History of Food: Pasta

The first form of food similar to pasta was in the writings of Horace where thin strips of dough were fried and served with spices in the 1st century B.C.E. A few centuries later, we see an ancient ancestor of modern day lasagna come out in the form of lagana. It was described to be consisted of sheets of dough with meat filling in between. In the second century, the dough started to be made with flour and water instead of juice from lettuce. Later, Arabs adopted a similar form of noodle in the 5th century and lead to the Italians making thin strip noodle pasta.

 

If we jump to the 15th century, dried pasta was very valued because it could be stored for very long periods of time.That’s why many exploring ships brought dried pasta to the New World. Believe it or not, tomato sauce was only invented in the 18th century! Before this, people would just eat pasta with their hands. Now, people eat it with forks because the tomato would get too messy without it.

 

Today, the average Italian eats about sixty pounds of pasta per year, while the average American eats about twenty pounds of pasta per year. Writings suggest it originated in Italy, but why is it popular in North America? It’s because Italian immigration to the Americas that we love pasta so much. Italians have also had a mass immigration to South Africa, making spaghetti and meatballs a major part of Italian cuisine.

 

Do you like pasta? How do you eat yours? Comment, if you want, I guess.

 

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MLB 2K13 Review

Baseball is a very complicated sport. There are so many little details that are hard to simulate into a video game. But for years it has seemed that the MLB 2K series hasn’t been able to get the major details right. As a Xbox 360 owner, the 2K series is the only one available. MLB The Show is the best sports game available, but it is only on the Playstation 3. So when I picked up my copy of MLB 2K13, I was not expecting much from the game. What I got was even worse. Here is my review of the game

Graphics: 4/10

The MLB The Show series has every little detail possible for the graphics. So when you compare it to 2K13, you feel like you are watching a comic from the 70s. The Graphics are the same exact thing as 2012. There are no improvements to the player faces or ballparks. There are many details on the parks that are not even there anymore in the game. The players still show emotions though, and although they are not very realistic, they still add a element of fun to the game. The swings and batter stances look pretty detailed as well. Overall though, they need some major updating. 

Gameplay: 6/10

The one bright spot of the game is the pitching mechanics. You have to think about where you locate your pitches. For example, if you are using a left handed pitcher and leave a curveball hanging to a right handed batter he will hit a homerun. The AI remembers where you throw pitches and punishes you if you make the same mistake twice. It gives the game a somewhat realistic feeling. The hitting isn’t terrible, but it is not good either. It it very simple, and feels like a sort of arcade game. Any ball hit near the warning track is caught. Every outfielder has great speed, even guys like Nelson Cruz. 

Commentary: 7/10

The commentators are very detailed. Every pitcher is thoroughly explained by John Kruk and his crew. It is nice to hear commentary when you bat, as The Show is just dead silent during ABs. I have learned many things from listening to the stuff they say in the game, and don’t often hear the same thing more than once. 2K did one thing right at least

 Overall: 5/10

Honestly, all MLB 2K13 is is a copy of MLB 2K12. So if you want a baseball game for your Xbox, just go out and buy an older 2K game for half the price. Because I guarantee that it will play the same.

Angkor Wat: The World’s Largest Religious Monument

Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia, is the world’s largest religious monument. “Angkor” comes from Sanskrit and means “city” while Wat is Khmer for “temple.” Cambodians are usually referred to as Khmer people and Thai are referred to as Siem. So, the name Siem Reap means “Thai Defeat,” but that’s another story. Angkor Wat also appears on the national flag of Cambodia.

Angkor Wat was originally built in the 12th century by king Suryavarman II as a Hindu temple. It was a dedication to Vishnu. Later, in the 16th century, Buddhism took over and Angkor Wat was converted to a Buddhist temple. The Buddhists tried to paint the giant wall mural depicting several scenes from Hinduism and in some parts, you can actually touch the carved stone on the mural.

Angkor Wat lies on an island 1km x 1.5km with a 1 km wide moat on all sides. There are two entrances: the front in the west and the back in the east. Angkor Wat, unlike most temples, faces to the west instead of the east to signify that Suryavarman was intending to be buried there. Inside the temple, there is a central point where you can see in all four directions, many intricate and sometimes unfinished carvings, and a big central tower which was the king’s tomb. The central has really steep stairs that you could be afraid of going up and down.

Overall, Angkor Wat is a great place and has a lot of extra history and details to it, and it is also a great tourist destination.

Hehe, It’s a Lizard!

I took this picture of a really cool lizard in Cambodia.

Gods Versus Demons

This picture was taken by the wall mural in Angkor Wat. If you look closely, the ones facing to the right are different from the ones facing to the left. The gods are facing to the right and the demons … Continue reading

Khmer BBQ

I took this picture in Cambodia of a Khmer hot pot barbecue. They give you all the raw ingredients and you cook them yourself.

The History of Food: The Best of the Best: ICE CREAM!

The earliest known form of ice cream was in the Persian Empire when grape juice concentrate was poured on top of snow for a treat when it was hot outside. People have been doing this for centuries. Sorbet is said … Continue reading

The History of Food: Escargot

Ewwwww… escargot. These creatures are a treat for the French, but we think of it as being disgusting. These are snails that have gone through heliculture and have been stuffed back into their shells with garnishes. Years ago, in ancient … Continue reading

Baseball is Back

For most of us, our favorite day of the year is usually a holiday. Some people like Christmas, others like Easter, Halloween, etc. But my favorite day is not a holiday. Or a birthday. For a few people in the U.S, Feb 10 is the best day of 2013. Why is this? Feb 10 is officially the start of the Major League Baseball season. Pitchers and Catchers start reporting to their teams starting on Feb. 10. Over the next two weeks, we get to see all of our favorite players come to spring training. Whether you’re a superstar or a minor leaguer, February marks the start of a long season. With spring training comes the questions. Who’s the best team? Who is the most underrated team? Who needs a trade? Here are my picks for the upcoming season

American League East Winner: Tampa Bay Rays.
This may come as a big surprise to many people. With all the noise the Blue jays made in the offseason, acquiring Jose Reyes and R.A Dickey, they would seem to be the immediate favorite. But everybody thought the Marlins would be great last year too, and they couldn’t even fill their own stadium because they were so bad. Injuries are very common in the MLB, and if one of the Blue Jays stars were to go down, they could fall. If the Ray’s are going to pull this off, they will need exceptional play from rookie Will Myers and Cy Young winner David Price. The Red Sox also pose a threat to take the league, and the Orioles are weirdly enough, starting to become a legitimate franchise. This division will most definitely be the most interesting this year.

American League Central Winner: Detroit Tigers
This one is a no brainer. Coming of one the best years in the franchise’s history, the Tigers have arguably the best pitcher – hitter combination in Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. With a healthy Victor Martinez, this team has a great chance at winning it all. The White Sox are seasoned with veterans, but i can’t see them staying healthy the whole year. The Royals made improvements, acquiring James Shields from the Rays, but still are missing that superstar to lead them to the playoffs.

American League West: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels certainly made the most noise in the offseason, acquiring Josh Hamilton from the Rangers. With a healthy C.J Wilson, the Angels could be one of the best teams in baseball. The Oakland Athletics showed that you don’t need a lot of money to be successful in baseball, as they were one of the best teams in the MLB, and kept their payroll under 30 million dollars. With the perfect combination of rookies and veterans, the Athletics will finish in a close second, but still steal a wild card spot. The Rangers lost their captain, and best player in Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. They can still make some noise, but don’t expect much come October.

National League East Winner: Washington Nationals.
This was very tough. With the Braves acquiring the Upton Brothers, they would seem to be a favorite for the division. But beyond their bullpen, the Braves don’t have any depth in their starting rotation. The Nationals have the best one – two pitcher combination in Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, and also a young superstar in Bryce Harper. I think because of their youth, the Nationals have a chance at winning the World Series. The Phillies are still a good team, but the race between the Braves and Nationals is going to be way too tight for them to sneak into second place in the division. For the goodness of the world, I will not even talk about the Miami Marlins.

National League Central Winner: Cincinnati Reds
The Reds could be considered one of the best all around teams in baseball, and the addition of Shin-Soo Choo certainly makes them even better. Nobody will want to face Aroldis Chapman for six innings this year, and Joey Votto is just a beast. The Cardinals can only win the division if they resign Kyle Lohse. Lohse has a combined 30 wins the last two years, and only three losses. The Brewers certainly have a bright future if Ryan Braun is good without his needles, but they still don’t have enough depth in their lineup to top the division. The Pirates just don’t have much besides Andrew McCutchen, and the Cubs are still the Cubs.

National League West Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have certainly made an impact in the trade market, getting Zack Greinke, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez. This team has the potential to plow everybody over in the MLB, or be one of the worst collapses in baseball history. Crawford’s health is certainly an issue, but if he can regain his 2010 form, LA is going to put the league on notice. The Giants are certainly a very close second, with virtually the same roster as last year. It will be interesting to watch divisional games between them and the Dodgers, and if the Giants win that series, they could win it all.

Most Valuable Players: Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen
Trout had an outstanding rookie season, and is poised to be the best player in the league this year. He can do a little bit of everything, and it can not be expressed how important he is to the Angels. McCutchen would have gotten the MVP last year if the Giants hadn’t won the World Series. With a deprived lineup, McCutchen is going to be a star this year for the Pirate’s.

World Series Winner: Washington Nationals
This topic is certainly a hot one. With all the offseason moves, the Nationals managed to get a great starter in Dan Haren, and a legitimate leadoff man in Denard Span. With last year’s collapse in the postseason still sour in their mouths, I think that our nation’s capital will be hoisting the trophy at the end of the year.

Five prospects that will turn heads in the MLB this season

When we think of our favorite sports, we always think of the big superstars. If you’re a football fan you think of Tom Brady, basketball fans think of Lebron James, etc. My favorite sport and thing in the world is baseball. There are so many superstars that impact their teams, but baseball is really the only sport where there are thousands of young men waiting to get the call to play in the MLB.

In Baseball, there is a very long process you must go through to get to the Majors. If you get drafted out of high school, you can skip college and go right to the system. This is not advised by most coaches because you don’t make a lot of money, and it is important to learn a specific skill at college incase you don’t make it as a baseball player. After you get drafted, either out of college or high school, you go to lower class “a” ball. There are four different teams in the Minors for each Professional Organization. There is lower class a, high a, double a, and triple a. If you perform at the level you’re expected to, you move up a team each year. People who have lots of talent sometimes move right to double a, like Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. It is a long process, but it pays off in the end. These next 5 men I am about to list I think will have breakout years in Professional Baseball this year.

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Photo Credit: Wagnike2


1. Oscar Taveras, Outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals.
He is in my mind, the most productive player in the minor leagues right now. Last year with Double A Springfield, he hit .320 with 94 RBIs and 23 home runs. If Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, or any other outfielder were to go down, he would be the only person who could fill that offensive hole in their lineup.

2. Will Myers, Outfielder/Catcher, Tampa Bay Rays.
Myers was acquired by the Rays in the trade that sent James Shields to Kansas City, the best trade in my mind of the offseason. With the Upton brothers joining forces in Atlanta, Myers is the perfect replacement for B.J. He has the speed and power of Carlos Gonzalez, with the defensive ability of Mike Trout. He is my rookie of the year pick for the American League.

3. Sean Nolin, Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Nolin is one of the most underrated starting pitchers in the minors right now. As the best pitcher in the Blue Jays organization last year, he posted a 2.03 ERA, and only allowed 27 walks in 101 innings. He also averaged an astounding 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. With a stacked starting rotation that includes multiple 15 game winners, don’t expect to see Nolin until late June or early July. He could be the difference between the Blue Jays winning or losing the World Series.

4. Alex Meyer, Pitcher, Minnesota Twins.
Traded from the Nationals, Alex Meyer had an impressive year last year. In two different levels, the 6’9” Meyer posted a 2.83 ERA, and held hitters to only a .211 average. With the Twins immense struggles last year at starting pitcher, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe Mauer catching the tall righty sooner than later. Meyer will have to have a good spring training though if he wants a permanent spot in the Majors.

5. Travis D’Arnaud, Catcher, New York Mets
In only 67 games last year, the 24 year old phenom hit 16 homers and batted in 52 runs. If he can stay healthy, he should be able to take John Buck’s starting position at catcher. Last year he was ranked in the top twenty best prospects, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top ten this year. With only a few big name catchers in the MLB right now, I predict D’Arnaud to be the best catcher in the game in 5 years.

These are only a few of the best players in the Minors right now, but when you hear their name on SportsCenter, remember you heard it first from Will. Continue reading