Monday, April 26, 2010

garden fĂȘte at sunset.

swooning over this image {and its implications} via Apartment #34

Friday, April 23, 2010

beachy goodness

a tranquil, glittering beachy moment for you to gaze at,
sans sand grains between your teeth.

via the talented Alicia Bock at bloom, grow, love.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You Are What They Ate

Fad diets abound in our society, sometimes they are backed by folklore, bad-science, pseudo-science, your mother or just wishful eat-thinking. Ugly hard-cover diet books pepper the sale shelves at bookstores. Everybody seems to have an answer, and nobody is persistently right.

But, diet is serious scientific business especially in the context of human evolution and adaptation. Can we reconcile our understanding of dietary adaptations over deep time with what you should make for dinner tonight? Well, perhaps with caution and a little nostalgia, it’s possible.

One hallmark of our genus, Homo, is a brain larger than that of our hominin forebearers. An explanation posited for the evolutionary burgeoning of the hominin brain is a dietary shift. The idea is that our brain, energetically, is an expensive tissue to develop and maintain and more dense high-calorie foods would have been required to support its needs. Maybe it was meat, they say. It has also been suggested that tubers may have provided crucial calories to hominins in times where other foods may have been scarce.

The above hypotheses have been tested in extant taxa and are continually being explored via environmental reconstruction, hunter/gatherer analogy and extensive mechanistic and isotopic studies of dentition. Fast forward to a more modern time, the onset of agriculture and animal domestication, approximately 10,000 years ago. Genetic adaptations to digest lactose and starch have been discovered in living human populations and temporally traced to major shifts in cultural food practices. Also, some populations have better tolerance for metabolizing alcohol. A recent paper just came out that Japanese people borrow bacteria from sushi, it then integrates into their stomach flora and enables better digestion of sushi. And there may be some evidence that this borrowed marine bacteria is heritable from parent to child!

The foods are diverse, but idea is the same. If we assert that diet is an environmental element that has driven selection and adaptation, then what we are saying is that certain individuals have some genetic or metabolic mechanism that allows them to better handle the foods that are in abundance. They are then healthier, have more offspring, the trait is honed and handed down to future generations. Its the classic gene-culture interaction.

This brings me to my main point. I think that the foods that we are best equipped to digest and glean the most nutrients from are foods that our very recent ancestors ate. I think there must be some more nuanced, as yet undiscovered, physiological adaptations to what people were eating just a few generations ago in your lineage.

So, eat mainly what your grandmother made, or what her grandmother did, but dont necessarily eat what mine did. Its a reason to hand recipes down with mitochondria. Oh and maybe its all just an excuse for me to go to Motorino’s and to drink Chianti, you say? well so what if it is.

Friday, April 9, 2010

tomato pin cushions (and strawberries too)

ooooOOOO look at this collection of vintage tomato pin cushions. I love the nuanced variation in a collection of many similar things. via A Collection A Day.

Blogging is Thinking, Online

Today is the 4th Birthday of this Blog! It’s also the Birthday of my husband’s brother, and my brother’s wife. So, its a magical day all around, that April 9th!

Thank you for reading and then reading again. And thank you to Blogger for giving me a medium which encourages and allows me to write, because an old notebook just doesn’t have the same thrill:

{We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection—Anais Nin}

{For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word—Catherine Drinker Bowen}

{Writing is thinking, on paper—William Zinsser}

{How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. —Annie Dillard}

Click here for my very first post, back when the blog was called Petri Dish.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Side Dishes

When I get bored with what I am doing, which is often, I dream of side-jobs and side-businesses that I can get involved in or invent. Sometimes simply thinking of the schmorgasborg of possibilities makes me feel at ease.

Anyway, I had two ideas this week of the side dish nature:

1) I want to start a business where I go into people’s offices and rehabilitate their old potted plants that they have been neglecting. I will re-pot, trim off dead leaves, water them and give them directions for future care. My business would be called something like “Company Growth”.

2) Also, what if I designed a shirt that had an image on it that could only be seen from a certain distance away, and that specific distance away would be the distance I would want most people to be away from me.