Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Tomatoes, a Gift to the World from the West

The savoury fruit once known as the "Love Apple" was long ago considered poison by some Europeans, and initially regarded with much scepticism. The wider world now knows these delicious, juicy orbs as "tomatoes."

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They also contain plenty of phytochemicals that inhibit the development of certain degenerative diseases. Tomatoes are high in the strong antioxidant lycopene, and some phenolic compounds. In the average western diet, 95% of lycopene intake comes from tomatoes and tomato products. It is also found in watermelon, rose-hips, red grapefruit, and papayas.

Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red tint. It appears that lycopene can reduce one's susceptibility to certain cancers, the eye disorder known as age-related macular degeneration, atherosclerosis, and mitigate skin-damage from over-exposure to the sun.

Men who eat two or more servings of tomato products experience an average of 35 percent-less incidence of prostate cancer. 

According to research done by the University of Illinois at Chicago, lycopene helps women to prevent the development of cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN), a tumorous tissue-growth in the cervix. Lycopene is a powerful inhibitor of the growth of breast, endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) and lung-cancer cells. 

Some nutrients are, unfortunately, cooked away from other vegetables, but lycopene is better absorbed by the body when the tomatoes in which it is inherent are cooked with oil, as in a tomato sauce or paste. This is good news for those who like Italian and Mexican cooking, as well as for adherents of what is known as the Mediterranean diet. The cooking helps to break down the cell walls of the tomato releasing the lycopene and the oil helps to increase its absorption.

Japanese scientists have determined that mixing tomato juice into the drinking water of mice prevented them suffering the sort of emphysema that is brought on by the inhalation of tobacco-smoke.

Tomatoes contain lutein. Lutein is found in the retinas of our eyes, thus its ingestion promotes good vision. This substance also is believed by scientists to lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two negative eye-conditions. Lutein may also help to prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis contributes to cardiovascular disease.

Tomatoes and tomato-products are known to be effective in arresting aggressive, metastasizing cancers.

Tomatoes are believed to have originated in Peru, and were introduced into Europe in the 16th century. The genus tomato's Latin name is Solanum Lycopersicum.

There are so many health-benefits from tomatoes, and such a variety of pleasant ways to ingest this colourful plant, that they are truly a gift from the western hemisphere to the rest of the world.

©M-J de Mesterton 2010


Elegant Personal Safety Tool by Nebo

The Nebo CSI flashlight+laser+flasher fits into your purse or pocket.  Laser pinpoints your target, be it perp or prey.

Monday, 23 May 2011

How to Dress on Safari

Elegant Dressing on Safari
The classic safari dress, by Burberrys
Elegant Survival on Safari

Elegant Survival tip: the more of your skin that is covered by clothing, the safer you are from the elements, sun and insects in particular. Even in the U.S., insects can cause deadly diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and West Nile virus. People assume that hot weather requires a baring of skin, which is a fallacy. Natural fibres have a wicking action to keep your skin dry of perspiration, thus keeping you cool. And, everyone but the unenlightened knows now that getting sunburnt/tanned on purpose isn't cool! Smart people wear long sleeves and trousers, long socks, boots and skirts. Do all you can to protect against malaria and other insect-borne diseases. Desert-dwellers cover as much skin as possible, and for good reason. So, whether you're in the high desert, the heavily-wooded forest, or in the savannahs of Africa, my elegant survival rule of covering yourself from head-to-toe with luxurious fabrics is infinitely relevant.

©M-J de Mesterton

Sources for Traditional Safari Clothing
Hunting World: New Old Stock
Tag Safari
Eddie Bauer
M-J's article about Rugged, Comfortable and Elegant Zulu Mil-Spec Watch Bands

Cabela’s safari vest is such a useful garment, figure-flattering and versatile to the point that you will find ways to dress it up for wear in town: hats, long-sleeved tees, cashmere turtlenecks, shirts with collar and cuffs, corduroy trousers, silk scarves knotted at the neck, wool neckties, foulards–the possibilities are endless. Or, just throw it on for quick trips outdoors, because it has your flashlight or torch in one of its many pockets already, together with other small survival tools that you have hidden there. Cabela’s safari vest is fashioned with a focus on fine form and function, perfect for stylish men. Grab it and go, with the rugged glamour that a classic piece of clothing gives a guy!
Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2010
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Growing Strawberries in Sweden

Strawberries are ripe in Sweden around the first day of summer, known as the Summer Solstice and in Sweden as Midsommar. Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden on the weekend closest to June 24. Here, my cousin is offering me the best strawberry from his Åsa estate's large garden, in which he also grows horseradish and potatoes. Note the straw-laden rows in which the strawberries grow,
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Outdoor Furniture

Plastic furniture is all right indoors, especially if it is in the high-styled modern idiom, and was made by 1950s and 1960s designers such as Eero Saarinen. But outdoors, one ideally will have garden or patio furniture made from wrought iron or of teak-wood, which will not deteriorate from exposure to the elements.Wooden and iron furniture blends in with landscaping and nature so well, especially when made in greens, browns, and other earth-tones.
Here is my old garden courtyard, where I had outdoor dining furniture by the now-defunct, elegant wrought-iron furniture company Lyon-Shaw, and a smaller chat-table in iron, wicker and tile, by Alfresco Home.

Unbreakable, Elegant Nozzle Made in the U.S.A.

The Bull's-Eye Nozzle by Duluth
Elegant little nozzle yields a variety of streams and sprays, facilitated by a little twist in either direction.
©M-J de Mesterton

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sugar-Free Jam and Preserves by Smucker's

Sugar-free preserves and jam by Smucker's lets diabetics enjoy a little fruit spread with their breakfast or toast and tea. The jars are elegant, with blue-and-white gingham lids, reminiscent of those red-and-white ones on France's Bonne Maman jars.
©M-J de Mesterton

Friday, 20 May 2011

Water-Efficient Plants

Elegant French Curtains

Two spring rods and two accurately-measured panels with sewn pockets at the tops and bottoms make a lovely set of French curtains. This pair is constructed of a traditional utility-mesh material that lets cool air in from the window.
©M-J de Mesterton

Bandana Collection

Bandanas are very useful items to carry in your purse, folded square and pressed. They can be good for many sorts of emergencies, and even used as napkins at table. Here is a source for bandanas made in the U.S.A.
©M-J de Mesterton
Below: My Collection of Cotton Bandanas
Wal-Mart is a good source for all-cotton bandanas that cost about a dollar each. The designs offered change frequently, so it is an ideal place for the bandana-collector to shop.

Elegant Peonies

Steam and Starch

Ironing Update: Starch and Steam

Crisp but Not Crunchy Clothes with Home-Made Starch

I have a long, old-fashioned cotton skirt with embroidery and a  cotton lining that hangs inside it. It seemed that both layers needed some more body. I iron all my husband's shirts without starch, so I had none in the house. He calls this my "Romanov skirt" and those ladies certainly had theirs starched, back in the early 1900s. I asked him to look up a recipe for ironing starch on the internet, and he came up with a standard formula. One cup of very hot water and a tablespoon of cornstarch, stirred until dissolved and put into a reliable spray bottle was what he recommended, and it worked very well. I have also spray-starched a couple of blouses with the aforementioned mixture, and had great success.

The New Elegant Survival Iron
The Elegant Survival Iron, by Shark
One of the pictured spray bottles contains plain water and a little bit of orange flower water; the other spray bottle holds my starch and water formula. Both of these concoctions are useful for ironing clothes. The first spray gets the wrinkles out, and the second one puts body into natural fabrics.

The Shark Euro-Pro is the best iron I have ever used. Its extended steam feature and heavy construction ensure an efficient ironing experience. The iron is also very pretty, and has a high-quality look.

©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Luxury Line

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Yam and Red Cabbage Salad

A refreshing way to eat health-promoting vegetables, this elegant cabbage and yam salad is also a nice thing to serve your friends: red cabbage is sliced as thinly as possible, and marinated for several hours in the vinaigrette of your choice, then mixed with yams that have been cut into match-sticks and cooked in water with a bit of honey until slightly soft.
Recipe and Photo©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Library

My old library: I chose a very flat carpeting in a check-point style, with pale gold figures on a navy blue background.
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Danish Furniture

Versatile Danish modern furniture even went well with my old-fashioned dining room.
Bowl by Orrefors, Sweden
©M-J de Mesterton

This photo of a photo is glaring a bit, but it shows how well Danish furniture goes with other uncomplicated, classic pieces, like my Chinese cabinet.
©M-J de Mesterton

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Elegant Rosenthal Platter

Pot Roast on  an Elegant Rosenthal Platter, a Birthday Gift  from My Friend, Larry Risko

Elegant Dinner Table

Elegant Rock and Gem Paintings by M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Porcelain Jars from Bavaria and China

©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Elegant Dining Table and Paintings by M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Table Setting

Noritake Sargent China (Japan, 1932), Georges Briard Glasses, Iitala Candlesticks (Finland); Le Creuset Salt, Pepper and Pitcher (France)
Simple Dinner-Table, Set for an Elegant Little Meal
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Domaine la Blaque 2008

2008: It Was a Very Good Year for Domain la Blaque of Provence

Auguste Renoir Roses

These luxurious specimens are from my old Auguste Renoir rose-bush.
©M-J de Mesterton

Boxwood, Impatiens, Holly, Ivy and Hostas

My Garden of Boxwood, Ivy, Myrtle, Hostas, Holly and Impatiens.
©M-J de Mesterton
My Princeton garden with impatiens set among the boxwood, ivy and myrtle, together with hostas and holly bushes.

The Elegant Hydrangea Bush

Hydrangeas can be blue, white, lavender or pink, depending upon the soil conditions where they are planted, and what they are fed.
©M-J de Mesterton.

Elegant Survivor: Lil Red Express Truck

Vegetable Salad Vinaigrette

An elegant salad need not contain lettuce or other greens. This elegant vegetable salad, composed of cucumbers, radishes and sweet orange capsicums, is dressed with a classic vinaigrette made with oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard and a bit of honey.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Elegant Solar Lamps in the Garden

Situated in pots, alongside paths, or in vegetable garden-plots, solar lamps are an economical way to enhance the elegance of your landscape in the evening, and a possible deterrent to pests such as mice, who love to eat little plants but generally avoid light.

©M-J de Mesterton

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Great Set Designer Ken Adam

Sir Kenneth Adam
Interviewed at Little White Lies

Photo by Telegraph U.K.
 Set-Designer for the Classic James Bond Films

Elegant Movie: Roberta

This 1935 musical film featuring the music of Jerome Kern is still relevant today. The elegant Irene Dunn sings "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and, as a Russian princess who is part of the post-Bolshevik revolution diaspora,  performs, in her angelic style,  a Russian ballad with her brother, a prince who is working as an elevator-operator in Paris. There are complications galore in this tragic-comic story, as well as some remarkable dance-numbers by Fred Astaire and the hilarious Ginger Rogers. Elegant Survival readers are likely to appreciate the fashion-critiques by the two main male characters, played by Randolph Scott and the ever-natty Fred Astaire. 
©M-J de Mesterton

Xeriscaping in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder lives up to its name, with nearly every local house and institution employing rocks, gravel and boulders in their gardens. Rocks are beautiful, permanent and abundant natural resources. Stones do not require water, and can look very elegant. Xeriscape is a trademark of the nearby Denver Water Department, and means gardening with the minimum of water-usage.
©M-J de Mesterton May 11th, 2011

Monday, 16 May 2011

Elegant Garden in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder lives up to its name, with elegant rockeries and large boulders featured in nearly every garden.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Elegant, Hardy Boxwood Shrubbery

Boxwood shrubs are evergreens that thrive in cold winters, as well as in drought conditions. Once established, they need to be trimmed with shears every few months in order to stay full and dense. This is my old courtyard, lined with globe-shaped boxwood. ©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Peonies

It is time  to buy and plant a large number of peonies in a place where they can be admired by all. I never bring them inside from my garden (pictured here), because they are usually crawling with ants, who love them as much as we do. Here is a source for peony plants on the web: Hollingsworth Peony Nursery
©Photo and text copyright M-J de Mesterton

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bobcat Visit

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Gigi: a Most Elegant, Sweet Film

Gigi, a lovely movie
starring Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier,  Hermione Gingold,  Isabelle Jeans,  and Jacques Bergerac
Story by Colette
Music by Lerner and Loew
Andre Previn Orchestra
Directed by Vincente Minelli

The DVD set has a documentary about the making of Gigi, a bonus short film and a Tom & Jerry cartoon. "The Million Dollar Nickel" will make most Americans nostalgic for the good old days when communism was still recognised as an evil to be thwarted. 
Hollywood actors and actresses and actors from Europe and South America exhort the public to use the 5-cent stamp to write the truth about the United States in letters abroad to their friends and family in other countries, in an effort to counteract communist propaganda and expose it as a calumnious pack of lies. The speakers include Leslie Caron, Ricardo Montalban, Pier Angeli and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Gigi is a gorgeous movie with a happy ending.
©M-J de Mesterton