Monday, 25 September 2017

The frustrations, funniness and fineness of modern living!

Go and get a flu jab, the letter from the local doctors' surgery urged us. Available on a Monday morning at the nearest branch, in our very own village. Very handy we thought. And so did a whole host of others. We got there at around 11.30 this morning, only to be told that they were taking no more bookings as they already had too many people waiting! So that's that then! We could go to the Uppermilll surgery, rather further away although not impossible, but maybe we would find the same thing there. No, I guess we'll wait until next Monday and arrive earlier!

Onto other matters: reading something by Nigella Lawson at the weekend I came across "smoothie bowls", which she reckons, in her fairly matter-of-fact way, only exist because of Instagram, because they are eminently photographable. Now, what was it I have been saying about social media creating trends?

I know what a smoothie is, even if it strikes me as a silly, and even wasteful, way to consume fruit. If you have a load of strawberries, for example, why not just eat them, savouring the differences in flavour from one berry to another? And at the moment there are some fine British strawberries on sale, by the way. I can just about understand that if you have a fussy child who won't eat fruit, then making a drink of the fruit is one way of getting it down their necks. But surely grownups don't really need to drink fruit!

But I had no idea that there were special bowls for smoothies. Surely a glass would be more the thing? So I looked it up on the internet. Here is an extract of what I found:

"First and foremost, what is a smoothie bowl?
The short answer is that it’s a way to enjoy smoothies with a spoon instead of drinking them with a straw. But there’s more to it than just a change in utensil! I like to think of smoothie bowls as being cereal 2.0, a complete nutrient-dense makeover of boring ol’ cardboard cereal and milk. The smoothie is thicker in consistency, and I typically use toppings like homemade granola and muesli to add a bit of crunch. View the smoothie bowl base as the “milk,” and the toppings as the cereal, or like granola on a yogurt parfait." You can read more at this link and you can see pretty pictures of some people's creations.

I also found this:

"Smoothie bowls are what they sound like, but they're better. You can create pretty much any combo of flavors that you want and then top it with your favorite fruits and other crunchy things like cereal and nuts. This means it's more satisfying than a regular smoothie because you can't down it 10 seconds. Smoothie bowls are a huge thing on Instagram and are super trendy because they are so pretty. If you've gotten hooked on açai bowls at your local juice shop, these are basically the same thing. A smoothie bowl is just an açai bowl without the açai."

So what is an açai bowl, when it's at home? Come to that, what is açai?

Well, it turns out that açai is a species of palm, cultivated for its fruit, demand for which has expanded rapidly in recent years. All that without my ever having heard of it! Amazing! It's the latest superfood, with anti-ageing and weight-loss properties. Some studies show that acai fruit pulp is even richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries. However, despite all the hype, so far açai berries have no known health benefit that’s different from similar fruits. 

Inevitably people blog about it, which I suppose is ok.

Here is the introduction to one:

"Welcome! My name is Marissa and I'm a lover of all things health and wellness. As a NYC-based board-Certified Wellness Coach and Healthy Living Expert, I share my own health secrets, get-fit tips and the cooking expertise that has inspired countless women to change their relationship with food and turbocharge their health to become holistically hot in a way that’s fun and fearless. No crazy diets or all-juice cleanses required.  Take comfort in knowing that wherever you are right now, is exactly "where you need to be"!"

Now, that is a career plan that was never mentioned when I was a young girl: Certified Wellness Coach and Healthy Living Expert. Time for me to get up to date, clearly!

Another aspect of modern living that I learnt about recently is "recipe boxes". Last time I visited my son and his family, these came up in conversation with his group of friends. A number of them had been on holiday with their small families to places like Cornwall and had been delighted to find a local source of "recipe boxes". You go online, find a website, select a recipe that you think will suit your needs and put in your order, stating how many people you intend to feed. The company then delivers a box with all the ingredients, including little sachets of just the right amount of herbs and spices and sauces, and a recipe card with all the instructions. Better than ordering readymade food because you can have the satisfaction feeling that you are home-cooking.

And you get to keep the recipe card for future use! What's not to like?

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