Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fatosphere on a week-long hiatus; try not to miss me too much!

Hi all, I'm leaving tomorrow for Vienna, so I won't be posting for at least a week.

As I mentioned in the Comments section, I have had to turn on comment moderation due to some nasty comments that some random trolls were leaving on the blog. I thought I'd turned on moderation successfully, then somehow an extremely nasty comment got through the cracks (I later deleted the comment so you know it must have been bad, given that I've refrained from deleting some pretty rude ones already). I think moderation is on now, but in my absence if any mean comments make it onto the blog somehow, I hope I can count on some of you guys to smack them down for me. :)

If you comment while I'm gone, it may be a day or two until I have email access and can approve the comment for posting. Sorry about that. This is only a temporary thing due to the fallout from the New York Times article.

Will be back in a week or so, hopefully with pictures of some yummy pastries that I will have eaten in Vienna.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Holy guacamole

Yesterday I won third prize in the 6th Annual Guacamole Bowl at the Kellogg Ranch Farm Store. The competition was pretty intense, and it was judged by a chef from the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch who definitely knew how to put on a show. I actually found myself getting really nervous as he kept going back to taste my guacamole along with a couple of others (which turned out to be the first and second place finishers). Incidentally, one thing the judge praised about each of the top three finishers was the nice avocado flavor. I actually got the avocados from last week's organic produce box that we got from the Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm we belong to, Tierra Miguel Farm, so I thought I'd give them a little shout-out.

Anyway, I figured I'd share my recipe with all of you -- I am not proprietary about it since (a) it is a very traditional recipe, and (b) I adapted it from my friend Teresa's recipe in the first place. That being said, though, if any of you show up at next year's Guacamole Bowl with this recipe as your entry, I will kick your ass. :) Anyway, without further ado, below is my prize-winning recipe...

Gloriously Garlicky Guacamole

There are no peppers in this guacamole -- the spiciness comes from the extreme quantity of garlic. Warning: if you eat a lot of this, you will stink.

12 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, leaves only, coarsely chopped
3 very ripe roma tomatoes
3 ripe avocados
juice of 1/2 lime

Smash the garlic in a molcajete. Sprinkle some salt on it and set aside.

Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop out and discard all seeds and guts. Finely chop the tomatoes and put them in a large bowl with the onion, cilantro, and lime juice.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the insides into the molcajete. Smash the avocados into the garlic, leaving some lumps of avocado.

Spoon the avocados and garlic into the bowl and stir everything together, adding salt to taste. Be gentle when stirring, to leave the guacamole chunky and not too smooth.


An update regarding this "fatosphere" stuff: On Thursday, I had 1129 hits, the vast majority of which came from Google searches for "fatosphere". The numbers are back down now (138 on Friday and 41 yesterday), but they're still slightly elevated, so I'm hoping we have some new regular readers. Welcome to all of you, and feel free to comment!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Let's play "Spot the Cliché"

Here is your assignment: Read this article on and see how many worn-out stereotypes about fat people and weight loss you can find. I count at least 30 of them. Perhaps I'll enumerate them in a future post, but I wanted to let you all have a crack at it first!

I do have to say one thing, though: if this woman at 5'9" and 250 lbs. felt that "walking in the shopping mall" was difficult and that life was "a constant struggle", I'd say she had some serious problems going on, independent of being fat.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our 15 minutes

This article in yesterday's New York Times has just sent a shitload of new readers to the Fatosphere! I got 62 hits yesterday, 41 of which were from Google searches for "fatosphere". Hurray for picking an obvious blog name. :)

Anyway, I recommend the NYT article, especially if you're interested in reading some other fat blogs. I think I've already linked to most of the ones they mention, but you get a little more information about what they're about and who writes them.

For those who are new visitors here, welcome and enjoy! Feel free to comment (the comments aren't moderated, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that are mean).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

...and then we make your happy happy

I finally just finished a CD compilation that I have meant to do for years. The theme is "happy jazz", so I thought I'd share it with you all in the spirit of promoting happiness. Here's the playlist:

1. the spanish flea - trudy pitts
2. the preacher - horace silver
3. cariba - wes montgomery
4. joy spring - clifford brown
5. hallelujah, i love her so - groove holmes
6. flying home - lionel hampton
7. the cat - jimmy smith
8. skad my to znamy? - krzystof sadowski
9. take your pick - hank mobley
10. island lady - sonny rollins
11. in the mood (bis) - rhoda scott
12. happy people - kenny garrett
13. change - donald byrd
14. cold bear - the gaturs
15. be young, be foolish, be happy - booker t & the mg's
16. flute thing - seatrain
17. summer samba (samba de verão) - walter wanderley

In my selection process, "happy" didn't necessarily mean "not blues" or "in a major key". I basically just decided whether the overall "mood" of the piece was happy. It was hard because there were plenty of tracks on my original list that make me happy because I like them, but if I really thought about someone else listening to them I had to admit that they wouldn't necessarily inspire instant happiness. There were also tunes that are pretty happy-sounding but have non-happy names, like Filthy McNasty (Horace Silver), so I eliminated those. And there were some that are super-happy but not really jazz, like Whipped Cream (Herb Alpert) and Soul Finger (Bar-Kays), so those were out.

This whole thing started because one day several years ago, I got home from school and the Admiral said he was feeling kind of depressed. I asked if he knew why, and he said maybe it was because he'd been listening to jazz all day. That got me thinking that, yeah, a lot of jazz is kind of vaguely depressing, but surely there was plenty of jazz out there that could make you happy. Offhand I could only think of a handful of jazz numbers that could legitimately be called "happy", I started collecting them up. I ended up with over 3 hours of happy jazz, but these 17 tracks were among the happiest. I'm listening to them now... and yeah, I'd say they are making me pretty happy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pop quiz, hotshot!

I always thought I was good at taking tests, but I got 1 out of 9 on this awesome quiz about "portion sizes". Admiral Seamus is no slouch at tests either, but he also got a big old "F" on this one (4 out of 9). Yeah, I get that they are trying to shock us with HOW HUGE THE PORTIONS ARE THESE DAYS and how we are ALL TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS ABOUT HOW MUCH WE EAT which is why we're ALL TURNING INTO HUGE FATTIES OMG PANIC!!!! But you can't ace this thing if you just pick the highest number on every question. (Nor, it seems, if you actually try to use reason to pick the best answer.) Here are some of my personal favorites:

-Diameter and calorie count of the "average bagel"... I don't know, did they really count all the bagels in the world and average them out? Wouldn't that tend to skew towards the diameter and calorie count of the most popular brands? Or is it the average of all the *types* of bagels out there? Are they counting mini bagels?

-Average calories in a "turkey sandwich". Umm.

-A story problem for you: "Today's coffee portions are about double the 8 ounces from 20 years ago. The old cup held about 45 calories. How many calories are in today's?"

Seamus' answer: "Still zero?"

But that wasn't an option. I foolishly tried to work with these guys and actually figure out what they were going for. So, OK, "double the 8 ounces", so that's 16 ounces, no wait, that's a decoy, I just have to multiply the calories by 2... okay, 45 calories, times 2, gotta get out my calculator for this one, okay, ummmmm... 90 calories???

No, I'm so wrong!!! Because I forgot to take into account "all the extra flavors and creams added to coffee today"!!!! No wonder I'm so fat!!!!!

So we both did pretty poorly. Let me know how you do! (Of course, I've already helped you out on the coffee question.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

You say you want a resolution...

Have you come up with your New Year's resolution yet? Mine is to not bother making one. But apparently a lot of people do, and one of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight. If that's you, boy are you in luck, because now $tarbuck$ is going to support you every step of the way!

That's right, the evil empire is introducing a new "platform" called the "Skinny Latte" (which means nonfat milk and sugar-free syrup) so that you can "stick to your New Year's goals". Because obviously everybody's New Year's goal is to lose weight, and obviously the best way to do that is to get help from Starbucks.

This is the time of year for shameless pitches from all kinds of gyms, weight loss programs, etc. But really, Starbucks? It seems like a bit of a stretch. As pointed out over at the f-word blog, ordering a "skinny" won't even cut all that many calories. It's pretty clear that this is just a dumb PR stunt to capitalize on everybody's New Year's-induced guilt.

Also, why is it assumed that a latte will have syrup in it?

Oh, whatever.

On a tangentially related point, I have this hypothesis that the terms "skim" and "nonfat" may have a geographical distribution. I always used to call it skim, then when I moved to Berkeley if I asked for "skim" at a coffee shop they'd give me a blank look, so I started saying "nonfat". Then when I moved to Pittsburgh, I'd get the look for calling it "nonfat" so I started saying "skim" again. But then when I moved to SoCal, "skim" was clearly not cutting it, so now I'm back to "nonfat". I'm not sure where the boundary is, but I'm pretty sure there is one. So here's a Reader's Poll for you: Does anybody east of the Mississippi call it "nonfat"? Or does anyone out west call it "skim"? If I don't get any responses, I'll just go on assuming I am right.

Also as an aside, as I was poking around on the web for stuff on the Skinny Latte platform (wtf is up with the "platform" thing, anyway?), I found this post about a guy who got a coupon for a free drink at Starbucks and tried to come up with the most expensive one he could get -- his 13 shot venti soy hazelnut vanilla cinnamon white mocha with extra white mocha and caramel totaled $13.76. I'll bet that tasted really awesome! For some reason it reminds me of that Domino's pizza thing that Meg linked to a while back...

Anyway, Happy New Year, everybody!