Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are Men and Women So Different?

JD and I have been talking recently about the ranges of toiletries available for men and women. We were going to do a challenge (Ooh we do love a good challenge!) where we each used the others toiletries for a month to see how it was. Except I often use JD's deoderant anyway and we use non-gender specific shower gel etc. It wouldn't produce any interesting results so we decided I'd just make a post complaining about the silly differences in men and women's products instead. :D

America seems to have the best names for men's shower gels. They're so manly and rugged sounding. BEARGLOVE! WOLFTHORN! LIONPRIDE! Everyone knows you're a man by the shower gel you use.


A lot of men's shower gels have grips on the side too so they can be used while jumping out of a plane or during a high speed car chase. Here's a picture of JD being overcome by manliness while gripping some manly shower gel in Asda.

Luckily women only do delicate activities so their toiletries can be smooth and curvy, no gripping needed here.


I don't understand why there are such differences in the appearance of different gender deoderants. Do women really only want products that have curves and men only want deoderants that resemble R2D2?


Toiletries are always clearly marked For Men or Women on them too like we can't differentiate between them even though they're so glaringly different in style.

Razors might be the worst example of how marketing makes us feel we have to have gender-specific products. The actual blades in men's and women's razors are the same but just housed in different coloured plastic to sell to each gender. Men's are adorned with footballs or racing cars (are they selling to grown men here or little boys?) and women's are usually pink (same as before, women or little girls??) with flowers or something girly on the packaging. This kind of marketing is a bit insulting really especially when what we're buying is the same product.


You can see here in these pictures the inconsistency in the pricing. Men's razors are twice the price of women's even though they're technically the same. Men's usually have metal handles and women's have pink plastic handles. If I was a man I'd save money by using a pink razor :D


The amount of blades in a razor is an actual joke I've heard many comedians talk about. When will it end. The sad thing is that with each blade addition the price goes up and the ads tell us that the razor performs better when really just shaving with one blade is good enough.

Whilst investigating toiletries in our local Asda the weirdest difference was with Tena incontinence products. The men's on the right are in a box with all kinds of scientific looking information that makes it seem more medical and informative. The women's on the left are in plastic and have a flower and pretty moisture droplets.


I don't think men and women need different toiletries at all but that marketing people want us to think we do because it means more sales. JD and I already use the same shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, handwash and maybe we should go a step further and use the same deoderant. There's no reason not too, they're the same products packaged differently to make us feel that men and women aren't the same. In some ways we aren't the same but in more ways than we think, we are.

Would you use toiletries meant for the opposite sex?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 30: The Club Sandwich

This sandwich is said to have been invented by a hungry gentleman forced to make his own food because his cooks had retired to bed. He stuffed whatever leftovers he could find between two slices of toast which his club later adopted as their specialty.

There are lots of variations but the main ingredients are chicken, bacon, mayo, lettuce and tomato. I'm not sure I'll enjoy this one because our recipe includes avocado, tomato and is topped with an olive...all things I'm not too keen on.

Here's a recipe if you want to try it yourself ---> Club Sandwich Recipe


 Preparation of the dreaded ingredients :D





The best thing about this sandwich was how great everything looked layered up in the side view. The toothpick holds it all together nicely so you can eat it. I really enjoyed the combined flavours of the filling. Even though certain elements of it (I'll mention no names) aren't my favourite I still thought the whole sandwich was delicious. And that's why sandwiches are so great, they make a new taste by teaming up different foods together. It's what also make trying new sandwiches so interesting, you never know what they'll be like. Anyway, I'm happy to report the club sandwich is pretty nice and we both enjoyed it.

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 4

Coming up next week - Katsu Sando

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 29: Broodje Kroket

This week's sandwich is from The Netherlands and is basically a meat croquette in a bread bun. Sounds interesting at least :)

Here's a link to the recipe if you want to try it yourself --> Broodje Kroket


To start with I made some bechamel sauce.


 JD chopped up some roast beef, onion, mushrooms and some thyme.



 Chop it all up in the food processor to form a chunky paste.


 JD rolled the paste into log shapes and breaded them.


Then we fried them until browned.


 Serve in a bread bun with mustard.



This sandwich was very different from anything I've had before. The only croquettes I've had previously were potato ones. The flavours all seemed really British to me especially the pairing of roast beef and mustard. Thankfully the mushrooms didn't add much flavour but the thyme and onion together with the beef was a great combination. It was surprising how easy it was to fry such a soft thing since we've had difficulty frying before but they fried perfectly. The sandwich was odd to eat, a soft bread roll with a crunchy croquette filled with a soft pate like filling. If you make these then be careful when you bite into it as I burned my mouth! This sandwich was a bit too much effort to make but I'm glad I did as it's a unique taste that I'm glad to have tried.

Ratings: JD - 3/5, Emma - 4/5

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Family Game Review: Battleblock Theater


Battleblock Theater is a video game we got free through our XBox Live subscription.  It's a platform game where you have to collect gems to open the exit to each level. You can customise your character's face and also buy different weapons to use. The faces have many really funny expressions and the weapons include a dancing frog with a top hat and cane that explodes.


One of the best parts of the game is the narration while you play. The guy says things like "You're doing it wrong" or "Don't die there of all places". As you customise "You should choose cool things not dumb and stupid things". When you start a new level "I sure hope you find gems and not death" or "Don't lose hope, I know I did".

The two player game is fantastic. You have to work together to help each other past obstacles, reach down to help your partner up or stand on a button to create a bridge for them to cross. Leigh and Erin are horrible to each other when they play. Moving off the button so the other falls to their death or just punching them so they fall in the water and drown. It's funny to watch and since when you die you just reappear at the last checkpoint it's all good fun.



 The puzzle element of the game gets pretty tricky as you go through the levels. You have to work out what to do to get to some of the gems and there are secret levels to find. There's buttons to press, robots with torpedos, weird raccoon monsters, homicidal cats, lightening to avoid, acid, spikes to try not to get impaled on and many other fun features.


Even though we got this game free we've all said we would've bought it and been happy with our purchase!

JD said "It's a really good party game because you die often and come back instantly so it's easy to swap the controller between people and keep the fun going".

Erin said "I like the different weapons especially the exploding dancing frog".

Leigh said "It's funny because you have different faces to choose from and collect".

We've all got tons of fun from this game and I would recommend trying it. It's fun single or multi-player. There's plenty of levels too, each chapter has 10 levels plus 3 fiendishly tricky timed levels to try. With 8 chapters that's a lot of gameplay. We've enjoyed this game so much that at times we've cried laughing and it doesn't get better than that. :D

Ratings:

JD - 5, Emma - 5, Leigh - 5 and Erin - 4.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 28: Meatball Sub

I've been looking forward to this Saturday's sandwich all week. JD and I have tried meatball subs before but were quite willing to try them again for the benefit of this post :)

Ingredients: sub rolls, minced pork, onion, bread, milk, chili flakes, garlic granules, bell pepper, tinned tomatoes, sugar, parmesan, gruyere cheese, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Maybe other things, I forget.

Soak the bread in some milk and mush up. In a bowl mix the pork, parmesan, bread and milk with your hand. Cut up the bell pepper and onion to roast in the oven.


Form the mixture into small balls and fry in a frying pan until browned.


Make the sauce from the tomatoes, sugar, herbs, garlic granules, chili flakes, salt and pepper. It says to put the meatballs in the sauce and simmer for 40 minutes. We were pushed for time so I just simmered it for a bit and then thickened the sauce with cornflour and water instead.


 Cut open the sub rolls. Layer cheese, meatballs, sauce, bell pepper and onion on the sandwiches.



Everyone enjoyed this sandwich which is a rare occurrence in the Jackson household! Hot sandwiches are great and this one is moist, meaty and really filling. The sauce in particular was delicious and just a bit hot from the chili flakes. I especially enjoy sandwiches with a soft bread roll too.

Ratings: JD - 5, Emma - 4, Leigh - 4, Erin - 5

Coming up next Saturday: Broodje Kroket

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Homework: A Failure of Society

(Artist: Pawel Kucyzynski)
I have some pretty non-traditional views of schooling. From the time I was 5 to the time I was 14, I went to a school where the pupils sat at desks attached to and facing the wall with large dividers between us. Quiet ruled the air, and distractions did not exist. Our work was largely self-directed - we chose what we wanted to work on each hour and each day as long as we kept a consistent pace among all subjects over time. If we finished a certain amount of work before the school day was finished, then the rest of the day was yours. We even checked and graded our own work day-to-day. That school closed down when I was 14, and I was homeschooled until 18. There was no formal curriculum in my homeschooling (some might know this as "unschooling"), and my learning was then entirely self-directed.

During the nine years I went to that formal school, I can recall having homework perhaps ten times, or just about once per year. Now my children get homework that many times in a fortnight. Some schools are giving their students as much as three hours of homework a day. Even my six year old nephew gets homework daily. Immediately as a child starts formal education, does the school intend to own that child's evenings forever?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 27: Roti John

Yees, I know it's Sunday but we made and ate it yesterday so it still counts :D

This egg based sandwich is usually eaten for breakfast or a snack in Singapore and Malaysia.

Ingredients: 2 eggs, minced beef, 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 2 tsp curry powder, bread rolls and oil for frying.


Saute the minced beef, onion and garlic first until it's properly cooked. Then mix with two eggs and the curry powder. Half the bread rolls and spread the mixture onto one side. Place face down in a frying pan and fry until the egg is cooked and caramelised. Add tomato sauce or hot sauce (both pictured) whichever you prefer.



These sandwiches were great! I've tried plenty of different meats in an omlette before but never minced meat. The curry powder gave it a lovely flavour and we both enjoyed the Roti John very much. We'll likely eat these again. JD has already lamented that we don't have any mince left to have them again for breakfast today :)

The flipping of the bread and mixture into the pan was tricky but if you just go for it it seems to work out. JD said he was surprised how easy it was to make because with sloppy mixtures in the frying pan they often break apart but this stuck to the bread and made a nicely solid omlette type filling.

Fondant Fancies are optional by the way!

Ratings: JD -  4/5 Emma - 4/5

Coming up next week: Meatball Sub