Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Saturday Morning Walkers - November 23, 2008

Hi everyone!

I was sorry to have missed yesterday's walk - I think that Laila, Mary and Irma did a route around South Boulder and then met for coffee at Caffe Sole. We have had beautiful weather this weekend so I'm sure they enjoyed their walk.

Book Report:

I am well into The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and I now know what Mandy A. meant when she said it impacted her life! It is quite an eye-opener about the food we eat - Pollan takes what could be a really dry subject and presents it in a very engaging way.

I heard about another food related book that I'm going to look for at the library - it is Chef MD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine by John La Puma, MD. I heard him talk on Mehmet Oz's XM radio program and it was pretty intriguing. Check out his website -

I chatted with Sandy, a friend of Rita's, the other night and she reminded me of a book that I read and loved several years ago - Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone - Reichl is currently the editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine and was the food critic for the LA Times and the New York Times. This is her first of 3 memoirs that she has written about her life and food. She's a wonderful storyteller and I may have to re-read this one for the sheer pleasure of it.

Sandy is also reading a travel memoir by Rita Golden Gelman - Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World - Gelman is the author of many children's books and this book chronicles her journey out into the world, leaving behind her comfortable California lifestyle and marriage, heading out on her own. I love reading travel memoirs by women - this especially calls to mind a favorite of mine, Without Reservations: Travels of an Independent Woman by journalist Alice Steinbach.

Tales of a Female Nomad
From Library Journal
Fifteen years ago, the middle-aged Gelman (author of over 70 children's books, including More Spaghetti, I Say!) left behind an upscale California lifestyle and fading marriage to begin an odyssey that continues to this day. Using a well-paced and fluid writing style, Gelman describes how she observed orangutans in the rain forests of Borneo, canoed in Indonesia, ate psychedelic mushrooms in Mexico, and skirted landmines in Nicaragua. Wherever she travels, it is the people and their customs that intrigue her most, from the restrictive but culturally rich celebrations of a Hasidic family in Israel to the more relaxed but equally ritualized daily life of her new friends in Bali. Her enthusiasm for the people she meets and her ability to overcome the challenges faced by a woman traveling alone make for an engrossing and inspirational read.

Without Reservations
From Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steinbach took an extended leave from her newspaper job to travel around Europe in search of spontaneity. She started off in Paris, where she got romantically involved with a Japanese man and shopped; moved on to London, where she shopped some more; took a course at Oxford University; and headed to Italy, where she wandered through Milan, Venice, Rome, and the Tuscan countryside--and shopped a bit more. Chapters begin with postcards sent to Alice from Alice, each with a bit of advice or a lesson learned. Steinbach, divorced and with grown children, appears to be much at ease traveling alone, making new friends along the way. Her mental journey through the past and present and the reassessment of her life, rather than descriptions of the places visited or the people met, are at the heart of the narrative. This pleasant, slightly romantic, but unremarkable journey will find an audience in large public libraries

Jacob has a new favorite series of books that he read to his PopPop on his recent visit - it is the Ricky Ricotta Mighty Robot series by Dave Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame. If you have any young readers in your life who are into robots and space adventure, this may be a great gift.
Product Description
Enter a galaxy of fun and discover how Ricky befriends the Mighty Robot for the first time, before battling such sinister spacemonsters as Mercurian Mosquitoes, Vultures from Venus, and Martian Mecha-Monkeys! Each early chapter book has action-packed Flip-O-Rama and instructions on how to draw each character! Also includes a cool sticker sheet featuring Ricky, his Robot, and all the bad guys! It's a collection that's truly out of this world! "Pilkey fans, science-fiction aficionados, and reluctant readers won't want to miss [this series]."--SLJ
I'd love to hear from more of you about what you're reading these days.

Website of the Week: - another interesting site for gifts - this is a place where you can buy and sell handcrafted items - I'm pretty impressed with the quality of many of them. Some my very creative friends (you knitters, felters, sewers, quilters, painters, soap makers and altar makers) should consider submitting some of your work on this site.

Podcast of the Week: from American Public Media

Vocabulary Word of the Week - gratitude
From Wikipedia
Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. In contrast to the positive feeling of gratitude, the feeling of indebtedness is a negative reaction to a favor (Tsang, 2006a; Watkins, Scheer, Ovnicek, & Kolts, 2006). Even though our reactions to favors might not always be positive, researchers have found that people express gratitude often. Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to experience gratitude when they receive a favor that is perceived to be (1) valued by the recipient, (2) costly to the benefactor, (3) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions, and (4) given gratuitously (rather than out of role-based obligations) (e.g., Bar-Tal, Bar-Zohar, Greenberg, & Hermon, 1977; Graham, 1988; Lane & Anderson, 1976; Tesser, Gatewood, & Driver, 1968). Individuals who are induced to feel grateful are more likely to behave prosocially toward their benefactor (Tsang, 2006b) or toward unrelated others (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006).

Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors. For example, Carey and colleagues (Carey, Clicque, Leighton, & Milton, 1976) found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Rind and Bordia (1995) found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks.

Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). For example, Watkins and colleagues (Watkins et al., 2003) had participants test a number of different gratitude exercises, such as thinking about a living person for whom they were grateful, writing about someone for whom they were grateful, and writing a letter to deliver to someone for whom they were grateful. Participants in the control condition were asked to describe their living room. Participant who engaged in a gratitude exercise showed increases in their experiences of positive emotion immediately after the exercise, and this effect was strongest for participants who were asked to think about a person for whom they were grateful. Participants who had grateful personalities to begin with showed the greatest benefit from these gratitude exercises. In people who are grateful in general, life events have little influence on experienced gratitude (McCullough, Tsang & Emmons, 2004).

Although gratitude is something that anyone can experience, some people seem to feel grateful more often than others. People who tend to experience gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003)

Cooking and DIning Report: Several recipes including some dishes that I've made ahead for Thanksgiving

Utlimate Cheater Pulled Pork from The Splendid Table - quite delicious and couldn't be easier!

Mushroom and Fontina Quesadillas from Fine Cooking - nice light casual dinner.

Pasta with White Sausage Sauce from Mark Bittman of the New York Times - Helen and I loved this one - I did add garlic and used red wine for the liquid, as he suggested.

Here are the Thanksgiving make-aheads:

Sauteed Mushroom with Oregano from the Romeo Salta Cookbook - check out this blog post from last year

Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Cloves from Bon Appetit -

Creamy Red Pepper Soup from Giada de Laurentiis - tasted while I was cooking - be liberal with salt and pepper - nice and creamy and no cream in sight - except for the dollop of mascarpone cheese that will go on before serving - that one potato goes a long way.

I want to mention the wonderful Peppery Cheese, Nut and Cornmeal Cookies/Crackers that Rita served the other night. They were fantastic and come from The JimTown Store Cookbook - I can't find the recipe online and it is a bit long to include here so perhaps I'll put it in next week - it made a great appetizer and I am planning on serving it with my soup on Thanksgiving. If you're too intrigued to wait, let me know and I'll send you the recipe separately.

Quote of the Week - from John F. Kennedy on gratitude - fitting at this time leading up to Thanksgiving and following the anniversary of the death of our former President

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday - I am most thankful for my family and dear friends for being part of my life.


1 comment:

John L said...

Thanks for shout-out!
It was fun to write the book, and to read your reviews: I love your passion for great food and great health too. 2009 is the Year of the Home Cook, and we’re out to make it easy and fun…and culinary medicine, to boot.
Keep up the great work.
Best regards,
John La Puma, MD

n.b. will send your blog readers--and everyone else!--my free, quick, healthy, easy recipes every week—check out