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Posts Tagged ‘culture’


On a saturday night, the PhD students of plant sciences, bioinformatics and medical sciences gathered in an apartment at Poststrasse and played mixology, aka, cocktail mixing.

I had very little knowledge about cocktails, and even much more limited idea on mixing.  But the scientist in me knew this is gonna be a fun little experiment.  So before I went to the cocktail party with a bottle of tequila, I googled a bit on the topic.  I was surprised.  There is in fact a term molecular mixology (!).  Mr. Wiki defined it as:

Molecular mixology is the term applied to the process of creating cocktails using the scientific equipment and techniques of molecular gastronomy.

These methods enable the creation of greater intensities and varieties of flavour, flavour combinations and different ways of presenting drinks, for example using gels, powders, foams, atomised sprays etc., as well as affecting the appearance of the cocktail.

Isn’t it cool?!  I am, BTW, eversince I can remember, have always been intrigued and interested in food science.

Going back to the party… Since we are so fond of experimenting and we just can’t get enough of it, we experimented on some ingredients and tried our hands and taste buds on them.  With some alcoholic drinks, fruit juices, syrups, sugar powder, and ice cubes in hand, equipped with the usual kitchen stuff like knife, cutting board, glasses and shaker, and geared with the most important experimental protocol recipe, we had fun cutting, mixing, and tasting.

The recipe.

We started with a simple drink Mojito – In a glass, gather some fresh mint leaves and tear them down (or crush it a little), add some brown sugar, throw in 3-4 ice cubes, pour some Sprite until half glass full, and add a punch of rum.  Ahhhh!  Refreshing and so easy to make!

After our first drink, we next prepared the colorful drink Tequila sunrise – Add a couple of milliliters of Tequila, pour in cold orange juice until half full, slowly pour in about 20 ml of grenadine syrup, and watch as the rich red color of the syrup slowly diffuse into a gradient with the orange  juice to create a layer of  “sunrise” colors.  Beautiful (!).

The next is a fairly strong Alibi – In a shaker, add 10 ml grenadine syrup, 10 ml cream, 80 ml vodka, and 30 ml amaretto. Throw in some  crushed ice and give it a hard shake.  Pour into a fresh glass and enjoy every sip.

What I really liked about this drink is the after taste.  On my first sip, I was a bit frightened by the very strong kick of vodka. But right after the vodka, my mouth is tickled with the pleasant taste of amaretto, the sweet syrup, and the richness of the cream.

This next drink was popular to the girls of the group. I call it the Pitu lemon –  Cut a fresh green lemon into cubes and throw it in a glass.  Crush the lemon until its juices came out, add a spoonful of brown sugar, throw in a handful of crushed ice, and add about 10 to 20 ml of Pitu.  Mix thoroughly and enjoy a refreshing drink perfect for a warm summer night along the beach.  Only, we are in a kitchen in a cold gray night.  But it was not that bad.  And we had fun!

This last mix was my favorite.  I call it Vipul’s concoction – In a shaker, pour in Pitu, grenadine syrup, and cream (sahne) in 1:1:1 by volume, throw in lots of crushed ice, and give it a really hard shake.  Pour it in a glass and get creative with some cocktail decorations.  Here we used a slice of green melon secured on one side of the glass and on it stacked an umbrella and a toothpick carrying a fruit tomato.  You can also throw in some cranberries which are perfect to complement this creamy drink.

Cocktails are great for entertaining.  We had so much fun mixing and drinking.  Just perfect for a rather cold and boring weekend. Cocktail parties will definitely be in my schedule the next time I entertain.  And oh! I can’t wait to try this with my best friend!  Only, we are in the opposite sides on the world 😦

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If you are to survive in this scientific community, you must learn how to do humor… And see humor in every situation and conversation possible.

This email sent to everyone in our institute just gave me a pleasing smile.  What a wit, isn’t it?

Hello there. If accidentally you ran over a couple of toads and smashed them in the floor on the latest days you may be missing your glasses. I found them! Please pick them up at B’s office. Do it for the toads.

-A.

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You´ll see from a previous post about me meeting the giants of the Netherlands. Thought who´ve been wondering which giants I am referring to exactly.

Well, giants! Tall gigantic people.

Where short Asians like me can be dwarfed even more when neighbored to them.

And where toilet mirrors are positioned so high on the wall that only the forehead of shorties can be seen on it like this:

See what I am telling now?

It is funny that I was jumping up and down just to get a glimpse of my face in the mirror. This is quite insulting, you know?

I stayed here in the Netherlands this time for seven days. And in these seven days, I tried as much as I could to live the Dutch way.

I probably must have drunk more milk in these seven days compared to a whole year combined. Dutch usually have milk for breakfast, as well as for lunch! So if you wanna grow taller, drink milk.

And I probably have eaten more bread and cheese in these seven days too. These are typical Dutch breakfast and cold lunch.

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The plant chemetics laboratory had an international dinner party on a Thursday night in one of the member’s home.  It is a potluck party where everyone brings his or her own national dish to the table and everybody gets a taste of different cultural cuisine. This is particularly special as our team is very international- no two people are from the same country! We are composed of a Dutch, German/Iranian, Colombian, Indian, Pakistan, Chinese, Japanese and a Filipino!

And for me, this is just one of the best part of being in a multicultural world.  Science, fortunately, offers this unique setting where people of different backgrounds come together to do science, for the sake of science. The Max Planck Society especially recruits the best from around the world. (And exceptionally encourage women scientists!).  Now that’s a great bonus to be here!

I used to organizing similar “international” dinner back in Taiwan too.  I love meeting people of different nationalities and learning the differences, as well as similarities across different cultural grounds. I specially love sampling different cuisines, tickling my taste buds with different flavors, and learning different ways of preparing food.

Aside from the fantastic food served on the table, we also had a good long funny conversations and smart talks over dinner.  We ate, and laughed, and drunk, and talked, and ate, and giggled, and photographed, and teased each other, and ate, and drunk, and ate for over 5 hours!

The dinner was a blast!  It was a dinner to remember, indeed!

Typical German apple pie

Dutch (cheese) finger food

German meat patty

Colombian coconut rice

Chinese shrimp dish cooked in wine

Indian butter masala

Colombian guayabana drink

Japanese cookies

Bread. I think this is common to many cultures...

Since I was consumed by the fabulous dishes (or I consumed these fabulous foods? :P), I forgot to take photos of the others, including my pineapple chicken 😀

So, till next  gluttonous dinner!

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