Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Open Tabs 5: The Clever Sub-Title

I seem to have accumulated a couple of interesting links, mostly about food, recently. Allow me to share them.

* The Ka-Pow bar! This is awesome. So, chocolate bars are made by grinding cacao beans, extracting cocoa butter, then remixing them in a different proportion, with added sugar, milk solids, vanilla, almonds, whatever. These geniuses substituted finely-ground COFFEE for the cocoa in the remix stage. I am in awe. But it’s been 80 degrees in the shade here, and there’s no way I’m going to have them shipped to me from OR right now. So, I will either wait, or track down a source of food-grade cocoa butter for my own nefarious purposes.

* Making perfect french fries. Basically it comes down to using acidulated water to strengthen the pectin in the potato, holding it together better during cooking. Also useful for potato salad, actually. They do a similar investigation with potato chips (you may call them “crisps” if you prefer being wrong)

* Speaking of french fries: Cooking Issues also takes on the quest for French Fry Supremacy (Part 1, Part 2)

You’d think that after reading all that about french fries and seeing electron microscope pictures of french fries and even seeing some dude *sand* a french fry, that I’d know how to make the perfect fries. Sadly, I don’t. But that’s OK, I need to be doing less deep-frying.

But it’s not all about food!

* Abandonware by An Owomoyela is an awesome spec-fic short story up on Fantasy Magazine’s site

* Speaking of fiction, Chuck Wendig, esq posted Part One of Codpiece Johnson and the Hamsters of Anamnesis, part of an ongoing saga of being careful what you say online.

* Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home, interactive fiction by Andrew Plotkin. I haven’t actually played more than a minute or two of this one, but it looks fascinating.

* NYTimes article on pot shops in Colorado. This subject is interesting to me: I don’t really have any interest in the drug itself, but I do think that a looser set of restrictions would do a lot of good for US society. The country’s various stabs at Prohibition have been uniformly bad for us, and this time our country’s drug habit is in the process of destroying Mexico. Finding another solution seems incumbent upon us.

* This is an older Times article on the various custom-order items available on the internet, including custom-tailored shirts. I’m really hoping to be able to buy shoes this way. I can walk into a shoe store, state my size, and be presented with at most two pairs of shoes that fit me. There are those reading this who are snorting at my broad spectrum of choice compared to the waste land that shoe stores are to them. Vans’ is among a number of stores that come close, but they don’t let you specify width! The “customization” is all about selecting color. I suspect that the answer is likely to be a machine that makes them on demand.

* On a related note, I keep trying to remind myself to visit the Harvard Book Store’s books on demand machine.

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