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Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Bananagrams!!! Review

I really hope to actually finish some knitting tomorrow so I’ll have something to show y’all. It appears that having a job has made me a little less inclined to blog. Anyway! For your entertainment, I present:

bananagramsBananagrams!

I’ve been eyeing this game for a while and finally bought it today from a local game store. It was only $15 (score!), and I had a chance to try it out.

Although I only played the 2-player version, Bananagrams was really fun. Each player starts with a certain amount of tiles and simultaneously makes their own crossword puzzle. When you run out of letters, you yell “Peel!” and take another letter from the remaining letters; all other players must take a letter as well. On it goes — with options for exchanging letters — until there are not enough letters for each player to take one more. The player who plays all their tiles first wins.

The nice thing about this game is that there’s no tedious waiting for other players. I love Scrabble, but it can get a little tiresome. Bananagrams is also a really good mind puzzle, because you’re free to change up your entire crossword if you’re having a hard time fitting letters in. It seems like almost any age could play this game and, if you like games like Boggle and Scrabble, you’ll probably enjoy it.

It’s also a good quality game, especially for the price. All it is is the letters (144), which feel nice and are not cheap; these come in a banana canvas bag perfect for carrying around. Gameplay is quick — good for when you have a few minutes to spare or hours to kill — and transport is easy. I’d guess this would be a great gift for camping.

Anyway. I guess as the holidays dawn upon us I’m thinking about gifts for people — the ones I’m not sure exactly what would be a good present, but I’m committed to not giving them something pointless just for the sake of gift-giving. Bananagrams is inexpensive but well-made, and something that pretty much any recipient will enjoy and actually use regularly. No kitsch here.

So! Receive my banana-word apology. There will be more Knits With Carrots soon, I swear.

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Taking Back the Plate: A Manifesto in Favor of Playing With Food

I come to you tonight, my friends, with a proposition: play with your food. There are a number of reasons why I urge you to play with your food, beyond the fact that it is really fun.

It seems as though any kind of conscientious eating — like being vegan or vegetarian, or eating locally — can seem like a heavy task. It’s easy to get caught up in what is or is not vegan/vegetarian/local/la la la, and eating becomes a drag. I know a few vegans whose relationship with food seems to be a perpetual struggle or their cross to bear — they bemoan everything they can’t eat, and their focus on what is not vegan usually plays out as them being really condescending towards others who are not as detail-oriented or who choose to eat differently. I say to you: is this enjoying your food?

Resolution: In the face of a society that spends as little time and money as possible on their food: take back your plate! rediscover the fun of eating! play with your food!

Ok, silly proclamations aside, here’s what’s up:
I’ve started trying to cultivate this playful method of interacting with my food. My experience with vegan cooking, at its best, has been all about this fun approach to food. It’s kind of like, “Wow, these beets are really pretty. How do I want to play with that?” Or something like, “Hmmm, I know I like avocado on toast, and I know I like nutritional yeast on toast. What if I did them both at the same time??!” I’d say the best thing to come out of my vegan kitchen was the advent of Yam Cornbread. More on that later…

Sadly, at its worst, it was all about not being able to make anything because I didn’t have the right ingredients, or hours of time, and oh my god what kind of sugar will not make me a bad vegan? Thinking about those times now, I feel like this: eating is nourishing. Eating should be an act of giving to your body, of taking time to make something and sit down and enjoy the act of eating. It should not be an act of penance or sacrifice or boredom. And yes, I have nights where I want the easiest thing possible. I’d argue on those nights it’s more fun to get some Amy’s Mac n Soy Cheeze, instead of laboring for something my heart isn’t really in.

Some of this is motivated by feeling weighed down by Vegan MoFo in the face of starting a new job. The truth is (don’t judge me!): I’m not vegan… I was, and I’m not anymore, but I see great merit in meals that leave out the meat and dairy. Most of my cookbooks are vegan for precisely that reason: so I can make a vegetable, and eat a vegetable, instead of a bunch of cheese with a tiny bit of crappy broccoli. But, you know, after a day of cramming lots of knowledge into every little place in my skull, the idea of coming home and trying to cook impressive vegan food seems daunting; coupling that with photographing and blogging definitely intimidates me.

And then I remember, wait, food is awesome. Food is totally fun. And hell yes I’m allowed to arrange it in pretty ways before I cook it — and make something easy (roasted vegetables), but make it work for me by eating it with a GIANT AVOCADO:

Are you getting how big this is? Now THAT is an avocado.

I guess in all of this I’m giving myself permission to have fun with the food preparation and eating process. I want to encourage you, too, towards that — especially a few days away from the end of Vegan MoFo and heading into Halloween and Thanksgiving (US)!

Go forth and play with your food. Now.

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