Friday 4 October 2019


Celebrated in Sweden and Finland on this day since first organised in 1999, Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon Roll Day) is a way to increase awareness on traditional Scandinavian baking traditions (see also) and has proved to be a popular holiday domestically and for Swedish and Finnish communities abroad. Though we might be comfortably familiar with the above term for “coffee break,” the Kanelbullen that could go with it might also be infiltrating the language.

Thursday 15 August 2019


By coincidence, respectively on this day in Tennessee (near the Opryland theme park) in 1969 and then three days later in Kentucky—neither places one would necessarily associate with fresh fish—the first eateries of the seafood themed restaurants Captain D’s and Long John Silver’s began serving.
It’s cannon given the fact that the restaurant is named after the galley-master and chief cook—and undercover pirate—aboard the Hispaniola in Treasure Island. I have no memory of the former—maybe there was a turf battle between these natural rivals—but do remember going to the latter not overly often but pretty regularly as a kid and remember the fishing village kitsch with the planks and the heavy ropes and associated all wooden decks with piers and ships because of it.

Sunday 28 July 2019


Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we are helped to the realisation that the dominate trend in gaming and by extension, simulations, is your garden-variety agricultural challenge, be that in fostering plants, foraging or cultivating a victory garden for one’s own survival.
I suppose that there’s a universal theme to all computerised games that could admit of the same analogy—though some instances are more obvious than others—and a certain stress-relieving quality that is present in and and common to the stakes of all diversions, though often times progress is measured differently and in the permission to fail and try again, there’s nonetheless something in the Zeitgeist that game architects and engineers are connecting with regarding anxiety and accomplishment. I hope that this skills and rewards can translate to being better, more engaged caretakers of the natural world we increasingly find ourselves estranged from.

Sunday 7 July 2019


Though maybe I am just doing a better job paying attention—which certainly counts for something too—and being engaged with the consequences of our behaviour for the environment or maybe it’s the recently adopted legislation and agricultural reforms made to be more sustainable and friendlier for pollinators, while I’ve noticed that crop-rotation and allowing fields to be fallow for a season, recharging the soil by sewing clover or grasses and letting it rest, I don’t think I’ve seen before sections of land, vast swaths of it, wholly given over to wildflowers like I am seeing now.
It isn’t just the margins and shoulders along tractor trails that are teeming with blooms but also deep into the interior of grain crops, thick with cornflowers (Cyanus segetum, Kornblume—considered endangered due to over-use of pesticides), poppies (Papaver rhoeas, Mohnblume), baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata, Schleier-Gipskraut—that is, chalk-loving), thistles (Silybum marianum, Disteln) and daisies (Bellis perennis—pretty everlasting, Gänseblümchen), the fields are droning with the buzz of bees.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

time to make the doughnuts

Having famously unyoked itself from one fast-food giant several years back—with the artefacts to prove it—one doughnut (kleinuhringjum) chain has already come and gone and now with a second one to follow, having grossly over-estimated the market demand in Iceland.
I hope that this trend continues and such invasive, unnecessary operations kindly remove their toe-hold in train stations and the high street in cloying hopes of being seen and establishing brand loyalty. Placeholder-boutiques, having dispensed with initial curiosity if the appeal was ever there much less sustaining, are a huge drag on resources and real estate that could be put to much better use.

Wednesday 26 June 2019


blood meridian: two animated maps (see also) chart Manifest Destiny from contrasting perspectives

lobby cards: the iconic film posters and title sequences of Saul Bass (previously here and here)

strong to the finich: because of the leafy green’s steroidal qualities, some are calling for it to be banded like other doping agents

scientific method: brilliant vintage middle school text books via Present /&/ Correct

nineteen eighty-four was not meant to be an instruction manual: workers trialled with beacons and bracelets to monitor performance and productivity

best in show: a curated selection of the winners of the National Geographic travel photography competition

lj: going into production in 2021, the Lightyear One represents the industry’s first long-range and untethered electric vehicle, via Design Boom

pomological catalogue: the 1886 US contract for watercolour depictions of all the world’s fruit

Sunday 16 June 2019

downstream effects

Never mind the fact that you might be ingesting multiple tiny spiders per night—or conversely that if the spiders of the world teamed up, they could consume all the humans on the face of the Earth (or cocaine prawns or antidepressants in the groundwater), the World Wildlife Foundation launches a new campaign to illustrate the awful non-food pyramid that we’ve created. Via the Drum, we learn that on average a person consumes one hundred thousand micro-plastic particles annually, meaning about five grams (a lot of different factors come into play and you can get a more personalised estimate of your dietary intake here), a credit card’s worth of the stuff each week.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

swedish neatballs

Exclusive to Dezeen, we are treated to three sustainable, future-proof recipes to try at home from IKEA’s laboratory Space10. By releasing a cookbook and encouraging individuals to experiment in their own labs and incubators, IKEA is hoping to come closer to closing “the gap between future trends and real life” and enable people to become active and engaged agents of positive change. Check out recipes and learn more about Space10’s test kitchen at the link above.

Sunday 19 May 2019

ad mensam

SchloรŸ Hollenegg (DE) outside of Graz (the summer residence of the House of Liechtenstein) is no stranger to hosting unique exhibitions and the latest installation by curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein is no exception—with twenty-one site specific pieces throughout the castle’s sculleries and dining hall that explore table manners and dining etiquette as a social wedge that goes beyond the act of nourishment to afford all the chance to gather together and a place at the table (the Latin title). Much more to explore and chew over with Dezeen at the link above.

Friday 10 May 2019


Via the always brilliant Nag on the Lake, we learn about the Frankfurt kitchen (die Frankfurter Kรผche), which transformed our relationship to food preparation, dining and living, created by interbellum designer Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (*1897 – †2000) and first Austrian woman to be credentialed as an architect.
Assigned the task of creating the kitchen spaces for a new, post-war housing project to rebuild Frankfurt am Main in 1926, Schütte-Lihotzky took inspiration from the efficiencies of railway dining cars and created kitchens for hundreds of thousands of units and though perhaps not as narrow, one can detect elements of Schütte-Lihotzky’s vision and basic layout in our own new kitchen. Sensing the eminent fall of the Weimar Republic, she and other architects joined Ernst May—the chief designer behind the New Frankfurt project and other rebuilding and re-housing efforts to form the “May Brigade” and went off to the Soviet Union to help with Stalin’s Five Year Plan. Once conditions again became untenable during the Great Purge (ะ‘ะพะปัŒัˆะพะน ั‚ะตั€ั€ะพั€, 1937 – 1938), their group became unrooted again and Schütte-Lihotzky settled in Chicago and worked on the World’s Fair Century of Progress exposition.

Wednesday 1 May 2019


Instead of the usual plastic cups or bottles of water offered to parched runners, for this past London Marathon participants were handed out some thirty thousand gulps of a sports drink encapsulated (previously) in a seaweed-based edible container. Among the newest wonder material, designers and the industry are just beginning to appreciate the potential of seaweed as a sustainable bio-plastic which, incorporated dietarily, can also combat the bio-genesis of methane.

Tuesday 30 April 2019


attention kmart shoppers: an audio archives of in-store music and sales promotions from the late 1980s and early 1990s

it’s dangerous to go alone! take this: a scholarly exploration of the psychology of Legend of Zelda franchise

as seen on tv: a collection of fine products from Obvious Plant—previously

the medium is the mess: antiquarian JP Ptak’s card-catalogue of Outsider Logic

the legend of the visnaga: a turn of the century confectionary craze nearly wiped out barrel cactus of the southwestern US

afghan twin: some interesting musings on the unsounded market in sonic camouflage 

Saturday 13 April 2019

breakfast of champions

One of the intermediate achievements to come out of a four-decade experiment of The Land Institute’s founders Wes and Dana Jackson was trialled earlier this week before a body of scientists, conservationists and environmental activists in the form of a cereal milled from the grain of a perennial wheat, domesticated through a series of cross-breeding (see also) to make a potentially useful food crop out of wild prairie grasses.
Calling their cultivar Kernza, the team hopes to transform and invert the way industrial agriculture affects the environment and ecosystem as an enduring part of an environment that admits cohabitation rather than a seasonal interloper that requires energy intensive replanting year after year and causes a large degree of collateral damage despite its otherwise shallow impact.  In comparison, seasonal farming practises seem like a scorched earth campaign, with pesticides, erosion, vast expanses of monoculture that does not allow for a degree of diversity and the act of tilling itself that releases a bigger share of carbon dioxide than most other human enterprises.  Learn more at the links above.

Tuesday 2 April 2019


While this latest fare I suspect wouldn’t be for someone like me who has happily been a vegetarian for over two decades, meatless options moving into the fast food business (I was afraid that this was some cynical prank because of the timing but gladly not) are certainly positive developments all around and might encourage omnivorous appetites to significantly cut back on beef consumption.
There’s always an element of acclimation—I suppose the same as I would go through trying to convince myself that what was being offered to me—and I’d be willing to try—was not a hamburger but something completely plant-based, but changing diets without compromising anything in terms of taste or texture is pretty pivotal. Our dietary choices have consequences, and when beef becomes cheap and disposable, we are paying for it dearly elsewhere. I wonder what we will ultimately gain in return for moving in a more healthy and humane direction.

Wednesday 27 March 2019


Within a couple decades after Commodore Perry compelled Japan to open its doors to the West with the Treaty of Shimoda, Japanese society was beginning to relax its taboos against the consumption of meat other than seafood signalled by Emperor Mutsuhito’s 1872 New Year’s repast of beef—which caused much consternation among devout Buddhists who had helped cultivate the prohibition for over twelve centuries.
The Meiji administration changed its policy of isolation and was eager to adopt Western ways and technologies, effectively rescinding a decree from Emperor Tenmu in the seventh century not to eat useful animals during the farming season, which came to be a general avoidance (a heavy penance was put in place or transgression) for practical reasons as well as the belief in transmigration of the soul and the chance that would could be reincarnated as a cow or boar.

Monday 25 March 2019


vรฅffeldagen: make traditional waffles for Swedish Waffle Day (a corruption of the Feast of the Annunciation, Vรฅrfrudagen)

if you run after me, i will go to the playground—the one you call the ‘trashy playground’: the Helicopter Bunny by Elizabeth Hoey, via Duck Soup

roslyn place: a drive down Pittsburgh’s last remaining wooden street, via Nag on the Lake

silent moscow: a meditation in street photography from Hermes Pichon

pass the salt: another very satisfying Rube Goldberg (previously) inspired way to accomplish a task

scholas occurentes: Hadi Partovi with the help of young students taught the Pope how to script a line of computer code, vis Slashdot

Sunday 24 March 2019

pass the dutchie on the left hand side or bong appรฉtite!

Courtesy of Nag on the Lake’s fun and informative curated Sunday Links, we discover among other things that the great-great-granddaughter of etiquette and good-manners maven Emily Post is poised to publish an update which promises to impart poise and grace for any social toking session.
Lizzie Post’s Higher Etiquette supplements one’s finishing school decorum—good manners are about gratitude, respect and inclusion which the author and her ancestor’s institute promote and not about the intimidation or embarrassment which some fancy passing as class—ended with the title instruction or puff-puff-pass, neither of which appear in the guide (one should take three hits of a joint before passing it around).

Friday 22 March 2019

bรฅly bay

An undersea restaurant on the Norwegian southern coast whose ground-breaking caught our attention a year and a half ago is celebrating its official grand opening and welcoming diners. Designed by the Snรธhetta group to suggest an emerging periscope, Under (that word also means a wonder in Norsk) hosts up to forty guests, for whom I hope the liminal experience makes a lasting and profound impression, and serves a dual purpose as a marine research laboratory when not serving meals. Learn more at the links above, including a peek at the menu and where to book reservations.

Saturday 16 March 2019

shashimi serology

A restaurateur in Tokyo—having trialled the concept at last year’s SXSW conference—is preparing to welcome diners, pre-screened ones, to the Sushi Singularity, which will print food—gelatine pixels—fortified with the nutrients complimentary or otherwise found to be lacking in biological swabs and samples submitted in advance by guests. While the concept seems intriguing, I don’t think I would like sharing that experience with strangers.

Friday 1 March 2019


A dry spell lasting from New Year’s Day 1915 to this day in 1989, Iceland placed a prohibition on beer for seventy-four years. A 1908 referendum that went into effect seven years later banned all alcoholic beverages outright for the island nation, but under pressure from the Kingdom of Spain, who threatened to stop importing Icelandic fish unless they were allowed to export Spanish wine, caused the Alรพingi to relax their strictures a bit and a 1935 plebiscite allowed for the possession, sale and consumption of spirits.
Beer, however, remained excluded in order to appease the powerful temperance lobby, reasoning that beer by dint of its cheapness would result in greater dissolution. By the mid-1980s, the availability of international travel and greater tourism reconnected a generation of Icelanders who had grown up without beer back in touch with it and bars in the country were improvising with an expensive and potentially dangerous mix of non-alcoholic beer (which was legal) stiffened with shots of liquor. The Alรพingi finally entertained the question again and lifted prohibition—an event observed annually.