Sunday, June 26, 2011

Les Creations de Florence

Another favorite Etsy artist of mine Florence of Les Creations de Florence makes this gorgeous hand painted glass in French Provence style!

I contacted Florence and asked if she would mind for her lovely creations to be featured on my blog. Florence graciously agreed to the feature.

A few words from the artist:
"I was born and raised in Paris and now living in beautiful coastal Connecticut, USA.
My current passion is creating beautiful hand-painted glass that I sell on Etsy and to all my adorable friends. I also love to draw; play with clay, fabric, felt; make jewelry, cook and garden. I just heart handmade!

All my glass and ceramic pieces are unique in design and inspired by nature, world cultures and current trends. Each glassware piece begins with clear glass. I use vivid and transparent glass paints with a variety of techniques including sponging, brushes and fine point painting to create an intricate and unique design for every piece.

My signature "Gribouillage" pieces are named after the French word that means scribbling ~ it is a unique technique that my friends and clients adore."

Spring Bouquet Soap


Isn't this a BEAUTIFUL soap? That's the most beautiful soap I've ever seen! Looks like a blooming spring bouquet! It's made by a wonderful artisan Megan from Etsy shop Blushie. She has tons of other pretty flowery things in her shop. Go check it out for yourself!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

 By: Janice Papola 
"Delicious pies made with fresh strawberries. Top with whipped cream if you like."

Prep Time:
15 Min
Cook Time:
15 Min
Ready In:
2 Hrs 30 Min


  • 2 (8 inch) pie shells, baked
  • 2 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin


   1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to 
       blend corn starch in completely. Add boiling water, and cook over medium
       heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir
       until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

   2. Place strawberries in baked pie shells; position berries with points facing 
       up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.

   3. Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 167 | Total Fat: 4.4g | Cholesterol: 0mg
Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database


Saturday, June 25, 2011

"The Good Wife's Guide"

This is an actual article from the Housekeeping Monthly Magazine 13 May 1955

Ø       Have dinner ready.  Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return.  This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.  Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

Ø       Prepare yourself.  Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives.  Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking.  He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

Ø       Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him.  His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Ø       Clear away the clutter.  Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

Ø       Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then tables.

Ø       Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by.  Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.  After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Ø       Prepare the childrens.  Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes.  They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.  Minimize all noise.  At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, or vacuum.  Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

Ø       Be happy to see him.

Ø       Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Ø       Listen to him.  You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time.  Let him talk first-remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Ø       Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you.  Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

Ø       Your goal: to make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility where your husband can renew himself.

Ø       Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

Ø       Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night.  Count this as a minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

Ø       Make him comfortable.  Have him lean back in a chair or have him lie down in the bedroom.  Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Ø       Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes.  Speak in low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Ø       Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity.  Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness.  You have no right to question him.

Ø      A good wife always knows her place.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer 2011 Fashion Trends

What fashion trend will emerge this season?  Let’s start planning summer and do some cleaning in your wardrobe. These are some of trends to get passionate about in 2011 summer fashion.

This season, The Classic White color has been a loyal favorite between the top designers. From teenagers to grownups solid colored suits all ages and nearly all types of occasion. White is a symbol of purity and naturalness that why it is eternal color. White is the new black, this season forget the little black dress, little white dress to be seen in.
This spring/ Summer Fashion Trends for 2011, the 1970’s are making big return from Boho chic to 70’s long trousers with blouses for the day time, shimmering dresses for evening. Don’t forget to maxi skirt, maxi dress.
Photo collage: prlog

The Feathers and Fringe!! What a great way to spice up your wardrobe this spring/ summer 2011 Fashion trends. The feather-trimmed dresses   back the old time Hollywood vogue.
The playful and dramatic accents, in variety of color of fun color. Charming feather gowns and dresses are to be seen in proms and parties.

Handbag puck513

One of the outstanding spring summer 2011 trends- Neons. All over color or trim Neon will be a great way to make expression this spring and summer. Bright rainbow colors are mixed and matched with neons. Such as electric blue, hot pink, lime green, purple, fluorescent orange and yellow.

Photo Collage: becomegorgeous
This spring/ summer trend for 2011 designers are breaking the traditional rule of print by mixing unique patterns together. This season mixes different type of floral and animal prints. The dominated patterns themes of the season are plaids, paisley, floral, animal print, stripes and even fruit.  Be confident and wear them all at once.

Photo collage: source

Recall your memories and back to a countryside where you used to spend holidays. Take hold of the nature with a fragile yet not naive cut-out detailing, lace, floral prints and crochet.  The key word is Arts-and Crafts.

Photo Collage: TheMogulMom

Despite the fact punk is unlikely to become main stream again at any time. The greatest counterculture will always be with us for better or worse. Military (AKA combat) design has been recreated for the fashion trend 2011. Punk-rock edge presenting leather, ripped stocking, studs and safely pins versus biker chic style with zipped sleeves and combat boots are addition.

Pajamas this spring / summer season 2011 fascinated the fashion minds. Inspired with the 1990’s trend string tie pants, silk pyjamas, kimonos, sarongs and other types all the way white and pastel colors.

The spring and summer season 2011 the hot pattern will be stripes and seen in the Catwalk.  The designers showed stripes across the board from skinny, base toned to bold, electric and you would be astonished to see how many designers are in stripes. These are including Seaside stripes; these stripes are ready for a day by the sea. Navy and white marine colors.  If you are adventurous you can wear stripes in any outfit, that including tops, jackets and skirts
Handbag Bayanhippo

Laces and embroideries has been about for a long time and made strong arrival last year, its look like to continue during Spring/Summer 2011.  Particularly with the beach wear industry. A full body lace dress twist and feminine and perfect dress for the evening wear. Lace can be used from head to toe. The stylish lace fashion is moving away from the standard white to such as pink and res colors. Especially lace skirt can be wear daily; they can be worn with a plain classic top and still look amazing.
The fashion inspires a movie to shamelessly steal for trend. The success of the movie Black Swan starting Natalie Portman, ballet costumes have come to be one of the latest fashion trends for Spring/summer 2011. Tutus, ballet shoes and leg warmers are all part of this year trend. As always you can mix and match these pieces to design an outfit which suits you.


Wide use of belts has become fashionable last year season and until now belts do not lose their popularity. Wear a belt with a dress to emphasize your middle, pair it with a skirt or trousers to finish the look, or add a piece to make the outfit more unusual.

These are key fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2011! Hope this was helpful and remember you don't need to practice trends to be stylish.  Following fashion trends is meant to be fun, so don't take it too seriously! Wear what you like and what you feel comfortable in. Because not every fashion trend will suit your body shape or style, not every color will suit your coloring.  Wear what suits for you, not what works for somebody else!

Photo collage: stylehog

Soft Pastels

Dress Jessica Simpson $99.99
Handbag Aldo $32.00
Shoes L.A.M.B. $273.75

Summer Bloom

Dress Jessica Simpson $99.99
Clutch Brighton $110.00
Shoes Not Too Coy $83.30

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rhubarb Raspberry Crisp

1 1/2 lbs rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small piees
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup hazelnuts, skinned, toasted, and chopped (optional)
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1. Heat oven to 350. Combine rhubarb, granulated sugar, and orange zest and juice in large bowl. Stir to combine.

2. In another bowl combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Rub butter into flour mixture with your fingers until it is well incorporated and large crumbs form. Add oats and nuts and combine.

3. Put rhubarb into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish, scatter raspberries evenly over surface, and cover with topping.

4. Bake until topping is brown and crisp and juices are bubbling, about 45 min. Let cool slightly before serving.


Top 9 Things You Don't Want to Hear During Surgery

Things you don't want to hear during surgery:
  1. Better save that. We'll need it for the autopsy.
  2. "Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness."
  3. Bo! Bo! Come back with that. Bad dog!
  4. Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what's that?
  5. Hand me that... uh... that uh... that thingy there.
  6. Oh no! Where's my Rolex.
  7. Oops! Hey, has anyone ever survived from 500 ml of this stuff before?
  8. There go the lights again?
  9. "Ya know, there's big money in kidneys? and this guy's got two of 'em."

Top 10 Things to do at the Mall

10. At the bottom of an escalator, scream "MY SHOELACES! AAAGH!"

9. At the stylist, ask to have the hair on your back permed.

8. Ask a saleswoman whether a particular shade of panties matches the color of your beard.

7. Sneak up on saleswomen at the perfume counter and spray them with your own bottle of Eau de Swanke.

6. Collect stacks of paint brochures and hand them out as religious tracts.

5. At the pet store, ask if they have bulk discounts on gerbils, and whether there's much meat on them.

4. Hand a stack of pants back to the changing room attendant and scornfully announce that none of them are "leak proof".

3. Ask appliance personnel if they have any TVs that play only in Spanish.

2. Try pants on backwards at the Gap. Ask the salesperson if they make your butt look big.

1. Show people your driver's license and demand to know "whether they've seen this man."


New Medications for Women

St. Mon's Wort
Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.

E m p t y N e s t r o g e n
Highly effective suppository that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

P e p t o b i m b o
Liquid silicone for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and improves flirting.

D u m e r o l
When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low I.Q., causing enjoyment of country western music.

F l i p i t o r
Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

A n t i b o y o t i c s
When administered to teenage girls, is highly effective in improving grades, freeing up phone lines, and reducing money spent on make-up.

M e n i c i l l i n
Potent anti boyotic for older women. Increases resistance to such lines as, "You make me want to be a better person ... can we get naked now?"

B u y a g r a
Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.

J a c k A s s p i r i n
Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your anniversary or phone number.

A n t i-t a l k s i d e n t
A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers.

And the best:

D a m i t o l
Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 hours.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Forsyte Saga

I have read The Forsyte Saga for the first time in high school and it has been my favorite ever since (I am 32 now and I have read a lot of other things since that time). The writing in this book is so masterful that it has captured my heart forever. John Galsworthy is viewed as one of the first writers of the Edwardian era who challenged some of the ideals of society depicted in the preceding literature of Victorian England. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for this work in 1932.


By William Lyon Phelps

    It is impossible to say what books of our time will be read at the close of this century; it is probable that many of the poems and tales of Kipling, the lyrics of Housman, dramatic narra­tives by Masefield, some plays by Shaw and Barrie, will for a long time survive their authors.

    Among the novels, I do not know of any that has or ought to have a better chance for the future than the books written about the family of the Forsytes by John Galsworthy. They at present hold about the same place in contempo­rary English literature as is held in France by Romain Rolland's Jean Christophe. Both are works of great length which reflect with remark­able accuracy the political, social, commercial, artistic life and activity of the twentieth cen­tury, the one in England, the other on the Con­tinent.

    Entirely apart from their appeal as good novels, that is to say, apart from one's natural interest in the plot and in the characters, both are social documents of great value. If the future historian wishes to know English and Continental society in the first quarter of the twentieth century, he will do well to give atten­tion and reflexion to these two works of "fic­tion."

John Galsworthy was just under forty when in 1906 he published a novel called The Man of Property. He had produced very little before this, but it took no especial critical penetration to discover that the new book was a masterpiece. The family of the Forsytes bore a striking re­semblance to one another in basic traits and ways of thinking, yet each was sharply indi­vidualised.

A new group of persons had been added to British fiction. The word "Property," as in Tennyson's Northern Farmer, was the key­note, and before long it began to appear that one of the most dramatic of contrasts was to be used as the subject.  This is the struggle between the idea of Property and the idea of Beauty-be­tween the commercial, acquisitive temperament and the more detached, but equally passionate artistic temperament.

    Even in the pursuit of beauty Mr. Soames Forsyte never forgot the idea of property. He was a first-class business man in the city, but he was also an expert judge of paintings, which he added to his collection. Oil and canvas do not completely satisfy any healthy business man; so Soames added to his collection, as the master­piece in his gallery, an exquisitely beautiful woman whom he made his wife.

The philosophy of love comes in here. What is love?  Is it exclusively the idea of possession, which often is no more dignified than the preda­tory instinct or is it the unalloyed wish that the object of one's love should be as happy and se­cure as possible? No one can truly and sin­cerely love Beauty either in the abstract or in the concrete if one's eyes are clouded by preda­tory desire.  One must look at beauty without the wish to possess it if one is really to appreci­ate beauty. A first-class French chef would look into the big front window of a confectioner's shop and fully appreciate the art and taste that created those delectable edibles; but a hungry boy who looked at the same objects would not appreciate them critically at all.

The wife of Soames finds him odious, so odious that we cannot altogether acquit her of guilt in marrying him; and Soames, who as a Man of Property expected her to fulfill her contract, did not make himself more physically attractive by insisting on his rights. She left him for a man of exactly the opposite temperament.

When Mr. Galsworthy finished this fine novel, he had no intention of going on with the history of the family. He wrote many other novels and some remarkable plays, but nothing made the impression on readers that had been produced by the Forsyte family. Nearly twenty years later he returned to the theme, and at once his power as a novelist seemed to rise; there is some­thing in this family that calls out his highest powers.  When he discovered that he had writ­ten five works of fiction on the Forsytes, three long novels and two short stories, of which the brief interlude called Indian Summer of a For­syte is an impeccable and I hope imperishable work of art, he hit upon the happy idea of assem­bling them into one prose epic, and calling the whole thing by the ironical title of The For­syte Saga.  It is my belief that for many years to come the name of John Galsworthy will be associated with this work, in what I fervently hope will be its expanded form.

    For since the assembling of the five pieces Mr. Galsworthy has published several other novels dealing with the family.  -The White Monkey, The Silver Spoon and in 1928 he wrote FINIS with Swan Song. Here he kills Soames, and while he probably does not feel quite so sad as Thackeray felt when he killed Colonel New­come, I venture to say that he does not gaze on the corpse of Soames with indifferent eyes. For to my mind the most interesting single feature of this whole mighty epic is the development of the character of this man.

Clyde Fitch used to say something that is no doubt true of many works of the imagination; he said that he would carefully plan a play, write his first act, and definitely decide what the leading characters should say and do in the sub­sequent portions of the work. Then these pro­vokingly independent characters seemed to ac­quire, not only an independent existence, but a power of will so strong that they insisted on doing and saying all kinds of things which he tried in vain to prevent.

In The Man of Property Soames Forsyte is a repulsive character; he is hated by his wife, by the reader, and by the author. But in these later books Soames becomes almost an admi­rable person, and we may say of him at the end in reviewing his life, that nothing became him like the leaving of it-for he died nobly. Long before this catastrophe, however, we have learned to admire, respect, and almost to love Soames. Is it possible that Mr. Galsworthy had any notion of this spiritual progress when he wrote The Man of Property, or is it that in living so long with Soames he began to see his good points?


Ancient Legends of The Sacred Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is a Universal symbol found in many spiritual traditions around the world. It symbolizes life itself, with it's branches reaching for the Heavens "Father Sky" and it's buried roots, linking to "Mother Earth".

Many ancient mythical stories come from the idea that all living beings are born from the earth; the source of life and sustenance for all.

Legends say that
The Sacred Dove sits in the branches of the Tree of Life and appears with the fruit of the tree and the waters of life.

The tree has become a symbol of
love, wisdom, rebirth, strength, redemption, friendship, bounty and encouragement.

Sources: The Druids of Turtle Island,

History and Myths Behind The Tree of Life

1. The Assyrians-
To the Babylonians, The Tree of Life had magical fruit, which could only be picked by the gods. Dire consequences befell any mortal who dared to pluck from it. The Tree found its way into the Judeo-Christian legend of Adam and Eve...
~ George Sassoon and Rodney Dale, The Manna Machine
2. The Celts-
When a Celtic tribe cleared a new land for settlement, they always left a great tree in the middle, known in Ireland as the "crann bethadh", or Tree of Life, it embodied the security and integrity of the Celtic people.
Chieftains were inaugurated at the sacred tree, for, with its roots stretching down to the lower world,and its branches reaching to the upper world, it connected him with the power of both the heavens and the worlds beneath.
~ Mara Freeman 1998

3. Judeo-Christians-
In the Book of Genesis, The Tree of Life is planted by God in the Garden of Eden (Paradise), the fruit gives everlasting life.
God also planted the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Genesis 2:9). After eating from the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life.
~ Wikipedia
4. The Kabbalists-
The Tree of Life, is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to God and the manner in which He created the world.
The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of creation. The tree of life has been called the "cosmology" of the Kabbalah. Some believe the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah corresponds to the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis.
~ Wikipedia
Image: The Visionary Art of Willow Arlenea - Goddesses


The Lady of Shallot

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower'd Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance --
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

A. Tennyson, The Lady of Shallot

Fast Food Nation

I had to read this book for my Nutrition class assignment a few years back and I will never look at a lot of food items the same way again. This book talks about not just food itself, it depicts the transformation of entire society together with evolution and transformation of the food market in this country. Eric Schlosser's research really draws you a Big Picture and is quite sociological.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001) is a book by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry.
First serialized by Rolling Stone in 1999, the book was adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Richard Linklater.

Schlosser opens the book with the ironic delivery of a Domino's Pizza to the top secret military base, Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. He describes various high-tech capabilities of the base and its extensive defensive system, speculating that if the worst were to happen and the entire base were entombed in the mountain, anthropologists of the future would discover random fast food wrappers scattered amongst military hardware.

Both, suggests Schlosser, would give important clues about the nature of American society. America is becoming an obese country and needs to act upon the fast-food chains. The book continues with an account of the evolution of fast food and how it coincided with the advent of the automobile. He explains the transformation from countless independent restaurants into a few uniform franchises. This shift led to a production-line kitchen prototype, standardization, self-service, and a fundamental change in marketing demographics: from teenager to family-oriented.

Regarding the topic of child-targeted marketing, Schlosser explains how the McDonald's Corporation modeled their marketing tactics on The Walt Disney Company, which inspired the creation of advertising icons such as Ronald McDonald and his sidekicks. Marketing executives theorized this shift to market toward children would result not only in attracting children, but their parents and grandparents as well. More importantly, the tactic would instill brand loyalty that would persist through adulthood via nostalgic associations to McDonald's. Schlosser also discuss the tactic's ills: the exploitation of children's naïveté and trusting nature.

In marketing toward children, Schlosser suggests, corporations have infiltrated schools through sponsorship and quid pro quo. He sees that reductions in corporate taxation have come at the expense of school funding, thereby presenting many corporations with the opportunity for sponsorship with those same schools. According to his sources, 80% of the sponsored textbooks contain material that is biased in favor of the sponsors, and 30% of high schools offer fast foods in their cafeterias. Anecdotes are given suggesting that students that disregarded sponsorships could be punished, such as the case with high school student Mike Cameron. He was suspended from school for an incident on "Coke day"; while his fellow students wore red or white T-shirts and posed collectively as the word COKE while aerial photographs were taken, Cameron instead wore Pepsi-blue.

In his examination of the meat packing industry, Schlosser finds that it is now dominated by casual, easily exploited immigrant labor and that levels of injury are among the highest of any occupation in the United States. Schlosser discusses his findings on meat packing companies IBP, Inc. and on Kenny Dobbins. Schlosser also recounts the steps of meat processing and reveals several hazardous practices unknown to many consumers, for example, the practice of rendering dead pigs and horses and chicken manure into cattle feed.

Schlosser notes that practices like these were responsible for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, aka Mad Cow Disease, p. 202-3), as well as introducing into the food supply harmful bacteria, such as E. coli O157:H7 (ch. 9, What's In The Meat). In the later section of the book, the fast food industry's role in globalization is discussed, linking increased obesity in China and Japan with the arrival of fast food. A summary of the McLibel case is included.

In later editions, Schlosser provided an additional section that included reviews of his book, counters to critics that emerged since its first edition, and then discusses the effect that the threat of BSE had on Federal Government policy towards cattle farming. He concludes that, given the swift, decisive and effective action that took place as a result of this interest and intervention, many of the problems documented in the book are solvable, given enough political will.


Extract from the book:

What We Eat
OVER THE LAST THREE DECADES, fast food has infiltrated every nook and cranny of American society. An industry that began with a handful of modest hot dog and hamburger stands in southern California has spread to every corner of the nation, selling a broad range of foods wherever paying customers may be found. Fast food is now served at restaurants and drive-throughs, at stadiums, airports, zoos, high schools, elementary schools, and universities, on cruise ships, trains, and airplanes, at K-Marts, Wal-Marts, gas stations, and even at hospital cafeterias. In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music - combined.
Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cool air, walk in, get on line, study the backlit color photographs above the counter, place your order, hand over a few dollars, watch teenagers in uniforms pushing various buttons, and moments later take hold of a plastic tray full of food wrapped in colored paper and cardboard. The whole experience of buying fast food has become so routine, so thoroughly unexceptional and mundane, that it is now taken for granted, like brushing your teeth or stopping for a red light. It has become a social custom as American as a small, rectangular, hand-held, frozen, and reheated apple pie.
This is a book about fast food, the values it embodies, and the world it has made. Fast food has proven to be a revolutionary force in American life; I am interested in it both as a commodity and as a metaphor. What people eat (or don’t eat) has always been determined by a complex interplay of social, economic, and technological forces. The early Roman Republic was fed by its citizen-farmers; the Roman Empire, by its slaves. A nation’s diet can be more revealing than its art or literature. On any given day in the United States about one-quarter of the adult population visits a fast food restaurant. During a relatively brief period of time, the fast food industry has helped to transform not only the American diet, but also our landscape, economy, workforce, and popular culture. Fast food and its consequences have become inescapable, regardless of whether you eat it twice a day, try to avoid it, or have never taken a single bite.

E. Schlosser (2000), Fast Food Nation.