Gadget: Measuring Spoons

One set of 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon

One-hand operation

Use as a shaker

Easy to clean

The price of one set of 2 spoons is 108 yen (tax included) in Japan.

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North African-style Braised Lamb in Pomegranate Sauce

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2-1/4 lb lean lamb such as shoulder or leg, cubed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of 2 pomegranates, about 1-1/4 cups
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
cooked rice to serve
pomegranate seeds and chopped fresh mint, to garnish

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, brown the lamb, in batches, and set aside.
  3. Return the onion, garlic, ginger and lamb to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually stir in the pomegranate juice, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. There should be very little liquid left.
  4. Add the cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom to the pan and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the yogurt. Cover the pan tightly and cook very gently, preferably on a heat diffuser, for 30-40 minutes until the lamb is tender. Check from time to time that the meat is not sticking and drying out too much. Add a little water, if necessary.
  6. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped mint, and serve with rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: North African Cooking

In Pictures: Indian Street Foods

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Which of the 4 Personality Types Are You?

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Modern psychology largely rejects the notion that people can be pigeonholed into personality types.

But that assumption is being challenged by a major new study, which discovered at least four distinct personality types into which people tend to cluster.

Researchers discovered these clusters by running the results of 1.5 million personality inventory questionnaires through a computer, said lead researcher Martin Gerlach. He is a doctoral student at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill.

The questionnaires assessed each person on five well-established personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Gerlach and his team fed these into the computer to see if people would tend to cluster around similar levels of shared personality traits.

The investigators found at least four clusters, which they compared to “lumps in the batter,” Gerlach said.

The first is the “Average” personality type, which is characterized by average scores in all traits, the researchers said.

The other three clusters are roughly organized along the traits of neuroticism (level of emotional stability) and extraversion (the quality of being outgoing):

  • “Reserved” personalities are emotionally stable but not particularly extraverted. They also are somewhat agreeable and conscientious.
  • “Self-Centered” personalities score high in extraversion and below average in openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. “It’s not very nice to interact with these kinds of people,” Gerlach said.
  • “Role Models” are low in neuroticism and high in all the other traits. They are agreeable, thoughtful and well-organized.

These clusters were found thanks to four large data sets comprising more than a million people, obtained from different studies performed around the world, Gerlach noted.

“It was previously unthinkable to obtain this amount of data,” Gerlach said.

Not everyone will fall into one of these personality types, he added, and some people may even fall somewhere in the middle between two of them.

Your specific personality type is not set in stone, either, he explained.

For example, researchers speculate that the younger you are, the more likely you will be to fall within the Self-Centered category, particularly if you’re a teenage boy, Gerlach said.

But with age and seasoning, a good number of these people could evolve into Role Models.

“We would expect people to move from one personality type to another personality type,” Gerlach said. “The chances are that older people are more likely to be close to the Role Model personality type. You could describe these people as ‘nice’ people.”

The discovery of these clusters runs counter to much of current psychological theory, which has concluded that personality categories don’t exist, the study authors said.

Senior researcher Luis Nunes Amaral is a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern Engineering. “Personality types only existed in self-help literature, and did not have a place in scientific journals. Now, we think this will change because of this study,” he said in a university news release.

These clusters could help people predict how well you’ll succeed in a given job, or your vulnerability to certain mental or emotional disorders, Gerlach said.

Psychologists have greeted that notion — and these new findings — with some skepticism, however.

James Maddux, a professor emeritus of psychology with George Mason University, said, “I have no qualms about the methodology and statistics, but I have serious doubts about the clinical utility of yet another instrument that categorizes people into types.” Maddux was not involved with the study.

“For 40 years or more, clinical psychology has been moving away from using the assessment of personality traits and types to inform treatment and increasingly toward using assessments of people’s problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors as they occur in specific problematic situations, which is the essence of cognitive-behavioral therapy,” Maddux said.

“I doubt that many clinical psychology doctoral programs in the U.S. or Canada would add this instrument to their course or courses on psychological assessment,” he added.

But New York City psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Sullivan said, “Given the numbers of subjects they assessed, it suggests we need take this seriously. There is something meaningful here.”

However, it’s not clear how useful these categories will be in dealing with people’s mental health issues, said Sullivan, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island University Hospital.

“I think the question for us in psychiatry is, is it meaningful to us clinically?” Sullivan said. “Does it help us to think about how we might help people who have problems coping in life? In that regard, we would need to play around with these categories and see whether or not they represent something meaningful in a clinical setting.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

Source: HealthDay

Mediterranean-style Diet May Lower Women’s Stroke Risk

One of the largest and longest-running efforts to evaluate the potential benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet in lowering risk of stroke found that the diet may be especially protective in women over 40 regardless of menopausal status or hormone replacement therapy, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Researchers from the Universities of East Anglia, Aberdeen and Cambridge collaborated in this study using key components of a traditional Mediterranean-style diet including high intakes of fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables, cereal foods and potatoes and lower meat and dairy consumption.

Study participants (23,232 white adults, 40 to 77) were from the EPIC-Norfolk study, the United Kingdom Norfolk arm of the multicenter European Prospective Investigation into Cancer study. Over a 17-year period, researchers examined participants’ diets and compared stroke risk among four groups ranked highest to lowest by how closely they adhered to a Mediterranean style diet.

In participants, who most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet, the reduced onset of stroke was:

  • 17 percent in all adults;
  • 22 percent in women; and
  • 6 percent in men (which researchers said could have been due to chance).

“It is unclear why we found differences between women and men, but it could be that components of the diet may influence men differently than women,” said Ailsa A. Welch, Ph.D., study lead author and professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. “We are also aware that different sub-types of stroke may differ between genders. Our study was too small to test for this, but both possibilities deserve further study in the future.”

There was also a 13 percent overall reduced risk of stroke in participants already at high risk of cardiovascular disease across all four groups of the Mediterranean-diet scores. However, this was driven mainly by the associations in women who showed a 20 percent reduced stroke risk. This benefit appeared to be extended to people in low risk group although the possibility of chance finding cannot be ruled out completely.

“Our findings provide clinicians and the public with information regarding the potential benefit of eating a Mediterranean-style diet for stroke prevention, regardless of cardiovascular risk,” said Professor Phyo Myint, M.D., study co-author and former British Association of Stroke Physicians Executive Committee member, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

“A healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone both young and old,” said Professor Ailsa Welch.

Researchers used seven-day diet diaries, which they said had not been done before in such a large population. Seven-day diaries are more precise than food-frequency questionnaires and participants write down everything they eat and drink over the period of a week.

“The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy and brain-healthy dietary pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, non-tropical vegetable oils and nuts and limits saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages; this dietary pattern reduces risk factors and risk for heart disease and stroke, “said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, the American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention and chief of the Association’s Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who was not a part of this study. “This study provides more evidence that supports AHA’s recommendation,” said Sanchez.

Source: American Heart Association


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