Friday, December 18, 2009

Coffee could help keep Type 2 diabetes away

Good news for the addicted among us. Even better news for those of us coffee junkies (like me) with a history of Type 2 diabetes in our families. From the LA Times:

The study, which appears today in Archives of Internal Medicine, is a meta-analysis of 457,922 people in 18 studies published between 1966 and 2009 that looked at the link between drinking coffee and diabetes risk. After analyzing the research, the study authors concluded that every extra cup of coffee consumed in one day was correlated with a 7% decrease in the excess risk of diabetes. Even better results were found for bigger coffee and tea consumers--drinking three to four cups a day was associated with about a 25% reduced diabetes risk compared with those who drank between none and two cups day.

Researchers also saw positive results with decaf coffee and tea (some tea varieties do have caffeine, but typically far less than the average cup of coffee). People who drank more than three to four cups of decaf a day had about a one-third lower risk than those who didn't drink any. And tea drinkers who consumed more than three to four cups a day had about a one-fifth lower diabetes risk than non-tea drinkers.

Someone else's poem

Author Latayne C. Scott shared an old poem of hers on the group writing blog "Novel Matters" today. I've become friends in the last couple of years with some musicians of the sort that it's a privilige just to listen to the practice. I appreciate this poem.

I watch his fingers
Teasing the piano
As he caresses the ivory teeth
It purrrrrrrs
Harder now – he strikes
A glancing blow off the black fang

An answering roar

ah Rachmaninoff
just because my soul is not in
my fingertips does not
mean I do not have one

A recipe that I keep meaning to try

I had this once at a potluck and promptly begged the chef for the recipe. It has rested since then in my recipes binder . . . I think that what really made this dish the time I had it was that the bread was a most excellent foccacia . . .

Breakfast Casserole:
10 cups bread cubes, 1/4" diced
5 large eggs
8 oz. prosciutto, coarsely chopped
8 oz. shredded mozarella
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups whole milk
minced garlic (I can't make out how much is called for--1 . . . tsp.? Tbsp? head? . . . to taste)
4 oz. sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
fresh parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Toast bread cubes. Make a mixture of the beaten eggs, milk, sour cream and garlic. Put 1/2 bread cubes in a 9 x 13 greased pan. Layer ham, tomatoes, mozarella. Top with remaining bread. Pour egg mixture over the whole thing. Let sit refrigerated overnight (8+ hours). Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and top with parmesan. Continue baking for another 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The acceptance of "I" comes with the acceptance of "you"

The root of man’s joy is the harmony he enjoys with himself. He lives in this affirmation. And only one who can accept himself can also accept the you, can accept the world. The reason why an individual cannot accept the you, cannot come to terms with him, is that he does not like his own Iand, for that reason, cannot accept a you. Something strange happens here. We have seen that the inability to accept one’s I leads to the inability to accept a you. But how does one go about affirming, assenting to, one’s I? The answer may perhaps be unexpected: we cannot do so by our own efforts alone. Of ourselves, we cannot come to terms with ourselves. Our I becomes acceptable to us only if it has first become acceptable to another I. We can love ourselves only if we have first been loved by someone else. The life a mother gives to her child is not just physical life; she gives total life when she takes the child’s tears and turns them into smiles. It is only when life has been accepted and is perceived as accepted that it becomes also acceptable. Man is that strange creature that needs not just physical birth but also appreciation if he is to subsist . . . If an individual is to accept himself, someone must say to him: “It is good that you exist” – must say it, not with words, but with that act of the entire being that we call love. For it is the way of love to will the other’s existence and, at the same time, to bring that existence forth again. The key to the I lies with the you; the way to the you leads through the I.

--Benedict XVI

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ancient Roman Boursin

Translation courtesy of Klio

1 to 5 heads of garlic (whole bulbs, not cloves. We used 1. Susan is brave, but not 5-heads-of-garlic brave.)
8 ounces Pecorino-Romano cheese
2 teaspoons celery leaf
1 teaspoon rosemary (substituted for the original rue)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 handful coriander leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

Chop the garlic and shred the cheese, or chop cheese into small blocks if using a food processor. Combine the herbs and salt and grind together in mortar with garlic, or use food processor to combine. Add the cheese to your bowl or food processor and do same. Add olive oil and vinegar and mix thoroughly into a paste. Form into a ball (you can spoon the mixture into some plastic wrap and use that to shape it).

Ta-da! You are done! Set out with some hearty dark bread that can stand up to its flavour. Serves about a dozen bold-hearted guests.

Leftovers are said to get better as the ingredients combine, but this wouldn't last overnight in my house.