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To tweet or to eat? My modern-day diet dilemma

June 2009

“How do I tweet thee, let me count the ways.” That’s what Elizabeth Barrett Browning might write if she were around today.

150 years ago, however, a lass sent a sonnet by Royal Mail knowing it would get to her man. Today, she could use Canada Post (with but one delivery a day and none on weekends), but she’d more likely send Robert Browning a love note by email or Twitter and she’d keep in touch with him throughout the day on social networking sites such as LinkedIn (where “relationships matter”), Facebook and MySpace. You need to use all of these to make sure something gets through.

But what does this have to do with the FlavourGuy? What does this have to do with cooking? Lately, I have been on Twitter. People who use twitter put out “tweets”. These are messages of 140 characters. That’s short for any message. Mrs. Browning’s would be limited to haikus. Those who write tweets might be called twits but I haven’t seen this term listed officially. In joining Twitter, I read comments by people with similar interests. For example, I follow fellow food writers and those with sharp opinions on local politics and culture. And some of them follow me.

From what I read, some people have thousands of followers and may in turn follow thousands of others – tens of thousands sometimes. Where do they get the time? Or as the Firesign Theatre once noted “How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all?”

Now, I can do many things while I am at the keyboard – work, watch TV, listen to the radio or music, network – often all at the same time. One thing I can’t do is cook. And this is where the FlavourGuy gets worried.

Recently I have noticed that I am making larger meals, enough to last several days. Steak for two? Why do this when I can cook one for 10 and have lunch ready for the next several days. Or fruit. “Wham!” goes the knife as pineapple, cantaloupe, apples, oranges and bananas are diced into a fruit salad large enough to last a week. If this looks sluggish after the second day I can always throw in yogurt and ice and blend up a smoothie. After the third day, it’s not bad as a topping on ice cream. As it slides from compote toward compost, I freeze it at the penultimate moment and have it ready for muffins. Nothing is wasted and hours are gained for more tweeting.

But does this does make sense? After all, the FlavourGuy lives to eat. I don’t eat so that I can spend more time talking, or rather tapping, about eating to people I’ve never met. My Twitter “followers” currently include an Aussie urging me to buy real estate in Melbourne and a woman in Texas who can show me “how to make $37,000 from your computer in just a few short hours.” Enough. I am putting myself on a Twitter diet (and ditto for all social networking sites). I will ration my time at the keyboard so that I can increase my time at the stove – and maybe squeeze in more time for Browning and love. Let me count the ways.

In the meantime, with Father’s Day approaching, I share a family favourite that my dad whipped up following a European trip many years ago: curried herring. It’s simple and so good every deli should stock it. Thanks, Dad.

Take a jar of marinated herring. Drain off the liquid. Add a few tablespoons of sour cream and a tablespoon of curry powder. Mix this together and let it sit overnight. It should keep in the refrigerator for several weeks and is great on toasted rye bread or bagel slices.

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