Saturday, March 16, 2002
my friends, the change is coming. . .
i have written and been testing my new groovy layout for this site, based on xhtml and advanced css. i've written about this before. but i want to give you all plenty of advance warning that the change is coming.
the new site will have some formatting that is compatible with netscape 4.x browsers. however, most of the site and the features i plan to add during the rest of the spring and summer will require more modern browsers. almost anything with a 5 or 6> in it will do, whether that be netscape 6, ie 5 for mac, ie 6 for windows, or opera (5 for mac)/6. all these downloads are free; they cost you nothing but some time. . .
i am well aware that on the mac, ie 5+ is really as far as you can go; and the majority of you, dear readers, are like myself, mac people! so don't worry: i am testing the site with ie5 for the mac to make sure it will work for you!
however, those of you still with netscape 4.x -- i've said it before, i'm repeating it now, and i'll soon repeat it again: please upgrade to something, anything! i don't want to leave you behind. . .upgrading will not only let you follow me, but will also enhance your web experience on many other sites.
i will confess, however, that since my web statistics show that internet explorer is the browser about 75% of you use, i will be targeting the features of that browser more closely. . . .
Friday, March 15, 2002
and how will you be celebrating american chocolate week?
don't worry, you still have time to prepare. the week runs from march 17-23. and it's a week worth celebrating on several levels. for the first time in years, chocolate prices have rebounded from deeply depressed to all new highs. at first it seemed like a short term fling, but the prices appear to be still climbing, mostly due to bad weather in africa and political problems in the ivory coast, where 40% of the world's cocoa orginates.
this means cooca farmers have a chance to make a somewhat decent living, and now can turn their attention to making the chocolate industry at the plantation level more humane and evironmentally friendly. (i've talked about abusive child slave labor on the cocoa farms in africa before. the chocolate industry, to its credit, is addressing this issue.) if prices continue to hold, you may see farmers turn from the still-diving prices of the coffee sector to plant more cocoa. indeed, it appears this already may be happening.
also, in this week's african cocoa conference in ghana, all levels of the chocolate and cocoa industry met to discuss how to improve living standards for cocoa workers and also move the industry to sustainable methods of agriculture. this is part of a long-planned program in the chocolate industry.
if you don't have a chance to celebrate this week by giving your friends and loved ones chocolate, you can at least send them some cyberchocolate. but since you care about them and want them to be healthy and happy, you really should make sure they eat some dark chocolate. so try making up some batches of my easy truffle recipe and giving them away!
Thursday, March 14, 2002
you certainly can't have forgotten the punk yogi, j. brown . . .
well wa-lah! he's in the village voice, rocking everybody's world. don't forget: you heard about him (and read his manifesto) here first.
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
so much coffee news today!
first, a surprising development: pepsi and starbucks are teaming up together to introduce a new espresso drink, doubleshot. while there have been espresso drinks on the market for a while, this is really the first one (besides their bottled frappucino) that will be heavily marketed by a major distributor all across the usa. unlike the frappucino, this one is supposedly targeted at serious coffee drinkers. . .
second, more great coffee health news. everyone has heard how green tea is widely believed to fight various cancers, based on the fact that it contains potent anti-oxidants called polyphenols. so-called flavonoids are a powerful form of these polyphenols. truth is, coffee also contains tons of these good chemicals, but they are lost in the standard roasting process. researchers now claim they have found a way to preserve these polyphenols in roasted coffee.
(it's also worth noting that these polyphenols are also found in large amounts in -- you guessed it -- dark chocolate. see here too. skip the red wine and eat chocolate, because dark chocolate has much more of these polyphenols than many other foods.)
and finally, hawaiian coffee growers are finding that aerial photographs of their ripening fields, taken by a new solar-powered self-guiding airplane, enables them to determine which fields of coffee are perfectly ready for harvest. these photographs can also be used to help determine the health of the coffee trees themselves.
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
long time readers may recall that i do try every now and then to work on apprehending the world with appreciative joy . . .
today i looked again at the browser statistics. and i noticed something i had overlooked before: a little link that tells me how many visits come from .coms, .nets, .orgs -- that is, it tells me what kind of isp you all use. and i noticed for the first time that i had readers whose domains ended in .it (for italy) and many other foreign countries.
sweden, japan, spain, estonia, australia, canada, germany, the netherlands, england, ireland, malaysia, argentina, and more. i'm amazed. and so i'm considering all of you with appreciative joy. i started this unsure that anyone else was even remotely interested in bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga. especially in brooklyn! so let me take this moment to thank you all. please keep coming, and feel free to write or leave comments.
after yesterday, somehow it's really good to see you all here. that's all i can say -- but i mean it, in some corny way, from the bottom of my
jacques torres dark chocolate heart. . .
oh, and does anyone know if the giraudi chocolate club is open to those outside the EU? if so, gimme a call on one of those really cute dark chocolate cell phones. . .this is one password i'd love to have!
Monday, March 11, 2002
a flickering lamp -- it feels like just the day before yesterday and yet somehow also 5 years ago. . .
if i turn my head and look out the window behind me, i see the two beams merge into one. as the world trade center itself was once the night-light in my living room, now the memorial pillar of light -- slender, cold, endlessly reaching to the heavens -- breaks against my window glass. they stand out from all the other city lights mostly by their pale, fading height.
today the sky was as blue and clear as on that day. the mayor dedicated the remainder of the dented fountainhead in the park. it is inevitable that this will slide into a historical curiousity, that there will be a day when it feels as remote and meaningless as the sinking of the luisitania. this is perhaps the deepest sorrow, that people may forget. . .
so you should view this fleeting world:
a star at dawn
a bubble in a stream
a flash of lightning in a summer cloud
a flickering lamp
and a dream.
Sunday, March 10, 2002
you know, i thought i was going off the deep end. . .
with my giddy praise for jacques torres. but it's contagious. all new york's crazy about him and his fantastic chocolate. those truffles made with real taittinger champagne! those dark chocolate passion fruit hearts! that spicy hot chocolate!
even the staid business section of the new york times is agog over jacques. sit down and ask yourself just why haven't you mail-ordered from him yet?
dear readers, act now before even warmer weather makes shipping chocolate too dicey. you don't need to special order a yankee stadium in chocolate; a simple pound of assorted bon-bons will do. especially if you're a mets fan. . .