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Black Rice - What Is It and Why Try It?

Lately nutritionists and foodies alike have been raving about “new” grains and seeds like quinoa, amaranth, spelt, and hemp seeds. While they are new to the average Western consumer, they go back centuries. With the popularity of low carb diets and the aversion to large scale industrial farming, the mainstays of mankind’s caloric intake for centuries--wheat, rice and corn (maize)—seem to have fallen out of fashion. However even among these common or “boring”  grains there is a wide variety. Take for example black rice. Have you ever tried it? Well after reading this you might want to give it a taste test. Defining Black Rice Black rice, sometimes called purple rice, is a variant of Oryza sativa L., the main...

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Experiencing the Hammam in Istanbul Turkey

Drip…Drip…Drip…Drip…I laid there motionless on the warm marble table watching the drops of water fall from the holes carved into the ceiling dome.The only thing between myself and the outside world was the cotton of the towel wrapped around my waist. The only thing allowed to be worn inside of the bath. Photo by Sunrise Odyssey (CC) In Turkey, very few things feel as old school “Turkish” as the venerated Hammam, the local bathhouse, and gathering place over the centuries.These days, however, they are not nearly as popular, be it the ubiquity of showers and baths in people’s homes or the changing of habits of the local populace. But you’ll still see locals come, some of those older stoic members...

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Chinese Celadon - History and Features

Note: This is our second post on celadon. To see the previous one click here.   Ceramic Reminiscent of Jade Like many other types of fine ceramicware, celadon originated in China, where it was prized for its jade-like appearance. Jade has been prized since the Stone Age in what is now China. The nephrite jade native to China was both beautiful and durable, however, it is evident that over time early Chinese cultures imbued the stone with spiritual properties too, further enhancing its value. Archaeologists have uncovered numerous grave goods made of jade from neolithic and ancient times. Several Han dynasty burials contained worked pieces of jade that were used to cover or plug the orifices of the deceased. Taking...

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The World is our Souk: Grand Bazaar Istanbul Turkey

The Mother of all Markets. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest markets in the world. And “Large” is an understatement. The market covers a huge area of the city, with over 60 streets and 4,000 shops! Within the market are several squares, about 5 mosques, various entrances, and exits. It is one of the easiest to get lost in as well. You can wander and never pass the same shop again. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were still folks lost in the market who have never emerged again! Silly joke yes, but really it’s a massive place. As Mark Twain wrote: “We went to the Grand Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I...

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What is Celadon?

Defining Celadon The term "celadon" is often used to describe a light green color, but it also denotes a class of ceramic ware characterized by its translucent glaze and soft hues of green and blue. There are varying theories for the etymology of the word "celadon" in European languages, but in most of the Far East it is known as 青瓷, which can be translated as "green porcelain."    General Characteristics of Celadon Technically, what defines a ceramic item as celadon is the glaze used. Traditionally celadon glazes have been applied mostly to porcelain and stoneware. This is still the case today, however, lesser ceramics can also be used. The key to the glaze is its iron content and how this...

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