Friday, 27 February 2009

Trip tae th'Hielands!

Oh, we're off to the Highlands, the Highlands, the Highlands!

I'm quite excited! I slept in (8 am is sleeping in? how sad), did a bit of yoga (note to self:DO YOGA MORE OFTEN!), now I'm drinking coffee and romanticizing the upcoming weekend (I have some sort of Wuthering Heights English Moor in my head, but I know it won't look like that...) We're going to Loch Carron...right next to the Isle of Skye (North west coast of Scotland) It's supposed to be very secluded and beautiful, with a Munro (mountain) right in Adam's backyard!

AND I'm NOW in The Beatles place that I was hoping for yesterday! Things are looking up! Yay for mini-breaks and Paul McCartney induced Euphoria!


Thursday, 26 February 2009


the past 24 hours seem to have been tailor-made to complement a soundtrack comprised completely of songs by Ben Gibbard...

It started with a friend bonding moment that involved waxing poetic about The Postal Service and me pulling out my I-pod to allow my friend to re-discover "Such Great Heights" which she hadn't heard in years...And I was instantly reminiscing over the strong feelings this song brings to the fore of my memory...

"I am thinking it's a sign, that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned..."

Later, I was living a "Lightness" moment in regard to some information I received about a certain guy who has been wreaking havoc with my mind for the past six months. I have the closure I need...I hope he can somehow find his.

"Oh, instincts are misleading, you shouldn't think what you're feeling..."

The entirety of today was wrapped up in "Pity and Fear" and I'm SO GLAD that I get to leave town tomorrow...I need a break, and a chance to both recharge and reassess a LOT of stuff...Its a good thing that there will be no internet or cell service up in Lochcarron because my addiction to the web is definitely getting out of control...

"I have such envy for the stranger lying next to me...with no words, a clean escape, no promises or messes made..."

Now I'm in a "Its only a matter of time before we all burn" mood a la "Grapevine Fires"

I am definitely crashing and burning right now...I feel bad for what type of friend and human I have become in the past few months...I've been selfish and negative and have let myself physically and mentally become the type of person I hate...

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm still in a "pity and Fear" place as well...

"A storm at sea, bow cracked and I was capsizing, I sunk below where I swore I would never go, If you can't stand in place you can't tell who's walking away...who stays, who stays, who stays?"

Hopefully when I come home Sunday night I'll be in a "Brand New Colony" frame of mind thanks to friends and fun (and sleep)!

"I want to take you far from the cynics in this town...start a brand new colony where everything will change...the sun will heat the ground under our bare feet in this brand new colony...everything will change..."

Actually, if I'm hoping for things, I hope I'm in a more "Good Day Sunshine" frame of mind come March...

"I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I've got something I can laugh about..."

p.s. Dar I love you...thanks for listening to me bitch for the past month...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Name of the Game...

...Is the Name Game

aka Myspace throw-back

YOUR REAL NAME: Kimberly Renee Sigmund

2. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (Mother and Father's middle names)
Kay Laird

3. STAR WARS NAME: (The first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (Favorite color, favorite animal)
cerulean monkey

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (Middle name, town where you were born)
Renee Anaheim

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (Second favorite color, favorite drink, add "THE" to the beginning)
the purple coffee

7. FLY NAME: (First 2 letters of your first name, last 2 letters of your last name)
Kind (hahaha)

8. STREET NAME: (Favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Rocky Road White Chocolate Macadamia (huh?)

9. SKANK NAME: (First pet's name, street you grew up on)
Buffy Birchfield

10. GANGSTA NAME: (First 3 letters of first name plus 'izzle')

11. YOUR GOTH NAME: (Black, and the name of one of your pets)
Black Callie

12. STRIPPER NAME: (Name of your favorite perfume/cologne, Favorite candy)
Burberry Lindt


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

I feel utterly blah today. I can't be bothered to focus on anything. Not my funding application (due Thurs.) Not my application for the second masters (how hard is it to fill in personal details?) Not my research for the degree I'm CURRENTLY in, and not the idea of dinner of the novel I'm reading. This is bad. I'm falling into a hole of dark despair, some might call it depression. I don't know what to do with myself. I need a break, but life isn't just going to stop and wait for me to pull it together. Fuuuucckkkkk...

I just want to sit here, staring off into space...waiting for something to come along and save me. Great, now I'm depressed and pathetically incapable of saving myself. How utterly Victorian-era AM i?!?!


Monday, 23 February 2009


Is starting to sound like a nice way to escape. I'm writing a short story about an agoraphobic. I am trying to understand the madness from the point of view of someone unaware that they ARE mad...Do you ever wonder what it must be like to be completely incapable of dealing with the outside world because you have so much fear of what could be out there waiting for you? What triggers these things? I think my character will have repressed issues from a stress-induces situation. possibly a rape, or an accident, or witnessing something terrible happen to someone else that she couldn't prevent. That part of the story will probably be an underlying current, referred to but never explained. Her window is literally the door into her nightmares...Since she never slept enough to have real nightmares. Fear, anxiety, the rush of adrenaline...the world outside is one never ending horror film, the kind you can't help but watch even though you KNOW something terrible is about to happen. Its a sick hobby, watching the world without interacting. Sick and fascinating.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


what a weird weekend...

too much emotional Kim...not enough logical Kim

meh. Pisces is upon us. I have a feeling the next month is going to be crazy!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Polish Night II...

...Is tonight.

My friend Alicia is making mass quantities of Polish peasant food and a mass quantity of humans will attempt to:

A) fit inside Alicia and Tim's teeny flat
B) bring enough booze to get schnockered
C) eat the mass quantities of food
D) not break anything

Good luck to us! (Especially me...on Polish Night I I was waaaaayyyy too vodka for Kim tonight!)

Friday, 20 February 2009

My Family... kind of awesome...

When I got home from school today, there was a note in my mailbox: "Please pick up registered parcel at Office"

Parcel? I didn't order anything, nor was I expecting anything from anyone...But I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting mail so I of course dropped the "Go straight upstairs and work on fieldnotes" plan for parcel fun instead!

I finally got the box from the Office staff (I say finally because they are never actually IN the office when you need them) saw that it was from my parents, ran (aka took the lift) upstairs, all the while going over possibilities of what it might be...

...Popcorn? my fave moisturizer that they don't sell here? American Peanut Butter? But once I successfully ripped through the packing tape with my key, eagerly opening the flaps of the box, my eyes were greeted with this:

How sweet is this? Not only do I now have some sort of celebratory countdown to take me to my birthday (which is fun in and of itself), but I also have a distraction to get me through the rest of winter! Knowing that your birthday is coming up is one thing, but having physical evidence of the days counting down is another! I know it was my Mom's idea...she loves doing stuff like this (as do I, although I never seem to remember to get it together in enough time...maybe someday) And I am so grateful and overwhelmed that they would think of me so far in advance, and think so well of me to actually do it!

Even if each of the 25 gifts IS only popcorn, or peanut butter, it doesn't matter...because the fact that my family went through the effort to compile, arrange, and send this fun birthday package to me means so much more than a check would have (although the check is always mucho!

I love my family. They make me want to be a better person...a better friend, a better daughter and a better sister! I feel so indebted to them for how well they treat me, even at my age and living so far away...It makes me want to make a really grand gesture when I go home...But I feel like nothing I do could ever be enough...Until the day I can buy my Mom her Jaguar and my Dad a huge Sailboat...But I'll try, just the same...because they deserve it!

<3 I wanna go home and hug my it March 26th yet?!?!?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

another day, another...

...late blog...

what? So I did it again, forgot to blog before midnight...At least this time I had a good reason...

Mediterranean Gastronomic Society, take V.

I led Team Lebanon...and I had an AMAZING group in my kitchen, hand picked, actually. Yara, Panos, Alicia, Tim, and Louisa...We were rockin'!

starter: Lebanese Cheese Rolls (a.k.a. phyllo dough filled with a mix of goat cheese, feta, parsley, and mint, baked until golden)
main: Mini meat pies with yogurt sauce over rice (ground beef, onion, pine nuts, and herbs in hand made pastry with a sauce of yogurt, garlic, and coriander)
dessert: Lebanese rice pudding (arborio rice, milk, sugar, etc. finished with orange blossom water)

Everything we made was amazing! Our team won for best starter and best main dish...I thin the only reason we didn't win the dessert was because some people aren't appreciative of the amazing power of orange blossom water...even though its really delicate and subtle...more of an aroma than a flavor...I want more rice pudding now, just thinking about it!

(p.s. this was the first time in my life I ever tried rice pudding...and it was from scratch...nom nom yum!)

Oh, how I love cooking...almost as much as I love winning! ;-)


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

So ahead of the times...

...and by time, I mean I beat the clock! Blog before midnight! Yay me!

this is probably because I'm so tired that I can't focus on school work... stupid text messaging until 2:30 am coming up with brilliant ideas... definitely cuts into a girl's sleep! But c'est la vie... what fun would life be without random bits of inspiration and ideas to make millions?!?! LOL!

I also got my ticket to Seattle today, so I get to see everyone worth seeing in America, all in one trip! I'm excited!

Literally spent 30 minutes sitting in my window today, soaking up sun...mmmm so nice! At this time I also did a bit of writing in my journal...then looked back at some entries from like 3 years ago...its crazy how long ago that was, it feels so much more recent...and its crazy to see what things are now different...and what is still the same...tends to put your life back into context, ground you a bit when you're head has been moving towards the clouds about certain things and memories...

p.s. I'm catching up on Grey's Anatomy...and the one I watched today made me cry! what a sap!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

so late...again

Man I suck at this...I always wait 'til evening to post, because I rarely have anything to say in the mornings, but then I get distracted by life and forget to post! OOPS!

At least tonight the distractions were in the form of some of my favorite things:

Skype video chat with my bearded child molester best bud
skype catch-up with my Fab fave Londoner
skype type-fest with my Lebanese lover
cell phone convo of the year with my Scot-Jew plus additional texting

total time spent: 4 hours
getting out of my quarter life crisis for a few hours: PRICELESS

I may have melted my entire brain with radio waves, and I definitely got NO work done tonight. But friends make it all worth while, and they make me smile, which is so much better than reading ANOTHER book about food and ethnicity :-)

I love you, and goodnight!

Monday, 16 February 2009


I happened upon this website that another blog I follow posted...

Its the most hilarious product website I have ever visited!

make sure you check out the "What is Spam" section...

I've never tried Spam, but now I'm a little

Sunday, 15 February 2009

too many thoughts...

I have so many thoughts going through my mind this weekend, that I have a hard time finding inspiration to write here...

I am not yet ready to display some of these ruminations on the internet, although none of them are necessarily embarrassing, shameful, negative, or offensive...just too tangled to relate on writing...

I need to talk to a few people...and I need to make some decisions...but luckily, the whole purpose of this month long blog exercise is to motivate me into action. Helping me figure out what I WANT, and how I can go about achieving that.

sometimes I wish the world weren't so full of choices...decisions are not easily made by those with complex, conflicting personalities...and as a woman, in a world where I have been brought up to believe that I can do ANYTHING I set myself to do, the overabundance of available choices is daunting...and decisions hard to come by and harder still not to second guess...

I hate to say it in writing...that makes it real, and evidential in a court of law (in case someone ever tries to prove me insane, that is...) but sometimes I wish life now was like it was 100 years ago...where I would already be married, with a husband who worked, and I stayed home to cook and clean the house and care for the kids...How terrible is that? Yes, I might have still been able to attend college, but I could have also been secure in knowing that I was making the right choice because it was practically the ONLY option...To be a wife and mother...a respectable position, but one that I feel (perhaps illogically) I'm over qualified to settle for...I am a product of the 20th Century, one filled with war, and poverty, and suffrage, and literature, and media, and medical and technological advancement at the speed of light...

We have it all, they say...we can be anywhere in the world in 24 hours...we can go to space, we can defy death, and gravity, and women can be more successful than men...but no one can ever have it all, and right now I feel like i'm grasping at straws, trying to find that one piece that will lock it all into place, to allow me to STAY happy...being happy isn't the problem, its being happy with what I choose and continuing to know I've made the right decisions that haunts me. Perhaps this is where my insomnia stems from...I can only know the outcome of the decisions I made in hindsight...who knows how much more I've missed out on by taking the roads I did...

...And I am missing out...I am not complete...

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Je suis desolee

I forgot to post today...i thought about it at like noon, but had nothing to write so I figured I would wait...then i completely got caught up in randomness...Text-a-thons and phone calls recounting the party (which was amazing BTW), skype date with parents, researching different degrees (as I'm having ANOTHER identity crisis...meh), more phone calls, and the world of Jane Austin a la "Pride and Prejudice"...

SO yah...The party was SUCH a success...No one was as decked out as Yara and myself...will post pics when i get some, but suffice it to say I was slutted up real a lot of fun new people...whom I had fab drunk philosophical conversation with, some not so fun people...I ignored them. Went on a midnight adventure to Bruntsfield in search of alcohol...with a driver who have literally driven 4 times in her LIFE! ahahaha! Realized that I'll always love Jack and diet...I don't care if it isn't "real whisky"! Got home SO drunk I practically FELL out of the cab at like 4 am....and woke up at 9 am...ew

And I have had Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" stuck in my head for two days...I only know like 3 lines! HA!

Happy VD!

Friday, 13 February 2009


Ok so tonight is the "Anti-Valentines Lucifer, Liquor, and Lingerie Party" That my friend's Adam, Yara, and I are throwing. Otherwise known as "3L" There will be red and black scantily-clad people. There will be booze. There will be a DJ. There will be red lighting. And hopefully there will be some sinful behavior!

Oh, how I love a good theme party and an excuse to wear underwear!


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Kim's Baked Therapy

I'm drained. It's been a LOOOONNNNGGG day.

But I got a lot accomplished, I never got around to other stuff, and I'm SUPER excited about the party tomorrow night. 'Twill be fun. And if it isn't I shall eat my cupcakes and truffles anyways! HA!

Seriously though, cupcakes are amazing. The power they have over people is scary. Cute, palm-sized cakes in individual containers with a pile of frosting. Give someone a cupcake and they're quite happy with you and the universe. This could be useful information and tactical defense in various situations. For example:

1) You forgot to pick up the dry cleaning/milk/stamps
2) You lost something you borrowed
3) You RUINED something you borrowed
4) You forgot someone's birthday/anniversary/event
5) You have bad news
6) You are breaking up with someone
7) You ran over someone's pet

OK...the loss of a pet MIGHT be pushing it, but seriously, I think a cupcake can help heal all the other situations. Call it baked let-down therapy.

I think I'll open a cupcake shop in Edinburgh. Call it Kim's Baked Therapy. The name might need work. Too bad "Sprinkles" is taken...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Ok so there is a GOOD reason why I am late in posting today/yesterday...

I undertook a HUGE task never before attempted in the land of Kim...

Yes, thats right Ladies and I made homemade truffles!

Chocolate Honey Almond and Chocolate Chili...Mmmmmm!

I kind of wiish this was one of those things on my "list of things to do before I die" because this was DEFINITELY an accomplishment!

I love baking/chocolatiering (what is the word for that?) Stress relief 101...make something yum!


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Here's what I want...

I want a supervisor who actually knows how to SUPERVISE! Stop being such a pretentious old DICK and do some EDUCATING!

You work in a UNIVERSITY! A God Damn EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION! I am not paying a ridiculous amount of money to be told over and over again to have more precise ideas, to have my own theories.

If I HAD a theory I would already HAVE A GOD DAMN THESIS!

If I KNEW how to focus my ideas better I would DO IT! OBVIOUSLY I need better feedback to know WHAT I'm doing RIGHT so that I know WHAT to focus on. Stupid son of a bitch.

I need to hit something.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Je ne sais pas...

what a weird day...

I couldn't sleep well last night (shock of the bloody century, I know), causing me to not be able to drag myself out of bed at the normal time, causing me to skip my workout today before school. Then after school I went on a ROFL-fest/jaunt through the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens (excuse me, SNOW-COVERED botanic gardens) with my friend Adam, had more ROFL-ing in the most wonderful coffee shop I've ever seen in my life, came home to do a smattering of school-related things, made a fab dinner, watched Friends, and discovered exactly HOW MUCH I love dates...the fruit...they're amazing...wished Auntie a happy birthday...more reading...and now I really want a hot bath...something I never do/desire...SO I think I shall opt for a hot 11 pm...who does that? Then I will crawl into bed with "Pride and Prejudice" because the Botanic Gardens made me think of what Pemberley would look like under the snow...Le Sigh...

Oh, Monday...


Sunday, 8 February 2009


I want you...I want you so baaaad...

lol I was influenced by the 7.5 minute video on Dar's blog...I haven't eaten chocolate in one week, which is HUGE for me! And I have been thinking of things to make for the Anti-Valentine's Day Lucifer, Liquor, and Lingerie party I'm co-hosting on Friday...

I'm thinking:

Super-chocolate espresso cupcakes with vanilla buttercream (with naughty decoration that cannot be disclosed here)
Vanilla chai cupcakes with chai-spiced frosting (same decorations ;-))
home made balsamic truffles
hazlenut truffles
chocolate dipped vodka chilies

ambitious? yes...and I probably won't get to do them all, but a girl can dream, right?!?!

Sweet Dreams...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Nectar of the Gods...

I spent an hour and a half today sitting in Starbucks...Why, you may ask is this out of the ordinary for Kim? Doesn't she have an unhealthy addiction to Cafe Estima blend drip coffee? Well, yes I do...but I was actually there because I was doing fieldwork. Yes, I actually have a project for a class that involves me sitting in Starbucks and studying the culture there to teach me about participant observation and how to do ethnographic research...I love Anthropology!

I was supposed to have a "research question" in mind when I began research...and I tentatively did, but as EVERY Anthropologist will tell you, no matter how strong your question, and the theory and evidence behind them, most of these questions will go right out the window two seconds into your research. This, I have always found, it totally true. I prefer to have a general idea of what I want to look at then go at it, participating, observing, asking questions, meeting people, interviewing, and getting a good idea of something interesting going on that can then be theorized on and written up.

Alas, funding bodies and Human ethics committees don't see it this way...I blame medical research, which has slowly killed social research for the rest of us through the slow, choking spread of Human Subjects Protocols, Bureaucratic committees, and miles of University red tape. Damn medical research killing people in the name of research...haha I wish I was kidding!

But the point here is, I get to sit at Starbucks and write about what I see, hear, smell, taste, and do. Also, what all the other patrons see, hear, smell, taste and do...And the baristas. How fun! Plus, its an excuse to do my homework free of internet distraction...(I definitely have an addiction). Yeah, sometimes life is tough...I think I'll go make a Tazo tea... :-)

In case you're interested...I'm studying the discrepancies between three Starbucks within a mile radius of each other. For a company that has built their empire on universal uniformity, there seem to be many variations in stores depending on (I think) area and clientele...prices, offerings, extras...they aren't universal. Interesting? Maybe...we'll just have to wait and see!

Friday, 6 February 2009

February... really a shat month. Have you ever noticed how the month of February is always the coldest, dreariest, and least pleasant month of the calendar? I wonder why that is...

I assume it is ONLY so dreary in the Northern the South, they are at the tail end of summer, soaking up the last of the rays before fall sets in next month...I wonder what that's like. Sometime I would like to go to South America during February to see how the other half live...Instead of chasing wealth, I'll chase the sun!

This also makes me wonder, if the reason behind so many quirks of February is the attempt of some poor schmuck to lighten the burden of FEbruary...the dragging tail end of winter, the sllloooooowwww final weeks before the return of the sun...

Think about it...Groundhog Day-the day Americans gather around a hole in the ground to see if some poor animal will see his own shadow or not...six more weeks of winter? Winter over? Oh! The dramatic build-up! Really...a shadow? doesn't the SUN determine whether a shadow is seen? And lets be honest, it can be sunny as hell and still as cold as a witches tit! But I suppose we can still dare to dream.

Valentines Day, the day of love...what better excuse for a holiday centered around creating a sense of love, companionship, and appreciation for the people we care about than a month where the mercury is permanently hovering around freezing?!?! Just slap a Saint's name on a day...give it a Pope's sanction, and there you go! The perfect mid-month break from monotony and depression (unless you are single and jaded...hehe) to remind us about INNER warmth..awwwww!

Mardi Gras-ok, this isn't exactly the same, Its just the final party before Lent forces the good Souls into abstinance until Easter...But perhaps by giving up your vice, you can focus on how much you miss Wine instead of how much you miss the Summer...Smart Catholics...And Mardi Gras...who cares about the temp when you're three sheets to the wind?

Lastly, the 28 day month...WHERE did that come from?!?! Yes, you might say something about the Romans and their calculations of the planetary orbit blah blah...but they COULD have just shortened January and March into 30 day months, giving February 2 extra about lack of equality! UNLESS those smart Romans KNEW that February was bound to be shit no matter what, and they wanted to give hope to the masses that they only had to live through 28 days of nasty until March rode in on its White Horse, with spring in its saddle bag!

<3 Happy February!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Its really not fair...

...when someone who is supposed to be less capable of commitment than you falls into a fabulous, happy relationship...

I hate that! And although I AM happy for my friend, I can't help but feel like I have been left behind, again. Not left behind like discarded for something better, but left behind in the race to pull my life together...This person always seems to be a few steps ahead of me in life...but is only SLIGHTLY older than me. BLAH! Their firsts always came before my own...except for one, the moving-out-of-the-parents-for-the-first-time was mine...seems insignificant when I consider all the other things they have done before me...How childish do I sound right now?!?!

I have a splitting headache...cause unknown...possibly the lack of sleep last night, possibly the hours spent staring at a computer screen (at least I got SOME writing done today), possibly the sugar withdrawls from the detox...LOL!

Anyway...I am jealous. There, I said it. Or typed it rather...I'm jealous because I'm being left behind in the one area that I can't ever seem to catch up in. I'm pretty sure that I'm incapable of actually being attracted to or attracting anyone worth my time. I am probably some sort of asexual abnormality, capable of procreating alone. I now sound like a bad emo song...what the HELL is wrong with me today?!?! I blame the headache...

The one thing that REALLY annoys me is the fact that I am so competitive with this person...because we are far too alike...its a bit scary. This makes me want to run out and pick up a random Rugby player and make him my toy...But I must face facts. I am neither that whorish or that mean. Rugby would probably be an idiot and I would make him the chew toy for my verbal abuse due to said stupidity. Le sigh.

So I'm back to the theme for blog month..Want. I want to find someone who isn't intimidated by me. Does that man exist? If so, send his CV straight to my inbox. Thanks.

This is how I feel right now:
Angry Orangutan
Angry Orangutan Funny Picture

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

its addictive...

...the books that suck you in and make you forget about everything else you need to do...

I blame Stephenie Meyer.

good night.

To make up for yesterday...

...I will attempt to write TWO (yes, count 'em, two) blogs today! I am hoping that by doing one now I can then undertake another one in a few hours time.

I was just reading an article about in taste in food. According to this author, taste is dictated to us through media outlets such as TV commercials, magazines, supply at supermarkets, and the officiating presence of mass-produced cookbooks. Now, this is quite a grand statement. To assume that taste is not, in fact, something which we develop as children and then carry with us all our lives (which has traditionally been a common theme in Social studies of food behavior). No, this article is assuming that we are so weak-minded that our taste for what is "good" or "bad" can be swayed by the media and popular culture.

I am not claiming that either of these theories is wrong...but I don't believe that either of them are independently correct either. As children, we learn culture through seeing it, experiencing it, and recreating it. We learn from our families and whatever influences our parents expose us to. This leads to patterned behavior, which in food-land, means that we develop a taste for what is yum, and what is not so yum. We also in childhood learn habits, such as eating at certain times of day, eating certain types of meals, and eating certain foods in certain ways. This is where kids (at least in America) learn that sugar= the best and broccoli= not so yum. These habits and beliefs become so ingrained within us that as we get older, it becomes harder and harder to see various ways of eating, and types of unknown products as "food".

On the other side of the debate, research HAS shown that by promoting a product in an attractive way, people will be more willing to buy it. This is especially true in regards to food. We all need it to survive. Most of us like it. So it can be quite easy to be sold on an item of food from a commercial or magazine. Of course, this is assuming that the food being promoted is not SO foreign as to be seen as taboo or inedible by the audience.

And there are always the exceptions to the rules. There are people who are always interested in new types of food. They thrive off of new experiences (culinarily, in this context), and they are always open to experience "New" tastes. Also, there are those people who never try new things, no matter who endorses it or what the product consists of.

These first people go against the former theory, and may be considered victims of the latter. The second group may be seen as champions of the former and enemies of the latter.

But in my point of view, they are both neither here nor there. Being cultured a certain way, most people will always find ways to make the unfamiliar familiar through the addition of comfortable ingredients, cooking methods, or ways of eating. They either will or will not become prey to the media's endless onslaught of ideas as to the edibility and desirability of numerous products. Others will not jump in the car and hit their nearest supermarket for the new fad food because of dietary restrictions, yet they may find ingenious ways to try new foods outside of the mediated brand names who pay for their products to be (figuratively) shoved down our throats. The things that are harder to change are habits surrounding food. When food is eaten, where it is eaten, and in what quantity. These things take conscious effort to change. Taste is much more subtle a thing.

What I'm trying (not so eloquently...i'm tired) to say is that we cannot theorize on the concept of "taste" in regards to food. Our taste buds change our entire life, and with globalization our choices are constantly changing too. Culture shifts are nebulous, and we usually cannot see how an outside influence is changing a group or society until after the fact. Hindsight is 20/20, and Heinz' sight is 360...but that doesn't mean they influence us all in the same way.

So don't assume that you will NEVER eat Escargots...or that the burgers and fries you eat are eaten by some sort of free will devoid of cultural influence. Change happens, tastes change.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Acculturation... Inspiration?

Acculturation is the act of exchange of cultural features between groups that come into continuous firsthand contact; such as a migrant culture and the alien culture they find themselves within. Original cultural patterns of either or both groups may be altered with continued contact, but one culture usually dominates the other with their norms and ideals.

This is the phenomenon that I want to study for my PhD. I want to study acculturation through foodways. Food is a dominant part of all cultures, and impacting forces such as religion, myth, folklore, taboo, ritual, festival, migration, and rules all have bearing on food choices we all make. Yes, we may not think these types of rules apply to us. But they do. We have been culturally conditioned to believe that some edible items are "food" and some aren't. Some foods are clean, some dirty, some hot, some cold, some healing, some impassioning, some poisoning.

Food inspires me. I love all types, from the raw to the cooked (there's a Levi-Strauss reference for you), from the hot to the cold, spicy and sweet. I love learning how to make new things: new regional and national delicacies, new methods of cooking, new spices, new ingredients. Because inside all the new, exotic, unheard of foods, there is always a connection. A connection to another place, another time, another people. This connection could stem from ritual significance over time, or from the use of a certain spice across the world, or from the creation of the exact same dish thousands of miles apart, known by a different name, but in essence it is the same food.

Adaption to a new culture is often done as a means to fit in, to fight persecution, and to end or diminish the status as "outsider". But this doesn't always happen. In large groups of migrants, holding on to one's home culture is a way of reinforcing ethnic identity and strengthening the group dynamic. while substitutions, alterations, and secession of certain ingredients or methods might change, the essence of the cuisine will remain the same.

To me as an American, this is an amazing concept. America has been a land of acceptance for centuries (at least of foodways, if not always the people who bring them). As such, there is NO real, indigenous American cuisine. It is an amalgamation of influences, ingredients, methods, rituals, and beliefs from all over the world. Yet we still distinguish between "Italian" "Mexican" and "Japanese" cuisines...even though the "Italian" pizza now has a Thai chicken topping, the "Mexican" taco is filled with california avocado and chinese cabbage, and the "Japanese" sushi roll comes with Mexican hot sauce on top. Fusion is everywhere in America. Especially in restaurants.

All of these ideas are the main motivation for my thesis. the blending of traditions across national and cultural boundaries through the neutral zone of a restaurant. We can be anything we want, from anywhere we please, when we eat. Food has the power to transform us through new smells, tastes, and sensations. for the traveller who can't afford to leave their home town, ethnic restaurants can be the window through which they vicariously traverse the map.

Food is inspiration. Acculturation is the means by which we become inspired.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

I Want... change a lot about myself. Why is it that humans are always striving to change things about themselves that they dislike? When did we begin to recognize the difference between ourselves and others as a possible reason for self-change? Probably two seconds after we began to string sounds together into coherent longer groups of sounds that turned into words that we used to state our thoughts and make the categories and comparisons that have come to set us apart from other animals as the "intelligent" ones...

....stupid bloody early Homo sapiens...So this month is the blog-a-day thingy...I'm not officially doing it on the website...but I will try to post something everyday as a motivation for the new changes I am starting to bring into my life tomorrow.

1) I need to get out of this residence I live in. It is literally making me crazy. Crazy being a mix of angry, anxious, and depressed. Terrible mix. I don't want to be the chick that goes crazy and lights herself on fire, running down the street in flames, and ending in the Firth of Forth in the middle of winter. The only good that comes from things like that is a news story. Self-cremation isn't for me.

2) I need to detox. Not one of those silly only drink Tabasco, water, and syrup things...but a detox of sugar, wheat, dairy, and meat. I need better eating habits if I am serious about my plan to live to be 100 years old (another reason I need to escape the Res). I am also supposed to cut out caffeine and alcohol. Really, the caffeine is impossible. I have school work to do. The last thing I need is caffeine withdrawals for a week. I'll just wean myself down a bit...and the no alcohol will be easier. I don't drink that often anyways...

3) I need to find my focus. Focus for my thesis. I need to procrastinate less. Yes, I know a blog is just another possible distraction...but I am hoping the blog will hold me accountable. I may print this one to remind me who and what I am doing all of this for:

my health
my future
my family
my friends

if that isn't worth it, then what is?!?!?