Thursday, July 22, 2010

Make life sweeter

If you don't know already, I have a big sweet tooth. I love sweets and I always have. If I die one day is because of diabetes. But I have had a fascination for sweets since I was a child (of course, waht kind of kid doesn't like sweets). It's so serious that I have actually considered pastry chef as a career. The other day talking to my sister about food and stuff made me think of something. You know how people travel around the world tasting food from different countries? Well, I wanna travel around the world, tasting different countries' DESSERTS. Ah? How do you like that, eh, eh?! :D But since I don't plan to travel for a while, at least I can make a blog entry about desserts I already know from different countries.
The following content might make you extremely hungry or crave for sweets.
Let's start with my home country, Costa Rica. I love desserts from Costa Rica because they are so sweet. One of my favourites are the "cajetas" which are like treats made with powdered milk, condensed milk, butter, and sometimes coconut flakes. They are rolled into little balls.

Another of my favourites is the "arroz con leche" or rice pudding. Made with cooked rice, condensed milk, cinnamon, and sometimes with clove and raisin.

Another classic, bread pudding. I tried making it once, didn't turn as good as the ones I have tried.

Hong Kong
Tracing back to my roots, I have to talk about chinese desserts - at least in Hong Kong. I like their desserts because they are sweet but not overly sweet...makes me feel "healthier". A lot of their desserts are made warm. One of the desserts I loved when I was younger were the egg custard tarts. I loved especially between the custard and the dough part because it wasn't too moist or too dry, still tasty.

Another of my favourites is the sponge cake because it's so soft, cushiony, just sweet enough, so light...makes me wanna shrink and jump on it. It's delicious too

This coming delicacy comes in a very sticky form, yet delicious! I used to order glutinous rice balls everytime me and my parents went to "yum cha" (drink tea). Sometimes they have sweet black sesame paste inside or even red beans, but I like it when they have sugar, coconut, and peanuts inside.

But for me, nothing tops off my all time favourite, tapioca in coconut milk. If I could eat something for the rest of my life, I'd be happy with this. I can jsut gobble them so quicly.

Aw man, those chinese have so many desserts. I still have a lot more to say, but I wanna move on to another countries.

There is this particular cake that I like, however, I can't eat much of it because it is soo sweet and soo filling. The torta chilena is like a cake with various layers and have "dulce de leche" between every layer.

I don't know much about brazilean desserts, but there this particular one that makes me drool so much. They call it brigadeiro which is kinda like the costa rican "cajeta" but they also put cocoa powder in it and roll it on chocolate sprinkles.

France is what I consider the capital of desserts. Their desserts are so delicious and so prefectly carved and so well designed. But one of their typical ones is the crème brûlée. One of my simple pleasures is to crack the creme brulee with my spoon - like Amelie.

How can we forget the famous Crêpes. Hmmm...especially with Nutella and strawberries inside. Topped off with powdered sugar and chocolate syrup. Oh la la!

Can't talk about Italy if you don;t mention the tiramisu. The delicious cake made with coffee. And I love coffee.

Oh, Canada, our home and maple land.... I can't remember when I first saw this tradition, either at Black Creek Pioneer Village or during my trip to Blue Mountain. I of course had to include the maple taffy.

Wow, writing this blog makes me drool for sugar. I better stop writing.
Are you from any of the countries I mentioned and forgot about your fav dessert?
Are you from another country with delicious desserts?
Do you love the desserts I des
Let me know through comments!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The grasshopper and the ants

Today I was reminded by my mom about a cartoon I used to watch as a child and I have totally forgotten about. Never realized the meaning until I was older. The moral of the story is that, if you spend all day playing and not working hard, life comes harder to you. But if you work hard, at the end of the day you have plenty of time to play and enjoy. My mom says I am the grasshopper. But I disagree. I do both play and work. I guess I could be the ant the grasshopper talks to. I am all happy and dancing to get distracted from work until the queen (in form of deadlines) makes me realize I have to get back to work. Plus I don't spit like the grasshopper. Glad my mom reminded me about it.

You can watch the entire cartoon here:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The World in Perspective

The other day I watched a documentary called "Bulgaria's Abandoned Children" about this British women who goes to this little town of Mogilino. In this town, there is a Social Care Home in which about 75 children live under VERY poor conditions. They are special kids as in they have some sort of disability - like being deaf, blind, autistic, sick, etc. This kinda shocks me as Bulgaria is one of the developed countries in Europe, yet there are small towns that are so poor. The lives of these children is very sad. The film encounters with several children from this care home. Didi, and 18 year old girl who is mildly autistic is abandoned by her mother. When she got there, she saw herself different from other kids there, quoting her, "they are disturbed". She is the only one who can talk, but has no one to talk to. She still believes that her mom is going to pick her up someday, she tells that to this autistic guy called Milan. Milan might not be the smartest boy in the world, but he is smart enough to know that Didi's mom is not going to pick her up. Milan has been doing chores in this home to have something to do with his life. He is very loyal and very reliable. But he also knows that the treatment they get in this place is not the best and wants to leave the place. Because he is a child and does things as he's told, sometimes the workers in this home takes advantage of him and beat him, leaving him bleeding and suffering in silence. Milan also has a kind heart for helping other people, like this kid who lost his ability to walk. But when he brings him up to a social worker, they walk pass him, ignoring him. The life standards of this place is the worst thing ever. Showers are dirty, clothes are shared by the children of the same room number, there are plastic potties instead of toilets, food there looks like vomit, and social workers chug food into childrens mouth fater than they can swallow. When social workers leave from work to go home, all children are left under control of one single person, who is in charge of them for 12 hours until the social workers come to work. Everything is systematic. Workers are paid to treat these children like animals who must be washed and fed. Children there are not given any opportunity to learn; there is no stimulation. All they do in this institution is to rock on a chair and walk around. Many of these children would have learned to talk if somebody talks to them or teach them things. The sad thing is that children there's only role is to survive in there. Every year, children die because they receive no medical assistance. They are left to suffer until they eventually die, having lived a miserable life. The director of the institution has barely walked out of her office to supervise the workers or visiting the children. When she was asked what is she needs the most for the institution, she answers "a computer". This shows a very very lack of compassion from people in the higher hierarchies.

The film is a very eye-opening experience, makes you realize what reality is like in some parts of the world. It is a real shame that some children live under this very poor condition. Unlike me, I live everyday as it is, taking for granted things I should be thankful for. Sometimes people wake up in the morning thinking to themselves "Man, I hate my life!", when this person is more blessed than million of children out there who would give everything to have a life like mine or yours. Yet, as bad as I feel about children like this, I feel helpless to make any change.

You can watch this documentary here.

So next time you are thinking you are having a bad day, keep this in mind:

--- Is your quaility of life doing ok? Did you have a bad day? ---
If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would break down on a per person scale accordingly... There would be:

* 57 Asians
* 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
* 8 Africans
* 52 would be female 48 would be male
* 70 would be non-white 30 would be white
* 70 would be non-Christian 30 would be Christian
* 89 would be heterosexual 11 would be homosexual
* 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
* 80 would live in substandard housing
* 70 would be unable to read
* 50 would suffer from malnutrition
* 1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth 1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
* 1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent. The following is also something to ponder...

If you woke up this morning with more health than are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend an idealogical meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or are more blessed than 3 billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States and Canada.

If you can read this article of perspective, you are more fortunate than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Of course, as I see the world today, perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's a hard life - Queen

I don't want my freedom
There's no reason for living with a broken heart

This is a tricky situation
I've only got myself to blame
It's just a simple fact of life
It can happen to anyone

You win - you lose
It's a chance you have to take with love
Oh yeah - I fell in love
And now you say it's over and I'm falling apart

It's a hard life
To be true lovers together
To love and live forever in each others hearts
It's a long hard fight
To learn to care for each other
To trust in one another right from the start
When you're in love

I try to mend the broken pieces
I try to fight back the tears
They say it's just a state of mind
But it happens to everyone

How it hurts - deep inside
When your love has cut you down to size
Life is tough - on your own
Now I'm waiting for something to fall from the skies
And I'm waiting for love

Yes it's a hard life
Two lovers together
To love and live forever in each others hearts
It's a long hard fight
To learn to care for each other
To trust in one another - right from the start
When you're in love

Yes it's a hard life
In a world that's filled with sorrow
There are people searching for love in ev'ry way
It's a long hard fight
But I'll always live for tomorrow
I'll look back on myself and say I did it for love
Yes I did it for love - for love - oh I did it for love