29 October 2010

Amy Gutmann's Halloween Party!

It's funny seeing 17-24+ year-old students swarming around taking candies. It's really funny. It's funnier because Amy Gutmann, the president of UPenn, was hosting this event [I guess this is where part of our tuition ends up] and giving out Penn-style silly bands from a plastic pumpkin bucket. "It was as if Snape had started handing out sweets", except that Amy Gutmann isn't like Snape.
There was so much food it was ridiculous.
There are way too many pictures to upload so here are a few good ones.

Easy observations, though are:
1. No one likes the Dubble Bubble Gum. NO ONE LIKES IT. It's just what people buy because it's cheaper than the other candy. It lay on the tables, untouched.
2. Few people like plain ol' tootsie rolls. I was COMPLETELY OBSESSED with them two years ago; I literally ate 10 pieces at LEAST, in one sitting. It was something to keep my brain occupied. However, that fad [like my nutella fad] died out really quickly, and now I don't really enjoy the taste of tootsie rolls anymore, especially as there are PHOs in them [so many for using the "original" recipe from the 20s]. These were also left over, but I did see people taking them because there was no more other candy.
3. Twix is very very much liked.
4. The "chocolate"-esque candies were the most popular, in all honesty.
5. Hard candy received mixed reviews; no one seemed to want mints, but there much more mint candies than chocolatesque candies so it was difficult to tell.
6. Marshmallows, fruit, pretzels and chips with chocolate dip was widely enjoyed.

Yeah, bread bag because I didn't think to bring an actual drawstring bag. Heh.

28 October 2010


This is just a post to say that there are a bunch of pages at the top that link to my art. I do a lot of drawing [mostly of food :)] and I'd like to sell my pieces. The prices range...the lowest is $5 or $10 for A5 sized paper pieces, and they go up to a few hundred [or thousand, or seventy million, depending on how philanthropic you feel, since I do need money for college].

If you send/give me money, I'll send/give you the art. Advertise for me :)
I also do commissioned art.
If you've always wanted a picture of a slice of cherry pie in a bowl of corn chowder hanging on your kitchen wall, I'll be happy to draw it for you [if you pay me]!

27 October 2010

Tomato Biscuits!

On Friday, TJ, MA, JC and I went to the Penn Taiwanese Society Bubble tea Social. Unfortunately, since we went at 2:30pm [Oh, we got let out of class really early because we were all going to go see Noam Chomsky, but it turned out that we were supposed to preregister], there was NO MORE BUBBLE TEA. I didn't really mind because I was going for coffee with my HSOC peers and professor. Anyway.
Since we [well, TJ, mostly] looked extremely upset, they just gave us some food. Yay! I got some nori which was amazing since I LOVE dried, crunchy seaweed. I also got this:
Notice that there are holes in the back of each piece. I guess it's on purpose... because all of them had holes on the back. They were really pretty, in my opinion, for crackers/biscuits.
Now, they were crunchy and a tad tomatoey and oily.
Get this, though: they were SWEET. As in, there were sugar granules on them. I'm telling, you this was bizarre. Imagine drenching a slice of pizza or lasagne with a packet of sugar, and you'll get the picture. Get the taste, rather :P [<- tongue is out, to lick the food]. Unfortunately, it wasn't even a good pairing. Peanut butter and tortilla chips are a good pairing, yes, but this... wasn't.

Definitely a "Newtaste".

26 October 2010

Hello College Food!

Yeah, college food. As in, Allegro Pizza and Insomnia Cookies. The stuff that keeps college kids going! [Apparently.] For Eco-Reps we decided to order this stuff... so much for sustainability, healthy, or fair trade ingredients. Eh.
I guess the bright side is that it's not Pizza Hut and Pillsbury...
The cookie was a really normal chocolate chip cookie, except that it was cloud shaped [yes, that can be said of any cookie, really.] and had a larger proportion of chocolate to cookie. Nothing too special... so I don't really know why everyone is so obsessed with Insomnia Cookies. Perhaps it's because they can deliver really late at night, and they originated on Penn's campus. It was a really delicious cookie, evidently. For $1 at night when you're desperate and sad and starving, I suppose it's great, although usually I don't like to eat too late at night.
The brownie was really mediocre and did not taste too chocolately. This is why they're called Insomnia COOKIES...
Allegro pizza...This is the first pizza store, apart from Pizza Box, that has rectangular/square shaped pizza, which is AMAZING. I had two slices of pizza without cheese since I really didn't feel like eating cheesy pizza... so it was just tomato sauce and crust. The crust was pretty good; it was between thick and thin crust. Actually, I'd say it was more thin crust pizza, but not crunchy crust. I can't say much about the topping except that it was tomatoey and didn't taste fake, which was pretty good. I think this was for the vegans in the crowd, although, ironically, there are no vegans on my section of Eco Reps. Actually, there aren't many vegetarians either...
I don't think the club is actually that concerned about the environment, really. It's all chatter. It lacks action.

25 October 2010

Mini Pears!

At Commons, I found some pears. Actually, I have discovered some quite amazing things at Commons, such as RED PEARS, BROWN PEARS, and now, MINI PEARS. I never knew that pears could be anything but the typical, medium sized green pear, or the round Chinese yellow pear. This is just amazing. Mini pears are cute.

24 October 2010

Common Sense...

A common sense is taste. Another one is to actually name a plum a "plum".
I decided to try pecan pie, for the first time in my life. As I looked at the slice of pie, I realised something. This was literally a lump of fat mixed with a lump of sugar. There is no substance. It isn't even disguised as something awesome! The crust is a lump of baked fat and flour. The pecans are chunks of fat. The ... sugar-fat filling is basically brown sugar mixed with butter and spread into a thick gelatinous paste.
I know I can say the same thing about caramel, or toffee, or even chocolate, but that stuff actually tastes amazing. This tasted like fat and sugar in their raw states, which, for some, may be delicious. I, however, would prefer if there was also a cup of cocoa powder in this slice of pie...
I have to say that pecans are delicious, but pecan pies are overkill. They over kill your adipose tissues...
So, the second lack-of-common-sense kind of thing is the fact that they called this plum "sweet fruit". As if "plum" isn't already too generic [There are plenty of varieties of plums. There're the little ones, the big ones, the super sour ones, the ones with the red skins, and they're also related to [or, one compartment] of prunes. Actually, here is a list... which includes the Mirabelle plum, the Damask plum... etc. The fact that it's merely labeled a "sweet fruit" threw me off. It's pretty funny, I suppose.
Soon, they're going to have fruit stickers that say "fruit" on them.
I think I actually threw this sticker away, by accident, since I don't have my fruit sticker book with me in college. I really need to bring it here after November break.

23 October 2010

Artisserie Chocolate Café

I'm not really sure what "artisserie" means. It's not a French word. It sounds French, yes, but unless it's a misspelling of "pâtisserie" [which would make sense, by the way], it's not a word.
Either way, it's exactly how gourmet cafes/chocolate stores portray themselves. I wondered why anyone would buy a truffle for $1.25 but then I remembered that the Godiva chocolate was around $1 for one, as well. ...I guess I'm just one of the odd people who'd prefer to eat cocoa powder plain.
My HSOC professor has been having coffees with us students, 5 at a time, to get to know us better. This is amazing because it breaks the stereotype of professors just lecturing and not caring about people's names etc. He even grades 1/3 of the exams... which is pretty cool too. Actually, he reminds me of my high school APUS1 teacher, because he not only adds a sense of humour to everything we learn ["by "cosmopolitan", I don't mean "how to please your man", for example, is one of his jokes concerning globalisation of medicine...]
There was some spicy hot chocolate, and I nearly got that but I tend to like cold drinks more [yes, even in the winter] since hot drinks burn my tongue...well, I guess it also depends on my mood. So, I got the Extreme Chocolate [I think that was it?] flavoured frappe, without whipped cream. It was actually extremely SMOOTH. I don't understand how something with chunks of ice can feel smooth, but this probably had a litre of cream in it or something, since it was seriously like drinking mousse. I almost said that it wasn't chocolatey, but then I'd be lying. I just think that the creaminess masked the bitter chocolate flavour that I had expected.
Although I apparently had a shot of espresso in it, I didn't really taste much coffee. In truth, it was a nice drink except that the flavours weren't so prevalent. I blame it on the bucket of sugar in the drink. That probably masked all the flavour...
Or, I was just too focused on listening to my professor and the other 4 [well, mostly one since she, by far, talked the most] talking.

20 October 2010

An Epic Day of FOOD!

I'm finally getting into the swing of things. I'm finally getting used to managing time in college... so now I think that blogging shouldn't be as difficult as it was in September. Everything is finally settling down and I don't really know if I want to blog for PennAppetit. Can I double post? Can I blog here and then copy and paste the same thing onto their blog? Will PennAppetit shrivel up from my seriously bad sense of lack-of-humour and honestly longer-than-necessary sentences?
Anyway today at lunch there were ricotta cheese stuffed pasta shells [They. Are. Gigantic. I don't think I've ever had pasta that was THAT THICK. Yes, the shells were thick.] and a variety of pumpkin/squash stuffed with Buglar. This meal was amazing. It was also a really photogenic dish.
Later, TJ and I went down to the basement of Commons to do some homework. At around 5pm, there was a reception for another Food Week event, and even though TJ and I hadn't signed up for it, we managed to obtain some food [not the ones with animal pieces inside, though, since both she and I are vegetarian]. This Food Week event included the audience and chef of Commons, Donald Stauffer, asking 5 local farmers about gardening and raising animals and meeting the demands of the clientele. It was pretty interesting, I suppose, except I was sitting in the corner trying to do my Comparative Medicine outlining. There was a point, though, where a guy asked one of the farmers a question, and the farmer said something about how he had "two angels on his shoulders" [as opposed to an angel and a devil, I presume]. Of course, this generated some giggles from the audience. Then, as the guy proceeded to ask his question, the farmer cut him off and started saying some random stuff that wasn't really related to the question [which we never actually heard]. The farmer said that "we should get off the computer and unplug everything because we don't need to know about what Britney is wearing" [paraphrased]. A few minutes later, the guy who was asking his question left the forum.
I was pretty surprised, but in retrospect, I would leave a pro-choice forum [but why would I be at one in the first place?!].
I need to stop digressing. The food that I DID eat included a cold pumpkin soup with cute little cubes of pumpkin texture and a candied walnut [amazing], an apple crumble with flaky pastry, and a pumpkin cheesecake. The pumpkin cheesecake itself didn't taste much like cheesecake; the pumpkin flavour was more prominent. The crust was phenomenal, though, since it had this caramelly butter taste, and it also reminded me of Digestives. The crust was honestly the best part of my day, foodwise.
The apple crumble was deliciously textured and clearly resembled stewed apples with seasoning, nuts and oats. It was wonderful. The pastry was icky and tasteless, but that's because I don't really like plain pastry [yes, I ate all the crumble first].

Evidently, Commons food need not be terrible. The other animal-filled stuff seemed good too, judging by the way MA was eating them. He ate a lot of food and appeared to be sincerely enjoying it.

19 October 2010

Chocolate [Ear Candy?]

When I was younger, the phrase "eye candy" made me think of this. Evidently, it's supposed to mean something else but I think that it's an ugly phrase. Just my 2c. Anyway, I figured that this is literally ear candy [please, continue laughing. I enjoy hearing people laugh at my ... puns]:
My friend SVC from HK got them for me for my birthday last year although it arrived in the mail a few months later than expected... Either way, it's so cute :D I wasn't going to use them since I had really amazing headphones already. Unfortunately, last week the right bud's wire seemed to have gotten disconnected... so only the left earbud transmit sound now. I guess it was expected since I've had them since January 2008, and they've been smooshed by my track stuff, my school stuff, heavy books, my laptop, dropped on the floor... etc. This, however, signifies the fact that I am a consumer. I consume. I honestly don't have to use these new headphones; my old ones still half WORK; they're tolerable. This just shows that I've become materialistic.
Another piece of evidence to support my materialistic tendencies has to be this. My dad went to Switzerland and he bought a lot of chocolate. I didn't even know he was going to buy chocolate actually... Usually he gets utensils. I'm not kidding. If you look in our cabinet, you will see at least 5 plates from different countries, 17 international vessels [including shot glasses and mugs...], 9 small spoons... I really wonder why we get this stuff every time we/my dad goes to another place. Oh yeah, right, we're materialistic.
So anyway, I've never had Godiva chocolate before so I decided to bring a box with me back from home after "fall break" [autumn holidays]. I decided to bring half white chocolate and half dark chocolate, since I like both depending on my mood [but milk chocolate doesn't interest me much].
I did eat some so far and I guess I'll blog about each one later, but again, this demonstrates my inclination to CONSUME. Do I sound like I'm writing an essay? I had an in-class midterm essay yesterday, which is why my diction is so formal. The lack of time was mortifying.

18 October 2010

Mind the Food Gap - Urban Nutrition Initiative Dinner

Today at Commons there was a dinner from 6 to 7:30pm hosted by the Urban Nutrition Initiative, which is a community service group that teaches high school kids how to plant gardens and how to cook and do nutritional planning. This week, actually, is Food Week. Initially I wasn't even going to go, but I figured that I might as well go after my Nutrition midterm [which I did not do well on. I definitely didn't get above a 95% which really irks me because this stuff is really easy...] and I wondered if I'd be late, since I had to get my camera from my dorm. The really stupid thing is that I came into my dorm, left my school bag in my room, then went back out. As I approached Commons, I realised that I'd forgotten to bring my camera. By then, it was 6:10 so I figured I might just blog without pictures. However, downstairs in Commons, no one was serving food or anything... so I went back to my dorm and rushed back out and back to Commons. By then, they'd started discussing stuff about food justice. I think it's a really broad topic that one could write a book about, or devote a blog to. Either way, it was a light discussion for my table since we didn't have a table leader from the group to talk to us.
This event seemed pretty legit since they gave us 3 different sized forks and a spoon. They also emphasised the fact that the produce was local; the first course was "Roasted Red Pepper & Brie Cheese Soup", which was really delicious, actually. It was really tangy, great with the bread crust [but the bread by itself was pretty plain].
The "Spinach Salad with Local Feta, Red Onion and Warm Shallot Vinaigrette" was amazing. I seriously loved the vinaigrette!!!! I could drink that stuff [okay, I can't.]
The feta cheese chunks were really huge though, and different from the feta cheese I had eaten at this Greek restaurant back in high school.
Everyone else had "Hendricks [sic. no apostrophe] Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce, Sage Whipped Potato and Sautéed Broccoli Rabe". Since I'm a vegetarian, they gave me some butternut risotto. I tell you, this is NOT risotto. It's bulgur with butternut squash and cranberries. It is not a risotto. Risottos are sticky and creamy and made with arborio rice or other short-grain sticky rice. It was alright. The vegetable side was way too buttery. I guess it's personal preference, but I've grown up eating either steamed vegetables or vegetables cooked in light oil. I'm not used to the butter-drenched vegetables thing. Nor am I used to spreading a tablespoon of butter on bread, either...
However, the lighting was great so my pictures turned out nice. Actually, the guy next to me took pictures of his food too!
"Warm Bread Pudding with Maple Crème Anglaise" was pretty intense...the plate was cold and the pudding was sort of lukewarm. The bread pudding was nicely textured, and there were a lot of raisins. Overall, it was really sugar saturated. The maple glaze did not have any maple flavour. The thing that confuses me is that they said that this was grown locally, so I wonder whether Philly has a maple tree farm? I doubt it...but I could be wrong.

Interesting. I think I want to join this group to teach nutrition to kids.

15 October 2010


If everyone remains faithful to one website, my blog will be among [at least] 5148 blogs in the world that blog about water. After all, this is supposedly the "year of water" [and I thought it was just a Penn phenomenon...]. Today is Blog Action Day 2010, and the topic is water... and I'm supposed to come up with a witty blog post about two hydrogens covalently bonded to an oxygen molecule.
By the way, here is the link to my blog on the Blog Action Day page! It happens to be called Food Tech :D. The Penn group "Free Stuff at Penn" also blogged about water, which makes me very happy since they even mentioned how water in Philly is hard water and is that the Penn campus has filters in places... [I can't attest to that since I haven't seen any of those].

Anyway, I suppose now is the time to talk the hard facts of hard water [ha.ha.ha.] and give an actual meaningful post, sans waffle. Again, everything on this blog is my opinion, so please don't feel offended if you like to buy 250mL bottles of water from Costco [my parents do that].

One thing that I detest about the U.S. is the fact that prebottled water seems to be a necessity. WATER IS A NECESSITY. Prebottled water is a marketing gimmick used to screw up the environment. I really don't know why else we humans in the U.S. require prebottled water. In countries where water carries bacteria, insects, disease, mercury, poop, etc., bottled water is necessary. For most of the U.S., however, bottled water [okay, I got sick of typing "pre"] just pisses me off. I don't care if you're only capable of putting "pure spring water" to your lips. It's freakin' H2O with a bunch of minerals and trace elements. What do you use to brush your teeth? What do you drench yourself in, when you're showering? Where in the world do you SWIM, if you dislike normal tap water? You've been ingesting tonnes of tap water in your life, and you even rinse your fruit and vegetables with it. You wash your dishes and your clothes in it.

Why, then, are you afraid of sipping it? Why do you fear calcium? Is it because it leaves a white residue on your coffee-maker? Do you censure the fluoride in water because it's ostensibly harmful?

Why is it okay - oh, I mean, imperative - that you, a privileged, literate, richer-than-80%-of-the-world person, drink water from a bottle, whereas other people have to live on malaria-saturated swamps?

Tap water makes so much more sense.
It's pretty much the same thing as bottled water.
I have to admit that NJ tap water tastes very different from HK tap water, and Philadelphia tap water. Actually, the best tap water I've had comes from the airport at South Carolina...or maybe I was just really thirsty after the plane ride]. I have to admit that NJ water didn't taste that great initially, but after a few days, it started tasting clear. In other words, it started tasting like water, and spring water started tasting chemically bizarre.
One thing to get clear [hahaha, "clear"] is the fact that if you get used to NJ tap water, you can get used to any tap water, because NJ has all the pharmaceutical monopolies. Another cool thing is that they give out water quality reports every year in late August to each resident, so we all get to know what's in the water we're drinking.

I have one bottle for my water. It is bright green, stainless steel, and doesn't smell at all [the ones from Marshalls absolutely reek when I checked their insides out]. It cost around $10 from Borders when the one in my town was closing down. I believe it was from Gaiam, and you can find this company's bottle on Google Shopping. It used to have some design on it but it washed off, although I prefer it plain green.

Is my argument solid like ice? Will you melt it with your anger? It's okay if you disagree; I'm not partaking in consumption. I'm not wasting the energy associated with
1. Obtaining and refining oil.
2. Making oil into plastic bottles.
3. Filling bottles with water at some factory.
4. Finding "spring" water [or tap water] and drilling holes in the ground.
5. Shipping water to warehouse.
6. Shipping water from warehouse to store.
7. Shipping water from store to home.

Instead I'm just getting water pumped from some local recycled/water-that-used-to-be-sewage-perhaps plant and putting it in a stainless steel container.

13 October 2010

More Frey Chocolate

Rum milk chocolate; tasted a bit nutty and dessicated-coconutty. I've never had rum before so I don't know if there really was "rum" inside the chocolate.

Dark chocolate truffle... The ganache almost tasted sour, which was a bit bizarre.

11 October 2010

Dinner at China Chalet a.k.a. 天府 [Tian Fu]

My dad's birthday is around this time of year so we went out to eat dinner to celebrate it since I'm now a college kid and I can't come home much. Actually, I could if I had the money or the time. The truth is that college kids are poor. Well, most college kids are poor. There has to be some millionaires at Penn...

Anyway, my dad likes Chinese food [what a surprise! Not.] so we went to Tian Fu [天府] because that's where we used to go when we used to live in Florham Park in 2006. All I can say is, at least Niffy didn't yell out, "The food here isn't that good" because that's what she apparently said when my family went to the Greek restaurant a few weeks ago [without me, unfortunately]...
She nearly got hit by a car though, so I guess that's how karma works. It was a black SUV and it stopped for my brother and I as we were crossing the road. Then, it started to go again, and my sister decided to RUN across the road...
Then she proceeded to blame us for not warning her about the car. It was really crazy and confusing. It was like the time she was on the metro platform and I was on the metro and I was trying to keep the doors half open so that she could GET ON to the metro, and then the train started MOVING. Anyway, I keep digressing.
This was cow pieces with peanuts, water chestnuts, pepper, chilies, and oil.
Fish pieces with peppery batter and snow peas and oil. I am not condoning these acts of massacring animals. My mum did tell me that she apparently has had high cholesterol [ish] for the past 7 years, and she's finally decided to eat fewer animals now, instead of having to take meds [sigh. The U.S. and its pharmaddiction], which I support.
Three different animal pieces [chicken, pig and shrimp] with vegetables and, oh, yeah, oil. This one actually was supposed to have crunchy rice with it but there were only three chunks of crunchy rice, which I don't think counts as it being "crunchy rice with meat". It should be "meat with vegetables and a tiny side of crunchy rice". Whatever, it benefits them for advertising...
And there was rice vermicelli with vegetables and oil. Seriously. Why. Do. Chinese. Restaurants. Use. So. Much. Oil. Needless to say, I got pretty much zero protein but I did get all the unsaturated fat I need for the week.

10 October 2010


BACK home! I got back on Friday night at 9:40pm ish, even though I should've been back at 7:15pm [traffic is terrible. I had traffic out of Philly, INTO NY, then OUT OF NY. What a wonderful experience. At least I had food :)]
I noticed that nothing much has been consumed at home... my brother likened it to the Pullman strike, in which nothing could get done in Chicago while the RR workers were on strike... in other words, if I'm not home, no food gets eaten. Even the freakin' pistachios are untouched!
Anyway, it's nice to be home and eat food at any time I want.
One thing that people in college keep talking about is the archetypal "home-cooked meal". I haven't had one yet, actually, and I don't really care for one. I don't get why everyone seems so in love with "home-cooked meals" when most families in the U.S. prefer to eat out anyway.
Strange culture.
Anyway, I did get to eat meals with my brother and sister so that was really nice since we could do the whole "eating and meeting" thing.
While I was at college, my dad had a business trip in Basel, Switzerland, and he brought back a lot of chocolate. It was also really expensive chocolate. I don't really think it tastes that much different from a dark chocolate bar, but perhaps there is something in the ingredients that makes it special. I don't know. I mean, the presentation evidently is better than a normal chunk of chocolate, but I personally just like dark chocolate bars.
This was the espresso chocolate, which was some dark chocolate espresso ganache covered in dark chocolate. It was okay but not worth however much it cost. I like cocoa powder more...
OH so we had two coconuts! My brother and I shared one, and we're gonna consume the other one at some point in the future...
After drinking the liquid portion endosperm, I sought to crack open the coconut in order to share the remaining endosperm with my brother. I accomplished this by throwing the coconut onto concrete since both the hammer and the knife refused to crack open the coconut.
Below is the splat created by the coconut when I threw it. Unfortunately, we could not retrieve all the pieces of the coconut. Coconut shells remarkably resemble autumn leaves.
We somehow cracked it open from there...
My brother likes frozen blueberries [as do I] so we have a stash of them.