Ruam Mit 24

Artichoke assassin: Being a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t kill. I’ve taken to submerging my artichokes in water for a few hours, before cooking them, because there’s lots of little insects just hanging out in there. It’s kind of fun in a cruel, juvenile way to watch the ants helplessly doggy-paddle on the water’s surface.

Providential detour: The other day I wasn’t able to exit at Holly St from the freeway, because I was too polite to cut someone off to merge over. Of course the person to whom I was being polite was too clueless to either slow down or speed up to give me space. %#^&. So I was forced to exit at Ralston instead, and take El Camino Real back down to Holly.

On my way along ECR, I passed by a tiny bakery in a hole-in-the wall store front called Rihab’s. I wouldn’t have noticed it but for a Muslim mom (colourful scarf over her head) and her kid who had just walked out. And it wasn’t so much her garb, but the fact that there were any pedestrians at all on that stretch of ECR in Belmont/San Carlos.

So I stopped and went it. The bakery case was empty, but on the cooling rack were various pastries just out the oven. I bought a triangle spinach/onion/pepper pastry: very tasty indeed. They serve lunch and early dinner, and they cater. It’s Lebanese/Egyptian food like shwarmas, and even kushari! I’ve gotta go back and try the rest of their menu.

Consequences: I went into my local bookstore to pick up the latest volume of Dr. Slump. “Can’t you order it online and get it cheaper?” wondered Joe. There’s the whole philosophical debate about supporting your local independent businesses and sales tax revenues your city uses to provide services over ordering online to save money; which is old hat.

Now I think people will start to think more about the energy consumption/ carbon footprint associated with buying things online and having them shipped via parcel post. Yes, either way the book has to ride in a truck to get to you, but I imagine it’s more energy-efficient that the book rides in a box with other books, which requires relatively less packaging, and weighs less than individual books each packaged on its own. Also, less packaging is less consumption, and less waste.

Bottle water: What I think is really dumb is bottled drinking water. In the US, all water is safe to drink out of the tap, unlike in other developing countries. But people have been brainwashed by marketing to drink bottled water. Water is very heavy, and it’s a very cheap product. Well, think about the fuel consumed by the trunks to deliver the bottled water from hundreds of miles away to your store. Not to mention the excessive plastic botttle packaging. At home, we simply drink water filtered with a Brita. Outside I bring a lexan water bottle and just fill it up at whatever tap or drinking fountain. Although drinking fountains, like pay phones, are becoming obsolete.

What’s used to irk me was the upscale restaurants which tried to shame you into ordering bottled water, as opposed to tap. The implication was if you order tap, you’re a cheapskate. Fortunately, some restaurants, like Chez Panisse, are reversing the trend.

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