Discovery Sunday

25 September 2011

It’s the conundrum of my adult life that I have ever more on my mind and ever less mind with which to process it. No wonder kids think adults are nuts. I remember as a kid I thought my aunt was so crazy when she put Prell (remember Prell, that green shampoo in a tube from the ’70s?) on her toothbrush instead of toothpaste and only realized it once she started brushing and gagged. Last week I conditioned my hair with shaving cream (in my defense, it was in fat tube like my conditioner). And I realized that in about 30 years my kids will have compassion for my current-day lapses in sanity.

I’ve been saving up my favorite reading from the last few weeks as I’ve been catching up. So some of this may be old news to you, but I figure most of you, like me, aren’t exactly on the cutting edge of current information. I’ve highlighted in bold the main points here so you can quickly scan and see if there’s anything here that piques your interest.

Brain food

Smithsonian Magazine has a fascinating article about the extraordinarily successful public education system that Finland has developed over the last 40 years. The secrets?

  1. High respect for teachers, attracting the best candidates in the way Teach for America does here.
  2. Best and brightest teachers, from top 10% of university graduates.
  3. Entrusting teachers with broad autonomy to guide their classrooms and students as they see fit.

The Economist had an intriguing article about women’s flight from marriage in Asia, where through education women have made gains in the workplace but not in the home. The new financially independent class of women in Asia is saying no to the burdens and restrictions of traditional marriage. A generation-later reckoning is already coming in Asia as a consequence of the horrifyingly common practice of aborting female fetuses, and this trend of women avoiding marriage will only make it harder in the future for millions of men to find a mate. By 2050, there will be an estimated 60 million more men between the ages of 20 and 50 than women in China and India – almost as many men of that age as there will be in the entire United States. A large number of men without mates is inevitably a threat to women and to peaceful society, and the scale of this coming problem is alarming to consider.

On a much lighter note, I had to laugh at this post entitled The Curse of the Chinese School Cheater by a second-generation Chinese-American who now as an adult regrets as a child thwarting her parents’ efforts to teach her Mandarin. I know many of my friends will relate, especially the parents among us who hope to have our own kids learn a second language.


My Buckeye friends and family won’t want to miss this National Geographic Traveler article about 10 best fall trips, featuring our very own Columbus, Ohio – right up there with Ulanbaatar, Mongolia (!). Mentioned in the article are the historic neighborhood of German Village, the Short North arts district, apple and pumpkin picking at Lynd Fruit Farm (now on my fall weekend outing list), and of course our famed hometown favorite, Jeni’s Ice Cream.

For my Bay Area friends, I loved two August posts by the always-entertainng food blogger in Paris, David Lebovitz, who joined the 40th anniversary celebration of his old Berkeley employer, Chez Panisse, and had me drooling over Camino Restaurant in Oakland, started by another Alice Waters disciple.


David’s photographs inside Chez Panisse reminded me of the incomparably wonderful organic fruit orchard in Brentwood, Frog Hollow Farm, which silly me I just discovered has a CSA with pick-up locations all over the Bay Area. I am signing up the minute I get back to California. Frog Hollow’s fresh fruit is as gorgeous as it is flavorful, and their preserves are similarly sigh-inducing.

My mom started making her own soy milk this summer with a soy milk maker, and she loves it. Korean-Canadian natural health practitioner Dr Ben Kim recently posted his method for making soy milk at home with a pot and blender – much fresher and cheaper than buying it, and no special equipment needed.

Heidi from 101 Cookbooks and Shauna from Gluten-Free Girl both posted recipes for multipurpose sauces that I’d love to try. Heidi’s “magic sauce” is an herby olive oil, and Shauna’s smoked paprika chipotle sauce is a bright, spicy mayonnaise. Shauna’s recipe also has a great tip for preserving lemon rinds in salt, which is a good tip for my meyer lemon peeps in the Bay Area.

In Heidi’s archives is a popular cottage cheese breakfast muffin recipe that I want to make. It seems like the perfect on-the-go start to the day, especially for a cool fall morning.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

AmericanFamily 25 September 2011 at 12:00 pm

My husband is one of those second-generation Chinese Americans who really wants our kids to learn Chinese. We have been piecing together private tutors and a little Chinese school (we are currently Chinese school drop-outs) and creating our own Chinese groups, with mixed results. Some days, I am so impressed with their progress, other days I feel like we are wasting our time. We keep plugging away, though, in hopes that it will be much easier for the girls to learn when they are older if they want.


cg 25 September 2011 at 2:19 pm

good for you! we’ve not done so well but hoping it’s not too late. hard to fit it all in, isn’t it?


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