August 22, 2004

Souvenir Shopping Okay, I am preparing for my first go at IMBB this weekend so I offer these two small newsy items… Walking around New York you are sure to see the ubiquitous blue and gold Acropolis motif on paper coffee cups emblazoned with the phrase “We Are Happy to Serve You”. It is an icon of sorts. Artist George Skelcher was inspired to create the purse pictured here after seeing the coffee cups being used by the homeless to panhandle for change. Well-constructed of durable, printed leather, the purse closes with a sturdy zipper. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each purse is donated to HELP USA, an organization that has been helping the homeless since 1986. ================================================================= The olive tree is one of Greece's best-known symbols. Despite high levels of production and domestic consumption, Greece is a distant third behind heavyweights Italy and Spain on the export market. It took me a while to break the Tuscan olive oil habit but now I mix it up. Over 20 years ago, Austrian-born Fritz and Bergi Bläuel moved to the mountainous region of Mani in the Greek Peloponnese, where an intersection of climate and rich volcanic soil creates ideal growing conditions for Koroneïke olives. But they weren't going to be gentlemen farmers. Instead they organized local olive farmers and began to train everyone in organic farming practices. There are now over 300 farmers growing olives together to create Mani olive oils and products. The olives are picked by hand...
Mediterranean Diet Crete, located in the Southern Aegean Sea is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean. It’s also just about equidistant from three continents--Asia, Africa, and Europe. This rugged island is said to be the birthplace of Zeus. Visions of hiking in the White Mountains through orange-scented breezes and olive groves while listening to goats bray are starting to build. Or possibly I could squeeze in a lesson at Cooking in Crete and conquer my fear of filo. Cretan food is uncomplicated and simple. It reflects the natural abundance found on the island--olive oil, lemons, oranges, wild greens, lentils, beans, barley, snails, and fish. Interesting food note is Crete was also the source of that catch phrase “Mediterranean diet”, derived originally from a case study in the late 1940s. Clifford Wright has historical notes on the history of this island’s food culture. He writes: Cretan food is actually quite simple, based on olive oil, olives, pulses and vegetables and fresh and dried fruits with very little meat and fish consumption. Crete also has deep traditions surrounding two food items that remain special on islands: bread and cheese. There are many breads, from votive breads to preserved rock-hard breads for times of famine. Like its other Mediterranean islands, Crete shares the same traditions when it comes to bread and a whole book could be written about them. So too with cheeses, many are still unnamed, just as in Corsica, called simply "cheese." Although when pressed, Cretans will tell you that you are...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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