We have a tendency to confuse self care with “Treat Yo’Self!!” and so today’s advice comes with the disclaimer to pay close attention to the “bit” part.
It’s well known that chocolate contains chemicals that make us feel good. Many people, when surveyed, say they’d choose chocolate over sex. And a little something sweet, especially if it makes us feel grateful – for the treat, or for the person who gave it to us, or just the experience of eating it – is certainly a good thing to do for ourselves.
Chocolate inspired by Jackson Pollack? These beautiful pieces of edible art are from Unelefante in Mexico. [Via KNSTRCT]
Can’t keep track of your best lasagna recipe? How about this one that’s printed on the pasta? [Via BoingBoing]
The story of Sweeney Todd the barber and the little pie shop next door is just fiction… or is it? In the 1380s, Paris had an evil barber/butcher combo that were brought to justice because of a dog waiting for its missing master. [Via Messy Nessy Chic]
Uh… how much candy are your kids eating after Halloween that they’re getting cavities and “weakening” their teeth? Sure, taffy and the like is probably not a good pairing with expensive dental work, but if your kids are eating enough Halloween swag to get a cavity, there are other issues at play. [Globe and Mail]
And so you know the value of what your neighbours have shelled out – the candy hierarchy. [Boing Boing]
Groupon usually gets you cheap deals for cheap food – but they’re expanding into upscale restaurants. Could we soon see Groupon deals for Scaramouche and Pangaea?? [Nation’s Restaurant News]
The difference between food allergies and food sensitivities. (Although, as an allergy sufferer, the bit about the scratch test being the gold standard is laughable. We really need to update allergy testing beyond a 100-year-old system that is famously inaccurate.) [Toronto Sun]
Remember that nice lady on your street who always made the awesome candy apples every Halloween? She wouldn’t hurt you with poison or razorblades. Why trick or treating for homemade goodies isn’t all that scary. [Globe and Mail]
The math on this seems a little sketchy (a can of Coke has 39g of sugar; so 365 cans would be 14,196g or 31.29 pounds), but the New York City Healthy Department is claiming that drinking 1 can of soda a day is the equivalent of ingesting 50 pounds of sugar per year. Still, an extra 31 pounds can’t be good either. [CBS New York]
Chefs and restaurants are now using Twitter regularly. Just remember – no squabbling with disgruntled customers and for the love of God, stop retweeting every nice thing anybody says about you. We know you’re great, that’s why we’re already following you! [Wall Street Journal]
One of the reasons I hate weddings is that the whole thing is a laundry list of things you have to do to keep other people happy. In Chinese culture, this also occurs, only it has some horrid environmental results – as in, “Oh, grandma will be disappointed if there’s no shark fin.” So this week we urge Toronto city council to just say no to shark fin, and urge brides and grooms to be to question stupid wedding traditions that you do just to keep Grandma happy. [Globe and Mail]
Remember how excited we all were when Toronto announced a policy to buy local food for government services like schools, seniors’ homes, jails and daycares? Yeah… here come the Fords, and nothing is safe anymore. [Toronto Standard]
Lentil chips? Fruit snacks? Is the end nigh for good old sugar and powdered beetle wings?? Sing it with me folks, I Want Candy! [The Atlantic]
The USDA’s food pyramid is so ubiquitous, most Canadians think it’s the system we use as well. But it’s getting a redesign and will apparently look more like a plate, which might actually be a better gauge for people to calculate their food portions. [CBS Atlanta]
Go big or go home. Not my life’s philosophy, but apparently one I follow when baking.
See, I got a freezer, right? And not eating meat, I needed something to put in it. I filled it up somewhat with summer delights; fiddleheads and berries and pesto and tubs of peach chutney. But my original plan for the thing included cookies. I could start making Christmas cookies in September! Thus saving me from running around frantically in November to get everything done.
It was a great theory, but what actually happened was that I had all that extra time on my hands and so made more… much more. Ironically we found homes for most of it and now have a happy postman, building superintendent, co-workers, friends and relatives.
Cookies: clockwise from the top: chocolate coffee crinkles, zimsterne (a rolled meringue cookie with almonds and hazelnuts), white chocolate cranberry and pistachio biscotti, honey sand balls (a shortbread sweetened with honey and studded with walnuts), pfefferneusse, chocolate orange icebox cookies and eggnog shortbread squares. In the centre: zesty lime and coconut shortbread.
Despite the fact that we here at TasteTO have officially declared the cupcake to be soooo over (enough already, please?), it seems that more and more people are becoming interested in cake decorating. Based on the number of emails we get from places looking for coverage for their cupcake or baking business, it’s an industry that is taking on a life of its own. But with many equipment supply places open to the trade only, finding the necessary equipment and ingredients can be difficult, especially if you’re a home baker.
Sure, tracking down basic baking pans, plain cupcake papers and some simple cookie cutters is easy enough, but once you get into the serious stuff, special molds, pre-made fondants, specialty pans and decorative items might be more of a challenge.
Here’s a list of GTA-based businesses where aspiring pastry chefs and candy-makers can find their gear and supplies.
629 Queen Street West
This rabbit’s warren of restaurant equipment has lots of stuff for pastry making, from piping bags and tips, cake stands, palate knives and cake pans. It’s all professional quality gear, though, so don’t be surprised to blow the dust off that cake stand and discover that it’s $70.
Placewares, St. Lawrence Market
92 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5E 1C4
This is probably the easiest place to access in the downtown core, and they have everything from a huge wall of cookie cutters to piping bags, tips, cake pans and moulds, fondant sculpting tools, cupcake papers and (usually seasonal) decorations such as non-pareils and dragees. They also stock some colours of Wilton fondant.
Bulk Barn – Loblaws Leslie St. Market (and others)
17 Leslie Street
Cake pans, including novelty shapes; they also offer a pan rental service if you know you’re never going to use that teddy bear cake pan again. They also have cookie cutters, icing paste and gels, cake decorating supplies, candy molds and couverture wafers, plus wedding, birthday and seasonal supplies.
McCall’s School of Cake Decorating
3810 Bloor Street West
This is kind of the motherlode; pans, cutters utensils, gum paste, sprinkles, cake stands, moulds, food colouring, decorative paper products. They offer classes as well. Bonus – there’s online shopping if you can’t make it out there.
1531 O’Connor Drive
Offers courses in everything from basic cake decorating to working with gumpaste and fondant.
89 Main Street South, Georgetown
Technically out of the GTA but if you’re in the area, it’s a good source of baking pans, chocolate and candy-making supplies and cake-decorating equipment.