The zipper – patented in 1917

Everyone uses zippers. Every single day. And yet we rarely if ever think about how incredibly amazing these gadgets are. I came across an article in the BBC lately – and was amazed to learn the zipper was only patented in 1917 and not really used commercially until 1923. The name itself was coined by B.F. Goodrich.

As you read the Wikipedia article some things stand out:

  1. Making zippers is fairly complex – only a few companies in the world are capable of this.
  2. The first airtight zippers were made by NASA for spacesuits – imagine going into space with something just zipped up?
  3. YKK, a Japanese company and pretty much the only zipper manufacturer I could name holds 45% of the worldwide market on zippers.

Such a small, innocuous little device, but such an amazing history.

Baked romanesco (or broccoli) with mozzarella

This recipe originally came from the New York Times. They use romanesco but you can use broccoli or cauliflower or mix them all.I simplify this quite a bit for a weeknight easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 or 3 medium heads romanesco broccoli (about 3 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 dozen soft black oil-cured olives, or another type of black olive, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon roughly chopped capers
  • 4 roughly chopped anchovy fillets (I’ve never used anchovies, you don’t need them)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • Pinch of dried oregano

PREPARATION

  1. Put a large pot of well-salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut broccoli into quarters and trim away the core and any tough bits. Chop quarters into rough 2-inch cubes. Transfer to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  3. Lightly oil an earthenware baking dish. Arrange blanched broccoli in one layer. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Tear mozzarella slices and scatter over the top, then sprinkle with pecorino. Arrange olives here and there. In a small bowl, stir together capers, anchovy, garlic, red pepper and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle mixture evenly over the top.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese has browned a bit and broccoli is tender when pierced with a fork. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a good pinch of dried oregano. Give it a bit of salt… this dish can really pop with a little salt.

Woodpecker 

A little hard to see but there is a woodpecker on that exhaust pipe. Around here in springtime they hammer on metal stuff like that, I assume to amplify their noise in order to find a mate (sorta like teenagers and car stereos).

March habit – bikini season approaches

I joke of course – the idea of me in a bikini would violate most of the Geneva Convention. But I do want to “lean out¹” a bit.

My habit this month is simple: no alcohol at home unless we are hosting a dinner of some sort.

I reviewed my caloric intake and honestly it’s not that bad. I eat a lot but I exercise a lot. I have quite a bit of lean muscle mass which burns calories nicely (thank you Mom for these genetics and Crossfit for the muscle mass).

The plan:

  1. Do not buy alcohol for the house unless I know we’re having an event. This is the same tactic that removed sugar, carbs, etc. from the house. If you don’t have it, you won’t eat it.
  2. Habit app – I *love* the reminders to be good and trying to build streaks.

I have my starting weight marked, let’s see how we do.

 

 


¹ Apologies to Sheryl Sandberg and all, but I’ve been leaning in a bit too heavily for a while according to my scale.

February review – definitely a mixed bag

My goal in February was “no complaining“. There are some rules around this e.g. you can complain but only when presenting a good solution.

How did I do? Well… 47% feels about right. It was a tough month for a lot of reasons:

  • The current political climate
  • A few injuries limiting me at the gym
  • And so on…

But it was better than nothing and overall I liked the frequent reminder not to just bitch and whine.

I cannot recommend the Loop Habbit tracker enough by the way. Far and away the best tool for this kind of thing.

An interesting word – draíochtúil

I am currently reading “The House on an Irish Hillside” – so far this is a lovely read about a couple who moves from London to the Dingle Peninsula. We spent a lovely few days in Dingle in the 90s and I still fondly recall the perfect pubs there.

The word of the day though is draíochtúil – an Irish word I cannot begin to pronounce. Look at that spelling! And recall that in Irish “Taoiseach” is pronounced something like “tea socks” except for “socks” is smoothed out a bit. Whoever did the orthography for Ireland did them no favors. Turns out draíochtúil is pronounced something like “dreck dull” but the ‘ck’ gets a bit of the Swiss-German treatment.

But I digress – draíochtúil means numinous, another word I really didn’t know. If you’ve ever been to Slee Head in Dingle or spent time in a lovely west coast Irish pub, well, if that’s about as close to cozy divinity as things come.

Baked Romanesco and Broccoli

Need a good recipe for dinner that is easy to prep beforehand? Have kids who don’t eat broccoli? This is a great and really easy recipe.

Often I cannot find romanesco so I just use regular broccoli. I also skip the olives most of the time. The dish is great, we rarely have leftovers.