Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter Salads


Photo courtesy Flickr

These will carry you over the slack period between Christmas and the New Year. They store well, use ingredients that store equally well, and are kind to the innards.

Old school cole slaw makes it easy to add yet another serving of vegetables to a healthy day’s diet. The in-house blade lover keeps his Dexter cleaver razor sharp and chops cabbage into tiny flakes. He adds finely grated carrot, a little sugar, red pepper flakes, white vinegar, and a neutral oil.

Equally old school fruit salad is an improviser’s dream year round. Winter apples, citrus, nuts, and dried fruit combine obligingly. Prunes and slivered almonds have a delicious symbiosis. I dress a fruit salad with a little oil to protect cut surfaces from browning, add lemon juice, and now and then a little liqueur that might compliment the ingredients.

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More after the jump.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Threads 2014


Photo courtesy Flickr

A mentor advised me to choose clothing with travel in mind. Doing so has slashed the volume of my wardrobe, allowed me to store much of it folded in a cedar chest that also works as coffee table and seating, and has enabled public transportation for daily life.

I like to spend a few minutes surfing clothing on Sunday mornings, checking favorite sites for developments. Fashion per se is not my friend, but I dearly love high-tech. There’s a fascinating fusion of street and field on the horizon. Canada’s Flying Dinosaur Parka Company seems to have the lead in this area. They won my respect some years ago when a French designer used their coated waterproof nylon zipper one season after it appeared on the racks at the Great Big Hiking Co-op’s nearby flagship store.

Several winters ago, I treated myself to a featherweight rainproof jacket from Deep South America. The piece is cut in a subtle variation of a pea coat. When the blazer reappeared last year, I realized that the jacket will do very well for my purposes. Flying Dinosaur markets two variants of classic men’s jackets, one a three-button sack suit top, the other with lapels cut in a wickedly clever take on a dinner jacket. That piece would make a sensational variant of a boyfriend jacket. Both are made up in the latest iteration of breathable waterproof nylon.

FD has also been selling a warm wool coat with integral scuba hood that appears to have been influenced by a prominent punk designer from LA who now works out of Paris. A close-fitting hood is a very good thing, indeed, combining portable warmth, protection from pests on public transportation, and a veil of privacy when catching the odd nap here and there.

Sites that specialize in travel clothing also seem to specialize in communicating dowdy prosperity. At times, that suits my purposes very well. I find it helpful to surf these sites, Dilly and Travelmaker, to discover which things I already own are recommended as useful items when on the road.

Broadcast news stories make it clear that a global wardrobe is evolving. Since textiles burden the environment, I enjoy lightening the load by finding essential combinations of garments with the widest range of applications. Realizing that designer clothing ages one and that one ought not to look like a Christmas tree has been very helpful, as has deciding that a scarf does a better job of camouflaging my neck than jewelry.


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More after the jump.