Friday, November 02, 2001
let me take another moment to thank so other folks who've been kind enough to link me. . .
My Lost City; Jill Matrix; Life as It Happens; Bgirl; Elsewhere. as you can see, many of these are related to the world trade center disaster.
although i've been working back downtown these past two weeks, i haven't written much about it. it's been a beautiful fall so far downtown; wide blue skies in a thin, corn syrup light that pours down the angles of the recently restored city hall and pools in shadow in all that building's nooks. the gold statue of justice on top shines brillantly at noon. when you walk out of the woolworth building, city hall park sits patiently right across broadway. it's really an underused jewel box, and the old-fashioned gaslights offer a charming glow. often the city leaves them on all day, but they are the most romantic at twilight. some of the most delicate streams of water in the city play from the 1871 stone fountain, and a light autumn breeze can blow the mist over you as you pass along the wrought iron fence underneath the trees. just one of the most beautiful moments in all of new york.
it's only a bit spoiled now by all the cement barriers and scaffolding to dissuade truck bombers; and the trucks hauling wreckage and equipment out as many of the emergency personnel begin to withdraw make for a sad sight. but the park still shines. and so it's hard not to feel a moment of glorious happiness as one rushes down the woolworth building's palatial staircase and bursts onto broadway in this liquid light. in fact, it's kind of embarrassing, now that we are supposed to be so sad.
so when i see how many other sites have linked to me, based on these events, i wonder if i ought to feel more somber. but i just don't. i'm going on with bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga in my own extremely dorky way.
anyway, enough navel-gazing! i think it's past time to pick up some baking supplies. . .i've a busy weekend planned. . .chocolate cake or pizza? chocolate cake or pizza? chocolate cake or pizza???
Thursday, November 01, 2001
first, let me thank all of you who stopped by for the more than 11,000 hits in october! i enjoyed having you visit. . .
when the calendar turns to november, that's when fall hits home for me. and cold weather means hot drinks: hot chocolate (that's tomorrow!) and more coffee. most of us drink a little coffee every day, mostly without thinking too much about it. or perhaps we bother to concern ourselves with the best way to make good coffee (french press or vac pot), the kind of roast on the bean (light or dark), the origin of the coffee (kenya or indonesia).
i'm not one for losing my sense of humor and getting all preachy -- much -- but let's take today to be a little mindful of the entire coffee process. it's a commodity -- the most traded on the planet after oil -- and it's often grown by the poorest farmers in the poorer countries. the superior varieties we coffee lovers seek out for their taste and quality, the "specialty" coffees, are for the most part not grown by large corporate farms, but by small enterprises or individual families on tiny plots of land.
i was forcefully reminded of this when reading an article on how the tragic events of the world trade center have affected the coffee world, because a significant portion of the world's coffee was traded in the world trade center complex. but the article goes on to discuss how the current world economy and depressed coffee prices are literally pressing the individual coffee farmers into desperate straits. so desperate that many may turn to ripping up their coffee trees -- some quite old and of rarer varieties -- to begin growing illegal drugs. of course, this would be undesirable; we would lose sources of good coffee and also face the problems created by a greater world drug economy.
therefore i'm thinking, in this already crazy time, that i should write my senators to encourage increased agricultural assistance to coffee farmers, to help them save rarer varieties or transition to legal and more profitable legal crops. silly i know. but the whole situation is food for thought, don't you agree? it's a funny reminder of the interconnection that exists between us nowadays. . .
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
on the promised chocolate front. . .
my friends, this is killer stuff: the bernard castelain 72% with coffee. his 77% would be excellent with coffee after dinner, or if you can afford 6 to 9 oz. of it, to melt down as is with some butter and use as a frosting for a devil's food cake.
or for you scharffenberger fans (hiya jyothi!). . .here.
maybe i should replace my plan to make pizza this weekend with one to make cake. . .but that would require mr. right to level our oven, which leans worse than the tower of pisa. . .
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
i swear this is the last post about the grinder. . .
while the italgi jr and the demoka m-203 look very similar, i have now learned that they actually have different burrs; the italgi has conical burrs, while the demoka has flat parallel burrs. in general, coffee fanatics believe the conical burrs grind the coffee more evenly and so are superior. (see picture at part 4 here.) now i'm double happy! i have a conical burr italgi grinder!
on the yoga front, i am still actively seeking space for my company's little yoga program. after talking to the lovely people at the yoga connection, i am also looking at some space in a dance center on ann st. both are only 2 or 3 blocks from the woolworth building, so that's great! still, if any readers have ideas about available space, please click a link to email me, or leave a comment below.
i have great chocolate news. . .but i'll save that for tomorrow. i think this weekend will definitely be cool enough to begin baking again. i'm thinking pizza, pizza, pizza. . .
Monday, October 29, 2001
for those still interested in pitching in with some patriotic shopping downtown, let me turn your attention to an old standby. . .
you can't say the prices are discount, but they're not at uptown levels yet. the neighborhood is under pressure from an ever-expanding chinatown on one side and a revitalized lower east side on the other, with the shopping hordes of nolita closing in. and the 9-11 horror has pushed it to the brink of economic death.
that's right, i'm talking about little italy here; for decades derided by new yorkers as a hopeless tourist trap. however, there are some amusing moments to be had there for us coffee fanatics.
by which i mean not the cafes or restaurants, but the dubious "import" stores. despite everything, one does deserve some attention: forzano italian imports, which specializes in la pavoni equipment and other general coffee paraphenalia. they have almost as much pavoni as the most complete pavoni online retailer.
check it out. it's a fun hour's browse. yes, it can be tacky -- especially in the section that sells italian 8-track music! but hey, live a little.