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Habits are a hard thing for me to form, and even harder to break. This week’s habit formation is publishing something on Flavorist at least once per day–preferably much more.

Welcome to the relaunch of Flavorist.net.

It’s going to be a while before we smooth out some of the rough edges, but please bear with us. This is a very special project to me, and I’m at the early stages of putting together a team of excellent and passionate writers whose sole desire is to make your life a little more delicious.

What to expect from Flavorist.

In the most literal sense, this blog is a minimum viable product, or an MVP, to see what works, and what sucks. The longer we keep at it, the more we’ll learn. I’m passionate about relationships, communication, dating, intimacy and society, so expect to see a lot of those topics covered here. I also like beautiful design, mobile phone apps, food, travel, music, clothes and online video. In that way, it might be helpful to think of Flavorist as a salad bowl, where the ingredients change daily, depending on what’s available at the market.

To that end, we’re going to sample the best writing and content on the web, and combine it with our own original reporting, opinion and analysis. I’m beyond excited, and I feel like I’ve been hiding from this opportunity for a long time. This is my passion, and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

Bon Apetit!

Women and men who show skin in their profile photos will get more messages. This is not only conventional wisdom, but based on data culled by the staff at OK Cupid. Many of the findings run counter to the assumption.

Among the startling conclusions of their research:

  • The Myspace photo, where a girl takes a picture of herself with a camera photo, is surprisingly effective
  • So too are men’s six-pack shots and shots of women who prominently feature their cleavage
  • Flirty photos photos get less traction than fun flicks

All in all, it was quite remarkable to see how data upholds or refutes what we thought we knew about dating online. However, what is missing from this data is analysis and I thought I would step in to fill the void.

Firstly, women who show off skin and breasts are much more likely to receive responses. Why is this news to anyone. While we might be going to dating sites in order to find a suitable person to date, as animals we’re cued-in to respond to strong sexual signals. Marks of physical fitness, and traits likely to produce desirable qualities in offspring are going to be a natural winners. It’s not rocket science; it’s biology.

I was intrigued that photos without faces or partially obscured faces get a lot of responses as well. It seems counter-intuitive, but the article suggested that we like a little bit of mystery in our lives.

What was not a surprise:

  • Attractiveness decreases with age
  • Drinking pictures don’t excite
  • Guys’ travel photos are a turn-off

Again these points are simple. While we may be on the hunt for sexual partners, we don’t want anything to destroy the illusion that something more is possible. My guess is that when women see travel photos they think that the guy could split at any moment and leave them to take of the kid. Drinking shots give off the impression that if the guy were to stick around he would be a lousy father because he would always be drunk. And age, well, youth is sexy.

I commend OK Cupid for combing through their user data to come up with scientific methods for success. Any time science and sex meet, the results are always brain food.

bacon bra
It’s not just a salad garnish, or a burger topping any more. While bacon seems innocuous enough, its over-prescription in fast food is part of a caloric collaboration to keep Americans fat, lazy and stupid. Worse yet, a mutant porcine pathogen, not unlike the swine flu, has the potential to leap from factory-farm raised animals to humans and cause devastating harm.

According to David Kessler, author of The End of Overeating, a standard joke in the restaurant chain industry goes, “When in doubt, throw cheese and bacon on it.”

More than that, notes Kessler, the food industry uses science and marketing to try to make its products addictive. By manipulating what he calls the “three points of the compass” — fat, sugar and salt — the food industry creates highly processed foods that can hook us like drugs. In various countries and regions, the levels of fat, sugar and salt are even calibrated to different “bliss points” to maximize the consumers’ pleasure.

Read the whole story on Alternet here…

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Image by PaulSherman via Flickr

The law in Sao Paulo says that smoking is illegal. Tonight, at a “trash party,” I saw a whole lot of people giving the law a big, fat middle finger.
Normally, I might be a little disturbed, because smoking upsets my allergies, but not tonight. Things have been going very smoothly since  I got into town and I am experiencing life something like a local might. I even had a dream in Portuguese this afternoon during a succession of naps. It’s late as hell and I want to write more, but as things went, today was pretty tame. Could I call this wretchedly ugly city home one day? The jury is still out.

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It finally happened; I’ve become a real person and now it’s time to get to know myself. It’s not as though who I am comes as a complete surprise, but I have a golden moment to take stock of my life and look to the future, a future full of possibility and wonderment. I’ve earned degrees before, most recently this time last year, when I achieved a lifetime goal of completing a B.A. Today I wrapped up my M.S. and have gone to the next height of higher learning.

What makes this degree different is that I am done with school, though the quest for knowledge is a journey I wil pursue throughout my life. Never before have I had so much at stake nor so many chances to make something of myself. I’m thrilled to be able to start acting as an adult, though for the past many years I have been of age. I’m only now coming to grips with what this means. After I wake up, I will be a new person.

More monumental than the 10-year anniversary of the Columbine massacre is the first birthday of Flavorist. Huzzah. Looking back on this remarkable day one year ago, I thought to myself, “It’s time to get serious about this blogging thing.” Little did I know the 365 days I had in store.

In a matter of weeks I will graduate from Columbia with a hardwon M.S. in journalism with a digital media concentration. At this time last year, all I could think was that the degree was tantamount to a blogger certification. I’m very glad that I was wrong about that and a great many things.

I’m getting back into the blogging thing and I forgot how much I truly enjoyed it. I also have a new project going on over at TechTrotter, something I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. My mission today was to research ticket prices for the excursion and I got as far as one-way flights to Buenos Aires before I was called away on other matters.  I suppose I could work on that before I nod off in a few, but it’s my birthday as well. Perhaps I can lay back and enjoy a little on this most blessed day.

If your stomach had thumbs, what would it tweet?

One of the more ennervating Twitter phenomena seems to be the constant need to update what one is eating. I’ve done it plenty of times, but now I check myself when I get the urge. But wait, I went to Shake Shack with @Soniamoghe and had a delicious, gloppy shack stack. Shouldn’t you care?  If you weren’t there, chances are you don’t,  and you don’t want to read about it either. Why then do so many people put this bit of biological info on the Web when certain other private details stay private?  Needless to say, I’m very curious why people are so apt to tweat (Twitter + Eat).

While scanning through Twitter updates I saw that Twitter CEO, Biz Stone, is “waiting for thai take-out on newbury st — who says there’s no tofu in beantown?” @MclellandJohn ordered Chinese food from Empire Corner and he also got into his first choice seminar on Orientalism with Rashid Khalidi. I wonder if the schedule announcement influenced his choice of cuisine.  Elsewhere in New York,  @khoi is at 5 napkin Burge[r], and @SheilaS is “Yummy steak @ Airport Steakhouse in Hutchinson KS.”

It would seem then that Twitter is all about food. One need look no farther than my tweeps’  handles. There’s  @tunabanans, @parislemon, @Sosauce and @asaucyintruder.

It’s about 10PM in New York, but it’s dinner time elsewhere in the great U-S of A.  If I were to do a search of food related words, I’m sure the volume would swell at 9, 12 and 6. (New updates with the word “yummy” pour in in 5-10 per minute)



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A handpicked medley of inspirations, musings, obsessions and things of general interest.