Demographics,technology, politics, and fashion seem to be perpetually changing. The pace of change appears to be moving ever faster. In my half century or so on this planet this is the case. A couple of years after my graduation, my high school was closed. It was later reopened on the same site with a different name, to be renamed again back to the original, but with a different school mascot.

My undergraduate college was renamed as a university. My first graduate school was renamed to sound even more important. My second grad school was amalgamated into a larger institution, and both “noble names” were blended, until the grander name, as cream does, floated upwards thus eclipsing the other.

While I was in military A school, American sailors lost their beards. I still remember how odd it was to see Chief Pinkerton without his. In infantry school and when first in the fleet we had flat green field jackets, and flat green flack jackets. These were later replaced by new ones in woodlands camouflage pattern to match our uniforms. We also had Vietnam era steel pot helmets with liners. These went the way of the dinosaurs, being replaced with Kevlar ones, with which we could not cook, dig, or wash with. Though the details are now vague to me, I think we changed gas mask models about then also. With the woodland and Kevlar change the make up of the flack vest morphed as well, to include both.

When I was at Third MarDiv, Division HQ I was issued a 1911 model 45. This weapon was the butt of jokes, and later was in turn replaced. This, however was not an issue for me as I had been sent to a battalion by then, where my TO weapon was the M16A1 or in my case a relatively well worn XM16E1. It was essentially the same as the A1 I had used in ITS, full auto and semi options, etc.  But then change struck again, and we all were issued M16A2s.  This weapon with its semi-auto and 3 round bursts took some getting used to, but was probably a good design change.

Where the world seems to have really run away with change though is in information technology.  The forces had taught me another strange and valuable skill.  I could type. I used a Selectric electric typewriter and it was quick and far easier to use than a manual. Then I went to university.  Mistakes in typing required rewrites.  So we gave in and got a Apple 2C.  Yes, 138 k of data.  We could correct mistakes without starting over.  The 5 plus some inch disks were a marvel.  But then Apple (like in the garden) led to a fall from grace. PC was everywhere, and the disks were smaller too.  Then came the what seemed annual Microsoft upgrades, and just when an operating system seemed to become second nature, they changed it.  Enter the laptop, etc, etc, etc.

Home movies gave way to video; beta to VHS; VHS to CD; and now downloads and streaming. The post office phone gave way to the home phone; the pay phone to the mobile.  Phones became cameras. Walkman became Ipod. Ipod was swallowed by the phone.  It goes on.

Education has followed suit. Many students cannot imagine “taking notes.”  “Can we take a picture of the board on our phones?” is a common question. Books are mystical things housed in a dungeon like realm known as the library.  Having to actually turn a page is an arduous task, and what if the particular book doesn’t have all you need? Might you actually have to search for another?  What a terrible waste of time. Doesn’t GOOGLE “have it all?” Okay, I am overstating (a little), but the implications are clear.

In the face of it all, I can take comfort. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever ( Hebrews 13:8).” God is “I AM,” who – was, is, and will be. When the world is a whirlwind, there is peace in the eternal. I choose to lean on the unchanging.  How about you?






Tech and the Kitchen


photo: John Lewis

I have seen a lot of blog traffic in recent times about the wonders of Instant Pots, and other electric pressure cookers. I have to admit that while I can see the great advantages of the time saving in the hectic world of the 21st Century of  such “time saving” devices, I am still reluctant to go that route.

First of all, I have memories of the bomb-looking, stove top pressure cookers of the 1960s, with their twist to lock lids, clamped handles, and top-mounted pressure gauges. These beasts were used to make corned beef and cabbage, stews, and the like.  They were efficient, but scary.

Speeding up the process may have merits, but will we ever be satisfied? There is an episode of the Simpsons in which Moe buys a surplus fryer from the Navy, which “can flash fry a buffalo in 40 seconds.” Homer responds, “Forty seconds, but I want it now.”


image: The Simpsons

On the other hand, I watched a documentary, Fannie’s Last Supper, in which modern chefs sought to replicate a banquet using Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cook book, using period equipment (including a cast iron wood burning range), this was slow food to the ultimate with some dishes taking days to prepare. Labour intensive? Yes. Time consuming? Most definitely. But the results were in the eating.

download (17)

image: Fannie’s Last Supper

Today we need to find balance.  Most if not all of us do not have the time to feed and regulate a wood burning stove. We don’t have the desire to hand grind meat, or to shred veg. A food processor has become more a “necessity” than a luxury.

And in the spirit of honesty, I seldom make soups in a pot. When I do, I still blitz it afterwards rather than potato mashing or whisking it to smooth. I fact, I am a great fan of my Morphy Richards soup maker. I generally run my ingredients through two cycles of cooking, to make sure they are ultra soft, and then use the internal blades to make a perfectly smooth soup. Timing is usually comparable to the pot method, but there is somewhat less slicing and dicing, and the final blitz is a “one stop” process.

Will I give in and go for a modern ultra quick pressure pot?  The jury is out on that one. But I do like the look of many of the recipes I see for them.  But like in Fannie’s kitchen, I will reserve judgement until I give it a taste. [I would really love comments and advice from those who use these devices as to merits/drawbacks – especially on the taste front].

For now, I have my electric cooker, my spiraliser, my food processor, mixer, blender, and a vast assortment of hind utensils for grating, squeezing, juicing, and grinding. I guess tech has been with us since the invention of pottery, but where will we find balance  between quality and “I want it now.”