This week I'm eating...

A little late, I know. But I've been distracted by trying to fit too much into the week at the consequence of sleep and my intended Halloween Blog Week. More winter vegies in the bottom of my fridge. Butternut pumpkin, turnips, spinach, leeks, brussel sprouts (still on the stem!), lettuce, spinach, celery root... I've tried to capture a few "out and about" Halloween shots, but have not succeeded very well.
On Wednesday I went Karoke Singing with a group from school where Witches Brew was the drink of choice.
Complete with small spider climbing out of the bowl.

My poor pumpkin - not aging gracefully. And a taste of things to come... A great story for next week.


This week I'm eating...

Back by popular demand.  The markets are finishing up for the year and for a while I tried Wholefoods for my local vegetables, but I was finding it too expensive.  Ironically, my saviour has been Boston Organics, a small company that delivers organic, seasonal and (when available) locally sourced fruit and vegetables to your door once a week.  This week in my box, navel oranges, pears, kiwi fruit, bananas and delicious local vegies - pumpkin, spinach, pea shoots, celery root and lettuce.  From last week I still have some parsnip and cauliflower - I'm thinking about cooking up some good winter soups over the weekend


Green is the new Crimson. Al Gore speaks at Harvard.

Thanks everyone, especially Amanda, for your helpful thoughts about how to dress for the impending New England Winter.  Keep them coming!  I implemented some of the suggestions today when I braved the chill to hear Al Gore speak in Harvard Yard.  Today Harvard University launched it's "Green is the new Crimson" campaign, with Al Gore as keynote speaker of the Student Address.  

"Green is the new Crimson" is an ambitious plan to reduce Harvard's Carbon footprint to 60% of the 2006 levels by 2015.  The plan is already in full effect and I am impressed by the zeal that the whole unversity has taken to the undertaking.  The Public Health School has a three-bin waste disposal system (compost (yes!), recycle and rubbish).  Not only that, but all take-away plates, cultery and drink containers are made from biodegradable products.  The cafeteria actively promotes students and faculty bringing their own cups and mugs for tea, coffee and cold drinks.  The cafe has also removed many bottled drinks in favour of self-serve, pour-your-own drink machines.  All our assignments are handed in via an internet "drop box".  Over at my accommodation at the start of the year I was supplied with energy efficient light globes, dish-washing powder and laundry liquid.  At a higher level the university has started a multi-disciplinary "think tank" of students and faculty which crosses all departments with the aim of generating research and innovation into ways to reduce, reuse and hopefully slow the progress of climate change.

Ironically it was about 8 degrees in Harvard Yard when Al Gore spoke to a huge crowd about the need to act on climate change now.  I can truthfully say it was an absolute honour to hear him speak.  He is clearly an incredibly intelligent man with some very bold thoughts about the future.  In a thoughtful, well-measured speach he argued strongly that there is an urgent need for the world to stand-up against politicians and policy makers altering the facts for their own short-term gains.  Using examples from throughout history including Gallieo's jailing for suggesting that the world was not the centre of the universe, to the evasion of Iraq, and most recently the evolution of the subprime lending schemes contributing to the current finanical crisis, he argued that just because we cannot see, smell, feel or touch Carbon, doesn't mean that taking it out of the earth's crust and depositing it into the atmosphere is not going to have huge consequences for the earth.  The "inconvenient truth" should not be shut away, or jailed, but be faced head on with courage and stamina.  A call to arms to which we can all contribute, whether it's turning off the light, taking 30 seconds less in the shower, converting to renewable power sources or researching the latest carbon sequestration scheme.


Harvard Happenings and Notes on Being Cold

Another public health moment, brought to you by the city of Boston.  This time from the toilet of a fantastic bar that I've just discovered near my house in Cambridge.  And yes, for those of you who were wondering - I've started taking my camera EVERYWHERE.  

But I digress, Boston is seriously lacking in night life.  I'm not sure what it is about the town, but you seem to have the choice of a Irish Sports Bar, complete with obnoxious sports fans watching the TV (turned up too loud), or "bars" that insist that you sit at a table and then don't serve you.  But this bar is great.  Although they make you sit down, they do endeavour to serve you.  It's dark like a bar should be, there's grime on the floor, the toilet is, well, less than pristine (and yet somehow perfect), they serve a weird combination of American pub food, Sushi and Indian and the first time I walked in there they were playing a Tom Waits movie.  Eclectic and unpretentious and yet totally cool.  Just as all bars should be.

Changing the topic.  I'm cold.  As predicted post-Columbus day weekend, winter has arrived.  Tomorrow they are predicting "wet sleet".  I don't understand what this means.  Anyone?  Surely all that comes from the sky are wet.  I have a bad feeling it alludes to the arrival of snow, or something much worse, which is "rain but not quite rain, and not quite snow either".  It's about 13 degrees (max) and drops to -3 at night.  I have decided that I am officially unprepared to deal with this climate.  It can only get colder.  My only other experience with this degree of coldness has been visiting the snow, when there is a very real possibility that at the end of the day you will descend the mountain and go back to a tolerable winter.  The thought of being cold for the next five months is alarming.  My hands are cold, my feet are cold and when I step outside my cheeks get cold.  The cold is unbelievably dry, so much so that my hair is officially straight, I am going through insane amount of moisturiser cream for my hands and despite arriving with 4 tubes of lip gloss I think I will need to buy more by the end of the month.  I am seeking all help for how to keep my little toes warm in my shoes and my little nose warm, without looking like an Eskimo.  I beginning to feel that winter warmth and "sexy, sophisticated Australian-girl don't mix".  All help appreciated!


Harvard Happenings... Financial Crisis

Last week I attended a seminar on understanding the current stockmarket crisis in the US. It was organised by the Office of the Dean, Drew Fraust, and brought together six of Harvard's greatest legal, political and economic minds. Over 90 minutes the audience was privy to a frank and open discussion that outlined the historical, legal and political ramifications of the current economic "mess". There's a small amount of hysteria going on in the US at the moment, I was hoping that the wisdom of Harvard's elite would calm my sense of unease. Whilst I did
leave slightly less confused and much better informed, I can't say I was reassured by the experience. What became perfectly clear was that noone knows what's going to happen. The market is in free-wheel. People can speculate, you could even make a reasonable guess, but in the end it is just a guess. Any changes to the system, such as the $700billion bailout could help, but are equally likely to cause changes that move the system in an unpredictable and unexpected way. All anyone was prepared to say was that the system is a mess, in the short-term it is unlikely to improve, it may get worse (potentially much worse) but in the long-run things always self-correct.

Meanwhile I have my first health economics exam this Friday. My first American "mid-term". Just saying that still makes think of Degrassi Junior High and giggle!