On The Magical Fruit

@billie_crusoe Do you skim the foam off the top as they're cooking? I find that really helps when I do it. Also, if you cook it with a strip of kombu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombu) that is supposed to help make them more digestible.

Also! Don't forget lentils, mung beans etc. are much easier to digest than starchy ones like chickpeas and they don't require much pre-soaking (lentils require NO pre-soaking if you're in a hurry) and they're dirt cheap. See if you can find an Indian grocer, the variety of the lentils is amaaaazing.

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm 0

On Beauty Q&A: Caftans, Baby Gifts, and What Is Up With BB Creams?

@Hella I miss the spf being included! It was very handy when I was traveling for a weekend--didn't to bother lugging around sunscreen, too.

Hahaha@ all of the whitening products. Most of the East Asian whitening stuff is pretty much hokum am I right? I got some free whitening moisturizer once and used it, and it certainly never did anything to me, negative or otherwise.

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm 0

On Beauty Q&A: Caftans, Baby Gifts, and What Is Up With BB Creams?

I'm preeeetty sure BB cream stands for Blemish Balm? I wouldn't bet the farm on this but I do remember people calling it that. I used to live in Korea and got obsessed with BB cream, and finding THE PERFECT ONE, which was not so easy. The way I heard it, this lady doctor originally made BB cream as a cover-up for her patients who did, I dunno, laser/comestic demerlogical work or whatever. It was for super sensitive (post-procedure!) skin. I'm not sure if it was her idea to mass-market it (she's not Korean), but someone in Korea just took the idea and ran with it. Culturally speaking, Korea's really trendy: once one person has a "good idea," ALL of the companies are doing it. I think one of the appealing points is that it's "lighter" on the skin, for people who worry about foundation making them look old? Also, many BB creams come with anti-wrinkle (or so they claim) properties and spf. Even more than worrying about being tan, Koreans fear looking old.

The thing is, even the gamut of Korean BB cream is completely uneven. I'm too much of a cheapass for the nice, nice stuff, so I started with the cheapest: Faceshop, Missha, etc. It was all meh to me, too shiny or too matte. I became brand-loyal to Banila Co., 'cos the pink bottle matched my skin tone the best. Most BB creams come in only 1-2 shades (yellow-ish white and pinkish-white), so you have to find a brand that works for YOU specifically. What's a "good" BB cream for some doesn't work for others, b/c the coverage/colour might all wrong for you.

I use the Chinese version of Garnier's BB cream atm, and for USD8 I've got no complaints. I think if you're used to foundation it might seem weird, but I like that it takes 1 minutes to smear on my face and then stays put almost all day (I might need to touch up a bit for the evening). I briefly flirted with foundation and switched back immediately.

(BTW: if anyone wants some really useful info on Korean BB creams, I recommend this girl: http://annalog.blogspot.com/search/label/bb%20cream. She includes pics and everything.)

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm 2

On Saucy Hot COOOL

I just want to add to anyone who's thinking of making this: I used yellow split peas instead, because they were what I had on hand, and it worked out great. Also added ~1.5 tsp of cardamom seeds & ~1.5 tsp of dried dill when I was caramelizing the onions/carrots. This was awesome!! Thanks for the recipe.

Posted on April 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm 0

On Big Sugar's House

@SunnChips Is it any good? I'm super super sensitive to most fake sugars (aspartame is the worst but the other ones make me feel sick, too), but xylitol is so cheap where I live and I've heard good things about it?

Posted on March 31, 2012 at 6:09 am 0

On Big Sugar's House

Late to the paaaarty:

I've been trying on-and-off for the last two years to "quit" sugar, and have come to the conclusion that to truly cut out all sugars, not only would I have to stop drinking but I would have to be become super anti-social about my eating habits. That said, I had a super hard-core sweet tooth for far too long, so something had to be done! A few things I've learned:

1) Be careful with cold turkey quitting. You might be so depressed or hungry or tired that you end up replacing the lack of sugar with some other food. Also, beware the rebound sugar binges!

2) Fake sugar is the WORST! My body rejects it on all fronts--I get super nauseated and bloated. In the span of 2 or 3 sleepless weeks, I became totally addicted to Coke Zero, and finally was able to quit for good when I realized I looked PREGNANT (a look that immediately disappeared as soon as I stopped with the fake sugar). I'm actually kinda bummed my body can't stand aspartame/etc., b/c it's is SO MANY foods nowadays.

3) On a chemical front, sugar/honey/agave/maple syrup are all about the same. White sugar is mostly the worst because it's stripped of all of its mineral and vitamin content, and some people prefer honey/etc. b/c they end up using less of it overall, but it's not really that healthy, unfortunately. :\ Still spikes your blood sugar like nobodies' business. (Yes, I know people say agave is low glycemic, but I'm pretty sure new research is disproving that?) But that said, I freakin' love honey and lemon tea.

4) If you're really really trying to cut sugar out of your recipes, prunes and dates (and other sweet dried fruits) that have been chopped can be used as a replacement sweetness. It's not the same, but it's pretty good.

Posted on March 31, 2012 at 6:07 am 0

On How to Bring Your Lunch to Work: A Guide

@anachronistique Peanut butter, honey and CINNAMON! This was my go-to food at college when there was nothing else to eat. My friend told me about it and it is so, so tasty. On "I REALLY need sugar days," I would take wheat toast w/ the pb, honey and cinammon, add a sprinkle of chocolate chips, fold the toast and wait for it to melt. Tastes like amazing.

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 5:06 am 0

On Living With Your Wanderlust

@upthehilldownthehill Also, the downside of always leaving my country is that I feel like I don't know my country at all. Places other than the regions I've already lived in/visited seem so exotic now, and I really hope to visit! Some day....

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 5:08 am 0

On Living With Your Wanderlust

I was really lucky/unlucky to move to England (from the U.S.) for all of junior high. When I was 8 or 9, I had fantasized about us having to move to Australia, Japan, somewhere exciting and foreign, and then it actually happened AND I HATED IT. But then I adjusted, and things were good, and I really got a lot of amazing travel experiences, even though I was a spoiled pre-teen and didn't think much of it at the time. (Weekend to Belgium? Yawn. French exchange for practically nothing? Ok, whatevs. Running around the ruins of King Arthur's castle on the sea? Normal weekend, folks.) I sort of want to slap my younger self silly when I think about that, but oh well.

Then, I got to return to my old home, which was simultaneously awful and great, great b/c I finally got to reconnect with old friends and America is NICE to live in!; awful b/c it never really felt like "home home" again. And since then I've sort of been in a permanent state of wanting to hop from place to place, seeking out the island I will feel the most at home in. My sister's the same, neither of us can take being in the U.S. for too long. I did study abroad twice in college, applied for a teaching position in Korea for 3 weeks after graduation, came home for 10 months where I nearly died of depression, and had to run away to China the first chance I got, where I've been ever since. But I'm always itching to try somewhere new--I haven't been to Europe in years and years, I still haven't seen South East Asia, I keep wanting to make a more permanent move to Japan, which I keep visiting. Oh, and every once in a while I start researching Russia. Even though the Russians I have met have terrified me with their severity, and I hate cold weather, I'm really intrigued by that place.

But although the moving gets a little easier and easier each time, it's definitely always hard and scary to pack up your stuff and jump into the giant abyss every time. Usually, it's a rather forceful push that gets me on the place. Also, it's really hard to look on Facebook, seeing my friends being all Grown Up and putting down actual roots in the States. And I get really scared of being forgotten. It's hard to make really close friends sometimes, when you're abroad. Superficial Travel Friends are easy, though.

I guess you gotta pick your priorities. Sometimes I wish I could have my closest friends live nearer to me (I'd settle for the same country/side of the world), but overall I'm satisfied with my choice.

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 5:05 am 0

On Orrr You Could Just Not Say Anything?

This! I listened to the original story at least twice, and the retracted follow-up story twice. The original story really grabbed me, as I work in China industry research and some of the stuff is accurate, and the story is extremely effecting. But some things about Daisey's story jumped out at me at the beginning--the claims of underage workers the broad claim of everything being made in Shenzhen (there be factories ALL OVER China, although Shenzhen is a hubbub), a peasant carrying around a copy of any gov't issued blacklist, that they would be able to read--but the ideas seemed overall correct and plausible. Also, the ipad is available in China! Maybe you have to buy it through "creative means" (I still haven't bothered to walk into an Apple store here, so I don't really know, but a while ago they weren't available and now I think they are), but it's out there. Trust me when I say that the Chinese are using Apple products in the throngs now, even if they have to pay premium for the privilege.

From the original story, I agreed with Nicholas Kristof's opinion on the matter. Daisey's version of the story is clearly from an American perspective, and I think he was trying to pull in some of the same threads as the Nike child labour scandal of the 90's. Factory workers at Foxconn generally LIVE at Foxconn, and are at least old enough to leave home. Most 13 year olds in China wouldn't be able to do that, although I do believe poverty-line children in China are no doubt more hardened individuals. And while there are young children working in China--beggars, vendors, kids helping out at family restaurants etc.--the "high paying" factory jobs are being snatched away by the 18 - 50 age group leaving the village to help subsidize the children/grandparents.

Still, I can understand why Mike Daisey would create a "story" this way--it simply isn't as affecting to use statistics and anecdotes, real face-to-face encounters speak volumes--but he should have known what he was getting into. Journalism does not equal Storytime.

Sad thing is, this story will probably blow over, and Foxconn will be no big deal again in a few months. After the initial suicides, the story got swallowed up pretty quickly. People committing suicide by ceremoniously jumping off the towers--that is something to comment on, even if the statistics are in line w/ the general suicide rate. =\

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 4:32 am 0