Monday, April 25, 2011

Science as a career choice.

By way of a Slashdot posting, I came across an interesting article. Why aren't there more women in science?
To summarize it for you, the key point is that women are smarter than men when it comes to listening to their elders and choosing a career. The article discusses what work in science looks like in the real world, and I can't argue with it, it is pretty much spot on, having followed a similar career trajectory to what was described. I'm lucky in that I got out during my first post-doc, rather than waiting until I was denied tenure for the second time.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Cookware to last on the cheap.

I like to cook, but I share my kitchen with a number of other cooks whose technique is different from mine. What that means to me on a practical level is that my cookware needs to be really durable, and tolerant of high heat and rough treatment. Around here, non-stick coatings get scraped and burned off, and anodized aluminum coatings are stripped away. So I've given up on fragile cookware. Cast iron, carbon steel, and stainless steel are now my choices. Well-seasoned cast-iron and carbon steel provide an excellent non-stick coating. And if the coating becomes, well, sticky, I can always re-season.

So, to the title of this post. I've got two anodized aluminum woks that are kind of sticky. Noodles and rice stick to them. I wanted a carbon steel wok, but I couldn't really justify it while the woks I have are still serviceable, if not ideal. I can get a 14in carbon steel wok for about $20 online, not including shipping or tax, which is pretty reasonable, but still enough to slow me down. I was driving along and saw a thrift store, and decided to check it out. Wow. 14in carbon steel wok with wooden handles for $4. 9in cast iron skillet for $3. Why could I find such a deal? They were rusty. Someone who didn't know how to care for steel and iron scrubbed off any seasoning, and they rusted. I took them home, scrubbed off the rust with some abrasive powder, rinsed and dried well, and seasoned them. I won't tell you how to season them, a web search will provide more links than you know what to do with. For half the cost of a new pan, I got two.

Sometimes the old ways are not only cheaper, but better than the new ways.