Sunday, January 31, 2010

The saddest date I ever eavesdropped on

Morningside is the richest district of Edinburgh, and most notably known as the residence of J.K. Rowling and Scotlands patriarchs of culture. Its not your typical rich neighbohood with displays of wealth dripping at every corner. I find it to be rather a caricature of Scottish culture with churches side by side and little old grandmas in country clothing checking out the displays of little shop windows. The wealthy seem to just lock themselves up in their estates and send the servants to run the errands, making this seem more like a little country church town more than a Scottish Beverly Hills. The men dress like Sherlock Holmes and the women dress like they are on their way to a knitting club reunion. I'm here for 2 weeks as my new flat won't be ready until mid February so I'm renting a room with an old spanish hippy lady that sells jewelry next to Edinburgh Castle.

Living amongst the elderly does give you a different perspective on life. Conversations seem to drift towards loved ones lost and spirituality.

My heart is going out to this elderly couple on their first date sitting next to me at Falko, a popular German coffee shop in the neighborhood. Its impossible to not hear their conversation as much as I try to drown it out to give them their own privacy. These two seem to have met through a church lecture and are having their first coffee together. She confesses she doesn't understand much about men anymore and he it seems is clueless about the needs of women. It seems to me that both of their partners have passed on and now they are looking to restart their lives with the companionship of someone new.

She begins to talk about her faith and its clear she seems to be seeking a spiritual partner to share her life with. He seems to be of the gendre of old historians you see on the BBC that enjoy lecturing on arcane subjects that interest only a handful of people, none below the age of 60.

I can sense the heart sinking in the lady next to me. She begins to get deeper into discussion about her church lectures and he begins to fly this plane into the side of a cliff by continually changing the subject back to his history lessons. Evidently, he is convinced that the Holy Grail had come to Britain in the past and had passed hands with Merlin the Magician. As the druid religions were converting over to Christianity at this exact time, Merlin, as their religious leader thus had some involvement in the exchanging hands of the Holy Grail.

She changes subjects back to church and he then asks her if she would be interested in reading his book on the Holy Grail. I imagine it must be hard to move on when your older. You take it for granted that your partner listens to you and puts up with you for the past 50 years and suddenly you have to start dating again and become a good listener.

Their conversation has ended and she is digging to find a spark. She kindly offers to pay for the drinks and he suggests that each pay for their own coffee. That puts the final nail in the coffin. Perhaps in another life, another age, another time. This time though, both will go back to their homes empty handed. Her being dissapointed and him wondering why no one is interested in his stories.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mars Bar Krispies

Whoaaahhhh... My head is spinning!!!!

I had always heard of the infamous deep fried Mars bar, but I never thought that the scottish had so much of a true affinity for the snack that it transgressed to other recipes.

So Yes, I am now in SCOTLAND... You may find that strange... I find it strange myself. I was just in Jordan, then in France, and now in Gods gift to human kind... Edinburgh.

This place is truly magical... you feel like you are in a harry potter movie with all of the dark smoky churches and the truly impressive site of the Edinburgh castle. Holy cow, its hard to imagine that people live in Disneyland.. but they do.

I always am amazed to see people walking to work.. its just pleasant to be walking on cobbled stones, ancient passage ways, castles and bridges.. Imagine legoland, the castle version, but the real thing.

Edinburgh castle is just next to my office and apartment(i didnt take the photo though):

So I have been to Scotland in the past but at the time I worked in Glasgow. Glasgow has a bad rap because it was known as a depressed dump.. but I found it to be rather hip in some areas. As in, there were a lot of big hips. I actually had to leave the project there because it was getting way too unhealthy for me to live there. After work, we would all kip out the door and head straight to the pub. We would drink rounds and rounds of lager and guinness and when we finished at 10 pm, there was nothing to eat except for pizza hut and fish and chips. Every colleague of mine must have had a +45 waste and I decided that I was on a fast track to beer gut time if I didn't get out of there.

So this time around, I'm in Edinburgh. I'm working at a large insurance company in the heart of town and we have about 1,000 people working in the building. These guys know how to live... barely anyone is fat, yet everyone seems to be freaking snacking around me all day. It seems like everyone is eating a cookie, candy bar, biscuit, yogurt and everyone is a gym fanatic.

It reached a pinnacle today when we held a bake sale for Haiti relief this morning. I had sampled the usual.. carrot cake, banana bread, chocolate chip cookie....

At the end of the day, I heard a 'something something mars bar krrisps (thats my best scottish accent)." Evidently I just thought it was legend that Scottish like to eat deep fried mars bars... so I had to see if it was true that there was another snack made out of an already existing snack.

So, at the end of the bake sale table I found this heavy, dense block sitting with the crumbled pieces of banana bread and half broken cookies. When I say dense, I mean this sucker could be used as a paper weight. I took it back to my desk and took my first timid bite.

The first thing that hit me was a sudden sensitivity shock to my teeth and gums. It was as if you had dipped them in caramel and then soaked them in pepsi cappuccino (yes, it does exist). Next my saliva glands kicked into hyper overdrive much like popeye's forearms turn into locomotive engines after he eats a can of spinach. I was finally able to down the morsel of solid chocolate crack until finally it hit the digestive juices in my stomach and then into my bloodstream.

Suddenly my head started spinning and I was getting dizzy from the sudden jolt of sugar to my system. My face and throat swell whenever I eat something sinful and this time it was off the charts!!! Whoaaaahhh I'm buZZINGGGG at work!!!!! I'm BALLS Tripppin!!! Woohooo!!!!!! Look at me everyone!!! I'm eating my first mars bar krrrisp!!!

What the hell is in these things???

So I asked my colleague Paul how these are made.

"First you get a pan heated and you melt the mars bars in BUTTER."

When I asked him if he was serious about the butter, he said rather matter of factly, "Yes, its really the way forward you know..."

After you get it all melted then you add the rice krispies and spread it out on a cake pan.

THEN when the snack is cooled you melt some more butter and some more chocolate and you pour THAT on the mars bar krispies.

So as I look up the recipe on google.. try it yourself even.. search on "mars bar krispies recipe" and you'll get a whole list of recipes stating "Great snack for the Kids" and "I've never known a child who doesn't like these"...

Check out this website for the full recipe:

Mars bars, with their nougat centre with toffee on top and covered with milk chocolate, are a favourite the world over. And the snap, crackle, pop of rice crispies are found everywhere, including Scotland. Put the two together and you get a treat that's enjoyed by children (big and small) everywhere. And not a deep fried Mars bar in sight!

So you heard it everyone! Great for the kids... Go off baking (or microwave baking in this instance) and turn your friends and family into mars bar krispie junkies!!!