Sunday, September 8, 2013


There used to be a TV show in the UK called Countdown with cult personalities, Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman. This program spawned a series in Australia which is called Letters and Numbers. Yet the English version itself was based on a French program called Des Chiffres et des Lettres. This was the interesting fact of the week that I learned from my friend Frank, who is a letters and numbers fan, solving Sudoku in his spare time. I've just created my own countdown which should be visible at the top right of this blog. It will have random events that are being counted down to in my life, the first of which is, of course, my holiday to America with Caroline. After that I'm not sure, but I guess the next major thing for me will be World Chess Championship in November (I'm at the age where I'm trying to forget my birthdays, and I purposely chose to get married the week after my birthday so I wouldn't forget it!).

A holiday is an action packed event, or at least it is the way Caroline and I do it. However, I still will be taking some holiday reading with me. I was browsing through a bookshop today and saw a book called 'The Rook' which I couldn't resist and I also bought Stefan Zweig's 'Chess'. However, this holiday will be a 'chess free zone' so I'm taking Nicola Barker's 'The Yips' which made the 2012 Booker long list. Probably my favourite novel which I've read over the past 12 months was 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' which also made the 2012 long list, but wasn't shortlisted. Anyway, like Harold Fry, Barker's novel looks quirky in a typical English sense and I look forward to reading it.
My holiday reading (image from Goodreads)
I have another apology to make in advance. It may be that I go on a bit about cheese this week. I know that's a bit random, but there is good reason. America is not noted for it's excellence in cheese production (to be honest, American cheese is pretty disgusting) so Caroline and I are cooking and eating as much cheese as we can stomach this week. Don't take my word for America's bad cheese which I had trouble eating last time I was there, try looking through the 9 pages of comments on Stephen Fry's forum following his travels around the USA where he said their cheese was possibly the worst in the world! Some of the posts are quite amusing.
  • "Gromit, that's it! Cheese! We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!" (wallace and gromit)

What I didn't realise was that Stephen Fry also thought American bread was bad. I was only talking about bread earlier today and how wonderful it is...actually, I can't believe I just wrote that, my street cred as a hardened chess player will quickly deteriorate. Bread is considered one of the world's oldest foods and has a history at least 30,000 years old. As a food staple it the choice which Caroline and I often pick for accompanying our meals. We also like soup, so a bread and soup combo is a regular meal in this household. Another staple that we a lot of is porridge which also has a rich history. Oat based porridge is at least 5,000 year's old and, while commonly associated with Scotland, is a worldwide food using various ingredients as a base and for flavour. For instance, the Mexican, chocolate based champurrado sounds pretty good. I often have porridege, and at one of my favourite cafes, Dundas Place Cafe, they serve an amazing oat based porridge with butterscotch banana to flavour. The coffee there is also good, so it's a regular haunt for Caroline and myself. And finally, I must be old fashioned as my favoured method of sweetening porridge is with honey, which is itself an ancient foodstuff, with a history of at least 8,000 years in human consumption. Another interesting fact that I learned this week, is that honey is the only foodstuff that doesn't go off (thanks to Caroline for this gem). Apparently 2,000 year old jars of honey have been found and are still edible and taste good.
Porridge and honey (foodepedia)

And finally on this Sunday evening some quotes:

- Samuel Johnson described porridge as 'eaten by people in Scotland, fit only for horses in England'.

- George W Bush jr is always quotable, and as it is just after the Jewish New Year....'I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.'

- And while I've been talking a lot about food in this post, how about Prince Philip's quote to Susan Edwards and her guide dog 'They have eating dogs for the anorexic now.'

1 comment:

  1. You just made me crave Porridge with malt and honey at 10:15 pm :/ and made me want to watch the awesome IT Crowd parody episode of countdown. I'll skip the cheese. That last quote is absolutely Hilarius it must have been a badly taken joke, surely.