25 November 2010


Wondering what music to listen to this Thanksgiving morning and throughout the day? Maybe you already started listening to Christmas music last week but it doesn't quite feel right today. Have you been asking yourself, "Why isn't there Thanksgiving music?" Should the music be folksy, classical chamber music, or choral? All would work fine and perhaps do well on a shuffle mix especially with the special ingredient I'm about to mention.

Dig up that Amelie soundtrack you wore out a few years ago. Thanksgiving magic!

21 November 2010


On my first Thanksgiving morning as a vegan I removed my Tofurky roast from the freezer to start cooking. As I read the instructions, which I thought I read completely before, I realized that the one hour cooking time assumed it had already been defrosted starting twenty four hours before. My cooking time was going to be more like three hours which put me an hour past when I was supposed to meet up with family. Oops. 

It turned out okay never mind the accelerated temperatures and the only partly correct accompanying vegetables I used. Every year since I've gotten it more right and last year we also tried Field Roast's Celebration Roast. In fact, if you, as a vegan or vegetarian, don't have access to an oven on the day, the Celebration Roast can be microwaved assuming it was already thawed and is even soy free. 

Both are great options for the big feast and this year Field Roast has made another available. The Stuffed Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute with Apples and Crystallized Ginger, pictured below, is an amazingly delicious and complex option whose flavors are especially delightful and appropriate for the the festive holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. If that sentence seemed like a mouthful just wait until you start eating the roast!

From the site:

A sumptuous, rich grain meat seasoned with toasted hazelnuts and rosemary stuffed with a sausage style mixture of Field Roast, cranberries, apples and crystallized ginger. Wrapped en croute with a rich vegan puff pastry, it is perfect as a center piece for a delicious, gourmet holiday meal.

09 November 2010



Brooklyn Brewery's Local 1 reminds me a lot of a favorite true Belgian beer, Atomium Grand Cru which so far cannot be found in my area save for on tap at Horizons in Philadelphia. Thoroughly complex flavors with sweet and deep orange-citrus notes, especially after a good mouthful, nicely mask the higher alcohol content making this an amazingly refreshing and enjoyable drink. Great to share over dinner, with a friend on a brisk night, or enjoy the whole bottle... over a few hours of course.

From the brewery's site:
Behind the full golden color you'll find an alluring aroma, a dynamic complex of flavors, Belgian flair, Brooklyn fortitude and a dusting of our special yeast. To create this beer, we use the old technique of 100% bottle re-fermentation, a practice now rare even in Europe. It gives this beer a plate of unusual depth.

STYLE: Belgian-inspired Strong Golden Ale
MALTS: Two-Row Pilsner Malt, Bamberg, Germany
HOPS: German Hallertaur Perle, Styrian Golding
ALCOHOL: 9.0% by volume

Brewery Ommegang's Rare Vos is brewed and cellared in Cooperstown, NY by this craft brewer recently acquired by Belgium's famous Duvel Moortgat Brewery. Rare Vos means "sly fox" in Flemish which seems appropriate enough. In October I enjoyed this with friends at a pumpkin carving party in Philadelphia. It was hit. Pre-carving, we paired our drink with delicious creole seasoned and then smoked turkey (for them) and tofu (for us) along with an assortment of rolls, cider donuts, and other fallish baked sweets. With these pairings in mind, I would recommend this drink with other spiced (not necessarily spicey) meats and dishes. The food's spices bring out the flavor in this gem that even separate from food is truly delightful. With only a 6.5% ABV, Thanksgiving dinner, or after, would be a great and safe time to share this.

Check out some thorough reviews at Beer Advocate and this from the brewery's site:
Named after a Brussels bar made famous as the starting point for bicycle and pigeon races, our Rare Vos Amber Ale is also a great place to begin your virtual taste test. As you pour, you’ll notice the beautiful coppery-amber color and the rich creamy head. Lift the glass to your mouth and enjoy the aroma of spicy orange blossoms. Taste, and the pleasant mellow flavor of caramel malt glides easily into a dry, hop finish. Once you’ve finished, start again (after all, this isn’t a race). Intended for the cafĂ© as well as the dinner table, Rare Vos is an amber ale of medium color and strength. It sports aromas and flavors of caramel, orange, hops, plus an elusive fruity-yeasty flavor which will have you tasting in circles.

02 November 2010


Over dinner a few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked where I see myself on the a simple scale of pure capitalist to pure socialist. I remember answering simply and then elaborating how the Political Compass gives a truer read than a simple right to left or anything else this to that. Turns out I was a little off on my memory of my standing on the Authoritarian/Libertarian scale.

On voting day in the United States, using the Political Compass questionnaire, learning about political labels throughout the world, viewing the resulting chart, and seeing how you compare to other people throughout history is nothing less than enlightening. You may find yourself situated a little differently than you thought. And it certainly will lead you to question the right/left rhetoric of the parties and pundits. Learn why and learn more about yourself. You can find the compass at www.politicalcompass.org .

Here are some recent world leaders on the chart:
In case you are curious, here is where I ended up:

Economic Left/Right: -7.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.05

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