esperanza's lsc 100 blog

"Wow,Esperanza, you really know how to make Mexican food!" Was the first thought that came to mind while reading Esperanza’s lsc 100 blog. I never had the slightest clue as to what went into making “Mexican rice,” and it was quite an epiphany to discover from reading her blog that the uncooked rice is first sautéed, and then boiled. It makes sense.
I can only imagine what your mother and grandmothers’ cooking is like, if it is far from yours, which sounds carefully thought-out – nice. I have had authentic Mexican food a couple of times before; once in Mexico I had tortilla soup, and it was great! I really like La Hacienda of Madison.
I agree with Addie that “we have to consciously push ourselves to be better cooks,” because if you don’t like to cook, you should know, that for great things like cooking, one learns to enjoy them. I do disagree with Addie’s unstated assumption that cooking a family meal was an easy task in the past; yes restaurants equate with no work, but making a meal is just as much work now as it was before, and just because mom had to do it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give her more credit – she was vital and should be better appreciated. Also, I think it is kind of pathetic that someone has to write a whole blog about how to “find the joy in cooking” – the title should more aptly be, “how to be joyous.” I doubt there is a way to learn “how” to find joy or have joy in anything. People have joy because they do, and it is in them, it is not necessarily cultivated. It is like having gratitude; wanting what you already have, and not more.

Post 2: Prepare a Meal & Response to "In Defense of Food"

So, this afternoon I made a meal for myself. Well, in fact, I prepared what will be the entrée of my lunches and dinners for the next week. I am keen on left-overs, since they are convenient. I love to cook, and it is pleasurable and scientific; creative and domestic in all the pieces of time that make up the experience.
From start to finish, my endeavor took me about 2 hours. 1 of those hours was the baking of the casserole; so I could clean up and do other things like write this post while I waited. The first half was the preparation: chopping the vegetables, mixing the eggs and meat together, and constructing the finished product. In actuality, the preparation began much more than within a few hours before the construction; it began as thought processes as I imagined what I would prepare for myself, which is continually being molded by my understanding of what makes for a good dinner.

Eating is “something more than animal indulgence (55),” since I think that humans “indulge” with things intact that animals don't contain: intellectual, moral and reasoning abilities. Despite science predisposing Americans to think about eating as simply filling a fuel tank – God never said we cannot enjoy what we eat (though in moderation) – or sex (within marriage), or art (of things worthy of depiction), in response to fundamentalist attitudes toward life and all things in it. Therefore, if Americans are to savor food today, they must change the way they themselves operate, for example, their attitudes and temperaments. This is not an issue of food, in my opinion, for as Courtney Pool says in her blog, "our relationship to food is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself.” Therefore, people today must move away from their fast-paced lifestyle and make time for the things that are the most important: family, love, God, peace, rest. We all need these things.
I have not eaten my meal yet, but I can assure you that it will be delicious, as well as nutritious. There needn’t be compromise!
And of course, I know well that low-fat foods are a joke, so reading this chapter was fine.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Demonstration Speech Self-Eval

So, as I watch my demo-speech video, I have to laugh, because I know that as a more outgoing person, when I am nervous, I become quiter and look down at the floor more! Haha. But really, I stated the relevance of the topic and a little info on the topic, which was a good start and end to the speech. My speech was well organized, and the steps had their own spot, although I didn’t break the steps down in a simple way. There were also 12 full steps to my sequence, not 5. I suppose I could have broken the steps down to 6 full steps, since the first six are just repeated once again to make “twelve” steps. This was not very good, and I think I did this, partly because I went first, but also because yoga, being something one does, flows very quickly … well, I should have given the steps more attention anyway.

I did have energy and enthusiasm, though it was a little difficult to share with the entire class, and not just the two volunteers up there with me. My volume was a little quieter than I had hoped for. My body language was good, I thought, at least adequate, especially since I was busy doing yoga. Equally, my demonstration of the topic, I think was great, but yoga is something you have to do fully if you do it at all. But my eye contact was not good enough, so, I needed more.
My visual aid (my mat) was effective, and my tiny poster was passed around, and might have proved helpful, but my more helpful visual aids were my volunteer demonstrators, especially since they were just learning. They were very interesting to watch *visual interest*.
I would choose the same topic again, because I think it is a simple thing to demonstrate and is highly physical, thus, it must be demonstrated to be learned. Like I said before, I would talk louder, make more eye contact, and break the steps into 6 instead of 12 steps, and give the steps more time space and attention. If I could change one thing about my speech, it would be this, that the steps were simpler and more obvious.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Peer Response No. 1

Today I am responding to "Laura's Life Science Communication Blog," for "Prepare a Meal," from March 3, 2010.
I appreciate the fact that Laura views science's technological advances so positively, for when reading a book like Pollan's that can seem to demonize our "progress," it is nice to remember that frozen dinners are a blessing, and not a curse.
Of course, I don't think Pollan was trying to say that Christianity caused us to become overly concerned with nutrients; but it is simple fact that Puritanism has it's roots in our cultures' development.
While I agree that "low-fat processed foods" cannot be fully blamed for causing the obesity epidemic, low-fat or not, the underlying point is that they are processed, and they do contribute greatly to obesity.
When you said, "it doesn't matter what you eat, but how the food makes you feel," you would probably greatly please Pollan, because I think he would like to see Americans enjoying their cuisines to a greater extent.
And then your common sense rules kind of contradict this/but are probably smart, nonetheless. Pollan just came out with a new book that is all about what "commonsense rules" to have when approaching eating.
Well, I enjoyed reading your blog!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Post 3: "Real" food vs. "fake" food

A family cow in Bangladesh>>
In the debate between which is better – fake or real foods – real foods almost always win. Fake foods appear to come in at a close second, or sometimes above the real foods in healthfulness. But I think that since eating is an experience and not just the fueling of an engine, assuming that real foods taste better than their fake counterparts, eating the real food is the better experience.

Of course, many times, eating a fake version of a food is the only option we have, and it comes pretty close to the real thing. Take milk, for example. When I go to the store, I don’t expect to see fresh milk delivered that day from the milk man. I expect to buy a product that has been heated above 176 degrees Fahrenheit, homogenized so that the fat and the proteins/water don’t separate, and fortified with Vitamin D. This product has a longer shelf-life than it otherwise would, and “in the 1940's [the addition of Vitamin D] reduced the incidence rate of juvenile rickets by 85% in the United States.” Besides increasing the shelf life, pasteurization was originally instituted to make unclean milk safe, which came from urban dairies in 19th Century Europe.

Clearly, I would rather my milk come from a clean dairy and not need to be heated to kill all the bad germs in it; milk is not innately germy. And I have gone the extra mile to support farmers who are licensed to sell raw milk. In fact, during my high school years, my mother and I would drive to Midvalleyvu Family Farm to pick up “raw milk.” Thus, I remember the taste of unprocessed milk: creamier, fresher – how do I describe it? Just plain better than the heated, processed version.

Besides the taste, I would reason that the nutrient content is basically the same, although I have come across startling statistics that say otherwise. The Weston A Price Foundation reports that significant amounts of vitamins A, B, C, D and E are lost in the heating treatment. Besides this, all the enzymes are destroyed, as are the bacteria, good and bad. Interestingly, the “destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is [also]essential for the absorption of calcium.” So, even if my commercial milk is chock-full of calcium, I may not be absorbing it as nature intended.

With this information in mind, I would drink raw milk if I could, notwithstanding that it is illegal to sell it in Wisconsin, the Dairy State, without a special “farm share” in which “members” of one’s farm (much like a stock market share), drive to pick up the milk and it is all bottled on-site. It also needs to be grade A or higher. Of course, this means basically no one can buy raw milk, and the cost to produce it is going to be high, likely at least double of commercial milk. There are in fact committees and bills in the local government that are trying to make and pass laws that would allow for the sale of raw milk in stores. But, I guess until that happens, I will have to either move to California, where selling raw milk in stores (convenience stores, for example) is legal, or get me a cow. Probably the latter. :)