88. Lore

On Food & Cooking: the Science & Lore of the Kitchen (1984, Harold McGee)

I am so ready; so, so ready to just jump, no, to just DIVE into the fundamentals of FOOD SCIENCE. It's calling me. I feel like I'm banging on a door: "Let me in! Let me in!" Or simply very impatient. I'm a kid ready to "bomb" into a pool of plastic balls & they'll jump up in the air around me. THAT is what food science is to me.

Where did this weird passion come from?... Who cares?

I was at a conference yesterday during which at one point, the presentor talked about now being the time of our lives (my class was the audience), the transition period between teenage years & adulthood, where you begin to feel a fire in your stomach, a real physical energy that says to you: That's what you freaking want to do. Even though I feel it more in my heart & it radiates into my stomach & my throat, I'm certain it's the same thing. I think this is the désir I was studying in philosophy. The "want times a hundred".

Nonetheless, it still scares me to "specialize". I don't particularly enjoy the idea of "specializing" in a field. My ideal has always been to learn & learn & learn, but not to dig deeper & deeper in one subject but to broaden my knowledge, to be "trivial", so to speak, & not necessarily an expert. But I think that I can make an exception for food science...

University is making me impatient & so is that book, which I probably already wrote about, I can't remember...

Regards, (hehe)


p.s. There's something else I want to talk about but I don't want to jinx anything so just consider it mentioned with this post script. ;)


87. What a 15/20 means to me...

So three weeks ago, I had a week of Bac Blancs, which is the French equivalent of midterms, but so not at the same time. This week, it's the week of "getting marks back". If there are two things I love, it's tests & getting marks back. Whoopee!! (sarcasm-free)

Yesterday, I got my math midterm back & (drumroll please)...I got 15/20!!! That's for sure in the top 3 marks in the class. Go me!! Especially because I always feel like I'm digging my way out of a "sh*t pit", as i refer to it in my head. That means that I was the underdog; I started off really lost & really with a completely different knowledge that their knowledge such that everyone had really low expectations of me...

ANYWAY, in honour of my success, I've decided to come up with an equivalence chart between American marks and French marks so that you may properly grasp the significance of my 15/20.

6 & under = 49% & under = you failed so badly that you might as well think that it never happened; you laugh cause it's a joke; once in a lifetime
7-9 = 50-59% = Ouch, you bombed. Should've studied.
10 = 60-69% = The glass is half full: at least you didn't fail...
11 = 70-74% = Living on the edge, eh? Try harder.
12 = 75-80% = meh... Room for improvement.
13 = 80-85% = Good work. Keep it up.
14 = 86-90% = Great job! Fantastic!
15 = 91-95% = Holy cow! My word! Incredible!
16 = 96-97% = Congratulations! Excellent!
17 = 98-99% = You're kidding, right?
18 = 100% = AMAZING!!! This calls for a mini-celebration.
19 = 101% = speechless. This calls for HUGE celebration.
20 = 110% = pretty much unheard of.

So there you go; I got a "Holy cow! My word! Incredible!" & btw, I was only 0.5/40 from getting 16/20 so BAM!!

& just for reference, my class average was 10.44 last term, which was supposed to be the easiest term...



86. I'm Stuck.

so browsing through the limitless pages of the net, i came upon a short article written about a girl named Kitra Cahana. she's 22 & she's basically a professional photojournalist. she's a university graduate & she had her photo published in the New York Times when she was 17. she won the 2009 photographer internship at National Geographic & now she's pretty much pro. may i repeat that she's only 22?

when i think about how i'm only less than 4 years from being 22, it makes me nearly depressed about how i couldn't possibly accomplish what she's accomplished in the less than 4 years i have left. & the thing is, i know that i have accomplished stuff but stuff is clearly, not enough. it's plain, it's boring so the big question is: what makes me so extraordinary?

the problem is that i can be very very lazy but only because i'm strictly...uninterested. i honestly believe that the system our society runs on is flawed. absolutely yet reasonably flawed. it's built so that if you're not a grosse tête, then you're not really meant to succeed. sorry, that's just the way it goes. i guess it's just too bad for people who have a passion for building ikea furniture (me), or for meticulously analyzing people's handwritings (also me). ok, i'll admit that those aren't the best examples, but my point is that it's all a game of chance; for one to succeed (money-wise) in today's world, you have to be born in the right country, to the right parents with the right economical situation to send you to the right schools & with the right connections. basically, being "driven" just doesn't cut it anymore.

i don't believe in education. i used to but ever since i was 15, i scrapped that idea & came to my senses. education, the way it's done today, is utterly stupid. however, that does not in any way mean that i don't believe in knowledge, because if there's one thing i can't get enough of, is pure knowledge. but "education" is getting so material, so selective, so superficial that it really doesn't interest me anymore. you pay a beepload of money to get in just so that on your resume, you can have a few simple letters (say, PhD) printed & BAM you're hired. pitiful. higher education especially, is sooo "made for the elite" that i can't stand it anymore. what's the harm in sharing some knowledge? yes, i realize that not everyone has the competencies to be a heart surgeon but if someone does, shouldn't they be one? & vice versa: if someone doesn't, shouldn't they NOT be one? for me, it's just embarassing how even education has become as invaluable as dollar-store merchandise. education is a sell-out.

which all leads me to say: as much as i don't like it, i don't think i could not continue it. unfortunately, if i wanted to change things, i'd have to be taken seriously & gain much more knowledge & to be taken seriously & to gain much more knowledge, i need an education...i'm so sorry i'm such a traitor.

i should probably get to my original point...i hate thinking about how i didn't volunteer or how i didn't study harder or try harder when i wrote my exams. i hate knowing that i'm capable but can't prove it because i didn't do enough stuff that qualifies to be put on a university application. see, i don't believe in doing things just for the sake of putting it on your application either (sell-out) but the system is just set up like that & it's wrong. i hate knowing that half the people who are "better than me" are actually "not" (if you know what i mean). i feel like i'm stuck being me, which isn't a bad thing; it's just i'd like to see myself moving forward a little more. progress. i feel i lack progress. i need to be assured that i'm not just treading water. i need to know that i'm changing & i'm producing change in my surroundings...that i have a purpose? yes, that i have a purpose, in simple but inexact terms.

i think i'm blogged out.



85. Visual Aids (Happy Valentine's Day)

I won't explain cause I already did in posts 82-84 & I'm just too tired, which if you're a reader, you would know why...
Btw, I'm testing with smaller photos that you can click on to enlarge.

philosophy read for vacation...ugh. originally, this pic was to show "illusion", which i find is a reccuring theme in a lot of visuals. this book looks normal but actually, there is no text in the middle (spine). thank goodness cause that cuts my reading in half but you wouldn't have know that if i hadn't told you. ah...illusion :p i love how bad the human eye is. any better & we couldn't watch tv.

on se promène en Lorraine

the dolls from the B&B room i shared with host sis. i dare you to click on the photo & stare at the doll on the far right.

my bed; now tell me that isn't freaky.

it's bed, then breakfast (une chambre d'hôte)

my bed was slept in...

dessert by a fantastic cook (host bro's wife); apples & pears, cooked & pouched in filo; forget the name; 7.5/10

REAL german shepherds

on the bus from McD's to bowling & laser quest (italy 1&3)

i want this dog. (afs co-ordinator's dog)

another homemade card...
party food
a dance...guess which one..

84. Party Animal

vodka is my new attraction but sooo not in the way you may think. it's purely experimental, which once again, is a wrong way to put it. i'm talking (pedicure on my toes-toes...lol) food science-wise. ahh...enlightened?

i went to a party last night & not a youthful, invitation by card kind of party. more like the walk-in-unannounced & drink, smoke, dance & vomit kind. along with the trashy costumes. mix that all together. mhmmmmm...so i'm growing up.

nah, honestly, it wasn't that bad at all & i even thought very little (more like nothing) big happened & plus, i came out alive & sober so that says something (not that i drunk). i'm not really expressing myself well...i think it's the alcohol.

anyway, it was afs italy's 18th b-day party; a total of about 25 kids from her lycée, from italy (over for the weekend), the other afs italy & me. in the beginning i was like "OMG get me out of here. i don't want to stay here." when everyone is just so eager to get their hands on some alcohol, or sniff laughing gas or snort tabacco...plus, i didn't know anyone except the other afs italy so...

but i ended up loosening up (alcohol? :S); i danced for hours & ate & drank & met so many new people, all of whom were super nice so i ended up having a great time. one girl vomited, which cause a scene cause it was inside the house & on the staircase to the basement (part was in the basement & garage; freezing btw) (& there was still a big chunk there this morning that they forgot to pick up :o) everyone smokes too. i'm not even exaggerating; EVERYONE. i can't think of one person at the party that i didn't see smoke except me, so there. we ate chips, pasta, pizza & drank, coke, juice, beer, rum & vodka. polish & russian. weird thing was we found a bottle of polish vodka in the freezer...frozen. now if you know anything about the properties of alcohol, it's that it doesn't freeze, especially not at 40%?! holy cow!!! what were we really drinking??? (me, sipping; two sips for SCIENTIFICALLY EXPERIMENTAL purposes; what a drink!!! it's water then it's like vaccination alcohol!! no wonder it's a disinfectant...)

so when the partying was over, half the ppl went home but HALF THE PEOPLE STAYED, most of whom didn't plan on staying, namely me, which made it hard to find a place to sleep. there are only so many rooms in a house. at first, i reserved a bed with other afs italy & we chatted & i learned some italian while ppl just fooled around (tired & drunk) & read an italian book on orgasms. i attempted reading italian in front of a bunch of italians who didn't laugh so good sign. plus, they were GORGEOUS. heck, everyone is gorgeous.

i, along with bday girl & 4 others stayed up til 5 in the morn (as always, i stay up til early next day; it's just the way a party?) & finally, i found nowhere to sleep so i fell asleep freezing in my costume (a sheer t-shirt with a skirt whose seam was ripped my my *ss...yup. i've learned that the thing i wanted the most was socks. now that was a DESIRE. i was freaking freezing!!!) woke up disgusting; greasy, dirty, smelled like smoke & basically all partied out. good thing my house is a 2-minute drive away (stupid me; why didn't i ask for some pj delivery? ahh, i couldn't). when i got home, i changed into pjs, waxed (yes, AFTER a party that i wore a skirt to), showered, creamed & put my pjs back on. then i spent a good 2-3 hours going through all my bordel in my room that accumulated during exam period & got rid of a lot of junk. feels good to be clean(ish) again. & in my own bed tonight. worked a few hours too & celebrated Chinese New Year whild watching Vancouver 2010. SO my night :p



83. Desire

You know the difference between "want" & "desire"? "Want" is like, "Um, yeah, ok, alright, sure, yes, I'm very sure. I want it." "Desire" is like ugh, you feel it in your gut & you just don't see yourself without it.
I desire going to university. So bad.

Two days ago, I went to the open house of EPSCI, an introductory 4-5 years to ESSEC, the second best school of economy in France for my host sis. Being second best, they have basically the best of best, the newest of new & I got to sit in what I consider to be a Lazyboy to listen to a one-hour lecture. I DESIRE to go to University. I DESIRE to cook & make meals. I DESIRE learning what I DESIRE to learn. I DESIRE taking notes. I DESIRE something familiar & something new, that is home & university. Ughhhhh, I WANT it so bad.

I love open house. I got to see the dorms too, which made me think back to when I was at boarding school. Too great. With all the free promotional highlighters & most importantly, all the study guides for the entrance exams (concours). Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Perhaps...should focus...BAC...catch...sleep...




82. *More Than Words*

I love vacation, especially when I do stuff :)

This morning, I got back from an AFS sleepover with the girls. You know, thank goodness we're all girls cause it just wouldn't make sense with guys. I learned to play Clue, we made crêpes & we spent the entire day yesterday watching movies; a total of 6 movies!!! I've never watched so many at once but it was fantastic. I love them :)

We ate cereal & basically just sat in bed. Here's the list:
-Dany Boon (French comedian's show)
-American Party (Ryan Renolds)
-Hard Candy (Ellen Page)
-Le secte sans nom (a Spanish horror film)
-The Exorcism of Emily Rose
-American Pie: The Wedding

However, the first day, we went to Compiègne, a relatively large city nearby where we went shopping for the morning...or at least we tried cause it was soooooooo cold!! I was the only one who bought anything & it wasn't even a big thing. It was just yet another scarf but I really do plan on keeping it forever cause I just fell in love with it. Personally, I can't stand synthetics, whether clothes or food. I hate polyester, acrylic, etc. Basically, the uncomfortable, unwarm, staticky stuff that are non-biodegradeable. What's the point? Anyway, the scarf is navy & cotton. Nothing better than navy & cotton. So it's mine now :P
Same with food. Bleugh. I can't stand boxed, processed stuff. I can barely stand meatballs with all those chopped herbs & spices mixed in...NO thank you. I prefer a slab of meat over ground meat. I prefer a cone over a sundae. I prefer a bar of baking chocolate over truffles. Basically, I just don't like my food mixed...I think there's a name for that.

Anyway, after shopping, we went bowling & laser tagging. Laser tag sucked cause the one in Paris was a thousand times better & bowling was meh too cause they didn't even have seats so playing with 7 people was pas évident. I came in second, with a score of 80 something but I've got to admit that I had a little ducky beside my name, which meant that I had bars on our alley to help me, which I only used three times, I believe. It was cause the first two rounds, I knocked down 0 pins so then, I got pity & I got bars. :P Pourquoi pas?

Now it's back to work...BLEUGHHHH. & I'm extremely impatient about my Bac Blancs marks. EXTREMELY. GIVE THEM TO ME ALREADY?!!!!!!!!!!!!


p.s. I got briefly addicted to iPod's Vortex game in Lorraine.
p.p.s. Next post...pictures!!! Promise.


81. Speed Writing

so i'm really sick of studying so i've decided to take a break & see how much randomness i can come up with before it's 4:15. (in under 5min)

um so i just went down to the kitchen like ten minutes ago & was really craving this pork stuff that's literally just shredded pork meat with some fat & salt; cooked, packed & sold sort of like a spread that you put on bread. DELICIOUS (7.5/10), fattening but great. it's called rillette. anyway, i knew we had some in the frigo cause i saw it this morning so i went down looking for it but it wasn't there so i thought either
a) my host mom decided to hide it from ppl like me & host dad who have uncontrollable eating habits or
b) she ate it since she's on this protein diet anyway & she's allowed but i didn't see her eat it, which is pretty reliable cause we ate lunch together & french ppl don't really eat other than during meal times

so i decided to munch on a carrot i found. when i was peeling it at the garbage can, i took a good look & you'll never guess what i saw...the rillette bucket!!! so i got all hopeful & decided to reach in & see if it weighed more than the plastic bucket & it did. ah, but it was just too tempting & unbelievable so i left it aside just for the sake of tension-building. when i finished my carrot, i opened it & i saw a HUGE chunk of goodness inside.

so here's the thing. expiration dates are MASSIVE over here. or maybe it's just my host family but they take it really seriously so basically, if it's past the date, you don't eat it. it's as logical as that. apparently, food spoils in a span of 24h. so i checked the date & it was for the 5th, which isn't today, nor tomorrow but in two days so i can't imagine why i got eliminated from the fridge, especially since we ate leftovers at lunch from last week. so i assumed that maybe, the dog licked it or something. according to my very high probability assumption (um, right...), i decided that dog saliva wouldn't kill me so i slathered the garbage-touched meat onto the last slice of whole wheat bread (a really thick layer too since i had no choice but to finish it, you know) & ate. so good. but mind you, the garbage can has smelled funky since last night, which goes to show how much i love food. or perhaps just how disgusting i can be.



p.s. i think i was inspired by the news report on garbage-pickers who sort through the "trash" at night behind grocery store buildings since they're not allowed to sell things that are past expiration dates & often throw perfectly edible items out because new stock comes in. which is why i've always been the person to take the nastiest-looking stuff at the caf just so that not no one takes it cause otherwise, ugly foods get thrown out. superficial, eh?

p.p.s. it's been 15min...fail


80. Where did I go?

Yeah, I disappeared for a while but I'm coming back...just, um, busy, that's all.

Since I last wrote, I've perfectly dissected a mouse to locate its couscous-sized ovaries, ate a big blog of shredded spinach (lawn, lol), saw Avatar in 3D, practically haven't slept, ruined my back, applied for university and haven't showered. Ok, yes, I've showered since I last wrote but let's just say I've been disgusting longer than I should have allowed...it's been about 52h...


If you're an optimist, you would say that they're the French equivalent to midterms. I'm an optimist but I say that they are sooooooo not the French equivalent to midterms, hence why I haven't slept in the past week. There's no such thing as a break; that's my lesson for the year.

Basically, it's a week of no classes. Yay? Not yay. Bac Blancs are NOT midterms because a) we're two thirds into the year & b) you literally have to learn the punctuation in your notes to pass. Or am I over-exaggerating? Oh yeah, & c) the minimum is 2h for a test bloc.

So yesterday, I had 3.5h of SVT (bio) & 4h of philosophy in the afternoon (Does conscience make me realize that I am free?). Please take note that that is 7.5h of straight up writing until you can't feel your fingers or your bum. Plus, my back hurts & sitting is my worst nightmare. & what's more is that in between, we get lunch, during which we...sit. ANYWAY, today was day 2: 2h of Espanol & 4h of Histoire/Géo that I didn't study for. For once in my life, I winged it...but actually not at all. Here's why:

I had no idea what I had to write about but managed to cough up over 5 pages of BS (note: French papers are longer & the lines are skinnier so have pity on me; please) then I had to draw a map of Asie Orientale (see above) & it turns out that I put Singapour in Malaysia, Hong Kong in Thailand, Taiwan in Burmania and completely neglected the dot on the map that was actually ALL of Singapour because I forgot that Singapour is only a TINY island (& yet number port in the world!) so I thought the dot was the capital of Singapour, which was actually Malaysia...comprendo? I also put Shenzhen in Hong Kong but honestly, the dot on the map was so large it could have been either...or both. Yeah...so since that was half the marks, I guess I have to rely on the pile of BS...I'm really embarassed but I least I know Asia better now!

(chant: 2-week vacation. 2-week vacation! 2-week vacation!!!!! 2-week vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TWO WEEK VA-CA-TIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!...TION...TIOn...TIon...Tion...tion...ti..)