It’s been another turbulent week for the world. Seeing people leave everything behind for safety has been distressing to watch. Such is human conflict that it affects the most vulnerable the most. Hopefully there will be a peaceful resolution soon and the damage can be limited to what it is at this time. On to something light to lift up the spirits.
It’s amazing that one can learn in the most unexpected places. I was playing scrabble online with a virtual opponent, Freya! For those interested Freya is a mythical Asgardian appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, based on the Norse deity of the same name. Within the context of the stories, Freya is the Asgardian goddess of fertility. She appears as a supporting character of Thor. The game started and Freya played the word CUE. It was a miscue as the pieces I had gave me an opportunity for a bonus. Guess what the word was that I played? OLIGARCH! Got a 50 point bonus for using all seven letters in one try. I am thinking oligarchs still have high value on a scrabble board at least. The game progressed and virtual opponent Freya pushed her luck when she snucked in a Y after OLIGARCH. Too bad for Freya because by then the bite of sanctions had started to sink in and the value of OLIGARCHY had already started depreciating 😉 Game mirrors life at times and reflects current reality. Norse character Freya/Freyja is supposed to be in charge of love, fertility, battle, and death and this is one battle she lost. The lesson: Betting on a oligarch may work once but in the long run betting on oligarchy is risky! 🙏
Not a bad life lesson to learn playing a word game, eh 😊
Kicking off the Guilty Pleasures series with my #1 guilty pleasure: Watching food/cooking shows on TV. With the restrictions on travel in recent times I am sure everyone has sought comfort in hobbies and activities that have a comfort feel to them. In the past couple of years I have taken to watching food and cooking shows. The language of food is probably one of the most universal and nothing beats the fun of drooling over a well cooked and well presented dish 😊 Apart from the creativity, passion and skill of talented chefs what I like about cooking is the fact that in its own way cooking reminds of software development with the chefs bringing in different components in a way they all work well together and are presented in a eater friendly manner: in short making it a memorable user experience!
Some of the shows I have watched and enjoyed are “Beat Bobby Flay”, “Chopped”, “Diners, Drive-ins and Drives”, “Hell’s Kitchen”. Like different foods for different seasons different shows for different reasons.
“Beat Bobby Flay” features chef Bobby Flay, who is a beast in the kitchen, taking on challengers and trying to beat them at making dishes they are known best for. Majority of time Bobby emerges as a winner because he keeps it simple. Makes flavor, texture and taste as highest priority and making sure the dishes work in a cohesive manner as well as focusing on the presentation. What that calls for is time management discipline, not going in for anything overly ambitious if it increases risk. Even if it’s a dish that Bobby is not familiar with he ends up winning many a times making sure that the ingredient which is supposed to be the star of the dish does stand out while the competitors may fall into the trap of either going in for something quite ambitious or try to do too many things ending up with not enough time to present well or the star ingredient getting lost with all the other flavor profiles at work.
“Chopped” features 3 courses: Appetizer round followed by Entrée and finally the Dessert round. Chopped is like watching an Agile approach project at work. It’s iterative in that there are multiple courses and it’s adaptive because contestants get feedback after each round which they can use to deliver a better eating experience in subsequent rounds.
“Diners, Drive-ins and Drives” features restaurants in different parts of the country offering their own specialities. Good to see chefs that may not be very well known outside their own immediate vicinity get exposure to show their passion and creations to a wider audience. 👍
“Hell’s Kitchen” and other Gordon Ramsay hosted food shows feature talented chefs offering their own creative take on different dishes with the bonus possibility of the host of throwing in some F-bombs in the show 😀
What makes it a guilty pleasure for me? With the amount of food tasted by the judges not being much I always hope that no leftover food or ingredients are wasted. For the effort that goes into making the dishes and the fact that quite a few people do not have the means to afford a decent meal it would be criminal if food gets wasted. I have never experienced food insecurity but volunteering couple of times in a food pantry is enough to understand how many people may be struggling to put food on their table and the effort that goes into making food available to people who need it. It’s a humbling and learning experience 🙏