Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (2)

May 20, 2010 / Comments Off on Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (2)
Loyalty card for Toronto Coffee Conspiracy

(This is the second of my posts on independent coffee shops and socioeconomics. The first looked more specifically at the microcosm of Cabbagetown coffee culture.) Like the Tim Hortons and Jetfuel debate in Cabbagetown, the newly formed Toronto Coffee Conspiracy (TCC), is equally applause-worthy and depressingly elitist. In an effort to encourage people to support…

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Women! Chefs! Sexism!

May 11, 2010 / 3 Comments
Lego woman chef figurine representing female chefs and sexism

Tired of hearing about gender bias (read: female chefs and sexism) in professional kitchens? That’s too bad, because the problem isn’t going away. Amidst the hubbub over the recent James Beard Awards, more than a few people noticed the nearly uniform lack of women on the winners’ list. Three out of 24, to be precise.…

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Hating Mother’s Day is as damaging as sentimentalizing it

May 10, 2010 / 6 Comments
Not-Happy Mother's Day graphic

Amidst yesterday’s many saccharine mother shout-outs and articles, seeing “Why I hate Mother’s Day” pop up in my Twitter feed was a breath of fresh air. Hating Mother’s Day? Of course I clicked. On a day that wallows in the sappiest of mother-cliche (If a child doesn’t pen an ode to mother’s food, does that mother…

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Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (1)

May 2, 2010 / Comments Off on Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (1)
Intelligentsia coffee beans commonly served in Toronto indie coffeeshops

(This is the first of two posts looking at Toronto indie coffee shops. My next post will talk about the recently launched Toronto Coffee Conspiracy.) When was the last time you applauded the opening of a new Tim Hortons or a Starbucks? Now think about your reaction anytime a new independent coffee shop opens up…

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The Holocaust and Facebook – When Anne Frank got her own page

April 30, 2010 / 8 Comments
The Holocaust and Facebook: Collage of Anne Frank and other Holocaust victims Facebook profiles

[Note – the Anne Frank Facebook page has been changed from a fan page to an author page since this post on the Holocaust and Facebook was first published.] I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did—Anne Frank is now on Facebook. And I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know that a boy…

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Edible authenticity puts class politics on the plate

April 21, 2010 / 1 Comment
Authentic cuisine: Jewish Artichoke alla giudia in Rome

Just who does “authentic” cuisine serve? Anya von Bremzen, writing in the April issue of Saveur, isn’t so sure. I don’t normally buy food magazines for the articles on Italian food, but the April Saveur has a piece on Roman food, “Eternal Pleasures“, by von Bremzen, who also wrote one of my favourite cookbooks, Please…

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Three generations, three languages: A former refusenik on language and identity

April 19, 2010 / Comments Off on Three generations, three languages: A former refusenik on language and identity

Ha’aretz has an interview with Soviet refusenik writer David Markish, who immigrated to Israel in 1972. Thirty-six years later, Markish still writes all his books (15 so far, though almost none available here) in his native Russian. Markish’s father, Peretz Markish, a prominent Yiddish writer, was executed by the Soviet regime and the family was…

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Crimes against language: A guide to gendered food terms

April 9, 2010 / Comments Off on Crimes against language: A guide to gendered food terms
Butch Bakery website screengrab for gendered food terms

We may have replaced stewardesses with flight attendants and firemen with firefighters, but that’s ok because food is getting its man on these days. It’s the “manification” of food? Not to be confused with that “mancession” we’re slogging through. So cute, you just want to pat him on the head. This slow creep of gender-specific,…

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Roman Vishniac’s photography: The impoverished life that wasn’t quite

April 5, 2010 / 2 Comments
Roman Vishniac Exhibit at Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam; photo by the Persian-Dutch Network

A few years ago, I was at a lecture on Jewish immigration where someone asked why Soviet/Russian Jewish immigrants were so smug about their academic credentials. The response? Academics was just about the only thing they had to feel good about, since, as a group, Russian-Jews were not well accepted by the established Jewish community.…

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The kitchen-bot revolution 2—And a robo-chef in every kitchen

March 24, 2010 / Comments Off on The kitchen-bot revolution 2—And a robo-chef in every kitchen
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Cover for The I Hate to Cook Book by Peggy Bracken

(This is the second of two posts on “Mombot.” In my first post, I talked about the gender dynamics of kitchen-bots and found that there was surprisingly little to say about it, compared to other models of service robots that have been developed.) The New York Times headline that first grabbed my attention—“Just Like Mombot…

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