Having a blog makes me look at things a little differently. I’ll be out with friends and think “I could write about this … as long as I changed the names to protect the guilty and placed black bars across their eyes in incriminating photos.” Everything is possible source material for a blog post/essay.
When I ended up in front of a sushi boat sometime in the beginning of the year and tried octopus for the first (and last) time, I thought it’d be interesting to keep a log of things I learned over the year. Okay, maybe it’s only interesting to me and to one or two of the six of you who read the blog.
My iPhone addiction came in handy. When I realized I learned something, I added it to a running Notes. It’s not a long list. And it’s not a profound list. My life hasn’t radically changed this year. I didn’t discover the secret to cold fusion or learn a second language. It’s just a list of odds and ends that I picked up. The list isn’t in order of importance, but in chronological order.
#1 – I don’t like octopus. I don’t like the texture or the taste.
While the newly vegetarian me misses sushi most of all, I’m not sad to never try octopus again.
#2 – Overwhipped chocolate mousse becomes tasty butter.
I think I learned this lesson while making mousse filling for a cake. I hardly use the whisk attachment for my mixer and figured it would be a better option for whipping cream than a hand whisk. It was, but the change from fluffy chocolate goodness to a thicker, more solid consistency was quick and I missed the signal. Serendipity tastes yummy. It tastes even better when you freeze it in little ramekins and it becomes something not quite ice cream or butter but something new and tasty. I should try to repeat this.
#3 – Egg sushi rolls are surprisingly good.
This lesson came courtesy of another sushi boat. I never would have ordered a roll with egg in my meat-eating days. Too much tuna and salmon and other goodies to try. But you don’t get to choose what’s on the boat, and this delicious, custardy egg concoction was tasty. Since I’m keeping eggs in my current diet, I may have to go back to this.
#4 – Weekends are better without Nazis.
I have no idea what this means any more. I can deduce I wrote the note between Easter and July. It’s fair to say I would have agreed with the statement before 2009. I mean, I didn’t think Nazi keggers were the way to party in 1982, for example.
#5 – The meaning of Dutch rudder
You’ll have to look this one up on your own. It’s not safe for work, so wait until you get home. I learned this in a hotel room in Aruba. It made me laugh.
#6 – I am not a cat person.
I always knew this, but never was exposed to cats on a long-term basis until the summer of 2009. Some of you may remember the toe I dipped into the crazy cat lady pool when I fostered a family of five kittens and their mom. Some of you may now own of those kittens. They were cute and all, but I much prefer dogs.
#7 and 8- Aluminum-free deodorant and recycled toilet paper
For the past several years, I’ve tried to be more aware of the environment and my effect on it. I’m happy to say I’ve completely given up bottled water this year. I wanted to do more than just lower my thermostat so I looked into environmentally friendly products. Did you know aluminum comes from bauxite, which is mined? And large-scale mining destroys animal habitats? Did you know most antiperspirants work because they contain aluminum? This year, I switched to an aluminum-free deodorant and it seems to do its job well. If not, let me know.
I also discovered toilet paper is mainly manufactured from virgin pulp. Yep, trees are being chopped down at alarming rates so you can wipe your butt with quilted softness. I thought this was ridiculous so I checked out recycled toilet paper. This is not toilet paper someone has fished out of the sewers to clean and reroll. It’s made from recycled paper products – post-consumer materials, waste from printing facilities, etc. Is it as soft as the other stuff? Does it really matter? Seriously, how long is your skin in contact with it? And, for the record, the brand I use feels plenty soft.
#9 – I cook a mean scallop
Sadly, I learned this about two months before I started the great vegetarian experiment. I thought scallops were tough to cook, that they required a high level of culinary skill. Turns out some butter, a frying pan and a pair of tongs produces a pretty awesome scallop. I’ll miss you, scallops.
#10 – Vegetables aren’t bad
In fact, they can be pretty tasty. At the moment, I’m in love with Portobello mushrooms. Beans and eggplant are next on my list of foods to try.
So that’s my list. Short. Nothing too radical. What did you learn in 2009?