Mark picked up our half-hog order from the farm yesterday and stowed it in the basement freezer. I went down there this morning for a pork steak from the fridge and, as long as I was there, I unpacked all the individually wrapped cuts and counted them, then restocked them in some semblance of order.
Right now I know everything that's in there, but come March or April I'll be digging through the bottom of the chest freezer, wondering, "Have I already used all the ham hocks?" I've tried, other times, making a list of the cuts that are in there, posting it on the wall, and crossing them off as each is removed. It never seems to work for very long. Mostly, I think, because I generally don't carry a pencil downstairs with me when I go to the pantry (and don't tell me to tie one to the wall, I promise you the kids will find a way to run off with it).
So I had an idea today. This would work for all you people who have a giant freezer or pantry full of stuff they need to keep track of, whether it's cuts of meat, once-a-month-cooking casseroles, or homemade preserves.
Here's my list on the wall above the freezer:
But I don't need to bring a pen down to cross stuff off, because I took a cue from the flyers on the coffee-shop bulletin board I was looking at yesterday:
See -- now all I have to do when I get a cut of pork out of the freezer is tear off one of the corresponding strips. What's left on the list is what's left in the freezer.
Tonight we had one of the pork steaks, thinly sliced, over a spinach salad with white beans and red onions, tossed in a dijon-cider dressing. Homemade wheat rolls on the side. Two kids opted for PB&J, so one pound of meat easily fed the whole family. I have decided it's a good idea to let them choose a meatless protein alternative -- as long as it isn't too complicated -- whenever they want.
I like prayer cards, a.k.a. holy cards, especially as items for babies to play with during Mass, as reminders scattered throughout my house, or as a pocket-sized text of a prayer I'm using for a season.
Here is a confession:
...gosh darn it, I sometimes really hate the art that comes on them. A lot of it is pretty schlocky, and when we know what a modern saint looked like from her photographs, the pictures are sometimes ridiculously unlike the real live person.
I mean, come on: St. Thérèse of Lisieux looks like this:
Anyway, today I stumbled across a site that seems to produce a better sort of holy card: CatholicPrayerCards.org. For about a quarter apiece you can buy holy cards that look like, um, an actual work of art, like this:
... or something a little more Eastern (remember: icons are the anti-Thomas Kinkade):
... or a photo of the saint in life, perhaps complete with leprosy sores:
The photographic ones are my favorites. Take a look at these:
I think I'll go through my children's "decks" of cards in their Mass bags and perhaps replace some of the more egregious examples of bad art with these.
Because, really, folks. We have Michelangelo in our court. And Caravaggio. And Raphael Sanzio. If you want something populist, I suppose you could go with Millet or something. There is no reason Catholics should have to put up with bad religious art.
“A mom with four kids five and under does not have time to bake her own bread.”
If someone had told me that before I was a mother, I would have agreed emphatically. That woman must be so worn out! She doesn’t need extra work. She should buy bread.
Well, guess what? I have four kids; the oldest is barely five; the youngest two are twins, for heaven’s sake. I am worn out and I don’t need extra work.
I still bake my own bread. (Not always, but regularly.)
If I find myself with ten minutes where both babies are calm and the older kids are busy, I pull out the mixer and dump in yeast, water, flour, salt. I keep an eye on it as kneading happens, add more flour as necessary, prep the dough-proofing container. Later I carve minutes out of my day to de-gas the dough, to form it into loaves, to bake it.
I do it because, as strange and possibly cheesy as this might sound, it soothes me.
Remember: One person's "OMG how can you possibly find time to do that, you must be insane" is another person's "thing that keeps me sane."
On Tuesdays I leave the house by eight in the morning, to drive out to the suburbs so we can spend our co-schooling days with Hannah's family. This school year I've been driving even a bit earlier, picking up the daughters of another family as well before swinging north. The trip is not quite an hour long.
The kids have to eat, of course, and usually in the car. Normally if someone won't eat breakfast I shrug and say "Guess you'll be hungry later, then," but I had to put my foot down some time ago about refusing to eat breakfast on Tuesday mornings. Hannah is happy to feed hungry kids a snack, but I wasn't so happy about my children snarfing up all her bread and milk once a week.
Furthermore, my daughter is one of those people who can't bear to look at food before about 10:00, so her breakfast has to come along and be saved till later.
The emergency food is granola bars, of course, which I keep in my car. And if we are really desperate (defined by: I somehow wasn't able to secure a cup of coffee any other way), I am not above hitting a drive-through. But I really do prefer making a portable real food.
Now if it was just me, it would be easy. I love hardboiled eggs, that quintessential portable protein, or sticks of string cheese; and in the summer I would be perfectly happy to drop a pint jar of hulled strawberries and almonds into my cupholder (one of the cupholders; the other one has my coffee) and go. Kids: not so much. Eating what's available because you have to get yourself fed is apparently a learned skill.
Muffins are one solution; they are a bit crumbly, sure, but there are already so many crumbs in my car that I don't worry about it. At least they don't drip, unless they are chocolate-chip. I used to make them fresh on Tuesday morning, but these days I tend to bake them the night before. I used to be intimidated by muffins, but now I can make them practically in my sleep.
Another is quesadillas or their cousin, breakfast burritos. I typically make plain cheese for one child, egg-cheese-salsa for another (and for me), and a pepperoni-and-cheese quesadilla for another. They don't take very long and they are all right even after they have gone cold.
I don't favor peanut butter sandwiches because the crusts tend to get left behind in the seats and then get smooshed. Also, then everyone wants milk. Which is banned from my car.
Here is a new idea I haven't tried yet, and a new idea I tried this morning.
First: stuffed buns. Yes, I know, there is nothing particularly creative about what is basically a sandwich. Still, I like her nifty method of sealing the bun to keep things from falling out of it. Check it out at The Big Red Kitchen (where there be photos):
Go to your nearest bakery that bakes up the freshest and most tender Kaiser Rolls. Slice the rolls open leaving one edge intact- like a clam shell, and pull out some of the tender innards saving them for another recipe. Now here is the trick to getting those buns put back together and holding the filling inside. Ready for this?
Fill the bottom well with your filling of choice and pipe beaten egg whites around the lip of the bottom bun, close bun, press lightly to be sure that glue has sealed the bun closed, and top with a slice of cheese of choice. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 8 minutes. The meringue will seal your fillings in the bun....
Brilliant. Just brilliant. I am a little bit afraid to try it first with a fresh, tender Kaiser roll, however, because I fear that if the kids get a hold of that, they will never eat one made of a leftover whole wheat dinner roll, which is exactly how I would do this for breakfast.
Now, on to my other new thing, with a little background. The bread machine is sniffed at by many "real" bakers, including, sadly, some otherwise inspiring cookbook writers (Mark Bittman, I'm talking to you). Yes, yes, if you are the sort of person who tosses about "poolish" and "sponge" without a thought, or even if you are a devotee of the considerably more convenient no-knead Dutch oven breads or Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, then perhaps bread machine bread will never be up to your standards. But hey, if your family eats sandwiches or toast, especially if they eat a LOT of sandwiches and toast, it's hard to beat a constant supply of homemade sandwich loaves. I think at this point I would do without my microwave, food processor, and blender all together before I would give up my bread machine.
So, given that I have a bread machine, it's really pretty easy to have fresh breakfast buns of all sorts, because the dough can be ready to shape when you get up. I stumble down the stairs, turn on the oven, shape the buns or what have you to the sound of the coffee maker starting to hiss and burble, set them on top of the warming oven to rise, and stumble back up the stairs (it's harder than going down; try it sometime) to get dressed or shower or nurse the baby or whatever. Twenty or thirty minutes later I come down, pop the pan in the oven, and drink a cup of coffee. Most yeast buns only take ten minutes or so to bake, so breakfast is ready. And since that (and maybe a cup of milk) is all the kids need to eat, well, it's actually pretty simple. I think you can maybe get a similar effect with certain doughs that will willingly rise in the refrigerator overnight, but it takes longer for them to do their second rise.
This morning I tried a version of pain au chocolat. Yes, yes, it is traditionally made with croissant-type pastry, but my children don't know that, do they? Milo was inspired to ask about it yesterday when we were reading a book called Let's Eat: What Children Eat Around the World. One of the children was a French boy, and a photo showed him and his restauranteur-parents sitting around the breakfast table drinking hot chocolate out of bowls. "Why aren't they using a mug?" asked Milo, and I read the caption to him, which indicated that the family had dipped their pain au chocolat in the hot chocolate and then when the pain was done they drank the hot chocolate from the bowl, much as we order our kids to finish their milk after they have spooned up all the cereal.
Well. Hot chocolate with chocolate-stuffed bread sounded like a fine breakfast to Milo, so that's what's on the menu this morning. And I mention this in the "portable" category because without the hot chocolate, the chocolate-stuffed bread is indeed quite portable, as you will see.
(A side note before we go on: Why haven't I ever thought before about serving, say, cookies and milk with the milk in a bowl instead of a cup? Whenever they're going to dunk something in the milk? It would be a lot less messy and it doesn't impede the drinking afterwards.)
I searched for "bread machine pain au chocolat" and found this lovely British recipe, with the flour measured in grammes, and adapted it. (The quantity of yeast looked ridiculously small, so I used the amount of yeast I would normally put in a cinnamon-roll type dough).
Here's what I put in my bread machine for six pains. Next time I'll increase it by fifty percent, I think, and try using a bit more whole wheat, since it turned out nicely with 40% whole wheat.
I cut the dough, which was smooth and elastic, into six pieces, rolled each gently out into an oval, and deposited eight Ghirardelli 60%-cocoa chocolate chips (that's a quarter of an ounce; I think a bit more would have worked okay) into the center of each. Then I folded them over (like a business letter), pinched them to seal, and tucked the ends under like a little loaf of bread.
I put four of them in mini-loaf pans as suggested in the recipe, and put two on a baking sheet to see if that worked okay. Then I covered them and let them rise 20 minutes before baking 10 minutes at 425 degrees F.
Aren't they cute? They looked just a teeny bit overly browned; I might try 400 degrees next time. And I don't really think that they needed the mini-loaf pans, as they all look about the same.
(Slight mistake: I probably should have put them seam side down. I was worried about the chocolate leaking. I think seam side down would look nicer, although mine turned out kind of interestingly rustic-looking.)
Of course anytime you have something stuffed with chocolate, you should have an interior shot. Here is one that I managed to catch with my cell phone before Mark ate the other half.
I thought the rich bread was lovely, but the chocolate was a bit much for seven in the morning. Chocolate is good for you, insisted Mark, as he ate one and a half buns plus the chocolatey middle of mine. Maybe next time I will fill my little bun with something else, like plum jam or cream cheese.
Once they cool completely, the chocolate will solidify, and it will be a very nice, not-messy, quite portable breakfast bun.
UPDATE: Oh yes. Well-received. And not perfectly un-messy, but not bad either.
I stayed up late for two nights finishing Reamde and now I'm paying for it. There is not enough coffee in this pot.
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I just went back to my archives from May of this year and read through the "Maintenance Blues" post. (It's number four of a short series on "accepting your body:" First post. Second post. Third post. Fourth post (maintenance blues). Fifth post. Sixth post. Seventh.)
I wrote then:
It's three years this week since my successful weight loss began. And lately? Weight maintenance has been hard.
I feel as though I'm slipping, right on the edge. I weigh myself every day and faithfully plot each point on a chart. The paper charts stack up in a drawer in my bathroom, one for every month since I reached my weight loss goal in November 2008. The zigzag lines rise up through my pregnancy and back down again after the birth of #4, not quite as low as I was pre-pregnancy but back to where I decided to be.
And lately I don't like what I see. It's not that I'm not still at a healthy weight. I am. But after reaching my postpartum target, my weight crept back up, and I've been on the high side of it for months now.
Worse, I can't seem to bring it back down. Several times since just before the baby's first birthday, I have tried to lose just one pound. Not because I needed to but because I wanted to see if I could still do it.
I haven't done it. I haven't sustained the effort for more than a few days. After about three days of sticking to my habits, I start feeling hungry and cold all the time, and shortly thereafter I find myself helping myself to a third plate of dinner, or eating all the kids' sandwich crusts. I recognize this as classic "body defending its fat stores." Still, it's frustrating -- I managed to overcome it once, what's wrong with me now? Have I lost my hard-earned habits for good?
I thought maybe it was worth highlighting that now, a few months later, I seem to have finally gotten a handle on it. Seriously, it took almost four months of false starts.
Weight maintenance is not easy. It is difficult. It was especially difficult over this past summer, mainly (I think) because my husband had a lot of business travel. That generally makes it harder for me to run the household, and I don't have much energy left over either for willpower or for necessary tasks like meal planning. Also I tend to rely on packaged food and carryout more when he's gone, and those foods tend to be less satisfying in smaller portions. And it makes it marginally more difficult (though more appealing) to get to the gym.
So a lot of my strategies that require advance planning were not as helpful as they have been in the past. I was seeing my weight stay about three pounds higher than I wanted it to be. At the same time, I was waking up every morning and recommitting to following my good habits, then only marginally managing to follow them. Would I be gaining weight, if I wasn't trying? Maybe.
Back when I was losing the 40 pounds, there came a point when I sort of got into a groove with it. It was still physically uncomfortable to resist gluttonous behaviors. I felt hungry, I felt cravings, and it didn't feel good to resist them; but it felt mentally easy to resist them. I had bought into the idea that I had already made my choices. "I don't do that anymore" was all it took -- I didn't like the experience of self-control, but I could do it and I did do it.
But back in May, the groove just refused to come. I kept "forgetting" that I was trying to practice good habits and self-control. I would sit down in front of, say, a plate of pasta at a restaurant, and it would suddenly and quite literally seem not at all important that I was trying to reboot my good habits. I wouldn't exactly make a fully conscious decision to abandon the habits -- it was really like I was forgetting what I was trying to do. And I wouldn't remember until afterwards, when I felt the overfull sensation. And then I would feel awful.
+ + +
I kept plugging away at the attempts, though. (Like ChristyP says: It's a new day every day.) I tried some different strategies, because it was plain that many of my old reliable ones were not working in the particular family dynamic that we had going at the time.
And I think I finally hit my stride. We'll have to see if it lasts, but I think I have gotten a mental handle on myself again. I have stopped "forgetting."
+ + +
The new strategy that has been most helpful in this season has been a radically simplified calorie-counting technique.
If you are a longtime reader, you may remember that periodically counting and journaling my daily calories (I used SparkPeople) was a very helpful strategy for me during my 40-pound loss. I didn't do it every day, but doing so once every few days helped me maintain realistic expectations of appropriate portion size and of reasonable tradeoffs (an egg or a blueberry muffin, or half of each?). I do think that having this realistic understanding of my body's needs helped me understand the line between gluttonous behaviors and non-gluttonous variations. And, of course, on days I did it, following the plan literally controlled the calories. I tended to count the calories the night before and make a plan that I would try to stick to, rather than counting things after I ate them.
But even occasionally performing the calorie-count was too time-consuming for me in this season. It takes about half an hour to sit down and make a calorie-controlled plan for a full day. I just could not scrape together the time to make it stick. Other things were higher on my priority list. I worked on other important behaviors (not taking seconds, for example) but I couldn't shake the feeling that the calorie counting was a missing piece of the puzzle. On the few days when I managed to squeeze it in, I found it much easier to keep my intentions in mind.
Finally I found a technique that worked, because it eliminated the need to sit down and plan the whole day. Essentially, I went from "It's a new day every day" to "It's a new meal every meal." Here's what I did.
1 - I identified a maintenance calorie target.
For me, the target that maintains weight reliably is about 1600 calories per day. Probably I actually eat more calories than that (my guess is something like 1700-1900), but I have found that if I pretend that I'm trying to eat 1600 calories a day, I stay the same. I guess you could say that a buffer of a couple hundred calories -- the nibbles off the kids' sandwich crusts, the tasting the soup to check the seasoning, the "just one more" potato chip -- must be built into that number.
Please remember that the 1600 calories is me-specific. I am not a large person, and as I said, that number is probably lower than my "real" maintenance intake. If you don't know what your maintenance level is, start with an online calorie needs estimator -- don't just use mine.
2 - I subtracted some calories.
I happened to be a couple of pounds heavier than I would like to be; my bad habits had caused my weight to creep up. So my new target (temporarily) became 1450 calories per day. This was roughly the target during my 2008 weight loss, by the way.
3 - I divided the calories among the meals and snacks that I would like to eat.
I thought about the "meal" and "snack" habits that I would like to reinforce. I do better if I have a couple of snacks; I find that I am going to eat between meals anyway, so "no-snacking" is not a realistic goal. But I would prefer to be in the habit of keeping those snacks small. I have also found that I do nicely on a fairly light breakfast, a medium lunch, and a heartier dinner. So that's how I split things up.
I made a little text file called "A Default Day" and wrote this in it:
4 - I started to try to stick to those targets one meal at a time.
I didn't bother with trying to make up at dinner for overshooting at lunch. (Just like during my weight loss I didn't try to starve myself on one day to make up for overshooting on the previous day).
This really is easier than trying to do the whole day at once, especially with years of calorie-counting under my belt. I can use various rules of thumb plus the nutrition labels to estimate calorie counts while I'm preparing food. I can tell you off the top of my head that one piece of toast with a little bit of butter, coffee, and a boiled egg will come in at about 250 calories for breakfast, for example.
(quick fact check using SparkPeople: 1 egg = 70 calories, 1 slice whole wheat bread = 128 calories, 5 cups coffee = 12 calories, 1 pat salted butter = 36 calories, total = 246 calories. CHA CHING.)
5 - When I had time, I thought about the sorts of meals I like to eat, and I calculated the portion sizes necessary to hit the targets.
So, for example, I often have eggs and toast for breakfast, or a fried egg on top of leftover rice pilaf. I sometimes make biscuits for the family and usually have bacon with them. I like cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit. If I'm in a hurry, I might have peanut butter on an apple or on toast. I make pancakes and waffles from time to time. And, let's face it, once in a while I have to hit a drive-through.
So I made this list of 250-calorie breakfasts -- it's almost like a list you might find in a magazine diet plan, except that it only has stuff I actually make and eat regularly (plus an emergency drive-through option). No mini frittatas here, nor breakfast cereal (since I don't much like it at breakfast and tend to eat it for dessert instead), nor prepackaged items (another thing I don't rely on much at breakfast time). But if you eat those things, then they could be on your list.
I made a similar list for 400-calorie lunches. Two examples:
And another one for 600-calorie dinners. One example:
You see that I got less precise about the portions as I went later in the day. I didn't specify the sort of pizza, or how big a pile of vegetables. This kind of meshes with how I roll in calorie counting anyway. In 2008, I had success even though I often would count the breakfast and lunch very precisely, and then (assuming I followed my plan) reward myself by eating whatever at dinner, just not more than one plate.
And I didn't bother making a list of 100-calorie snacks. It is not so hard to figure that out, especially since many of the snacks I have are prepackaged with labels. Like ice cream. (1/3 of a cup is roughly 100 calories for most of the flavors we buy). And I can always get one of the six billion "100-Calorie Portions" that are out there now. I have become particularly fond of 100-calorie ice cream bars, which we keep around anyway to give to the baby instead of the big ones his siblings are eating.
+ + +
Anyway, this technique, for some reason, seems to have done the trick: I am back to not being as much of an idiot at the dinner table (mostly). And my weight has come back down within the bounds it is supposed to be. I think the reason it's working, where large-scale whole-day calorie counting did not, is simply because the effort fits into my day better right now. It also makes the "yes! I did it!" reward of having stuck to my plan just a little bit more immediate. And when I don't stick to my plan -- when I eat four peanut butter sandwich crusts for dessert after lunch -- it isn't too disheartening because the chance to try again is very soon.
One caveat: I decided not to bother counting alcoholic beverages in the calories as long as I waited to have them until after dinner. I just had this vague idea that it would create a better incentive structure for me, since the biggest problem I have with alcohol is that I tend to overeat while I am consuming it. This seems to have worked pretty well. I tend to drink beer about three ounces at a time, though (I split beers with Mark), so maybe it just wasn't enough volume to make a difference.
Key to the whole structure is something I learned in 2008: I refuse to carry my failures over. Not from day to day, and not from meal to meal. My dinner goal is still 650 even if my lunch was 700 calories. Because it is ultimately not about the calories, but the habit of moderation. And alternately stuffing and starving is not moderation.
So I was sitting with Melissa and we were commiserating about how to teach our children Spanish -- a language that none of us took in high school or college.
"The problem is basically that I don't think I can teach myself Spanish adequately," I summed up. "With Latin, there's no need to worry about slang or idiom or accent or conversation. It's all on paper. I've always been confident I could teach myself Latin, and because of that I've always been confident I could help the kids learn it. And I have taught myself Latin, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job with the kids. But I can't teach myself Spanish. Or at least I'm not confident that I could do it well enough to pass it on."
All the available Spanish curricula start with basic words and conversation skills. The equivalent of what I learned in beginning French: "Je vais au cinéma avec mes amis." But the conversational approach is exactly what I feel I can't do. I think people should learn to speak a language from a native speaker, or at least an expert speaker.
Now, Latin is different. Nobody is even pretending that we are trying to learn to speak Latin. We are learning to read it and translate it and write it. That's what you do with Latin (and the writing is optional; several older Latin texts that I found in the library contained zero emphasis on turning English into Latin, apparently because teachers didn't think you'd ever want to express yourself in Latin; they must not have listened to any kids, who love to express themselves as many ways as possible). All this requires is for me to stay a few steps ahead of the kids, which is not only doable but fun. And so it was not hard to find a Latin curriculum that I could use to teach myself and teach the kids.
"Maybe," I said hesitatingly, "though, maybe we could just accept that we cannot really teach how to speak Spanish. What if," I went on, gaining momentum as I considered it, "what if we decided to teach writing and reading Spanish, and didn't bother with speaking and listening comprehension except, you know, just what was necessary to discuss the words we were learning?"
Melissa nodded. "That would be better than nothing," she said, "and it could prepare them for taking a real Spanish course later on."
"I guess I would want to teach it just as we taught them Latin," I mused, "very grammar-based. But there definitely aren't any curricula for Spanish that follow the same pattern. That one DVD-based course* was okay, it started with grammar right at the beginning; but it was aimed at much younger children."
As we talked, though, the germ of an idea began to form between the two of us. And at one point, I got out my tablet and started taking notes, so I wouldn't forget anything. Because I realized it was a good idea.
The Memoria Press Latin programs that we are using -- Prima Latina, Latina Christiana, and First Form Latin -- all have a component that examines Latin-derived words in the English language. It has seemed like a bit of a waste of time, sort of an afterthought, and we really haven't used it much at all. But what if instead of learning about Latin-derived words in English, we looked at Latin-derived words in Spanish? What if we studied Spanish as a specimen of late Latin -- very late Latin? What if learning Spanish became an extension of our Latin study?
All the beginner's Spanish programs start from scratch. But we're not starting from scratch: we're starting from a few years of Latin. Why can't we build on what they know already? After all -- a great deal of the effort that English speakers have to make, when they learn their first Romance language -- we've already been through that. Verbs are conjugated. Nouns have gender. Adjectives can come after nouns. Adjectives agree with nouns. And we've already talked about tense, and principal parts, and negation and interrogation... a lot of concepts that take up time grasping for the first time have already been grasped. They just need to know how to do in Spanish what they already know to do in Latin.
We could learn the Spanish equivalents of the Latin words we have already learned, and notice the ones which are cognates and the ones which are not. We could look at the differences in pronunciation of the different letters (and talk about language-development phenomena like consonant shifts and loss of inflection).
Just as we now recite amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant, we could recite amo, amas, ama, amamos, amáis, aman (or maybe it would be amamos, aman, aman -- we want Latin American Spanish, not Castilian. Those of you who took high school Spanish with an emphasis on American Spanish, did you bother with vosotros?).
Spanish nouns don't decline, but we could introduce Spanish prepositions in the context of the Latin cases that encompass their meanings.
And all that time, we could try to make up for our lack of emphasis on speaking and listening by using Spanish-language music, cinema, TV, radio, in our homes. Maybe I'll splurge and get Rosetta Stone at some point.
As for vocabulary, we could start with the same lexicon that we use in Latin -- not colors and days of the week and numbers, but charioteer and soldier and commander and hill and river and eternal and heaven and lamb and law and slave and ally and message and envoy -- that mishmash of military and ecclesiastical terms that you learn when you're aiming to read, not a menu or a bus schedule, but the Pater Noster and the Gallic Wars.
And we could use those words and find out how to make Spanish sentences as well as Latin ones.
But later, when we already have some grammar learned, we could use a "vocabulary-builder" program to begin learning those basic Spanish words. Maybe it will all go faster when we know from the beginning how to put the words into sentences.
And eventually, perhaps we will be able to dispatch our charioteers to the cinema with their friends -- in Latin and Spanish.
*I have found one Spanish curriculum that is grammar-intensive despite being aimed at elementary school kids. That is Spanish for Children sold by Classical Academic Press. Its methodology is very close to Memoria Press's Latin.
The Londoner who walks home with three bags of groceries will never eat the contents of one of them: One-third of all the food bought in Britain is thrown away every year. Americans discarded a staggering 33 million tons of food in 2009, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — making food the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. municipal landfills and incinerators. It costs the United States nearly one billion dollars a year to dispose of food waste.
The countries of South and Southeast Asia produce less food per capita than industrialized countries in the West, but they waste roughly the same proportion, 30 to 35 percent. Although tiny Singapore needs to import more than 90 percent of its food supply, in 2008 it nonetheless threw out some 570 million kilos, or one-fifth of the total — mostly edible scraps.
One thing I found interesting is that different places waste food in different ways. This suggests that an approach to decreasing waste will have to be tailored to local economies and infrastructures.
In industrialized countries, much of the loss occurs at the consumer level, after the food has reached supermarkets and stores. This is partly because food expenses as a percentage of a family’s income have come down significantly in the West, especially relative to transportation and housing costs, which have gone up. People don’t throw away designer clothes or iPhones; these have what economists call “scarcity” value. Food does not.
The issue is different in the developing world. Some 35 to 45 percent of the food produced is also lost there every year, but typically well before the supplies even reach buyers. Most waste occurs during and just after harvesting and at the distribution stage.
India, the world’s second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, loses about 40 percent of that production because of mismanagement, inadequate infrastructure and storage, poor transportation, shoddy supply-chain logistics, and underdeveloped markets. It also loses more than one-third of its cereals.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: the "eat local" movement can only take you so far towards reducing food-related energy and land consumption. And it has the potential to hurt economies that depend on shipping their specialities to where they are wanted and where they can command premium prices (for example, South American fruit and vegetable growers that supply North America's winter cravings).
Concentrating on reducing consumption by reducing food waste is really a win-win alternative.
But this makeup ad campaign is pretty cool. From Kara at Mama Sweat:
On a cold April morning I was in Central Park with about 10,000 other woman for the EIF Revlon Run Walk for Women and participated in the free makeover Revlon offered at the finish line. Who turns down a free makeover? I just filled out a short form about why I consider myself a role model, got my hair pouffed, then my photo taken.
After the primping I ran back to my hotel and thought noting of it until Revlon contacted me months later to say I had been chosen for an ad campaign that would run in People Magazine.