November 20th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Food-related tidbits

On Thursday, Smith College celebrated Julia Child Day in honor of their recently deceased celebrity chef alumna. (Thanks to Katie for the news.)

I realized today that the innocuously white-windowed store I regularly walk by is a full-fledged Japanese grocery store. This was a particularly felicitous revelation since now only were we running low on loose green tea, but now that I have a Japanese cookbook, I require ingredents which would otherwise send me further from home and out of my way to the city's markets. While there, I bought some wasabi peas for C., some azuki beans (mmm, dessert), some rice and azuki paste treats to go with the green tea (dessert!), and soba noodles. Everything else will have to wait for a more specific recipe. (The store also sells green tea ice cream and ginger ice cream!)

A recent study of eating habits correlates love of spicy food, gourmet meals, and having lots of friends over for dinner with a preference for vegetables over fruit. Conversely, those who especially like dessert, simple, easily prepared food, and have fewer friends over less frequently tend to prefer fruit. Obviously, there's no hard and fast rule clearly categorizing people one way or the other; the study shows a general correlation between each set of preferences. Is it true? C. certainly fits the first profile nicely, and prefers veggies. I'm a bigger fruit fan, but you all already know my weaknesses for nice food. Maybe I'm a crossover. Vegetables can be very good too, after all.

The Japanese Grocery store is Sankyo Trading Co., 730 Queen St. W., Toronto, Ontario. Phone: (416) 703-4550

Virtues and a poll for academic bloggers

I'm struggling to find much in the way of literature which discusses the conflation of wisdom with the various cardinal virtues during the twelfth century, give or take a few centuries. I have several sources which say it happened. Between them, I know of one image which shows a personification of Wisdom replacing a personification of Temperance, and other instance in which a personification of Wisdom identifies herself as Prudence, but separate from the other three cardinal virtues. If you know of any other material which might deal with the subject, I would love to know about it. Any help would be much appreciated!

Speaking of things academic, Crooked Timber, group blog of things Academic, is currently running a poll for academic bloggers, "broadly defined to include all academics (any rank) who either read and/or write blogs". The poll is an informal one, and won't be used in any serious study, just fodder for future discussion and to give a picture of how academics make use of blogs. It doesn't take long to fill out, perhaps five minutes. If you have those five minutes to spare and think of yourself as an academic who blogs, go fill it out. It's entirely anonymous, and I strongly feel that LJ users, being part of such a friendly, insular community, are often underrepresented in such studies.

The poll is clearly written by someone who who, say writes for a blog like Crooked Timber (crookedtimber), because many of the numbers choices reflect an expectation of a very large audience who don't read many different weblogs. The question about "how many weblogs do you read in an average day" starts with the option of 1-2 and peaks at "greater than 15". Number of comments received, on the other hand, begins at "1-6".
Fishy Circumstances

Lemon tarts

The new Toronto Life Eating and Drinking Guide is now out (and has been for several weeks), so I've been browsing through it. The biggest improvement in this year's guide is the addition of an index broken down by neighborhood - and oh, is it broken down by neighborhood. To find all the recommendations within half a mile of me, I need to look at four or five different neighborhood listings.

Since I was heading down to that stretch of Queen anyways today, I took the guidebook's advice and tried out the Vienna Home Bakery, which the guidebook loves enough to have three different entries. I bought two lemon brûlées, since they looked small and light, unlike the Chocolate Raspberry flourless chocolate cake. They also had date puddings and apple pie in stock when I was there. Most of the display case was filled up with whole pies, way too much food for two of us to eat in the very near future.

The lemon brûlées were tartly lemony, with a smooth custard in a light crust and a burnt sugar topping. Clearly, there's real lemon juice in the custard. They were pleasant, perhaps a little too tangy. If it's convenient, I might go back, but I'm not sure I would go too far out of my way for it. (Then again, my mind's lemon tart category is still won by Café Concerto back in York, a smooth mix of lemonness and sweet without the sharply acid overtones. That's the competition and my ideal for a lemon tart.)

Vienna Home Bakery. 626 Queen St. W. Toronto, ON, Canada. Phone: 416 703-7278
Café Concerto. 21 High Petergate. York, UK. Phone: 01904 610478