Chuckles of the Day


Wedding Song

Hadley was seventy and getting married for the sixth time.

As he waited for the ceremony to begin, he thought of the songs that had been played at all his previous weddings.

When he married the first time, he was an athletic twenty. The band had played “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight. ”

Hadley took his second wife at age thirty to the strains of “I’ll Be Loving You, Always.”

At forty, they played “Now and Then.” At fifty, he had danced to “Don’t Get Around Much Any More.”

His fifth wife had joined him when he was sixty. Their song was “The Thrill Is Gone. ”

Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by the church organ, announcing the beginning of the ceremony.

He strode down the aisle as the organist played “Remember When.”

* * * * * * *

Dangerous Food

A Doctor was addressing a large audience in Tampa.

‘The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. However, there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have eaten, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?’

After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, ‘Wedding Cake.’

Fried Duck Confit with Honey Sauce


2 to 3 cups coarse salt
2 to 3 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
8 duck legs
2 cups duck fat, melted
1/2 cup eucalyptus honey, or your favorite type
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 fresh Serrano chili, seeded and sliced
small handful fresh mint leaves (optional)
small handful fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
vegetable oil, for frying
mustard greens


  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the salt with the thyme, cloves, coriander seeds, and bay leaf. Bury the duck legs in the salt mixture, adding more salt if needed to cover them completely. Set aside for about 3 hours at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  3. Lift the duck legs from the salt and wipe off the salt clinging to them. Transfer the legs to a deep, heavy baking dish and add the duck fat so that it covers them. Roast the duck legs for 4 to 5 hours, until very tender. Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool to lukewarm. Refrigerate the duck legs, still covered with the fat, for at least 4 hours or longer.
  4. Stir together the honey, vinegar, and chili. Add the mint, cilantro, and a few red pepper flakes, if using. Set aside to give the chili time to infuse the sauce. Just before serving, warm the sauce in the microwave (or on top of the stove in a small saucepan). Do not cook it, but warm it enough so that it drizzles easily over the duck.
  5. Lift the duck legs from the fat and wipe off the excess.
  6. Put the buttermilk in a shallow bowl and the flour in another. Dip the duck legs first in the buttermilk and then in the flour. Repeat to coat them twice. Set them on a platter while the oil heats.
  7. Pour the oil into a deep, heavy pot to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 360°F. Fry the duck legs for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Serve the duck with mustard greens fried in butter. Pass the honey sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: So Good

New Chocolate Design Not a Chip Off the Old Block

Larissa Zimberoff wrote . . . . . . . . .

Remy Labesque has a compelling day job: He’s senior industrial designer at Tesla in Los Angeles. But for three years, he’s worked on a side project that’s enviable to people outside Elon Musk’s universe. Labesque has re-engineered the classic chocolate chip because, he says, the 80-yearold teardrop shape is ill-suited to its function.

“The chip isn’t a designed shape,” says Labesque. ‘It’s a product of an industrial manufacturing process.”

The baking standby is optimized for mass production, not for baking in cookies whose broad surface area is better suited to maximize taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Labesque’s redesign for artisanal Dandelion Chocolate is a square, faceted pyramid, kind of like a flattened diamond. Two edges are thick, and two exceedingly thin, for even more textural pleasure. The Dandelion chip project was born of necessity. For years, the San Francisco chocolatier’s executive pastry chef, Lisa Vega, had been hand piping quarter-sized chocolate discs for her top-selling “Maybe the Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookie.” It took individuals up to four hours to create the chips, which were inconsistently shaped and barely met demand.

She pointed out the problem to Todd Masonis, who opened Dandelion with Cameron Ring after selling their tech start-up Plaxo to Comcast for around US$170 million. In 2017, Labesque was enlisted to help.

Masonis was already in the process of building a US$10 million-plus Willy Wonka-esque facility, which opened in 2019, to upgrade the company’s chocolate production. The tempering line alone, which was eventually outfitted with Labesque’s moulds to create exquisitely smooth, uniform chips, cost about US$500,000. Last year, Dandelion sold almost 30,000 chocolate chip cookies from its three San Francisco stores. (There are also five locations in Japan and one in Las Vegas.) Labesque first got involved in Dandelion projects when he lived in San Francisco and attended Dandelion’s Chocolate 101 class in 2013.

“I was struck by their attention to detail. It was remarkable that they were as obsessive as they were, while still shipping at scale,” he says. Past Labesque-Dandelion collaborations include a cookie “holster” that fits on a to-go coffee cup. The designer gets paid in chocolate.

Labesque’s industrial design process includes hand-sketching concepts that are turned into computer drawings; the most promising are made into physical prototypes. (At Tesla, his focus is on solar roofs, vehicle accessories, and charging.) “I find that that’s a really effective way of thinking through the form development process,” he says.

At Dandelion, the design brief was to make “the best chip for the experience of tasting chocolate,” says chef Vega.

Experts claim the way to do that is to let it melt on your tongue.

Each time a prototype came off the line, Vega would start baking. “They stay whole, but once they’re baked, the centre of the chip gets soft,” she observes, a benefit for experiencing the chocolate’s texture. Labesque designed the thin, melt-in-your-mouth edges to be sturdy enough to hold their shape in baking and not to break when the chip is unmolded.

Labesque, Vega and Masonis eventually settled on a square shape. It gave Dandelion a distinctive look, and it allowed for flat, faceted surfaces.

Dandelion currently sells its “facets” in three distinct, 70 per cent singleorigin, types: from Ecuador, Costa Rica and Madagascar. Additional single-origin styles are planned for the future. The lengthy research and development and ingredient sourcing comes at a cost: a 499-gram bag of the chips goes for US$30.

Michele Tanenbaum, a recipe developer in Brooklyn, N.Y., was impressed with the quality of Dandelion’s facets.

When heated, they shine like glass but keep a recognizable shape and enviable texture. “You don’t experience that,” she says. “Even with the better chips, they turn waxy.”

Still, Dandelion has a long way to go to catch up to Nestlé, which remains the champion chip maker. In 2019, Toll House produced 115.5 billion chips, up from 90 billion in 2018. And a 340gram bag costs around US$3.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Video: New fabric Could Help Keep You Cool in the summer, Even Without A/C

Air conditioning feels great on a hot summer day, but cooling homes and buildings uses considerable electricity. Now, scientists have developed a cool new fabric that could help its wearer beat the heat – without turning on the A/C.

Watch video at You Tube (2:57 minutes) . . . . .

Could the Flu Shot Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer’s?

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

Getting vaccinated to protect against pneumonia and flu may offer an unexpected benefit — a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.

Two new studies being presented Monday at this summer’s virtual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference found a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s in people who got flu and pneumonia vaccines. A third study underscored the importance of prevention, reporting that people with dementia are more likely than others to die if they get serious infections.

“For people concerned about Alzheimer’s disease, these vaccines may provide an extra protective effect,” said Albert Amran, who is presenting his findings on flu vaccine and Alzheimer’s. Amran is a medical student at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

He and his team looked at a nationwide database of more than 9,000 people over age 60. They found that people who had received at least one flu shot had a 17% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease risk. And those who consistently got their annual flu shot had an even lower risk, Amran said.

For people between ages 75 and 84, this translated to an almost 6% lower Alzheimer’s risk over 16 years, the researchers noted.

Amran pointed out that the study can only show a link between vaccines and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Without a clinical trial, we can’t say for sure that there’s a causative effect,” he said.

Svetlana Ukraintseva, an associate research professor at Duke University in Durham, N.C., led the second study, which examined Alzheimer’s risk among more than 5,100 seniors. It found that people who got pneumonia and flu shots between 65 and 75 years of age had up to 30% lower odds of Alzheimer’s.

People with genes that increase Alzheimer’s risk didn’t have as much of a vaccine-related reduction. This study didn’t find a reduction in Alzheimer’s risk based on flu shots alone.

Heather Snyder, vice president of medicine and scientific affairs at the Alzheimer’s Association, said it’s not yet clear how getting vaccinated might help reduce Alzheimer’s risk: Does having a particular infection affect the brain somehow, setting the stage for Alzheimer’s? Does getting a vaccine lead to a reduction in inflammation and other factors tied to the disease? Or, do people who get shots have healthier habits, such as exercising regularly, which can protect their brains?

“It’s too early to tell,” Snyder said, adding that with the emergence of COVID-19, it may be even more important to figure out. “When you look at what can contribute to your risk of Alzheimer’s disease over your life course, this may be one piece of a big puzzle.”

But the third study shows that preventing flu and pneumonia is vital in folks who already have dementia, because they’re at far greater risk of death from serious infections.

The study, led by Janet Janbek of the Danish Dementia Research Centre at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, looked at roughly 1.5 million people in Denmark. It found that people with dementia who were hospitalized due to an infection had more than six times the risk of death compared to people with neither dementia nor an infection.

What’s more, the risk remained higher for as much as 10 years, the study found.

Although these studies don’t show a definitive cause-and-effect link between Alzheimer’s disease and flu and pneumonia vaccines, Amran and Snyder said it’s still a good idea to follow immunization recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for almost everyone 6 months of age and older. The pneumonia vaccine is typically given to people age 65 and older.

Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’re published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay

Today’s Comic