Archive for May, 2008

Junk Mail

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

The geniuses at EMSL have managed to invent a really good kind of junk mail: The Great Internet Migratory Box Of Electronic Junk.  I received one (codename: Atlanta) early this week (my week starts on Monday, so there :-P) and I honestly haven’t been this excited about electronic junk in a very long time — and believe me, that’s saying something!  Briefly: one gets an email explaining the project and asking if you want to participate, if you do you receive a box of junk; you take whatever you want out, add whatever you want in, publish something about what you took out, and pass it along to someone else who will do something cool and keep the box moving.  After talking myself down from replacing the contents wholesale, I picked out:

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Terra Cotta Smoker

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

[Republished from January 2007 from my previous site]

Chicken thighs smoked over rosemary sprigs

I built myself a small ceramic smoker out of unglazed terra cotta flowerpots and have been using it frequently for several months now, it’s high time I wrote it up so others can enjoy the smokey goodness and continue to improve the design.

It is based on the smoker Alton Brown built in the Good Eats episode Q which has also been written up herethere and yonder, but I reworked it to use charcoal instead of an electric hot-plate. (more…)

Food Rant #1: Do you like green eggs and ham?

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

I really can’t stand uninformed strong opinions about what is and is not good to eat.  If you really don’t like something, that’s fine, as long as you have seriously tried it and can articulate why you don’t like it (and don’t assume I won’t like it.)  Recently someone sent a series of pictures of a chinese market with (as it turns out, often incorrect) labels sensationalizing the food shown to a jokes mailing list, and clearly implied that it was amazingly funny that anyone would eat these things.  I find this attitude arrogant, closed-minded and, above all, sad: I believe it is a derivative of this that has led us (in the U.S.) to the three-flavors-of-cardboard — corn-fed chicken, beef and pork — that is the barren state of our butchers’ counters.  Moreover, conditioning rooted in these attitudes kept me away from one of the most amazingly wonderful cuisines I have ever had for far far too long: I still weep for every benighted moment that passed before I tried sushi!  

Maker Faire ’08

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Best. Maker Faire. YET.  Long lines for mediocre food?  Not this year: lots of widely varied food, short lines and at least a few food Makers (which have seemed sorely lacking in past years.) A lot of cool new projects / vendors and better organized by topic / theme.  The faire has grown quite a bit and the tone has changed slightly.  This year was smoother and more polished than it has been; more people are selling things, but mostly in a good way.  I got to make a couple necklaces with PMC, which turns out to be easy to sculpt (as expected) and easy to fire with a Little Torch (pleasant surprise!)  Helped kids build Bristlebots at the EMSL booth and, as always, plugged their kits every chance I got.  Found a nifty new band and played with fire (not this implementation, but same basic idea; I must build one of these!)  Bought some truffle salt and, of course, hauled pinball machines, just to name a few highlights.