Experimental cuisine

I'm just back from watching Ratatouille, the latest Pixar chef-d'oeuvre with S & M, and we enjoyed it no end! I know I've been gushing about The Incredibles when it was hitting the screens, and I still am. But what's so amazing is how perfectly Pixar adapts its productions' style and general demeanour to the respective story line. Looking at the end titles, this does not come without an immense effort, of course. Yet, it's worth every minute of it - go see yourself! I particularly liked the creepily anemic food critic Anton Ego, who really comes to life thanks to Peter O'Toole's voice. Or the rather clever way in which synaesthesia is used to approximate flavour, and how it is replicated in demonstrating flavour to the little chef's dimwit rat brother. Probably too clever by half for those hacks who condescendingly deem this movie a rather touching children's film ...

So, while a Parisian high-end restaurant operated by a bunch of rats will certainly outdo every competition in terms of its experimental nature, I've been coming across experimental cuisine (a.k.a. molecular cuisine) time and again lately, not least in an excellent article in Intelligent Life. I haven't tried that way of preparing food, yet, but I certainly will. Often times, people argue against it because the highly sophisticated ways in which the culinary experiences are prepared arguably destroy the "natural form of the food". The best counter-argument to date comes from the article I linked to above: "What is cooking if not the craft of «destroying the natural form» of foods, and turning them into something better, tastier and safer?" Next time I hear someone argue against "molecular" food, I'll ask how they like their raw meat etc ...


Fruit matters

Yay! I just ordered a top of the range iMac (think 24", 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 750 GB HD) yesterday, and now I am auctioning my good old Cinema Display. How disloyal is that! No bids taken for the MacBook btw, I'll keep that around for my mobile computing needs.


Wise evolution

Here is an intuitively convincing essay which is meant to demonstrate the possibility of evolutionary systems despite of their counter-intuitivity. I like the style and the ambition (via /.).

Tales from the Emerald Isle

It's true, my blogging is getting lazy: It's over ten days that we've returned from the family trip to Ireland, the 1600+ pics have been distilled down to half that, about 250 of which have ended up in an iPhoto photo book (highly commendable!) which is already here, but I still haven't blogged about the trip in any detail. Given that I don't approve of the no time excuse as a matter of principle (it's always a question of priorities), I have nothing to hide behind other than that. Yet, here's Ireland redux in pictures.

Anyways, onwards to greener pastures, literally: Ireland is a fabulous destination for a family round trip. Here's the approximate route we took during our eight days. A word of caution is in order at this point: Don't be ambitious about the mileage you can do, many of the cross country roads are still charmingly scenic, which is a euphemism for narrow and somewhat bumpy, and don't rely to heavily on any one map. I brought my trusty TomTom, and yet we had to rely not only on C's navigational skills, but also on the occasionally rather epic directions of extremely helpful and friendly publicans. So, give yourself time - travelling Ireland is not a rushing matter. Also, make sure that you're fit: one of our drivers currently suffers from a herniation apparently contracted on the drive.

Our night quarters were, in order of sequence: Cabra Castle for one night, Dromoland Castle and Park Hotel Kenmare for two nights each, Waterford Castle and finally, Kilkea Castle. So, plenty of old stones, and yet, the experience was quite fresh everywhere. We were particularly surprised about the consistently high quality of the food everywhere - not to speak of the quantities. Obviously, the chefs cater mostly to Americans rather than French guests, even though the latter would hardly find anything to complain about, except for the over-priced wine list maybe. But then again, we were travelling with a wine expert, and Ireland is certainly not grape country. The altogether most outstanding experiences were to be had at Dromoland and Kenmare. Waterford shone with its Victorian infrastructure (sic!) and its high potential (meaning it has a bit of catching up to do), whereas Kilkea appeared a bit, erm, rustic?

Thus, we had a great impression of the spectacular beauty of the Irish countryside and its heritage. We did not get much exposure to modern Ireland and its contemporary culture, but that was not the purpose of the trip anyway. So there's something for next time, right?


How does it feel?

The New Scientist answers a question that probably everyone wonders about: How does it feel to die? Interesting!


Hello from Ireland!

Did I mention that I am currently staying in Ireland for a few days with a bunch of family? I can already recommend to stay here and here! At Cabra, do not forget to meet Oscar, the Irish Wolfhound castle dog - an impressive appearance!