Saturday, April 18, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: Takeaways from the Scenic City Supper Club

If you've read Sean Phipps’ great play-by-play of the Scenic City Supper Club’s inaugural event and are hungry for more, I don't blame you. The evening was a triumph for the organizers, and it seemed to go off without a hitch. The setting was beautiful, and the chefs were all quite relaxed and mingled with guests throughout the evening. It was a great opportunity for attendees to chat not only with fellow epicures, but also with the talent that would bring the fare to the table. Here are some takeaways from the occasion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Nigerian School Girls One Year Later

We can’t talk about gender equality, class equality and STEM education for women if we aren’t willing to support it in the Third World. We can’t fret about the educational opportunities for our own daughters if we aren’t willing to pay attention to when they are denied abroad. We can’t watch TED Talks and read news stories about heroic young women like Malala and ignore 234 young women just like her who are being threatened with rape, physical abuse, sex slavery and death because they sought an education.
One year ago I wrote a heart-felt piece, quoted above, responding to the news that over 200 Nigerian school girls had been kidnapped. At the time I was appalled that this had even occurred. I was angry that I’d heard about it through Twitter activtists and not the mainstream media. I had no idea that a year later next to nothing would have been done to rescue the students from Boko Haram, and these girls would still be missing. I had no idea that a year later Malala Yousafzai herself would be reminding the world that this tragedy happened, and that it’s still ongoing. It’s present tense, not pushed into the past and punctuated with a period put in place by the 24 hour news cycle.

Can Your Feelings Even Lift, Bro? How I Learned to Flex My Emotional Muscles

Muscles grow through a process called hypertrophy. The term comes from the Greek words for “excess” and “nourishment.” In an 1898 self-help wellness text, “Common Salt” by Godfrey Gumpel, he defines hypertrophy as a combination of “huper, over, in excess or beyond; andtrophe, nutrition.” He goes on to suggest the term indicates the “morbid enlargement of any part of the body.” I must, then, be hypertrophic in my feelings, in my emotional center. It must be swollen and glittering, pink and oxygenated. For as long as I can remember, I have been told by various means that I am “too much.” That I have too many feelings, that I’m too sensitive, that I’m too different, too this, too that, just too much. I love too much. I hurt too much. The amount of feelings I have simply overwhelms, first myself, then everyone around me, like cold salt water filling up the lower compartments of the Titanic, then finally the staterooms, the bridge, the bow.

Using your muscles regularly causes temporary damage, small tears and floods of lactic acid that are the reason you struggle to run that last mile, to push yourself through those last few reps. This damage is why you feel sore the day after an afternoon of lifting heavy moving boxes, a trip to the gym, sex until dawn. Not only are muscles hypertrophic, they are resilient, bouncing back into shape, recovering quickly the more you use them, molding themselves into new forms that will let them work even more efficiently in the future. Our bodies learn to adapt to whatever we put them through. We are designed to grow out of manageable amounts of pain. Some kinds of damage are productive. Some we can learn from. Some make us stronger.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: Deviled eggs

If you still have eggs from last week’s holiday celebrations and haven’t already deviled them, now is the time. This is one of those great dishes with lots of room for improvisation; beyond the classic mix of yolk, mayonnaise, mustard and paprika is an opportunity to entertain yourself and impress your guests.

Some purists, such as Alice Waters, think that when we use quality fresh eggs, anything fancy will "cover up the good egg flavor," so her recipe is pretty close to the classic version, using homemade mayonnaise and a bit of Dijon mustard. She does suggest some possible variations, though, which are hard to resist.

Other cooks turn the deviled egg into inspiration for improvisation, an invitation to try all sorts of different flavor combinations, depending on your mood, the theme of a particular meal or what in your refrigerator needs to be used up. Have some fun, and maybe even make a deviled egg version of your favorite dish!

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: About that egg

When I wrote about dietary guidelines last week, I didn’t mention the fact that it looks like eggs have made their way back on to the menu. This is good news for anyone who is interested in cooking delicious, quick and cheap food, as eggs are so versatile that they can more than hold their ownat breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Except for the fact that it contains cholesterol, which has historically been a matter of much controversy when it comes to our diets, the egg is otherwise an almost-perfect food. As Jennifer Trainer Thompson points out in "The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen," an egg is "an excellent source of protein, second only to mother’s milk, with all nine essential amino acids and 13 essential vitamins, mostly in the yolk, which is also one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Plus, it’s low in fat, with only 5 grams per egg."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Women Writers Live Life Out Loud at BinderCon LA

Six months ago, I impulsively cashed in some frequent flyer miles and bought a plane ticket to New York for a first-year conference I'd heard about on Twitter. It meant missing the last few days of a major work event I'd spent months helping to organize. It meant leaving my intern in charge of a monumental to-do list. It was a hasty, rash decision that involved quickly spending a few hundred dollars and making a phone call to my Manhattanite cousin to make sure I could, in fact, sleep on her floor. Buying that plane ticket to BinderCon was also the best decision I ever made. It was a decision informed by the kind of gut instinct that comes only when your life is about to change. Today I'm sitting in sunny Los Angeles, still buzzing from another amazing BinderCon weekend.
This iteration was the first to take place on the West Coast, cementing plans for future conferences to take place each Fall (New York) and Spring (LA). BinderCon LA felt extremely polished. There was nothing to indicate the event is not even a year old, nor was there the insecurity of a sophomore effort. Instead, it felt like a natural extension of the pop up female community created at BinderCon New York. There were a few key differences this time around-- notably a greater emphasis on programing for screenwriters. There were no major fumbles from the speakers, like Jill Abramson's lackluster remarks about the unique challenges for women of color in the news room that earned grumbles in New York. Instead, poet Claudia Rankine earned gasps and murmurs, oohs and ahhs from a room full of women who felt validated and affirmed by her remarks, who were overjoyed to be in the presence of a great writer.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What OKCupid Taught Me About Personal Branding

What OkCupid taught me about personal brandingFrom Our Readers
I got into online dating the same year I broke into marketing. I’d spent two years trying to figure out life after college, working a variety of dead-end jobs and dating an equally diverse variety of dead-end guys. From a sociopathic gamer to a grownup music nerd with a Dyson, and from a bottom-rung cashier job at Books a Million to my first 9-5 gig that required my degree, it was an interesting two years trying to find out what I wanted and needed, both professionally and personally. I had decided to make the leap from technical writing to marketing around the time I went through a devastating breakup. A year later, I was starting to make headway in my new field and was ready to date again.
That’s when I found OkCupid.