Interrupted Programming

Dear readers,

In case you are wondering why I’ve been silent for a few months, I would like to reassure you that I am not dead, nor have I abandoned the blog, or forgotten about it.  I haven’t stopped wanting to write about food, either.  Especially not since T, my significant other, finally outgrew his childhood egg allegy, and we’ve been indulging in awesome things such as T’s birthday cake pictured below – T had never had a layered birthday cake before – hard to make those well without eggs, and I’ve tried.

Chocolate and dulce de leche cake ETR
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Dark chocolate cake with dulce de leche filling and whipped cream mascarpone frosting.

And these pancakes, for example:

Pancakes ETR

 

T had never had pancakes until this year either (can’t really do those well without eggs, either), so it’s been a year of glorious, egg-filled revelations such as gougeres, and Swedish mud cake (there will be a recipe!), and many other gorgeous not-health-food-unless you count mental health, and I do count it – things.  But, I digress.

In fact, the reason I haven’t been writing here as much as I would like (nor cooking or photographing food as much as I like), is because I have, in fact, been writing, and I’ve been writing about food.  No, I don’t mean anything like a book deal (though I’d not turn one down should it miraculously happen).  I have been working on finishing my Master’s degree of EU Food Law, and what I have been writing has been my dissertation.  It is the last thing I need to submit for my LLM degree, and it’s been taking up all of my time.

So, life happens, education requires a time committment, and this is why I have been so not here lately.  On the bright side, I am almost done, so, if all goes well (and I hope it does!), I will have finished the degree, as well as have more time to write here about all the awesome things I haven’t had time to write about while I was busy writing about some pretty interesting things for the degree.  Once the final touches on the dissertation are written and sent, I will be back to regale you with the usual tales of what I have eaten, and how, and how you may want to eat those things as well.

In meantime, I leave you with this beautiful photo of a T-bone steak for which I have no particular recipe (it was just a really good steak, dry-rubbed with a good spice rub, and pan-seared on cast iron with butter for a couple of short minutes to a side), and promises of awesome things to come.

T Bone Steak ETR

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6 thoughts on “Interrupted Programming

    1. Thank you, and hope all is well with you, too! I need all the good wishes I can get (as does anyone writing a dissertation). What ‘outside world’ do you refer to? ;)

  1. “finishing my Master’s degree of EU Food Law”

    EU Food Law. Having seen some of your opinions on the food police, how do you approach this subject objectively? Is there any room (or place) in a scholarly dissertation for opinion or criticism? Do you think your dissertation might interest your readers here, and if so, would you consider making it public? I’d love to read it.

    Anyway, thanks for checking in. Now go make “T” some delicious deviled eggs! He has a lot of catching up to do.

    1. Ed, good day!

      EU food law and opinions: since LLM is a legal scholar, and not a barrister (lawyer) degree, the dissertation certainly has space and place for opinions, provided that they are well-supported by arguments, which are well-supported by references to hard primary or secondary sources (official statistics, actual legislation, scholarly articles in reputable journals). My dissertation is obviously very opinionated, because hey, it’s me, after all. I am really rather proud that I am managing to write so much without any profanity, and hope my graders don’t find it too opinionated.

      The topic of the dissertation is how socio-political climate and attitude of the public towards authority influences application of the central EU legislation in the different Member States (it’s a comparison study), and how that, in turn, affects the resulting microbiological safety of food (case study is on Salmonella control programs) – e.g. why can I gulp raw eggs without fear here, but not elsewhere in the EU, and what can be done to make things better elsewhere, and why it hasn’t been done yet.

      I think the general topic might well interest readers here, and since it’s my dissertation, I am fairly sure I’ll be able to share it, or at least I think so. I will obviously check with my university but that is the norm. However, it’s about 30 pages of dense legalese and socio-political writing with 3-8 footnotes per page linking to various other documents, so I am not entirely sure a blog post would be the right place for it. What I can do, after the degree is awarded, obviously, is write a blog post with a sort of an abstract and open that for discussion, and maybe add a link to the actual document for those who are interested in reading it, and have the stamina for legalese in such amounts.

      P.S. There won’t be any deviled eggs in my future if I can help it, and that has nothing to do with T. I CAN’T handle hardboiled eggs, and even be in the same small room with them without gagging. It’s the smell. I have a very sensitive nose, and no matter how well they are cooked, they all smell like an unwashed public toilet to me. I’ll make him a quiche though. Quiches and omelets and scrambled eggs and frittatas are all lovely! As is a huge number of other egg things! :D

      1. “how socio-political climate and attitude of the public towards authority influences…EU legislation”

        Very interesting. I’m guessing that this must entail walking a tightrope (or a fence) between freedom and regulation. Should individuals be free to eat unregulated eggs at their own risk, or do they need a government agency (or a nanny) to protect them from themselves? Why not private agencies (etc.)? I’ve read volumes on this subject. Looking forward to the abstract.

        Now, hold your nose and make your loved one some deviled eggs! Better yet, teach him how to make them himself. Everybody wins!

  2. Ed, while I am very much a liberal in terms of personal liberties (I tend to be anti-surveillance, pro-choice, and pro-consenting-adults-doing-what-they-want-with-their-genitals), I don’t actually believe that ‘freedoms’ have any place in food law. I mean, unless you mean that individuals should feel free to eat whatever the heck they want provided it’s not illegal drugs or their neighbor’s pet, but that’s not part of food law, that’s criminal law. Food law, like environmental protection law, is about not letting businesses get away with profitable misleading shit that harms the consumer or the environment.

    The real tightrope in food law is interests of state+consumers vs interests of businesses. Some countries swing one way, others the other, and invariably, when the interests of business are the ones weighing more on that scale, the consumers suffer by ending up eating Salmonella-infested eggs, drinking methanol-contaminated booze, having an episode of the shits after an all-natural locally-sourced non-GMO organic hipster-farted-on burrito at Chipotle. And, at least in EU where the health care is universal, the state ends up picking up the tab (the lion’s share of losses) by treating all the sick consumers, which isn’t cheap.

    My argument is that in order to make safe food and get the industry on board, you need to regulate it so that selling shitty food is not profitable because of the regulations. There are reasons why private agencies work less well in food business than, say, in advertising, where they do work well. The problem with Salmonella eggs and the freedom of consumers to eat those, for example, is that Salmonella doesn’t end with the one who eats it. Typhoid fever is transmissible from person to person, so it becomes a matter of public health.

    To get into more detail, I’d have to write a long blog post, or even a series of those. I think I will write them eventually once I am done with the thesis – and, it’s about time I got back to working on that!

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