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Manolo's Food Blog - Part 6

The Cheese Stands Alone

Paris Stilton

Paris Stilton

Lock up your heirs! It’s Paris Stilton!

Funny, I’d have lost a bet about the specific geolocation of the cheese. Sorry about spoiling your next casserole.

The Sushi Shark!

Shark Sushi Plate

Shark Sushi Plate

I am desperately hoping that the artist created this hand-made sushi plate decides to go into mass production, so I can find and afford one. The metaphor is just delicious. For now, she’s apparently overwhelmed with orders for the handmade version, and it’s easy to see why.

Shark Sushi Plate in EXTREME CLOSE UP

Shark Sushi Plate in EXTREME CLOSE UP

Back to the Grind. Cheers!

After a few months away, it’s time to get back to work! Let’s celebrate, everybody!!!

The Knife Guys

The Knife Guys

The Knife Guys

We all know the importance of a good knife, even if all we do with it is use it to open packages (not that we do that, here, ever). But how to find a good one? It’s Will Ferrell and Ryan “Hey Girl” Gosling to the rescue with their new show, The Knife Guys!

“This was your energy, Jimmy.”

Sunday Food Porn: Italian Rose edition

Rose in Aspic by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia

Rose in Aspic by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia

As with much of the great Food Porn, I’m not sure how this would taste (although if the aspic were made with a decent and flavorful dry white wine, it could be very nice) but that’s not really the point of this category, is it?

Whine Journalism and how to bring the splashback

You Are What You Drink

You Are What You Drink

“I assumed they were already in the public domain on other wine review sites and liquor store sites.”

So says Canada’s #1 wine writer, Natalie MacLean, in a statement as disturbing as it is wrong-headed. It seems that, despite seeking legal advice (where, in a bar after closing time?), MacLean is under the bizarre notion that just because copyrighted work is posted to the internet, it is thereby stripped of copyright.

Allow me to disabuse her, and everyone, of this notion once and for all.

All original work published online, whether paid for or not, from CNN.com to the humblest Tumblr, is copyright the creator, as of the moment of publication, automatically and by law.

MacLean, as you can see here, has been copiously copy/pasting reviews written by other writers into her blog and website. Previous to this going nuclear in the media towards the end of last month, the posts said “By Natalie MacLean” with only the initials of the original writer, and no link to where the reviews had first appeared. And, apparently, no permission requests whatsoever.

As PalatePress says:

Ms. MacLean’s use of others’ work clearly fails the Fair Use test because she publishes entire reviews, they are appropriated for commercial purposes and her use is not for any of the legally permitted reasons.

There is a difference between an attributed quote, which you can see here or right above this sentence, and is protected by fair use law, and an outright theft. In her defence MacLean claims that she always included the initials of the original writer…which is a bit “other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln” of her.

I’m a writer. I write for a living. That still leaves me time for several hobbies, one of which is seeking out people who have stolen my writing and posted it elsewhere without permission, attributed or not, and having their websites taken offline with no warning. And now, in case any of you also write and value your own talent and original expressions (paid or unpaid), I am going to teach you how to do it too. I wish we didn’t live in a world where you had to have these skills, but selah, we do.

  1. periodically, take the first sentence of each of your recent posts and put them in Google, in quotation marks. In the case of this post, I’d put “So says Canada’s #1 wine writer, Natalie MacLean, in a statement as disturbing as it is wrong-headed.” in the Google box. See if it brings up any posts which you, yourself, didn’t make.
  2. if so, read the posts and see if you think it’s fair use (ie they took a snippet of your post and directed the reader to your post via a link to get the rest of the info OR they then went on to discuss the point you made. Either way, a direct link to your site is indeed necessary). If it is, fine.
  3. if, instead, they have NO original content on their post at all, but instead either pretend they wrote it themselves or link to you in the (hopefully vain) hope that you’ll think that a link from an internet thief is somehow acceptable, you have my permission and encouragement to go Full Metal Raincoaster on them. We call these people sploggers, spam bloggers, when we don’t call them something worse, and wreaking vengeance upon them is easier and more polite than you think: why, even Canadians can master this!
  4. if you’re really nice, or you think there has been a simple mistake, search the website for contact details for the blogger/admin and if you don’t find any, leave a comment on the post explaining that it is your content and you are asserting your copyright, and would like it removed. If you can’t find any contact details or leave a comment, well, that’s telling, isn’t it?
  5. determine where the website is hosted. WhoIsHostingThis is the easiest tool to use, although there are plenty of others.
  6. find contact information for the web host, which is almost always easily available online (or nobody could contact them to get hosting, now could they?). If they have an Abuse email, use that. If they have a DMCA or Copyright email, use that. Here is what you email them:
  7. send a polite email explaining the situation simply. I guarantee, they get a dozen of these a day, so don’t waste their time. Say “My post HERE (link) dated X has been copy/pasted after publication to a site hosted by you HERE (other link) dated Y and I hereby assert my copyright and request to have the infringing material taken down.” If you are as mean as me, you’ll have looked around the site and may add “I believe a great deal of their content has been similarly stolen, which I am certain is against your terms of service, FYI.” Of course it’s against their terms of service: it’s against the law!
  8. if you really want to put the cherry in the Manhattan, add an actual DMCA Takedown Notice. You don’t need a lawyer for this, nor does it take more than five minutes, but it works Every! Single! Time! Poof: instant website outage! This includes some general guidelines if you feel like writing it yourself, and this is the template I myself use because I am lazy and do these a lot. Once you do one of these, there will be no stopping you.

Web hosts are legally obliged to take offline copyright-infringing content, and they don’t really give a rat’s ass how “important” the blogger is in his/her niche. If they don’t act on a DMCA notice, they risk losing their entire business, and they are not going to take that chance. That’s why this is the heavy-handed, but more productive, way of dealing with copyright infringement. It’s rare that anyone with a blog is stupid or ignorant enough to think they’re really allowed to do this, so asking them is often a lesson in fruitlessness. When their web host removes their entire site from the internet, that teaches them a lesson they won’t forget.

Now, go forth. Go forth and Google, and I raise a toast to your splogger-hunting success!

EDITED TO ADD: if you’re super-extra nasty like I am, go to the stealing site, click on their ads, not the ad itself, but the part that says “Ads by Google” or “Federated Media” or whatever, and report them there. Every ad network has a way to report sploggers, and when they confirm what you say, they will pull all their ads and probably NEVER let that person have another ad account. Hit them where they live, people!

Hat tip to the ever-vigilant Marquis Wine Cellar on Twitter

A Taste of Chinatown

Chinatown, Vancouver

Chinatown, Vancouver

One of the great advantages to living in Vancouver’s Chinatown is that it’s almost as cheap to eat out, if you know where you’re going, than to cook for yourself, and if you cook like I do this is a DISTINCT advantage. None the less, there are so many restaurants in the neighborhood that nobody can get to all of them, and if you do happen to blunder into a bad one, you feel quite moronic for having wasted the opportunity to go somewhere you already know is good.

So when Richard Wolack announced that his latest Tasting Plates tour was headed to my neighborhood, I signed up right away. This is a cooperative event with one ticket price, entitling the attendees to a small serving of some set item at each participating restaurant or food shop. A piece of the ticket price goes to support a local charity. For this Tasting Plates round, the charity was Project Limelight, which provides Downtown Eastside youth with support for artistic endeavours and community.

We started with salted caramels, eggnog rounds, and hot chocolate you made yourself by dipping a hunk of solid white, milk, or dark chocolate on a stick into hot milk. Crazy fattening, but rich and a lot more fun than that ordinary stuff. Definitely first-class skating party material. That was all done by Beta 5, an ultra-modern dessert shop in the industrial flats between Terminal and Great Northern Way.

When that’s your first course, the second is naturally pizza. Ours came from Pazzarella pizza truck, which has the city’s only truck-mounted wood-fired pizza oven. I don’t think they were quite ready to be so slammed so quickly, as the line was long and everyone, EVERYONE wanted to try the maple bacon pizza. It smelled good, but they were out of it when I got up to the front, so I had a more mundane, but still tasty, mushroom pizza.

Then it was a trundle northward to Electric Owl, which as anyone who’s gone past it knows is a very hopping night spot, though it is yet very new. The food there was seemingly endless, and all of it was very, very good. Like, foodie quality, which is surprising, because from the crowd I’d always assumed the kitchen would not be a priority. Sliders, pulled pork with coleslaw, skewers of all kinds of tasty things, delicious egg rolls, and pudding in Chinese porcelain spoons. One may have indulged a bit too much, because we practically waddled en route to the rest of the stops.

In Chinatown proper we went first to Harvest, a very hipster/new urban gourmet deli where we had a paper cup double handful-sized of handmade ramen noodles with pork, preserved vegetables, and half an egg. Honestly, it was as much as I eat for dinner some nights all by itself, and the quality of the noodles was simply the best I’ve ever had. Noodles with flavour: what a concept!

In need of respite, we rolled our overstuffed selves to Treasure Green Tea, where staff was pouring their Seasons tea, a blend of black and green teas with a medium body, smoky aroma, and, surprisingly for a tea with that much flavour, no tannic bite whatsoever. It was good enough that I went back later and bought a half-pound for myself. The only thing that can compensate for my lack of fire place in the long, rainy winters is a big pot of steaming, smoky tea. Well, Viggo could try. I dare him.

From there, and feeling mightily stuffed, I huffed and puffed my way up the hill to Oyster Express, where I explained that to me, a perfect payday dinner is savory, salty, fresh oysters and gin Martinis and nothing else. At that point, I bailed on the tour for the sake of my figure (yes, I know, about two years too late). Cheers!

Here’s video coverage from the intrepid Alyssa Dawson for CityLights tv. She actually toughed it out and hit all the venues, believe it or not. I should call her trainer.

Fatty liver

Men, if you think hair loss, knee pain, backache, a pot belly and manboobs will be the most fearful consequences of old age, add one more specter to the list: a fatty liver.

digestion.jpg

Mr. Henry has one. (The wags might say Mr. Henry is one.) The discovery of this ticklish condition, however, has led to a new diet breakthrough.

Mr. Henry’s surefire weight loss method. Lose ten pounds in ten weeks!

How? You ask how?

First, develop an undiagnosable digestive disorder preventing you from eating more than appetizer portions at one sitting. Coffee, cheese, or anything fatty gives you nausea and stomach cramp, so they’re off the menu until further notice. Because your liver has grown fatty, your gastroenterologist will advise you to limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day. (You can sneak another, but don’t tell Dr. Romeu.)

Second, when the child goes off to camp for three weeks, prepare nothing at home more ambitious than salad with something grilled tossed on top (and maybe a little green tea). If you go out to eat, order only the appetizer. (Refusing to be buffaloed by wait staff, Mrs. Henry has been doing this years.)

Third, make sure your air conditioner breaks on Saturday evening. New York City repairmen don’t retrieve messages until Monday, no matter how plaintive, and don’t begin to act until Tuesday or Wednesday. Furthermore, make the AC chiller unit shatter its drive shaft. (Replacement shafts are never in stock.) If you do this during the worst heat wave of the summer, you’re bound to lose nearly a pound per day. Mr. Henry offers his personal guarantee. When it’s this hot, the most anyone can hope to consume is popcorn and white wine.

Fourth, eat a diet inspired by French cures for la crise de foie, even though such a term is not accepted by medical science, even in France. Eat artichokes, salad, bitter greens, lemon, papaya, mint and ginger. (Ginger helps the stomach empty its contents into the duodenum. You had to ask.) Then eat more artichokes.

artichokes.jpg

Here is a southeast Asian style salad dressing that transforms romaine lettuce, carrots, Thai basil, tomato and grilled chicken into princely fare:

1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon peanut butter (or sunflower butter)
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
three dashes of Tabasco
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive oil is not the best, but it’s OK)
salt

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Food for Thought