Rants & Raves 2/9/13

Oh, the webbernet! It gets me all riled up with dire news and mainstream idiocy, then blammo! it hits me with something so awesome, it must be shared. Welcome to this week’s collection of Rants & Raves!


Even though I love the title “Rants & Raves,” I’ve been thinking about making these posts pure inspiration, avoiding negativity to focus on the positive. But then I stumbled over these stories, and my Rage-O-Meter went off… and now I want to sent off your Rage-O-Meter ’cause that’s how I like to share.

Throw a poor dog a bone!
Sigh. Now some vegans are feeding their dogs vegan diets. Says Ken Butland, a vegan in Toronto, Canada, “Anyone who’s dependent like a child or an animal, it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m not buying products that are dependent on exploitation to other animals.” OK. I don’t want to be too juvenile, but his name is BUTland (Heh, you said butt.) and his dogs names are “Major Wigglebottoms IV” and “Willie Kerfluffington II.” Like it wasn’t insulting enough to give his dogs names so embarrassing they can’t show their faces at the dog park, he’s feeding them green beans, cabbage, and carrots instead of meat. Read more.

How about a nice glass of water instead?

During the most highly-rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC this week, Coca-Cola will be running a new ad that purports to take on the obesity epidemic. “The ad lays out Coca-Cola’s record of providing drinks with fewer calories and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda.” Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that soda is poisonous junk. As this story points out, “New research in the past year also suggests that sugary drinks cause people to pack on the pounds independent of other behavior.” Read more. (And take a sip of this: “…studies have found links between obesity risk and sugary drink consumption, including research that found drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight gain and a study that found swapping sugary drinks out of a child’s home for water or diet drinks may lead to weight loss.” [from CBSnews.com])

cokeiscrapThis is a frame from the new Coca-Cola commercial touting their commitment to low-calorie drinks.

And coming as a surprise to exactly no one…

According to a new study on strokes, “Deep-fried foods may be causing trouble in the Deep South. People whose diets are heavy on them and sugary drinks like sweet tea and soda were more likely to suffer a stroke.” This is a very sad and serious issue in our Southern states. The study looked at traditional Southern foods and found: “Blacks were five times more likely than whites to have the Southern dietary pattern linked with the highest stroke risk. And blacks and whites who live in the South were more likely to eat this way than people in other parts of the country were.” Read more.


Let’s get to the good stuff!

Get the hook!
In honor of getting reacquainted with power cleans this week, I wanted to share a flashback to a post I wrote about the Hook Grip. Hook is tremendously helpful on clean, snatch, and deadlift. It can be uncomfortable at first, but it comes in really handy. (Yeah, I made that joke.) Read the whole post about Hook Grip.


I think Jennifer Lawrence should be my new BFF…

… and totally hang out with J.Lo. and me. I love this list of the 25 best quotes from J.Law. Like this one: “Why do you want to discuss my weight? I mean… it doesn’t matter how much I weigh.” and “If I don’t have anything to do all day, I might not even put my pants on.” I think she’s a badass actress and so beautiful, but totally willing to be silly and uncool. See? My new BFF. Read more of her quotes (with animated gifs!)


Leftovers: Love ’em or leave ’em?

For me, leftovers aren’t really “leftovers,” they’re breakfast! But some people really have an aversion to eating the remnants of last night’s meal. Epicurious explores the role that leftovers play in our kitchens: “The subject of leftovers was one of the favorite preoccupations of the cookery experts of the late 19th century.…” Read more.

Bittersweet and beautiful

From the early 1900s through the ’60s, when patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane died, they often left behind suitcases that contained the personal items they’d brought with them to the asylum. Now photographer John Crispin is photographing their contents and giving a visual voice to these long-gone souls.

There’s something very poignant about the collected odds and ends: a bright yellow alarm clock, a dress pattern, a war ration book, pressed flowers. This article tells the story behind the suitcases and the efforts to preserve them —  John Crispin’s web site shares updates and more photos.


The sentiment of this photography project is not unlike the underlying theme of a book I recently read and loved a painful amount. It’s called The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, and it’s a memoir of author Daniel Mendelsohn’s search to find details about relatives he lost to the Holocaust. It’s a beautifully moving account that’s also a detective story as he pieces together what his family members were like when they were people, rather than legends who were “killed by the Nazis,” as his immediate family always described them. Mendelsohn’s efforts to make his relatives three-dimensional are similar to Crispin’s desire to document the important minutiae of the lives of the asylum inmates. Both stories are so beautiful and sad.

While I’m being melancholy… here are some very sweet, cookbook-related stories that really touched my heart:

The Tipsy Baker does it again.
It’s no secret that The Tipsy Baker (a.k.a., author Jennifer Reese) is one of my favorite writers. In this piece, she reflects on the way her cookbooks have become a sort of personal diary. So sweet!

The Importance of Cookbooks
Will Levitt, a food writer in Brooklyn, wrote a moving story about sharing cookbooks with his grandmother. Dare you not to get choked up.

The NYTimes gets in on it, too.
This is another look at annotated cookbooks and the ways recipes can help us share details about ourselves, along with cooking instructions.


I also kinda want Gordon Ramsey to join my BFF posse.

This video is great for cooking a totally hedonistic dessert, but the real treat comes at the end, so do yourself a solid and stick around to the last frame.

A Final Thought…

This is a pretty great video from Slim Is Simple (SIS), a new nonprofit for nutrition education. SIS will provide free multimedia resources to explain ancestral nutrition science as it relates to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease — and they’re targeting schools, churches, and other community organizations. I think this video does a solid job of reframing healthy eating habits without using the Paleo label. The term “Paleo” can be divisive, so it’s wonderful to get this info out in a neutral package.

OK. Just one more thing…

The Super Bowl was totally freaking awesome! What a nail-biter! I will also be inviting John Harbaugh, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, to join my BFF gang. And because of the epic levels of awesome in this tantrum, I might invite his brother Jim, too. (Also invited to join the BFF gang, Jacoby Jones for his 108-yard touchdown; see it here.)


(This is kind of how I behave when I read that something like chili at the fancy grocery store soup bar includes corn, soy, and wheat additives.)

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  • Sam says:

    love this post! My oh my. so many rant worthy things. That coca cola advert is just killing me. Anyone who thinks anything from them could be healthy is misinformed. I remember maybe a year or two ago, i was craving juice and i thought hey, ill have a vitamin water instead, its got VITAMINS, right? after i bought it from the machine I read the label and noticed what it has in abundance over vitamins is sugar!!!! what a scam. and that’s just the first item on the list. I wont go into detail about every other thing in this post, it would take all day! I want JL to be my bff too though!

  • ShonaSunshine says:

    I love Gordon Ramsay (and his cheeky last sentence in the YouTube video)! If you haven’t already, check out his Ultimate Cookery Course video series. It’s a 20-part series of 20-minute lessons including recipes and chef-grade lessons and tips on food preparation. Even his lesson on something as simple as pan-frying I found invaluable and I really think I’ve become a better cook because of it. The first episode: http://goo.gl/C8xW7

  • Kathleen says:

    A few things:
    1. Naming your dog Sir Wigglebottoms IV is more exploitative to animals than feeding your dog an ethically raised and butchered piece of meat.
    2. Leftovers are delicious! I think MOST foods taste better next day.

  • Marisa H says:

    The really sad thing is that they lumped liver in with the “bad southern food” category!

  • Tami says:

    Hmmmm, wonder if that bad dog-naming vegan dude was the same guy in this commercial?


  • David says:

    This past Christmas my mom gave each of her daughters and daughters-in-law a hand written copy of all of the favorite family recipes that have been proven and re-surfaced at family gatherings over the years. Although I am the dad I am the cook (so therapeutic) so this book is special to me, and I realized it is my responsibility to continue to add to the book for the kids and grandkids. However this post has helped confirm what I already thought which is to include the family stories (and anecdotes) along with the recipes; how cool will that be! Looking forward to this project! Thanks for sharing

  • Hannah says:

    Thank you for sharing the ‘suitcase’ article. I really enjoyed reading about it and will be reading the book you suggested.

  • Lisa V says:

    That six in six million book has really haunted me since I read it. I can’t get some of the scenes of atrocities out of my head, and the author did an amazing job of following the story.

  • Amy says:

    Oh man…I read The Lost: a Search for Six of Six Million several years ago. It was so intense that it took me a long, long time to get through it because I kept having to take breaks. I’m no stranger to Holocaust literature, but that one just about broke me. Very moving.