Friday, May 25, 2018

Six Types of Ice for Drinks.

Ice Eiskristalle Snow Iced Crystals Winter  The other night I attended a concert where they played a specially commissioned piece on ice written by a composer in London.  The conductor announced there would be a crack part way through to represent the breaking of the ice.  I was extremely disappointed because the crack they had in no way represented the actual sound. 

 I think they used a clapper to produce a rather wimpy sound.  In reality a sheet of ice that cracks or a slab of ice that slides off the ice burg sound more like a shot than a little clapper.  I guess the composer either never heard ice crack or used poetic license when creating the sound.

Of course, there is more than one type of ice out there and I'm not talking glare ice or black ice which are predominant during the winter in colder climates.  In this case I'm talking about the type of ice you throw in your tea or in drinks to keep them chilled during the summer.

1.  Nuggets or sonic ice is a nugget type soft chewy ice that absorbs the flavor of the drink its keeping cold.  They do not stick together and take a while to melt so they are great for use in food service.  It is often found in carbonated drinks you buy at a convenience store.

2. Ice Flakes are found in snow cones but are also used to keep foods cool in salad bars etc.  The ice itself is soft and flaky and is great when used to transport perishable foods.  It is also used in blended drinks because it blends in wonderfully.

3. Of course the most popular form of ice is the cube shape which is what you see in most drinks and often fill your container with at the motel.  This is the size you find most often including the ones in your freezer.

4. Next is the half cube which is half the size of a regular ice cube and resembles a butter pat.  This type of ice is used in a iced coffee or in certain types of drinks.  Its more often found at restaurants.

5. Another rather popular one is the crescent or half moon shaped ice cube.  It has an advantage over the regular cube in that the cubes do not pack together and liquid flows over them. This means less splash when they are added and they move through the liquid better.

6. Finally, are gourmet ice cubes which resemble small shot glasses.  This type of ice cube is often found a banquets hosted at hotels, and upscale restaurants.  Since it is much slower to melt as compared to the other types, drinks undergo less dilution and the flavor remains much longer.

This is a quick look at the six major types of ice cubes found in drinks from the local 7-11 to upscale restaurants.  I'm saving other types of ice like glare ice for another day.  Have a great day and Let me know what you think.  I would love to hear.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Interesting Facts About The Book: "Little Women"

Women, Girlfriends, Nature, Walk  "Little Women" one of the most famous books written by Louisa May Alcott about 150 years ago but did you know she did not want to write it originally?

At the time, Louisa May Alcott wrote both literature and pulp fiction when one of the editors asked her to write a book for girls. She tried but wasn't able to do it.

This didn't stop the publishing company.  They approached her father who was also a writer to produce a book of his own if she'd write the book, so she caved to the pressure.

She began writing the book in May 1868 and was so into it, she completed the book in 10 weeks.  Remember at this time, all books including this one were written by hand so completing this 402 page book in such a short time was amazing.  She sent the book to the publisher in July and by September it was published.  The book immediately became a best seller making Louisa May Alcott a rich woman.

Due to the length, the book was actually published in two parts.  The first ended with John Brooke proposing to Meg and one year later, the second part was published and also took only a few months to write.  The girls were all based on either the author or her sisters and their lives. 

In addition, the Alcotts grew up in the same poverty the March's did.  Louisa's father found it difficult to find  employment due to his beliefs so at points in her life, they only had bread and butter to eat.  When she was old enough she worked as a paid companion, a governess, and wrote sensational stories the same as Jo in the book.  The publication of "Little Women"  allowed Louisa to help her family rise from poverty.

The character of Laurie appears to have been modeled after a Polish musician she met in Europe in 1865.  They flirted and even spent two weeks in Paris together with no chaperones.  All information in her diary about the affair was crossed out in her diary with a note "Couldn't be" written next to it.

People can visit Orchid House in Concord, Massachusetts where Louisa wrote the book.  Over the years, there have been several movie and television adaptations along with several Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, an opera, a Japanese Anime version, and most recently a big screen movie.

Yes, I read it as a child but maybe one of these day's I'll reread it but right now, I've other things to reread. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The History of Margarine.

Butter Tub Margarine Article Power SupplyI remember when I was younger, my grandmother would tell us how much things had changed since she was young. She mentioned when they bought margarine, they had to knead in color tablets so it became a yellow, similar to butter. 

I think the only thing I use margarine for anymore is for baking cookies, otherwise its butter all the way.  I prefer the flavor of butter but I don't use much of it because I prefer my vegetables prepared in either Indian or Asian style.

In addition, the cost of butter and margarine are about the same out in the village so I figure I might as well pay for butter.  I wanted to know more about margarine and discovered it has been around much longer than I  would have guessed. A French chemist, Hippolyte Mege-Mouries, created the first Oleomargerine in 1869.  He made a longer lasting and cheaper product out of beef fat churned with milk but it didn't take off until the Dutch got involved.  The Dutch took the basic product and made improvements to it including dying it a lovely yellow, just like butter.  

By World War I, margarine was made out of vegetable oils but its popularity took off during the depression took off because it was much cheaper than butter and more available especially during World War II.  In fact, its popularity grew during the second part of the 20th century when people began shunning butter and lard in favor of vegetable oils.

The marketing of margarine created a rift between the dairy industry and margarine manufactures to the point that dairy farmers wanted margarine outlawed completely.  Several states outlawed its sale completely while others outlawed the sale of yellow margarine and mandating only uncolored margarine. The margarine sold in those states was sold with a yellow dye so people could color it themselves.  A few states required the product to be colored pink so people would know it was artificial.

About 20 years after the creation of margarine, the United States government passed laws covering everything from its production, packaging, and sale.  In addition, the government required manufacturers to pay annual licensing fees and imposed a tax of two cents per pound.  The tax part of the regulations were repealed in 1950.

The United States was not the only country to impose regulations on the manufacturing of margarine.  The Canadian government banned all margarine from 1886 until 1946 except for World War I but Quebec prohibited it until 2008.  Furthermore, the United States passed a law in 1923 prohibiting any additions to butter, even those that would make it more spreadable which made margarine more appealing since it was spreadable.

 Nowadays, all sorts of margarine's are stocked on the shelves in the dairy section with butter only taking a small percentage of space.  Who knew that a story by my grandmother would lead to my looking it up. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Landing Back in Civilization.

Nantes, Department Stores, France  I just flew back into town for the summer.  I admit, it takes a few days to readjust to live in the city.  It is so different and its more than its just larger. 

Where I live, there are two stores, both of which are about the same size as convenience stores but they sell everything from food, to bullets, to furniture and clothing.  Both stores have expanded a bit but they are still small at no more than 3000 square feet if that.

There are gravel roads mostly populated by ATV's and snow machines but there are perhaps three or maybe four trucks in the whole village as opposed to paved roads filled with motor vehicles of all kinds. 

I look forward to eating at regular restaurants rather than ordering in from one of two folks who provide either sushi or hamburgers if they are open.  The hamburger place is open only part of the year, usually when there are major tournaments.  The sushi place is open when they feel like it so really trying to eat out here means you go visit someone who invites you to stay for dinner.

Ohhh and the book stores and libraries in town.  We have a library but its the school library where people from the community come in to take advantage of ............ the computers.  Usually, the only ones who check books out are the students.  I've checked the cookbook section and it doesn't have many.  The library in town is much bigger with tons of books available for loan. 

Of course, I'll have to stop through the local bookstore with all its free wifi, coffee shop, and fun.  I miss that out here.  I am also looking forward to internet that is cheaper and works better than what I have out here. Even though everything is melting, my phone calls are still dropping or heavy with static.

I also look forward to leaving at an airport with a terminal, and flights that actually run almost on time.  Most of the flights out of here never run on the published time and is often "delayed" due to weather but I think its more like they do not have enough planes for all the passengers.  Also if one plane can't get out for whatever reason, the rest of the times for that plan are pushed back. 

Its also nice for packages and mail to arrive within a reasonable time.  Out here, it seems to take mail so much longer to arrive, be sorted, and put into boxes.  We do not have street delivery either here or in town so I'm used to going to the post office.

I'm off to enjoy my day.  Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Photography Rules In Germany.

Night Camera Photographer Canon Shooting G  I am heading off to Germany next month to attend my neices's wedding to a German national.  She works as a translator for a business where she translates German into American English.

It appears Europe will implement some new privacy regulations known as the GDPR or general data protection regulation.  It is new set of laws protecting digital items.

She sent out a quick e-mail warning us about parts of the new regulations that we must be aware of.  If we take a photo of anything with people in it, we either have to get their permission to show their faces if we want to post the pictures or we have to blur out their faces.  If the people are unidentifiable or are showing their backs, it is not a problem.

In addition, if you are a professional photographer who publishes the photos on their website, may do so if it is artistic but if you are not publishing the photos anywhere including your blog, or even facebook, it is not a problem.  I can see you thinking, oh I don't live there so I don't need to worry.  Apparently, this update moved jurisdiction to everywhere, not just within Europe.

The GDPR actually changes how data and personal information is being used. The big change is for  users to understand and know how their personal information is being collected and used.  No longer can a company provide pages of fine print, nor ask you to click a simple yes.  Companies must explain what personal data is being collected and precisely how it is being used.  It must all be spelled out.

Furthermore, consumers are now granted the right to check to see what data has been collected on them and to correct any and all mistakes and limit the way companies use the data.  These rules effect consumers in 28 countries even when the data is processed outside of Europe.  This means if someone requests any social media company to delete a photo and posted of a person as a minor, the company has to remove it and notify search engines that it has been deleted.

Although the rules are for Europe, many multinational countries are changing their rules because its easier to just change the rules for everyone than set up multiple sets of rules based on where people live. 

So keep this in mind, if you are heading off to one of those 28 European countries who use these new regulations when you take photographs.  It won't particularly effect me because I general take pictures of plants and such.  Even if I have people in my photographs, I tend to cut off heads or blur faces accidentally.