hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
So, does anybody happen to know what the ancient Mayans thought of as the beginning of a new day--sunrise, sunset, or the middle of the night? I'd just like to know when I should be celebrating the start of a new count. Of course, since there's still some uncertainty as to whether the Long Count ends at the end of December 21 or December 23, we should all probably celebrate all weekend long just to be on the safe side. I'm okay with that.

How do you celebrate a new Mayan cycle? Well, the Mayans ate many foods which have become staples for most of us in recent centuries, like corn (maize), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, various kinds of beans (including black beans and pinto beans), squash, pineapple, avocado, chili peppers, vanilla, and chocolate. My plans involve eating burritos and drinking lots of spicy hot cocoa to keep me warm this windy weekend. How about you?


And for anyone wondering: Yes, I'm still alive. No, I haven't abandoned LJ and DW for more popular sites--I have no Twitter or Tumblr accounts and I plan on avoiding Facebook for my entire life if at all possible. I just haven't felt like communicating much. (I've been slightly more sociable in the offline world, if that reassures anyone.)

Inescapable Questions

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 03:30 pm
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
Re: King Arthur and the Chocolate Factory

What would Arthur do with a chocolate factory? He often seems so terribly earnest, you have to wonder if he would indeed follow Merlin's instructions and allow everything to remain wacky and fun (and a bit creepy), or if he'd feel compelled to make the chocolate nutritious or something. Would Arthur's new chocolates all be antioxidant-rich dark chocolates with flax seeds and açai berries, fortified with fifteen essential vitamins and minerals? I mean, I'm the sort of person who will try the supposedly healthier versions of candies, but I'm also the sort of person who will try Cherry Cordial M&Ms. Arthur's innovations may not turn out to be top sellers.

How would new knights be called to the Round Table? Will golden tickets magically end up in candy bars going to the right children? It's obviously worked before, but it may not work so well once Merlin has left the kingdom.

Would Mike Teavee be a good fighter? Being quick on the draw with the remote control and playing all those video games should have improved his reflexes dramatically. But can Arthur keep Teavee's violence in check, or will Teavee always be a thorn in his side? How many times can you safely shrink and re-stretch a kid, anyway?

Will any Oompa Loompas become knights of the Table? Or will they rebel against Arthur and all that he stands for? "Oh, sure, little Pendragon, you claim that Merlin gave you this place and that you have the rightful rule over us, but how can we know for sure? Last we saw of Merlin, he was with you in the glass elevator that went busting through the roof. You came back alone, and all we heard from you about Merlin is that he supposedly had to go away for an extended series of dental appointments. And by the way, pulling a chocolate sword out of a marzipan rock does not prove you are King of all the Britons, no matter what that girl in the chocolate lake says!"

Will jousting competitions take place in the edible garden? 'Cos that would be cool. Jousting with giant candy canes!

When will Arthur learn that Joseph of Arimathea is not really his grandfather?
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Think of those milk chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate mostly filled with liquid, a candy that tastes somewhat artificial even though you could swear that that must be a real piece of fruit in the center. M&M's have a Cherry Cordial candy that does an excellent job of replicating that flavor, so you can now enjoy it covered with a red candy shell and without anything dribbling down your chin. I can't really say that these particular M&M's candies are good--but I get a craving for the chocolate-covered cherries about once every three years, this is the year, and these candies satisfy that craving.

(A little research tells me that Cherry Cordial M&Ms have been released into the wilds before this year, but unless I'm repressing some previous encounter, this is the first time I've tried them.)
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
The federal Food and Drug Administration is proposing to redefine the very essence of chocolate and to allow big manufacturers such as Hershey to sell a bar devoid of a key ingredient - cocoa butter. The butter’s natural texture could be replaced with inferior alternatives, such as vegetable fats. And consumers would never know.

Chocolatier Gary Guittard said it best: “No one can afford to sit back and eat bonbons while America’s great passion for chocolate is threatened.”

For every defender of traditional chocolate, there are powerful proponents who want to replace cocoa butter with vegetable oil: the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Snack Food Association. These industry titans have filed a “citizens petition” to the FDA, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, as if there were some groundswell in society to water down chocolate.

Yet another reminder never to trust the FDA.
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
I had so much fun last weekend that I really wanted to write all about it, preserve a record for posterity or something... but I wanted to do it sometime when I was more wide-awake and alert than I was when I got home, so I only began to babble a bit and saved a note for later, expecting to be up to writing more soon enough. Well, I eventually realized I was sick. I'm still a bit sick. Last night there was what sounds like a great Samhain party, and I was tired enough that I didn't even wish I was there so much as wish I had enough energy to wish I were there.

whinge )

And on a pathetically trivial note: There are Limited Edition Reese's Cups with Marshmallow. The candy industry has gone completely insane--went mad years ago, in fact--but, as I don't watch enough television to know what all the popular ads are, what I'm wondering is if they have commercials for all these limited edition candy bars. Instead of those old ads where someone carrying milk chocolate runs into someone carrying peanut butter, is there an ad with three guys running into each other? "You got your peanut butter on my chocolate and his marshmallow!" Are the three people running into each other, or maybe running around each other and somehow becoming attached to each other through the magical power of candy? And since these limited edition candies breed like bunnies, I'm thinking of the three hares (more rabbits here from today's Endicott Studio entries).

Having said all that, it pains me to tell you that the Reese's Cups with Marshmallow really aren't very good.

Memory Bingo

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006 12:12 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Kaleidoscope (purple & white))
I see the word "Bingo" and automatically think of my grandparents' basement. I'm not entirely sure why. A curve, a turn near my old home, a grassy spot with a sign announcing Bingo games at a local church reminded me of my grandmother, even though she lived too far away to have ever played there. She did take me to a Bingo game once, I think, though I don't remember details. Somehow though it reminds me of candy, the stacks and stacks of boxes and boxes of candy in my grandparents' basement. Upstairs in the dining room they kept scalloped glass jars full of M&Ms, both plain and peanut, but down in the basement was where they kept any kind of candy you could ever imagine seeing in a movie theater or in your sack at Halloween. They didn't give those candies out very often. Maybe they gave away candy like that at my grandmother's Bingo game, or maybe she gave some just to me for being good and well-behaved while they played their game. Maybe candy, boxes and boxes of candy, seemed like the perfect prize to a small child with a sweet tooth, so I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever want to win anything else when they played their games.

After my grandfather died (my grandmother had died a few years before), we survivors went through the basement to see what we wanted to use, what to count as inheritance, what to sell or give away. There wasn't very much candy left, if any. There were stacks and stacks of dried foods and canned foods, dehydrated green beans and dehydrated potatoes, "textured vegetable protein" and enough mix to make a swimming pool full of lime jello. We brought so much food out of the basement that neighbors were convinced my grandfather must have been a Mormon. He wasn't. My grandparents had simply done what they could to prepare for nuclear war, stocking their thick-walled basement with things they thought they'd need to survive.

I bet if they had had to live in the basement after some nuclear attack, they would have wished they'd stocked more candy.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
Hershey bar, plain: S'mores, of course. Sitting with my parents and some family friends at the campsite my grandparents owned, toasting a marshmallow till it was just brown enough, putting it on top of a milk chocolate square on top of half a Graham cracker, then smushing the chocolate and marshmallow with the other cracker half. In between marshmallows, I'd put the tip of a stick into the fire and let a tiny flame grow at the end. After convincing myself the stick wouldn't burn up in my hand, I'd wave it around in the air, drawing pictures for the sole purpose of dazzling my own eyes.

Smarties (American candy, pressed sugar with artificial colorings and nominally fruitlike flavorings): The only time of year I ever had Smarties as a child was at Halloween. The next-door neighbors, an older couple who'd babysat me whenever my mother was in the hospital, always bought bunches & bunches of Smarties and I could take as many as I wanted.

In 1980, the couple's kitchen table was covered in bowls of any kind of candy a little kid could think of ; and as soon as they ran out of a kind you liked, they'd fill the bowl with more. Naturally, this was the house every kid in the neighborhood wanted to visit at Halloween. When we'd come to the door, the man would ask us, "Who are your parents voting for this year?" We'd shout, "Ronald Reagan!" and he'd let us in to the land of plenty. While I was there, a trio of high-school girls came to the door. Not being from our street, they weren't sure at first if it was safe to come in. When they decided that a horde of little ones couldn't be wrong, the man asked them, not who their parents were voting for, but who they would vote for that year. Two girls said "Ronald Reagan" and came right in. The other girl said, "I can't vote yet, but if I could, I'd vote for John Anderson!" The man told her she couldn't come in. She protested; he was adamant. She said it was a free country; he said he was free not to let her into his home. She stared longingly at the table full of candy, at her two friends laughing at her stubbornness, and finally said, "Okay, okay! I'd vote for Reagan too!" So she too got to enjoy the sweetness of the impending Morning in America.

(This wasn't my earliest political activity. Apparently in the early '70s I went around the house chanting "Nixon is a dummy! Nixon is a dummy!")
Read more... )
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (8 months)
So lately I've been making lots of chocolate chip cookies and, as a result, when I want to comfort someone online or just let them know I'm thinking of them, one thing I've been doing is offering virtual chocolate chip cookies.

But let's face it. Though I'm not much of a cook, I have rather a lot of fun experimenting with the boxed cookie mixes I buy and really can't leave them alone. So I'm asking you all--when I offer you some virtual chocolate chip cookies, what ingredients would you like added to them?

[Poll #143484]

Post-weekend Update

Tuesday, May 27th, 2003 02:24 pm
hummingwolf: (two)
Congratulations to my friend Rory who finally graduated from law school!

Friday night was spent with old friends celebrating Rory's graduation. Hung out a bit at Jenny's house feeling terribly underdressed as certain people spent the time deciding which of their fabulous outfits they had to wear (all of which looked good, of course), then seven of us went to The Melting Pot in Annapolis where there was much laughter, merriment, and pigging out. Mmm... chocolate fondue. It was great seeing everybody again!

The original plan had been for me to stay over at a friend's house so they could take me to the graduation on Saturday, but I didn't feel that well on Friday and figured I wouldn't be up for the celebrations on Saturday too. Sometimes I hate being right. Most of Saturday had to be spent in bed, exhausted.

This weekend's accomplishments: Finished Ben Elton's Dead Famous. Read Charles Williams' Shadows of Ecstasy. Did some laundry, but I'm always doing some laundry. Tried to declog a slow drain, got it to the point where water wouldn't flow through it at all, then finally managed to clear things out. Exciting weekend, eh?

After a brief change of pace yesterday when a little bit of sun peeked through the clouds, the sky has reverted to unchanging grey. It could be seven in the morning, it could be seven at night, it could be the grey city in The Great Divorce for all I can tell.

My sleepy brain keeps trying to make weird connections and I think it might succeed at some point today. If I ever had mystical experiences I'd say I was ripe for one now; as it is, I'll probably just come up with another strange thing to do to chocolate chip cookies. The Underworld track "Cups" fits my mood perfectly, though I can't explain why.

(no subject)

Sunday, May 4th, 2003 07:04 pm
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
The hummingwolf flits in, fur and feathers covered in pollen, to make a Very Important Announcement.

Very Important Announcement: Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Reese's Cups have been tried and judged to be... okay. There are better ways to get your dark chocolate fix; and for a Reese's peanut butter fix, there's no real point in searching out the limited edition if the old-fashioned milk chocolate kind happens to be available.

Limited Edition White Chocolate Reese's Cups have not been tried as white chocolate was long ago decreed to be Not Real Chocolate.

Having delivered the important message, the hummingwolf flies off again to get some well-deserved rest.
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
In A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman has this quote about eighteenth century culinary habits:PETA would *not* approve. )

That whole passage is just begging to be made into a metaphor.

On a different note, here's a bit about chocolate:

"What food do you crave? Ask the question with enough smoldering emphasis on the last word, and the answer is bound to be chocolate. It was first used by the Indians of Central and South America. The Aztecs called it xocoatl ("chocolate"), declared it a gift from their white-bearded god of wisdom and knowledge, Quetzalcoatl, and served it as a drink to members of the court--only rulers and soldiers could be trusted with the power it conveyed. The Toltecs honored the divine drink by staging rituals in which they sacrificed chocolate-colored dogs. Itzá human-sacrifice victims were sometimes given a mug of chocolate to sanctify their journey."

Right then. I shall now go in search of the wisdom of chocolate. If I am a goose, let it be a sanctified Goose!

(no subject)

Monday, March 24th, 2003 02:36 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Went for a short walk to the drug store. The weather is absolutely gorgeous: Temperature in the upper 60s (Fahrenheit), little fluffy clouds floating in a peaceful blue sky. The daffodils and forsythia are blooming, the birds are chirping, the trees are pollinating, the hummingwolf is sneezing. Ah, spring.

Question of the moment: When chocolate Easter eggs are on sale for 22 cents each, can I pretend that they've got fewer calories now too?

In the news (unrelated to war): Back Pain Linked to Brain Shrinkage. "The changes in people with chronic pain, Apkarian told Reuters Health in an interview, were particularly noticeable in parts of the gray matter that are known to be important in making 'emotional assessments,' including decision making and control of everyday social behavior." Ouch. In better news, they've now invented an enzyme-catalyzed bio-battery that runs on shots of vodka.

(no subject)

Friday, September 13th, 2002 02:39 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Cocoa buying frenzy to hit chocolate lovers. In the meantime, Indians try to keep a chocolate idol from melting before they have the chance to toss it into the sea.

I tell you, it's a crazy world out there.

On Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 14th, 2002 11:39 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Let us take this time for a moment of silence for all of the people who gave up chocolate for Lent, forgetting that Valentine's Day came after Ash Wednesday this year.

Now, let us take all their candy.

I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, mostly because it's over-commercialized, painful, and eeeeeeevil; but I recommend this anyway:A Valentine for those who have never received one.


hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)

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