The history of the restaurant

This past term I was excited to be able to take a course entitled “Food Matters,” which was the first instance that the keystone course for the Food Studies graduate specialization was offered at the University of Oregon.

We had a number of options available as final projects; one of them was a book review that would encompass at least two book-length texts. I used the opportunity to write an abbreviated history of the restaurant; this was based on the books The Invention of the Restaurant by Rebecca Spang and Smart Casual by Alison Pearlman. The former focuses on the first restaurants that emerged in Paris in the 18th century; the latter looks at the changes that have occurred in American restaurants since the mid-1970s.

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Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts in Caper Cream Sauce

I wanted a hearty dinner but didn’t want to spend a lot of money or a lot of time on it. This recipe, which I found via AllRecipes, is really excellent and will be a regular addition to my rotation.

Book review: Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces

For those of us who are interested in studying mobile technologies (i.e., mobile phones or smartphones), there are a number of very good and fairly recent texts out there that approach the subject from quite specific points of view1, but there are relatively few texts that consider the mobile phone to be an interface2 between the user and the larger world.

Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces: Locational Privacy, Control, and Urban Sociability by Adriana de Souza e Silva and Jordan Frith takes this approach. Early on, they emphasize the importance of interfaces, stating that “they play a critical role in shaping interactions [of all kinds] and creating meaning” (p. 2), as they filter information and actively reshape communicative relationships (p. 4). Continue reading “Book review: Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces”

My office supply obsession, or better student confidentiality with labels

Anyone who has known me since childhood (and fortunately for me, that number is limited to just one or two folks outside of my immediate family) will tell you about how, as a kid, one of my favorite “games” to play was “Office.” Indeed, I played “Office” like many children play “House.” The constant influx of various pieces of stationery, void checks, stamps, forms, and used paper from my dad’s church office as well as my maternal grandparents’ seemingly bottomless supply of such things made it that much easier.

My obsession with all things office-related has persisted; my former boss can tell you how much I enjoyed placing our semi-regular orders with Staples, and I imagine my replacement at the office is still trying to figure out what exactly to do with an automatic numbering machine or the easel and white board that I insisted on procuring.

While I will likely never exhaust the tub of binder clips that sits on my desk at home (then again, my dissertation is a-comin’, so anything is possible!), one of my favorite tools is my Dymo LabelWriter 450 which I primarily use with my Endicia for Mac postage software–but I’ve recently discovered another useful trick for small plain labels which I can print using the Dymo LabelWriter software.

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