Flickr cooker, Hello Naomi has baked cupcakes to honor our friends Mario and Pac Man. But our personal favorite set up cupcakes are the build your own robot cakes.
[Flickr via BoingBoing, hat tip Kevin R.]
Maple Syrup Map from Gothamist
Gothamist has been getting reports from their readers that the maple syrup smell has returned to New York City. [from Gothamist]
It may almost be midnight, but some people are smelling eau de breakfast--there's a whiff of maple syrup in the air! We just received three smellings:
* "I think I've been getting that nasty maple syrup smell up here at 137th & b'way for the last couple of hours. Thought it was my neighbor spraying for bugs for a while, then I went outside to dump the garbage and still smelled it outside. I can smell it out the window now, too (I'm on the sixth floor, not far from the river). Anyone else? Is it New Jersey?" - C, Harlem, Manhattan
* "I'm smelling that maple syrup smell tonight and it's strongest I've ever noticed. It's been a while. What is that smell? It's getting pretty annoying!" - D, Edgewater, NJ
* "Yes, the maple syrup is back and way out here in College Point, this is the smell’s second day. I live on Lax Ave right on the waterfront of College Point. It’s near the water treatment plant. WHAT is this smell? I am smelling it right now and it doesn’t make me want to eat pancakes. Could it be drifting from the water, or from the Bronx?" - A, College Point, Queens
Readers, if you smell the maple syrup smell, let us know (along with where the scent was), in comments or with an email to tips(at)gothamist(dot)com. We're curious if it's all concentrated around a certain area (someone in the Bronx, tell us!).
Past maple syrup incidents: October 2005, March 2006, November 2006, November 2007, plus a cameo on 30 Rock.
Update: On WNBC 4, Chuck Scarborough mentioned that their newsroom received calls about the maple syrup smells and that the NYPD also received calls about it. No locations were given. However, reader A tells us the Edgewater police heading to her house to check out the smell.
It wasn't until seeing this trailer for Poultrygeist that we finally came to understand the shrill arguments the vegetarians were making.
Since scooping whipped topping seems to be more than Americans can handle, Kraft has created a dispenser that requires you simply push the release button and out squirts a puffy pile of dairy-less dessert covering.
Consumers didn't want to have to take that trying trip to the freezer every time they wanted a dollop, so they'd either skip the topping or went with a canned brand. Kraft's solution: a Cool Whip aerosol, so consumers can reach into the fridge and easily squeeze out a topper for their cookie, brownie or piece of fruit. [from Advertising Age]
We're not sure how the trip to the refrigerator is any less "trying" than a trip to the freezer. It's probably just those advertising dollars at work creating the perception that the colder the refrigeration the greater the exertion.
We've always preferred real whipped cream to Cool Whip. But thanks for trying, Kraft.
"I think I'll try the yak penis tonight, honey"
Having trouble deciding where to take the gals for yet another bachelorette party? Afraid that it's going to be yet another night of men in drag dancing on a table while you try to avoid bankruptcy slurping down the overly priced drinks that you're required to order at least two of? Here's an idea of how to have a ball and eat it too.
Book a flight to Beijing with your matrimony-bound friend and head to Guo-li-zhuang restaurant, China's very first specialty penis restaurant in " an elegantly restored house beside Beijing's West Lake." Here you will be presented with more edible inter-species penises than your friend will know what to do with. We suggest ordering a cock-eh-hem-tail to sip while you peruse the menu.
For beginners, Miss Zhu recommended the hotpot, which offers a sampling of what the restaurant has to offer - six types of penis, and four of testicle, boiled in chicken stock by the waitress, Liu Yunyang, 22.
The Russian dog was first. It was julienned, and rather gamey. The ox was, of all six, the most recognisable for what it was, even though it had been diced. In texture seemed identical to gristle.
The deer and the Mongolian goat were surprisingly similar: a little stringy, they had the appearance and feel of overcooked squid tentacles. The Xinjiang horse and the donkey, on the other hand, were quite different. Though both came sliced lengthwise, and looked like bacon, the horse was light and fatty, while the donkey had a firm colour and taste. The testicles were slightly crumbly, and tasted better with lashings of the sesame, soy and chilli dips thoughtfully provided.[ from Telegraph]
Just make sure you order your Canadian seal penis in advance. Apparently it requires a little extra preparation time -- but isn't that what marriage is about: schedules, communication.... Just think of it as good training.
You'll know you've done your job if you notice your bride friend is feeling cock-eyed and longing to have just one penis for life. [from the Sunday Times London and via Buzzfeed]
We've done it before and we're doing it again. We've sifted through all the best shopping websites and have compiled a collection of food-related gifts to give your loved-ones this holiday season. And with the markets in a downward spiral, we've only listed gifts that are $25 or less, so you can still afford your yuletide spirits.
Laptop Lunch Bento Box
Laptop Lunches are American-style bento boxes designed to help families pack nutritious, environment-friendly lunches for school, work, and travel. These sustainable lunch containers--which come with a book of healthy lunch ideas and lunchmaking recipes--are reusable, recyclable, and dishwasher safe. And all of our lunchboxes are lead-free.
[from Laptop Lunches via Mighty Goods]
Book: Moveable Feasts by Sarah Murray
For anyone interested in the locavore approach to eating, Moveable Feasts will give readers a chance to escape their backyards and travel the world. The book is a fantastic expedition around the globe and into history to trace just how far staple foods like olive oil and fish must travel to get from farm to fork. A fascinating read for any foodie. We couldn't put this book down.
Hostess Twinkies Non-Stick Baking Pan
You’re craving Twinkies, but you don’t remember them tasting quite so much like formaldehyde when you were a kid. This Twinkie kit lets you make homemade treats with buttery cake and real whipped cream.
[from Not Martha via Mighty Goods]
Vegetable Market Felt Playset
We all love cookies, and cakes....but we need to make time for veggies too! This set of nutritious felt vegetables would be perfect for teaching colors, and good eating habits. Corn has a removeble husk, and onion has realistic roots! If you have a sweet tooth check out the Donut and Fruit Set or if a greasy spoon breakfast is more your thing, try Pancake, Eggs & Sausage Breakfast.
[from Mermaid via Etsy]
USB-powered Drink Warmer & Chiller
It's perfect and it's simple - a hotplate powered by USB keeps your coffee warm. But if Alton Brown has taught us anything is that we hate a single-use tool. That, and, sometimes we like our caffeine served cold. No problem, 'cause we've got you covered!
Keep reading to get stocking stuffer ideas....
We've pulled some Groove Tube classics out of the vaults. This one satirizes the 1950 Kraft ads -- you know the ones that instruct housewife how to incorporate Miracle Whip into breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Groove Tube (1974), written and produced by Ken Shapiro was a low-budget comedy film. It satirized television and the counterculture of the early 1970s. The film was originally produced to be shown at the Channel One Theater on East 60th St. in New York, a venue that featured R-rated video recordings shown on three television sets, which was a novelty to the audiences of the mid 1970's. Keep reading.
[Thanks for the tip Rumproast.com]
Cakesicles! Yup—now you can make your own popsicle-shaped mini cakes on sticks, thanks to Norpro's Cakesicle Pan, which accommodates 8 healthy sized cakes at a time. But the fun really begins after they’re baked: they're super-fun to decorate; you can put frosting on all sides; and since they’re on a stick, you can eat them while walking. No fork and plate holding you down.
Friday, October 19th
What: Ben Sherman CMJ Bash
When: 7-10 pm
Where: Ben Sherman Store, 96 Spring St, SoHo
Fee: Free Bass beer with RSVP. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
About: DJ Andy Smith of Portishead is the main attraction at this SoHo Ben Sherman Store stop n' shop, with the free Bass Pale Ale coming in a close second. [from Myopenbar.com]
What: The Gourmet Institute
When: Friday, Oct. 19th-Sunday, Oct. 21st. Click here for full schedule.
Where: Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle at 60th Street
Fee: Requires sponsorship or deep pockets for the $1,395.00 pricetag. If you have either, call 888-308-6133 to register.
About: The epicurean world's top talents will come together under one roof for a very special weekend of insider-only seminars, cooking demonstrations, tastings and more. Get an exclusive sneak peak into the world of Gourmet with A-list chefs, including Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Gray Kunz, Masaharu Morimoto, Charlie Palmer, Michel Richard, Eric Ripert, and Marcus Samuelsson.
Saturday, October 20th
What: The Red Hook Harvest Festival
When: 10 am-5 pm
Where: Columbia & Signourney Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn. Click here for directions.
About: Explore the Red Hook Community Farm, New York City’s largest urban agricultural project and take a tour of the facility led by a member of Added Value Sunday, October 21st
What: The Food Theater Project presents: Milk-n-Honey and the After Show Cafe
When: Opening, October 21, 2007 3:00 pm running through November 18, 2007
Where: 3-Legged Dog Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich Street @ Rector St, NYC
Fee: $15 each. Buy tickets by clicking here.
About: Milk-n-Honey, a multimedia play about the politics and pleasures of eating. Followed by the After Show Cafe, where audience members can eat Fair Trade treats and hang out with artists, scholars and activists. Milk-n-Honey was created from interviews with farmers, waiters, migrant workers, flavor chemists, advertising executives, dumpster divers, grocery clerks, diabetics, activists, and eaters like you.
Wandering through the Union Square Farmers Market yesterday, we were impressed with the broad range of miniature edibles available at the market. We saw baby carrots, baby onions, tiny beets and ended up purchasing some baby fingerling yams and baby bok choy. We were hoping to find baby artichokes and baby corn to supplement the miniature meal we were planning for a small crew of vegetarians. But we were out of luck. We needed one more menu item, so back at our office, we turned to the internet for ideas. When we came across photos of the tiniest pigs on Buzzfeed, we had to remind ourselves that only a sick mind would feature these cooked cutie pies alongside the baby vegetables.
And don't worry. These cute pigs are safe from hungry carnivores with similarly sick minds. According to Chris Murray, the co-owner of a farm in England that breeds miniature pigs, he doesn't think they'll be featured on restaurant menus anytime soon. "They are too small," he said. "It would be uneconomic so it's unlikely they will be used for meat and there is already a huge amount of different pig meat available." [From BBC via Buzzfeed]
In the end, we made mini-vegetarian quiches and never admited that we considered sneaking in a little baby bacon.
Our friends at our favorite restaurant, Little D Eatery had the same idea. They're now serving Heirloom Pumpkin Risotto with thyme and blue cheese garnish.
A few weekends ago we attended a wedding. Next to our plates, we were presented with the greatest gift of all: a little bag of homemade cookies. With the hope that other guests were on strict carb-free diets, we lingered deep into the night, hoping to gather up the gifts that were left behind. We managed to scrounge up a wide assortment of cookie flavors: chocolate-chocolate chip, chocolate chip and lemon sugar. The cookies were made by a little start-up bakery in Hoboken, NJ called Sugar Flower Bakery.
Finnish Fish Smoker
Cool kitchen appliances, office supplies and gardening tools from around the world are now available for purchase at Kiosk -- the business of some clever entrepreneurs who are into global travel.
When you visit a foreign country, it's easy to stumble upon tons of cool, indigenous stuff you can't find at home -- but you can never fit all of it in your suitcase. Thanks to married-couple entrepreneurs Alisa Grifo and Marco Romeny and their Website, Kiosk, all those amazing discoveries you passed up in Nagoya or Stockholm can be yours--for a fair price.
The Very Short List is a short and sweet daily e-mail, that points to great discoveries from both high and low culture. The project was founded by Kurt Andersen, founder of Spy Magazine, and Michael Jackson, President, IAC Programming.
cake by the other Cakehead
For the past year, plus, we've been sharing the name, Cakehead, with another blogger named Natalie. She is as obsessed with cake as we are. But earlier this weeks she announced that she is "bidding adieu to The Great Cake Adventure...I just do not have the time to put into making cakes now that I did when I started it."
I am also dropping the Cakehead name. I originally chose Cakehead because cake was like my crack, and now I just think it sounds stupid. So until I think of something totally awesome to rename myself (that will probably never happen), I'll be known as Natalie. I know, cutting edge, huh?
We happen to like the name Cakehead, but despite the slight, we will still award her with Cakehead of the Week Award. While we're busy stealing the images of other people's cakes, she actually bakes them. Click here to look at all the cakes she's baked over the past year. We picked out our favorite cake that she made and are presenting it to her -- from one Cakehead to another. Good luck with your new photography blog.
Motorized Ice Cream Cone
Presenting the motorized ice cream cone, for those of you with a tongue too lazy to lick. [from Foodie Obsessed]
Because shaking the salt takes so much energy, here is the self-shaking salt and pepper shaker set [from Cooking Gadgets]
Burn messages into your toast. [from Japan's Sasha Tseng via Cooking Gadgets]
We wish this was a picture of soldiers at a bake sale raising money for George Bush's war. Based on this Wall Street Journal article, it's more likely that these soldiers are serving up very expensive slices of pie at the expense of taxpayers.
Prominent American food companies are under scrutiny in a federal probe of possible fraud and corruption in the military's food-supply operations for the Iraq war...The inquiry is focused on whether the food companies set excessively high prices when they sold their goods to the Army's primary food contractor for the war zone, a Kuwaiti firm called Public Warehousing Co. A related question is whether Public Warehousing improperly pocketed for itself refunds it received from these suppliers. Public Warehousing bought vast amounts of meat, vegetables and bakery items from the food companies, and delivered them to U.S. troops.
The restaurant at Crook, near Windermere, in Cumbria, is giving diners the chance to try the canapes free of charge. The grey squirrels were caught in the hotel's 72-acre woodland grounds and have been prepared by head chef Marc Sanders.
[from the Daily Mail]
But you don't have to cross the Atlantic to eat this gamy delicacy. With Steven Rinella's book, The Scavenger's Guide to Haue Cuisine you too can prepare a 45-course banquet that includes squirrel as one of the less exotic dishes.
Using the 1903 Le Guide Culinaire by master chef Escoffier, Rinella sets out to
shoot, fish, slaughter, raise (as in pigeon husbandry), gather and otherwise procure the ingredients for these dishes himself, with help from his fishing and hunting buddies. Rinella's girlfriend is a vegetarian, and he's aware that this project may seem distressing to some, but he offers a spirited defense of choosing to "make his own food." Rinella's year took him all over the U.S. and Canada with plenty of unusual outdoor adventures: frog gigging, eeling, "glassing" for elk, making headcheese and sparrow-trapping. Preparing the feast, with its huge list of ingredients, took more than a week, with hard-breathing last-minute tension. Some dishes worked, some didn't (e.g., Crayfish Mousse, and Elk and Antelope Kidney Pudding). This unusual memoir could serve as a tasty gift for sporting types.
image from Vegan Campus
Between Mad Cow, deforestation of rain forests to make way for the beef industry and now, a finding that , if you're eating meat, you're also eating feces, carnivores like us are finding a lot of reasons to switch teams.
Doctors petitioned the USDA to ensure "Feces-Free" meat or issue biohazard labels after a survey found that 84 percent of adults have no idea that the primary source of salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, and other foodborne pathogens on poultry and meat is animal feces.
Our findings show the vast majority of Americans do not understand there are feces on meat and poultry,” says Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) staff attorney Mindy Kursban. “In fact, there’s a major disconnect in the public consciousness between the foodborne illnesses that sicken so many of us and their originating cause: animal excrement.”
[vegancampus via Buzzfeed]
We've been devouring a delightful new book, Food, edited by John Knechtel. This refreshingly Canada-centric collection of photography and writing takes a 360 degree approach to covering the endlessly fascinating subject of food -- from an essay on dining in outerspace to poetry about overeating -- this collection does not limit its scope on our favorite topic. We love the results of this hodgepodge of food writing.
One of the highlights was the discovery of an essay by one of our favorite food bloggers, Debra Soloman of Culiblog. She describes the public eating/activist art project, Fallen Fruit. The project began as a mapping project. David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young created comprehensive guides to all the public fruit trees in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Echo Park, Hancock Park and Silver Lake. Santa Fe has been mapped for public fruit trees too.
Since we're currently obsessed with West Coast living, this project scores another point for the West.
Check the Fallen Fruit site regularly to find out when the next Public Jam will take place.
We ask that the citizens bring along home-grown or public fruit and any clean, empty glass jars. At the end everyone left with a jar of communal jam. Even those arriving empty handed left with jam. We made radical and experimental jams, like basil guava or lemon pepper jelly. We discussed the basics of jam and jelly making, pectin and bindings, as well as the communal power of shared fruit and the liberation of public fruit. Vats of fun for all!