Friday 29 January 2010

School of culinary arts

"C'EST HORRIBLE!" he shouts at me. With that, he begins a rant. "Ca n'est pas difficile! . . . Pourquoi presenteriez-vous ce plat?! . . . Vous ne pourriez pas servir ceci!"

So begins "The Sharper the knife, the less you cry: love, laughter and tears at the world's most famous cooking school" by Kathleen Flinn. I looked quickly to see if it was about Cathal Brugha st., or whether the author Kathleen Flinn was a graduate from here. But no and even allowing for the fact that "most of the names have been changed" it is based not on DIT but the famed (or feared?) Le Cordon Blue cooking school in Paris. But prehaps, like Ratatouille, you might recognise some of the characters portrayed and think hey yeah that kinda reminds me of ......

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Let them eat edible candles

last month it was eating gold, this month it's candles. Obviously the only way to finish any self respecting dinner.
A banquet was recently staged in Versailles to coincided with the opening of a major exhibition celebrating the art collection of Louis XIV 1643-17115 - French king from the age of 4 (the sun king to his friends). Louis took his food seriously and his main meal of the day would often last 4-5 hours and consist of 20 courses or more, Les hors d'oeuvre, Les potages, Les rots, Les entremets, and yes they did eat gold - Beef madrilene with gold leaf spangles, herb salad sprinkled with gold. The man entrusted with recreating this repast was Jean-Francois Piege. But it was the chocolate candles with sugar flames to finish which swung it for me. I can imagine no more civilised way to bring an evening to a close and send you off to bed. For more on the gastronomic influences of the period try this 2009 book, A revolution in taste in the library

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow

every year at this time of year like the days getting longer comes the Horizon Report an annual guide to hi-tech trends to watch in higher education. And whats gonna have us jumpin in 2010? - open content they say - as a direct reponse to rising educational costs, the desire for access to learning and that expression of choice from students about when and how to learn. Also in the near term, mobile computing and devices will continue their relentless march - so we can say goodby to pc labs in the library. E-books should finally start to benefit from better interfaces, graphics and increased choice. Certainly up to now the readers have been dull and disappointing. On the further horizon they tip augmented reality, already being tried in the commercial sector, having useful educational potential. And in the long, long 5 year term how about gesture based computing becoming mainstream in the clasroom (what was so wrong with just putting your hand up) . And visual data analysis - "a way of discovering and understanding patterns in large data sets via visual interpretation." But as you know even a week is a long time in computing and prediction is not yet a precise science. It's fun though

Wednesday 13 January 2010

sex and food and drugs and ....

Paganini once said that Stradivari, the most famous violin-maker, “used only the wood of trees in which nightingales sang”. Beautiful. I was reminded of this while reading an article in the January Food & Wine Magazine about the relationships between food and sex, love and romance. And these associations are not confined to just any one of our 5 senses. Think, the aromas of almond or vanilla, the taste of chocolate - apparently all to do with a chemical akin to amphetamine, truffles - they exude a chemical variant of testosterone, the texture of oysters. Unmissably suggestive fruits, peaches pomegranates, figs, For visual feasts think ripe asparagus spears, firm bananas - listen i'm only quoting whats written in the article. See page 52 for more and sorry not available full text online

Thursday 7 January 2010

more than just an academic library

The big freeze. More snow clouds are descending over the capital as i write and for the second night running all dit libraries will be closing at 5pm.
I've talked here before (most recent 30th sept) about the Barbour Index, 1 of our best full text e-resources, and the weekly Barbour briefings that you can get sent to your pc. In the latest Environmental briefing received earlier today is a 3pager Guide to driving in snow and ice. You probably wont be able to access this unless you've signed up for the briefings. but its full of sensible sane advice about driving safety on these current tricky icy roads. How to cope with rear wheel skids, front wheel skids, what to do if you get stuck and worse, if you get stranded.
So there, yet another service beyond just issuing books provided by the DIT Library. Safe home