Dining Philosophy

food for thoughts and tastebuds alike

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The Intent

Food blogs are as plentiful and bountiful as a Thanksgiving meal, and the onslaught of so many voices can leave a similar post-gluttony indigestion. While my intent is to add to the over-indulgence, my experiment quickly evolved into being as much about philosophy as it was food.

And thus was born Dining Philosophy – a blog to combine good food, good music and (hope-to-be) good thought. And for the geeks out there, the yes, the allusion was intended.

For a quick starter course, here are some representative posts for the types of meals found in this blog:

Beginning and End

There are two steps in every recipe that almost everyone I know takes shortcuts through – and I think they are apt analogies for how we live our lives. And strangely, the two steps are the bookend steps to a recipe.

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Love

What better way to progress from philosophy to poetry for a post than with Caprese Salad flowers? I discovered this presentation style of tomatoes one day when I had a few extra moments to play with them. Now it is a tradition with my daughters and I as to who can arrange the most bloomingly floral versions made from tomatoes, kalamatas, mozzarella, and basil – sprinkled with our herbes de provence and balsamic / olive oil drizzle. These photos are a couple we’ve made the past week.

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Life as a Verb

Family reunion time, 7 adults and 6 kids. How to make “Welcome to Portland” meal? Ah the old standby of Porchetta – this time delivered via a massive 13 pound bone-in rib roast that includes 15+ pork chops in it, plus a bunch of tenderloins to boot. So big that the grill was the only option. And with such extravagance, I could finally justify the purchase of that $55 bag of fennel pollen I’ve been lusting after for two years. Sheridan’s even keeps it behind locked doors to enhance the mystique. Add in grilled asparagus, mini potatoes roasted in the drippings, some heirloom caprese salads.. Ah, a treat befitting to the company!

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Theseus Decay

The posts of late have been some heavy meals, reflecting the life cookbook I am currently reading – Sean Carroll’s “Big Picture” in which he lays out the case for a poetic version of naturalism. I’ll return to some more lighter fare in a few posts – particularly as I get to touch upon the many thoughts sparked during a 10 day trip rafting down the Grand Canyon.

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Illusion of Identity

With a 4 year old at home, I’m quite conscious just how much we tend to her building of the concept of her identity – like farmers watering a field. Today I ponder the illusion behind that crop we call Identity, pulling in lessons from the two previous posts on probabilistic thought and the division between intelligence and intent. To get there, we must first Split a Chicken.

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Intelligence And Intent

I’ve been digesting some heavy food of late, so for those few readers of these missives, I beg your patience as I make my way through some heavy courses still coming out from the kitchen of my mind. So, again, let’s prep this course with a small appetizer of actual food before getting to thought. Tonight, I share with you Carnitas.

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Embracing Probability

Matter behaves deterministically, but yet life is built entirely on probabilistic behavior. If life was strictly deterministic, it likely would not exist in the first place – or at very best, a perfect paper clip maker. Throw in quantum work, and even the deterministic nature of existence is highly questionable. So today’s thought is all about how we have become addicted as cognitive humans to absolutism in an otherwise world where probabilistic systems inherently yield more advanced results.

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Cognitive Dissonance

My thoughts today are recursively battling themselves, and then stepping back to assess if there is a winner behind the carnage of the mental battlefield. Before getting to the bloodshed, though, let’s hit the food part first.

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Nomadic Life

One of my dearest of friends is a nomadic world traveler. The world truly is his oyster and home, with no particular place in x,y,z that defines his identity beyond today, and possibly tomorrow. Those of you who know me, know who I am talking about.

In thinking about him today, I realize just how much the mind uses location to anchor the identity of a person in the mind’s perception and organization of its social or mental network. I think of the well-known memorization technique that uses location clues to “hang” concepts onto, like hanging the numbers of Pi onto different bookshelves and countertops in a virtual representation of your house. So too does our minds orient people in a location-based mental map in order to organize our network of friends.

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Competition

Alright, it’s hard sometimes to keep a thought de-evolving from contemplative to just being an outright rant. And yeah, its laziness to allow it to happen. The Socratic method is a good tool to combat this slippery slope, but today I will embrace a rant to hit a passion of mine: the role of competition.

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