Photo of the Day (7.11.10)

Does all this sweltering Summer weather have you feeling sweaty this week? Why not cool off for a second with today’s refreshing Gelato photo, courtesy of Flickr user Leslie at The L-List. Taking photos of your food while you travel can be a fun way to remember a particularly great meal or a special ingredient you just don’t want to forget. In the case of today’s photo, there’s also plenty of interesting visual elements that catch the viewer’s eye. The Macro technique does a great job of making you feel like the viewer is about to take a big old bite. I can almost taste that Gelato now…

Have any great food photos from your own travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of your delectable shots as our Photo of the Day. Food-loving photographers should also check out Gadling’s Food Photography Contest ending tomorrow. We’re giving away over $400 in photo gear.

When in Canada, try the Nanaimo bar

Something occurred to me the other day when I was visiting with friends who had just moved here from the states: When someone from another country visits my family and I in Canada, our first step isn’t to take them to the local sites or order them a double double or sit them down with the a copy of Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw. No, the first thing we do is hand them a plate … of freshly baked Nanaimo Bars. Nana-what, you ask?

Nanaimo Bars are a sweet treat that originated in Nanaimo, a gorgeous city on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. According to folklore, they got their start as a pick-me-up; they were baked with love and sent to weary miners from family members as a way to brighten their day. Now, hundreds of years later, these three-layer treats are still brightening days across the country–maybe even across North America–but especially here in the west.

I don’t know how to describe them except for this: It’s a fudge brownie topped off with white creamy custardy icing topped off with a layer of thick chocolate. They’re a little rich, but divinely delicious. You can make them yourself, but I recommend trying them on a visit up north (or down south for you Alaskans.)

Where has all the sugar gone?

Have you noticed that it is virtually impossible to buy chewing gum WITH sugar anywhere in the world anymore? Panama, Italy, Czech Republic, Switzerland…they all sell gum with aspartame or saccharin. Even in Mauritius, one of the world’s top sugar cane growers, I noticed they used artificial sweetener in their gum. Sad, to say the least.

It used to be that sugar-free gum was a US specialty because Americans were obsessed with fitness (like the two extra calories make a difference) and their teeth. Not anymore.

Nowadays, it is virtually impossible to get a piece of gum without aspartame/NutraSweet anywhere in the world. Not because it is so much better for you, but it is so much cheaper to produce. This really blows for me because aspartame gives me an instant headache. Not fun, especially when you travel.

Chatting with the biologist about water bottles (yesterday) brought us to the topic of sugar as well. He feels much more strongly about the use of artificial sugar than drinking water with leeching chemicals. He said:

“If you really want to worry about your health, don’t use anything that has artificial sweetener in it which includes all diet drinks and foods as well as most over the counter medicines. Sugar has been part of man’s existence for thousands of years and until we got modern was never a problem unless we used too much (as we do in the U.S.). I am very afraid of aspartame (NutraSweet) and the neurological damage it does since it is in millions of products used daily. “