Going Vegetarian?

Returning home after a long trip with a totally different cuisine has been an interesting experience. I didn’t get sick once while traveling and I ate some bizzare stuff. No fried spiders though – thankyouverymuch. The first thing I did upon my return, before even getting to my parent’s house, was to get a double cheeseburger from Mustard’s Last Stand in Evanston. On the trip I only once ate at McDonalds and it was to make things less complicated rather than to splinter the group I was traveling with. Mike ordered a burger in Krabi – I’ve never seen a patty so small! So one of my cravings was a Mustard’s double-cheese. Not more than an hour after I ate it – it was WWIII in my stomach. Apparently the burger didn’t get along with the Korean food from the flights nor the ~4 weeks of Thai/Vietnamese/Cambodian I had been eating! In fact, my system hasn’t been digging the food I have been putting into it since I’ve gotten back. Then my Mom sends me this NYT article… its quite fascinating, actually. I had never thought about the full impact that our “meat factories” have on the environment…

Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms… if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year… estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption
New York Times

Read the article, its something that we should all be aware of!

Sorry about the lack of updates. I’ve been about as lazy as one can be upon my return. I guess after 4 weeks of non-stop activity, slowing down and resting a bit isn’t such a bad thing. I’ve now got a Sunday deadline to sort through my pictures as my parents, Greg and Mila will be coming over for a slideshow. They should be uploaded soon after!

Snow in Seoul

We landed in quite the snow storm here in Seoul. I took a picture but am unable to get the damned card reader to work on this computer – and it costs me 10 min in credit to log onto a different computer (of course, it doesn’t say that anywhere). I’m about to get on the last leg of my journey and within 14 hours I’ll be home! I’m both excited and sad… its a strange feeling when a trip like this ends. I’m sure I’ve forgotten how to work! I think I’m going to start with a Mustard’s burger… and for dinner Eduardos. Then, sleeping in my own bed! Too bad its going to be subzero temps in Chicago tomorrow! That will be quite a shock to my system!

ㅑ’ㅡ 해ㅑㅜㅎ 새 쇼ㅔㄷ 랙 ㅁ ㅠㅑㅅ ㅑㅜ ㅏㅐㄱㄷ무, ㅠㅕㅅ ㅠㄷㅊ면ㄷ ㅑ ㅊ무.

Thats what happens when I hit the wrong button on the keyboard. Heh.

Ok – off to gate 17!


We had a fantastic Thanksgiving! My Aunt and cousins came down from MN, we made a TON of food and stayed up late into the night playing Rummy Royal! I had actually come up to my parents on Wednesday to make my Grandmother’s German turkey stuffing. I also decided to treat myself to a massage at Egea – it was very much needed! On Thursday we headed up in the early afternoon to help with the cooking and preparations. Teresa picked out a wonderful new recipe – Butternut Squash-Pecan Gratin with Goat Cheese. Wasn’t too hard to make and the results were spectacular! HIGHLY recommended holiday dish! (especially for the vegetarians out there!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve been cooking for the last 3 hours! Finally changed into my “dinner clothes” and ready to sit back and let everything bake! As Teresa is now a vegetarian, I made what is starting to become a traditional dish – Lasagna Florentine. I made a double batch and am saving the rest of the sauce for December. Can’t wait to eat as I haven’t had anything since dinner last night! Hope everybody out there has a fantastic Thanksgiving with their families! Its amazing when I really think about everything we have to be thankful for!

Dave knows better?

This was prompted by an e-mail that Katty had sent me the other day. Anybody who suggests that I shouldn’t drink Red Bull should expect a deluge of information!

Good god – maybe Dave was ahead of us all of this time?!

From BBC NewsThe Ultimate hangover cure?:

According to our study findings, it is possible that adding taurine to alcohol during drinking could help to minimise liver damage and ward off a hangover, although we need to carry out further studies to confirm the effect in humans…

…The hope is that taurine might eventually be used to treat alcohol-related problems…

…Taurine would be the first treatment of its kind, if proven to be effective in humans. In fact, the trial on obese children found taurine to be effective in treating fatty liver irrespective of whether the children lost weight…

…The results are encouraging for those keen to minimise the harm the festive season inflicts. And when it comes to damage limitation, perhaps a taurine-rich energy drink might be just the thing with which to toast the New Year…

I had no idea that Red Bull was banned in France!! Beau and Wourms – maybe that’s why we paid $18 per RedBull Vodka at Macumba!

First supper


Finally! Stayed at the apartment for the first time Saturday night after the 80s party – but the bathroom was still not complete, thankfully TK and Dave were gracious enough to let us use theirs until ours was complete! They finally completed (mostly) the bathroom, and we were able to use it this morning! The kitchen is still a bit of a mess as the drains aren’t hooked up and so we don’t yet have running water in the kitchen. At least he hooked up the oven for us so that I could cook the first meal! Granted, I had to go to the bathroom to fill the pot – and then drain the ravioli in the toilet. Not exactly the classiest of ways to start – but at least we are in! I’ll write more when its not midnight and I’m not totally exhausted…

Thanks to Greg, Mila, Katty, Mom, Aita, Bill, Worm, Dave and TK for the help moving! More thanks to everybody who donated stuff to the apartment! Gretchen practically gave us an entire kitchen set! Thanks again!


The sociedad in the Basque part of the country is a members only (and men only) establishment where you pay monthly dues to have access to the “society”. Once you are a member you are allowed to use the facilities as long as you sign up ahead of time and there is still room. Yesterday we went to one of these establishments, as one of Miguel´s friends is a member of a Sociedad in San Sebastian. The way it works is as follows. They have a very well prepared kitchen with everything you could possibly need to cook. All you need to do is supply the food. They are well stocked with alcohol, mixers, wine, beer etc… and you can drink as much of it as you want. But the rules are a bit different that anything in the US – the women are not allowed in the kitchen! They are not allowed to even get something from the kitchen!


Miguel keeping the girls out of the kitchen!

Continue reading Sociedad