The Cutler Mail Chute

Tuesday 07.12.11

The first Cutler Mail Chute was installed back in 1884 in a building in Rochester, NY. Who knows how many of these are still in active use. I read that in Manhattan and the Bronx alone, there are well over 900 still in operation. Although, as a matter of fire safety, they have been banned in new construction since 1997. Which makes good sense. I suppose. I just love that there was an entire industry devoted to designing, manufacturing and installing these things. And, if you live in a city, you have doubtless seen, or perhaps even used, one of these. I can’t quite describe the thrill of seeing my little envelope hurtling downward into the box on the ground floor!

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Can You Pronounce Iisakki Järvenpää?

Friday 07.08.11

The web takes some strange turns. I was looking for one thing, and instead ended up on a site called World Knives Ltd. Weird thing is, I’ve actually been here before. Anyway, the page that came up was one with all of these great drawings of Iisakki Järvenpää Finnish knives. I am told that they are for “bushcraft enthusiasts, wood workers and collectors alike.” They have some good history. Turns out that most traditional knives do have some kind of story attached to their provenance.

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Remember These?

Friday 07.08.11

I found these tucked away on a shelf in a friend’s closet. She told me to throw them out. Yeah, right.

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Waste

Thursday 07.07.11

My husband and I ordered take out the other night from the local Japanese restaurant. We ordered three rolls, hijiki, a green salad and some dumplings. When we were done cleaning up, I took a step back and really looked at the waste generated from all the containers used to transport our meal. I’ve done this before, but never been motivated to actually stop and think long enough to want to change my behavior regarding one of NY’s diehard habits. And then I did a quick and rough calculation: I figured that if they got just 30 take out orders a night, and multiplied that times the number of days in a week, weeks in a year and then times that by the number of Japanese restaurants in Brooklyn alone…I lost track when I hit 230,000 separate pieces of plastic. I started to feel dizzy and a little sick. Not to mention guilty. Basically, that is one shitload of plastic containers. There has got to be a better way! First of all, no more take out.

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Play With Your Food

Tuesday 07.05.11

Full disclosure: when I was in college and working late at night, my default meal was either a tin of sardines, triscuits and cheese, or a bag of oreos and a can of coke. Yum. And it was more likely the latter. I only wish that I had thought to occupy myself with making cameo portraits out of the creme filling. Thankfully, Judith G. Klausner has! The whole notion of a portrait sculpted out of something as ephemeral as a cookie, is deeply satisfying, and just very very funny. Thank you Erica for sending this my way. Photos by Steve Pomeroy.

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Type on a Bun, Please

Tuesday 07.05.11

Are we, or are we not, a nation of sandwich lovers? I would venture that we are probably more obsessed about sandwiches than most any other food, other than perhaps pizza and barbeque. David Schwen, a subversively funny designer, has captured our preoccupation with all that fits between two slices of bread. But he has brilliantly distilled it down to the barest of elements. I think you can buy a print version of a hamburger here. And a tee shirt here. I am going to lunch now…

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