Thursday, April 24, 2014

Walkabouts and Lettuce, ahem, Escarole

I've had an undeniable urge to write about well... nothing... this week.  I'm finally giving in.  Indulge me and in a bit, we'll get back to the normally scheduled physics programming.  This all started when I went for a brief walk around campus. First, I hit our local Wells Fargo where they serve free coffee.  As a point of reference, if you open up an account with these guys you can just walk over every morning deposit what you would have spent on coffee and walk out with a cup of coffee.  It's like Starbuck's, but you come out ahead.

Next, I headed back across campus towards the library.  Someone recalled one of my books so I had to hustle and get it back before the end of the week when the overdue fines begin to accumulate.  Walking past the engineering technology building, I noticed that PAID was getting ready for their weekly luncheon.  PAID is the professional association for industrial distribution.  What's industrial distribution you ask?  It's a brilliant new degree they've started offering at Texas A&M.  Let me describe it with an illustration. Let's say you work for a high tech firm as an engineer. You're concerned that eventually your job will be outsourced overseas and frankly your concern is well-founded.  Occasionally, you go to sales meetings where you meet the account manager outside who hops out of his $60,000 BMW wearing his or her $6,000 watch and you head into visit with the customers.  Industrial distribution trains people to be that guy; the $6,000 watch guy!  The guy that got out of the BMW!  Someone's always going to have to sell engineering technology over here even if it winds up being made over here.  The ID department seems to have figured this out, and based on their weekly free lunch is capitalizing on it nicely!

Still heading for the library, the next thing I encountered was a big sign for the upcoming Desserts with Delta Gamma.  The event will  take place at the Delta Gamma house this weekend, and the proceeds will go to help out with various charities related to vision, including the group that supplies seeing-eye dogs.  We're headed over to the event with Jr. and Sam on Saturday afternoon.

Finally, for the last trivial detail of the week, I finally solved the round-edged vs. pointy-edged escarole mystery.  We cooked sausage escarole pasta[1] this week.  It's a recipe from Martha Stewart back in the day when the magazine inserted a page of four pull-out index card sized recipes each month.  The four recipes together constituted an entire meal you could make in two hours.  The cards, obviously intended for their male readers, were about the size of baseball cards and contained precise instructions that allowed no room for error.  The facing page to the cards contained plating suggestions.  The four cards are still featured in the magazine, but sadly they just contain four random recipes now, not a meal, but I digress.  During our stint out on Long Island, we kept finding this stuff labeled as escarole:

You can see from the picture that the same thing happens in TX.  The stuff is pointy leaved and doesn't taste anything like the real deal, but after two years of finding nothing but pointy-leaved escarole, I began to believe that was the only kind there was.  As it turns out, that's very much not the case.  Apparently, there's an unspoken rule that escarole and endive have to be shelved adjacent to one another although there are no requirements that they be labeled.  The pointy-leaved stuff, as it turns out, is endive!  Escarole looks like this:

Notice the nice rounded leaves.  It tastes so much better!

OK, that's out of my system.  Next time: more science!

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