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Showing posts from November, 2011

Food Network Channel and Philosophy

Lessons from watching too much Food Network Channel

You can always add more, but remember you can't take it out later
Put some salt and pepper on everything. EVERYTHING.

Everything can taste a bit better with a little more butter
The oven should always be pre-heated
Cooking for others makes your dishes taste better. It suddenly acquires meaning. We, unlike animals, do not just eat so as not to starve. We don't eat, we feast.

While the presentation can change everything, taste is still king
Learn from other chefs
Never reveal your secret ingredient
Taste it before you serve it

Never use the same chopping board for raw and cooked food

Measure ingredients when you're just a beginner Don't be afraid of adding new ingredients to give old favorites a twist
Make more than enough because you can always have it tomorrow again. Leftover is happiness twice over.

Take out the seeds when squeezing lemons
Add color

Add texture
Make cooking look fun even if it's hard work

Drink a glass of wine whe…

"Sad Writing"

There are two kinds of sadness, and they are distinguished from each other by their objects or causes. The more usual kind is a sadness due to a particular event. The book I am reading may move me to tears, as the death of a friend can crush my heart for days on end. Our emotions are usually triggered by a stimulus--elation, anxiety, melancholy, fear. We feel such and such because . . . . But the more problematic instance is when you are sad, lonely, afraid, and silent without anything happening to you, without knowing any cause, without knowing why.
This is why I write when I am saddened without a definite reason. It is easy for me to say that I write when I feel such dark emotions so that I can, through writing, grope in the dark, reaching for something tangible to hold on to, a reason. Writing is searching for me. I rarely know what I am writing about till I write, I never know what I will find. So I write to find out, to strike the cords of the soul, tune it out to know which stri…

On Listening

I try to be a good listener as much as I can. Our everyday lives will contain numerous moments of having to listen to others, may it be as simple and plain as watching television or tuning into the radio, casual conversations, consultations, having classes, and to the more serious situations such as friends confiding in you and you praying to your god. Speaking, like listening, is something we cannot do without daily. But in contrast to receiving words, perhaps speaking is "easier": I relay what is in my mind--information, question, request, opinion--and put them into words. Eloquence and clarity are what I aim for; these are what writers and teachers and story tellers know: their craft and skill and careers depend on their ability to articulate in the most creative and interesting way what they report about or reflected on.

I intentionally used the words "craft" and "skill" in describing speaking. We know that not everyone is a good speaker (public or p…

Lecture on Guilt and Remorse

Why do we feel guilt? What makes it possible?
We can only feel guilt when we think we did something “wrong” or “evil” or “sinful.” Guilt means knowing and feeling that you did not obey a law, that you transgressed a moral norm or what is accepted by all, or that you failed to fulfill your responsibilities.
We may feel guilty when we fail an exam because we did not study, or when we were not able to greet a friend on his birthday, as we can also feel guilty for hurting the feelings of a friend, and this can also be seen in the extreme case when a man becomes guilty for killing another man. The judge gives the verdict “guilty”—and what this means is that the one who was accused or a suspect at first now becomes undeniably responsible for a crime: he formally becomes a murderer, robber, lawbreaker. But does this necessarily mean that the guilty man feels guilt?
To be sure, we feel guilt when we acknowledge doing something that should not be done, and more than that, we feel sorry for w…

What One Deserves

What does one do in order to get what he deserves? Is everything a matter of chance and luck, or does the world balance fates and lives, an invisible balance sheet as reference, absolute power in reserve, justice and equality its law. 
Nobody gets what he wants, they say, and that we only get what we give or deserve. I would be happy with that economic exchange, actually: there is equality, fairness, and a clear logic to it--and what are we without understanding? But that rarely occurs. I see dear ones suffering and, to my finite understanding, I am not aware of them hurting anyone. How does a teenager earn that? What did they do? Now, of course, we're smart people. We don't ask such questions whose answers we will never receive nor understand even if we do.
If I take a look at my life, I would not be able to say whether I won the lottery by luck or I earned the blessings I have. I'm afraid to answer that, to explain what I received and rationalize my condition. What I do…

The God Within

Each man's life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path. No man has ever been entirely and completely himself. Yet each one strives to become that--one in an awkward, the other in a more intelligent way, each as best he can. Each man carries the vestiges of his birth--the slime and eggshells of his primeval past--with him to the end of days. Some never become human, remaining a frog, lizard, ant. Some are human above the waist, fish below. Each represents a gamble on the part of nature in creation of the human. We all share the same origin, our mothers; all of us come in at the same door. But each of us--experiments of the depths--strives toward his destiny. We can understand each other; but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone. --Hesse, Demian Why is it so difficult to become ourselves? Why is it that sometimes our lives become a comedy (and tragedy) of errors on the way of finding out where are hearts should final…

All a Man Needs

I abide by the wisdom that all a man needs are three good things: a good watch, a good pen, and a good pair of shoes.

All the rest--clothes, cars, gadgets--are superfluous possessions, unnecessary. These things everybody has. But your choice of watch, pen, and shoes--they individualize you: they say something about your taste, what you want, and if you mean business. And they're the small stuff, too. They can go unnoticed while cars and other men's toys are always seen precisely because they are meant to be seen.

A bold, thick signature from a strong fountain pen says you know what you are doing.

Your shoes tell you where you have been to and where you are going.

A good watch simply means that you let yourself enjoy some luxury from time to time (no pun intended).

Now of course these are only material possessions. They really do not say anything essential about a man, his mind and his heart. And I agree. So let's get that out of the way.

But that's also part of the fu…