Bookmarks–February 5, 2023

In this edition of Bookmarks, a mixed bag: the decanting trend and its larger meaning; vintage Pyrex; renewed appreciation for breadmakers; the importance of both lifestyle and food in the Mediterranean diet; lox vs. smoked salmon; and why chocolate feels so good to eat.

‘It’s a control thing’: why are we so fascinated by super-organised homes?

There is so much to unpack about the decanting and organizing trend and this article does it well. I found the metaconsumption angle important–the idea of buying things for your things, which lays at the heart of all of this hyper-organizing. But I’m not judging; I totally understand the notion of “symbolic pollution” and using organizing methods to gain control. While I don’t decant or label things, I am a bit obsessive about putting things where they belong in the kitchen. And the final bit about excessive organizing eventually becoming another expectation placed on women resonated with me too. All around, this article is well worth a read.  

“It’s easy to dismiss this as a fad, but look closer at 10 glass jars lined neatly on a shelf and you’ll see a reflection of yourself. The rise of the highly organised home reveals something deeper about the way many live today – and it can’t be separated from modern capitalism, the pressures of domestic labour, social media and ever-increasing anxiety rates.” The Guardian

A guide to collecting vintage Pyrex–plus, how much it’s worth

I love vintage Pyrex, particularly the Cinderella bowls that this article claims are less popular with collectors than other offerings from the company. (I have my doubts about that statement.) My husband inherited a not-quite-complete set of Butterprint bowls that sat unused for years until we had kids and I started baking more. Now I use these bowls all the time. The large one is ideal for making scones–not too tall for cutting butter into the dough–and also serves as our perogy serving bowl. I sourced a complete set of Cinderella bowls for each of my sons too but, alas, not in Butterprint which is so in-demand that it is priced out of reach. 

“…in the past few years, old Pyrex has attracted new admirers. While those who grew up with it are familiar with its durability, vintage Pyrex is now catching on with younger generations who appreciate the beauty of these throwback pieces. Although a nostalgic collector might buy a mixing-bowl set because it stirs memories or complements their mid-century modern design aesthetic, Pyrex is functional and almost demands to be used.” Martha Stewart 

Inflation leads a new generation to the bread-making machine

I started making my own bread and bagels years ago to save money. I have never used a bread machine but have, at times, used my KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. As I’ve gotten older and developed repetitive strain problems and possibly early arthritis, I find kneading dough a lot harder than it used to be. I will still return to my mixer since I already have it, but I can see the appeal of using a bread machine to knead and proof the dough, then doing the actual baking in the oven.  

The bread maker — an appliance that mixes, kneads, proofs and bakes bread a loaf at a time — found new fans during the early days of the pandemic, as shoppers worried about food shortages and home bread-baking became a sign of the times. But recent inflation has given the machine another boost.” New York Times 

Everything you need to know about the Mediterranean diet

The many proven benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are not news, but this article got my attention. It provides a good recap of not only the types of food in this diet, but the overall lifestyle associated with it, which also contributes to health. It includes: taking time to cook from scratch, sharing meals with others, and incorporating movement into daily life.   

“Research shows again and again that fad diets fail. Any improvements to health are typically short-lived because the diets themselves are restrictive and unsustainable long-term. The Mediterranean Diet is one of the few eating plans that is supported by science and shown to be sustainable over time. It’s sensible and nutritionally balanced, not eliminating whole food groups or macronutrients. No foods are off-limits, offering flexibility and making it easy to individualize. It focuses on healthy foods to incorporate more of rather than emphasizing rules around those to restrict.” Chatelaine

What’s the difference between lox, nova, and smoked salmon?

Although I very much enjoy it, I don’t often have occasion to eat lox or smoked salmon. I had always assumed they were the same thing but, as this article explains, they most definitely are not. 

Sometimes, we think we know things. Sometimes, some things are such a part of the fabric of our lives and our history and our surroundings that our sense of rightness about a certain topic feels almost innate. And yet sometimes, we are wrong. My dear readers, this might be one of those times — buckle up…That “bagel and lox” you eat on Sunday mornings… might not be a bagel and lox. Oy gevalt, I know. Deep breaths.” Eater

This is why chocolate feels so good to eat, according to science

I spent my entire teenage and adult life thinking I had a migraine-inducing sensitivity to chocolate. Having only recently discovered this sensitivity had disappeared, post menopause, I question now whether chocolate was the culprit. I’ll never know for sure, but the bottom line is that the problem has resolved itself and that’s all that matters. During those many chocolate-free years, I convinced myself I hadn’t missed chocolate; since reintroducing it, I realize there is really nothing quite like it. The scientists in this article would concur, as far as chocolate’s unique mouth feel. But be warned, the romance of chocolate does tend to get lost in this article, which includes references to fatty film and the “wettability” of a 3D-printed artificial tongue. 

In a study, which has been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, the Leeds researchers explained that when those bites of chocolate hit our tongue, a ‘fatty film’ — their words — is released into our mouths, providing an irresistibly smooth sensation as we chew..The team hopes that their research into how the fats in chocolate interact with saliva could be used to develop a healthier version that feels just as good to eat.” Food & Wine

Books image: 95141101 © Dzhamilia Ermakova |

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