08
Jul
14

7.8.14 … canned soup …

Progresso “Artisan” Creamy Potato Soup with Sausage and Kale, canned soup, artisan: Progresso “Artisan” Creamy Potato Soup with Sausage and Kale was very good … But doesn’t soup hermetically sealed in box go against the definition of “artisan?” Obviously if you follow my conversations, you know of my discussion of the use/misuse of this word.

 Crumbs cupcake empire:

When news broke last night that the Crumbs cupcake empire crumbled, outlets were quick to declare (yet again) the end of the cupcake trend as we know it. While the shuttering of a major chain is certainly noteworthy, this isn’t actually the end of a era—we still have Magnolia, Sprinkles, and countless other sugar-laden chain bakeries. There are still Sex and City tour buses and bachelorette parties, not to mention people who just generally enjoy the taste of cupcakes (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Even Robicelli’s, a Brooklyn bakery that happens to bake quite excellent cupcakes, admits that cupcakes are still a hot-ticket item:

Here’s my theory: Crumbs closed because it made awful cupcakes (and some questionable financial decisions). Despite its attempts at vaguely innovative flavors like Oreo, Crumbs did not produce a good product. Maybe the rest of the population finally wised up to that fact—down with mediocrity! If you want to eat a cupcake, great. But it should at least be a palatable one.

What’s more, this may be evidence of an overall trend: Americans are developing a sense of taste (at last). Other bland, mass-market food categories are down as well. Domestic light beer sales will hit a 10-year low in 2015, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Why the plummet? Because people are veering toward craft beer, imports, and cider. Translation: People want to drink things that taste good.

The frozen food industry is hurting as well, according to both National Journal and the Wall Street Journal. ”Within this foodie culture the last few years, I think there has been a change in how some people define healthy foods,” Rob McCutcheon, president of ConAgra’s consumer frozen-food division, told the WSJ. “There is definitely a push toward products that are more real, higher quality, more homemade and closer to the source.”

Even the salad dressing industry is feeling the pain of consumer discernment; sales for premium salad dressing are growing at two to three times the rate of regular dressing, the WSJ reported last year. (Bonus: It’s really easy to make your own.)

No one even wants cereal anymore either! Why? Because cereal—whether ultra-sugary or ultra-healthy—can’t quite live up to the morning hero du jour: yogurt!

Does this mean the artisanal food revolution has succeeded? Have we home cooks won the war? Will parents be rolling out kouign amann for their kids’ birthday parties? Will shoyu ramen replace the Quarter Pounder?

Maybe not quite yet. Though casual chains such as Olive Garden and Applebee’s are struggling to stay relevant, TGI Friday’s actually just launched a new “endless appetizer” special: a neverending deluge of mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and more—for only $10. So you know what? Forget what I just said about people caring more about quality than quantity (and price). This is America. Cupcakes may crumble, craft beer may bubble up, but we will always have our fried cheese. Only, perhaps a little more now than before, it may be burrata.

via Crumbs Is Closing—Are Americans Developing a Palate?.

Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte, US, history:

Mental Floss ‏@mental_floss 1m

Napoleons older brother Joseph Bonaparte lived for many years in New Jersey.

via 3 Twitter.

 AS a former king, he entertained on a lavish scale. In exile, he surrounded himself with European artwork. He was oldest brother to the conqueror of Europe, but he far preferred gardening to warfare.

Beginning in 1816, Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, was a New Jersey resident. Once king of Spain and Naples, Bonaparte made his home in exile at Point Breeze, a promontory overlooking the junction of the Crosswicks and Thornton Creeks with the Delaware River.

In the last two years, students from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, led by Richard F. Veit, an associate professor of anthropology, have worked to unearth the foundations of Joseph Bonaparte’s first house, which was destroyed by fire in 1820. In two six-week summer digs this year and last, some 125 students recovered more than 14,000 artifacts, mostly remnants of china, marble and glass.

“Uncovering the foundation cornerstone was hands down the most exciting find we made,” Sean McHugh, a graduate student from Brick, said about finding a portion of the mansion. “It helps orient the whole site.”

Monmouth University’s find was showcased at a recent open house at Point Breeze, hosted by the Divine Word Missionaries, whose seminary now sits on the property. “The university’s undertaking of archaeology here has helped bring the hidden pages of history back to life,” said Pierre Villmont, France’s ambassador to the United States, who attended the event.

Little remains on the property original to Bonaparte’s time. The former estate is honeycombed with underground tunnels, which were used to bring in supplies and also offered a quick escape route if enemies came to call. A brick archway now teetering in the woods may have once supported a carriageway to Bonaparte’s house, according to Keri Sansevere, a Monmouth student from Middletown.

While Joseph Bonaparte’s time in New Jersey may be obscure to some, residents of Bordentown City are well acquainted with his story. Mayor John W. Collom III talked of exploring the underground tunnels as a teenager. Kathleen Pierce, who would have been a close neighbor of M. Bonaparte, said a local repairman once asked her, “And what Bonaparte artifact do you own?”

Bonaparte, who escaped to America from France after his brother’s defeat in 1815, purchased Point Breeze in 1816. He quickly set about enlarging the existing house and acquiring more land, eventually owning more than 1,800 acres in the Bordentown area.

His first mansion burned on Jan. 4, 1820. Bonaparte was away but arrived in time to see the roof collapse, Dr. Veit said.

But his Bordentown neighbors rushed to the property when they saw the flames, and rescued most of his artwork, furniture, silver and other valuables. Bonaparte later publicly praised their efforts in a letter written to local newspapers.

He then built a second, grander mansion, set farther back from the river. This residence was judged by many visitors to be the “second-finest house in America,” after the White House, according to Patricia Tyson Stroud, author of “The Man Who Had Been King,” which was used in Dr. Veit’s course work for the dig.

When he was king of Spain, Bonaparte loved wine and dinner parties — his nickname was “Joey Bottles” — and Monmouth students unearthed generous evidence of this in the hundreds of broken wine bottles recovered at the site. Bonaparte also loved to garden, and Dr. Veit said his estate was a forerunner to Central Park — with an artificial lake and marble statues — that Bonaparte often opened to the public.

In 1839, Bonaparte left New Jersey for Europe, where he died in 1844. His second home was bought by Henry Beckett, the son of a former British consul, who promptly razed it to build another mansion. He was dubbed “Beckett the Destroyer” by local residents.

via History – Unearthing the Home of That Other Bonaparte, the One Who Lived in New Jersey – NYTimes.com.

Why Every City Needs a Labyrinth – CityLab, maze v. labyrinth: Not really a labyrinth, but very cool!

 

I’m the kind of person who probably couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag, so it was with some hesitation that I stepped into the BIG Maze. This is a project at D.C.’s National Building Museum, a summer folly designed by the always-entertaining Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, a plywood playground where kids will snap selfies all season long. For a person with a sense of direction like mine, though, it couldn’t be worse if a Minotaur were lurking in the middle.

The labyrinth swallowed me. Though the structure is dwarfed by the cavernous museum itself, this maze is no slouch, spanning more than 3,000 square feet. In a word, it’s big: The maple-wood walls rise 18 feet high, and each side is is 57 feet long. Welp, I thought, as I assessed my inventory: If I was going to have to live in a maze for the holiday weekend, at least I had a Perrier.

via Why Every City Needs a Labyrinth – CityLab.

quotes:

As Edward de Bono would say, “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

via CATHERINE WILMER | CACHE Worldwide.

MegaBus: I’m on the MegaBus with Steph Curry’s mother-in-law. She is one of the most down to earth women I have met in a long time … And one very proud grandmother. She paid a dollar for her trip.

 


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