It’s Stamp Collecting Month

It seems that nowadays there’s a month or day for celebrating just about everything under the sun. Take for example, the following commemorative months, which I have not made up:

January: California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month

February: Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month

March: Caffeine Awareness Month

April: Landscape Architecture Month

May: Vinegar Month

June: Accordion Awareness Month

July: Ice Cream Month

August: Audio Appreciation Month

September: Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month

October: Stamp Collecting Month

November: Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month

December: Write a Business Plan Month

 

I can’t quite grasp why November is more fitting to appreciate peanut butter than, say, May. Perhaps November should be Turkey Lovers’ Month. I’m not sure why I am supposed to return shopping carts in February, and shouldn’t Audio Appreciation Month be in December, when Christmas carols permeate the radio? Of course, my new favorite month is July because I now have an excuse to eat ice cream everyday.

While the list of “awareness” months is lengthy, and I doubt I will spend the month of January praising California dried plums, there is one awareness that certainly qualifies to have its own month: Vegetarianism. According to whoever makes up the rules about awareness months, October is Vegetarianism month. I eat fish occasionally, though as a student, my diet leans more towards vegetarian. I dare you, if you haven’t done so already, to eat one vegetarian meal. Maybe make it a weekly occurrence, or push yourself to spend the whole month eating meat-free. Food security is a common theme in the news lately. In fact, a great article appeared on the front page of NPR.org explaining the issue (Facing Planetary Enemy No. 1: Agriculture). One suggestion to avoid food scarcity is to eat less meat because “about 40 percent of the planet’s crops, according to this study, currently are fed to animals.” This is just one of the many reasons why people should consider eating less meat.

So as we move through the Stamp Collecting month of October, I hope we can share our stamp collections over a delicious meal free of meat.

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Australian Food 101

As my time in Sydney continues, I’m adjusting more and more to life abroad. While in actuality, my life in Oz differs little from my life in the US, some culinary differences are notable. This list will likely grow from now until the end of my stay, but for now, here’s a quick sum up of my Australian food experience:

-Cheerios are not owned by General Mills in Australia, but instead by Uncle Toby’s. The cereal comes in two varieties, Honey and Oat, or Multi-grain. There is no such thing as plain Cheerios, nor Honey Nut Cheerios.

-Cilantro is impossibly hard to find in supermarkets, as is sage.

-Forget about black beans.

-Microwaveable popcorn seems to be less popular in Australia than in the United States. The supermarkets nearby only carry one or two kinds of popcorn, most with a whopping 20 grams of fat per bag!

-Rice cakes come in “thick” and “thin” sizes, compared to the standard thick size of rice cakes in the United States.

-Seasons are opposite. I can enjoy fresh, local(ish) strawberries while my friends at home can’t.

-Tipping is not compulsory at restaurants, unless the service is other-worldly.

-A Tim Tam is the Australian Oreo. (However, Oreos are still sold in stores here.)

-Sultanas are raisins. Technically, they are white raisins. Check the Australian shelves for “Sultana Bran.”

-Rocket is the salad green of choice. I have yet to spot romaine lettuce, though most stores have spinach and iceberg lettuce.

-Ginger ale, which is called ginger beer, actually tastes like ginger and there are alcoholic and non-alcoholic types available.

 

 

 

Bites

I have a terrible habit of reading food blogs and news. Gasp, I spend more time looking at food porn than I dilly-dally on Facebook (sorry Mark Zuckerberg). However, my food-reading habit is just as great a procrastination tool as Facebook.

High Minded: A Tasting Tour of the Munchies (Good.is) Here’s an interesting look inside the land of munchies. From calling a frozen stick of butter lathered in sugar as “Eskimo Frosting” to fried shallots, this is the guide to high munchie eating.

Bananas: The Uncertain Future of a Favorite Fruit (NPR) I recently posted about my theory on Australian bananas (A Banana Theory). This NPR interview is a great discussion of the sexless, delicious fruit.

Pink Palace, Former Boston Common Bathroom, To Open as Restaurant (Huffington Post) I know of this no-longer-functioning bathroom for the sole reason that people were ironically urinating on the outside of the building after the Bruin’s parade. Oh, city of Boston. Now it’s being turned into a sandwich shop, with a lease of $50,000 per year.