In this fortnight’s Online Insights we discover food the old fashioned way, consider the look and feel of our homes, explore the world and our city with new service and capture timeless wisdom for the next generation.

79 Degrees

If you are a foodie, you will probably love this new site created by two, Adelaide-based food fanatics who are on a mission to rescue us from eating bland, worthless food!

But unlike the plethora of cooking and food sites out there, 79 degrees is “less about food and more about food as a culture, the centerpiece of society, the centre of the home.”

As the guys say on the website, “We will talk about good food from first principles. We are not chefs, we are not cooks, we do this out of love for good food and what it does to our lives and our families. We will take the mystery out of good food; promoting the fun and stimulating aspects of cooking – not just eating!”

Who are these guys? They’re Nathan and George. During the day, they both work for the Property Council but by night and by weekend, they can be found in their kitchens, making food, trying new things, and sharing it with their families. Oh, yes, food used to be like that!!!

Their biographies are worth reading but I love this passage from George’s in particular: “George has a personal mission to destroy the notion of food as a commodity of base necessity. Believing that appreciation of fine food is a duty of a fortunate society, he seeks to break down notions that steer the everyday family away from home-cooked, healthy and hearty foods towards sterile, mass-marketed rubbish that bubbles malevolently with carcinogens and empty calories … He riles against fear-mongering nutritionists whining about the fat content of good oils, about eggs being laden with cholesterol or salt being equated to poison … [and] he gets enraged at the advertising practices of franchise take away food that imply family-friendly experiences and value for money when the opposite is true.” How’s that for a battle cry!

To give you a sense of the style of 79 Degrees, here is the ingredients list for Pasta con gusto:

  • 200 grams of your favourite pasta
  • 3 big juicy Roma tomatoes
  • A good handful of olives
  • Three anchovies
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • A big bunch of flat leafed Italian parsley (the only kind if you want flavour)
  • Loads of good extra virgin olive oil
  • Chilli
  • Parmesan (Grana Padano  the real stuff not the fake crap)

Oh yes, if you like down-to-earth, simple, hearty cooking, I think you will enjoy being part of the community that is sure to grow around this site. One dish I am keen to try is the Egglplant Parmagiana. It sounds superb. In fact, you can see it being made on the second of the boys’ videos at 79degrees.

Foursquare

This is a curious site that builds on those Web2.0 properties many of us have built into our lives. It capitalises on the real-time web (feeds to the web of what is happening now – archived for interest but most useful when consumed fresh) and geo-tagging (using mobile phone towers or GPS technology to place information snippets in time and PLACE).

I had not played with Foursquare because there was no Blackberry application, but now there is and so I feel it is my duty to engage with this site for a while and report back on its usefulness.

The idea behind foursquare is that you have the application loaded on your phone so you can “check in” wherever you are – at a shop, pub, office, house, etc – allowing friends to know where you are for spontaneous meetings. Furthermore, when you check in to a location, you are prompted to leave a tip for others such as, when at this cafe, make sure you have the apricot cheesecake, don’t visit the Adelaide Central Market on a Sunday, Monday or Wednesday because it is closed, etc. When friends lob nearby at a later date, they will be prompted with your tip. Visit a location often enough and you will earn a badge from the site. When you really crank up the visits, you can become Mayor of the location and some cafes and bars are actually offering free drinks or other treats to their foursquare mayors.

If this reaches a moderate degree of saturation in the marketplace, I can see this being of interest to marketers, who will be able to prompt people with geographically-specific offers.

I can also see it not appealing to people who like to keep their lives and whereabouts to themselves!

I was surprised to find one of my local, suburban hair salons is already listed on foursquare and I have noticed a lot more places in Adelaide being listed as the young, hip types are out and about for the cycling race.

The foursquare team says one of the spin-offs of the application is that it should encourage people to explore their own cities and if you have ever had to be a tour guide to visitors you will find that most of us don’t know our home city all that well at all! Mind you, if you go travelling, it is going to be quite handy having suggestions-from-the-street at your disposal, especially if they have been made by people you know and trust.

Here is a tip. If you want to see what’s around town, you need to log in to the site so it looks for your search terms near your location rather than New York. Have fun in foursquare.

Houzz

I am in heaven! We have a lot of head-scratching going on at home as we try to figure out what to do with our front yard. We have been scouring the neighbourhood for ideas and through a shout out on Facebook, we now have a few leads for designers to consult. In the meantime, I have stumbled across Houzz.

Abigail Aherns dining room eclectic dining roomThis is pure eye candy for people interested in home design, interior or exterior.

There are entries that go in to detail on home design ideas – I saw one on how to design a kitchen that argued for good lighting, lots of space, use of innovative cupboards, and islands to help make life in the kitchen more bearable.

Then other entries are simply photos with simple descriptions.

The site says: Houzz is a place where you can find inspiration, information and moral support from other home design fanatics. Browse photos, get ideas from hundreds of designers from around the world, and save it all in your virtual idea book. It’

s the online version of cutting pages out of magazines and stuffing them in a folder, which makes it much easier to search, save, and share. You can then find everything from local designers to architects and contractors who can help you make it a reality. Best of all, they’ll know exactly what you’re trying to do with just one click through your ideabook. So, if you’re a fellow home design fanatic, take a look round (it’s free), see what you can find and create an ideabook, if you don’t have a project right now, we know you’re dreaming one up. And if you’re a professional designer, then upload some examples of your work and where people can find you (it’s free for you too). And rest assured, on houzz you’ll be in good company with other high-end architects, designers and home improvement professionals.

I am setting up an ideabook to show to our potential designers – a handy tool indeed.

In the meantime, click on the site and look at the eclectic section – your jaw will drop many times over (I love the hideous, over-the-top light features in Abigail Ahern’s dining room – see right). Yikes! You must visit houzz and take a peek yourself.

Rules for my unborn son

This is a simple site, drawing out a collection of quotes and thoughts which have been collected into the book – 1001 rules for my unborn son by Walker Lamond. The book’s blurb says, “Boys need rules. One man’s instructions for raising a thoughtful, adventurous, honest, hardworking, self-reliant, well-dressed, well-read, well-mannered young gentleman.”

It looks like quite a gem to have lying around – here are a few to whet your appetite:

  • 405. No one wants to watch you practice the guitar.
  • 402. If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, you aren’t hungry.
  • 401. You can do your homework after you finish playing outside.
  • 397. Don’t jog shirtless.
  • 396. Never get your haircut on the day of the big dance.
  • 395. Be mindful of what comes between you and the earth. Buy good tires, good sheets, and good shoes.
  • 393. Never eat lunch at your desk.
  • 391. In her dad’s eyes, until you marry her, you’re not in the picture.

And here are a couple of quotes dotted throughout the list of famous quotes:

  • By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong. Charles Wadsworth
  • Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. P.J. O’Rourke

You can work through the list at the Rules For My Unborn Son website.

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