Freebie picks of the week

I’ve come across some website gems which I’d like to share with everyone.

  1. Open Yale Courses – Lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses are made available to the public free of charge via the internet. The courses span the full range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences.
  2. Finetune – In addition to its web-based player,  Finetune has a fantasic desktop application which enables Mac and PC users to listen to both Finetune and iTunes playlists, as well as search by name for favorite artists as well as get a custom radio station of their work.  I’m hooked on the David Cook radio channel.  =)
  3. Cookstr – Starting this month,  a new website will showcase the recipes of star chefs like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, as well as those of less-well-known but highly regarded cookbook writers.  According to the NYTimes,  visitors to Cookstr can search for recipes using a wide range of parameters, from the more obvious — ingredients, season, occasion — to more specialized criteria, like lactose-free, kid-friendly or requires-only-one-pot-to-cook. The site will start with 2,500 recipes, most likely to increase to 10,000 within a year.   Go and sign up to their newsletter now. 
  4. Hulu –  Hulu offers shows from nbc, Fox, pbs and other channels, including free full episodes of SNL, The Daily Show, The Office and other hits the TiVo-less masses often miss, plus films like Ghostbusters, The Fifth Element and Lost in Translation.  Note, Hulu’s video library currently can only be streamed from within the United States.

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Picky eaters are made, not born

I count my lucky stars that A is growing up to be an omnivore. We have deliberately gone out of our way to introduce our son to different tastes (from sweet to sour) and cuisines from different parts of the world. It is my personal philosophy that with our ever shrinking borders, globalization pertains not only to business but to cultural experiences as well. In order to succeed, we must teach our children to be open to new smells, new tastes and new textures.

A is equally as comfortable using chopsticks as he is the fork and spoon. For him, wasabi chips are yummy, as is chicken curry. Don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t exactly been an easy journey. We have had a number of spirited negotiations over what to eat and how much to eat but A has learned that everything should be tried at least twice. If he really doesn’t like it, then it’s ok. At least he tried. I breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction whenever he finishes what’s on his plate and asks for more (which is happening more and more often).   Funnily enough,  2 years ago,  his class conducted a blind taste test to illustrate the various tastes: sweet, sour, salty etc.  He was the only kid who said “yummy” to all, including patis.  =)

A few days ago, we had a mini-encounter which got me thinking about picky eaters. Research has shown that while food neophobia (fear of of new food) appears to be genetic, it can be addressed. Biology is not destiny. Ellyn Satter has written a wonderful book called Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense which posits a simple yet very powerful message: It is the parent’s job to determine the what and when of feeding: what food gets offered and when. And it is the child’s job to determine if he will eat the food and how much.

The Mayo Clinic has also put forth practical tips to avoid mealtime battles. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Respect your child’s hunger — or lack thereof. Young children tend to eat only when they’re hungry. If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or snack.
  2. Stay calm. If your child senses that you’re unhappy with his or her eating habits, it may become a battle of wills. Threats and punishments only reinforce the power struggle.
  3. Boycott the clean plate club. Don’t force your child to clean his or her plate. This may only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food. Instead, allow your child to stop eating when he or she is full.
  4. Leave taste out of it. Talk about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good.
  5. Be patient with new foods. Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child may need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite.
  6. Recruit your child’s help. At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.
  7. Set a good example. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.
  8. Minimize distractions. Turn off the television during meals, and don’t allow books or toys at the table.
  9. Don’t offer dessert as a reward. Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which may only increase your child’s desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week. Or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.
  10. Expect some food preferences to stick. As kids mature, they tend to become less picky about food. Still, everyone has food preferences. Don’t expect your child to like everything.

It is the small steps that count. Don’t give up (or in) on your child and head to the nearest burger or pizza joint every single time. More importantly, don’t have separate foods for different individuals. We subscribe to the school of thought that eating is a social experience meant to be shared by all and it simply won’t do if you have family members cut themselves off from the rest.

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Miele Guides: place your vote now for the best restaurant in the region

from Miele Guide’s website:

The Miele Guide will be Asia’s first truly independent regional restaurant guide when launched in October 2008, and also its most authoritative. Written by food lovers who know and love Asia, The Miele Guide will rank and profile restaurants across the region’s major cities, categorised by country, city and cuisine, in a slim, indispensable volume.

The 2008/2009 edition will evaluate restaurants in 16 Asian countries—Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

A shortlist has been drawn from the region’s top food critics and now it is up to you to finalize which restaurants you think are the best. And if your favourite restaurant is not on the shortlist, you’ll have the option to nominate and vote for it too. From these results, a list of Asia’s top restaurants will be drawn. The guide will rank and profile in detail the top 20 in Asia. The rest will be categorised by country, city and cuisine.

There is quite an eclectic choice for the Philippines: ranging from Lolo Dad’s to Antonio’s to Tsukiji to Kanin Club to Dos Mestizo’s.

Go to and vote now for the best restaurant in the Philippines. As an added incentive, you could win a fab dinner in one of Asia’s best restaurants and stay in one of the region’s most luxurious hotels.

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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