Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Putting the kitchen in the garden

As I ponder what we're going to be cooking on in the garden come spring (and where we are that's not all that long away) I find myself wondering which of these Viking Grills I ought to be getting. As you can see from that picture to the side there it's possible to get one which will allow me to cook for a visiting army. A huge 53 inch grill (with commercial level 29,000 BTU burners), side burners, and oven and all the warming and storage space a man in a chef's hat could ever want.

But then there are other things in life as well, more than just one boy's toy to be afforded: perhaps I should just go for the basic 30 inch grill on it's own? For that is the most important part of the Viking gas grill, the grill itself: side burners can be provided in other ways. Or maybe, instead of thinking about other toys I should be thinking about other types and pieces of my outdoor cooking equipment?

For the Viking grill, as with all of their equipment, is made to full commercial standards and will put up with any weather: that's the stainless steel for you which means that it can indeed be left outside all year round. So should I economise on the grill side but get the refrigerator, or the ice machine, or the warming trays instead?

I realise that these aren't the most pressing of problems for everyone but I am trying to work out how to best take advantage of the fact that we're living in a warm climate: one where eating and cooking outside is an obvious part of life. Anyone got any bright ideas on which selections I should be making?

Emmanuel Delcour

Now this is an interesting little snippet about Emmanuel Delcour. Or at least I think it's an interesting little snippet about Emannuel Delcour.

Our Emmanuel is appearing on a Bravo TV show called Chef Academy. OK, so far so fine. But it turns out that in between various small acting roles and body building competitions Emmanuel Delcour was also the porn star Jean Val Jean.

You might take the view that there's nothing wrong with that and you might take other views. Although his particular specialty might mean you don't really want him tasting your soup and then putting the spoon back into the pot.....that this is a family blog makes it difficult to go any further in revealing just what that specialty was but it's easily enough found online.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Modern addiction treatment

Modern addiction treatment: or perhaps we should make that modern addiction treatments? For along with the new knowledge that addiction is a disease, one that needs treatment, rather than simply a lack of moral fibre (as it was once regarded) has come the knowledge that there is no one drug treatment which is going to work for everybody. We cannot simply process everyone through a 12 step program and hope for the best.

Nor can we alight upon any other single drug treatment as a magic bullet to deal with this complex problem: for there are two major problems to such an idea. The first is that there are many causes of addiction. For some it's simply the desire for a certain drug or course of action: for others there might be deeply buried psychological scars (or issues of self-worth) which need to be treated as well as the more visible addiction itself.

The second is that we've found that no one treatment works for all. Some do best with a medically orientated treatment program, for others drug treatment is best approached through therapy. And for some, yes, the old 12 step program is extremely helpful. So the thing that we've really found out is that while there is no one pure way, one true path, there are a number of entirely useful and helpful things we can do. Thus we should be offering addiction treatment at multi-disciplinary places, like the Pat Moore Foundation in Orange County. Have all of the available options there in one place and then see which one the patient responds best to.

If you're after more information on modern addiction treatment simply click through any of the links.

Nora O'Donnell and a Sarah Palin supporter video

Nora O'Donnell (or as she's more accurately known, Norah O'Donnell) gives us some good TV here by weighing in on a young Sarah Palin supporter.

It's good TV, for sure, but it's not actually all that fair. Long time journalist beats up little kid on camera isn't really all that fair now, is it?

Anyway, here's the Nora O'Donnell video:

The thing is though it's something of a trick question. There have been a number of bailouts now, ranging from making sure the banking system didn't shrivel up and die to handing over the US car industry to the United Auto Workers. It's entirely fine to support one of those (the first, as just about everyone did at the time) without thinking that all of the subsequent bailouts were a good idea.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meditation gong or food bell?

That looks like a fun little toy, doesn't it? Like something out of a Fu Manchu movie or a Bruce Lee flick: you know when they're moving from the western world into the more secretive Chinese one when you start to see a gong around. However, this is a meditation gong and there's really not all that much call for one of those with a character like myself. I tend to do my meditating on the iniquities of the world while peering over the rim of a glass holding something cold and frothy.

So why would I think that one of these gongs would be an interesting thing to have around? Apart from the quite cool looks of the thing and the possibility of being able to pretend that Bruce Lee would leap through the door screaming if only I did indeed tap it? Oh and the delight that could be found in tormenting my long suffering wife by repeatedly tapping it?

Well, that's the thing you see, I don't think that, in our house, a meditation gong would in fact be used to do any meditating. I have a feeling that it would be used to call the cats (all six of them, yes, a stray had kittens before we could get her to the vet to be snipped) and the three dogs (no, that was by choice) to dinner: and probably if that long suffering wife had her way, me too. But that would still be fun: we like things that make noise around here and that is indede a good looking thing that makes noise.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anthony Sowell: 10 bodies found

In what is turning out to be perhaps the most horrific case of the year so far police have announced that they've found 10 bodies at Anthony Sowell's house so far.

The orginal count was only three, after they called with a search and arrest warrant on allegations of rape. Further searching found another three in then house., And now that they're searching Anthony Sowell's garden they've announced that they've found another four, taking the total up to 10 bodies found so far.

Click through the links for more information on this story.

Now we're cookin'

I have to admit to always having had a weakness for the whole process of BBQ, setting up the BBQ Grill itself, indeed I'm fascinated by the variations that one can have in barbecue grills. You know, you can have gas fired ones, charcoal, wood (sometimes even a mixture, the charcoal having some wood chips added to add flavor), I've even seen people doing it over coal itself (which is rather a special cooking skill when you come to think of it).

Then of course you can add a smoker to the BBQ Grill, possibly a steamer if you're near the beach and can get clams, one friend used to have a huge almost 50 gallon drum in which he could do his crawfish boil: there actually seem to be more variations in what you can use for this style of cooking than there are for the indoors kind.

But as we get our house and garden properly finished off I've been looking around for what we want to add to our machine repetoire here. We've already got the BBQ Grill we need and having more than that would simply be indulgence. So rather than pawing through this listing of possible bebecue grills I've been looking instead at what we might have to expand our range, rather than just increase the number of people we can feed in one style.

And it's that Dutch Oven that my eyes have alighted upon. Grilled meat, bbq'd meat, sure, they're great, but what I really like is to have meats cooked in a variety of styles and roast is another favorite. With such an oven we can still all be outside soaking up the sunshine but cooking a turkey (say) or a couple of chickens at the same time.

Fortunately we're in a climate where we can do (and eat) the holiday turkey outside so perhaps this is the solution for making that whole experience more interesting this year?