Tuesday Aug 23, 2005

Maple Syrup

This morning, we ran into a sticky situation...   We are running low on New Hampshire Maple Syrup!   Getting another half gallon before we run out is critical...

Back in April, we visited a local maple syrup house.   We got a full tour and explanation of how maple tree sap is collected and boiled down to syrup.   It was a fascinating tour which left us believing we, too, could probably make a pint or two of our own maple syrup next winter.

The timing of sapping successfully is critical and requires a close watch on the day and evening temperatures.   Or, we simply watch what our neighbours are doing...   There's a lot of sap collection done around these here parts come February and March.   In fact, many sugar maples on our farm have been tapped at some point over the past 200 years.

Running out of maple syrup is not a good thing.   Did you know it is a source of vitamins, minerals, and important amino acids?   Who needs vitamin pills when you can soak your bacon and blueberry pancakes in this year's local maple syrup?     :-)

Friday Aug 19, 2005

Exotic Food

Two of our Directors recently returned from a trip to Beijing, China for an Operations Review meeting.   During a staff meeting after their return, we heard lots of cool things about the Sun Beijing engineers, the site, and Beijing in general.

We also heard about how different the food was there.   For example, at one meal, they ate donkey meat.   They found this to be quite... unusual.

Thank goodness my telephone was on mute, because I started laughing out loud as I recalled a dinner we had at home recently.

Earlier this month, we introduced Georg's mother and one of his sisters to a local delicacy:   Der Hummer, as it is called in German. (Yes, Hummer like the big car).   Lobster, as it is called in English.   Lobstah, as it's pronounced in New England.

Lobster is considered a bit of a luxury food in Europe.   And one that neither had ever eaten before.   Here in New England, it is practically a regular summer staple, something I grew up eating as a kid.   It is clearly my favourite food, but apparently not everyone takes a liking to it.

Until their visit, I don't think I ever realised how BIZARRE it must appear to the uninitiated...   to boil a live, alien looking creature, place it on your plate, look into its dead eyes, and drool as you crack open that first claw, quickly dropping the meat hidden inside into warm, melted butter before popping it into your mouth.

Some Europeans enjoy horse meat.   Donkey?   I imagine it's not much different.   But, for our visitors from the Black Forest, lobster was definitely pushing the culinary envelope!

My Director loves another exotic food:   Crabs.   No doubt eating these strange looking creatures would put off some red meat eaters.   And earlier today, I munched down on some whole clams (belly & all) which were dug out of a salt water mud flat.   "Mmmmmm, yum!"

So, you can see why I laughed during the concall!   One man's culinary delights are often another man's "Ooooo yuck, no thanks!".

Monday May 23, 2005

Pass The Butter, Please

In 1992, when I moved from Southern California to the United Kingdom, I was a confirmed margarine consumer.   However, arriving in the UK, I soon found that margarine was difficult to come by whereas butter was available in huge varieties.   And, lard, should one want it...

Now, shopping at my local supermarket, it is obvious that margarine and vegetable oil spreads are the norm, and butter is not as popular.   And, having purchased a common brand of butter, I can imagine why.

On both sides of the Atlantic, yes, we call it butter.   Just like we all agree on what to call "chocolate".   But as is the case with chocolate, which tastes rather different from country to country, American butter and English (or New Zealand butter since that is what I often used) simply tastes different.   IMHO, English butter is creamier, richer, sweeter.   It tastes good enough to find excuses to eat it.   The butters I've tried so far in the USA simply remind me that butter contains cholesterol...   (something folks in the UK don't give much mind to) and that I should be using a healthier option.

I miss good butter... and the occasional helping of clotted cream, another wonderful English culinary delight.   Sigh...

Friday Sep 03, 2004


At a local country fair this past weekend, a giant marrow (like a zucchini) won an award.   Someone walking by wondered outloud how it would taste.   Someone else replied, "Probably not very good, but isn't it impressive!?"

If software engineers approached product development the same way as the farmer grew his marrow, they would be aiming to produce the coolest, most impressive technology possible.

But, is that what the customer wants?   Will the customer eat it?   Food for thought...




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