More things I want: Reduction Pan


All-Clad Stainless Steel Reduction Pan, 2 1/2-Qt.

This is kind of a funny little pan, but it’s heavy and it’s beautiful and it’s got volume markings on the inside so you can tell how much something has reduced. Very neat.

“Chefs favor this type of pan for reducing and concentrating liquids for sauces. Its wide base hastens boiling, while flared sides increase surface area to speed evaporation. The pan is constructed with nonreactive stainless steel interior and exterior surfaces that surround a pure aluminum core. Distributing heat quickly and evenly with no hot spots, the core extends across the bottom and all the way up the pan sides. The stay-cool handle and lid are made of stainless steel. 2 1/2-qt. cap.; 7 1/2″ diam., 4″ high. A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.”


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Wish list 2…

All-Clad Stainless-Steel Measuring Cups & Spoons

You’ll appreciate the speed and surety these measuring utensils bring to measuring ingredients for baking and cooking. Like All-Clad’s exceptional cookware, the cups and spoons are made of heavy-gauge stainless steel with a polished finish. Each is a miniature version of the manufacturer’s saucepan with an extra-long handle that’s a pleasure to hold. For standard measures, choose from our sets of four cups and spoons: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup; 1/4 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1 tsp. and 1 Tbs. For recipes that call for quantities that vary from standard spoon and cup measures, we offer sets of three handy cups and spoons in odd sizes: 2 teaspoons, 1 1/2 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons; 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 1 1/2 cups. Save on special sets that include both the cups and spoons in standard and odd sizes. Dishwasher safe. A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.

These are the best measuring cups and spoons. There is no substitute. I want both sets, including the “odd-size” measures.


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Happy New Year

Is it that time again? Is it time to make resolutions? I’m trying to remember the last time I made resolutions that lasted more than a week, or really that I even took that seriously. I used to, or at least I certainly did at least once. So, what do I resolve? What do I promise myself that this year will be better? What do I insist on changing, or making better? Where do I fail my own measure?

#1: Fitness – I know, I know. It is everyone’s perennial resolution, but this year I mean it. Really. It’s not a weight thing. I’m heavier now than I’ve been in a bit, but more than that, I am less fit, less conditioned. Since returning to medical school, and a schedule that is not particularly flexible or under my control, my ability to motivate myself to get to the gym has dwindled. At this point I wake up too early to work out before I start my day, and when I get home in the evening, I have trouble mustering up the energy. What is the solution? A goal without a plan is futile. Do I wake up earlier in the morning in order to workout before the start of the day? How early will that be? 3:30? 3 am? Is that what it takes? Or is the better plan to wait until the end of the day and drudge through it then? The morning seems like a wiser plan, but can I honestly say that I’m going to wake up that early? Really?

Resolution #2 will wait until tomorrow, but for a quick, and somewhat ironic preview, I’ll say that it involves writing more.

And on an unrelated preview, let me say that I’m planning to try sous vide at home, using a crock pot and zip lock bags. Look out world.

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It’s been a while…

Back in New York City. It’s hard to grapple with the decision of where to live. For most of my adolescence I was convinced that I would eventually move back to New York, after college, or after medical school, or after residency at the very latest. It’s always felt like home, and I’ve never really gotten away from that. Over time, though, I’ve adapted to Los Angeles, or rather I’ve gotten less used to New York. The density, for one thing. It’s hard to really fathom the density of Manhattan streets in comparison with any other American city. After walking around a couple of days after Christmas (the busiest time of year to be sure), I became convinced that the population of Manhattan must have at least doubled since our youth. I looked it up, and it hasn’t so much. Turns out the population of Manhattan has been about the same for a while (currently trending up). I still find it hard to believe. Maybe it’s just the parts of the city that I end up in have become more crowded, or perhaps there are a lot more tourists now than there used to be.

I guess my point is that I have grown unaccustomed to this place, and while I can certainly see myself living here as an adult, I don’t need to in the way that I always felt like I would. I grew up on the upper west side, and that will always be my hometown, but so much changes and turns over. I walked around Columbia last time I was in town, and most of the places I remember from childhood are gone, or have been so brutally and aggressively renovated that they’re hardly recognizable. It doesn’t feel like coming home would necessarily feel like home.

Which leaves the question totally open of where to live… San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, D.C., Minneapolis,… New York (it’s never entirely off the table).

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My body, my self

I’m fat. There, I said it. That’s got be step one of a twelve step program or something. I should be halfway, or one twelfth of the way, towards being skinny now. Isn’t that how it works? I remember a year ago, after training for a couple of marathons, after getting in decent shape, and after getting married, being told by some older friends that I would start gaining weight. They said that just by virtue of my marriage I would spend less time working out and more time eating. They said my body would change. I scoffed at the idea, but here I am, one year later, feeling more out of shape than at any time since high school.

Of course, I’m also reading about and studying psychiatry for medical school right now. Anyone who’s ever taken a psychology course knows what I’m talking about when I say that reading the description of any arbitrary body image disorder and I can convince myself that, yeah, I might have that. Then again, I’m also reading about diabetes, and with a pretty strong family history the only really protective factor for me not developing adult onset diabetes is losing enough weight that I consistently underweight. This is, of course, a fact that I have known since college and avoided for a number of reasons, owing mostly to the fact that I love to eat.

So, my solution/resolution of the moment: accounting. Maybe if I keep one of those inane food logs I can stay aware of all the unnecessary junk I’m stuffing down my gullet. Maybe I can un-normalize the concept of “lunch dessert” which has become less of a treat and more of a dietary staple as of late.

Bathroom scale: 198 lbs (who knows how accurate?)


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The brighter side of anticipation

For my birthday, this past weekend, I received from my wife the St. Moritz Titan II watch. I say that with the same sort of glee with Ralphie would take in saying each part of “official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.” The watch is beautiful and functional and manly and rugged and sophisticated and light, and everything I hoped it would be. So that’s good.

What surprises me about all of it, and by that I mean the whole process of receiving it, is how much joy it has brought me. Not since I was a child can I remember being this excited about a gift, and I think I know why. Because not since I was a child have I known exactly what I wanted, and then had to wait for it.

I’m not sure how old I was when my parents first started the “reasonable negotiation” method of gift giving. That’s where I would come to them with something I wanted, and we would discuss it, me explaining why it was a “good” purchase and something my parents should support, and them considering and then deciding that either yes, they would, or no they would not purchase the gift. And then it was done. There was no waiting, really. Gifts didn’t come like opportunities around birthday or holiday times. I sort of banked them, for a while, and then they came sporadically when the time was right. The whole thing was very enlightened and progressive, but took a lot of the thrill out of birthdays and holidays.

Most of my toys in modern days have been self purchased, or the product of some negotiation, so there was never the wondering. If I wanted something, I bought it. In this case, though, there was the waiting, the anticipation, the desire, the fulmination of the need (real or imagined) and then the satisfaction. And the result? It is more thrilling to satisfy a need than a whim. That should be obvious, and of course it is, but in this age of consumer frenzy, I had forgotten that joy of waiting.

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On taking tests

In a few weeks, I will be taking a written test for the first time in six years. I suppose it’s slightly less if you count the written test at the DMV for getting a motorcycle license, but that hardly seems comparable. It’s a strange state to return to. For so long my life was punctuated by regular and significant testing and it was something I was good at. In fact, it could be said that it was what I was best at. Both in high school and college my work in a class was acceptable, but my ability to sit down with a test, particularly a standardized test, and see through it was really what distinguished me academically. In college, with midterms and finals, tests came regularly and rigorously. With the first couple of years of medical school, that pace quickened. But now… I took a handful of classes at the start of graduate school, all with take home exams or final papers, and aside from oral exams haven’t been tested, haven’t been stood up and measured in any focussed or critical way.

It’s scary. It’s scary to go back now to testing and to that sense of urgency and inevitability and anxiety. And yet, it’s also somewhat comforting to know that I will be measured again, and not arbitrarily, that I will be on a track of finite length, and that the end will always be in sight.

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