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Friday, August 31, 2001


two words: cult chocolate. . .


posted by fortune elkins | 8:03 PM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, August 29, 2001


The following is from the book Advanced Nutritional Therapies by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, 1998, page 131:

"In general, small amounts of caffeine each day seem to have no negative impact on health for most people and, in fact, may even be helpful. . .

In a study published in March 1996 in the American Medical Association's archives of internal Medicine, researchers at the Harvard Medical School reported that women who drink coffee are less likely to commit suicide than those who do not. Although the study has been criticized, it is consistent with another investigation conducted in 1993 by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, which found a lower risk of suicide among people who drink caffeine-containing beverages.

Also, a 1990 study on caffeine revealed that as little as 100 milligrams per day (less than one moderately strong cup of coffee) could increase feelings of well-being, energy, and motivation to work. .....

Also on the positive side are numerous clinical and anecdotal reports that caffeine can improve mental acuity and, in some cases, athletic performance.

But there are also negatives associated with this stimulant in some people, especially when it is taken in large doses. These include:

*Aggravation of irritable bowel syndrome.

*Increasing symptoms associated with prostrate infections.

*Magnified side effects, such as headaches or anxiety when caffeine is combined with birth control pills.

*Shortness of breath.

*Headaches.

*Irregular heartbeat.

*Insomnia.

*Prevention of conception. A study at Johns Hopkins University, conducted in 1995 and reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that women who consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day -- about 3 cups of coffee (or 8 caffeine containing sodas) -- reduce their chance of pregnancy by 26 percent.

Extra Scientific Information

*Taken in doses commonly available in one cup of coffee, caffeine can significantly improve the therapeutic potential in humans of acetaminophen (the pain reliever in TylenolŪ), concluded Pakistani researchers in Biopharmacy and Drug Dispositions, August 1995, pp 481-7.

*After reviewing the results of seventeen studies researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine that coffee, tea, and other beverages containing caffeine do not cause any persistent elevations in blood pressure. Even in people who do not consume caffeine on a regular basis, the blood pressure elevations that occur after caffeine consumption are short-lived, lasting only one day at most. But if noticeable heartbeat irregularities occur with caffeine intake, the substance must be avoided in all forms, including coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate."

so of course we must drink our coffee in moderation; more than 3 cups a day seems as if you're headed for the insomnia and other mild but negative side effects.

still, what a useful substance: reduces suicide! now how many things can do that? (tastes nicer than prozac too, probably.) makes tylenol work better! what's not to like?

posted by fortune elkins | 6:27 PM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, August 28, 2001


summer's winding down, headed towards the long labor day holiday. this means cooler weather's soon afoot.

cooler weather means we'll be able to ship chocolate, so that big backlog of artisan chocolate houses i've heard about can finally start taking orders after the holiday.

further, it's back to pizza weather. time to gear up and review the standards for the true authentic neapolitan pie. that's right kiddies: start now to review the official neapolitan pizza discipline. as you can see, there are only 4 kinds of real pizza.

pop quiz later. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 7:10 PM | top | link to this |


Sunday, August 26, 2001


excuse me, but i'm in a trance . . .

just got back from dinner at the brooklyn wing of the famed blue ribbon restaurant. where the chocolate bruno, a flourless, moussy-cake with a deep espresso flavor is . . . .ineffable. modest on its white chocolate base, ornamented by three dollops of ciao bella and hot fudge sauce. . . . a must. the profiteroles will also do ya, trust me.

all-in-all an amazing day. . .mr. right managed to fix the saeco 2002 grinder, so i could start the morning with a sublime cup of the mohonk roasters' shawangunk morning blend. i just can't stop talking about this coffee. . .the harrar received excellent reviews from everyone who happened into a 1/4-lb of it, including john from two for the pot. high praise indeed.

the day improved from there: having received an excellent ayurvedic thing, a rasayana, i ate some. the kind given to me is basically a delicious carob jam. being li'l ms. experimentalist, i decided to follow the advice and take it. you can just eat it as is, dissolve it in hot water or -- and here's where it got interesting -- stuff some into dates.

naturally i rushed out to get fine medjool dates. before i stuffed the creamy substance into the center, i tasted some plain. unlike anything i'd ever tasted: that kind of cocoa taste associated with carob, as well as cardomom, fennel, honey, butter, rosewater, and a little minty something in the aftertaste. it was like an arab dessert! after the initial surprise, i decided this was good stuff. but if you're the type who dislikes rosewater in food, it might not be for you. . .soaked the dates to soften them, filled 'em with this stuff . . .yummm.

then i got lucky: mr. right just bought a gorgeous new trek hybrid bike and took it out for a spin. rushing down atlantic avenue he ran into some fresh dates! fresh dates are hard to find: a gentle butter color when unripe; ripe, a darkened gold, with an almost bruised and wet appearance as the delicious sticky sugar comes to the surface. naturally i had to try this carob jam with a fresh date -- now that's a delicious surprise.

often when i tell people that i'm interested more and more in ayurveda they give me a look, like uh-oh, she's gone off the deep end with this yoga stuff now. but honestly, who could object to a system whereby one absolutely has to eat honey, butter, cardomom every day? and bathes in scented almond oil? who can't get behind these concepts?

since i spend so much time at the computer, i pretty much have a permanent furrow in my forehead from squinting at the screen. often i have a little ache right in the center of my forehead, like a dull push-pin is lodged underneath the skin. it's pretty much a constant feature for me nowadays. but i must say that within a short time after eating the fresh date with carob jam, it went away for the first time in at least two weeks.

if this keeps up, i'm living on the stuff. . . did i mention the chocolate bruno? did i??

posted by fortune elkins | 6:03 PM | top | link to this |

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