Last night, on the train ride back from the city, I found myself thinking about the last post on ignorance and empathy.
The reason for the trip was a semi-annual get-together that Pip Coburn hosts. There were several sessions built around themes and I tend to go to a few where I might know a little as well as others - like story telling and marketing - where my ignorance is great in hope of picking up a bit in case I want to start down those paths. Ignorance is a fine thing as long as it is a conscious and even a cultivated ignorance.
It reminded me of the period when I was trying to learn a bit about sociology, psychology and anthropology in order to interact with my Human Computer Interface department at AT&T Research a decade and a half ago. That was a wonderful time. You know so little that the possibility space is great and I had several wonderful tutors to help me as I played. I knew that most of the engineering problems were solvable, but the social problems were deeper - this interaction of the social and technical worlds was really interesting.
One of the anthropologists who worked there got in touch a few years ago and asked if I knew Sam Richards of Penn State. I didn't, but ended up getting in touch and talking and visited.
A fascinating guy. He's a sociologist and was called one of the "101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" by David Horowitz.
One of his core notions is that empathy is at the heart of sociology if you want to be really good at it. Rather than bore you with my filtered version of what I learned from him, I'll point you at his TEDx talk.
Trust me - it is well worth your time. He'll challenge you.
ok - I took the easy way out and put up a video, so I owe you something. Last night two people needled me about not posting any recipes in awhile, so here is one that worked out wonderfully. And please write if you have any positive or negative comments. I get very little feedback and, as a result, tend to treat this as a weekly journal rather than a conversation.
A note on my recipes. I have a tendency not to measure, but keep rough track in the event something works (I do carefully measure when baking and usually start with a recipe as a guide - cooking is so incredibly different from baking). I also tend to weigh rather than use volume measurements and the kitchen is metric.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips
4 parsnips (about 750g total for me)
4 medium red onions
150g really good extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 head of garlic (let how much you love garlic be your guide on what a head means)
2 medium (or one really big) sweet potatoes - about 600g
24 to 30 cherry tomatoes (they weren't in season, but they seemed necessary)
2 tbl lemon juice
4 tbl capers roughly chopped
1/2 tbl maple syrup
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (pick a good one)
salt and pepper
° Heat the oven to 375°F
° Peel the parsnips, cut horizontally in half and then lengthwise a few times. I aimed for about 2 x 1/2 inch pieces.
° Peel the onions and cut into 6 or 8 wedges
° Put the parsnips and onions into a large bowl and add about 3/4 of the oil along with the rosemary, thyme and garlic (I cut the cloves about in half). Mix well with a fair amount of salt and some pepper. I like a good sea salt here (Maldon). Spread on a baking pan and roast for about 20 minutes
° Take the top and bottoms off the sweet potatoes and then cut in half across the middle and then wedge each of them - maybe about 8 wedges from each half. Add them to the baking sheet with the heated parsnips and onions and bake about 45 minutes more. You are looking for a golden color.
° Now they have cooked mix in the halved tomatoes and continue roasting for another 10 minutes or so.
° During the last roast whisk the lemon juice, capers, maple syrup, mustard and the remaining oil and salt it with a sea salt.
° Take the veggies out of the oven and drizzle with the dressing. Stir and fool with the seasoning just in case.
° You can dress it up with roasted chopped walnuts or pecans - I like pecans:-)
My guess is kids woud really love this too. Make nice scratch white cake (much better than the mixes) and a good buttercream frosting. I think coloring the frosting would be overkill, but use the person as a guide:-)
no pantones were harmed in the making of the cake...