Saturday, August 28 2004
I made a set of indoor steps to make it easy to get out of the laboratory and out onto the north deck and back in again. The steps beautiful and even portable, though I was forced to screw them into the floor to keep them from moving around.
The day was a hot one, like few we've had this summer. In the aftermath of what had been something of a cold spell, our house quickly became stuffy and unpleasant since nearly all of its windows were closed. We spent a lot of time at the "secret spot" on the Esopus. The sun wasn't out much, but somehow I managed to get a sunburn all over my back. I also stepped on something very sharp in the creek.
Ot Hiem Do. My apologies for being unable to put the peculiar accents on or in four of the characters in that term, which in either Vietnamese or Thai means "pickled whole red chilies." Gretchen and I bought a 16 ounce jar of Ot Hiem Do at a Vietnamese grocery store in Lawrence, Massachusetts some months ago, but I only got around to eating some of them tonight. The peppers are only lightly pickled, not even as much as the cabbage at La Pupuseria. They're not dangerously hot, though you'd be cautioned to avoid performing a testicular self-exam after chopping them by hand. I sprinkled bits of them in with some pinto beans and, with the addition of some increasingly stale corn chips, called what I'd prepared dinner. (Meanwhile Gretchen was off in Pine Hill eating Indian food, something she'd been anticipating all day.) I happened to look at the label on the jar of Ot Hiem Do and was amused to discover that the servings per container is "about eight." The implication is that someone would sit down with a fork and knife and eat two ounces of these peppers in one go. If they were to do this, they'd consume 20 calories, zero grams of fat, zero grams of cholesterol, 50 mg. of sodium, zero grams of dietary fiber, and one gram of protein. They'd get 10% of their daily vitamin A requirement, 2% of their calcium requirement, and less than 2% of their iron. They'd also have to be rushed to a hospital. The ridiculousness of such a large suggested serving of Vietnamese hot peppers is the opposite extreme of a serving size continuum that is similarly entertaining on its other extreme, such as when we're told a single candy bar comprises four servings and thus has only 50 calories per serving.
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