Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The 2016 Half Time Review

With the arrival of June comes this year's edition of Cut-throat and Clueless' Half-Time Review. As you might have noticed, I have half-finished redesigning this blog in celebration of this milestone. For my original list of 2016 resolutions click here, and for my last quarterly review click here. Below is a summary of victories and setbacks that have been achieved and/or suffered over the last three months.


1. Reading, Writing, Running.

My reading has picked up its pace since I last discussed my resolutions on this blog; my writing has been steady, though mostly fiction orientated, and my exercise regime has finally diversified to include body-weight training - routines that once reduced me to a huffing mess, I now breeze through effortlessly and it feels great! I have also recently booked myself onto a distance learning course with the UK Society for Editors and Proof-Readers - I'm looking forward to it immensely. I also have my first Judo session, in years, coming up at the end of this week.

2. Get Techie.

Hurrah for progress! I have finally started learning Python and it's fascinating. Coding engages a very different part of my brain to that which is engaged when reading and writing philosophy. Frankly I'm excited to learn something tech related but also hoping to gleam some of the mental benefits associated with programming. Granted the few hours I have put in so far were grinded out purely so I'd have something to write here, but the enjoyment I have received from it has been genuine.   

I'll have to find some sort of project to focus on later in the year, at the moment I'm just trying to memorise the basics.

3. Get Foodie.

There has been too much progress made here to list comprehensively. Notable success' include home-made pizza made from scratch; vegetable pakora and a couple of other great finds discovered among my growing collection of cookery and cocktail books. I'm making food better, faster and with less stress than ever before. As a side note, I've discovered that food and drink books are remarkably reflective of their social origins.

Consider that "The Savoy Cocktail Book" written by Harry Craddock back in the 1930's is close to 300 pages long with almost every page containing  4 or 5 recipes, each of them calling for a variety of spirits and liquers. By contrast, "Good Things to Drink" written by Mr Lyan, and published last year, features recipes that tend to focus on one particular spirit and prefers the intelligent use of mixers and garnish to accompany drinks. In terms of "recipes per page", it has one recipe for every couple of pages with the majority of the book being photos of Mr Lyan and his friends drinking in rustic locations while looking infuriatingly hip.

This is the unfortunate consequence of modern advertising, and caused by the same forces that have perfume companies advertising with bizzare montages of models sliding out of Limos. While Craddock may bring content by the bucket-load, Mr Lyan would trounce him in terms of sales if they ever competed - the gloss sells.

Gripes aside, as much as I have enjoyed Mr Lyan's book, he has a bad habit of tacking "top up with champagne" onto the end of his recipes; the fact that he considers adding champagne to be an afterthought indicates that mixology has yet to escape its privileged roots.

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