Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy (Constant) Holidays!

Here's a late Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Yule and Festivus greeting to all Constant Holiday readers! Thank you so much for keeping up with me this year.

The week between Christmas and New Years has been designated "catch up with all that stuff you've been meaning to do and I mean NOW, cuss", so the regularly scheduled post (like anything around here is "regularly scheduled") will be reduced to the Photo of the Week while I run around like a dog chasing it's tail.

Photo: view up into the glass atrium of the Galleriew Lafayette, a very fancy department store in Paris where I can't afford to do much but ogle and be spritzed by perfume ladies. Or mademoiselles de perfume, depending on how you look at it. It's beautiful nonetheless.

(This photo is from last Christmas (2008) and I sort of remember hearing that the Galleries may close. Or maybe that the Samaritain? Either way it means I am far to involved in French Department stores.)

Happy New Year to all! Be safe, and many blessings.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stir Crazy

Ever feel like you are climbing the walls? I sure do this week. And not as attractively as the flowers in this photo.

Bougainvilla, Portosissi, Crete 2009

Big News, though - I recently had some calendars designed by the fine folks at Snapfish, and they came out GREAT! I am thinking of offering them for sale on the site. Email me or leave a note in the comments - I have one for Greece and one for Spain, and I will post the photos for each to Flickr if anyone is interested.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And up we go....

It's Monday! time to start climbing the ladder again. But remember, take time to smell the flowers on the way.

(Even if that's a cheesy expression)

Stairway, Portosisi, Crete, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Great Egg Taste-Off Challenge!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the disturbing resemblance of the eggs in the photo above to the owl in the Hooter's logo. It weirds me out too, I promise.

Second, I suppose this is the moment to out myself (Just like Meredith Baxter-Birney! Only without the cruise ship full of women) as a closet chicken-keeper, since I haven't mentioned them before on this blog (I think). I do talk about them all the time on Facebook, to the dismay of my FB friends, many of whom have helpfully suggested that the way to deal with chickens is to go down to Publix and buy them off the rottisimat. The mojo flavor is particularly good.

At any rate, we (I) bought two chickens in July, and for the last several months they have been running amok in my yard, because when I got them home and put them in the lovely chicken coop I had made for them, they escaped in, oh, aproximately 15 seconds. We never could catch them either. Wily things they are.

But over a few months we ( I like to pretend my boyfriend is anything but appalled by all this) got them accustomed to us, and eventually one of them would even eat out of my hand. They got so used to me feeding them that they will now follow me around the yard like a pair of oddly feathered, diminutive puppies. But they got a little too exploratory (I came home from Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago and found them halfway down the block, cheerily eating someone's begonias) so we persuaded them to take up residence in a NEW, improved, larger pen (a huge 6X8 dog kennel with a hutch inside). This had the additional benefit that we can finally get eggs - we suspected they'd been laying but could never find any, and now they have a special nest box for the purpose.

Amelia, the shyer of our two (Greta is big on personality, if you can consider a chicken to have a personality) promptly showed her approval of the new digs by laying an egg. My God, I was so excited I nearly laid one myself. She has since laid about a half a dozen (Greta's energy apparently goes into making lots of noise and strewing feathers everywhere) and with that first, precious egg (raised at a cost of approximately $135.74, if you include the shower curtain I bought for $1.99 at Publix and am using to keep the rain off them) we did a taste test. My Boyfriend was willing to help with that bit.

As you can see, there is no mistaking the different eggs in their raw state. The egg on the left is an organic egg from the grocery store, and the right hand egg is ours. The home-grown egg is visibly yellower, the yolk stands up sharply from the white, and the white is much tighter and rounder.

We (I) carefully cooked the two eggs separately, using the same method (scrambling), in the same pan (carefully washed between), gently decanted them in bowls, and then I closed my eyes (no peeking!) and Alex patiently gave me a sample of each to taste, and asked me a careful series of questions, including:

- does one egg taste markedly different from the other?

- does one have a different mouthfeel or aroma?

- if you had to be stuck on a desert island with only one egg, would it be sample A or B?

- can we have breakfast now?

And the results are in, and they are......

I can't tell you.

Not because I am sworn to secrecy, but because the two eggs TASTED EXACTLY THE SAME. I almost just wrote that "eggsactly", btw.

No kidding. My carefully raised, organic, no pesticide, specially fed chicken, whom I adore, gives me eggs that taste no different than what comes of the shelf at the market. Oh, the horror. To be so ordinary! Which is not to say it wasn't delicious, and we didn't enjoy it for breakfast. But I was stunned. They were literally interchangable. No difference at all.

This is quite a blow to "my home-made is better" philosophy. I'll have to turn in my foodie membership. And what happens if Michael Pollan finds out? He may berate me for being a bad egg-taster. And he might bite me. We'd better not tell anyone, ok?