Is Facebook worth it??

Well, after all, maybe so.

I don’t mean the IPO. We didn’t get any of that stock for the family portfolio, and anyway, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll took care of the stock-buying issue (don’t bother) in a recent column.

What I’m talking about is the frustration of being at Facebook’s mercy; the bewildering, nonstop fiddling around; the unfathomable decisions made to let you see the postings of a few people you barely knew 30 years ago, only to decide you really would rather see those of other people you knew 20 years ago but not as well. Is it ever worth the hassle?

It turns out, if you put up with this foolishness long enough there could be a payoff.

I have a Facebook friend named Stephenie, whose back window anchors the narrow view through the trees and across the fence from my urban kitchen window. We met in real time some years ago when she hung a lighted wreath in her window the day I came home from having a mastectomy, and I took it as an omen for good. (She feared it was taken as offensive to someone when she found my note “To the people with the lighted wreath in the window” stuck in her apartment mailboxes, but we got beyond that.)

In addition to being young, smart, beautiful and very busy, Stephenie is a gourmet cook. I know the first part from our several real time encounters, and the gourmet cook part from her Facebook postings, which Facebook is currently allowing me to see.

Creamy Golden (Boozy Vanilla Bean Dotted) Custard
Creamy Golden (Boozy Vanilla Bean Dotted) Custard (Photo credit: Sifu Renka)

The latest was an absolutely gorgeous photo of a newly made Raspberry Tart with Whole Vanilla Bean Custard + Apricot and Pear Liquor and Brandy Glaze. Dripping with elegance.

So I added a little comment: “Feel free to call if you absolutely have to get rid of the leftovers;” clicked Enter and forgot about it.

Twenty minutes later the doorbell rang. And lo! there stood a smiling Stephenie with a take-out box of two slices of tart.

I am not divulging the real time address of my culinary source. But for once, thanks, Facebook.

Food for brain-healthy thought — and Happy 4th of July Picnic to you

Ketchup alongside French fried potatoes
Image via Wikipedia

Just when you start thinking hot dogs, french fries and toasted marshmallows for the summer, along come other viewpoints. But this space is all about dialog.

Reader Cato, in response to the alcohol cause-for-harm tax referenced below, suggests a fat tax — which would surely tax the enjoyment of your 4th of July potato salad and homemade ice cream. More useful is a new feature just instituted over at the Posit Science folks’ blog site: Brain Healthy Recipes.  French fried potatoes need not apply.

But as it turns out, there are plenty of foods — spinach, nuts, garlic (!), carrots and more — that can shape up your brain. Research has shown, says blogger Marghi Merzenich, that foods containing certain nutrients can boost memory, alertness, and have other benefits for brain health.

As it further turns out, a lot of brain-healthy items make pretty tasty dishes. Over at the Amen Clinic site (that’s Daniel G. Amen, MD, certainly a fine name for a brainy doctor) you can find recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner including Dorie’s Truly Amazing Lamb, Beans and Rice, or the Homemade Turkey Jerky which Dr. Amen professes to eat all the time when he’s writing. He’s got a LOT more published books than this writer, so perhaps I should whip up a little turkey jerky.

The EatingWell folks also have an assortment of brain-healthy recipes, plus menus in groups beginning with prenatal and extending through geezer.

Some of these even fall within my three basic food groups: caffeine, ice cream and chocolate — or at the least, allow a dollop of espresso. Hope your picnic is a merry, and brain-healthy time.