Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: 1/15/2010 with links to the recipes that Starla used along with other comments.

This year, we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving and serve a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner to several friends who are from other countries.

Starla started with the traditional foods, but used recipes that gave them a different twist. Here are what we served for Thanksgiving dinner at

"Chez Ling"

Soup & Salad
  • Roasted Pear & Delicata Squash Soup
    served in a carnival squash bowl. Note that the original recipe called for butternut squash, but we recently discovered the wonderful flavors of the delicata squash, and so we made the substitution in this recipe.
  • Roasted Pear & Delicata Squash Soup
  • Spring Mix Salad with Dried Apricots and Walnuts

Entrée CoursesOven Roasted Free-Range TurkeySides
  • Home-Style Cranberry Sauce not from a can.
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Creamed Sweet Corn
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Home-Style Pumpkin Pie made from fresh pumpkins. Neither of us are fans of pumpkin pies, but ones made from fresh pumpkins definitely taste much better.
  • Home-Style Pumpkin Pie
  • Pear Rosemary Tart from Coquette Patisserie
    We've recently found this wonderful patisserie right in our neighborhood, just a couple of blocks from our house. Britt-Marie Culey, the pastry chef, makes some delightful pastries. We've already sampled a number of her beautiful creations and look forward to trying more. If you want to be wowed by dessert, check out her web site and try some!
  • Pear Rosemary Tart
Here is a PDF version of the entire menu we made up for our guests.

We'd love to hear what everyone else had for Thanksgiving dinner, and what twists you may have added to your fare.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Elevator Social Experiment

A while ago, at work, I conducted a mini social experiment on human behavior.

A group of about ten people were gathered in front a bank of three elevators with me after a large presentation let out. We all stood in front of the elevator doors chatting with each other while waiting for one of the elevator doors to chime.

The idea for this little experiment came to me. I stepped away from the group and walked towards one of the elevator doors and stood directly in front of it.

Everyone in that group, still chatting with each other, followed me and gathered in front of the elevator door in front of which I stood, despite the fact that none of the chimes had sounded to indicate the arrival of an elevator car. Apparently no one noticed that there was no chime, but did notice that I had moved towards one of the three doors.

Then, the chime on a door sounded, and everyone in the group was surprised to find that it was not for the elevator they were standing in front of. What surprised me was that no one in the group seem bothered that I had fooled them with my experiment. They nonchalantly entered the open elevator door and went on with their day.

This non-scientific social experiment taught me a lesson -- examine the facts before blindly believing or following someone else's statements. And if you find out that you've been fooled, at least care and learn from it for next time.