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8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, January 22, 2004
JESS PIsKOR - COOKN' UP A STORM
THERE'S NOTHING MORE DEPRESSING THAN BLAND FOOD
The Michigan Daily - Weekend Ma
FEELING A LITTLE SAD?
THOSE WINTER BLUES MAY ACTUALLY BE A COMMON FORM OF DEPRESSION
BY ALISON Go * DAILY ARTS WRITER
A pple pie needs cinnamon
and nutmeg. Spaghetti
A sauce needs oregano and
basil. Curry needs, um, curry pow-
der. Perhaps the cheapest and easiest
way to turn an OK meal into a mem-
orable dish is by using spices. A
dash here and a pinch there will go
a long way.
While at first spices may seem a
little pricey - four or five dollars
for a jar of powder - a little bottle
will last for a long time and will fla-
vor up innumerable meals. Properly
stored away from light and mois-
ture, good spices can last a year or
two. All ethnic dishes have their
favorite spices. Here are a few
I cook a lot of stir-fries and rice
dishes. Perhaps the most valuable
spice is ginger. Found in both fresh
root form and dried and ground
powder, ginger adds a nice kick to
any meal, rounding out the taste
with a distinct fresh flavor.
While I prefer grating the fresh
root, it is hard to beat the powder for
convenience. Add about one tea-
spoon or more to a stir-fry along
with some soy sauce and a little
Along with ginger, another valu-
able Asian spice is the licorice-like
flavor of star anise. Used like a bay
leaf, star anise should be cooked in
the sauce, but then removed before
eating. Alternatively, you could use
fennel seed, which has basically the
Coconut milk is not a spice, but
worth mentioning. A can of coconut
milk added to a stir-fry adds a nice
creaminess to the sauce and keeps
things from getting too dry.
Italian spices often come not from
the intensely flavored seeds of
plants, but rather dried leaves. Basil,
oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary
and thyme are all from dried leaves.
Unfortunately, when drying, the
leaves often lose a lot of their dis-
tinctive flavor. Preferably, I use the
fresh leaves if I really want to make
a great meal. But in a pinch the
dried stuff is invaluable.
Rosemary and potatoes blend per-
fectly, either in mashed potatoes or
with sauteed small redskin potatoes
cut in half. When using a pre-made
tomato sauce like Ragu or some-
thing, feel free to make it a little
more distinctive by first adding
some saut6ed garlic and then adding
oregano and basil. It's remarkably
hard to overdose with these relative-
ly mild spices. For a good general
taste improvement, at the very least
invest in a jar of premixed "Italian
seasoning" that includes most of the
spices mentioned above.
Really there is only one and
everyone should have it: chipotle
Made from dried and smoked
jalapeno peppers, chipotle pepper
powder adds a deep smoky, warmly
spicy addition to any Mexican dish.
It's a little hard to find, but if you
like tacos and such, you need this
spice. I add a generous tablespoon
or two to a can of refried beans, heat
it and use it as a base for tacos, faji-
tas and quesadillas. If using ham-
burger meat, add it just the same.
Not just a hallucinogen .
I've been told that when con-
sumed in great quantity, nutmeg is
mildly hallucinogenic. While I've
yet to test this, I do know that nut-
meg is an under-utilized spice. Sure
it has a place in pies and desserts.
But it can also be a wonderful addi-
tion to savory dinners. Try sauteing
some onions and walnuts. Once they
are cooked, add a bunch of spinach,
wilt it in the pan and melt in a bit of
good white cheese. Add some milk
if it is too thick and add a teaspoon
or more of nutmeg. It makes a nice
flavorful side dish to accompany a
starchy wholesome main dish like
It sounds like a dirty word, but
cumin can be your best friend. An
indescribable taste, cumin is a valu-
able addition to Middle Eastern and
Indian fare. It can be used alone
without accompaniment from other
spices. Try it with sauteed eggplant
cubes or rice and beans. Sprinkled
over sauteed broccoli, it gives off a
These are just a few of the thou-
sands of spices that can complete a
dish. I don't advocate going out and
buying a full spice rack tomorrow.
Instead, find one or two spices you
want to try and slowly build a spice
Typically, I try to buy one new
spice every other time I go seriously
food shopping, so about once a
month I have a new spice. The
expense is minimal and, within a
short time, you'll have the basics.
Spices can be intimidating. Too
much can spoil a meal. But spices are
also much more forgiving than people
realize. A little experimentation goes a
long way. Cooking is a lifelong learn-
ing process and the lessons are pretty
easy to remember. If you use too much
spice once, you are unlikely to ever
overuse that spice again. With that in
mind, go out and use spices to your
heart's content. But don't overdo it on
- If you would like to hear more
about the hallucinogenic properties
of common household goods, con-
tact Jess email@example.com.
A t the onset of each
Michigan winter, Miami
Ukaegbu becomes more tired, irri-
table and cranky. While it is rea-
sonable to attribute the graduate
student's melancholy to a simple
case of the "winter blues," her
symptomsecould also indicate a
much more serious malady.
Ukaegbu's winter blues are
actually a milder version of
Seasonal Affective Disorder, a
ty e of winter depression that
affects millions every year
between September and April,
and particu1arly during
December, January and February,
according to the University's
Counseling and Psychological
While many students like LSA
junior Tiffany Daraiseh admit to
feeling "more and more tired" and
have an aversion to go out during
the winter months, people who
suffer from SAD are typically
debilitated by the conditionand
find it near impossible to function
when participating in everyday
Norman Rosenthal of the
National Institute of Mental Health
first recognized SAD as a disorder
in 1984. Rosenthal also gave the
disorder its name and pioneered
the first treatment that proved mar-
ginally effective for SAD.
The disorder appears to have a
strong connection to insufficient
light and is thought to be caused
by a biochemical or hormonal
imbalance due to the shortening of
daylight hours and the lack of sun-
light in winter, Rosenthal said.
However, "we still do not under-
stand the fundamental biological
abnormalities in SAD or how light
works," he added.
Because of the role of inade-
quate light in the disease,
Ukaegbu's move from Florida to
Michigan is one factor likely
responsible for her symptoms.
SAD rarely affects people who live
in latitudes less than 30 degrees
away from the equator, where day-
light hours are man, and sunlight is
constant and extremely bright.
Similarly, as one gets farther
from the equator, the frequency of
SAD also increases. Miami is a lit-
tle more than 25 degrees north of
the equator, while Ann Arbor is 42
Similarly, Ukaegbu's gender
and age group may also have
something to do with her symp-
toms. Women are more susceptible
to the effects of SAD and comprise
70 to 80 percent of cases, while the
primary age of onset is 18 to 30,
according to National Organization
of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Light therapy, the treatment
first used by Rosenthal, is the most
common form of therapy for severe
SAD. While people displaying
non-debilitating symptoms like
Ukaegbu's can purchase their own
UV light bulbs or other bright,
sun-replicating light sources, doc-
tor-mediated photo-therapy is rec-
ommended for patients with more
severe forms of the disorder,
This type of therapy has been
proven effective in more than 80
percent of diagnosed cases.
NOSAD recommends at least 30
minutes of very bright light that is
at least 10 times the intensity of
ordinary domestic lighting.
Other severe cases of SAD are
treated with medication. According
to NOSAD, traditional antidepres-
sant drugs are not usually helpful
for SAD because they tend to
exacerbate sleepiness and lethargy.
On the other hand, non-sedative
drugs such as Prozac (fluoxetine)
are effective in helping the depres-
sive symptoms of SAD and com-
bine well with light therapy.
Treatments for the milder ver-
sion of SAD, or the winter blues,
range from increased physical
activity to the regulation of diet,
especially control over the con-
sumption of carbohydrates and
Similarly, being cooped up in
class or at work during the already
scarce daylight hours of the winter
only serves to intensify the symp-
toms of SAD.
symptoms of SAD
A desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake
Fatigue and an inability to carry out normal routine
A craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually
resulting in weight gain
Feelings of misery, guilt, hopelessness, despair, apa-
thy and sometimes a loss of emotions altogether
An irritability and desire to avoid social contact
A tension and inability to tolerate stress
A decreased interest in sex and physical contact
Source: National Organization of Seasonal Affective Disorder
"I know it's (that time of year)
when the days get noticeably short-
er, and when classes get out and
it's already dark. You feel like you
didn't get the day - that there was
no sun," Ukaegbu said.
For both those like Daraiseh,
who have the inclination to "stay
in all the time," and others who
rarely go outdoors during the day-
time, NOSAD recommends spend-
ing at least an hour a day outside
in the sunlight.
Other options for self-medica-
tion include Ukaegbu's use of aro-
matherapy and strategic redecora-
"I tend to buy myself scented
candles and flowers to cheer up my
room or apartment," she said.
There is also a rare reverse
form of SAD, known as summer
SAD, where symptoms are exhibit-
ed in summer instead of winter.
Summer SAD's causes are not yet
known, but symptoms may include
insomnia, agitation and appetite
loss. Current treatments includ<
conditioning, avoidance of exc
sive daylight and antidepressan
which can lower body temperat
Although summer SAD see
to only affect less than 1 Vercei
the population, Rosenthal s stuw
show that in test areas like Nev
Hampshire, winter SAD affects
about 9.7 of the population, am
also suggest that the winter blu
are even more widespread.
Students like LSA freshma
Nirmal Markani have escaped t
grasp of SAD.
"Because the first semester
over, I feel less stressed. I don'
feel any signs (of SAD) taking
place," he said.
For those who think they
might be dealing with the winte
blues or worse, CAPS suggests
going to their offices and seeing
counselor so a treatment plan c
Daily Arts Mix Tape
"Can't Getcha Outta My Head"
1. Kelis - "Milkshake." I really, really hate this
song..No.realy,I hate it.
2. Francis Scott Key- "The Str-Spangled Banner."
Might not know all the words, but it's catchy.
3.-OutKast "Hey Ya." If I hear this song one more
time, I'll probably sing along, again.
4. Merv Griffin- Theme..from "Jeopardy..This.
one's good to get anything else out of your head.
5. The Beatles - "Hey Jude." Why does this song
make me ry?....................
.6. LnyrdSkynyrd - "Sweet Home.Alabama." I
..ke d ....................d n ..............................
liked the movie better. Wait, n~o I didn't.
....... .h ......e s.. ..''....e . ..a..y u,.
7. The Prclaimers 1-1500 Mls"Dampyu~
8.50 Cent -"In da Club."We allust want to hear
this on our "birfdays"............
9...y's..Midnight Runners - "Come on Eileen."
It's about coaxing someone into sex..Think about it.
1.C..elineDion "My Heart Will Go On." Admit
it, this song is incredible.
11. The.Rolling nes " S ympathy for the Devil."
Yes Mice I'm pleased to meet you too.
12..Del Shannon - "Runaway.".Did anyone else run
to this song in gym class?.Nodust met
13. Elton John - "Don't Go.Breakin' My Heart." I
kinda like the Rupaul version better.
...14. Hall & Oates - "6Private Eyes." Any song with
this many clpping parts has.myyote.
15. Michael Jackson - Theme from "Free Willy."
It's all those damn key changes...........................................
16..Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody.".And thank
you .t,.".Wayne's World.
17. David Bowie..- "Rebe lRebel" I. don't know
anything but the chorus,.butthat Iknow by heart.
18..The Ramones '-Blitz Krieg Bop." Another
Jock Jams Classic.
19..The.Theme from "Charles in Charge." I want to
shake the hand of the guy.that wrote this.
20..Three.Dog.gNight ..-."Joy.to..the..World." I'm
more of a fan of "Eli'sConing" but whatever.
MA DSON E
BRIARWOOD MALL, ANN ARBOR
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215W. Cross Street Ypsilanti, MI
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