Cute as a Bagel

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Cuteness, on the other hand, has universal standards. According to several scientific studies, these include big eyes, round faces and other infantile features.

Cuteness also seems to have universal appeal. An Atlanta psychology professor found that “men and women showed nearly identical responses to cute stimuli,” although they rate it differently for social reasons.

Some say cuteness is a survival adaptation that triggers nurturing from adults. But that can’t be true, since people also love to eat cute things.

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Still, the effects of cuteness on our brains’ pleasure centers are evident. They give laughing babiessleepy rodents—even Hello Kitty—power over us. And unleashing this power is a great way to infuse bagels with extra charm.

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Discambubolated

Spring is such a disorienting season. Yesterday, at this time, I was stretched out on the grass in the sunshine, thankful for the breeze that kept the heat from getting too intense. Today, I’m fighting with the wind to keep my hood up and wishing for a heavier coat.

I’m also discombobulated realizing how close I am to the end of another semester. I’m amazed—but how can I be so shocked when I’ve been so desperately aware of the crawling countdown to summer?

Still, I love spring—so bring it on. To celebrate the discombobulation of this lovely season, I’m throwing my blogging pendulum to the other side of the food spectrum from last week. If any of you were unsettled by last Friday’s  bean bread, you can relax. Today, it’s only oatmeal.

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Deviation

If I wanted to stir up debate, I’d say this was a traditional Irish scone.

It’s not.

Scone

Proper scones are so traditional to Ireland that they were chosen to represent the country at Cafe Europe in 2006. Scones may even get their name from the Gaelic word “sgonn,” meaning “lump.” But applying the word “traditional” to a particular recipe always sparks controversy among aficionados.

Of course, recipes can be traditional without being uniform. These scones, however, break the mold completely. They don’t come close to “authentic,” but they are delicious. Plus, they highlight the wonderful flavor and texture of oats—one of Ireland’s oldest and greatest crops.

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Manna Muesli

Spiced Chewy Granola

What do you get when you cross muesli with granola?

Spiced Chewy Granola

The two are so similar, it’s hard to imagine a hybrid.

But if you love both, it’s nice to mix things up with a third version.

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Inside-Out Omelettes

Stuffed Pepper Quiche

I can make a beautiful omelette.

But I usually don’t.

I tend to get carried away, chopping up way more vegetables than I can ever fit inside.  Then I go for it anyway – and end up with a half-folded, ragged omelette and a veggie avalanche. It’s delicious, but it’s not much to look at.

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Taking the Flat out of Pancake

These wonderful little things are ebleskivers (say it ableskeevers). They are a Danish tradition, and the best way I can describe them is pancakes minus the flat. Other cooks define them as a cross between pancakes and popovers, or doughnuts minus the fat.

This is my gift to you this week — 3-D pancakes! They’re fun to make, and just saying their awesome name can keep you occupied for at least a day. But please, read on.

According to legend, ebleskivers were invented by some hungry Vikings who decided to make pancakes in their dented shields after a battle. (See, it gets better and better!)

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The Egg Came First

At least, it did today!

Eggs have become my go-to breakfast lately. A dependable source of protein when I know lunch is far away.

If you’re going to have the same thing for breakfast over and over, eggs are a great choice. There are more ways to cook an egg than days in the week!

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