in a perfect world of yancies: Off To a Great Start!

01 January 2009

Off To a Great Start!

Had a great time in IL for the holidays.
New sweater from Emily
Got some great gifts, too, like this sweater that Emily made. Beautiful.

And a new t-shirt or two, like this one from Magen & Dave:
my hot new shirt
With the capsaicin molecule.

The what? Here's from a recent piece in the Economist:

"TASTELESS, colourless, odourless and painful, pure capsaicin is a curious substance. It does no lasting damage, but the body’s natural response to even a modest dose (such as that found in a chili pepper) is self-defence: sweat pours, the pulse quickens, the tongue flinches, tears may roll. But then something else kicks in: pain relief. The bloodstream floods with endorphins—the closest thing to morphine that the body produces. The result is a high. And the more capsaicin you ingest, the bigger and better it gets."

Interesting read, about the growing popularity of chili peppers. Huzzah for that, I say.

[Note to Magen & Dave: please don't feel that you need to track down a Dorset naga for me to try. I am intrigued by the idea of a chili pepper that dwarfs the habanero in terms of fieriness, but I'm not convinced that I need to actually taste one. But would I say no? Probably not . . . Though there is this cute sentence from the article: "For connoisseurs though, the macho hullabaloo about ever-hotter chilies is distasteful, even vulgar: rather like rating wine only according to its alcohol content."]

One bit I found particularly gratifying, given the comments about burying the flavor of my food that I've weathered:
"capsaicin excites the trigeminal nerve, increasing the body’s receptiveness to the flavour of other foods." So there!

All right, enough of that. Now I'd better get over to India Express for lunch. (Don't worry, I'll be sure to ask for extra spicy.)

Back to xmas stuff. Here's the scene up in McHenry:
Xmas in McHenry

Also went downtown to see the windows at Marshall Field's Macy's.
At the Walnut Room
And had lunch in the Walnut Room. Fun stuff.

Then we hit the recently redesigned Chicago Museum of History.

Saw some cool exhibitions, and bought myself another t-shirt:
mm hmm

Finally it was back to St Charles, where we had some delicious cassoulet.
Made with duck, lamb, Italian Sausage, and Polish sausage. Tasty.

Where can you find all of those meats? Why at Jones Country Meats, in Woodstock, IL.

Here's a fun map that you can play with (google streetview is fun!), and use to help find it next time you're in the area:

View Larger Map

Happy New Year, reader!


  1. Outstanding work on the sweater, Emily!

    And I love the photo taken in the Walnut Room, if I do say so myself.

    It was great to see you both.


  2. But hey, you might ask, how about some pictures of those handsome Hughes' and Iwanski's?

    Well, I didn't get my camera into the rotation on xmas morning (oops! but hey, it was like 6am Pacific . . .), but maybe Magen or Dave will send some my way? Maybe?

  3. I agree... that's a beautiful sweater. Such an interesting combination of colors.