Food finds

by S&M

What are you eating these days? I don’t mean matzoh balls, Cadbury Creme eggs or springtime asparagus. What have you recently started eating? Have you “columbused” any good new-to-you foods?

I came across Chobani roasted red pepper dip in the deli section recently. I like that company’s Greek yogurt, so I gave this a try. Yum! It’s good on all the standby crackers and veggies. I’ve dived into a couple of “old” foods with renewed vigor. Since learning that scallops, which I once thought of as an occasional treat, are pretty much straight protein and no fat, I’ve eaten them nearly every other day. Lunch today was pasta, scallops sautéed with leeks, and the dip as a sauce. I’ve also put scallops into salads, often with sun dried tomatoes. Another thing that’s new to me is protein powder. I haven’t figured out very many ways to use it yet, other than stirring it into Greek yogurt. It can supposedly be substituted for up to half the flour in baked goods, but I chicken out every time I think I’m going to try that.

My issue with gluten seems to be over now. It expanded until corn and rice, which have no gluten, were also giving me problems, and then one day I had to have a bite of something my son was eating because it looked so good, and I was fine. That means I can renew all my old favorites. I’m glad because quinoa takes more time and attention to make than couscous. I can put water on the stove, chop veggies, pour the water over the couscous, saute the veggies, and dump them over the grain with a squirt of lemon juice and a little EVOO in ten minutes. Another old thing that’s new again are pizzelles, for the simple reason that the very thin waffles don’t have many calories or fat grams. I tell myself that they are cookies, and I can eat the whole thing.

So what’s new on your table?


198 thoughts on “Food finds

  1. 고추장 aka Gochujang:

    It’s like sriracha but sweeter and with many more layers of flavor. American’s Test Kitchen says once you see that box you’ll notice that they sell it everywhere.

    Also this is the best bibimbap recipe we’ve tried. We have it ever week now.

  2. I think I shared that my partner had a procedure about a month ago to put in a stent. Well, at the follow up the doctor told him he had had a heart attack, but apparently never realized it. He is supposed to be following a heart healthy diet. Here comes the rub – the doctor didn’t send him to a nutritionist/dietian, but commented about addting more fish to his diet. Bottom line, he thinks changing his diet is no big deal and not necessary. He is also unwilling to even look up on line what a heart healthy diet is. He does most of the cooking for DDs and himself. I have seen fish maybe once every other week, but no significant reduction in salt intake. He got angry with me when I pointed out that salt is in many things that don’t taste salty – like many soups – and even though the spice says “Garlic Pepper”, if you read the ingredients, the first one is salt.

    I have been trying to follow a diet that limits grain/cereal-based carbs as well as high carb vegetables like corn and high fat cheeses and dairy. No one else is happy eating “my way”, so I have been cooking for myself – a lot of fish/shrimp and chicken and lots of veggies (both cooked and in salads). I use quite a few spices, not a lot of sauces nor much salt. So far, I’m down 10 pounds since the beginning of March – slow but steady.

    A friend has been encouraging me to try keifer. After trying a couple that I didn’t care for, she introduced me to one that is flavored. I like it much better and will pick up a bottle next time I am at the store. Also, I have found that I like red/yellow peppers better in salads than tomatoes as they don’t make it as soggy.

  3. I have been trying, really trying, to just eat less. Yesterday happened to be a disaster foodwise, but I’ve been pretty good for the past 6 weeks or so and I’ve lost about 5 lbs. Yay me.

    To stave off the hungry-all-the-time feelings I have turned to soup. Instant soup (aka Campbell’s Cup-of-Soup), Cup Noodles (ramen in the Styrofoam cup), other single-serve non-dried ones like Progresso/Campbell’s, “homemade” soup at Wegmans, it’s all good. Maybe (certainly) high on the sodium scale, but one thing at a time. I’ve always been a soup liker so no big change of habit.

    I’m really not much for making my own soup at home; I just don’t want to invest my time on that, so I buy it retail.

  4. A “heart-healthy” diet is a bit of a controversy. I would say South Beach Diet or another Mediterranean-ish diet fits that bill, but the paleo people would call their diet heart-healthy as well (and it probably is). I don’t subscribe to the idea that Dean Ornish and the ultra-low-fat diet is heart-healthy.

    Speaking of fat, there is a local company producing full-fat greek yogurts with decadent add-ins– like lemon curd. It is a delightful alternative to ice cream (and feels healthier, even if it isn’t). Related, Milo liked to advocate shopping at Wal-mart (or equivalent) for groceries. At our discount grocery stores (even gigantic ones), full fat yogurt is nonexistent. Turns out poor people want fat-free. Or at least their stores think they do. There is a positive correlation with average income and dairy fat in my neck of the woods. Interestingly, decreasing dairy fat has never shown to have any health benefits.

  5. Austin – that would be a challenge re your partner. Good luck with it. Great news on your own diet wins, and ditto for Fred.

    I’m going to look for the product Rhett mentioned. Expect we would go through a lot of that as we do with siracha.

    I am eating this minute my new food bff – lentils w/ wild rice and carmelized onions. I make huge batches then freeze in serving sizes and bring to office on law days. I tried the Prepared mixture from the Whole Foods deli and loved it, so tried to copy it at home and to my shock and delight (I am not a good cook), I did it. It’s my new go-to office lunch.

    More fun than lentils – found a sparkling rose hat comes in tiny cans (Red Bull size) so each is a serving. On sale at Whole Foods so I’ve beeen filling a fridge door shelf with them.

  6. Austin, I completely understand your frustration, but sometimes you just have to say “Okay, dude, it’s your life (or lack of it)”.

  7. Also protein & nut milk, new from Silk. Allegedly 10g protein/cup and twice the calcium as milk. Made with almonds, cashews and pea protein – no dairy or soy. Tastes so great (I’m the only one in the house who thinks so). If you mix w/ Hershey syrup it tastes like a chocolate shake, I swear.

  8. “lentils w/ wild rice and carmelized onions.”

    Recipe, please. This sounds yummy.

  9. RMS – no. I do them in a large wok-like skillet. Then set aside. I do the wild rice in a rice cooker. Soak the lentils and then cook, a bit al dente. Then combine them all over heat until they’re nicely mixed, and add seasoning (salt, pepper, cumin, coriander). Delish! The secret I think is to use a lot of onions – totally makes the dish.

  10. Kroger brand granola. $2 a box, filling, and really yummy. DH and I both love it.

  11. After my initial frustration, I am in the “Okay, dude” camp, RMS.

    I don’t go on doctor’s visits with him, so I only have his reports to go on.

    He reports that no one has given him any specifics about what heart healthy means. Assuming that is accurate, what surprises me is that no more information was provided. How many 65 plus men are going to go home and research to figure that out?

    Ada – I have read things that say that high fat is not necessarily bad for you. In the Fred-vein, I am trying to limit them due to the higher calories rather than swapping them for low or no fat options.

    Risely – that sounds great – want to share your recipe?

  12. Houston – I’ve been using 2 large yellow onions, about 4-6 cups of lentils (any color – I mix brown, yellow and green but used mostly brown last time because I had more of those on hand), and about 2 cups of wild rice. I cheated and used chicken broth to cook the wild rice because I’ve been finding rice/lentils too bland. Then spices as listed for RMS but there may be one more. I googled “spices to use with lentils” and got cumin and coriander and maybe one other? I forget now. The rice adds great texture and the onions add flavor and sweetness and moisture.

  13. Maybe 8 cups of lentils. I adjust the proportions as I go and save extra rice or lentils if there are too many for a batch. Going for majority lentils, with the rice as a minor but crunchy add in, and onion in just about every other bite or so.

  14. Ris: Sounds great. Thanks. You might want to try cajun seasoning for something different. I put cajun seasoning in everything.

  15. I love carmelized onions and will try Risley’s recipe. Risley, that’s true TB modesty you’re showing if you came up with that recipe yourself and still “can’t cook”.

    I realize that since I sent in this post, I’ve already said most of what’s in it as commentary on another post. Sorry to repeat myself.

    Houston, you’re reminding me that a Public ordered in a certain kind of granola for me during my gluten, etc issues. Wonder if anyone’s buying it now.

    Ada, despite the controversy over the details, isn’t there general agreement that a diet that’s high in certain fats, simple carbs, and sodium is unhealthy for pretty much everything on everybody?

  16. I am all about the hot sauces these days: chile oil, Gochujang, doubanjiang, harissa.

  17. SM – not Totebag modesty. I found this dish at the WF deli, loved it, and read the ingredients. Then copied. Had to look up what spices to use.

    And the people in my household were truly surprised when it turned out well.

    Will try chili powder next batch, Houston!

  18. S&M, we put protein powder in our waffles. You don’t have to replace anything; just add a scoop in to the mix.

    I have been adding more salad-based dinners now that I have some more time to do it. I still don’t really enjoy having to chop everything, but I do like the results once it’s done.

  19. I’m reading the Metabolic Type diet now – it’s really interesting. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how certain people seem to do great on Paleo and other’s don’t and some do great being a vegetarian and this seems to be a health disaster for others. I think we all probably have different diet needs. I’m not finished with the book yet but I’m thinking about trying this for the next month and making my husband try it as well (although I suspect we may be different types so not sure how to implement). Also I think the no salt thing does not always seem to be the way to go.

    Anyway, we had the stomach bug from h*ll this week (the whole family got it) and we still don’t feel great so it’s been a lot of bland food of late. In the summer I do like to eat lighter things (a lot of fish/roasted chicken) and my oldest told me yesterday her palate must be maturing because she now likes asparagus.

  20. The other thing is that I find my tastes swinging more and more to Asian food, both East Asian and South Asian. I like the spicier versions though. I am not a fan at all of Cantonese cuisine, which appals my Chinese friends. I also am not enamored of Vietnamese, for the same reason really, simply too bland and light. But I like a lot of other regional Chinese styles, and Korean is one of my faves. I like Japanese ramen and Central Asian dumplings and pretty much anything from Pakistan or India. We went for Malaysian the other night and that was yum too.

  21. I have a friend who follows it and posts endlessly that the rest of us are all going to die of heart disease and diabetes because we dare use oil in our diets.

    Yeah, I have one of those too.

  22. Mooshi/RMS – I wonder how your friends can be so assured of their diet advice? These things seem to do 180-degree turns all the time. Do they not know this, or are they simply certain that *this time* the new theory is going to stick forever?

  23. “Also I think the no salt thing does not always seem to be the way to go.”

    I don’t trust any of these findings any more.

  24. I have a FB friend from high school who is also a vegetarian and constantly is posting videos of animals being killed.

  25. It seems like one member of family is gluten intolerant, haven’t come to a definite answer but one of the doctor recommendations was to avoid gluten. So for now gluten free has come to the fore. Not difficult to do when home cooking with traditional foods but eating out is different. Where previously everything went, we now have to be careful. We have all become ultra healthy because now it is more vegetables, fish, some meat, fruits and water.

  26. I’m not a big fan of forks over knives. Some of the stuff is based on shaky science and animal rights activism. Also, it falls in the ultra-low-fat category which has not had rigorous study to back it up.

    I suspect that Austin’s partner was recommended to eat a heart-healthy diet because the cardiologist didn’t have enough time or desire to discuss it, had not found that people follow his/her advice, and/or sees this as the role of the PCP. Also, I generally think high functioning people can go to a bookstore and buy a “heart healthy diet” book. If they can stick to it, it will likely work (even if it is Dean Ornish or Forks over Knives).

    And sure – there are lots of diets don’t work at all. Anything that includes Cheetos is probably out. Excluding things that are crazy on the surface (grapefruit, lemonade cleanse) almost everything else is better than the SAD (standard American diet).

  27. I OD on lentils over the past few months and now I can’t stand them. That happens to me sometimes with some foods. I’m still that way about asparagus and broccoli. Today I was in H Mart and the seaweed snack samples convinced me that’s another food I’ll be avoiding.

    At H Mart I noticed a big selection of thinly sliced meat, mostly beef. Is that for Korean barbecue? I thought it would be convenient to use for bibimbap and ramen, which I’ve been eating more at restaurants but have not prepared at home.

  28. Risley – I used to make a wild rice dish. Start with carmelized onions then add a bit of orange peel, craisins. Mix in some wild rice. I bet you could add lentils to that. Anyway, it was amazing – though adding sugar nuggets to your original probably doesn’t improve the nutritional quality.

  29. Ada – I’ll try that! I like the idea of adding those things and then serving it all cold as part of a salad.

  30. Austin,

    My dad is much older than your partner, but after a recent congestive heart failure diagnosis, was put on a low-sodium diet. A dietician visited him at the hospital with educational materials, there were followup appointments with a “keep people out of the hospital” team, and he did his own research on sodium. Like many people who have never had to think about sodium, he was shocked to discover how much sodium is in food items that don’t *seem* salty. Going out to lunch at a place like Panera, which has reasonably healthy food, is a minefield, and we had to go online to find the sodium content of every item on the menu. (Most of the sandwiches and all of the soups would blow more than half his daily sodium allowance of 2000 mg.) And it took more than a month of prodding to get the dining service folks at his retirement community to provide him with the sodium content of their meals.
    The folks at the doctor’s offices can only do so much with patients who don’t take the initiative to ask for information and those who, like your partner, are not yet ready to deal with the information that is available. Good luck to you. It is a very difficult position to be in.

  31. CoC, yes the thinly sliced meat is for grilling on those little grills. I buy the thinly sliced pork belly for stirfry there – kids much prefer it to anything else in stirfry.

    And those seaweed snacks are huge in our house. Kids have eaten them for years. We buy the giant megapack

  32. Ris, Forks Over Knives has a *very* strong religious/moral component, so people get kind of cultish about it.

  33. I just learned about synthetic DRIPs and no-fee ETFs. Am I last to know?

    Synthetic DRIPs allow you to automatically reinvest your dividends.

    No-fee ETFs let you buy and sell exchange traded funds without transaction fees.

  34. I thought most DRIPs let you reinvest your dividends, but I admit I haven’t looked into it for years. Dad had some DRIPs that were a colossal pain in the ass because there weren’t good records about the price at reinvestment. So I have avoided them.

  35. I thought most DRIPs let you reinvest your dividends, but I admit I haven’t looked into it for years.

    This is slightly different. It’s via your broker (in my case TD Ameritrade) you just click on Dividend Reinvestment and it shows you what you have that’s available for dividend reinvestment and you click to enroll them. IIRC these days brokers are required to keep track of cost basis. The old way involved going through the company that issued the stock.

  36. Stroopwafel: Two very thin waffles with a caramel layer in between. They are fantastic with tea. Not healthy at all but yummy. I’m seeing them more and more in local grocery stores, but they’re Dutch in origin.

    After losing about 8 pounds on Whole30 and then plateauing, I’m going to give it another go. I think simply cutting down on bread, rice, pasta and sweets really helped me lost weight and change my palate. I also ate more fruit and vegetables overall.

    I was just in Europe on business (thus the Stroopwafels), and like their breakfasts better than a typical American breakfast. I ate a slice of ham, two hard-boiled or poached eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, fruit and coffee for breakfast every day. I felt satiated longer. The stroopwafels came in with my afternoon coffee.

  37. The rice cooker died after many years of faithful service so I replaced it with an instapot. Any favorite instapot recipes would be welcome.

  38. DRIPs, unless there has been a change to make this much easier, was a PITA on keeping track of the cost basis. How much detail do they keep on cost basis? Is it just the average or can they tell you enough to make it easy when you sell “some” shares to determine which ones you want to select and their basis?

    I did DRIPs years ago until the first time I sold one and discovered the nightmare of figuring out the cost basis. I still own some of those and have a bunch of paper records that track the “purchase” prices. It’s been way, way down on my to do list, but getting rid of those is one item.

  39. DRIPs, unless there has been a change to make this much easier, was a PITA on keeping track of the cost basis.

    The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 requires that brokerage firms and mutual fund companies report their customers’ cost basis and holding period on covered securities to the IRS on their Consolidated Form 1099s when securities are sold. Prior to 2011, firms such as TD Ameritrade reported only sale proceeds. The goal of the act is to help ensure the accurate reporting of gains and losses, and to simplify your year-end tax preparation.

    The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is being implemented in phases. From 2011 to 2013, equities purchased after January 1, 2011, equities purchased under a dividend reinvestment program (DRIP) after 2012, and mutual funds purchased after January 1, 2012, became covered securities under the new law.

  40. Hijack – Update: DD#1 made it through all 7 AP tests and is clearly much more relaxed than two weeks ago. Also, last night she received her HS Junior Award for Social Science (History), she was surprised. Also, confirmation of the RPI Medal Award came this week.

    For those a bit ahead of us in this process – is it common to get invitations to apply to a college where they tell you they will waive your application fee? We have gotten 3 this week and one also noted that “your student” qualifies to apply as a “Dean’s Candidate” and will automatically be evaluated for merit aid.

    Just trying to figure out how much of this is standard marketing.

  41. Rhett maybe it is is recent that discount brokers offered automatic dividend reinvestment, but my mom was doing it in the 50s with a stock book and her full service broker had her records digitized when that became possible in the late 90s, at which point the brokerage house took over. I never trade mutual funds any more, just similar ETFs, for the no fee trades.

  42. Rhett – Let me ask my question using an example. Let’s say you started out with 500 shares that you paid $1.50 each. Then, via DRIP – bought 50 shares last quarter at $1 per share and the quarter before that bought 50 shares at $2 per share. These are the only DRIP shares and your total is now 600 shares. You now decide to sell 50 shares. What cost basis is used?

    Back in the Day – as long as you had the detailed information, you could decide whether to sell the $1.50, $1 or $2 shares or some combination there of. That way you could maximize or minimize your taxable “gain”/”loss”. This also came into play if you were donating those shares as a charitable contribution.

  43. For those a bit ahead of us in this process – is it common to get invitations to apply to a college where they tell you they will waive your application fee? We have gotten 3 this week and one also noted that “your student” qualifies to apply as a “Dean’s Candidate” and will automatically be evaluated for merit aid.

    Just trying to figure out how much of this is standard marketing.

    Austin, this is pretty common. More later…actual work meeting.

  44. Austin,

    Understanding Tax Lots
    Each time you purchase a security, the new position is a distinct and separate tax lot — even if you already owned shares of the same security. (A tax lot is a record of a transaction and its tax implications, including the purchase date and number of shares.)

    A tax lot identification method is the way we determine which tax lots are to be sold when you have a position consisting of multiple purchases made on different dates at differing prices, and you enter a trade to sell only part of the position. We are required by law to track and maintain this information, and to report the cost basis and proceeds to you and the IRS.

    Your choice of tax lot ID method can have a significant impact on the amount of taxes you may pay when you sell an asset.

    I read that to imply you can chose which tax lots to sell.

  45. Opps I should have scrolled down. They support the following tax lot methods:

    Tax lot ID methods we support:
    FIFO (First-in, first-out)
    LIFO (Last-in, first-out)
    Highest cost
    Lowest cost
    Specific lot
    Tax efficient loss harvester
    Average cost

  46. Kerri, I think they need a great breakfast because I think they have terrible lunches there. I used to dread having meetings in the office that were combined with lunch because the sandwiches were so strange. I do miss the stroopwafels. It was common to see them in the office in the US because everyone would bring them back after a visit to the office.

    I tried a midnight mint mocha frappucino at Starbucks this week. It is a new drink for the summer. I usually stay away from frappucinos because of the price and calories, but it was a 1/2 price special this week and I love mint so it was a win. I did skip the whipped cream so I am not sure if I would have liked it as much with the cream.

  47. Austin I know your pain. Mine ordered a lox omelet a couple of weeks ago when we were traveling. And he eats cookies at the bridge games. I figure 70 per cent compliance is the best I am going to get, sunce i do the sjopping and cooking.. On the upside, he took a walk this am before going our for the day. I convinced him it would improve his concentration at morning bridge games.

    There is a lot of good press for butter, ghee, coconut oil, and even rendered meat fats over veggie oils. We have a years worth of goose and duck fat in the freezer. If I can’t use much salt or those wonderful Asian pastes, i need any source of flavor i can find. I vastly prefer quinoa to couscous, but a little goes a long way.

    My unusual flavor faves for seasoning are chile pasilla, fenugreek leaf, isot Turkish pepper.

  48. Austin,
    It is very common for schools to offer to waive the application fee. DD would get mail daily from schools offering to waive the fee if she would apply. It is also common for schools to extend the application deadline. Up until early April, DD was getting mail from RPI at least once a week asking her to apply.

  49. “Kerri, I think they need a great breakfast because I think they have terrible lunches there. ”

    This is so not my experience of Europe. I am guessing we were in different countries. In France and Italy, you get a teeny tiny breakfast – no eggs or meat. Usually a slice of baguette with butter and maybe jam, and strong coffee. But the lunch is a feast, the main meal of the day. I can’t eat lunches like that any more, but they were amazing. Usually dinner there, on a regular day at home, is a small meal like eggs or something left from lunch. Of course, things are changing in those countries.

  50. because the sandwiches were so strange.

    What kind did they have? IIRC when Pret a Manger came to the US they had to redo their sandwiches because Americans were horrified by how much mayonnaise they used.

  51. Thoughts on putting a pile of cash into a Vangaurd ultra short term bond fund at 1.5% vs. a money market account at 1%? This is money that might be needed in the medium term – if at all.

  52. Rhett, for the most accurate timings, use Hip Pressure Cooking’s site. The timings in the official manual are crap and will overcook everything.
    Most of the recipe sites out there suck. They are similar to the crockpot sites – everything is “dump a frozen chicken breast, some garlic powder, ranch dressing, and a cup of water and cook for 10 minutes”. Yick.
    But people from India have been using pressure cookers for decades so you can find some greate recipes on those sites/

    Serious Eats also has some good pressure cooker recipes.

  53. Which country are you talking about? I have never, never seen mayo on a sandwich in France or Italy. I think they would be appalled. The typical sandwich in France is a hunk of baguette, with butter, and a thin layer of salami or pate de campagne.

  54. For those discovering / buying gochujang, if you make meatloaf, add gochujang in with the ketchup (half-half) for your glaze.

    CoC, in addition to grilling, thin slice meat is used for shabu shabu, sukiyaki, Chinese hotpot, and all the rest of the vast hot pot family. And you also use it in gyudon and nikujaga and probably other sorts of fast-cooked stews or braises.

    Speaking of which, Rhett, you can use your InstantPot on the saute setting to do hotpot, which should be fun for the whole family. Get yourself something like this and have at it. For easy dinners, I find the InstantPot works well with Thai curry pastes, or the Indian ones that come in the little individual pouches, because you can just dump in your meat, veg, and the paste, close it and set it, and then be off doing other things while dinner cooks. Generally speaking, it’s best with things where you’d have a long period of just stirring occasionally, because it can shortcut that whole process and free you from feeling the need to check the pot, and least useful for things where you constantly need to be adding ingredients, because it’s time consuming to release pressure and open and then come back to pressure.

  55. Oh, Britain is not Europe when it comes to food. They eat canned peas.

  56. I’ve had horrendous conference food lunches in England, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Poland. It’s all mystery deli meat and cheese, strange spreads and breads. Nary a vegetable in sight. Maybe some fruit.

    I’d imagine the lunches to be quite different in France and Italy.

  57. We attended a family event at a restaurant and one of the first appetizers that you could help yourself to was sushi. I thought back to the spate of weddings I attended in the late 90s/early 00s and sushi wasn’t widespread.
    Similarly lots of foods that are widespread today were not widely known 20 years ago.

  58. Pret in the UK has very different sandwiches than in the U.S. Corn and tuna with mayo on a baguette, for example. (A British former roommate’s favorite.)

  59. A new product we’ve been trying is those pre-made crepes they’ve started carrying at our Costco. You can slip one onto your large skillet or griddle, then add whatever your filling is (a beaten egg brushed over and then sprinkled with cheese, spinach and a little sliced ham and cheese, Greek yogurt and honey brushed all over and a squeeze of lemon, Nutella spread around and sliced strawberries). It only takes a couple of minutes each.

  60. I can’t imagine using an Instant Pot for hotpot because it is so tall. I even have trouble with it when I am standing if it is on a counter. Most of the hotpot containers I saw in China were wide and low. Like this

  61. Rhett – risotto in the Instant Pot is super easy – I’ve done the simple one from Hip Pressure Cooking for a weeknight side and my husband has done the more involved mushroom risotto recipe from Serious Eats which was awesome.

  62. I forgot about institutional food in the Netherlands. My DH spent time at a university there when he was a grad student, and I visited him for a while. Lunches were frikadellen, and these things called crokets, which were breading surrounding some kind of brown meat based ooze.

    But I love the sandwiches from the little broodje shops in the Netherlands. Yes, lots of salads, like curry chicken salad, but they were yummy

  63. I made one of those risotto recipes in the Instant Pot and it came out beautifully. However, I had forgotten that I actually don’t like risotto very much, and it turned out, neither does my family.

  64. Our grocery store has recently started carrying little jars of beef tallow and I’ve been high-heat roasting potatoes and other root veg with that. Very popular.

  65. Rhett – That sounds so much better than the old track it yourself model. It might even tempt me into DRIPS again.

    My experience with breakfast in various countries was mixed, even excluding the “full breakfast” vs. “continental” distinction some hotels made. England – most consistency of meeting definitions of “full” vs. “continental”. Full was usually very heavy for me. Germany – found more meat and cheese for breakfast (yummy). France – generally smaller and as MM described. Though one place we stayed said “full breakfast”, which meant they added hard boiled eggs, some dry cereal/musli, yogurt and juice.

  66. Mooshi – “breading surrounding some kind of brown meat based ooze.” Ha! Nailed it.

    You can find really good Indonesian food there too.

  67. MM, shabu shabu pots are slightly taller, but the InstantPot is still taller than those, it’s true. However, I’m not about to get a plug-in shabu shabu pot or Chinese-style hot pot (storage!) so in this case ‘works for the purpose’ is better than ‘works optimally and has a preferable form factor.’

  68. Rhett you can always designate the lots or tranches of stock to sell or donate Years ago people sometimes used average basis for selling off a partial holding if they couldn’t prove which physical stock certificate had which basis, and then they had to use that for the rest of that particular stock. But modern recordkeeping has eliminated that problem. You really dont want to set a default on the menu for selling choices usually you want lowest gain, sometimes you want something else.

  69. France was where we discovered the joy of real hot chocolate — this was when I was a teen and my sibs were younger teens so we had zero qualms about the richness.

  70. Honolulu Mom, I actually own a Chinese style hotpot!!! They are cheap at the Chinese supermarket. I also own a fondue pot too.

  71. When I was a kid we lived a few miles from the Dutch border so we used to drive over for Indonesian dinners.

  72. HM- YES! The best hot chocolate I’ve ever had was in France. Although, I found a place in near me that comes really close.

  73. Austin – agree with Sheep Farmer

    As your DD gets more into the process she will get mail/email from schools waiving the fee. In addition there will be some “fast track” applications with, usually, essays and letters of recommendation eliminated. (Kind of like the UC and Cal State applications from Rocky’s and my era…if the combo of your grades + test scores was high enough, that’s enough to make an admissions offer).

    My experience-based advice on the “fast-track” ones is if there is a school DD would actually attend if it came to that, she should apply and apply early. That should generate the first acceptance and, even thought the intent/desire is to go to someplace else, it will take some pressure off because she’s definitely “going to a 4-year college”. Also, it gets her going on working with the guidance office at her HS so she’ll know the process for real, not just what they tell her at the senior assembly. Maybe also asking teachers for rec letters, even if not needed for the initial application.

    Good Luck!

  74. Trader Joe’s has good stroopwafels. They go great with coffee on a lazy Saturday morning.

  75. Fred — by “early” you don’t mean before the fall of senior year, or do you? My son has had at least one “be the first to apply!” email and I wondered if it was a suggestion to apply early in the fall, or if they were seriously suggesting applying now for fall 2018.

  76. CoC, thin-sliced beef is also good for teriyaki for your plate lunches. A lot of fast food places here use cheaper cuts of beef, sliced thin, for this.

  77. WRT DRIPs, Schwab had tracked cost basis for all stock purchased through them, even through dividend reinvestment, al least since we opened our fist account with them back in the 90s.

  78. HM – my DD applied last June for Fall 2017, and got accepted a few weeks later. Not a Totebag-approved HSS, but a place she was quite interested in. She’s not going there after all, but it took sooo much pressure off to be admitted before she started senior year.

  79. HM – not this early. Late summer/early fall of senior year is what I mean. Most places, and the Common Application, are not open for the Fall 2018 cycle until at least June 1. DS3 is still getting emails, e.g. today, from schools saying there are still openings and financial aid/merit money available for the cohort beginning this coming August/September.

  80. Totally off topic – Finn – are you a George Carlin fan? A lot of his humor is based on being very literal. Eg. “No comment” is a comment.

  81. “by “early” you don’t mean before the fall of senior year, or do you?”

    Over at CC last fall, a lot of people were waiting for colleges to start accepting applications. IIRC, a lot of schools started accepting applications in Sept or Oct.

    But if your kid already has a list of schools in which he’s interested, I suggest checking their websites to see when they start accepting applications. ITA with Fred and Risley about how much stress is removed from kids once they have at least one acceptance from a preferred school.

  82. When I lived/worked in Spain, I never once had lunch in a conference room in the office. The culture was that we went out for a minimum 60 minute lunch every single day, usually more like 90. Very much like MM describes. No one brought their lunch either. Mostly it was the set meals – 2 or 3 courses with 2 or 3 choices for each and wine (of course!), although there were other places we went that were less traditional. Even during month-end, we all did this – and then ordered the worst pizza ever for “dinner” at midnight when everyone was still working to close the books. It actually used to drive me crazy because I would have rather gone home early rather than take lunch, but that was just not done.

    Breakfast was usually yogurt out of the work fridge and coffee. For dinner, I usually ate cereal because I was so full from the big lunches.

    The conference room lunch may not be much of a market there, although I do see that Pans & Company does catering. We did eat there sometimes if people didn’t feel like a full lunch, but we’d still eat them outside in the square and talk for awhile. If someone was hungover, they may have bought a breakfast sandwich from Pans & Co and eaten it at their desk.

  83. Fred – yes! Great — will check email asap.

    Mostly I wanted to say (and I may as well say part of it in front of the group) that when we were talking about paying for college, and we morphed into talking about kids leaving college early, I said something that I later feared you might interpret as a criticism of how you responded to your DS1’s situation. I wasn’t criticizing you, and was talking about a completely different situation, but I was being intentionally vague in my comment, and that prevented me from being … clear … about the fact that I wasn’t talking about you. :) I have often thought, “I wonder what Fred would do?” when faced with various kid dilemmas, especially those relating to my DS. It might seem strange since we’ve never met, but I really look up to you when it comes to parenting. And I’ve felt bad since that day because of the potential misinterpretation of my post.

  84. Austin– I heard about the application fee waivers on College Confidential, but DS only received a few, and mostly to schools to which he wasn’t planning to apply. RPI was the one school he got a waiver from where he was considering applying.

  85. Hey Ris.
    First, thanks for the compliment! Always nice.

    Next: No worries.
    – I have pretty thick skin.
    – I have absolutely no recollection of anything from you that feels/felt like criticism.

  86. Fred – certain people from this group assured me this would be the case, but I worry about these things …

  87. Austin and other parents of current HS juniors– Now that kids are done with, or finishing up, AP exams, it’s a good time to work on the college selection process, especially if a lot of work hasn’t already been done.

    I suggest that by the end of summer, your kids should, at a minimum, have a list of colleges in which they’re interested, and have identified which one(s) they will apply to early. The list should be sorted into matches, reaches, and safeties (academic as well as financial safeties).

    Ideally, they’d have done their common app essay by then as well.

    The Early Action/Early Decision application deadlines are typically around Oct 31, which comes up pretty quickly once school starts.

  88. That essay is going to be a horrible process. My kid is a good writer, but not in the emotive, “my transformative experience” kind of way that seems to be the grist of college essays. And really, what kind of transformative experience does a HS kid have anyway? I seem to recall that I wrote about living overseas, which was unusual for a kid in a KY high school in that era, but is pretty standard these days. And does anyone at a state school engineering program read these things?

    I am presuming that since DS1 is not interested in a well rounded liberal arts kind of school, that he is best off writing about his passions for computers, math, and science. He could write about his independent research project, and being a counselor at a summer computer camp where he teaches Java (did it last summer and will agiain this summer). I assume that would work?

    His writing style tends towads the coldly analytic, veering into pedantic, so that could be a problem for him

  89. MM –
    Transformative: DS3 wrote about spending time with the Navajo on the reservation in NE AZ last summer and how it changed his attitude from e,g, keeping up with the Joneses to ‘be happy with what you have’ (in the material sense). He’s really into material stuff anyway, but I think it was real.

    Essay: I worked in the admissions office and read application essays for my graduate school. Most important IMO is to (1) answer the question / respond to the prompt directly and (2) make the reader want to read more. Scarlett can probably expand on this.

  90. MM – what about writing about living with a sibling with medical issues, or an adopted sibling, or both? I think your oldest has a story to tell, especially if he can weave it into why he like engineering or something like that.

  91. The NY Times just put up 4 college essays on their site. Jeez, no way could my kid (or I at that age or ever) write anything that sophisticated.

  92. I don’t think he should write extensively about his sibs issues. Their stories are not his story. He was too young when his little brother was really sick to remember and having an adopted sib has had little impact on his life other than taking Chinese lessons and travelling to China a couple of times. Oh, and sitting through endless Chinese New Year shows once each year.

  93. But my kid has’t spent time helping out on a Navajo reservation. He is just a boring normal kid. He walks in the walkathon for pediatric cancer each year, he plays Magic the Gathering, and he is excited about his research project. He is helping to set up some kind of memorial thingie at the library in honor of his friend who passed away. He does the computer camp counseling not because he loves kids so much but because he likes teaching programming. He also helps out when they want to run Scratch programs at the library but it isn’t an ongoing thing. He is artistic and loves to draw, and won a HS art award once, but does nothing else with it. In sum, he is a typical quiet, sort of boring kid.

  94. So leverage the research project. Why is he excited about the project? What problem is he trying to solve? If the project is successful, what will it lead to for him, science, society? Will he get published anywhere? Use his relationship with the professor/lead researcher to create a hook for himself. Since he’ll be applying to more schools that just the one where his research lead works, work that guy’s network at some of the other schools where he’ll apply.

    And it will all work out.

  95. Continuing…even if it’s too early to tell results, what has he learned from the project? Contrast the “professional” work of science with his artwork as a way to relax / recharge when he’s stumped by something in the lab.

    Everyone has an interesting story to tell.

  96. I read those Work, Money and Class essays, and it is amazing that they have that level of maturity at such a young age.

    I’ve posted about how uncomfortable I felt when I went to the homes of some of my college friends for the first time. I was fortunate that I didn’t realize that they were so wealthy because college was different 30 years ago with no social media or internet. I knew very little about their houses, cars, vacations, or home towns. I just didn’t realize the economic differences until I started to compare my home life vs. their home lives. I still believe that my experience at that university was the turning point in my life that propelled me into a different social and economic class.

  97. I was talking about lunches in the Netherlands. I never had a good lunch there. I felt lucky if I could escape to a cafeteria and find some yogurt.

  98. No, none of you are my mother, but I wish you all a very Happy Mothers’ Day! May you spend the time the way you want.

  99. Mooshi. You never know about essays. I read those four essays and the third one exactly reflected my girls’ experience at private school. The younger one wrote her essay on how the death of her sister before she was born shaped the personalities of all her family members. It broke my heart. The older one wrote a funny essay about how we chose her unusual first name and how lucky she was that she hadn’t been born a boy, to be named Gideon. (Mémé hangs head in shame) But more to the point about your kid, I didn’t feel that the essays added on subtracted anything from the overall assessment of any of my four. They were what they were, and ended up in expected situations with not unfair amounts of aid.

  100. For all you parents of juniors, you can find the common app essay prompts here:

    Mooshi, it seems to me that you’ve posted here quite a bit about an obstacle your DS1 has had, and has been able to overcome to the point of being on track to graduate with, I assume, a fairly rigorous course load, as well as to do research work with a prof.

    That would fit well with prompt #2.

  101. Funny foreign lunch story. In Poland, they brought into the business meeting with our new acquiring overlords a freshly made pot of chicken livers with onions and potatoes. This descendant of eastern European immigrants lit into it. No one else could stomach the smell. Of course, when this same acquiring company brought in our finance team to Cincinnati they fed us Skyline Chili. (No resemblance to anything anyone else in the US would call chili). So I guess it was a form of payback.

  102. “protein powder”

    I’m curious why you are using, or considering using, protein powder. Do you have a shortage of protein in your diets? Are you trying to minimize your intake of meats?

    When I was in HS and college, guys I knew who used protein powder were trying to bulk up, so they used it in conjunction with heavy weight lifting.

  103. Speaking of nutrition and health, what advice would you have for a mom with a nine year old daughter who seems abnormally petite? The mom is 5’2″ and the dad is 5’5″ but the daughter seems even below what would be normal for someone who would grow to 5 feet. The mom says she hasn’t asked the doctor because she doesn’t want to “stigmatize” the girl, but it’s all coming to a head because the girl hears about her size all day long at school, and is wondering if there is some “growing medicine” she can take.

  104. Mooshi – the essay prompts Finn posted have something for everyone. I do believe everyone has an interesting story though to the teller it may seem humdrum and just their ordinary life.

  105. I agree with Louise, I KNOW MM DS1 has an interesting story to tell. The challenge is to find it, of course.

  106. I think the difference in European lunches is conference room vs normal life. I’ve never had a conference room lunch there, but can imagine that they really wouldn’t be into it, so the food would be strange, non mess-making thugs not intended to give the full gustatory delights of an actual meal one was free to enjoy completely.

    Meme, what is it about a lox omlette that bothers you? The salt in the lox? Salmon, eggs, and butter all have “good” fat, and there’s plenty of protein (and no quick-burning carbs) in there.

  107. One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants serves liver and onions, supposedly one of their most popular dishes. I remember that dish fondly from years ago, but I’ve been fearful about trying it recently. Maybe next time I go there . . .

  108. Mafalda, if she’s going to annual check-ups, they should be tracking what percentile she’s in, size-wise. As I understand, consistent growth, rather than a certain minimum size, is the point. Btw, what are your favorite hot-weather clothes labels?

  109. Mafalda – I have a 5 to 10th percentile kid. But he just keeps tracking on that same percentile so the dr. is fine with it. If she fell off the chart or fell way below what she was tracking that’s different and I’m sure the pediatrician would be concerned.

  110. Mafalda. My oldest granddaughter just appeared at the bottom of the weight chart this year at her 8 year old checkup., and got to 20th percentile in height, which was up from 5th percentile. I was the adult who took her to check up and the doctor showed me the progress and commented favorably. No stigma even tho the child still looks like she stepped out a depression era photograph. Parents are 5 3 and 5 7. However, your friend should ask the doctor.

    SM, my husband has severe CHF. Salt intake as Scarlett described is key. He had to sit down to rest halfway on a 8 block walk to the restaurant from the hotel.

  111. On the essays — do a Google search using the terms “essay topics to avoid” and read the top hits. Like this article. You’ll see that most of the “essays to avoid” are, indeed, responses to some of the typical essay prompts, but it is absolutely amazing how many kids write (poorly) the same basic essays even though they have been warned by former admissions staff not to do so.

    I had only limited experience reading college applications, and only from the bottom of the barrel, but my sense is that the importance of the essay is way overblown by the College Confidential crowd, admissions offices, and people who get paid to massage applications. The best use of essays is to provide information about the applicant that is not available anywhere else in the file and/or to set the applicant apart from the herd of other high-achieving well-rounded kids. The first reader, if the school has the funds to afford multiple readers, will spend about three minutes scanning the essay, if that. No admissions officer will read any but the top .05% of essays with anything close to the scrutiny of an average high school English teacher grading an assignment. Most 17 year old kids applying to competitive schools (the only ones in which the essay really matters) are reasonably bright and hard-working but haven’t had much life experience or overcome great challenges, and it’s OK if their essays reflect this reality. Actually, it’s very refreshing to read an essay by an applicant who clearly does not take herself too seriously and recognizes that she has much more to learn than to teach.

  112. That last essay topic is perfect.

    7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

    So open-ended. Absolutely anything is responsive, which is great for applicants who have something interesting to say that can’t be forced into one of the standard prompts.

  113. MM, I suspect my sons won’t be applying to any schools where essays are important but as I watched DS1 curled up on the couch with Make magazine, I thought, “I bet any essay he writes will have that writing style.” My brother was pegged in anonymous grading across the district by the high school English teacher for his Reader’s Digest Fix It Yourself manual writing style.

  114. “The best use of essays is to provide information about the applicant that is not available anywhere else in the file.”

    In the case of Mooshi’s DS1, that could be an explanation of the seeming mismatch between his grades and his test scores, and it’s not because he’s a (to paraphrase another regular here) lazy-ass slacker.

  115. A couple of good essays I have read:
    written about the love of e (the math value) – got into good SLAC with significant merit aid, despite an uneven high school resume,
    about a love of making collages to send to friends who live far away and how a collage can capture a feeling and make you feel right there in a way that a letter or a call can’t – got into impressive Eastern University despite chaotic high school transcript
    Cheerios and the pincher grasp, observation of babies and a love of science – great medical student essay that gets plagiarized to this day, matriculated at top-ranked school

    My point with these is that they each showed an interesting side of the person writing the essay – none of these people shared their clinic-building-in-guatamala story or their overcoming-foster-care-and-having-no-legs. Ordinary experiences used to reveal fascinating people.

    I also think there is value in being the “Cheerios” essay or the “collage” essay. Writing an essay that is about one inanimate thing stands out.

  116. A child below 3%tle can be referred to a pediatric endocrinologist. However, a peditrian can order a blood test to check growth hormone. That is usually the first step to determine if there is any growth problem. Unless there is a medical diagnosis insurance won’t cover growth hormone just because a child is 3% or lower, and growth hormone costs can start at $3k/month.

  117. Finn,
    There is a section of the Common App for “additional information,” and some applicants use that to explain things like a grade drop caused by a health or family emergency or a late-diagnosed learning disability. The counselor letter can also provide such explanations. Those can be better spots for that information, depending on the situation, and then the essay can be devoted to another topic, such as an unusual interest or hobby or experience, that demonstrates the applicant’s potential.

  118. The formula I learned in medical school to predict adult height is:
    (Dad-5 + Mom) /2 = child height +/- 2 inches. (for girls)
    (Dad + Mom-5) /2 for boys.

    That puts your friend’s daughter at 4’11”-5’3”.

  119. Ada, it looks like your formulas are the same. I suspect the boy formula has the error.

  120. “Ordinary experiences used to reveal fascinating people.”

    Yes, exactly. This is the sort of thing that college application advisors can use to help “average” top students set themselves apart. One of my favorite essays was about the various cell phones that an applicant had destroyed during her teenage years, each episode demonstrating some aspect of herself that needed to be improved. It could have come across as something written by an entitled brat, but instead revealed a girl who could laugh at herself.

  121. Scarlett – I am just read your comment and thought about LfB’s DD and the parental phone contract.

  122. It’s plus 5 for boys. That presumes no huge step up in nutrition (say from immigration or increase in SES) from generation to generation. I am 6 in shorter than my ex. My girls are 1 in taller than I am. The boys are 1 in taller and 1 in shorter than Dad.

  123. Three out of 4 of my siblings and me fit the formula. I suspect the +/-2 is what changes when one parent is 1+ feet taller than the other.

  124. On height – my DD is 3rd percentile, which meant that she got sent to an endocrinoligist a few years ago. The endocrinologist had worked with a lot of internationally adopted kids. She shrugged and said, that my kid is from a part of China where people statistically run shorter and that she is probably normal. I had pretty much thought as much. The problem we had was that we could not get the developmental ped to prescribe effective ADHD meds because of her stature (and slenderness), The endocrinologist said that her size should not prevent effective ADHD meds, but it wasn’t until she switched to another developmental ped that we finally got her switched to Concerta

  125. Hi, Jack– Those familiar with the greater Boston area, are there any areas we should avoid? We’re trying to book a hotel for a stay there.

    Also, are Airbnb- and VRBO-type lodging legal there? Are there a source of controversy? There are a lot of listings that look to be that sort of lodging, but I’ve been sensitized to the possibility that such use of housing is not necessarily welcomed by the neighbors.

  126. Finn, yes, my reason for increasing my protein intake is just what you describe. I’m not trying to “bulk up” but do want to build muscle, which requires protein. Right now I’m at 23.6% body fat. I’d like to get that down to 20-21%. Focusing on high protein content is also what has helped my lose weight this far.

    In sum, he is a typical quiet, sort of boring kid.
    Mooshi, that, following what you just said, is hilarious. He doesn’t like touchy-feely, but I bet he can identify a couple of steps in his development as a researcher and of this project. In his various teaching positions, has he seen kids in similar stages? He can write vignettes of each of those things, strung along a common thread.

  127. SM, most of my friends who used protein powder made shakes, adding the powder to milk or chocolate milk and drinking it after workouts.

  128. Finn, do you want to stay near the school? It might be easier for you because you would be able to walk to the school. We stayed at the Kimpton Marlowe, and it was a nice hotel in a great location. We had very little time for this trip, so we wanted to be in a location that was near the Science Museum and the T. We found that there is so much traffic in Boston metro that you want to be able to walk or take the T to as many places as possible. We did use Uber in Cambridge because the traffic was lighter at night. There are also several new Residence Inns in/near the city that might work for you if you’re looking for more space/kitchen.

  129. On the original topic, this is probably not what you are looking for, but I’ve become a fan of Halo Top ice cream. It’s relatively new so I thought I’d mention it here. It’s very Weight Watcher point friendly. I eat a terribly unsophisticated diet compared to most of you, and my cooking is not adventurous. Taco night, burgers, pasta, etc….this is often how we roll. I’m apparently stuck in the 80’s.

    Weight Watchers has been successful for me, exactly because it’s a system that DOES allow me to have cheetos if I so desire. Now, as I have lost weight and have fewer points to “spend” each day, I find myself encouraged to make healthier choices as I need to find foods that fill me for fewer points. It’s been a gradual way to change my eating habits.

  130. So the average of M & D, plus 2.5 for boys or minus 2.5 for girls. That means my sisters and I “should” be 67″. We are all within 1.5 inches.
    I can’t really say what height to expect of my son. His dad is a couple of inches taller than me, claims that his older brother is several inches taller than him, and that his growth was stunted when he didn’t get enough food to eat for a few years as a child, after older brother had grown up and left the nest. Sounds suspicious to me, but his legs are disproportionately short, which I believe is a common sign of malnourishment. DS started life off the charts, stayed above the 100th percentile for several years, then edged towards average (but of course when he was right @ average, he felt short, because most of his life experience had been from a different perspective). He is now 75th percentile, but of greater interest is his increasing strength as he “fills out”. He is stronger than he realizes!

  131. Thanks everyone for your advice. I think my friend’s last checkup had her BELOW the charts and the doctor asked her if she wanted to explore any options and she said no. She imagined that her daughter will just have to learn to be short since those are her genetics. My concern is that looking at her versus her classmates, she seems way smaller than everyone else I know who grew to only 5 or 5’1″ (including me!) I managed to convince her to take her to the specialists her pediatrician recommended when she goes to him again this summer.

  132. On height, when my DD dropped below 3% at a checkup the pediatrician ordered a bone age test.

    No new foods here, just one family member discovering they like sweet potatoes, so putting that in rotation more. I’m having the hardest time getting back in the groove of cooking now that I’m in the office more. I want to get a walk in before dark, so I don’t want to spend very much time cooking and cleaning up. If it were just me, I’d have a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers. People are definitely underwhelmed by my recent offerings, but not underwhelmed enough to volunteer to cook. So there seems to always be someone having a bowl of cereal later in the evening. I think I’m gong to have to try out one of the meal prep services just to get some variety into the rotation.

  133. Finn – Are there particular hotels or neighborhoods that you’re looking at? Could you give us a sense of the areas you’re considering?

  134. We found that there is so much traffic in Boston metro that you want to be able to walk or take the T to as many places as possible.

    And that bit about Boston drivers being batshit insane? Is totally true. I was terrified, and I’m a big grown-up lady and I’ve lived all over the U.S. I thought Chicago was bad. Boston was nuts.

  135. I agree about the driving! We left our car in the garage next to the hotel for the weekend. We did a lot of walking, took T and a couple of Ubers. We are experienced city drivers, but even my husband said no way….just too many one ways, narrow streets, etc.

  136. This entry on the list of what not to write admissions essay about that S Adler linked to surprises me, particularly because one of the Common App prompts is to write about a “challenge, setback, or failure”. I’m sure the kind of “what I’ve learned” essay schools might require at the end of a suspension could be bothing as could be, but thinking of how hard it can be to get a room full of bringht young people with shiny bright pasts and futures to come up with different perspectives on a topic, Is think that hearing about real, gut-level growth would appeal. I hope we never have the material necessary to consider such a choice.

    8. Illegal or Illicit Behavior

    Drug and alcohol use, sex, arrests and/or jail time are topics that you should steer clear of, even if they are life issues you’ve worked through.
    You would not want your judgment to be called into question for the decisions you’ve made (even if they are in the past) or for making the decision to write about the decisions you’ve made. Either way, it’s risky business to go this route and is not recommended.

  137. Arg! The phone + Sat morning grogginess got me again!

    That should be “Scarlett”, not “S Adler”, and change “Is” to “I’d”.

  138. Here’s the whole thing again.

    This entry on the list of what not to write admissions essays about that Scarlett linked to surprises me, particularly because one of the Common App prompts is to write about a “challenge, setback, or failure”. I’m sure the kind of “what I’ve learned” essay schools might require at the end of a suspension could be bothing as could be, but thinking of how hard it can be to get a room full of bringht young people with shiny bright pasts and futures to come up with different perspectives on a topic, I’d think that hearing about real, gut-level growth would appeal. I hope we don’t have the material necessary to consider such a choice.

  139. The point is made elsewhere in that link — that applicants don’t know who is reading their essay and should therefore play it safe with controversial topics. ITA with that advice. Why should admissions take a chance on someone who has previously demonstrated questionable judgment in a serious matter, when there are plenty of lower-risk candidates for that seat in the class? Save the confessional essay for another forum, AFTER you get the acceptance letters, and remember that the purpose of the essay is to get that acceptance letter. If the challenge you overcame wasn’t major illness or the death of a parent or being a refugee — and especially if it was the result of a poor decision on your part — consider picking another topic. You will not be able to compete with the applicants who had those kind of life experiences.

  140. When I used to interview accounting grads for my firm, it turned out every single one had a 3.8 GPA, worked his/her way through school, nursed a parent through a final cancer or had a disabled sibling, did good works in bad neighborhoods. The future tax geeks didn’t even make the cut – we waited for them to get another degree or go to law school. We had to go out of our way to find a couple of good ol boys who played golf and knew how to bring in the business and weren’t completely stupid.

  141. Scarlett, confessional essay, yuck! What do you think of the kind I mentioned, discussing real personal growth

  142. Just thinking aloud – if MM’s DS writes about the research project it will have to be done in a way that is engaging to the reader. It’s a balancing act between describing the technical aspects and challenges and keeping front and center the wow aspect of the project.

  143. Personal growth is a risky topic, and hard for most 17 year olds to pull off without sounding coached, cliched, or trivial. Adults have a hard time seeing themselves objectively — kids are even worse at it, in their natural egoistic state. And 650 words is not really that many even for a talented, professional writer to explore that kind of topic. As most of us know, it is much harder to write a short piece than a long one. And you really need to hook the reader in the first few sentences to ensure the whole thing will actually be read.

  144. My college essay was about my family, ranging from my very blue collar grandparents – a trucker and a machinist – to having foster kids and how that background set me apart in an Ivy engineering school. Weirdly it came up again in my interview to be admitted to the bar. The bar examiners have access to your entire educational file, including that essay, apparently.

    Back to food- one go to breakfast for me recently is a veggie hash (potatoes, apples, red onion, kale, salt, pepper, olive oil, mustard) with a sunny-side up egg. The hash also goes well with chicken, and stores and re-heats well.

  145. My college essay became well known at my HS. To this day, former classmates tell me that they remember it. I wrote about the cartoon Mafalda and how it seemed she always had something relevant to say to me no matter what was happening in my life. It got me into Harvard, MIT and Stanford! (Well, probably other things got me in too. who knows? It wasn’t anywhere near as hard then as it is now.)

  146. Hawaii merge:
    Driver1: [car body language indicating intent to merge]
    Driver2: Oh, I going aloha dem [hangs back to leave a space, waves other driver in]
    Driver1: [thank-you wave or shaka]
    Driver2: [answering wave]

    Boston merge:
    Driver1 [car body language indicating intent to merge]
    Driver2: Enemy vehicle sighted at 3:00! [Moves forward to leave ~1 cm distance between front bumper and car ahead, long prophylactic honk]
    Driver1: [Angles aggressively in toward that tiny space in a way calculated to sideswipe Driver2, long honk]
    Driver2: [Reluctantly drops back to avoid accident] Asshole! [even longer honk]
    Driver1: Asshole! [another long honk]

    Merge accomplished!

  147. Okay Mooshi, I just made the tofu palak from Piping Hot Curry and it was great. And it’s low carb and vegan, meaning I can feed it to more than one friend at a time! Thanks!

  148. Mafalda – that is a great story. Although it doesn’t help the kids, I have found that the comic Zits captures my son and his behaviors and peccadilloes perfectly. I have cut out (or taken pictures of) numerous strips to show/send to DS!

  149. The trip we’re planning is to move DS into his dorm, so our driving in the area would be pretty much limited to hotel, school, perhaps some stores to buy stuff he needs (although Amazon is definitely an option), and perhaps places to eat.

    Within the Boston area, I’m hoping to limit driving to north of the Charles River.

  150. Finn — Forgive me if I’m being really dense, or if you’ve told us already, but where will your DS be going? MIT? Harvard? Somewhere else?

  151. Finn, don’t try to drive around that area more than you can help, and if he’s in the Yard, you’ll be walking to his dorm anyway. I would make heavy use of Amazon now that it’s an option, and that will also let him talk with his roommates and decide together what their needs are. It’s not great school for hitting a big box and then pulling the vehicle up right outside the dorm.

  152. I think this is a food UNfind. I suspect none of these companies are targeting mothers with 4 children under 10, who would find Ragu over spaghetti preferable to any of the options described.

  153. I have a few fresh bowl places in my lunch radius. The meals are somewhat like what WCE’s posted article, maybe one level below in the hipness factor. Like the article described, the bowls are cold so that’s the most unappealing thing to me. I went once or twice and didn’t return. A better option is salad or Mexican bowl places where the protein is heated up.
    One sandwich place serves a quinoa bowl that tastes awesome and is healthy. Again it is cold, so I take it up to the office break room and heat it up.
    A few lunch places I noticed put too much salt in their food. I try to avoid those.

  154. My observation of Gluten Free is that lack of bread, pasta, cookies hopefully forces people to substitute with more vegetables and fruits. It’s not so much what is being cut out but what the substitutions are that will make you feel better and lose weight.

    And totally unrelated – a bunch of mothers were looking at prom pictures. The dresses were tasteful but some of the dresses made the wearers look too old and seemed inappropriate in that sense. Teens were suddenly transformed into late twenty year olds.

  155. Louise. the popularity of gluten-free with people who have no medical necessity to eat that way is baffling. Your explanation is as good as any. People who have celiac or whose guts are bothered by gluten don’t lose weight by passing up gluten, as a major symptom is that food passes through the bowels too quickly and nutrients are not absorbed.

    I don’t want to spend one of my NYT freebies for the month on the article about mail order Instagrammable food, but cold “bowls” sounds odd to me. I’m familiar with the type described here, and even the ones at Taco Bell and KFC are served hot.

  156. ingredients should be cheap, common and above all convenient, ideally frozen or tinned.</i?

    The horror! I don't think I'd like her recipes much, but her explanation of women's cooking is far better than mine: It’s the dailiness of it—particularly if you’re a woman. I know the times supposedly have changed, but nevertheless, it is still usually the woman who wakes up in the morning and knows that this heavy heavy hangs over her head. With just the two of us, that’s never felt “heavy” to me, and when we have guests, it’s a special occasion, so I approach cooking more like a man. Besides all the wine and “I hate housework” memes mentioned here, she must’ve been at the beginning of the trend that gives us Blue Apron. washed, chopped veggies in a bag, and rows of refrigerator cases full of “heat and eat”, as in Whole Foods these days.

  157. I really enjoyed Peg Bracken’s books. She can be quite funny. Random factoid: she was the sister of my elementary school principal, Mr. Bracken. I suspect he had a first name, but I have no memory of what it was. He was very nice.

  158. “I suspect none of these companies are targeting mothers with 4 children under 10, who would find Ragu over spaghetti preferable to any of the options described.”

    Duh. Why would you think they are?

  159. @WCE – I found that article to be one of those fake-trends, first-up-against-the-wall kind of things. Even if I wanted to, I doubt I could get $85/day cold food delivery in my urban area. It’s really just NutriSystem dipped in hipness at 8x the cost.

  160. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. Today also happens to be my first child’s 13th birthday. I’m definitely in one of those how-has-the-time-passed-so-quickly moods today.

  161. NoB, Friday was the last day for seniors at my-son-the-junior’s school, and we had to go to Party City to pick something up for my daughter (it’s like a scavenger hunt with her at the end of the year, every day is something like ‘I need a white Venetian half-mask for English) and the store was full of graduation party supplies and parents ordering specialty balloons. I was getting slightly teary internally as it hit home that a year from now, that’ll be us.

  162. It’s really just NutriSystem dipped in hipness at 8x the cost.

    Or like having Tom & Gisell’s personal chef for 1/8th the cost.

    The difference between this 80:

    And this 80?

    Genes and luck, sure. But a lot of it is effort and money.

  163. Kerri, don’t most people assume things are about them?

    Rhett, are they the same age?

  164. S&M,

    More or less. The first lady is already 80, Jane (the second lady) turns 80 in December.

  165. I thought she looked like Jane Fonda, but you said Gisell, so I was thinking of the much younger model.

  166. Rhett – plus a lot of surgery!!! ;)

    Obviously. But that falls under the domaine of money and effort. It would be interesting to see if how old one appears to be influences one’s perceived and actual quality of life.

  167. Jane Fonda’s surgery is very well done and probably done at the right time. I feel a lot of people do it too young and then get do more and more till their faces are ready to crack.

  168. Oh! I’ll buy the luck and effort argument. However, I don’t think $85 home delivery actually makes a difference (just like me joining a really expensive gym doesn’t fix that fact that I don’t go). Delivered quinoa is not better than homemade quinoa. Some people will grow up to be amazing 80 year olds, but it doesn’t take artisanal salads to get there; conversely artisanal salads will get you no where if you top them with Cheetos.

  169. DD#1 – now that AP tests are over – English class is focusing on writing college essays. They have to pick at least 2, but no more than 4 topics and write drafts. Also, a physics project and a history research paper that are both designed to increase the things they can write about.

    One school we visited said their college apps will open July 1. Not clear if that is for early decision or for regular. It is a state school that she “should” be an automatic acceptance to, but will find that out in a few weeks. Neither of my DD’s high schools rank until Junior year and neither disclose actual rank to the student (other than valedictorian/salutatorian). They disclose are you are in the top 10% (state schools in general) or top 7% (single state flagship) for automatic admission or top XX% if disclosure is needed as part of the admissions process at any other school.

  170. Austin – look on the school’s website or on the Common App website if it participates to find out the dates for early decision, early action, and regular decision. Most of the “earlies” (decision, where it’s binding to enroll if you get in, and action, where it just means you’ll get an answer faster from the submission date, usually by Christmas) have deadlines in November, so if she applies in the summer she should be in that pool.

  171. ” It would be interesting to see if how old one appears to be influences one’s perceived and actual quality of life.”

    I’m going to say no. I think there is a big range between 80 and hobbled by obesity, lack of exercise, etc and 80 year old celebrity who has had to work very, very hard at her appearance for decades. I’d rather be an active, but wrinkled, grey-haired 80 year old who drinks margaritas at 5pm at the pool in The Villages than be Jane Fonda. (I’d take her $$ of course.)

  172. I’d rather be an active, but wrinkled, grey-haired 80 year old who drinks margaritas at 5pm at the pool in The Villages than be Jane Fonda.

    Save me a lounge chair.

  173. I’d rather be an active, but wrinkled, grey-haired 80 year old who drinks margaritas at 5pm at the pool in The Villages than be Jane Fonda.

    From what I understand being an active 80 year old is a lot of work and it’s all to easy to sink into inactive lethargy at every step of the way.

  174. Ivy, it sounds like you’re choosing something between the two extremes you laid out. After my brief foray into obesity (just the near side) in recent years, I don’t ever want to be that out of shape again. It hurt! Niggling aches and pains all the time, sometimes some bigger ones too. I think this routine allows plenty of time for naps and poolside G&Ts. Having a personal trainer every day sounds awesome. It’s so easy to wimp out on something hard, and then wish I’d done it later.

  175. “From what I understand being an active 80 year old is a lot of work and it’s all to easy to sink into inactive lethargy at every step of the way.”

    Not as much work as staying active from a health perspective AND making sure that I look “camera-ready,” thin, and youthful. Screw that.

  176. “I was getting slightly teary internally as it hit home that a year from now, that’ll be us.”

    You won’t have much chance to get teary over the next year or so. You’ll be too busy as your DS1 goes through the college selection process on top of your kids’ other activities.

    I can see why it hits parents so hard after dropping their kids off at college.

  177. Austin– What Fred said, check the school’s website.

    My guess is that a state school that accepts applications that early probably has rolling admissions, and doesn’t have an Early Decision or Early Action.

    In any case, if that’s your DD’s safety, or one of them, I encourage her to apply early.

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