Monday, 20 March 2017

Monday, 6 March 2017

I've enrolled in an architecture course

Some time ago, an online course came to my attention. The Architectural Imagination, run by Harvard . 


It was free (unless you wanted a certificate) and it looked interesting so I decided to enrol. It's coming to the end of the first week. The programme so far has involved a few short video lectures, a reading, and a few assignments. The assignments are an online quiz, a short essay and something Hightower draw. At least some of them are self-assessed. There's a discussion board where you can discuss things with other students and the staff. I'm currently in Vienna so I've been following it on my iPhone which has been working quite well so far, although I still need to complete the assignments. 

The reading was highly philosophical (to me anyway), involving Kant, and so on. I've found it a bit of a struggle, but I guess that's to be expected when learning something new. I'm writing this in the Kaffee Alt Wien, and will be off for the evening's entertainment in a little while, so I think I'll stop now. 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Grammeln, greaves and scratchings

We arrived in Vienna on Saturday. It was a bit early to check in to our accommodation, so we decided to have something to eat at the airport. At the cafe, the dish of the day was Grammelknödel mit Sauerkraut. Grammelknödel was translated as "dumplings with greaves", which I found a bit puzzling, since I thought greaves were a sort of armour worn over the shins. 


We ordered it anyway, as we were partial to dumplings and to sauerkraut. While waiting for  our food to arrive and I looked online, and this entry from Wikipedia popped up, under the topic of  Rendering (animal products):

"One edible product is greaves, which is the unmeltable residue left after animal fat has been rendered. An alternative process cooks slaughterhouse offal to produce a thick, lumpy "stew" which is then sold to the pet food industry to be used principally as tinned cat and dog foods."

The dumplings, when they arrived, were very tasty and by then we remembered grammeln from our previous trips. These are the Austrian version of pork scratchings or pork rinds, often served as snacks with wine. 

The dumplings themselves reminded us of Cantonese char siu pau, or pork buns, as you can see from the picture below (grammelknödel on the left, char siu pau on the right). 


We bought some grammeln later in the supermarket. They were slightly crunchy, but not hard like English scratchings, and very tasty. 


You can also get them mixed in with lard to spread on bread. It used to be thought that this sort of thing was very bad for you, but there is some recent research which suggests that animal fats might be OK after all. Not everyone accepts this, but I think I might, while I'm abroad.