Friday, September 19, 2008

In Honor of Miss Figgy

For years we knew about a little old lady the guys did handyman tasks for, who they nicknamed Miss Figgy. We pictured a cute little English lady with tea, fig jam and crumpets. And I always though of her in September--when the fig trees around town are full. By mid-month, the tree owners have eaten all they possibly can and are begging for people like me to help out so the moist little fruit won't go to waste. No problem.
A favorite appetizer at local backyard parties is figs with goat cheese--and a nice Zinfandel. But I confess my favorite treat is a couple of figs with a small chunk of dark chocolate in the afternoon with a cup of French Roast coffee. That makes the last burst of online work go MUCH better. And a few dried figs with herb tea at bedtime is not too shabby either.

Here's a fig fact I bet you didn't know: Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds are the real fruit.
Oh yeah, it turns out Miss Figgy is a sweet little Italian lady who's real name is Miss Figge
And this is her fitness tip: get outside, plant some flowers in your front yard and chat with your neighbors. It will do wonders for your health.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is it Coffee or Is It Wine?

The election news is swirling around us and the coffeehouse is one of the better places to get out of the fray and try to make sense of America's fascination with the latest new shiny object, er political figure, er puppet. And coffee can be almost as controversial as politics in our town--and maybe in yours. The issues here are: does pressed coffee preserve the flavor of the beans better than the old way of brewing, and are blends of beans secondrate compared to using only one type of bean. In other words, should we start treating coffee like wine?
It seems like a 50-50 split here, with about half the locals in favor of blended, traditionally brewed java and the others preferring their presses. As for me, I want robust dark coffee that is easy to get and costs less than $2 a mug, because I buy a lot and I'm not very patient in the morning. Pressed is fine, but make it strong and do it quickly. Please.
If coffee cafes want to be like wine bars, then I say go all the way--offer a selection and let people taste and pick what they want. And have an express line for the grumpy folks.
Oh yeah...the fitness tip this week: Take care of your feet because sore feet (like sore backs) can stop you cold. Handy trick from "Runner's World" magazine is to gently pull your toes back toward your shin with your hands. It feels really good after a brisk walk and you can do it a few times every day. Reward yourself with a bit of Port before bed.