You Touch It You Take It

I’m reading a book called First Bite: How We Learn To Eat by Bee Wilson. It’s an interesting discussion on the psychology of eating.

I’m on page 72 and she’s been discussing Children’s Health, namely: how should children’s diets be governed? She tells of a 1912 meeting of British educators who gathered to discuss the problem of children’s health in Britain. Because public education had become mandatory, they knew the problem was to find what to feed the children during school lunch and how to make them eat it.

What this episode did, according to Bee, is challenge the idea that, in children’s food, pleasure and health are enemies (71). Basically, how we tell children what to eat, and how we talk about what to eat, creates responses to the food we eat.

This information can hardly be read without remembering my own experiences growing up- the fusses I made and the food I liked. I hated lima beans, and though I’ve learned to eat them, every time I see them I remember an episode in my childhood where I sat, alone, at a friend’s dinner table, crying over a plate of lima beans because I had to eat some before joining the birthday party.

This bland memory contrasting the savory flavors of my family’s home cooking- mom’s spicy spaghetti, dad’s stir fried beef, my brother’s hot curry, sister’s desserts, and a family adage: You touch it you take it, you take it you eat.


The Road Goes On, Ever Ever On

A Draft From nearly two years ago, sometime late July.
Today I’ve realized that I want to be an adventurer when I grow up.

I’ve realized this, because in the last seven weeks I’ve traveled nearly 20’000 miles, visited two foreign countries and ten of the 50 United States, and flown from one side of the U.S. to the other; I’ve seen the Northern coast of Ireland and the faint outline of Scotland; I’ve walked the streets of Dublin, Salt Lake City, and Roswell; I’ve seen the lights of New York and Portland; I’ve waded in the Atlantic Ocean off Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, and swam in a creek on the Big Horn Mountains 7500ft above sea level; I’ve driven from Southern New Mexico to North Central Wyoming in a single day, sleeping little en route, then worked a 10 hour shift as a waiter; I’ve visited the Green Giant, the Corn Palace, and Wall Drug, and soon: Chicago.

I’ve broken down, been caught in traffic, stopped to reminisce, and consumed coffee. I’ve written opening chapters, closing scenes, and wallowed in the divine frustration of writer’s block. It’s like the Walking Song from the Lord of The Rings (musical):

There’s a road calling you to stray, Step by step pulling you away,
Under moon and star, Take the road no matter how far.
Where it leads, no one ever knows, Don’t look back follow where it goes,
Far beyond the sun, take the road, wherever it runs.
The road goes on, ever ever on.


So I’ll follow on this journey, and continue to follow these never ending roads, and may God grant me the strength to live, and more, to write.

A New Beginning

I’ve been editing a short book by my relation E. Phil Thoreau, and today marks the completion and publication of said novella. It also marks the beginning of a minor scheme to employ Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for a full canon of Thoreau / LoVato works. Time will tell if this scheme (the result of poor funding, and over confidence in our combined editing abilities) will actually work.
In the mean time, do have a look and purchase your eBook copy of Coffee Flavored Water–  A referential, pun infested, epic that chronicles the adventures of Zard, Ascha, Gig, and D as they are pulled into quest to save a land called Mooz from the terrors of Rebmuc.

Finding America: Love’s Labor Lost

I’ve been reading Fred White’s The Daily Writer (2008) and today’s entry is “Writing As An Act of Love” (59). In this entry, White writes that “Love not only makes the world go ’round, as the cliche goes, it inspires us to go around the world; it makes us care enough about the world to get involved with it, to contemplate its beauty as well as its ugliness, its past glories and future possibilities.”

It strikes me as a bit cheesy, but I think that is half the point. It is this idea that we need to see the world with a higher degree of innocence, that we can’t let experience harden our hearts and build walls where doors belong. It is the human experience, I think, to love and to hate, “to murder and create” as we struggle to understand our place in history.

It is this capacity to love (and in loving to hate), that makes us human. If we lived by logic, like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, or Spock from Star Trek, or Sherlock Holmes, we would lose as much as we gained.

Finding America: World Center For Birds of Prey

When I first came here to Boise, Id I lived with an acquaintance just South of town. While living there, I was introduced to the World Center for Birds of Prey and had the opportunity to go see a Fall Flight. 

Seeing a hawk on the wing and an owl swoop back and forth to their handlers was a wonderful sight.During the presentation Bill Heinrich, Education Center Director, told the audience about the Center.

The center is a part of the Peregrin Fund, a foundation that aims to restore rare species through captive breeding and release, and improve local conservation  capacity. The World Center houses the Peregrin Fund Research Library, one of the largest collections of scientific literature on birds in the world.

The center is open Nov – Feb 10am-4pm, Tues-Sun. And March – Oct 10am-5pm Tues-Sun. General admission is $7, with discounts for youths and seniors.


Finding America: Minimum Wage

I’ve been coming across a number of memes about minimum wage increase in the past couple days. Many point out that a minimum wage increase would create inflated prices and job loss:

Some suggest that the CEO’s and Business Leaders of the world are increasing their wage while letting the hourly employees suffer:

But the main point, I think is this: that cost of living has increased while wages have stayed the same.

I don’t yet know the full story, but I’m certain that raising minimum wage will solve nothing on it’s own.

Instead of asking how to raise minimum wage, we should be asking how we can increase the US Dollar’s value; how we can improve transportation and production to decrease food costs; how we can budget our private finances to live within our means; and how we can live with less waste and more efficiency.

These corporations and the 1% are the product of capitalism: they and/or their predecessors invested and built a massive wealth for themselves. I think we are in the middle of a paradigm shift where we can choose to re-embrace the damning freedom of entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, and self reliance; or continue this trend towards dependence, blame, and self-entitlement.

Personally, I want a USA where the mindset is that of the entrepreneur.

Book Blurbs (Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson)

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson brings the reader observations on the interconnection between a technological and cultural history of cooking.
Wilson opens by bringing one of the most basic kitchen tools into focus: “A wooden spoon – most trusty and lovable of kitchen implements – looks like the opposite of “technology,” as the word is normally understood. … Countless decisions – economic and social as well as those pertaining to design and applied engineering – will have gone into the making of this object” (ix).

She goes on to discuss, chapter by chapter: Pots and Pans, Knife, Fire, Measure, Grind, Eat, Ice, and Kitchen. In each chapter contrasting tool usage across Western History, as well as comparing Western use with Eastern use. It is a book that brings the reader a fuller view of the products nestled away in the kitchen.

Wilson concludes, “The food we cook is not only an assemblage of ingredients. It is the product of technologies, past and present” (276).

Wilson, Bee. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. New York: Basic Books. 2012. Print.

Finding America: University Diversity

Finding America (Series I: Idaho)

I work in a restaurant, and in this industry I encounter all manner of people. Here in Boise it’s a mix of university students, locals, and those traveling through town on business. Today, I just so happened to encounter a pair of gentlemen from Kuwait. One fellow had a set of beads, called subha, which are prayer beads. I asked him about them, and he said “some call them religion”.

I didn’t talk to them long, just long enough to learn they were attending university here. This encounter, along with the blizzard across the Oscars, and the general question of immigration, I am thinking about the sheer variety of people in this country.

It seems to me that this country’s media- our literature, our movies, our programming, depict America as a country of white people, governed by aging white men, all of Anglo-European descent, and that this is the story we tell.

We know, of course, that these descriptions like Caucasian, Asian, or Black reduces a number of origins to a single physical trait. Caucasians can be Anglo, Scandinavian, African, Hispanic, Siberian; Asians can be Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Korean, Thai; Blacks can be African, Jamaican, Haitian, Australian, European.

Instead our genetic history is reduced to a pigmentation and facial construct, when the reality is that our appearance is only part of the story. It is a complex thing, and I wish it was as simple as reminding ourselves that America has become a country of variety.

That we share a political system, but we do not share one culture, we not share one religion, we do not share one ethnicity, we do not share one history- We are a mosaic that gains beauty from variety.






Finding America: Election Year Reflection.

This year is 2016. It is an election year, and the candidates are concerned with “making America great again”. But as I think over my travels in this country and others, and reflect on my glimpses of History, I have to wonder whether the USA has had the time to be “great” in the first place. We are a young country, still rowdy and teenaged, with an identity built on some vague ideas of “freedom” and a strange nostalgia for a greatness we think we earned during the World Wars.

As I write this series and explore my country, I hope to find the things that make America America today, and the things we can do to shape America for tomorrow. Which is to say, this series is about the inhabitants of a continent: all the passions, conflicts, and failures that have shaped a nation, and my own hope that we will labor to make our country a great nation today and tomorrow, and not mourn some imagined greatness we accomplished half a century ago.

Finding America: The Potato Drops

Finding America (Series I: Idaho): The 3rd Annual Potato Drop

The United States is full of awe inspiring places, people, and things- ghost towns turned tourist trap, archaic worshipping sites, old battlegrounds, vast canyons and mountain ranges, extinct volcanoes, and the stories of the people who have lived and toiled here. Thinking of these things, I realize that I have not yet met my country, and there are a many things to explore. But discovery is a process, and since I cannot learn it all at once I will start with where I am: Boise, Idaho.

I’ve been in Boise since September, 2015. During the past three months I’ve only brushed the surface of the sites and people that occupy this postage stamp of land. Though I could write about the Capitol building, or the Botanical Gardens, I will save these and others for another time. Instead, I will start this New Year with a new Boise tradition: the annual New Year’s Potato Drop.

I first heard about this event on December 30, 2015, and found the idea novel enough to attend. This year’s festival, ringing in 2016, was the Third Annual Potato Drop, and featured a 15ft Potato lowered for the countdown that initiated a fireworks display. Though I arrived at 11:45pm that evening and missed most of the vendors, it was great fun.

In final 10 minutes before the drop there was a short New Years Bachelorette program, where a young woman asked a series of questions to three eligible bachelors. She ultimately selected bachelor number three to sit with during the drop, while the other two bachelors were introduced to the runner-up bachelorettes. Immediately after this, came the countdown for the New Year and the ceremonial lowering of the Potato.

It was a bit silly, yes, and cold, but it was a nice way to remind us that life is more than ceremony. That life is full of cold days, times of loneliness, and other sufferings we must endure, but life is just as full, if we look, of the little things to make us smile, and of the 15 foot potatoes descending on a crane.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: