Appetizers

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…That’s why the bird you’re going to eat is named for a country on the Black Sea.

via The Turkey’s Turkey Connection – NYTimes.com.

Thanksgiving prompts the question that expatriates everywhere face: Shouldn’t I be going home?

via An American Neurotic in Paris – NYTimes.com.

 

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Why my town is better than your town.

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Thus began Mr. Diaz’s habit of having his morning sustenance delivered directly to his car. “I have the whole works,” said Mr. Diaz, a shoe salesman. “Bacon, eggs, home fries, toast. I have a real breakfast in my car. It smells like a restaurant.”

via In Age of Anywhere Delivery, the Food Meets You for Lunch – NYTimes.com.

 

On so-called American greatness

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By these metrics, American day care performs abysmally. A 2007 survey by the National Institute of Child Health Development deemed the majority of operations to be “fair” or “poor”—only 10 percent provided high-quality care. Experts recommend a ratio of one caregiver for every three infants between six and 18 months, but just one-third of children are in settings that meet that standard. Depending on the state, some providers may need only minimal or no training in safety, health, or child development. And because child care is so poorly paid, it doesn’t attract the highly skilled. In 2011, the median annual salary for a child care worker was $19,430, less than a parking lot attendant or a janitor. Marcy Whitebook, the director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California–Berkeley, told me, “We’ve got decades of research, and it suggests most child care and early childhood education in this country is mediocre at best.”

via The Hell of American Day Care | New Republic.

 

Just when you thought New York couldn’t get any more ridiculous.

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Mr. Schuppert, who attributed the “sex noises” to the garden’s full-throated bullfrogs, disputed Ms. Ward’s charges, and noted that she had once given a party of her own. “She’s drawing on a lot of hearsay that she has fantasized, as far as I can see,”

via Turmoil at the Roosevelt Island Garden Club – NYTimes.com.

 

On Southern hospitality

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A steady assault of “rusty salt pork, boiled or fried … and musty corn meal dodgers” brought his stomach to surrender. Rarely did “a vegetable of any description” make it on his plate, and “no milk, butter, eggs, or the semblance of a condiment” did he once see. New Englander Emily Burke observed that “the people of the South would not think they could subsist without their [swine] flesh; bacon, instead of bread, seems to be THEIR staff of life.” On this staff they leaned heavily. “You see bacon upon a Southern table three times a day either boiled or fried.”

via The Great Hog-Eating Confederacy – The New Inquiry.

 

News alert!

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Working with Ronnybrook, he created a premium ice cream mix that would be proprietary to Big Gay Ice Cream. There will be both chocolate and vanilla mixes, as well as a neutral mix that can be used to create flavors. Experimentation is a perpetual process at the well-oufitted basement lab in the West Village location, where I spoke with Quint – who was in his mad-scientist mode – recently. “I wish I understood all the chemistry better,” Quint laments. “Ginger is particularly hard to work with, if you get it strong enough, it curdles the ice cream.” I asked about the little greasy flecks you sometimes find in soft serve. “Thats the butterfat coming out of the mix,” he said, shaking his head.

via Big Gay Ice Cream Launches New Soft-Serve This Friday – New York – Restaurants and Dining – Fork in the Road.

 

Fool Me Three Times…

…when the lights were turned off, dogs in a room with their human owners were much more likely to disobey and steal forbidden food. The study says it is “unlikely that the dogs simply forgot that the human was in the room”… instead it seems as though the dogs were able to differentiate between when the human was unable or able to see them.

via BBC News – Dogs understand human perspective, say researchers.

Years ago, I had this mystery happen to me. It was real “Hardy Boys” stuff. I was living in a house in a cozy little sort-of enclave of [deleted] that had only one recognized meth dealer, and for some reason I had begun buying butter by the stick.

Butter and a butter knife

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually, I would buy real butter in a tub. But one day, like I said, I bought a box of butter sticks. My mother had done this — actually, it was margarine — for years when I was a kid, I imagine because tubs of the stuff had not yet become popular. Or, I don’t know, who knows what she was thinking. For one thing, she never called it margarine; she called it oleo or butter. The point of the story is that my mental image of butter was a stick of it softening on a saucer in the open air of the kitchen, and so what I did next seemed natural to me.

One day, I made a loaf of bread or something and, you know, in planning ahead, I had put a stick of butter on a saucer and set it on the counter. Eventually, I cut a slice of bread and turned to the plate of butter and — it’s gone. I mean, the plate is there but the butter is gone.

Now, when this happened, I didn’t really think twice. I immediately assumed that I had merely meant to set out some butter and had actually forgotten. I walked to the fridge, took out another stick of butter and set it on the saucer. I scraped off some cold butter onto a slice of bread and thought nothing more about it.

Suspect No. 2, as a puppy.

Suspect No. 2, as a puppy.

A few hours later, I thought about having dinner and went back into the kitchen. And I immediately noticed the plate that I had put the butter on was empty. This time, my first thought was confusion. I checked the inside of the fridge, to see if I had put the butter plate in there. I checked the freezer, to see if I was even more absent-minded than I thought I was. I checked the cupboard where I kept the plates. I checked cupboards where there were no plates. No butter. And the mysterious thing was, to my eyes, there was no sign of butter on the plate that was on the counter. The same plate I was sure I had put butter on a few hours earlier.

Now, you might have guessed a dog was involved. As I stood there, bemused, I began to wrench my brain in the direction of suspecting one of my two dogs. Suspect No. 1 was a black mixed-breed too short to reach the counter comfortably — so I say — but Suspect No. 2 was a three-legged golden retriever, about 60 pounds and fairly nimble. Still, I found it hard to believe that she both knew the butter was on the counter — she was nowhere near the kitchen when I unwrapped either stick — and was able to get it off the plate without making any suspicious noises.

Any reasonable person would have endeavored to keep the butter in the fridge from then on. My idea was to see if my dog would do it again. I opened the box, pulled out the last stick of butter and set it on the saucer. Then I looked around to see where my three-legged butter thief was. I checked the front room, my bedroom and then walked back through the kitchen to the basement. She wasn’t down there, either. I came back upstairs and guess what I found on the butter plate? Nothing.

Three sticks of butter. One day. And I never figured out, really, which dog was doing it. Or, you know, if it was some kind of Disney-esque team effort.