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Archive for February 24, 2014

FOOD FUN: You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too


We’d have to eat this devil’s food cake: The
temptation is too great! Photo courtesy


You can’t have your cake and eat it too, is a popular English proverb. Some of us wonder why it isn’t reversed, to the more logical “You can’t eat your cake and have it too.”

The earliest known variation is clear. A letter dated March 14, 1538 from Thomas, Duke of Norfolk to Thomas Cromwell, expresses that “a man can not have his cake and eate his cake.”

But in either form, people understand that it means that you can’t have it both ways (another proverb). It’s a trade-off.

This proverb appears in other forms, in other languages. Here’s a partial list from one we found in Wikipedia:


Wolf & Sheep Theme

  • Bosnian: You can’t have both a lamb and money.
  • Bulgarian and Polish: Both the wolf is full, and the lamb is whole.
  • Czech: The wolf is full and the goat stayed whole.
  • Estonian: The wolves have eaten, [and] the lambs are whole.
  • Lithuanian: To have the wolf fed and the lamb safe.
  • Macedonian: Both the wolf is full, and the sheep are intact.
  • Russian: The wolves are full, and the lambs are whole.
  • Slovenian: The wolf [is] full, and the lamb [is] whole.

    Goat Theme

  • Hungarian: It is impossible that the goat has enough to eat and the cabbage remains as well.
  • Romanian: You can’t reconcile the goat and the cabbage.
  • Serbian: You can’t have both the goatling and money.
    Butt Theme

  • Hungarian and Russian: It is impossible to ride two horses with one butt.
  • Serbian: You can’t sit on two chairs with one butt.

    Assorted Themes

  • Chinese: To want a horse that both runs fast and consumes no feed.
  • Danish: You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth.
  • French: To want the butter and the money from (selling) the butter.
  • German: You can’t dance at two weddings (at the same time).
  • Greek: You want the entire pie and the dog full.
  • Italian: To have the barrel full and the wife drunk.
  • Persian: Wanting both the donkey and the sugar dates.
  • Portuguese: Wanting the sunshine on the threshing floor, while it rains on the turnip field.
  • Spanish: Wishing to be both at Mass and in the procession (or, wishing to be both at Mass and in the belfry, bell-ringing).
  • Spanish (Argentine): You can’t have the pig and the twenties (a reference to old piggy banks that held 20-cent coins; the only way to get the coins was to break the piggy bank open).
  • Swiss (French): You can’t have the five cent coin and a Swiss bread roll.


    Our contribution: You can’t both fry the fish and have a sushi dinner. Photo courtesy Sushi Takibun.

  • Tamil: Desire to have both the moustache and to drink the porridge.
    How about making up your own versions as a dinner table activity? Ours is: You can’t both fry the fish and have a sushi dinner.


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    PRODUCT: Vitamins Like Candy


    Gummie vitamins are as good as gummie
    candies. Photo courtesy NatureMade.


    We never looked forward to taking our vitamins, but we did so, dutifully, every day.

    We knew that there were gummie vitamins for kids, but never took much notice of the category.

    Recently, we were given a bottle of Nature Made’s Adult Gummies, Multi + Omega-3. Wow! We have now given up our gummie habit in favor of a daily vitamin fix.

    The only problem: One serving is just two gummies (we could eat a lot more than that). Unlike conventional vitamins, which are calorie-free, our Adult Gummies are 20 calories and 3g of sugar a day.

    And are well worth it!

    We may be late to the table, but we’re not the only adult who is made for gummie vitamins. Nature Made Adult Gummies are available in:


  • B-Complex Adult Gummies
  • Multi-Vitamin Adult Gummies
  • Calcium With D3 Adult Gummies
  • Multi-Vitamin Adult Gummies
  • Fish Oil Adult Gummies
  • Vitamin C Adult Gummies
  • Vitamin CoQ10 Adult Gummies
  • Vitamin D Adult Gummies
  • Vitamin D3 Adult Gummies
    There are dollar coupons for most of the varieties on the Nature Made website.

    Checking out the options, we also discovered the Vitafusion line of gummies. We’re not inspired to do a taste test, however, because the Nature Made taste just fine.

    If only all the medications we take could be in gummie form. We can dream, can’t we?


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have An Apéritif

    What’s an apéritif? How does it differ from a digestif?

    An apéritif is an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite. It is usually dry and low in alcohol. Some people have a cocktail (a mixed drink), but many modern cocktails are considered by gastronomes to be too heavy or too sweet for pre-dinner. (A gin or vodka Martini, however, is just right.)

    If you enjoy a before-dinner drink, consider reviving the elegant custom of apéritif wines. There’s quite a selection, and you can turn it into a monthly or quarterly gathering. Instead of a cocktail party, have an apéritif party, with two or three choices each time.


  • Campari, a ruby red Italian fortified wine, is often mixed with soda to dilute the bitterness.
  • Dubonnet, from France, is available in Blanc and Rouge varieties, made from red or white wine fortified with brandy.
  • Lillet, another French wine, is blended from red or white Bordeaux wines and liqueurs made mostly from the peels of sweet and bitter green oranges. (Lillet Blanc is one of our favorite aperitifs.)
  • Pernod and Ricard are two of the better-known anise-based aperitifs. Licorice lovers: Try them!
  • Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine from the Charente region of France. It is made from lightly fermented grape must blended with Cognac eau-de-vie. Fans call it “Pineau” for short.


    A classic apéritif for centuries: a glass of sherry. Here, amontillado with a side of olives. Photo by Matt Saunders | Wikimedia.



    Red vermouth with a twist. Red vermouth is
    sweeter than white vermouth, but still a
    good apéritif wine. Photo courtesy

  • Sherry is a fortified wine made from Spanish white grapes, which are fermented and fortified with grape spirit to increase their alcohol content. There are eight different varieties, from dry to sweet. The dry varieties (amontillado, fino, oloroso, manzanillo, palo cortado) are used as apéritifs.
  • Vermouth is an aromatized, fortified wine flavored with various botanicals—a proprietary blend of barks, flowers, herbs, roots, seeds, spices. They can include, among others, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, nutmeg, orange peel, sage, star anise, vanilla…and wormwood, the base ingredient of absinthe.
    A digestif is the opposite of an apéritif: an alcoholic beverage served after a meal to stimulate digestion (that’s the theory*). Examples include:

  • Amari (Averna Cynar, Fernet) and bitters (Becherovka, Underberg)
  • Brandy (including Alambric, Armagnac, Calvados, Cognac)
  • Cream sherry
  • Dessert cocktails (Black Russian, Brandy Alexander, Irish Coffee, Mudslide)
  • Eaux de vie (fruit brandies) and grappa (pomace brandy)
  • Port
  • Sweet liqueurs (Drambuie, cream liqueurs, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Limoncello the many, many others)
  • Whiskey and other distilled liquors (akavit, ouzo, tequila, etc.)
    Much as we love all of these, we’re usually far to full after dinner to consider a digestif. If we could only give up dessert….

    *Digestifs have not been found scientifically to help with digestion. People feel that they do because the alcohol in the stomach initially widens the blood vessels, generating a positive feeling. But then, the alcohol starts competing with the food to be digested. So in reality, it hinders digestion instead of facilitating it. Instead of a digestif, take a slow stroll around the block—avoid anything too active like jogging or a treadmill. This motion of the body is the best way to stimulate digestion. Another suggestion: a few drops of bitters in a short glass of water may help to alleviate that stuffed feeling.


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