April 11th, 2005



Wandering through my often-disappointing local grocery store today, I was sorry to find they were out of grapes and the few remaining onions were sprouting. However, the cheese section was well-stocked with a variety of provolone, which reminded me of something.

When shopping at a Waitrose last month in London, they stocked no provolone at all. My U.S.-based recipe called for some, so I chose a replacement based on texture more than taste. On this side of the ocean, provolone, non-fresh mozzarella, and cheddar are the usual staple cheeses, available in variety even in stores with a good, well-stocked cheese counter. Waitrose was a peculiar grocery store from many angles, and taste in cheese varies substantially from country to country. Was Waitrose's complete lack of provolone symptomatic of the UK or the store?
Fishy Circumstances

Ad Astra

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Ad Astra is Toronto's annual literary Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, usually attracting approximately four hundred people. It boasts a healthy selection of largely local guests, four-or-so tracks of panels, non-stop anime, a number of food-related tasting events, a decent dealer's room, a modest-but-respectable art show, and - my favorite part - Jason Taniguchi's One-Man Show. This year, Jason did a parody of Spiderman 2, one of his best works yet. Each year he chooses a movie of interest to the Ad Astra crowd and, closely following its plotline, improvises hilariously around it. This year had strong narrative flow, inspired recurring gags, floppy snake toys, and frequently (if temporarily) recast Doc Oc as the hero of the piece.

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