Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Universal Cuisine

Every time I eat Italian or Mexican food, I realize they are 100% identical in every way.

For example - enchiladas are Mexican lasagne. Sauce layer, flour layer, meat layer, cheese layer, repeat.

Pizza is an Italian tostada. Flour layer, sauce layer, meat layer, cheese layer, veggies optional.

A panini is an Italian quesadilla.

I'm surprised that Italians don't have a tamale-ish thing because polenta and masa are virtually identical.

If you break ALL Italian and Mexican food down to its components, not only is every DISH identical to every other dish in the cuisine, but it has a mirror in its cousin cuisine in Mexico or Italy.

You need a flour thing, a meat thing, a cheese thing, a sauce thing and some veggies. That's it. And whether it's square, tubular, grilled, fried, or floating in sauce - you can describe them all the same way.

As a matter of fact - explaining the difference between a soft taco and a burrito to an alien would be pretty tough, as would the difference between enchiladas and lasagne, because they're all made of exactly the same things!

You'd say - "okay - with a taco, you take a flour tortilla, and add meat, beans, lettuce, tomato and sauce, and then fold it and eat it."

"So what's a burrito?" asks the alien. You say "Well, you take a flour tortilla that's LARGER, and you add meat,  beans, lettuce, tomato and sauce, and then fold it and eat it." The alien, who has already decided you are a lower life form says "Well isn't that just a larger taco?" Smirking, you say "NO, dumb alien - it's FOLDED DIFFERENTLY."

Then it starts to dawn on you.

And you feel like a lower life form.

Minestrone and tortilla soup are pretty similar too.

And if you want to get out of the Italian realm, carne guisada is just Mexican stew.

It's funny how we all developed such similar base foods. The outliers are the Asian foods, but that's mostly because of the lack of cheese. Because I can make a successful argument that a flauta is a Mexican eggroll and vice versa. But Mexican and Italian are united by cheese.

As are we all. #Godblesscheese

I took this week off and I'm hoping to have time to play with new Occasions Catalog goodies. You can buy these starting on January 4th!

My sweet friend Iliana got me an amazing crafty Christmas present of a set of the Nuvo Glimmer Pastes and OH MY WORD are they amazing.

They dry much faster than some other pastes I've tried and the colors are gorgeous. Each one is named after a precious stone, and the card I'm showing you today is made with the Moonstone paste - a clear iridescent.
Brighter Days by Understand Blue

I took a background that I made while filming this video, and I added the Nuvo Paste background using the Seasonal Decorative Masks, because I wanted a raindrop look, even though the mask I think is really meant to be snow. I love the way it looks! My photos don't do justice to the sparkle. Then I used the Circle Framelits and cut the bottom from white cardstock, and cut another out of this beautiful handmade lemongrass wrapping paper I had out to wrap a gift with and glued that to the white. Then I cut three more circles - two out of Stick-It, and one out of this extra thin fun foam and adhered the stick it to the white circle, peeled the backing off and adhered the fun foam to that. I put the last circle of Stick-It to the back of the fun foam, peeled off the backing and stuck that to the card. I watercolored the girl from Beautiful You (available January 4th) with my Schmincke watercolors.

Now here is the tip on Stick-It. You HAVE to burnish it with your bone folder after you stick the first side to whatever you're adhering and before you remove the final release paper. I did NOT do this the first time I adhered it to the fun foam, which is a little slick, and so when I lifted the release paper - all the adhesive started to lift. It's at this point that people like to get on social media and rant that a product doesn't work - but the fact is, I was just using it wrong. I set it back down, went over it with my bone folder, and it worked perfectly. Operator error! I love the product for all tricky die cutting.

I really ended up loving the way this card looked. I had someone in mind when I was making it so I wanted it to be as pretty as it could be and I'm really pleased. I made a video for you where I show you a few different backgrounds on the paste that will show up in future blog posts. This one is in real time, because one of the things I wanted to show is how fast it dries, which is awesome, and different from other pastes I use. The colors are gorgeous.

Now before I go, I want to show you a project by my dad (you can read about him here) - it's a solunar calendar that he and I have been working on since 2005. There's more to things that affect the tides, crops, the movement of fish and game than just the full moon, which gets all the credit for everything. There are other solar and lunar events that people have used forever to predict certain things, and my dad came up with a way to display those in a universally legible format, but also in a way that serves the purposes of an actual annual calendar. Over the years that we've worked on this it's been fun to learn the patterns of these things I didn't know existed, and their important effects.

We started in a totally different format, different colors, different orientation - everything, and settled on this for the 2017 calendar. It has two pages, one is the calendar, and one is my dad's explanation of the patterns of events like eclipses, aphelions, perihelions, etc. and how they are displayed visually on the calendar.

So if that interests you, or you also have some scientific types in your family like I do who love to geek out about the space-time continuum, black holes, perihelions, quarks and whatnot, then you can go here to buy a calendar from my dad!

It turns out today that my card was exactly perfect for his calendar launch - a little earthling staring into the sky :).



  1. I was wondering how you used a paste and still got circles that were, well, circular. I love this! It's gorgeous and sparkly, just like your sweet soul.

  2. i've yet to try pastes, but you've sold me on the technique! so so so pretty.

    i know these vids take a LOT of time to produce, edit, and voice over, so thank you for being so generous!

  3. Very cool card! What a beautiful gift from Iliana! I enjoyed reading your boiled-down food ponderings. (a little pun for you, hehe) #Godblesscheese! Cracked me up....

  4. You and your Dad are amazing! I never contemplated so much about the foods I love, but from now on, I will!

  5. Just a note to thank you Lydia for bringing us such joy and laughter and inspiration throughout 2016. Hubby and I have laughed in delight at your analogies - over and over. And once again today with your 'alien' one! Your creativity both in art and in word/deed is AMAZING. Your sharing has blessed in us so many ways. May 2017 be the BEST YEAR EVER for you and yours. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Xj.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to say this Joi - you have made my year! xo

  6. What a great card! Love that shimmery background!

  7. Oh my! What a lovely card!! Iliana is a keeper! I tried to buy a friend like her at Walmart and Kohl's but they said they were all sold out! Darn!! I NEED a friend like her! I have been drooling over the Nuvo Pastes, Jewels and glitters since they first came out and haven't been able to afford them yet! One day I hope to make this dream come true because I NEED them in my life! 'Thank you for sharing all of your food "bites' with us! This blog post must have been quite a mouthful to write and turned out pretty "cheesy"! (in a good way that is)
    Your Dad's calendar sounds very interesting and if I can scrape together the $$ I am going to order one for my hubby who loves stuff like this!
    If the Mexicans and Italians ever decide to mix their foods together we could order lachadas, panadilias, tacritos and last but definitely not least Minetilla soup! YUMMY!
    I am off to see if I can find that Alien and invite him to dinner! Maybe he would like some sushi or steak tartar after hearing about the Mexitalian foods!


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