words on paper... and a recipe
As every other year, this year's resolution was to read more books. Books give you that unique feeling browsing the internet just cannot achieve, you feel enlightened and somehow special, when having in mind that the rest 80% of your time will be spent online or in front of a monitor. Reading a paper copy gives you a romantic nostalgia feeling and I love it. Fortunately, I have been able to somehow keep that promise to myself and read some books during my stay in Prague, combined with working and writing a dissertation. The three books in this post are not fiction (I have been told by a friend I don't read normal books), but they gave me an insight and knowledge I wouldn't find in any novel. Of course, the best is if you could dedicate some time cuddled on the sofa with cookies, so I decided to present my ever favourite easy recipe for oatmeal cookies, perfect for a book-reading afternoon.
"What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures" by Malcolm Gladwell
Also the most recent book I bought and I am still reading right now, it provides Gladwell's best articles from the New Yorker from the past years. Stories are presented with a very personal twist and cover a broad area of social and market issues - why did the ketchup market stay the same, how did the hair dye market develop and who are the women behind that radical change of attitudes (including the inventor of the slogan of L'oreal "You are worth it"), is the Enron scandal a mystery or a puzzle, the magic of the dog whisperer, and many more. These are little jewels that also provide you with an overview of the major issues since 1996 and Gladwell's ability to put them in words makes it a captivating storyteller. One criticism: the author uses the expression "salt-and-pepper beard" a little bit too often. Conclusion: I like this book a lot and will probably engage myself in another of his books very soon.
"Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely
Bought it on Schiphol airport in Amsterdam when I realised my flight to Prague has a two-hour delay, and this book revealed some really interesting practices of human logic that are actually... illogical. What forms the decisions in our lives, is it us, or the secret tricks hidden behind daily choices by people who have revealed that human beings are easily influenced - choosing a partner or a house, why are we so influenced by the power of the zero price (which of course in the end turns out to be the more expensive one), what is the hidden power of a free cookie, and why is self-control so hard when accompanied by our old good friend procrastination, the placebo effect and its magic. These are all topics that have helped me realise the valid truth is always determined by other factors, and least by our rational choices. Simply loved it :)
"Through the Language Glass" by Guy Deutscher
Now as a person who loves learning foreign languages and has spent the last three years on a quest discovering that people of different cultures think differently, I thought highly of this book. Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed - the thought develops slowly and is heavy to read if you're not in the world of linguistics. Lengthy historical analyses of previous linguistic paradigms made me confused from time to time, as the author presented the past knowledge which is no longer considered applicable, but most of the time he spoke about those past assumptions, so it was hard to realise what is the accurate piece of information one has to perceive. I have to admit I still have 8 pages of the last chapter I have to finish and will try to do it when I am filled with patience. Of course, there might be something wrong with me and my way of perception...
Coconut oatmeal cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup oatmeals
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup of whatever fruit you decide (dried mango, pineapple, raisins...)
1/3 cup fresh milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
Now these yummies are really easy to prepare. The flour is mixed with the soda in a bowl. The dry ingredients are mixed together (flour/soda mixture, oatmeal and coconut flakes). Butter, egg and sugar are mixed into a thick creme in another bowl, the milk is added and we stir again. After that all ingredients are mixed into a homogeneous combination and finally the chosen fruit is added. We stir again and cookies are formed with the help of a spoon and we put them on a tray covered with baking paper; the mixture is rather thick, and has the great potential to get puffy, so enough space has to be left between the cookies on the tray.
Baking time 15-20 mins in a preheated oven of 170 C and after we take them out it is a good idea to let them cool down a little bit before putting them in a box/jar that can be kept tightly closed.